Today I overheard a conversation at work between two hyper-partisan Republicans. Not surprisingly the tone of the conversation was the typical doom and gloom, "the Democrats are coming!," rhetoric one has come to expect from the Fox News-fed, Coulterites that make up much of the Republican base at this point. What was a bit different about this particular conversation was the casual nature in which the term "socialism" was tossed around and the ultimate conclusion reached by one of the gentleman who felt the need to note that Obama for all of his faults "wasn't a Socialist Party member like Bernie Sanders."
Of course Bernie Sanders is not a member of the Socialist Party either, but what was interesting about this outburst, was the amusing possibility that the Socialist Party is arguably more conservative than the GOP.
Don't believe me?
In 2004 the Socialist nominated, former Oregon State Legislature Walt Brown. Brown was a highly decorated military vet and lifelong pro-lifer. In keeping with recent Socialist Party tradition, Brown ran on a platform that called for a massive reduction in military spending and overseas commitments, the immediate withdrawal from NAFTA, IMF, and NATO and the abolition of the federal government sewage pit known as NASA.
The 2008 nominee Brian Moore, did not have the personal conservative traits one could find in Brown, but he ran on a similar platform.
Those quick to point to the SP's position on taxation and social engineering programs might want to look a little closer. In reality, even if one adjusts for the more deluded big government fantasies of the SP and its small coterie of followers, it would be difficult to argue that their welfare statism is any more or less attached to conservatism than the military statism of the modern GOP, and it is far less likely to endanger the lives of the average citizen.
Whatever the faults of Eugene Debs and Norman Thomas may have been, both were men of towering intellects, local attachments and deeply committed to the notion that American interventionism was a serious detriment to life and liberty at home and abroad. Brian Moore, may not be as likable as the America First Committee approved Thomas- and he's certainly not as good a candidate for conservatives as were Chuck Baldwin and Ralph Nader- but it's hard to argue that America's ability to thwart the Socialist Party from being a major electoral threat has been a serious victory for American Conservatives.
From the party of Taft, to the party of government larger and more internationalist in character than the Socialists. And they say the Democrats have a monopoly on change...