Thursday, December 17, 2015

Today In Strategic Forgettery: Ross Douthat

Very Serious Conservative Junior League Person of the Year (1998), Ross "Chunky Bobo" Douthat longs for the good old days before the Republican Party went mad.

If fact, he has such a chubby or the Great Conservative Past that never was, he has dropped one of the most hilarious Freudian typos I have seen in print in a long time:
A long time ago, in the era we now know as B.T. (Before Trump), it was possible to envision a Republican primary campaign that would be a real contest of ideas, a clash of genuine policy visions — and therefore different from the empty I’m-not-Obama, no I’m-not-Obama contest of 2012. My favored scenario would have pitted Marco Rubio against Rand Paul: The former representing a reform-minded conservatism in domestic policy and a hawkish internationalism abroad; the latter representing a more libertarian domestic agenda and a noninterventionist posture overseas...
I realize that no one at the New York Times actually cares enough about what their wingnut welfare affirmative action hire writes to bother with fact-checking it, but I'm pretty sure that we're in the thick of the 2016 Republican primary campaign, not the 2012 Republican primary campaign.

However, Mr. Douthat's adorable fuck up right at the beginning of his latest exercise in dutiful Republican turd-polishing:
So a vote for Rubio is a vote for adaptation and ambition — for a conservatism that seeks to reassure the anxious middle on domestic policy and shore up the Pax Americana overseas. A vote for Cruz is a vote for rigor and retrenchment — for a more intensely ideological conservatism at home and a narrower definition of the national interest abroad. A vote for Trump is a vote for rupture — for a conservatism defined more by identity politics than ideology, more by nationalism than libertarianism, more by caudillism than the Constitution.

I have sympathy for all three of these tendencies — if not necessarily the men who currently embody them — and I think the ideal nominee would find a way to synthesize them, to sift the best and the worst of each.

But that nominee may not exist. So it’s up to the voters to choose which Republican future they prefer, from a lineup that offers not just echoes of the same old conservatism, but a real and pressing choice.
-- does open the door on what is fundamentally and irreparably broken on the Right: the fact that (as I have written about on this blog to the point of tedium) they only continue to survive by continuously lying about their own recent past.  A past which is fresh and clear in the minds of the rest of us and which has been documented more thoroughly than any other period in human history.

At the low end of the spectrum, the lies come in the form of that endless, ever-replenishing ocean of ALLCAPS batshit "President Obama orders U.S. service members not to say 'Christmas'"-type conspiracies upon which much of the Right's beliefs float like tectonic plates.  These lies that are passed around at the speed of light from one cluster of wingnut shut-ins to the next.  These are the lies which sites like Snopes ("Bankrolled by foreign socialists, I hear!") spend 80% of their time debunking and which the Pig People go right on taking as gospel because, let's face it, without the Kenyan Usurper to blame for their every itch and hangnail, they risk having to face the fact that the Liberals have been right all along, that they really just bigoted, halfwit dupes and they really have spent most of their adult lives being played for chumps by a political movement which done nothing but fuck them coming and going.

And that is a reality which Conservatives are frankly too weak to face, which is why the ratings for Fox News and Hate Radio and Donald Trump will go right on being yoooge.

At the high end, the lies and the liars have to be more genteel.  They have to align themselves with the sensibilities of the donor classes and the owners of media companies.  To pass as Serious, they have to make at least a passing nod to the horrors of the immediate present, but preferably by allocate blame equally to Both Sides and definitely without implying that the events happening now are in any way related to the toxic shit the Right has been pumping into America's political groundwater for 40 years,

History for the Elite Conservative liars must be presented as a series of discrete and non-contiguous moments in which even the briefest critique of the events of today may only be made in transit between Conservatism's Bright Fake Past and it's Glorious Fake Future.

Yes, Ross Douthat, is does suck that the 2016 primary campaign of your Republican party is nothing but a childish, playground game of "I’m-not-Obama, no I’m-not-Obama".

But so was your party's 2012 primary campaign, which was definitely "Before Trump".

Or don't you remember?

2008 was the year a desperate GOP turned Sarah "Obama pallin' around with terrorist" Palin loose on America to the delight of the Pig People who prop up your party.  (No coincidence that 2009 was the year the Koch Brothers rolled out the Bush Off Machine so that the Pig People could burn their Bush/Cheney lawn signs, put on tri-corner hats, without missing a beat, begin pretending they had never even heard of George W. Bush.)

