I'm depressed this morning. I had (relatively irrational according to Nate Silver) some hope that Mitt Romney would pull it out in the end. I can understand why a traditional conservative would be unhappy with Romney as a presidential candidate and I can even understand why someone would choose not to vote for Romney.
What I can't understand is how anyone would choose the opposite -- actively consider themselves a conservative and vote for President Obama. Let's be clear -- no one should take Andrew Bacevich, Jeremy Beer (who didn't say he was voting for Obama but decided to write a piece ridiculing Mitt's less than perfect pro-life position as if such ridicule helped the pro-life cause), Philip Giraldi, Leon Hadar, and especially Scott McConnell ("The real Romney denigrates the culture of Palestinians, either from ignorance of the conditions the occupation imposes on them or from racial or religious malice." -- Nothing like a 'conservative' who champions the 'culture' of the Palestinians!) seriously ever again.
In addition, a number The American Conservative's other writers decided to support the Libertarian candidate Gary Johnson -- apparently these folks didn't get the memo that traditional morality and Johnson's confused libertarian philosophies are not compatable.
Why bother going on a mini-rant about The American Conservative? I guess it is because I have been checking them out on a regular basis for the past couple of months since they redesigned their website, kind of hoping that with the addition of some new writers they might be a place worth regularly visiting. Instead, it is an endless stream of warmed over liberalism with the faintest nod to fiscal restraint (mostly concerns about our military spending which is not the key to solving the problem of our national debt), and endless critques of the "neocon" foreign policy.
I actually don't have much of an issue with the magazine when it comes to their foreign policy realism (with the exception of McConnell's crazed anti-Israel bias) -- I think their writers, especially Daniel Larison who used to write here, fill an important role for the right -- we should have a healthy debate about foreign policy and the realist position has a long and respectable tradition on the right.
But really, if that's all you've got -- why not just close shop and go write a few pieces for Foreign Affairs or Foreign Policy? When it comes to the great cultural issues of the day (e.g. abortion, the attempt to redefine marriage, Islam in America, etc.) or even issues that folks like Pat Buchannan used to write about like immigration or race, the magazine is either silent altogether or has retreated to liberal cliches.
So at a moment when conservatives, including traditional conservatives, need new and fresh ideas to do battle against the liberal policies being enacting at the federal level, we have a so-called conservative magazine quietly cheering from the sidelines confused about who the enemy is and what it means to fight for conservative ideas.