Andrew Sullivan airs his beefs with the right side of the political spectrum in his recent column in the Atlantic.
He begins this way: “For these reasons, I found it intolerable after 2003 to support the movement that goes by the name “conservative” in America. I still do, even though I am much more of a limited government type than almost any Democrat and cannot bring myself to call myself a liberal (because I’m not). My reasons were not dissimilar to Charles Johnson, who, like me, was horrified by 9/11, loathes Jihadism, and wants to defeat it as effectively as possible. And his little manifesto prompts me to write my own (the full version is in “The Conservative Soul”). Here goes:”
I cannot support a movement that claims to believe in limited government but backed an unlimited domestic and foreign policy presidency that assumed illegal, extra-constitutional dictatorial powers until forced by the system to return to the rule of law.
I cannot support a movement that exploded spending and borrowing and blames its successor for the debt.
I cannot support a movement that so abandoned government’s minimal and vital role to police markets and address natural disasters that it gave us Katrina and the financial meltdown of 2008.
I cannot support a movement that holds torture as a core value.
I cannot support a movement that holds that purely religious doctrine should govern civil political decisions and that uses the sacredness of religious faith for the pursuit of worldly power.
I cannot support a movement that is deeply homophobic, cynically deploys fear of homosexuals to win votes, and gives off such a racist vibe that its share of the minority vote remains pitiful.
I cannot support a movement which has no real respect for the institutions of government and is prepared to use any tactic and any means to fight political warfare rather than conduct a political conversation.
I cannot support a movement that sees permanent war as compatible with liberal democratic norms and limited government.
I cannot support a movement that criminalizes private behavior in the war on drugs.
I cannot support a movement that would back a vice-presidential candidate manifestly unqualified and duplicitous because of identity politics and electoral cynicism.
I cannot support a movement that regards gay people as threats to their own families.
I cannot support a movement that does not accept evolution as a fact.
I cannot support a movement that sees climate change as a hoax and offers domestic oil exploration as the core plank of an energy policy.
I cannot support a movement that refuses ever to raise taxes, while proposing no meaningful reductions in government spending.
I cannot support a movement that refuses to distance itself from a demagogue like Rush Limbaugh or a nutjob like Glenn Beck.
I cannot support a movement that believes that the United States should be the sole global power, should sustain a permanent war machine to police the entire planet, and sees violence as the core tool for international relations.
Does this make me a “radical leftist” as Michelle Malkin would say? Emphatically not. But it sure disqualifies me from the current American right.
To paraphrase Reagan, I didn’t leave the conservative movement. It left me.
And increasingly, I’m not alone.