Some conservatives live to fight.They love to take their opponents down. They hate compromise and hesitation.Think Andrew Breitbart taking over Anthony Wiener’s news conference.
Call us the Battle Cons.We feed off of the energy of conflict; we’re commandos in the war for America's culture.
And we aren’t enough.Sure, we’re fine when you need to break the glass in case of emergency, our chests emblazoned with the words “Front Toward Enemy” like a Claymore mine.But we cannot be the entire conservative movement.We need the Wonk Cons.
They’re the deep thinkers, the careful analysts, the craftsmen of future policies they hope to someday sell to whoever in the GOP manages to get some electoral juice down the road. Sam Tanenhaus’s recent New York Times Magazine article on the Wonk Cons asked, “Can the G.O.P. Be a Party of Ideas?”These are the guys who are supposed to answer “Yes.”
But to a Battle Con, the first thing we think of when we see the Wonk Cons is how we’re taking their lunch money.And they probably think we’re borderline savages because we’d rather shoot big, black rifles at stuff than ponder innovative municipal services privatization initiatives.
Too many Wonk Cons strike us Battle Cons as the kind of guys who have never been in a bar fight.We don't see a lot of veterans among them, and none of them seem much interested in the crucial area of American defense policy
We wonder if they know how to fight.They wonder if we know how to do anything else.But the fact is that we need each other, us warriors and these brainiacs. And we need to figure out how to get along.
It doesn’t help that Tanenhaus and others have painted the Wonk Cons as “conservatives with ideas.”Whenever we hear people talking about “ideas,” we Battle Cons start getting nervous. It's not that we have anything against ideas per se.It's that we’ve learned from bitter experience that most “new ideas” are bad ideas.
So along come the Wonk Cons with all sorts of intriguing ideas about how the federal government can improve the healthcare system, deal with failing schools, and address the issues of poverty in American society.Except Battle Cons don't think the federal government has any business doing any of these things in the first place.