Friday, August 15, 2003
One More Neo Point: It's worth mentioning, regarding your point on neoconservative vs. conservatives, that the original neos were socially more liberal than stalwart Republicans at the time. They didn't have the internecine baggage of civil rights battles, John Birch, and McCarthy. Thus the "neo" prefix might, at the time, been a bit of a badge of honor for a conservative with no ties to the old guard. As we saw with Trent Lott's spectacle with Ol' Strom last year, conservatism, particularly in the South, is still in the process of disentangling itself from discredited ideas. For everyone involved, some sort of semantic tag to highlight the distinction would have been warranted. By now, however, any social liberalism of the neocons has pretty much evaporated. I still hear commentators say that neocons are a little more libertarian than their GOP party-mates -- but a glance at the Weekly Standard dispels those notions. I've no doubt that some such neocons still exist, but they are likely to be considered liberal Republicans, something Bill Kristol is not.