Wednesday, May 04, 2016

Whither Conservatism?

Serious Conservative Junior League Person of the Year (1998), Ross "Chunky Bobo" Douthat woke up yesterday to find that some fiend had stolen that pillowcase full of emergency backup True Conservatism he keeps under his bed and replaced it with ten pounds of shit.

Thing is, if he had bothered to check the freshness date on his bag of emergency backup True Conservatism he would have noticed that it has been full of shit since the 1980s.  But like Henry Drummond in Inherit the Wind, Mr. Douthat does not think about thinks that he does not think about.

The Defeat of True Conservatism

Now, after knocking Ted Cruz out of the race with a sweeping win in Indiana, Trump has beaten a second theory of where the G.O.P. needs to go from here: a theory you might call True Conservatism.

But it turned out that Republican voters didn’t want True Conservatism any more than they wanted Bushism 2.0. Maybe they would have wanted it from a candidate with more charisma and charm and less dogged unlikability. But the entire Trump phenomenon suggests otherwise, and Trump as the presumptive nominee is basically a long proof against the True Conservative theory of the Republican Party.

Trump proved that movement conservative ideas and litmus tests don’t really have any purchase on millions of Republican voters. Again and again, Cruz and the other G.O.P. candidates stressed that Trump wasn’t really a conservative; they listed his heresies, cataloged his deviations, dug up his barely buried liberal past. No doubt this case resonated with many Republicans. But not with nearly enough of them to make Cruz the nominee.

Trump proved that many evangelical voters, supposedly the heart of a True Conservative coalition, are actually not really values voters or religious conservatives after all...

Trump proved that many of the party’s moderates and establishmentarians hate the thought of a True Conservative nominee even more than they fear handing the nomination to a proto-fascist grotesque with zero political experience and poor impulse control...

Finally, Trump proved that many professional True Conservatives, many of the same people who flayed RINOs and demanded purity throughout the Obama era, were actually just playing a convenient part. From Fox News’ 10 p.m. hour to talk radio to the ranks of lesser pundits, a long list of people who should have been all-in for Cruz on ideological grounds either flirted with Trump, affected neutrality or threw down their cloaks for the Donald to stomp over to the nomination. Cruz thought he would have a movement behind him, but part of that movement was actually a racket...
So True Conservatism was never more than a public signifier -- just another a club tie or flag pin -- representing a fairy tale which virtually no one on the Right actually believed and whose purveyors were never more than con men running a long and profitable scam.

In other words -- in the words that Mr. Douthat dares not frame his mouth to utter -- the Left has been right about the Right all along.  


Lawrence said...

A tale told by an idiot,
full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

bowtiejack said...

Perhaps now True Conservatism can be put away on the shelf with other imaginary things like phlogiston and the ether. Couldn't see those either but people were sure they were there.

Paul Donahue said...

And on who's neck is that tie, through who's lapel is that pin stuck? Can you answer that Ross? Who bought those ties, who handed out those pins Ross? Take a guess. Look around, look real hard. Will you give them back now? If you do you have to say you're sorry. Are you sorry?

Kath320 said...

Whither liberalism? First I voted for Barak Obama, then again I voted for Barak Obama, next I'll vote for Hillary Clinton, and then I'll vote for Bernie Sanders, or his reasonable facsimile, as we move, ever so slowly, in the direction we need to move.

Redhand said...

And you may ask yourself
What is that beautiful house?
And you may ask yourself
Where does that highway lead to?
And you may ask yourself
Am I right?...Am I wrong?
And you may tell yourself

Of course, we can be certain that an asshole like Douthat will never ask the last two questions.

Fritz Strand said...

Captain obvious here. 'True conservatives' are closet fascist looking for a strong man. Just ask John Dean.

Paul Wartenberg said...

the problem with True Conservatism (tm) as a concept is that it encourages/requires adherence to dogma. Rather than retain Conservatism as a flexible, adaptable ideology of reactionary temperance and corrections of liberal overreach, they'll want to codify True Conservatism as automatic tax-cutting, deregulating, Bible-thumping, Bomb-Furriners no matter what 24/7/365 and then insist you gotta believe all that or get banned from the Sneetches' beaches.

The Purity Purging is the thing that's gotta go. But can the modern Republican Party do that? Can they give up the obsession with Purity Of Essence?

The Magic 8-Ball keeps telling "All Signs Say No".

Unknown said...

"...but part of that movement was actually a racket..."

THIS is the biggest lie anyone on the Right has ever uttered

ALL of the movement was a racket. Every little bit. Each utterance of piety and goodness and light, quickly followed by an announcement of where to send your donation.

The GOP is and always has been a country club full of tent revival preachers all driving luxury cars while explaining why you and your kids need to sacrifice even more for the good of the country.

