David Brooks explains:
When conservatism came to America, it became creedal. Free market conservatives built a creed around freedom and capitalism. Religious conservatives built a creed around their conception of a transcendent order. Neoconservatives and others built a creed around the words of Lincoln and the founders.The "and others" maybe, although those "others" behind the "Southern Strategy" would seem to have relied upon Lincoln's pre-Civil War statements on race. But the neoconservatives? Which words does Brooks have in mind?
I can just picture the founding fathers arguing that we had a duty to invade foreign nations to liberate their people and spread democracy. I can just picture Lincoln insisting that the Civil War would be a cakewalk, could be won with 100,000 troops (maybe 30,000 or so more if things don't go well), and that the people of the south would greet us as liberators. Can't you?
Based upon the actual policies they have advanced, I think it would be more accurate to say that the neocons derived their brand of conservativism by watching the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers.