THE LAST SIX YEARS ARE UNDER (NATIONAL) REVIEW
(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.