Monday, October 08, 2018

Tom Nichols Ain't Gonna Work on Maggie's Farm No More

Today in The Atlantic Mr. Nichols forces the word "reveal" to work way too hard.
Why I’m Leaving the Republican Party 

The Kavanaugh confirmation fight revealed the GOP to be the party of situational ethics and moral relativism in the name of winning at all costs.
And shatters the word "new" beyond repair:
Politics is about the exercise of power. But the new Trumpist GOP is not exercising power in the pursuit of anything resembling principle, and certainly not for conservative or Republican principles.
Because, Mr. Nichols, Maggie's Farm actually burned down decades ago.  The horses scattered into the woods and started a commune that's now a thriving independent business which sells hemp oil, scented candles and locally-sourced Bulgar wheat.  Maggie herself is dead and buried so long that the name and dates have worn off of her tombstone and the land on which her farm once stood was sold to wingnut developers who put up a slaughterhouse where they have been butchering the Constitution and selling it as dog food on Fox News ever since.

But over the weekend, Susan Collins stepped on a twig and the "snap" was finally too much for Mr. Nichols: a man who, at this very moment, (I am guessing) is warning his students at the U.S. Naval War College of the rising threat from that kooky Hitler fella over in Germany:
Small things sometimes matter, and Collins is among the smallest of things in the political world. And yet, she helped me finally to accept what I had been denying.
Let me save you some times and jump you ahead to the inevitable "Democrats are scum too/I'm an Independent now!" portion of this ridiculous ritual:
As an aside, let me say that I have no love for the Democratic Party, which is torn between totalitarian instincts on one side and complete political malpractice on the other. As a newly minted independent, I will vote for Democrats and Republicans I think are decent and well-meaning people; if I move back home to Massachusetts, I could cast a ballot for Republican Governor Charlie Baker and Democratic Representative Joe Kennedy and not think twice about it.
So even though we Democrats are butt-ugly totalitarian trolls  --
But during the Kavanaugh dumpster fire, the performance of the Democratic Party—with some honorable exceptions like Senators Chris Coons, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Amy Klobuchar—was execrable.
-- and our mother dresses us funny --
Many of my views, which flow from that basic conservative idea, are not welcome in a Democratic tribe in the grip of the madness of identity politics.
-- if we give him a cookie and a juice-box, put a bag over our head and ask him real purdy, maybe -- just maybe -- next time he's in the area he'll toss us a pity-fuck and won't vote for the white supremacists.

Hell, I am personally so flattered by the attention of this smooth talkin' Man of Principle that I'm willing to start the ball rolling by waving my usual $5 charge for using the phrase "dumpster fire" without my permission.

Fun Fact:  I coined that phrase all the way back in 2006 on the occasion of a life-long Republican water boy named David Brooks finally throwing up his hands at the appalling behavior of various leaders of his political party.

But of course, according to Mr. Brooks, the problem wasn't really his Republican Party  The problem was some alien, outside "-ism" that had temporarily mesmerized his Republican Party:
But Republicans need to do more than bump DeLay. They need to put the entire leadership team up for a re-vote. That's because the real problem wasn't DeLay, it was DeLayism, the whole culture that merged K Street with the Hill, and held that raising money is the most important way to contribute to the team.
Which sure as hell sounds remarkably like Mr. Nichols today:
But the new Trumpist GOP is not exercising power in the pursuit of anything resembling principle, and certainly not for conservative or Republican principles.
Mr. Brooks then sat right down and had a big 'ol sad, wondering what had become of the happy-fun-super-awesome Imaginary Republican Party that he had been hawking his entire adult life:
Back in the dim recesses of my mind, I remember a party that thought of itself as a reform, or even a revolutionary movement. That party used to be known as the Republican Party.  I wonder if it still exists.
Which sure as hell sounds remarkably like Mr. Nichols today:
I joined a revitalized GOP that saw itself not as a victim, but as the vehicle for lifting America out of the wreckage of the 1970s, defeating the Soviet Union, and extending human freedom at home and abroad. I stayed during the turbulence of the Tea Party tomfoolery. I moved out briefly during the abusive 2012 primaries. But now I’m filing for divorce, and I am taking nothing with me when I go.
So just for fun, allow me repeat once again a bit of the advice I offered to Mr. Brooks way back when:
Mr. Brooks, these people are the problem and these people run your party. And what the fuck kind of congenital cerebral malfunction do you have that you cannot see that?

Because one cannot help but also notice the glaring omission from your shopping list. No mention made of that one reform that would actually, structurally alter the carcinoma-based DNA from which the Modern GOP has been bred.

And it’s so easy.

Just dump the bigots, Bobo.

And tell the racists to hit the fucking bricks.

Stop the clown car and kick the science-hating, gay-bashing Christopaths to the curb.

Oh, but then you’d lose, wouldn’t you?

That’s the real dirty little secret behind all of this.

