Stop hunting for heretics, conservatives

Less than 10 years ago, Kristol’s father Irving Kristol, the founder of the neoconservative movement, concluded that neocons couldn’t align themselves with libertarians because the latter have no values. Neocons’ natural allies, said the elder Kristol, were religious conservatives. From that alliance came what Bill Kristol’s magazine designated as “Big Government Conservatism” and Bush 43-era policies unbeloved by most Americans these days.

And now? Tea partiers don’t much favor endless wars or care about social issues dear to evangelicals. Another CPAC panel that drew a packed crowd despite scheduling opposite Newt Gingrich was titled: “You’ve Been Lied To: Why Real Conservatives Are Against the War on Terror.”

Are neocons abandoning the old party base and following the new wave of power created by the tea party movement? As one tea drinker put it to me: “How the neocons square limited government at home with big government nation-building abroad will be interesting to watch.”