Tuesday, March 10, 2009

The Battle for the Conservative Soul

There is a highly entertaining battle going on in conservative circles and the Republican party over the Soul of Conservatism. In one corner you have mostly east coast conservative intellectuals and moderate Republicans like David Frum, Andrew Sullivan, George Will and Olympia Snowe arguing that the last eight years have been a nightmare for average people and that's why the voters are heavily trending Democrat. These sensible conservatives recognize that the Bush tax cuts did exactly nothing for working people, the Iraq war was and is an avoidable boondoggle, global warming is a real threat, and gay marriage is a non-issue for people under 30. They understand that their party has been on the wrong side of these issues for the last decade and that their party has lost these battles.

In the other corner we have the unhinged, blathering, tone-deaf extremists like Rush Limbaugh, Michael Savage, Sarah Palin and my old classmate Andrew Breitbart, seeming to think we are in some sort of Lost time loop that won't let us out of 2003. To them tax cuts for the ultra-wealthy have saved the economy, the mission in Iraq has been accomplished, environmentalists are wimps, and gay marriage is an outrage. All we need is Four More Years! This camp has apparently learned nothing from the last two elections. They imagine some sort of hidden constituency that will only show its face if the party goes more retrograde and extremist. Hey why not try to repeal civil rights legislation and women's suffrage while we are at it? Perhaps we could restore the Colonial era death penalty for homosexuality? That oughtta bring out the voters!

The fact of the matter is that the Lost Decade, or the first decade of the 21st Century, is already over. We handed it to the neocons and in return they took everything we had and ran. The next decade (the Teens I suppose) belongs to us socially liberal/fiscally responsible types, the Democrats and moderate Republicans.

(And don't pay any attention to revisionists who would paint the Republicans as fiscally responsible: they demanded hundreds of billions to dump into Iraq and handed the drug companies more billions in the form of Medicare Part D. These people don't invest in our country, they hand out our money as gifts to their friends and corporate allies.)

Personally, I would just as soon see the delusional, backward conservatives take over the Republican party and nominate Rush for the presidency in 2012. This would free the moderates in their party to become Democrats.

Then the Party of No becomes the Party of Nothing :-)

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