Wednesday, February 29

Look, Dave, I Know Things Are Desperate Over There, But If You've Decided To Tell The Truth At Least Ease Into It, Huh?

David Brooks, "The Possum Republicans". February 27

AFTER all, sudden exercise kills more sluggards and lay-a-beds than not-exercising does:
Politicians do what they must to get re-elected. So it’s not unexpected that Republican senators like Richard Lugar and Orrin Hatch would swing sharply to the right to fend off primary challengers.

As Jonathan Weisman reported in The Times on Sunday, Hatch has a lifetime rating of 78 percent from the ultra-free market Club for Growth, but, in the past two years, he has miraculously jumped to 100 percent and 99 percent, respectively. Lugar has earned widespread respect for his thoughtful manner and independent ways. Now he’s more of a reliable Republican foot soldier.

Thanks for the excuse to bring up Lugar, who's now just about caught up with Mitch Daniels' ad expenditures during the 2008 primary season. Of course Mitch didn't have a primary challenger. He didn't have Citizens United, either, and the ability to fob off expenses on the fucking National Chamber of Commerce. Officially, I mean.

Fifty-some years in politics and Lugar absolutely freaked to be opposed by some nobody Teabagger. This tells you all you need to know. It certainly tells you more than Brooks' column, excepting the unintentional revelations.

So that we in Indiana are now entering our third? seventeenth? month of Dick Lugar campaign ads which run something like this: I'm Dick Lugar, and I hate that black guy in the White House as much as you do! And I've been as dilatory and obstructionist about it as anyone! Pipeline!

This is Dick Lugar, The Oldest Surviving Scam in the US Senate. And what's more, it's the real Dick Lugar, Dave. The "respected and thoughtful" Lugar is a canard, and the "independent" Lugar is a Fucking Lie. He moved to the Senate from being Nixon's Favorite Mayor. That only qualifies one as a "moderate" by today's whacked-out standards. He's voted the party line for forty years. Absolutely reliably. One of his Obama-bashing ads--which is, come to think of it, the only kind he has, other than the one that bashes his Teabagger opponent for daring to question him--says he "Sponsored a Balanced Budget Amendment Seventeen Times." Yeah, and voted for deficit spending thirty-five times.

Dave, if it gives you a sad to see Dick Lugar, Octogenarian Wingnut Fellator, you either haven't been paying attention, or you've lost whatever ability to tell reality from fantasy you began with.
Still, it is worth pointing out that this behavior is not entirely honorable.

Not entirely honorable? Saying things to get elected may--may--be thought necessary, but nothing about it is honorable.
But, of course, this is exactly what has been happening in the Republican Party for the past half century. Over these decades, one pattern has been constant: Wingers fight to take over the party, mainstream Republicans bob and weave to keep their seats.

Republicans on the extreme ferociously attack their fellow party members. Those in the middle backpedal to avoid conflict. Republicans on the extreme are willing to lose elections in order to promote their principles. Those in the mainstream are quick to fudge their principles if it will help them get a short-term win.

'Scuse me, but would you be the same David Brooks who "suddenly" began looking for astroturfed common ground with the Teabaggers the minute their shit began to stick?
In the 1960s and ’70s, the fight was between conservatives and moderates. Conservatives trounced the moderates and have driven them from the party. These days the fight is between the protesters and the professionals. The grass-roots protesters in the Tea Party and elsewhere have certain policy ideas, but they are not that different from the Republicans in the “establishment.”

This recap of Republicans tossing out moderates in the 60s and 70s brought to you by David Brooks, Moderate Republican since 1980.

And this umpteenth attempt to portray the Teabaggers as some sui-generis "grass-roots" "protest" movement, and not the province of the Dick Armey/ Koch Brothers "wing" of Mr. Brooks' party, is as fulla shit as the last three years of attempts have been (see Weigel, David, career of).
The big difference is that the protesters don’t believe in governance. They have zero tolerance for the compromises needed to get legislation passed. They don’t believe in trimming and coalition building. For them, politics is more about earning respect and making a statement than it is about enacting legislation. It’s grievance politics, identity politics.

Of course, the professional politicians don’t want to get in the way of this torrent of passion and resentment. In private, they bemoan where the party is headed; in public they do nothing.

As opposed to the "moderate" "conservative" voices at the New York Times, who snipe about it just enough to keep what they imagine as their credibility intact.
All across the nation, there are mainstream Republicans lamenting how the party has grown more and more insular, more and more rigid. This year, they have an excellent chance to defeat President Obama, yet the wingers have trashed the party’s reputation by swinging from one embarrassing and unelectable option to the next: Bachmann, Trump, Cain, Perry, Gingrich, Santorum.

You'll forgive me; I try to get through every David Brooks column, but my memory ain't what it was. When did Brooks complain about this before it all but capsized his party's planned Victory Parade 2012? Where'd he say it plainly? Where'd he call Sarah Palin an unqualified buffoon? Snarking about Arizona while being a reliable dispenser of Republican talking points for the PBS audience doesn't qualify, any more than being against everybody else's nuclear arsenal makes Dick Lugar a humanitarian. This shit comes up because you're losing. The Republican party has been making you look like an idiot ever since St. Ron said trees cause pollution. You cannot possibly have missed it, unless maybe Mark Shields really is the only "opposition" voice you ever hear. Oh, his and Joe Lieberman's.

Really, all this time as a "principled" "conservative" who winked at the rabid racists of the base at election time, secure in the knowledge that you weren't actually one of them, all those Burke weekends dreaming up snappier slogans to get the rabble to Vote Aristo, and now you're beginning to realize that actions have consequences? And now you wanna know why your brand of well-born party official didn't take on Rush Limbaugh earlier? The way you did: the measured snark that none of his listeners would ever hear, or get if they did? They at least have jobs to lose; you've got a sinecure. When did you speak honestly and openly about the culture wars (oh, you're sort of for gay marriage and reproductive rights, provided the wind blows your cloudy pronouncements just right), let alone speak sense about global climate change, energy policy, banking reform, campaign reform, or any of the other crackpot schemes you "reasonable Republicans" need to keep the spigot turned on? Fer chrissakes, you don't like the Rabid Right, now that it may cost you an election? You gotta set the Wayback Machine for a lot earlier than five years ago to kill it in its cradle.

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Moe Nawaz said...
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