As anyone who lived through the Age of Dubya and retains a functioning, long-term political memory will tell you, the Bush Administration was not simply bad -- it was an ongoing national catastrophe which the Republican Party and the our nation's Greater and Lesser Conservative Thinkers and most of the national media lauded as the cat's fucking pajamas...
...right up until the wheels came off.
At which point, as I have noted at length on many occasions, the Party of Personal Responsibility did exactly what I predicted they would do way back in 2006:
In five years, having voted for Bush will have become the parachute pants of this decade.It will become the “Oh my GOD. What the fuck was I thinking?” shameful secret people will occasionally and elliptically allude to by piping up with, “well, he did good after 9/11” as schoolchildren are taught what a disaster on every front and by every measure he was, and as adults who now have to pay and pay dearly for the myriad lies and crimes and follies of George W. Bush recount his Top 100 Fuckups and bitterly laugh and laugh and laugh.
What I got wrong back in 2006 as the time-line.
For those wingnut 101st Chairborne heroes who rose through the ranks of the Wingnut Welfare State by slandering Liberals as America-hating traitors --
-- didn't take five years to unperson Bush.
It only took a matter of months.
By August of 2006, our nation's Greater and Lesser Conservative Thinkers were beginning the process of running like hell away from their simple, profitable "Bush Good/Libtards Bad" bullshit (David Brooks from April of 2003) --
The Collapse of the Dream Palaces
Mass destruction of mistaken ideas.
...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...
-- and re-establishing a new base camp under the sheltering bower of the Big Lie of Both Sides Do It lie (David Brooks, three years later)
Party No. 3...The flamers in the established parties tell themselves that their enemies are so vicious they have to be vicious too. They rationalize their behavior by insisting that circumstances have forced them to shelve their integrity for the good of the country. They imagine that once they have achieved victory through pulverizing rhetoric they will return to the moderate and nuanced sensibilities they think they still possess.
But the experience of DeLay and the net-root DeLays in the Democratic Party amply demonstrates that means determine ends. Hyper-partisans may have started with subtle beliefs, but their beliefs led them to partisanship and their partisanship led to malice and malice made them extremist, and pretty soon they were no longer the same people...
And once it became clear that no one but a few, dirty hippies were interested in holding Conservatives responsible for anything they had said or done during the Age of Dubya, the floodgates opened. By 2009, like German soldiers after the fall of Berlin, millions of loyal Republican meatbags who had spent most of a decade loudly piss-drunk on Fox News/Hate Radio fake patriotism were sprinting away from the disaster they created as fast as their little legs would carry them, pausing only long enough to burn their Bush/Cheney lawn signs and swear they had never even heard of George W. Bush.
Thanks to the Fabulous, Tea-Baggulous Bush-Off Machine and the unstinting collaboration of the mainstream media, they re-branded themselves as The Tea Party. And everyone but a few, dirty hippies obligingly looked the other way.
And so it went. From Bill Kristol to Michael Gerson to Newt Gingrich to David Frum to Rick Wilson to Charlie Sykes, cushy, gold-bricking fink-tank or academic or media jobs were carved out for just about any Bush Regime Dead Ender who wanted one, as the entire Age of Bush was shoveled down the memory hole, and the ghouls and hobgoblins who made it all possible were ouchlessly absolved of their past sins and swiftly rehabilitated right back into positions of power and influence.
A New Golden Age of Both Siderism had arrived, and during eight years of ever-escalating Republican lying, sedition and sabotage leveled against any attempt by the first black president to do anything, every act of barbarism was blunted, deflected and diffused with this kind of shit from the same old cast of monsters:
Why Won't Obama Lead?By Peggy Noonan, Wall Street Journal - March 11, 2013
But this Golden Age came with a terrible price, one which I already covered in exhaustive detail many times including here.
Like A Virgin“...they turned to prayer, beseechingthat the sin which had been committedmight be wholly blotted out.” -- 2 Maccabees. 12:42
Because once the media and the GOP party leadership had chosen to collectively permit the Republican base to get away with refusing to hold George Bush to anything resembling the same standards which they had piously demanded of Bill Clinton...
