But today it is so-called conservatives who are cemented to political programs when they clearly don't work. The Bush tax cuts—a solution for which there was no real problem and which he refused to end even when the nation went to war—led to huge deficit spending and a $3 trillion growth in the federal debt. Facing this, John McCain pumps his "conservative" credentials by proposing even bigger tax cuts. Meanwhile, a movement that once fought for limited government has presided over the greatest growth of government in our history. That is not conservatism; it is profligacy using conservatism as a mask.The faux brand of warmongering conservatism coupled with a total lack of fiscal restraint and big brother government practiced by the neoconservatives controlling the GOP and their supportive cast of Christianists has been a bitter lesson for real conservatives that have watched their party's hijacking destroy any credibility and sense of decency it once had.
Today it is conservatives, not liberals, who talk with alarming bellicosity about making the world "safe for democracy." It is John McCain who says America's job is to "defeat evil," a theological expansion of the nation's mission that would make George Washington cough out his wooden teeth.
This kind of conservatism, which is not conservative at all, has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse.
Packer sees what the GOP has now become:
[McCain] gambled, all right, but it was in the direction of orthodoxy—for Palin is a creature and an icon of the Republicans’ evangelical base, which came into full possession of the Party this week and completed the G.O.P.’s conversion to identity politics...No wonder Pat Buchanan was so fired up on MSNBC, while Mike Huckabee wore the look of a man who missed his train because he was given the wrong departure time.
Part of the GOP base is in a Christian trance... The rest of what is left of conservatives from previous defections is jumping ship. This could one day be called "The McCain/Palin Bailout of 08" in history books.