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Wednesday, March 23, 2005

Process vs. social conservatives

I'm certainly not the first one to notice that the Republican position on the proper role of government these days seems rather contradictory. An article in the Times this morning on the Schiavo story, however, introduces an illuminating distinction. There is no "Republican position" as such -- instead, Republicans are divided between "social conservatives" and "process conservatives" (quoting David Davenport of the Hoover Institute). For social conservatives, social issues trump concerns about the allocation of power within the fractured American political structure, while the priorities of process conservatives are exactly the opposite.
Adam Nagourney, "G.O.P. Right Is Splintered On Schiavo Intervention," New York Times (natl. ed.), 3/23/05, A14.
"Social" works in the Schiavo case, but a broader term is needed to encompass those conservatives for whom certain economic issues (e.g., deregulation) also trump concerns about federalism or separation of powers.

1 comment:

Jules Unsel said...

Do you think that old right and new right might work?

With old right being a faction of the GOP that is more than willing to use a strong federal govt to their economic advantage under any circumstances, and with any consequences, and have been since the Civil War. Maybe we should just call them what they are, carpetbaggers.

Between old and new right there are moderates, say...progressive Republicans, who have been around since the Gilded Age, and who actually worry about the separation of powers, environmental responsibility, some amelioration of social injustice, etc?