...and immediately after that allowed that same mob of imbeciles and bigots to unilaterally exonerate itself of all responsibility for the Bush Regime disasters they had just spent eight years lustily cheering for (as I also wrote a long time ago)
...the Right...collectively jumped past a spiritual event horizon and into a soul-darkness from which there is no return: a darkness in which imps and devils are always patiently waiting to take your hat and coat and make you extremely comfortable on the gentle, downward-sloping road to Hell.This darkness comes with a promise and a catch: the promise is, that the Right will never, ever be called to account for the endless lies they have told and endless betrayals they have committed; the catch is that they can never leave, and no matter how repellent their neighbors become and no matter how humiliating and horrifying the lies become, they are obliged to shut up and go along with the program. With this promise comes the terrible, goosestepping power of a mob under harness, but with it also comes a grotesque fragility because to keep the darkness alive the Right has become a confederacy of Mrs. Havishams, rotting away in the gloom.And to make matters much, much worse, their decaying mansion sits on top of such a massive, leaky stockpile of lie upon lie, betrayal upon betrayal, hypocrisy upon hypocrisy and treason upon treason that the danger of one, stray non-Fox Approved fact accidentally glancing off another non-Fox and sparking off a conflagration is omnipresent.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.Which is why no deviation can be permitted, no error can be admitted and no apologies can be allowed.
Ever since the rise of Donald Trump, our nation's Greater and Lesser Conservative Thinkers have been flailing around for a theory of the case that fit two, mutually-exclusive criteria. It had to A) provide a comprehensive explanation for what has happened to their party, and B) not implicate them in any way. (From me in 2011):
Well Into Their 117th Trimesters, David Brooks and David Frum both suddenly decide they really don't want to keep Reagan's baby.Earlier today Mr. Brooks placed his order for a political D&C through pursed-lips and a frowny face by rewriting Reality's Timeline so that he was somehow never a part of the 30-year lead-up to the Giant Pig Party Implosion at the end of the Empire we see bearing monstrous fruit all around us.Mr. Frum, more comically, decided instead to pretend that the person most responsible for the Giant Pig Party Implosion at the end of the Empire...was the Reasonable-to-a-Fault Democratic President!Because he has so far failed to put Frum's Republican Party down like the sick animal that it is, and failed to clean up the toxic partisan sewer that David Frum helped create..despite Mr. Frum and every other Conservative douchebag in America being warned to beware just exactly these consequences for the last 30 years by two generations of Liberals...
And so, as is always the case when Conservatives band together to lie their way out of a fiasco of their own making, the first casualty is Occam's Razor. The simplest and most obvious explanation -- that Donald Trump did not manufacture the racist meathead base of the GOP but was manifested by the racist meathead base of the GOP -- is too fatally incriminating for life-long Republican and Conservative Big Thinkers to permit. And so, instead we get weepy, baroque gibberish from the Great Minds of the Right.
David Brooks breaks out his scale-model Straight Talk Express adventure-bus and vroom-vrooms it around the floor of his bedroom, despite the fact that the tires are gone, the axle is shattered and the action figures got chewed to pieces by dogs years ago:
The Essential John McCainIt turns out that John McCain’s most important service to American democracy..
In the first place, McCain seems to be the only member of Congress...
Second, McCain is one of very few Republicans...
My colleague Bret Stephens has already quoted from McCain’s speech...
Third and most important, McCain still believes that paideia is essential for democracy...
As the brilliant Spanish philosopher Javier Gomá Lanzón reminds us...McCain’s career has had its low moments, as all of ours do — a banking scandal, Sarah Palin — but...
This is all done to give Mr. Brooks a running jump into these two, flagrant lies about Mr. Brooks' Republican party.
Books will someday be written on how Trump, this wounded and twisted man, became morally acceptable to tens of millions of Americans. But it must have something to do with the way over the past decades we have divorced private and public morality, as if private narcissism would have no effect on public conduct.
This is a lie. Trump did not become "morally acceptable to tens of millions of Americans". Trump was morally acceptable to tens of millions of Republicans because Mr. Brooks' Republican party is built on foundation of bigotry, stupidity, rage and paranoia.
The acceptability of Trump must also have something to do with millions of religious voters being willing to abandon the practical wisdom of their faiths...
This is a lie. The Conservative evangelicals Christopaths who have been a pillar of the GOP since Reagan invited Jerry Falwell to help him run the party have always been an insult to Christ and have always practiced a fraudulent, counterfeit Christianity with roots sunk deep in white supremacy and Confederate history. And you damn well can't abandon what you never had in the first place.
The other New York Times Conservative Big Thinker -- Ross Cardinal Douthat -- is so desperate to avoid facing the fact that the GOP base has been a toxic shitpile of bigotry and ignorance for decades that he is willing to tip-toe down in the memory hole to sorta, kinda rehabilitate the Bush Administration:
...The first is that, for all its failures, not everything about the Bush era was disastrous, and there were ways in which the Bush White House had a clearer sense of what conservatism should offer to the common man than any its would-be successors have come up with since.
