From Mr. Sullivan:
Mr. Sullivan's Conservatism is identical to Mr. Brooks' Moderation in that their respective ideological systems amount to little more than what is convenient and enjoyable for each man to believe at any given moment.
If Mr. Sullivan suddenly developed a taste for pineapple ice cream, within a week he would be penning columns about how "Liking Pineapple Ice Cream" is a cardinal Conservative value because of something something Edmund Burke. If he got sick on bad Thai food, we would suddenly see a spate of columns discussing bad Thai food and how it is something that only extreme Christianists or Left Liberal would ever put in their mouths.
He is, at best, a flighty dilettante with a wealth patron and does not have the slightest fucking clue about how his adopted country works.
Likewise the Moderate Mr. Brooks adds or subtracts from his lexicon of virtues based almost entirely on how best to hide out from whichever one of his until-recently-held principled positions has gone hideously wrong.
Not long ago, Mr. Brooks was a vocal champion of the worst of the Bush Era policies. Mr. Brooks made his bones excoriating those of us who doubted the Dear Leader's infinite wisdom. Mr. Brooks used to mock post-partisan centrism-types as dolts and fools. Mr. Brooks even went so far as to write an entire column about how (now that Dubya is triumphant in Iraq!) us hateful, bile-drunk, Liberals (who are incapable of ever admitting when we're wrong) will just sink deeper and deeper into denial, inventing new reasons why their wrong ideas we were really right and revising our own history to pretend they never said and did what they said and did (links for every bit of what I just summarized in this here exhaustive compendium):
My third guess is that the Bush haters will grow more vociferous as their numbers shrink. Even progress in Iraq will not dampen their anger, because as many people have noted, hatred of Bush and his corporate cronies is all that is left of their leftism. And this hatred is tribal, not ideological. And so they will still have their rallies, their alternative weeklies, and their Gore Vidal polemics. They will still have a huge influence over the Democratic party, perhaps even determining its next presidential nominee. But they will seem increasingly unattractive to most moderate and even many normally Democratic voters who never really adopted outrage as their dominant public emotion.
In other words, there will be no magic "Aha!" moment that brings the dream palaces down. Even if Saddam's remains are found, even if weapons of mass destruction are displayed, even if Iraq starts to move along a winding, muddled path toward normalcy, no day will come when the enemies of this endeavor turn around and say, "We were wrong. Bush was right." They will just extend their forebodings into a more distant future. Nevertheless, the frame of the debate will shift. The war's opponents will lose self-confidence and vitality. And they will backtrack. They will claim that they always accepted certain realities, which, in fact, they rejected only months ago.
Of course, as regular readers know, almost since the day Mr. Brooks' cashed in his Very Immoderate Liberal-bashing and Bush worship for a job-for-life at "The New York Times", not only has virtually every one of Mr. Brooks' cocksure assertions and predictions gone to shit, but Mr. Brooks has barricaded himself inside precisely the same bullshit bunker of denial, revision and falsification that he once confidently told his readers would be the final, hateful bastion of all the Dirty Fucking Hippies he despises so acidly.
Mr. Brooks does not merely commit every sin he once righteously accused the Dirty Fucking Hippies of being on the verge committing, he now positively luxuriates in them. He has made an industry out of them, and now lies about the present and shamelessly revises the past quite proudly, publicly and repeatedly, just like the rest of the Conservative Movement always has and will continue to do until they are destroyed (from me earlier this year):
The entire Conservative enterprise is built on delusion and old dynamite, which is why every clock much forever remain stopped at one minute after Reagan's inauguration, every fact must be smothered under the stasis field of Rush Limbaugh roaring, rage-drunk bluster. It is the sarcophagus of a dead ideology where the walls are now so densely postered and palimpsested with the detritus of Conservatism's lurid, lying history that its denizens cannot find the exit anymore, and its floors are so sticky and pitted with the grue of its savage, tribal, beat-in rituals that no one bothers to even look for the door.
He gets away with this because very, very, very rich assholes are willing to pay enormous amounts of money to keep shoveling this shit, and to exercise their considerable influence ot keep any and all contrary opinions the Hell off your teevee.
And for their sins, tomorrow both Mr. Sullivan and Mr. Brooks will be on the Sunday morning gasbag parade sharing their keen insights with tens of millions of your fellow citizens.
I'm going to go be sick in a bag now.