It's Saturday, and I'm too lazy to Photoshop.
THURSDAY night's unholy revitalization of Fred Dumbo Thompson points out a couple of things, beyond the fact that a lot of commentators are unfamiliar with the concept of Waking Up Cranky. One, Run Fred Run seems to have fallen down the Memory Hole, don't it? Thompson, as I recall it, was urged--"interminably", if we were feeling adjective happy--to run based on his Ronniesque Conservative Principles, which were judged lacking in the rest of the field. I do not recall hearing at any point in that six-month carnival the suggestion that Fred should run because he'd bring new energy to the campaign, or because he can tap-dance like a sonofabitch. Now, he catches (unintentionally-?) back-handed compliments. "Way to get back on defense, for once, Fred!"
It's not like this would cause us to question the judgment on the Right, but "Lazy" and "Not-So-Bright" are not exactly new additions to the Fred Thompson character log. You wanted him for his stance on the issues, then you dropped him because he comes across like that DA character except without the bad takes edited out and no real stars to carry the thing. This is not exactly what one might call putting the best face on principled conservatism.
The problem for the Right, again, is that nigh-on thirty years ago it decided it no longer needed to talk to anyone else, on the grounds that it had reached both a pinnacle of electoral success unmatched in Western Civilization, and that it had provided itself with sufficient categories of demonization--Commies, Coloreds, Dirty Hippies, Feminists, Class Traitors, and, finally, I suppose, Demons,--that it had no further need of their actual physical presences. (In this the Goldbergian CommieNaziHippieLiberal can be seen as either the desperate attempt of a pathetic waste of volume to gain acceptance by adding to the vocabulary of an argot he somehow missed the point of in the first place, or an artifact of its Feudalist origins unconsciously adopted by a natural-born sniveler, or both. Which, come to think of it, might be said of all Goldberg works.) I think a lot of this stems from Philosophy, though not as applied philosophically--people jumped on a bandwagon without bothering to check the hay for pitchforks, let alone ask where they were headed or what they were going to do once they got there, and they wound up stuck like an English peasantry defending their Anglican monarchist masters. When David Brooks talks about Burke he doesn't mean Burke as a thinker, but rather Burke as a sort of protective coloration for moving about in the Reaganaut world while ignoring its crippling contradictions; otherwise he wouldn't say "Burke" like it trumped all other arguments. And now they're stuck with this stuff, and they come apart, not in a cinematic nervous breakdown or Wat Tyler rebellion, but in a furious cloud of feathers and chicken shit.
But then, This may work out! as Peter Marshall used to say on the old Hollywood Squares when a contestant made the single most dumbassed choice available in a game whose strategy consists entirely of not being a dumbass. The Patriots wrecked the Army, after first making sure to display the limitation of our global reach by insisting it was limitless, and making certain to underline the distinction between their devotion to flag-and-weapon fetishism and their contempt for the well-being of the men and women thus fetishized. The Fiscal Conservatives wrecked the economy by
At worst they've handed this shit off to their codependents across the aisle, while they await the passage of a Reasonable Amount of Time--say, two days--to begin blaming everything on Commies, Coloreds, Hippies, and Blame America Firsters.
In the meantime, though, the mass insanity of the Right has deprived us of the full enjoyment of Governor Mike Huckabee, Thompson's putative victim Thursday, who is being overlooked, underrated, and poorly caricatured. The man took Thompson apart with a swipe--"ask your doctor about Crohn's Disease, Fred!"--on the Hannity Show. Romney's spent the Gross Domestic Product of Uruguay--in a month!--attacking the guy, and Huckabee squashes him every time and remains likeable. He's one or two primary victories away from being The Man on the GOP side, and although that'll bring out the long knives once again, he's the most natural counterpuncher out there. Christians have an advantage in this sort of thing, folks, since they can be forgiving and look properly humble, or be nasty and get the hidden high-sign and instant absolution.
It's too bad, really, that the Republicans come apart just at the time when they could back their most interesting candidate since Alf Landon. And it's too bad he's batshit insane, but that seems to be a prerequisite.