Tuesday, July 3, 2007

principles vs. parrots

My young daughter has the nickname of "parrot' because she has a habit of repeating the last thing that's been said within earshot. A trait that's cute with a toddler is decidedly less so with adults, particularly in political discourse.
Unfortunately, parroting party lines is what passes for 'serious' punditry these days. Always a worrisome thing, it's exploded during the Bush era, like many other negative things.
The Libby affair is just another example. Breast-beating law-and-order types who'll gladly throw away the keys for crackhead welfare queens or three-strike burglars are bending over backwards to justify Libby's special deal. Folks like David Brooks, who were appalled at Clinton's staining the Oval Office, criticize Bush for not going far enough. (Actually, I agree in part. It's one more example of Bush incompetence. Instead of getting the dirty deed done once and for all, he guarantees it will kick around for months as Libby's appeals wend their way through the courts)
One of the many disillusioning developments of the Bush era has been seeing the flock of partisan parrots who can justify anything he does, regardless of heretofore bedrock conservative principles. Of course, there have always been parrots on the Left, which is one of the main reasons I've generally held most left-wing pundits in disdain. What's been shocking has been the same debasement taking hold on the Right. Sure, here and there an Andrew Sullivan, a George Will, a Pat Buchanan or a William F. Buckley have stuck to actual, recognizable conservative principles, but most of the Right have "carried water" (paraphrasing Rush L.) for the Bushies, principles be damned.
At some point the conservatives will rediscover their principles or they will disintegrate into Whig-like irrelevance and fade away as a movement. Partisans without principles should at least be smart enough to placate the public, not stick a finger in its eye.


  1. In case you haven't noticed, Bush has an approval rating only slightly higher than congress, which is to say it is pretty darn low. Who, in your opinion, carries water for Bush?

  2. Rush Limbaugh has admitted "carrying water" for Republicans who didn't deserve it.
    Congress, as a body, usually has an image problem anyway. The legislative process, under the best conditions, is pretty messy, and these are not the best conditions.
    Interestingly, people usually like their members of Congress. It's always the "other guys" who are bums.
    Sometimes voters can carry this to extremes. For example, Louisiana voters returned that freezer-cash crooked Democratic congressman to office AFTER he was raided.

  3. Perhaps Limbaugh, but even he disagrees with Bush on just about everything but the war and tax cuts. Even former Bush administration officals are writing books and getting interviewed on 60 Minutes with strong disagreements with the President. Talk radio in general disagrees with Bush on nearly every topic but the war.

    I dare say Bush is no conservative, but the conservative movement is strong, so strong that liberals don't get elected unless they try to be conservatives during elections. (A few districts excepted.)

  4. Ah, if only it were true. I'll agree that Bush hasn't been a very good conservative in a theoretical sense. My main beef with him has been his unconservative policies on spending, government nannying, aggressive war and general disregard for the rule of law.
    Unfortunately, with a few notable exceptions, most self-identified "conservatives" have backed his policies, excused his excesses and otherwise enabled him. It's simply not true that Rush L. and the rest have only backed Bush on taxes and the war. Except for immigration, there is no major issue that the conservative movement hasn't followed the Bush line. It's really quite shameful.
    Can you imagine if Clinton had held an American citizen without charges for five years what the Right would have said? And they would have been correct!
    This has been one of the most astounding examples of the recklessness of the GOP, actually. Right up there with the war. They have never stopped to consider what happens if the lose power and the Democrats, especially liberal Democrats, take power. All the precedents for expanded federal power work to Liberal advantage. THEY are the ones who want the government to DO stuff, rather than leave us alone.
    The Republicans should ask themselves if they really want Hillary to have the powers George W. has claimed. I think not.
    Bush and Rove were confident they were creating a "permanent majority" and so they foolishly didn't consider what might happen if their plan didn't come to pass.
    Instead they and their so-called conservative enablers have set the stage for the liberals to run wild for a presidential term or two. Thanks, guys. Heckuva job.