Sunday, October 09, 2005

Triumph Of The Shrill

Are conservatives truly that willing -- no, eager -- to sacrifice pragmatism for supposed principle?

If there has been a unifying cause in American conservatism over the past three decades, it has been a passionate desire to change the Supreme Court. When there were arguments over tax cuts and deficits, when libertarians clashed with religious conservatives, when disputes over foreign policy erupted, reshaping the judiciary bound the movement together.

Until Monday, that is. Now conservatives are in a roiling fight with the White House over President Bush's nomination of White House counsel Harriet Miers to the high court. They fear that the president may have jeopardized their dream of fundamentally shifting the court by nominating someone with no known experience in constitutional issues rather than any one of a number of better-known jurists with unquestioned records.

Movement conservatives -- the real kind, as opposed to the neocon/theocon grifters who have merely co-opted the movementarians' direct-mail tactics to further their own distinctly non-conservative agenda -- are waking up from their delusions. They apparently believed the incoherent babble Bush spouts when it's time to water the potted plants. It didn't occur to them that they were merely another section of the political greenhouse that requires regular watering.

This just in, people -- George W. Bush's actions do not exactly illuminate a principled commitment to the stated ideals and precepts of Christianity, either. He can piously proclaim his fealty to Christ all he wants; when we see him wash Jerry Nadler's feet, perhaps we can conclude he means it.

Whatever the case, it appears that their lack of gruntlement is serious, and bodes poorly for the Boy Genius.

"No one has anything against her," said William Kristol, editor of the Weekly Standard and one of the first conservatives to register his disappointment. "But the idea that one is supposed to sacrifice both intellectual distinction and philosophical clarity at the same time is just ridiculous."

For more than two decades, conservatives have been developing a team of potential justices for the high court in preparation for a moment such as this. They point to jurists such as Judge J. Michael Luttig of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit, Judge Michael W. McConnell of the 10th Circuit and Judge Priscilla R. Owen, newly sworn in on the 5th Circuit, as examples of people who have not just paid their dues but also weathered intellectual battles in preparation for reshaping the Supreme Court.

That's the key right there -- the very nomination of Miers in the first place obviously signals that Bush senses that he has already squandered whatever political capital he thought he'd accrued in his overwhelming 3% landslide mandate last year. He doesn't have the horses for a fight over someone like Luttig or McConnell, and apparently he realizes that his usual doses of blustery bullshit won't change that.

So even though Miers would suit their needs perfectly well as a pliant cipher, it's just not good enough for Billy Kristol and the rest of them. No less a slavish Bush idolater than Ann Coulter showed her irritation with Bush's nonsense on Real Time the other night. They've painted Bush into a major corner with their discontent. His post-Rita strutting work-shirt poll bump already dissipated, forcing him to retract Miers' nomination makes him look even weaker. With Patrick Fitzgerald's report expected in just a couple weeks, that's hardly enough time for a weakened administration to throw its diminishing weight behind a conservatard firebrand.

Which is why I heartily entreaty them to please, oh please don't throw us into that there briar patch!

Only 28 percent say the country is headed in the right direction while two-thirds, 66 percent, say it is on the wrong track, the poll found.

"There is a growing, deep-seated discontentment and pessimism about the direction of the country," said Republican strategist Tony Fabrizio, who believes the reasons for their pessimism differ for those in one political party or another.

Among those most likely to have lost confidence about the nation's direction over the past year are white evangelicals, down 30 percentage points since November, Republican women, down 28 points, Southerners, down 26 points, and suburban men, down 20 points.

Heh-indeedy. Yeah well, you can just go ahead and suck on it, NASCAR dads and security moms. (Especially the security milfs, a demographic I'd be happy to target, then sleep for a while, then target again.) This is your idiot, the one you lectured the rest of the world as pussies and traitors in defending. And guess what? He's not a true conservative, he's pissed away your kids' futures and given the spoils to his cronies, and the country's gone to hell while certain groups of knuckle-draggers took over the process by whipping up fears of homos getting married. Great prioritizing.

Several bloggers have noted that the elephant in the room with movementarians' discontent is that nominating a known quantity is what they feel is their just reward for doing so much heavy lifting for the Republican establishment for the last forty years. They want that ticker-tape parade down Main Street; they want to rub it all into the faces of their hated opposition. They have a hard on for this vision of hairy-armpit lesbos and effete perfessers crying into their hash brownies.

