Tuesday, May 10, 2016

The Well-Thumbed History and Plainsong Lore...

The cheapest laugh down here in the Liberal cheap seats continues to be the hilarious "evolution" of the indignation of Conservatives who are watching their monster run away with their party.  Since no one listens to us and no one cares what we think, we here on the Left find ourselves oddly blessed with the greatest and most dangerous freedom of all: we are free to remember the past in country where almost everyone else -- especially the wealthy and powerful -- are expending enormous energies denying the past.

Ten years ago it was an act of unalloyed heresy and disloyalty bordering on treason to even hint that George W. Bush was not the Greatest Fucking President in Modern History.  Six years ago, it was sheer folly -- whistling into a hurricane -- to suggest that the Tea Party was not, in fact a sudden and spontaneous uprising of otherwise-politically-virginal patriots, but was instead a massive wingnut rebranding scam designed to get millions of bigots and meatheads off the hook for volubly supporting the Worst Fucking President in Modern History.

But now, as America's Conservative brain wizards flail around looking for someone or something onto which they can lay off the blame for the rise of Donald McRonald, look what is suddenly no longer verboten (Max Boot in the Los Angeles Times):
Reagan had his faults, like JFK, but he was optimistic and gentlemanly. He was pro-free trade and pro-immigration. He believed in limited government at home and American leadership abroad.

That's what I believed in too — and that's what I thought the Republican Party stood for. That's why, despite my disagreements with social conservatives, I worked as a foreign policy advisor to John McCain in 2008, Mitt Romney in 2012 and Marco Rubio this year. All of those candidates, different as they were, recognizably represented Reagan Republicanism.

For the time being, at least, that Republican Party is dead. It was wounded by the tea party absolutists who insisted on political purity and rejected any compromise. Now it has been killed by Donald Trump.
Is the Tea Party Responsible for Donald Trump?
The Republican Party’s old divisions have been scrambled by its new presidential nominee.

To some, his rise is clearly the Tea Party’s fault. The right-wingers, this argument goes, weakened and divided the party, stoking people’s rage against Washington and government. With racial undertones, their rallying cries preyed on fear and hatred. Figures like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh spent years telling the conservative base that Republican officeholders were selling them out at every turn, and that the only solution was to toss out anyone who’d been in office for more than five minutes—to elect new representatives whose answer to everything, even funding the normal operations of government, would be: “Hell, no.” They encouraged the base’s paranoia and conspiracy theories; its distrust of institutions, including political parties and the media; and its irrational hatred of anything associated with Barack Obama.

Was it any wonder, then, that a candidate came along whose anger was even more consuming and less constructive, whose disregard for political norms was even more flamboyant, whose appeals to racial resentment were even more overt, whose disregard for fact and fondness for conspiracy was even more pronounced? As the conservative writer Matt Lewis put it last week, “Ted Cruz helped create an environment where populist demagoguery would flourish on the right.” But Cruz was hoist by his own petard, Lewis wrote, when Tea Party figures like Sarah Palin and Ann Coulter found Trump’s brand of this tonic even more potent. Trump, in this view, was just Cruz on steroids...
And my oh my, look at what version of American history is no longer a heresy so disqualifying that the media dare not speak its name (from The American Conservative):
Bush Wrecked the GOP Long Before Trump Appeared

One of the remarkable things about this election is the sheer intensity of hostility to Trump from many of the same movement conservatives who shrugged at Bush’s far more serious betrayals and failures. Many movement conservatives have been much more horrified by Trump’s momentary political success over a few months than they were by the real, costly, staggering failures of governance under the Bush administration over a period of eight years. Bush certainly drove some conservatives and Republicans into vocal opposition, including those of us here at TAC, but there seem to be many, many more on the right that thought Bush could practically do no wrong but have been driven into fits by nothing more than Trump’s nomination.

People that now panic about incipient caudillismo and the dangers of a nationalist demagogue didn’t care when Bush expanded the security state, trampled on the Constitution, or launched an unnecessary war of aggression, and people that yawned at the steady expansion of government and creation of new unfunded liabilities under Bush are now supposedly alarmed by Trump’s lack of fidelity to the cause of limited government. They correctly identify many of Trump’s flaws, but refuse to acknowledge the fact that the party was already killed (or at least severely wounded) years ago during the disastrous Bush era. It was that period of incompetence and ideologically-driven debacles that shattered the GOP, and for the last seven years the vast majority of die-hard Trump foes have refused to recognize that and have chosen to learn nothing from it. They lost to Trump, but the part they can’t accept is that they deserved to lose because of their role in enabling the GOP’s past failures. Now they’re touting their abandonment of the wreckage they helped to create as if they deserve applause for running away from their own handiwork. If it weren’t so serious, it would be quite comical.
Watch former Bush speechwriter and persistent Beltway stalactite, Michael Gerson, feign shock and horror at discovering the hollowness and depravity at the heart his party:
Make no mistake. Those who support Trump, no matter how reluctantly, have crossed a moral boundary. They are standing with a leader who encourages prejudice and despises the weak. They are aiding the transformation of a party formed by Lincoln’s blazing vision of equality into a party of white resentment. Those who find this one of the normal, everyday compromises of politics have truly lost their way.

