For some reason, I’m on the e-mail list for The American Spectator (as in, I’m on that list in this identity, not my Real World self). I received a beg letter the other day saying that we (conservatives) had to stop this civil war among ourselves:
As American Spectator contributor Jeffrey Lord recently wrote, we have been engaged in a "one hundred year war" for the heart, mind, and soul of the Republican Party.Of course, giving money to The American Spectator was part of that effort, but at least some conservatives seem to be worried.
You and I are fighters; and we must work together to defeat this Chicago-based political regime, which engages in crony capitalism while trampling upon religious liberty. This isn't about winning the 2012 elections. This is about defending American exceptionalism from its enemies.
The war started with a fight between the more progressive Republican Teddy Roosevelt and the more conservative William Taft, and battles have been waged for 100 years since. That war has now come to a crucial point in 2012—and we cannot let history repeat itself. We cannot allow this conservative family feud to keep another Democrat in the White House.
There seems to be a lack of understanding on TAS's part, of course. Teddy Roosevelt would have been a liberal by most modern American definitions. He would have, like we modern progressives, been someone whose opinions were reflected by neither of the two major parties. TR was one of those aristocrats who rarely make themselves visible these days - the ones who want our society to become more fair. That wing of the Republican Party either became Democrats or independents a long time ago. What is going on now is a fight between the "small government, fiscal conservative" crowd, also known as "the rich", and the religious fanatics who want to see us believe the same nonsense that they do.
My attitude is normally that differences can be a good thing, particularly in politics. My guess is, though, that The Other Guys (tm) are feeling the same split we discuss on the Left, which is the one between their haves and their have-nots. Their haves want what the rich usually want when they don’t care what happens to society while they get it. Their have-nots want no abortions and the Ten Commandments on every toilet stall (OK, I exaggerated that last bit a little).
As that gap grows, I think their civil war will get worse, not better. Unlike our have-nots, theirs never seem to stay silent for long. Ironically, more generalized prosperity is probably what will ameliorate their civil war, too. Let's face it, when religious people aren't doing well, becoming less religious isn't their usual course of action.
I didn’t subscribe to The American Spectator for the same reason I don’t subscribe to most politically-oriented magazines – there are plenty of people who will lie to me without me having to pay them for that service. But I find it interesting that the growing gap between rich and poor seems to be affecting their political chances, too.