Sunday, November 2, 2008

Reagan Speech Writer: Republicans Aren't Conservatives Anymore

Jeffrey Hart used to work for Reagan as a speechwriter. Fed up he is going for Obama and writes why, invoking Edmund Burke and true conservatism. (here)

There are so many money quotes in this article, but I'll limit it to this:

Republican President George W. Bush has not been a conservative at all, either in domestic policy or in foreign policy. He invaded Iraq on the basis of abstract theory, the very thing Burke warned against. Bush aimed to turn Iraq into a democracy, "a beacon of liberty in the Middle East," as he explained in a radio address in April 2006.

Yours truly supported the Iraq War from the outset, and throughout the years, without listening to my gut check. It was absurd to think America would transform Iraq into beacon of liberty in the Middle East. I remember seeing my favorite travel writer Paul Therouxbeing interviewed shortly after the conflict started in 2003.

To paraphrase, he said you can't force this kind of change on people. He was a Peace Corp volunteer during the 60's in an African village. When he got there the main project was to fix up a shitty schoolhouse that the locals had neglected and to get the children of the area to attend. The idealism was that if they gave a push, and helped out, the villagers would realize the benefit and make the cause their own. He visited the village again some 30 years later in the early 2000's. It was the same shitty schoolhouse that the locals neglected, kids didn't attend and looked as bad as when he first saw it.

Lesson: If the locals don't have buy in, it's not going to work no matter what you do. I ignored this thought because I was for the war. But I knew it was true.


  1. Another way of saying "buy in" is "hearts and minds." And, the fiasco is that we didn't plan for that in the beginning, even though we had been through Vietnam. But, now hearts and minds and buy-in is the centerpiece and, voila, success. Imagine that.

  2. Indeed, but the costs are prohibitive.