Are conservatives the pin-ball machine of values and politics? They have more power and money then a Roman emperor could hope for. They can and do whatever they want – sleep at the wheel and let 9-11 happen, lie us into wars, shift the majority of the tax burden to the working and middle classes, turn legislation into a pay for play business proposition and when they are not busy with that they’re savaging environmental laws and the Constitution, and here. Now in a book review of Andrew Sullivan’s THE CONSERVATIVE SOUL, Andrew tells us that somehow all the plans, the policies, the screw-ups, the ineptitude, placing partisanship above country, ideological attacks directed at the core of American values are simply the result of an inadvertent wrong turn. That’s right, while the fringe Christian Right was holding the map of the Republican agenda, George Bush and the majority of the U. S. Congress didn’t put their reading glasses on first and headed in the wrong direction.
In the book’s second half, Sullivan switches from anger to nostalgia, reaching back to remind us of the things that made Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher’s brand of conservatism so appealing and so successful as a mode of governance. He traces the influence of fundamentalists to Bill Clinton’s various personal deficiencies, which triggered a moral counterattack from Christian leaders who felt they knew something about morality. It’s a good story, but Sullivan doesn’t tell it with any narrative grace. Instead, he gnashes his teeth in frustration at the changes this period brought to conservatism. It’s the hallmark of his book — a fine intellectual effort that, for all Sullivan’s clear thinking and clear prose, probably won’t change any minds that fundamentalist beliefs haven’t already ossified.
Sullivan can stick his hand up Hegel, Hobbes and Leo Strauss’s back and pull all the strings he wants. Everything that conservatives have done since Sullivan’s beloved Reagan are part and parcel of the conservative agenda. To say that somehow the American Taliban seized control of the wheel is just more of the kind of responsibility avoidance that has embodied Republican power since Richard Nixon.
The party I grew up in, which stood for fiscal discipline and strong defense and avoided the sloppiness and stained dresses of so many good-hearted Democratic administrations, seems to have been conquered by people who think stem-cell research is murder, who want to ban unpopular sex acts and who have proven incapable of managing such basic government tasks as disaster relief and a war. A war! That used to be the one thing you knew the GOP could run efficiently. Now, well, now it’s gotten to the point where I’m just too embarrassed to admit that I’m a Republican.
What war was that Republicans managed so well. Vietnam?. Given the reigns of power Republicans, save a few milliseconds here and there, have never used it with honor or integrity. Obviously Sullivan’s book isn’t directed at me, but it is directed at far right pundits like Jonah Goldberg who writes at The National Review Sunday, October 22, 2006 Silly Review [Jonah Goldberg]
Never mind the scandalous slander — made no less scandalous by its constant repetition — that American fundamentalist Christians are a greater threat to our nation than terrorists seeking to kill and/or convert us. Forget that he falls for Sullivan’s two-dimensional portrayal of monolithic Christian fundamentalism in the United States (which David Brooks does not do in his NYT review). What is staggering here is that Burrough honestly thinks Christian conservatism or social conservatism actually represents something as goofy and intellectually illegitimate as Leonard Jeffries style Afrocentrism. That’s self-discrediting.
So Goldberg (“self-discrediting” is Jonah’s way of saying he was too lazy to write a real rebuttal) who is considered a mainstream conservative hardly seems ready to tell James Dobson or Pat Robertson to take a hike and start their own party. The reason Jonah and most conservatives won’t is because they cannot win elections without that 24% of their base. If its a choice between taking parables about Eden literally and winning elections or being rational loosing elections, Jonah and Karl Rove will always choice the former. Andrew isn’t just wrong about there being anything worth wrangling away from the American fundies, he’s wrong to think that the current captains of conservatism want things any other way. Its like this Andrew, if you peel off the outer shell of dogmatism then conservatives really would have to win based on ideas. When that days comes is Sullivan delusional enough to think that they ever be the majority party based on the ideas of Leo Strauss when the people can vote for the party of Thomas Jefferson. ( Former Bush administration Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz and William Kristol of The Weekly Standard are Straussians. Strauss was an admired of Friedrich Nietzsche. Connect the dots, moral relativism and social darwinism dressed up in a stiff suit).
From Thinkprogress, Bush: ‘We’ve Never Been Stay The Course’
During an interview today on ABC’s This Week, President Bush tried to distance himself from what has been his core strategy in Iraq for the last three years. George Stephanopoulos asked about James Baker’s plan to develop a strategy for Iraq that is “between ’stay the course’ and ‘cut and run.’”
Bush responded, ‘We’ve never been stay the course, George!’ Watch it:
Bush is wrong:
BUSH: We will stay the course. [8/30/06]
BUSH: We will stay the course, we will complete the job in Iraq. [8/4/05]
BUSH: We will stay the course until the job is done, Steve. And the temptation is to try to get the President or somebody to put a timetable on the definition of getting the job done. We’re just going to stay the course. [12/15/03]
BUSH: And my message today to those in Iraq is: We’ll stay the course. [4/13/04]
BUSH: And that’s why we’re going to stay the course in Iraq. And that’s why when we say something in Iraq, we’re going to do it. [4/16/04]
BUSH: And so we’ve got tough action in Iraq. But we will stay the course. [4/5/04]
Bush is a charter member of the power of denial club. If you don’t send that little card back the RNC sends you another bottle of denial every month, postage not included.
Denial ain’t just a river in Egypt,
buddy. You will only get your mojo
back when you surround yourself with
Oh, I get what you’re saying now!
He’s talking about free love, baby!
Tune in, turn on, and drop out!
I am talking about true love. You
must stay and study until you are
from the screenplay AUSTIN POWERS: THE SPY WHO SHAGGED ME By Mike Myers