When what the really mean is that you need to sacrifice more for the good of the country club. Luxury cars don't pay for themselves...

DrBB said...

"a theory you might call True Conservatism"

If you've already gone that far you might as well just come right out and call it the True Scotsman.

RUKidding said...

Trump proved that many evangelical voters, supposedly the heart of a True Conservative coalition, are actually not really values voters or religious conservatives after all...

No shit, Sherlock.

Finally, Trump proved that many professional True Conservatives, many of the same people who flayed RINOs and demanded purity throughout the Obama era, were actually just playing a convenient part.

Again, no shit, Sherlock.

The whole shit show has been a grifter sham from the beginning meant to pit portions of the 99% against other portions of the 99% so that the .001% could significantly hoover up all the ca$h. THAT part of so-called "True Conservatism" has been marvelously successful for those who benefited. The .001% - and their lickspittle acolytes, like Chunky Reese Witherspoon worshipper Douchehat - have enjoyed riches beyond measure.

It's unclear to me what Trump's lemmings expect from Trump, especially when I listen to Trump. His main "appeals" appear to be to white supremacist men, who hate everyone else not exactly like them, including women. Why some women like Trump is beyond me, but some women like Phyllis Schlafly, so go figure.

These recent vainglorious attempts to corral and encapsulating what "True Conservatism" is represents to me the last dying gasps of a grifter who's been found out. There is no such thing as "True Conservatism." The .001% have used the terminology to fool the rubes endlessly into believing some kind of hokum that's supposed to make them and the nation "great." It doesn't. It's bankrupt. It's a bunch of rich, mostly white, mostly male psychopathic greedheaded Oligarchs who are out for themselves, alone. Who all have secret off-shore bank accounts. Who've deliberately bankrupted numerous good businesses in order to skip off with all the money and leave the workers without jobs, having robbed them of their hard-earned pension money. Who've deliberately off-shored good US jobs in order to save a few buck$ for themselves while enslaving third world workers in terrible, unsafe, unhealthy working conditions. Who've polluted our air, our water, our soil in order to make a few extra buck$ for themselves. Who've frankly murdered workers with unhealthy and unsafe conditions and gotten away with it. Who manipulated the stock market, the banks and other financial institutions to enrich themselves while almost totally destroying the global economy... and they got away with it while workers across the globe suffered. Who could give a rat's ass about the USA as some kind of "great nation," and who could give a stuff about any of the proles, no matter how we vote.

Yes, the left has been right all along. We've said it for years and have been resoundingly dissed and called names and punched and all the rest of it.

Will this ever change? I dunno. It's clear that the GOP PTB are frantically scrambling to figure something out. I await what will happen with some trepidation.

Chunky Reese Witherspoon worshipping Douchebag is, no doubt, a tad uncomfortable as to what it will mean for his damn livelihood. I say: get a job, you worthless, lazy, lousy, leach, with your hand out looking for free money. ptoui!

Jimbo said...

Let's also keep in mind that right now, the RNC and other Establishment types are contemplating a "W" strategy where a future Pres. Trump who, after all, knows jack shit about anything relevant to being President will be totally manipulated by the "Dick Cheneys" and "Don Rumsfelds" that they will certainly foist on him as advisers or Cabinet staff and then we will be truly fucked as a country.

RUKidding said...

To Jimbo: here's your bitter irony for today. Wuz talking to a Trump lemming (friend of mine but have to shake my head), who is pretty thrilled re Trump. In order to truly understand the WHY of this misguided "love," I asked some questions in a respectful way. Bottom line, when I pointed out (nicely) that Trump really wasn't, uh, that "familiar" with how to run a country, this person blithely said something to the effect of: Oh Trump's so great that he'll "attract" great advisors, who'll tell him what to do, so I'm not worried about his lack of experience or expertise in this regard.

I'm all like: REALLY?!? Wow.

These doofs don't get it. They just don't.

Should Trump manage to pull this off - not out of the realm of possibility - there's no way he won't have puppet masters pulling his strings. NO. WAY.

It'll be pretty much back to: same old, diff'rent day. I admit that the prospect is, nonetheless, very grim.

crweaver said...

Douthat's observation that the Republican brand of Official Conservativism is mainly phony posturing brings to mind the godfather of modern neocons, Leo Strauss, with his 'Noble Lie' and war-is-the-health-of-the-state ethics. He, in turn, was inspired by the likes of Carl Schmidt, Hitler's lawyer, so der Donald's recent utterances of 'America First' are not that huge a leap.

gmoke said...

Granfalloons for everybody!

shortrib said...

Do you think that Paul Ryan read Douthat (or your) column?