Thursday, October 16, 2008

Thinking Conservatives Are No Longer MIAs, AWOL, or POWs of the GOP

Rosa Brooks writes in the
Los Angeles Times
that Liberals are having fun,
but not too much fun.


My excerpts follow

. . . . . Maybe most fun of all, we're getting to watch a steady procession of rats leaving the sinking GOP ship.

One by one, the nation's more reputable conservatives have been edging away from the Republican presidential ticket. It started with John McCain's choice of Sarah Palin as his running mate. Thinking conservatives -- as of a couple of months ago, there were still a few left -- were distinctly underwhelmed. In the New York Times, David Brooks chastised McCain for "throw[ing] away standards of experience and prudence" by picking Palin. In the Washington Post, Charles Krauthammer said Palin was "not ready" for prime time. David Frum, a former Bush speechwriter and fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, complained that Palin had "thoroughly -- and probably irretrievably -- proven that she is not up to the job." In the National Review, conservative columnist Kathleen Parker said Palin was "clearly out of her league" and urged her to "bow out."

For liberals initially alarmed by McCain's brief post-convention poll bounce, this was fun. And as conservative disdain spread to the whole GOP ticket, the fun got even funner.

In the Washington Post, George Will slammed McCain for his "fact-free slander," "substitution of vehemence for coherence" and "boiling moralism." On MSNBC, former Reagan speechwriter and Wall Street Journal columnist Peggy Noonan admitted that she's not sure who she'll be voting for this November: "Ahh. Umm. I'm thinking it through."

Then -- more fun -- some conservatives began to actually endorse Barack Obama. Wick Allison, a former publisher of the National Review, wrote that today's brand of conservatism
has produced financial mismanagement, the waste of human lives, the loss of moral authority, and the wreckage of our economy that McCain now threatens to make worse. ... Obama is almost the ideal candidate for this moment in American history.
Christopher Hitchens, who has spent the last five years deriding the Democratic position on Iraq as that of "the surrender faction," endorsed Obama too, concluding
the Republican Party has invited not just defeat but discredit this year, and ... both its nominees for the highest offices in the land should be decisively repudiated.
Whee! Incredibly, the fun continued. Christopher Buckley, National Review columnist and son of conservative icon William F. Buckley, also endorsed Obama:
Obama has in him ... the potential to be a good, perhaps even great leader. ... And so, for the first time ... I'll be pulling the Democratic lever in November.
For his pains, Buckley received hundreds of vituperative e-mails from former admirers on the right. Effectively, he said Tuesday, he's been "fatwaed by the conservative movement." He resigned from the National Review.

But enjoyable as it's been to watch conservatives flee from the GOP, something about all this leaves me feeling a little down. Because as the more respectable, literate conservatives distance themselves from the GOP, increasingly, the only ones left on the right are paranoid, rage-driven, xenophobic nuts. Bitter? You betcha! Twisted too!

Even for a liberal, it's painful to watch. Once, the GOP proudly claimed to be the "party of ideas." They weren't generally good ideas, it's true -- but they were ideas eloquently defended by men and women who believed it was their duty to study history, philosophy, science, economics and international relations and to do the intellectual heavy lifting needed to try to persuade smart people with different views to come around to their way of thinking. That was the GOP nurtured by conservative intellectuals such as William Buckley. Buckley was many things liberals didn't admire, but he wasn't ignorant, savage or stupid by choice.

But today, as the last few sober grown-ups leave the party, the visible face of the GOP increasingly looks like that of the people who shout "kill him!" when Obama's name comes up, who speak of black men they don't like as "uppity" or as "boys," who think you can't trust a Muslim or an Arab, who think talking about "Barack Hussein Osama" is witty and (I'm talking to you, Sarah Palin and John McCain) who claim Obama "pals around with terrorists."

This isn't really that funny anymore

6 Moderated Comments:

Blogger Vigilante said...

Good post, Emily. However, I'm not having any fun yet. I'm feeling Michelle O. when she says that Barry is still the underdog until that moment he sits down in the chair in the Oval office.

