I am posting this article about Senator Lamar Alexander which appeared in the blog News with Views, as an example of how nutty and vicious some of the nutty
right really is and to show the extend in which they will go in attacking those with
whom they disagree. The nutty fringe loves to name call. It is not enough
that honorable people who agree on most things may have an occasional
difference of opinion. To the nutty fringe, if you don't toe the line of what
they see as what it is to be a conservative, then you are not simply mistaken;
you are evil.
The most recent cause of the nutty right is the anti-Common Core campaign. Now, not everyone who has reservations about Common Core is on the nutty right wing fringe. There are some on the left who disapprove of Common Core and some sensible Conservatives have legitimate reservations. However, the over-the-top alarmist see it as part of some major conspiracy. This sensible effort to improve education that was initiated by the private sector and state governors, they see as "Obamacore" and view it as a program to create "Skinner/Pavlovian, dog trained, dumbed down, robotic children [who] will be perfect for the global work force." (link)
Unfortunately, many mainstream conservatives in a desire to fight the common liberal political enemy, rather than each other, never raise objections and let the nutty fringe dominate the movement. More sensible Republicans need the energy and manpower of the nutty fringe so they go along when I know that many of them must really be embarrassed.
The nutty fringe loves conspiracies. One of the causes they have taken up is the anti-Sharia fight, seeing creeping Sharia everywhere. If Kroger sells halal meat, or a bank offers interest free financing or a cab company respects the desire of a Muslim cab driver to not have to advertise strip clubs atop his cab, they see the imposition of Sharia law. They really think elements of our government are conspiring to impose Sharia law in America.
Another cause is the anti-agenda 21 movement. To these folks, one day it is shady wide sidewalks, or bike share programs, or roundabouts and the next day it is off to the gulag. The most "informed" of the anti-Agenda 21 crusaders see this 20-year-old United Nations study on environmental sustainability as a plot to kill 96% of the world's population by poisoning them with aspartame and fluoride. You can't make this stuff up!
So, what about Lamar Alexander? Alexander is one of the more "liberal" Republican senators according to some rating organizations, mainly earning that label because of his support of the new START Treaty and because of his support for some environmental efforts. He also is accused of voting with Obama 61% of the time. We are at a point in our political alignment in which the most liberal Republican is far to the right of the most conservative Democrat. The most conservative Democrat is still a liberal and the most liberal Republican is still a conservative by any reasonable standard. That was not always the case. There really was a time when there were liberal Republicans and conservative democrats, but not any more. As far as voting with the President 61% of the time, a lot of votes are routine matters and would be the same legislation no matter who was President. In today's environment, I am sure Ronald Reagan would be too liberal for the nutty fringe of the Republican Party.
I don't fault Alexander on either his support of START or very much of his environmental record. In my view START was a good deal for America. It appropriated $85 billion dollars to test our nuclear arsenal to make sure it really did work, the last six Republican Secretaries of State supported it, and it still left the US and Russia with essential equivalency in nuclear weapons each having enough to destroy the planet several time over. We still have about 1600 delivery vehicles and 6000 nuclear war heads even after the new START.
On the environment, Alexander has not taken any radical positions. He has not supported CO2 cap and trade. I do not agree with all of his proposals and votes on environmental issues, such as increasing funding for infrastructure support for electric cars. I think the market will respond if there is legitimate demand for electric charging stations. I do agree with Alexander on clean air. I sort like clean air and clean water. He is a reasonable Senator who cares about the environment.
I am more conservative than Alexander. I oppose his recent effort to require vendors on the Internet to become tax collectors and think he was wrong on some other issues such as noted above. I am not for ever tied to Alexander. If he had a qualified and credible primary opponent, I would give consideration to voting against Alexander in a primary. The other person would have to have a lot going for him, however. I think Alexander is a good Senator. I think he is smart, and honest, and loves this country, and I agree with him more than I disagree with him and I think he has served our country and our state well.
Is he a neo-con Trotskyite? Neo-con has become a pejorative term with no real meaning. To call someone a "neo-con" is a way of saying, "I don't like you." It is sort of like calling someone a RINO. It means the person doing the name calling thinks the other person is not a real conservative. There was a time when neo-con actually did have a specific meaning. Neo-conservatives were people who were liberals and Democrats who became disenchanted with liberalism and became conservative but never abandoned some of their liberals tendencies, especially on social issue. It was an intellectual movement rather than a popular movement and had its origins with a hand full of people associated with the magazines Commentary and Pubic Interest. People like Daniel Bell, Irving Kristol, Sen. Daniel Patrick Moynihan, and Regan's UN ambassador Jenne Kirkpatrick are prominent neo-conservatives figures. Many of the leaders of the movement were Jewish and were academics. I don't think Alexander was ever a Democrat. I am pretty sure he was always a Republican. Being from east Tennessee, he was probably born a Republican. I don't think he fits the criteria for a "neo-con."
Trotskyite? A Trotskyite is one who follows the political and economic theories of Communism advocated by Leon Trotsky and his followers, usually including the principle of worldwide revolution. I don't think that Alexander was ever a Trotskyite, Leninist, Stalinist, Maoist or Communist of any strip. I think he is a Presbyterian.