Through its own crapulence, jobbery, and malfeasance, the Grand Old Party lost the House of Representatives, the jewel of the Republican revolution, the engine of conservative policy reform and home to the much-maligned freedom fries.
Okay, I'm a fair man. The freedom fries line is pretty good. Assuming he meant it as a joke, which I'm not 100% convinced of.
But the rest is even funnier: "engine of conservative policy reform"?? That amounts to (I've been keeping score): tax cuts, tax cuts, more tax cuts, additional tax cuts, supplimental tax cuts, pork, pork, pork, pork rinds, corruption, giveaways, and a biennial flag-burning amendment with no chance of passing. Someone will have to tell me how this constitutes policy reform. Someone other than Jonah, I mean.
Because, as much as I'd love to saddle American "conservatism" with him, Jonah Goldberg is not an ideologue. He's a performing magpie.
It's certainly possible to make his argument. In fact, it's hard to dispute it, seeing as how the electorate understands ideology about as well as it does foreign languages or world history. American elections are the Pepsi challenge, but without the impartial judging. Which means that the "Republican revolution" is as much a crock as any claims of ideological sea-change from the 2006 midterms.
So that's the deal. As of Thursday, January 4, 2007, either acknowledge it's a new day, or stop talking about the Reagan and Gingrich Revolutions, both of which "became a thumbs up or thumbs down on one man", whatever that's supposed to mean.
The GOP once had the reputation of being able to run government like a business and wars like a finely tuned machine.
The locus of this reputation being...where? Between yo' mama's ears?
But under compassionate conservatism, government became a faith-based charity.
"Under compassionate conservatism?" When was that? What the fug is "government became a faith-based charity" supposed to mean?
As for the war(s), the finely tuned machine is now clogged with Iraqi sand. The Democrats think the only solution is to "redeploy" the whole kit and caboodle out of there for repairs. To Bush's credit, he understands that wars, particularly this one, need to be won. But, alas, the Democrats won the argument at the polls.
What the hell am I doing here? Didn't I leave my drink right there a minute ago? Do you think it ever, ever occurs to Jonah just how stupid his arguments would sound even if they were presented by someone halfway intelligent?
Look, there are people in my (default) party who think I and other hippies ruined it by voting for McGovern, and I think they ruined it running and hiding from an imaginary Revolution. That's what losing does to you. But far more cutting has been what winning did to the Republican party which, since making minor gains post-Goldwater in the 1966 midterms has produced two generations that believe they're right 100% of the time, and that any and all objections to their plans are the result of perversity. Their only complaints about Bush over the past two years--until it became increasingly obvious that a major defeat was looming--concerned Harriet Miers and the Dubai port deal, and those were accompanied by howls. Meanwhile, the few Rightists who left the farm on Iraq continued to insist they'd been right all along, merely done in by poor execution.
I think the former is preferable. It may not be the best way to win elections, but wandering in the desert is philosophically a lot more healthy than walking around muttering to yourself. You may manage to put the Raw Meat Coalition back together again, though I doubt it, but if so it will be just to commit the same mistakes all over again until the whole thing's unrecoverable.
For chrissakes, you've got major idiots like Limbaugh and Hewitt claiming, now, that they've been covering up for the GOP for the past few years. The voters dumped the pols for you. It's time for you to dump morons like Rush and Hugh.
Now, let's get back to the important business of pointing fingers and assigning blame.
Let's. Bill Clinton? Is it Bill Clinton?
Conservatives have been sharpening their bayonets for months, waiting to inaugurate the first great intramural bloodletting of the new millennium. Libertarian types think the fault lies in too much social conservatism. Social conservatives see too much worldliness. Both see too much compromise, while moderates, squishes, and other RINOs (Republicans in name only) see too little. Realists and isolationists see too much war. Neoconservatives and other hawks see, if not too little war, certainly too little commitment to do everything it takes to win the ones we're in.
The only explanation for Jonah being able to type that last sentence without his head exploding is, simply, that his head is not involved in the typing process.
Republicans keep insisting there is all this diversity in the party, but if that's so how come Jonah can only really come up with two? Okay, three if you acknowledge there are moderates worthy of the name in the Republican party, and not just some Republicans whose desire to dominate the universe in the name of Exxon Mobil or the Lord Jesus is something less than all consuming. Outside the odd, and suddenly endangered, Northeast Liberal Republican, and the shape-shifting Governor of Califor...excuse me a minute...
WHAT TH' FUCK IS THE MATTER WITH YOU PEOPLE IN CALIFORNIA?
...I'm not sure exactly who's supposed to be representing moderate Republicans, or who qualifies as a RINO, what distinguishes them from moderates, or what sized closet you'd need to house a national squishee convention. I'm sure there are people who vote GOP who fit the bill, and some who blog, but there sure aren't any forming any part of this "debate", which so far seems to involve blaming Democrats.
Of all these arguments, the only two you are likely to hear ad nauseam are: too much social conservatism and too much war.
Why? Because that's the view of the liberal establishment that for 40 years has been arguing that if only conservatives were more liberal they'd be more successful, even as the conservative movement has been the most successful political enterprise of the last half-century.
2006-50=1956. Hmmm. By what measure, other than for whom the greatest number of public airports and unnecessary aircraft carriers have been named, is this true? It's seven or eight Republican presidencies, depending on exactly when you want to start counting, and five Democratic, but if you give 2000 to the man who got the votes it's a dead heat. And Nixon, aside from his paranoid hatred of everyone else on the planet, wouldn't qualify as much more than a RINO these days. It's twelve years of Republican rule in the Congress (oh, sorry, too soon to remind you of that?) but I'd even be willing to grant another ten of effective "conservative" control; still a dead heat. Let's let the "conservatives" break the tie. They've been complaining about how liberal everything is for the past twenty-five years, so I guess "most successful" goes Left.
1956. The second year of the Montgomery bus boycott. The year the last French soldier left Vietnam, and the year the US blocked the Geneva-mandated national elections because our side was going to lose. You couldn't get an abortion even if you were raped, and your husband, even if legally separated from you, could force you to have sexual relations. Loving v. Virginia, which overturned the ban on interracial marriage, was 11 years away. It was not advisable in much of the country to even suggest interracial romance in public. Emmett Till could have explained that to you, but he wasn't talking any more.
Lady Chatterley's Lover, Fanny Hill, and Tropic of Cancer were contraband. The third degree was still practiced in many police stations across the country, and a confession obtained that way could be used against you even if you'd been denied access to a lawyer, or, for that matter, food or sleep. Elvis' hips were subject to blackout. The names of Dalton Trumbo and Albert Maltz had been removed from movies they wrote because they might or might not have had Communist sympathies twenty years earlier and refused to reveal them to Congressional witch hunters. The Senate investigation on the all-important link between comic books and juvenile delinquency had been completed less than a year before. The Tuskegee Experiment was in the 24th year of its 40 year run; this was nine years after penicillin had become the standard treatment for syphilis. Had you, Jonah Goldberg, attended my public elementary school in those days you would have been required to recite the Lord's Prayer at the beginning of the school day.
But then I guess all those changes all small potatoes compared to the reduction of effective tax rates and the insertion of "Under God" into the Pledge of Allegiance, huh? What a half-century it's been. How the hell could voters have failed to realize that?