10/16/2008 08:38:00 PM  
Blogger Soros' Proxy said...

Mike Barnicle McCain at Sunset:

That guy is MIA, missing in action, held captive by ideologues who dominate his strategy sessions and what is left of the Republican party. So John McCain ..... looking and sounding like an angry old man, bitter at the lack of traction -- or belief -- in his candidacy, uncomfortable with what he has allowed himself to become: a cranky senior citizen seething with resentment over how his glory days are lost in the long shadow cast by youth and change.

It is a sad story: a proud and independent man permits a handful of advisers to take his hard-earned reputation and alter it to such an extent that the original is now hard to recognize, nearly invisible behind a curtain of cynical ads and the preposterous pronouncements of a woman whose candidacy is an insult to intelligence....

..... McCain used to know that the country was larger than any crowd he could ever draw;

Now, with time running out, he has only a few days left to try and reclaim himself, to find the man he once was, the whole man who could charm a crowd with his version of the truth. He criss-crosses a country filling up with fear and debt, a land fighting two wars as it fights for a weekly paycheck, a nation where more people worry about General Motors than think about General Petraeus.

So, when John McCain tosses out a name from yesterday, William Ayers, it means nothing to people who want only to be told about tomorrow .....

..... Unfortunately for McCain, he did little to stop the thieves who took his honor and reputation and tossed it out like so many discarded items for a yard sale, figuring that Americans could once again -- one more time -- be fooled into voting their fears. But what they really did was take the one Republican who may have had a legitimate shot at surviving the disaster that has been the Bush administration and strip him of the basic appeal he once had for people looking for someone who could lead.

.... Soon, the 'Straight Talk Express' will bank west and head for the Arizona desert and election eve. And John McCain will sit up front, staring out the window, exhausted, as the plane crosses the land he loves and the people -- millions of them -- he failed to connect with because while he was once indeed a prisoner of war, he has spent the last ten weeks letting himself become a prisoner of the past.

10/17/2008 06:52:00 AM  
Blogger Stella said...

Emily, thank you so much for this post: more heartening political news.

Wick Allison? of THAT National Review? Yes, I've heard this comment from more moderate Republicans post-Iraq II: "What happened to my party?" Newsweek has a great opinion piece entitled, "Pro-Life Catholics For Obama."

Did you know Christopher Buckley was ousted from the National Review for his comments?

No one is safe from the wrath of the right... Christopher Buckley, the son of The National Review founder, William F. Buckley, was recently forced into resigning off his dad's own mag after he made an Obama endorsement.

This Ayers' business is such a non-issue. "Those two" talk about Obama in terms of hanging out with terrorists. Then, what is the Bush Administration?

As always, Soros, a great comment. Unfortunately for McCain, he did little to stop the thieves who took his honor and reputation and tossed it out like so many discarded items for a yard sale...

He's always been anti-choice, but his personal fall from ethics starting in 2000 by the Bushies has been sad to watch.

10/17/2008 07:48:00 AM  
Blogger MadMike said...

Even Republicans can find their consciences if they look hard enough. The fact that big names such as these and many others, including, I suspect Colin Powell, feel so strongly does not bode well for John Sydney McCain.

10/17/2008 09:07:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Funny that you should mention Powell, Mike!

10/18/2008 01:18:00 AM  
Blogger Vigilante said...

Maybe most fun of all, we're getting to watch a steady procession of rats leaving the sinking GOP ship.

I have another contrary feeling about this, Emily. There may be some fun in watching support for McCain ebb and slink away like the afternoon tide. But it's a sad and modest consolation for a misspent day: all of those wasted lives and dollars for an illegal war of vanity which has lapsed into a protracted occupation of unfathomable expense. If only these rats could have been made to walk the plank through impeachment and prosecution before being permitted to leave the scene of the crime. That may not have been the most fun of all, but it certainly would have rendered more satisfaction.

10/18/2008 01:19:00 AM  

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