17 May, 2009

While conservatives are stabbing each other in the back...

...I am reminded of the words they wrote in the wake of the passing of a Senator a little less than a year ago, as well as what I wrote then:

The anti-free trade, tobacco lobby-beholden, former segregationist Jesse Helms (who never recanted any of those positions in public) has received praise for being a "true conservative", while the pro-free trade, fiscally conservative, pro-life John McCain has been smeared as a Republican In Name Only.
Even today these jokers blame McCain for not being sufficiently conservative. Listen, fellas: As long as Jesse Helms counts as a "true conservative", while John McCain does not, your opinions won't receive much respect from me.

Last week, the usual suspects were defending (again) a high-rating talk radio host, with one writer criticizing those who expressed well-founded disagreements as listening only to "snippets". As if the vast majority of people who listen to talk radio ever hear anything more than snippets! Some of us work for a living, you know! And, of course, the usual suspects were either trying to say something reasonable, and getting shouted down in the process, or they were keeping their mouths shut, which doesn't make me much happier. What's wrong, guys: is discussing this above your pay grade?

As God is my witness, every time our president starts making me think that maybe I am a conservative, I read the conservative wags and realize that I'm not. Boy, am I glad that I changed form political science to mathematics during my undergrad years.


Clemens said...

Always agreed with your opinion of Jesse Helms. As a native born southerner I feel like the Republicans swallowed a viper (or something out of "Alien") when they ingested the southern Democrats who bolted because of civil rights.

What's more, I think you are right about the current state of the conservative movement. I watched all of Limbaugh's speech to CPAC (?), not just snippets. If this is what they want, this is what they will get.

Which is a shame. I am much happier with Obama than you are, but we really do need a vibrant and creative conservative counterbalance.

At the moment I don't see it. Unless your views are more common than one is led to believe?

jack perry said...

I don't think that my views have ever been common, which is why I switched away from political science, and dropped my subscription to National Review many, many years ago. I never was good at falling in with the crowd.

Did you ever see "Spaceballs"? They had a parody of the famous scene in "Alien" (which I've never seen) and I think the Republicans swallowed something more akin to that parody.

I don't think that's entirely a fair statement, though—after all, the Democrats still have Robert Byrd and others like him, and they even hold him up as a venerable man of sorts. Then there are the Daleys, the Hoffas, and other hallmarks of the Democratic machine—who somehow get treated as heroes even though they're thoroughly corrupt.

To my mind, one of the most underreported stories of the last thirty years is how the Democrats have turned formerly reliably Republican regions into a solid Democratic block—frequently using less than admirable methods, usually with less than admirable fiscal and social results (Michigan, California, much of New England)—by starting in the cities, and working out from there.

Nevertheless, if one must walk with a viper, one should be sure not to be poisoned by it—and conservatives, for all their protestation of double standards—with which I agree completely—do not much resemble the aggrieved party when they fawn over men like Helms, but hiss at men like McCain.