Or don't you remember?

In 2004, your party ran and won on a platform of hating gays, trashing Liberals as pro-terrorist, slandering John Kerry's honorable military record, and warning Murrica that Osama bin Laden would probably murder their children of they voted for the Dixie Chick party.

Or don't you remember?

Of course, misremembering the past is something we all do.  For example, just today I found out that I had mistakenly grafted the ending of one Arthur C. Clarke novel onto the body of another.   Or as Proust said, “Remembrance of things past is not necessarily the remembrance of things as they were.”

But publicly and calculatedly lying about major events of the recent past?  In defiance of overwhelming evidence?  That is another matter entirely.  It is despicable.  It is dangerous.  It is cowardly.  And apparently it also guarantees at least a few lucky Americans a wingnut welfare affirmative action job-for-life at America's newspaper of record.


Professor Fate said...

"I have sympathy for all three of these tendencies"
in other words I agree in my heart with all of these angry yahoos with hearts full of hate, I just wish they were more civilized about being yahoos.
If Brooks wasn't writing for the same paper Ross would easily be the most loathsome creep on the NYT opinion page.

trgahan said...

So why can't these candidates (and the fake platforms he makes up) get within 20 points of Trump? Many can't even get double digit support within their own party.

Where exactly are all these Republican voters that want "...reform-minded conservatism in domestic policy and a hawkish internationalism abroad" verses "a more libertarian domestic agenda and a noninterventionist posture overseas"? The pollsters missing them?

Or is this, like 2012 (hence his mistake), when conservative media realized they had nothing but a crop of losers in the clown car and it was getting too embarrassing defending idiots that had already lost the election before even the convention?

Unknown said...

And of course, when Douche Hat says "reform minded conservatism," he basically means "same fetid shit we've been shoveling since Reagan, just larded up with fancy, polite-sounding words and a token gesture towards the middle class we can use to blow smoke up Villager centrist dolts like Ron 'Severe Dementia' Fournier's asses while we let the rich steal everything that isn't nailed down."

and "hawkish internationalism" mean "tell the rest of the world to eat shit, let braindead scumbag neocons run the show, and bomb everything that moves."

Gee, it's a wonder that agenda isn't selling. Even the GOP's knuckledragging base knows better than to fall for that shit again. Trouble is, they're falling for something even worse instead.

Kathleen O'Neill said...

@Professor Fate
Ah, but Professor, did you forget Maureen Dowd? And Friedman? The NYT Op Ed page is an Embarrassment of Twitches, er, Glitches, er - never mind. It's just an embarrassment. Except for Krugman, of course.

Ivory Bill Woodpecker said...

Off topic:

Jedi Master Breathed says, "May The Farce Be With You"

Wichita said...

Just to be fair to Goatee Boy, I think he meant that before Trump sucked all the air out of the 2016 Republican primary, it might have been possible to imagine a 2016 contest that contained actual ideas, unlike the one in 2012. That is, it might have been possible for HIM to imagine such a thing. I couldn't imagine it myself, since we're talking about Republicans here, for Pete's sake.

bowtiejack said...

Douthat and his ilk are the modern equivalent of Medieval Theologians - arguing about shit that nobody cares about in the real world. Oh, but they are very serious people! Just look at the numbers on their W-2's.

Gary Boatwright said...

I guess Popehat Frank's STFU to Douthat was too narrow, by suggesting that His Chunkyness was merely deranged on Catholicism and not on secular issues like politics,reality and any attempt to convey a pretense of sanity.

What is the most recent date that any conservative pundit from the NEW Idea Movement Conservatives actually had a new idea?

JDM said...

2012: corporations are binders full of women, my friend, 47% of whom pay no taxes whatsoever.

Jimbo said...

I laughed out loud when I read his reconstruction of the three "tendencies" that he extracted from the otherwise incoherent ravings of the GOP Presidential candidate field. But then to go on to say that he sympathized with all of them despite the enormous inherent contradictions in doing so simply confirmed my existing feeling that Chunky Bobo really is a rather stupid person who should confine himself to writing apologia for conservative Catholic cardinals.