Monday, May 19, 2008

MORE IN ANGER THAN IN SORROW. At the Wall Street Journal, Kimberley Strassel sees that voters are angry (you don't say), and concludes -- how's this for counter-intuitive thinking? -- that it's good news for the Republican Party:
The presidential candidates tapped into this anger early, no one more so than Mr. Change, Barack Obama. John McCain laid out his first-term vision in a speech this week, but also bashed the Washington "politics of selfishness, stalemate, and delay." This McCain refrain helps explain why he remains competitive with Mr. Obama – in particular among independents.

Mr. McCain's agenda is not "centrist," but conservative. Independents are behind it because the Republican has convinced them he is apart from the status quo, and will get things done.
McCain is indeed polling better among independents than he has a right to expect, but the more cynical among us may attribute this to his whiteness, his relative invisibility, and the as-yet great distance between today and the day on which voters have to face the terrifying possibility that he could become President. Certainly there's not much indication that the conservatism Strassel attributes to his agenda is what's putting independents "behind it" (read: almost polling as well as Obama) considering that the nation's foremost conservative avatar is the least-approved President in recorded history.

Strassel also sees reason for cheer further down the ticket:
House Republicans appear to be catching on. This week they rolled out the first part of an election-year agenda that pointedly lists their legislative "solutions" to the problems of today. It is aimed at women, and includes innovative proposals to help families struggling to balance work and home. To follow will be calls for more domestic energy production, a free-market health agenda, national security and entitlement reform.
Take a look at the National Republican Congressional Committee site. They're bragging on Medicare reform, No Child Left Behind, border security, Homeland Security, and, of all things, the economy ("Thanks to Republican economic policies, the U.S. economy is robust and job creation is strong"). They're applauding themselves on veterans' issues, which looks ridiculous already and will look worse come the Bush G.I. Bill veto. On every issue they're basically inserting new buzzwords into the same agenda that delivered them to ignominious defeat in 2006. Calling this "aimed at women," "innovative," and "free-market" isn't a substantial improvement.

I don't take much pleasure in refuting standard-issue Republican talking points as if I were a Sunday morning talk-show dipshit, and I certainly don't hold out much hope for the next election or indeed the future of this country, whose lucky streak seems to be drawing to a close. But Strassel's lazy new-beginnings crap is just too much to stand. One Dick Morris is more than enough. Now I see Andrew Sullivan is reverting to form, talking about McCain's "long record with Latinos" and "green McCain logo, with a recycling symbol on it" as if they meant anything at all, and plumping for "McCameronism" as if he were fresh off the boat with New Tory scripture under his arm, seeing Mrs. Thatcher in every hammy Republican face and babbling about an "Anglosphere" that will save us all from socialized medicine and fifth columnists. It was hard enough to live through the revival of hair bands and leg-warmers; now I have to watch Sullivan fall in love with the Republican Party all over again just because it's doing its hair a little different these days.

Prepare yourselves, brothers and sister, for a new avalanche of bullshit.

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