Sunday, May 24, 2009

THE CONSERVATIVE COMEBACK: A STATUS REPORT. So far the early signs of the conservative comeback plan are these:

1.) Make Dick Cheney, Newt Gingrich and Rush Limbaugh the public three-headed dog of the Republican Party. The most interesting facet of this is the reanimation of Gingrich, whose whirlwind tour of the liberal media continued on Meet The Press this morning. The massive long-term failure of the Contract with America to scale back American government seems not to bother his persistent supporters in the movement, who only remember that it won them votes once upon a time. If you expect people to re-imagine the New Deal as a disaster, you can also expect them to remember the Contract as a success.

2.) Celebrate torture. You can see how deeply this has settled into conservative bedrock by viewing the account at The Volokh Conspiracy of Eric "Mancow" Muller's reversal on waterboarding after experiencing it himself, and then reading the outraged defenses of the practice offered by the conservative intellectuals who frequent this lofty site ("Would you rather be a live monster or a dead saint?"). The morons, of course, are even more excited by it.

These people aren't even pretending "enhanced interrogation" isn't torture any more, and it's not because they're just tired of lying. They've taken Obama's recent hard line against it as an opportunity to seize the willingness to torture as a sign of moral superiority. The hope is apparently that Americans will identify with that.

3.) Redefine liberty to exclusively represent rightwing talking points. This Classical Values post attacks the government's environmental policy ("This time, it's a real war. I say it's time to get the government out of all of our emissions, for good. Emissions are a human right!"), and muses:
Sometimes I wonder whether "getting the government out of our bedrooms" (supposedly accomplished by Lawrence v. Texas) wasn't just a ruse so people could imagine they were more free.

Yeah, I know that women are free to destroy their fetuses too. Getting the government out of wombs is also marketed as another ultimate form of freedom (based on "privacy"), but what I've never been able to understand is this: if "privacy" gives the woman a right to have a scalpel inserted into her body to cut out her fetus, then why doesn't "privacy" also allow that same woman to put whatever drugs she wants into that same body?
To put it another way: why worry about control over one's own body, however constantly threatened, when the government is forcing cars to get 35.5 miles per gallon by 2016? Forbid it, almighty God!

As for the drug reference, don't worry if you find it confusing -- you haven't missed any recent change in Republican or mainstream conservative policy. The idea is to for conservatives to associate themselves with as many libertarian ideas as they can possibly get away with (reproductive rights, as we have seen, doesn't make it), and to associate liberals with their suppression. The libertarians themselves are doing their part by running stuff like Reason's Greg Gutfield video, "Red Eye's Greg Gutfeld on Media Bias, Intolerant Liberals, The Stupidity of Bill Maher, And Why Drugs Really, Really, Really Need to Be Legal." You will wait a very long time for President Palin to advocate legalization -- and if her children are revealed to be stoners, history shows, she will just trot them out to explain that their example shows why weed must remain illegal. But the fond hope that Republicans will flip on the issue to lock up the crucial libertarian voting bloc is more easily indulged than the equally fond hope that Democrats will do it, because the Republicans are not in power.

After the revolution, they will celebrate the new Energy Secretary's jokes about environmentalists, and the promised commission to look into the abolition of the Department of Housing and Urban Development. A few months later they'll be asking each other how the sheeple could have voted for these monsters.

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