Thursday, March 01, 2012

THE SAVING REMNANT. Olympia Snowe has turned out the lights in the sane-people wing of the Republican Party, and the boys in the psych ward are pulling faces at her through the caged glass. Timothy P. Carney tries to tell us that the moderates are actually what people hate about Republicans, and now that they're gone everything's gonna be fine.
Moderates are as guilty as anyone of being intolerant when faced with conflicts within the GOP. Frum blasted as "Unpatriotic" those conservatives who failed to support George W. Bush's ill-considered invasion of Iraq, and urged all conservatives to "turn [their] backs" on these heretics. Brooks himself draws some pretty rigid boundaries of permissible dissent, excoriating as "nihilists" those who opposed the unprecedented and unfair Troubled Asset Relief Program in 2008.
This makes it look as is conservatives were fighting bravely against the Iraq War and TARP, but were muscled into line by RINOs David Brooks and David Frum.

Bullshit. Frum was talking -- in National Review! -- about a small group of paleos like Joe Sobran and Llewellyn Rockwell.  Actually, it was liberals who mostly got the accusations of unpatriotism from pro-war conservatives -- which is to say, nearly every single one of them. (I refer you to my posts from 2003 through 2006, or the pages of conservative magazines, or your own memory for evidence.)

As to TARP, I recall some screamers, but also a lot of this -- Rich Lowry:
It seems obvious now that we needed some sort of massive effort to try to prop up the banks and loosen the credit markets. (Remember: There’s always the possibility that things would have been much worse without whatever psychological benefit–if any–the passage of Paulson brought to the markets.) Perhaps the Paulson plan wasn’t exactly the right prescription. But the virtue of its open-endedness is that it allows Paulson the flexibility to adjust as warranted–witness the shift in emphasis to direct equity infusion.
Ross Douthat:
I don't think there's any question, at this point, that the bailout being considered will do real damage to the principles of free markets and limited government: The only question is how severe what Jim Manzi terms the "ideological costs" end up being. But as a layman in these matters, with no way of judging independently how materially awful the costs of inaction might be, I'm sitting here watching the House vote and the market drop and drop and thinking exactly what Larison's hypothetical American is thinking: If the defeat of the bailout is a victory for liberty, it's a victory whose costs I'm not prepared to bear.
Etc. In general, for conservatives it was Obama's election that suddenly made bailouts the greatest tragedy in the history of the Republic.

Carney has been peddling this line for a while -- that there's a secret, saving remnant that works behind the scenes in the Republican Party to keep it, and America, on the straight and narrow. Thus he feels compelled to describe what has clearly been the most powerful force in that Party for decades as a beleaguered minority. Why does he even try? Well, there's traditional conservative persecution mania, but I think another factor comes into play: Conservatives have fucked this country up pretty badly, and maybe they think if they pretend to have been cowering under the blows of David Frum all this time, they can convince some dummies that it was Olympia Snowe's fault.

I just hope for their sake that they aren't expecting normal people to go for it. One man's remnant is another man's fringe.

UPDATE. Some commenters point out that Snowe's voting record isn't as moderate as all that. Okay, let's stipulate that "moderate" in American politics has a meaning divorced from other realities. Still, I think this record, while not so hot, at least compares favorably to what Tea Partiers and other crackpots currently demand from non-INO Rs. And it goes to show how little accommodation of reality the new party elders will tolerate.

No comments:

Post a Comment