This is not even to mention Trump’s pledge to limit press freedom, or his malicious birtherism, or his dangerous vaccine skepticism, or his economic plans that would bring global recession, or his lack of relevant qualifications, or his temperament of brooding and bragging, egotism and self-pity, or his promise to emancipate the world from American leadership, or his accusation that Ted Cruz’s father was somehow involved with Lee Harvey Freaking Oswald.

Some are trying their best to act as though all this were normal. But we are seeing, in the words of G.K. Chesterton, “lunacy dancing in high places.”...
If you are a Liberals living in America you are a pariah in your own land who has lived to see almost every one of your ostracizing blasphemies slowly, quietly become a widely accepted and largely uncontroversial fact of everyday life.

Every blasphemy except one -- that the Left has been right about the Right all along.   Because if Important People ever dared to start saying that out loud in Important Places, the entire system would implode.


RUKidding said...

They are standing with a leader who encourages prejudice and despises the weak.

How is Trump any different from the other 16 GOP candidates on the hustings this year (or the 12 or 13 in 2012 and so on)? Or, frankly, any GOP/Tea Party politician in the USA?

Figures like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh spent years telling the conservative base that Republican officeholders were selling them out at every turn, and that the only solution was to toss out anyone who’d been in office for more than five minutes

Ok, so they tossed Beck off Fox, granted. But why do they call him "Boss" Limbaugh? And why have so many politicians and pundits kissed Limbaugh's ring for decades? And how many times has Limbaugh been one of the main speakers at the CPAC convention?? Why has Limbaugh's show been run for years at a loss, while Limbaugh gets paid gargantuan sums to spew his hateful nastiness? Why are they mad at him now? Love the deflection there, just as Limbaugh's ratings are really tanking. Coincidence?

It was wounded by the tea party absolutists who insisted on political purity and rejected any compromise.

Why'd you all go along with the Koch brothers then? Oh the Kochs gave you boatload$ of ca$h? But now you're pissed off at the Koch Kandidates, are you? You couldn't wait to praise them to the skies not too long ago and say how fabulous they were... how purist and super duper conservative and how it was your bounden duty to be as obstructionist as possible against the blackity blah Kenyon Socialist usurper. What changed? Oh YOUR puppet didn't get voted in? Ain't it a shame.

Trump - horning in on all that grift. Letting the grubby proles act like the white supremacist jerks they are. Whodda guessed THIS would be the outcome?? Not fair. Call the whaaaaambulance!

dinthebeast said...

"Lincoln’s blazing vision of equality" Perhaps it caught fire when y'all burned some crosses too close to it?
@RUKidding:"How is Trump any different from the other 16 GOP candidates on the hustings this year (or the 12 or 13 in 2012 and so on)?"
According to the latest PPP polling, he's not. The only Republicans who are actually freaking out about Trump are the ones whose jobs are threatened by having him at the top of the ticket.
Still, repeat after me all ye Democrats: VOTE, god damn it!

-Doug in Oakland

Unknown said...

Meanwhile each and everyone of those guys is digging through the detritus at the back of their closets "Dammit June! I knew I put the kneepads in here somewhere!" in anticipation of the suckup to T'Rump that's coming for them.

And it'll be a yuuge, beautiful suckup. The Best!

Robt said...

The media is so fascinated to with Trump. They are continuing to provide him with much air time. If even his paid monkeys get to smile in front of the camera at us and say, Hillary is playing the girl card.

Yeah, yeah, Trump is playing the macho dude card. As a Rush listening republican voter would view it.

The U.S. Senate is holding the nomination of a supreme court nominee.

If Trump doesn't win, some liberal is coming for your guns and ammo.
Trump already says he would nominate a Pro life to the SCOTUS.
If Dems, Libs, Progressives independents want things to change.

Best we start with the court that can revisit something like Citizens United.
Ensure the voting rights act is preserved as congress voted for it unanimously.

The futility of the conservative writers you quote. They aren't writing to for Trump voters to read.
You know why Trump loves the uneducated?

