Thursday, September 14, 2006

THE LAST SIX YEARS ARE UNDER (NATIONAL) REVIEW

Continuing with today's theme of Republicans disavowing the asshole they rallied behind six years ago (or two years ago in many cases), I'd like to share a few choice excerpts from an excellent piece by Chris Buckley.

(Yes. He's Bill's son.)

Washington Monthly asked a few prominent Republican/Conservative pundits if they'd write articles explaining why they hope the GOP loses in November. Along with Buckley, six other notables such as Joe Scarborough responded, but from what I've read I'm most impressed with Buckley. Highlights:
* With heavy heart, as a once-proud—indeed, staunch— Republican, I here admit, behind enemy lines, to the guilty hope that my party loses; on both occasions. I voted for George W. Bush in 2000. In 2004, I could not bring myself to pull the same lever again.
* There were some of us who scratched our heads in 2000 when we first heard the phrase 'compassionate conservative.' It had a cobbled-together, tautological, dare I say, Rovian aroma to it . . . Six years later, the White House uses the phrase about as much as it does “Mission Accomplished.” Six years of record deficits and profligate expansion of entitlement programs. Incompetent expansion, at that: The actual cost of the President’s Medicare drug benefit turned out, within months of being enacted, to be roughly one-third more than the stated price. Weren’t Republicans supposed to be the ones who were good at accounting? All those years on Wall Street calculating CEO compensation. Who knew, in 2000, that 'compassionate conservatism' meant bigger government, unrestricted government spending, government intrusion in personal matters, government ineptitude, and cronyism in disaster relief? Who knew, in 2000, that the only bill the president would veto, six years later, would be one on funding stem-cell research?
* On Capitol Hill, a Republican Senate and House are now distinguished by—or perhaps even synonymous with—earmarks, the K Street Project, Randy Cunningham (bandit, 12 o’clock high!), Sen. Ted Stevens’s $250-million Bridge to Nowhere, Jack Abramoff (Who? Never heard of him), and a Senate Majority Leader who declared, after conducting his own medical evaluation via videotape, that he knew every bit as much about the medical condition of Terry Schiavo as her own doctors and husband. Who knew that conservatism means barging into someone’s hospital room like Dr. Frankenstein with defibrillator paddles?
* The Republican Party I grew up into . . . did not always live up to its ideals . . . A self-proclaimed 'conservative,' Nixon kept the Great Society entitlement beast fat and happy and brought in wage and price controls. Reagan funked Social Security reform in 1983 and raised (lesser) taxes three times. He vowed to balance the budget, and drove the deficit to historic highs by failing to rein in government spending. Someone called it 'Voodoo economics.' You could Google it. There were foreign misadventures, terrible ones: Vietnam (the ’69-’75 chapters), Beirut, Iran-Contra, the Saddam Hussein tilt. But there were compensating triumphs: Eisenhower’s refusal to bail out France in Indochina in 1954, Nixon’s China opening, the Cold War victory.
* Today one has no sense, aside from a slight lowering of the swagger-mometer, that the president or the Republican Congress is in the least bit chastened by their debacles. George Tenet’s WMD 'slam-dunk,' Vice President Cheney’s 'we will be greeted as liberators,' Don Rumsfeld’s avidity to promulgate a minimalist military doctrine, together with the tidy theories of a group who call themselves 'neo-conservative' (not one of whom, to my knowledge, has ever worn a military uniform), have thus far: de-stabilized the Middle East; alienated the world community from the United States; empowered North Korea, Iran, and Syria; unleashed sectarian carnage in Iraq among tribes who have been cutting each others’ throats for over a thousand years; cost the lives of 2,600 Americans, and the limbs, eyes, organs, spinal cords of another 15,000—with no end in sight.
And there's more. Check it out.

The point, of course, is not that he's right with what he believes, or that anyone should be moved by his "help us win back our Republican party" cry. No. It's just great -- as an American -- to see that no matter what the reasons, there are some who are able to look this grotesque masquerade of government in the eye and say, publicly, "This is bullshit and I can't support it."

That's about all you can ask for, and frankly all I want. So I'm gonna follow the Wolf's warning to Vince, Jules & Jimmy in Pulp Fiction and stay off my knees for the time being. But it's a start.

10 Comments:

Blogger Otto Man said...

Nice. Loved the last line, because it reminds me of the premature celebration we did on election night 2004 when the exit polls suggested a Kerry win. A friend turned to me and dropped the Wolf line.

12:48 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

It's a Go-To line. Fits the bill in sports, politics, a zippy little debut album effort from a band, and more.

Multi-purpose, I tell you. Let's call it Quentin's gift (though he probably thinks Quentin is Quentin's gift).

12:55 PM  
Blogger DED said...

It's stuff like that gives me a shred of hope that this year's election will go better than the last 3.

1:46 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

DED, you have to share that shred with me and a few others. So use it judiciously.

2:15 PM  
Blogger Mr Furious said...

Some good stuff in there. Scarborough's piece is good too.

An interesting note in the column by Cato chairman William A. Niskanen (talking about the advantage of divided gov't):

"...Equally striking is that these spending increases have generally found the same recipient: the Pentagon. It’s not that unified governments love to purchase bombers, but, rather, that they tend to draw us into war.... In 200 years of U.S. history, every one of our conflicts involving more than a week of ground combat has been initiated by a unified government..."

In some ways it's more interesting as trivia and must include room for coincidence, but it IS interesting nonetheless.

3:43 PM  
Anonymous Mike said...

Yup. I didn't know that either, but it makes a whole lotta sense.

Under a unified government, it's just too easy to go on crusades: against foreign foes real & imagined; against internal boogeymen; and against fiscal good sense.

3:55 PM  
Anonymous nyhmr said...

Well, it's about time that the other side starts saying "enough is enough" you're a moron and we can't wait to get rid of you. Move over Junior and let others do the heavy lifting for you.

Still don't understand how intelligent people in his adminstration are still spinning his bullshit and apologizing for him.

8:01 PM  
Anonymous Applesaucer said...

"...a zippy little debut album effort from a band"

Hey!

Applesaucer

9:27 AM  
Anonymous Mike said...

"...a zippy little debut album effort from a band"

Hey!


Don't worry.

My implication -- of course -- is that if the band proves itself worthy on its first tour, on with the follow-up album, it's quite alright to go down on your buddies and start schlurpin'.

If you're into that sort of thing, that is. It's not a requirement, just permitted.

10:14 AM  
Blogger Thrillhous said...

Man, do I wish my dad was a conservative. He could've given me all kinds of jobs by now!

It is heartening to see adult conservatives speak up. Let's hope they form enough of a crowd to get the crowd-followers to join them.

10:45 AM  

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