Friday, October 24, 2003

Wednesday, October 22, 2003

'The coming failure of conservatism'

This is well-worth a read.

By Steve Gilliard, News Blog

We are in the waining days of the current conservative movement. After 30 years, 1973-2003, of conservative economic dogma, American are poorer, less stable, and facing a hostile world.

Bush and the neo-cons are the Black Panthers of conservative theory. They're trying to enact radical schemes which have very little support outside their ranks. Just as conservatism rose during the 1960's as a rejection of extreme liberal radical dogma, with its praise of Mao and Che and other avowed enemies of the US, the conservative era ends with the US's extreme isolation and ideology rejected by our closest allies.

The conservative mismanagement of the economy has led from a situation where long term growth and expansion was possible to a decline in basic living standards. Full-time employment is now elusive for millions of trained, educated Americans, while a class of paper-rich royalty flaunt their wealth to obscene standards. Not a day passes without a story about one of these people and their antics. Corporate abuse, not of the environment or workers, but of their basic fiduciary duty, leaving loyal employees penniless after decades of work, has undermined the basic support they had among the public.

The military, after years of quiet support for Republicans, find they are living their worst nightmare, fighting an unpopular war with an understength army in a completely hostile environment. The Army watches half it's strength frittered away as policemen, while it is forced to essentially draft thousands of National Guardsmen for prolonged combat duty, losing them the minute their enlistments are up. Instead of the support they thought the GOP would bring, they are watching the army they carefully honed and trained being destroyed before their eyes. The intelligence community, who believed that a Bush Administration would be an ally, finds the White House to be a dangerous, careless enemy, who would risk their most cherished secrets for political points.

The conservative movement's spokesmen are revealed to be promiscious, drug abusing, bullies, ripe for satire and abuse. All their moralizing rings hollow as their foibiles are exposed. The worst sorts of rumors about Bush and his family are confirmed. Nazis, drug using, going AWOL, all depressing, all true.

The one thing that conservatives were supposed to do was protect the US. Instead, Homeland Security is run more like Maxwell Smart was in charge than Tom Ridge. They use the Patriot Act, a misnamed bill if there ever was one, to bludgeon confessions. It's so odious that even the right is sick of its provisions. There has not been one trial of a Al Qaeda cell, while several hundred people sit in our very own gulag in Cuba. The hunt for Osama Bin Laden is now a punchline in jokes. If we could have fought the war in a worst way to get Bin Laden, it is hard to imagine how. Let's invade the one country where Al Qaeda doesn't operate openly and take it over so they know where they can kill our troops. This ridiculous notion is actually being paraded around the US as a reason for the insane war we're fighting in Iraq.

People may bathe in cynicism and worry about rigged elections and public apathy, but the reality is that Bush is the conservatives Carter. The final, ineffective gasp of an increasingly bankrupt and unpopular ideology. Conservativism has delivered nothing its proponents promised, not jobs, not security, not personal freedom. Instead, they have left poverty, insecruity and a hostile world. George Bush has proven to be the worst president possible for these times. When generousity of spirit and creative thinking are most needed, he is the most doctrinare and rigid man we could have chosen for the job. Driven by both a desperate need to be seen as a leader and the complete inability to function as one, Bush cannot create the alliances we need to win or prevent more attacks on us. Given the sympathy we had on 9/12, the present mistrust and hatred of the US is the direct and total creation of Bush's policies and attitudes. Bush's exclusionary and narrow view of the world may fit well in Houston, but it is a total failure for a statesman.

In every way possible, conservative dogma has betrayed the country. Our citizens are less healthy, our nation insecure, our relations strained.

The non-binding vote against Iraq aid is a sign of things to come. The GOP control House, led by Republican luminaries like Dana Rohrbacher, voted to turn all of the Iraq money into a loan, forcing Bush to either sign or veto it, as he threatened. Even Republicans know giving Iraq $20B while people scream about hiked property taxes is no way to keep your seat. Helpful commercials from the DNC remind them of this fact. That money was as popular as a turd in a punch bowl and is a harbinger of a sea change. They may say "we support the president" but they act like he's going down.

As we watch conservatives twitch, spin and turn to avoid their coming collapse, things will get ugly. Anyone who deviates becomes the enemy, any act justified. Which is the true sign of the coming of the end. And the end of the conservative era is coming faster than most of us can see.

Shorter Tristero

The next time we have a bunch of ideologically-addled goofballs trying to raid the White House, reporters, editors, and congressional leaders had damn well better wake up and do their job to stop it. We may have got lucky this time, in spite of the failure to stop the current White House hardliners.

Damn good post. Well-worth a read.

Shorter Republican Senator Chuck Hagel

If the Senate and House were parents, they would have given Junior the keys to their cars, their credit cards, and blanket permission to use their home as a party pad.