Republicans should resist President Barack Obama’s order allowing women to serve in combat roles, according to Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol.
Speaking at the National Review Institute Summit in Washington, D.C. this weekend, Kristol suggested that Republicans have been cowed into supporting the measure by Democrats’ persistent “war on women” language.
“I have been very distressed [that] a bunch of Republican senators in the last 48 hours have decided, ‘Oh we had a war on women charge in the campaign of 2012.’ We got beat up on that, so we are not going to oppose something that is literally nuts, I think, and extremely damaging — in all kinds of ways. There are many good arguments against it. We had a piece in the magazine this week. Rich [Lowry] wrote a good editorial in National Review against it.”
Kristol quoted former National Review editor William Buckley to argue that conservatives broadly must be willing to challenge conventional, politically expedient policy positions.
“Bill Buckley in 1955, when he started National Review, famously wrote in the inaugural issue that the point of National Review — and I would say by implication of the conservative movement — was, ‘It stands athwart history, yelling stop, at a time when no other is inclined to do so, or to have much patience with those who so urge it.’ And I think there is a place for that, honestly, among conservatives and Republicans.”
Conservatives throughout history have benefited from their willingness to buck the norm, Kristol added.
“There are times when one just has to say, ‘Look, this is wrong, and this is foolish and … we got to fight the fight,’” he continued. “Ronald Reagan fought a lot of fights in his career — including the Panama Canal fight, in which he took on the conservative elites as well as the liberal elites and ended up losing. And probably without that fight in ’77-’78, he doesn’t become the unquestioned leader of the conservative movement in ’79, ’80. He doesn’t become the likely nominee. Jack Kemp doesn’t yield to Reagan, but also doesn’t persuade Reagan on supply-side economics, and American history is different.”