This doesn’t excuse the disaster of Iraq or the various problems with Bush’s domestic agenda, including the way that one of his middle-class-friendly policies, the push for homeownership, contributed to the housing bubble and the crash. But it is still a mistake for the right to dismiss the Bush agenda as merely “a failure and a fraud,” as my friend Peter Suderman did recently in these pages, and also a mistake for liberals to suggest that Trump is just returning to the Bush playbook, as New York’s Jonathan Chait did in a recent piece.
Because he’s not really returning to it...
Like Mr. Brooks, this loaf of steaming flapdoodle is laid down just so Mr. Douthat can take a running jump into this flagrant lie about Mr. Douthat's Republican party.
What’s the matter with the Republican Party? Many things, but right now above all this: Far too many Trump supporters, far too many conservatives, have seen the then-inaccurate caricature that Frank painted 13 years ago brought to blaring, Technicolor life by Trump...
This is a lie. Because as Mr. Douthat knows damn well, when George W. Bush needed to win Republican primaries back in 2000 (which is -- do the math, Douthat -- more than 13 years ago) he did not appeal the better angels of the Republican base. Instead he deployed Karl Rove to gut John McCain with racists lies and slander...because he knew they would work.
I am equally sure that Mr. Douthat knows damn well that when Dubya's daddy was running behind in 1988, he didn't quote Burke and Buckley to the masses. Instead turned to Karl Rove's mentor, Lee Atwater, to put him over the top by whipping the Pig People into an electorally-exploitable racist frenzy.
Just as I am also equally sure that Mr. Douthat knows damn well that when John McCain was running behind in 2008, he locked the better angels of our nature in the trunk of the Straight Talk Express so he could hie his ass down to Liberty University to publicly kiss Jerry Falwell's crusty, racist ass, and then get on with the filthy business of unleashing Sarah Palin on the world.
All of these men did all of these thing because they are Republican politicians who damn well understand the base of their fucking party. And I really don't give a shit if they did their pandering to bigots and imbeciles reluctantly, or enthusiastically, or if they jobbed it out to hired hands. The point is they all did it because they all knew they had to do it. Because they knew that without the support of their racist, brainwashed base, no Republican would ever win another election. And by doing this -- by willingly renewing this Faustian bargain year after year, decade after decade -- the leadership of the Republican party and our nation's Greater and Lesser Conservative Thinker collectively paved the way for President Stupid.
Your see, the bigots and imbeciles finally got tired of dealing with Republican middle-men who promised them the world, and delivered nothing but tax cuts for the rich, foreign policy debacles and excuses. So they conjured up a man who was the essence of their defining pathologies -- casual racist, sadism, petulant, malignant stupidity and constant, constant, constant lying -- and made him their Golden Calf.
And thus, as I warned all the way back in 2005, the Age of the Little Red State Fundy arrived right on schedule
...So she got on the phone with her very good friend Karl Rove and with his help organized carpools to the polls, and get-out-the-vote drives, anti-gay marriage amendments and smear campaigns. For Jesus.And Little Red State Fundy delivered the margin of victory and was featured in many, many magazines: without Little Red State Fundy, the Republican Party could never, ever, ever win anything.And now everybody knew it.Then she said, "Now who shall help me Rule the Earth.""We will!" said Moderate Republicans, Undecideds, and Libertarians."I am quite sure you would," said Little Red State Fundy, "but see, now you are all my bitches."Then she called Randall Terry and Tom DeLay and Ann Coulter and Jerry Falwell and Rush Limbaugh and James Dobson, and they and the rest of the Shining Path Republicans used what was left of the Constitution as ass-floss.And judges were terrorized into silence.And those deemed ungodly were beaten in the streets.And they invaded whoever the fuck they felt like, for whatever fucking reason they chose.And the very idea of a Free and Fair press died.And to people who had been very clear all along that they genuinely believed in a Theocratic Nanny State and thought that precipitating Armageddon and triggering the Second Coming should be the highest calling of any worldly government, were handed over the police, courts, government, treasury and nuclear weapons stockpiles of the United States of America.And in the end -- just as they had been warned for the past twenty years -- there was nothing whatsoever left at all for Moderate Republicans, Undecideds, and Libertarians.
Behold, a Tip Jar!