But what conservatards failed to calculate into their blessed dream of a Leave It To Beaver conformatopia is that the majority of Americans really is still moderate. We tend to forget that, because the screamers have had the mic for so damned long, but it's true. States are purple, not red or blue. People just want to have a more-or-less equal opportunity to have decent jobs and education and live their lives. Part of this requires infrastructure, which is boring and wonky and crumbling around our very ears because everyone wants it, but no one wants to pay for it.

That's what cracks me up about this Miers deal, because she's exactly what the movementarians want -- a reliable corporate stooge, which is exactly what they are. I'm sure they think their "principled" stand is roughly akin to Samson pulling the temple down around him, and if that's what they want to do with their little house of cards, I say let them.

Of course, there's always the fear that Bush would replace Miers with a true barking-at-the-moon loon. Anything's possible, but this administration is already crumbling under the weight of its scandals. The odds are at least 50-50 that Fitzgerald has a bomb to drop (whatever his political bent, Fitzgerald seems to be serious and tenacious; if he had nothing he probably would have said so long ago, and not wasted everyone's time); Judy Miller is likely already in the process of making a deal to save her own scroungy ass; and David Safavian may drop a serious dime on some big fish. The Republicans' woes are just beginning, not ending, and they need to start preparing to minimize the bloodshed in next year's midterms.

This morning's Face the Nation was instructive, as much for what wasn't said as for what was. When Sam Brownback expresses his displeasure with the Miers nomination, you can be sure that this wink-and-a-nod "trust me" shit is falling on deaf ears. Even Bobo seemed to have momentarily misplaced his kneepads, and was in (for him) full panty-twist mode. Chuck Schumer, in asking aloud about Karl Rove's consultation with James Dobson re Miers, got downright pissy at the notion that Dobson was privy to information that had thus far been withheld from the US Senate.

Too bad he didn't go to the next step and ask a very fundamental question -- why are people like Dobson and Falwell and "Pat" Robertson being consulted on policy decisions in the first place? If they want some political say-so, then let them run for fucking office like everyone else. Let them run their ideas out to the American citizens at large, and see what happens. They know what will happen, of course, which is why they'll never do it. Till then, I have no idea why anyone should give a fuck what Dobson thinks, and I wish to hell somebody would grow a pair and ask. And indeed, either Schumer or Leahy should be licking their chops at the opportunity to drag SpongeDob into the confirmation hearings and ask him just what the fuck. Letting Arlen Specter have that glory would just be chickenshit.

The conservatives have been exposed by their symbiotic relationship with the theocon grifters. For decades we have been told by idiots like Dobson, Limbaugh, et al, that most Americans agree with them, but that they have been kept down by the media. Obviously this is ridiculous, but the dynamic feeds the persecution complex that motivates these imbeciles. Now that both of them are seeing, for different reasons, that their trust in George W. Bush was terribly misplaced, it's time for the Democrats to step up and pit those factions against each other.

Hopefully Fitzgerald's upcoming announcement is the starting point for just such a strategy. It is vital that they start making the Republicans' woes accrue to them, and reclaim Americans' trust in their ability to govern. Because the real danger here is the trend toward fascism, and a power vacuum caused by a Republican collapse, in the absence of Democrats' ability to fill that void, could very well cause the rise of a faux-populist fascist movement. People start getting into some crazy shit when they see their country going down the tubes.


Joon said...

We're not worthy.

Please, Heywood, don't abandon your fans! Your blogs are priceless. For everything else, there's Mastercard™.

Anonymous said...

Heh, judging by the post above (and a few of my own comments), it appears you're well on your way to becoming some sort of spiritual leader, Heywood. Have you considered opening a mega-church, say 20 years down the road, when you gather more converts? Make it a "non-denominational" sort of thing, like, The First Apostolic Secular Brotherhood of Goddess Reason, or sumpthin'. For mass, we could gather and read Kant's First Critique, with interludes for the master's "Beantwortung der Frage: Was ist Aufklaerung?" The blood of the lamb could be a nice Côtes du Rhône, or perhaps a Bourgogne, to make everyone feel at home. Sunday school catechism should focus on teaching the logic and methodology of natural science to kids--I could volunteer for that; hell, I might as well put my graduate degree to some good use, as there's less than five people who're ever gonna read my Ph.D. dissertation, myself included. A sort of "giving back to the community", if you like.

So, whaddya think?


Anonymous said...

Oops, I just realized that my proposed name for the church of reason sounds too much like some Freemasonic get-together. Let's drop that name. How 'bout The Debonnair Free Thinkers? But that may suggest some British boy band. Whatever.

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