We will all witness the True republicans disavow their conservative ideology to support Trump.

The True Christian rightist will perform blasphemy in Trump's name.

No matter your disappointments whatever they be with President Obama. The cards he was dealt. He had a party majority in congress for about 17 months before we gave him a crazy republican congress. Not to mention the activist SCITUS on the conservative wing.

And people pout over he didn't do more. While the conservative media pushed at Obama to have a drink with Mitch McConnell and let Boehner win at a game of golf.
The GOP has had a plethora of lawsuits fast racked to the SCOTUS that put just a bit more downward pressure from the GOP ideological jack boot on my neck.

You tell me,
Is there any, any conservative elitist writer or mouth piece that addresses the GOP's sloth in suing? Using the courts and conservative activist judges?
Odd how the .Michael Gerson's of our time has that rare disability which prevents them from writing of their abuses of the courts?

----For Doug in Oakland
Good advice, Voting is about our only real say in all this.

bluicebank said...

Head's up, bro.

MB on dKos put you on the front page of the a.m. edition. I haven't seen you mentioned there since, well, since I mentioned you under a non de plume.

Meteor Blades seems nice enough. Still, weird, though not really, knowing how the morning shift of the wire worked when it used to work.


fish said...

To be fair to Larison (and it is hard), he has a degree of integrity I don't see in most people on either side. He has always been a critic of Bush and open-eyed on the tribalism (example: http://larison.org/2007/07/24/lessons-learned/). I occasionally read him to see what a conservative should say. Maybe the difference is (as you have often pointed out) now people are allowed to acknowledge his criticisms (while liberals go on being ignored).

DrBB said...

> the same movement conservatives who shrugged at Bush’s far more serious betrayals and failures <

Ah, poor W. No True Scotsman, he.

Jimbo said...

Terrific post. But this quote really amused me: "They are standing with a leader who encourages prejudice and despises the weak." That sentence accurately describes every Republican politician in the country.
Every single day we see new outrages by Republican governors and their pet legislatures aimed at persecution of people they don't like, including women, minorities and the poor, student voters, unions, etc. etc.
Trump is simply the most visible and flamboyant manifestation of what has been the guiding GOP philosophy for at least 40 years.
A party whose guiding ethos is hatred and greed should stop feigning surprise that their presumptive nominee espouses hatred and greed.

mr. kranky said...

further to this line of thought...

i have long been saying “the 'hippies' are always right”, but they always get bashed for their opinions when making them

right on vietnam, right on the environment in the 60’s and 70’s, right on nixon, right on chile, right on kissinger, right on reagan, right on 'shrub', right on the iraq invasion, right on the endless foreign interventions, right on strengthening social security, right on the need for more wall street and business regulation, right on climate change, right on the ever increasing insanity of the republican party, right on trump... always right but never getting credit for it

Lit3Bolt said...

PFff, we're only in the middle of Act 3, Driftglass. Your language won't be appropriated, YET.

The Beltway WILL start saying that the Left Was Right after the election, and this will be their meal-ticket/Get-Out-Of-Jail free card for the past 30 years, similar to Robert MacNamara weeping that the Vietnam War was a mistake 20 years after the last soldier had died.

Andrew Sullivan and Rod Dreher will shed crocodile tears about their "revelations" from being stuck in moral quandaries so obvious a 5 year old could correctly reason past them.

Bill Bennett and David Brooks have transcendental journeys where they talk briefly to a mythical "Real American" and hold their own metaphorical feet to the burning fire of self-scorn for 800 words, then move on to the post election wrap up.

William Kristol and Mark Halperin will be briefly humbled, mumble "Hail to the Chief" at Hillary's inauguration and admit, for the briefest of instants, "We caused this." in the Meet The Press green room.

And then they will be given the Kiss of Peace from Chuck Todd and Roger Ailes, and we will then be treated to 8 years of "Did Hillary Have A Stroke When She Raised The Minimum Wage?" and "Is the Clinton Empire Finally Imploding?" and "Dems In Disarray! Obama Doesn't Call Prez HRC Everyday!" And Rush Limbaugh and Alex Jones will openly speculate about when Cthulu will erupt from Hillary's womb and call for 2nd Amendment Solutions To Tyranny.

And no one will acknowledge the very familiar phrases you've written, because they are good at saying the Right Things at the Right Time to the Right People, and you said "Fuck" once, and thus are A Shrill Hippie. Because talking about destroying schools and unions and justifying colonial wage slavery and smiling at stills of dead unarmed black teenagers and waging endless wars for bloodthirsty causes is part of a family friendly media environment.