You know that if you really, actually flushed the scum of the Earth your Southern Strategists have so carefully cultivated down the drain, the Republican Party wouldn’t win another election – anywhere – for another generation.

And your Party of God and Used Car Salemen cannot accept that, which is why you will always have Abramoffs and DeLays and Ralph Reeds hag-riding the GOP.

You know it and, more importantly, they know it, which is why they own you.

They are the emergent and inevitable result of the hate-driven moral absolutism, racism and pathologically perverted variant of Christianity that is the bedrock of the Modern GOP. And as long as they are allowed to remain as the pillar of your Party, it will always end in tears…

…and finding ten GOP powerbrokers hiding out from the FBI in Jack Abramoff’s GI tract.
Because for anyone whose memory and morality has not been warped Rose-Colored Conservatism, this was the state of the actual Republican Party back in 2006.  Which is what makes this from Mr. Nichols in 2018 -- a moderate conservative (among the few left), the pre-2016 GOP was the only party I could call home.
-- so fucking hilarious.

Behold, a Tip Jar!


ervin williams said...

Is this the new world order? If it is I do not like it.

Jonny Scrum-half said...

Driftglass - You're great, and so very right about so many things. Plus, your writing is so far above the typical 6-figure pundit crap that you can find in major newspapers that I'm surprised that you haven't lost yourself in rage and resentment.

But, just a small comment about your criticism of Nichols and other people who are moving away from the Republican Party: it's a process. I underwent that process beginning with the Iraq War in 2003, and it took me literally years to "evolve" to the very liberal positions that I hold today, as I read and thought and understood more about the way things work.

What I'm saying is that I wouldn't expect a road-to-Damascus conversion from conservatives, but over time maybe we'll see them see the light more clearly as they open themselves up to more arguments to which they had previously shut themselves off.

Kevin Holsinger said...

Good afternoon, Mr. Glass.

Noticed he never mentioned the words "Bush" or "torture" as things he was still fine calling himself a Republican during.

Be seeing you.

trgahan said...

"....Democratic tribe in the grip of the madness of identity politics."

Projection is a bitch...what is Republicanism other than White Male Identity Politics?!? The Party's 30+ year long run of "situational ethics" and "moral relativism" is actually predictably consistent when named for what it is.

So, I can only assume Mr. Nichols and friends Democratic "critique" means: I can't support a party that doesn't IMMEDIATELY put me and my friends FIRST though we were it's mortal enemy two minutes ago.

Tom Shefchik said...

I love your work. You and Digby are the best!

Jason said...

Hi DG,I wasn't that familiar with Nichols, though I'd seen and heard him in bits and bites over the years. I never paid that much attention to him but his little Atlantic confessional poured nitrous in my hate tank and I felt a barely controllable urge to turn my drywall into swiss cheese modern art. This guy has, what comes across to me as a sanctimonious contrition. I'm supposed to sympathize with this asshole for losing his party?!Oh boo fucking hoo. As you said, this jerk off is 30 years too late. I saw a clip of him talking about his little come to jesus moment and he talked about how Republicans never used to be victims and that unfortunately that's how they identify themselves nowadays. Wow, such insight! I like how that's his big gripe. He'll overlook the punching down on the poor, the racism, sexism, the stealing, cheating and slander of the left but he just can't abide his party acting like snowfuckingflakes. This guy gets media coverage for being brave enough to leave these fascist fucks? He's still in his deprogramming process because he still thinks Democrats and the left are the lying evil fascists so you know, baby steps and all. Guess what Nichols, you're not a hero. Congrats on your dense gray matter finally lighting up a few more brain cells and all but I got no love for you. Or respect. Don't give shit one about your perspective as a former republican. Let's make a deal, you agree to stay off my fucking media outlets and I'll try extry hard to not remember that you've been a traitorous enabler for decades.

Robt said...

What do say. If Dems take the Senate.

Shall we bring back the filibuster for McConnell to dry his tears on?

Even taking the House, There will be republicans on the republican side of the aisle

I mean back in 2006, there was no TEA Potters.. Otherwise, the republican brotherhood would have voted for'em.

All we need is for Dems and libs to moderate to get along. After all, we can't expect Republicans to moderate.

Betamax said...

That would be easier to believe if these people weren't all throwing out both siderist signals so that they'll land on their feet no matter what happens. That isn't a discovery of principal, it's conservation of employability and it reeks.

Lifejackets and rescue flares are in high fashion on the right wing about now.

ChicagoPat said...

I've been following Nichols for a while on Twitter. I've been wondering how long it was going to take him to cough up something like this. The funniest thing about him, I think, is he's written a bestseller called "The Death of Expertise: The Campaign Against Established Knowledge and Why it Matters", which, coming from a republican, is like an arsonist writing a book called "Why do the buildings around me keep bursting into flames? An Investigation into spontaneous combustion".

northierthanthou said...

Didn't know Rage had covered Maggie's Farm. That's a good take-away from this. :)