Tuesday, August 01, 2006

The Many Shades Of Republicide

It seems that in the center-right blogosphere, the American Spectator is the loudest home of right-wing fratricide. Led by the immensely tiresome Quin Hillyer, the AmSpecs don't just criticize the failings of the majority and warn of resulting base disgruntlement, as, say, the good folks at NRO do. They actively call for their own party to be ousted from power as "punishment" for their "sins." Think of the AmSpecs as the DailyKos of the Right.

Yesterday they posted another screed of "friendly" carpet-bombing, this time by David Hogsberg, over one of the long-knives-wielders' favorite subjects, Republican profligacy and addiction to pork. I'm not going to quote anything from Hogsberg's litany of complaint because (1) I don't disagree with it philosophically, (2) we've made the same sort of criticisms ourselves, and (3) I am, frankly, sick to death of making them, listening to them, and reading them. The congressional GOP has lost its way on fiscal policy; they're in office, but not in power; and yet they've become inured to power's perqs just like the Dems they replaced a dozen years ago. Yata, yata, yata. We get it already.

What's missing is the solution to the problem. And how can conservatives, however disgruntled we may be, staying home in November and handing Congress back to the neoBolsheviks by default possibly encourage, much less produce, enhanced fiscal responsibility?

Man, I hate plowing the same ground over and over, but it seems that our grassroots never seem to learn this lesson: You can't do anything if you're not in power. And power isn't so easily regained once you've lost it. Particularly in the current political climate, where a restored Democrat regime on Capitol Hill would be guaranteed to stack the deck so far against the GOP that no future 1994s would ever be possible, rule of law and constitutionality be damned.

Consider also that such realignments not only take a great deal of time to bring about, but require visionary leadership. Barry Goldwater got conservatives into the ascendancy in the GOP; Ronald Reagan got conservatism governing credibility via running the Executive Branch; and Newt Gingrich built upon that credibility at lower levels to flesh out an actual governing coalition and completed the center-right sweep by taking Congress. If the GOP grassroots squanders its majorities this fall, who, exactly, is going to lead us out of the wilderness again? Remember who the Donk nominee is going to be in 2008. We're already pretty much slated to lose the White House. This nose-severing/face-spiting has the potential to be far longer than just a two-year "time out."

Then there is the conundrum of how conservatives sabotaging their own party would somehow enhance their influence within it. Suppose that party poobahs didn't choose to be bowled over by our manly swagger of towering clout? Suppose, instead, that they decided to write off the Right as unreliable and even "Kosistic" and embrace the RINOs instead? Do arrogant snipers like Christie Todd-Whitman and Pete McCloskey and Doug Forrester aggravate you just by their continuing to draw breath? Why, then, effectively surrender the party back to them? Why unravel in the space of a single election cycle what took three decades to painstakingly construct?

Don't worry, I still play fair. I'll even set aside my quote embargo to reprint the throw-away caveat Hogsberg does include at the end of his piece:

I'm not a big fan of sitting out elections, although this year I find it mighty tempting. I prefer to vote for my choice and then keep the pressure on them in between elections. I still think a case can be made for that strategy. First, the Democrats won't do any better, and probably worse. Nancy Pelosi's votes against all nineteen amendments give the lie to her recent claim that she'd "get rid of all" earmarks. furthermore, one can argue that Flake's efforts show improvement. Would the House members have even considered his amendments last year, and if they had, would any of them have received even ninety-two votes? If these efforts continue, it may only be a matter of time before the GOP finally clamps down on spending.

Thus, I won't be sitting out this time. But I can hardly blame those who will be.

This sounds like that old line, "I'm not a bigot. Some of my best friends are...." Spend the entire essay hammering the Republicans and make the right-wing case as to why they should be thrown out on their trunks, and at the end toss off what amounts to, "Do as I say, not as I do." Heck, Quin Hillyer would probably be pissed at Hogsberg for that last graf if every word preceding it hadn't bludgeoned home his Republicidal wet dream. There's a reason, after all, why newspapers publish "news" stories with the information not fitting into their ideological template "below the fold" or "after the jump."

Perhaps the greatest irony of all is that a large morsel of good news on this very issue front slipped through on, of all places, AmSpec's group blog:

One reason not to count out a successful vote in the Senate on both ending the Death Tax, pension reform and some other tax issues is the number of tax and tax credit issues tacked onto the pieces of legislation by Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist and House Leader John Boehner.

Frist actually deserves more credit, because while reporters were running around worrying about Republican political failings [*AHEM*], Frist and his leadership team were pushing through appropriations bills with far too few earmarks to Senators' likings. Now the Death Tax and minimum wage bill have some earmarks to meet the needs of Democrats. If they vote that bill down, it is doubtful they get a shot at them for the rest of the year. [emphasis added]

Nobody's been a bigger critic of Dr. Doofus than I've been over the course of the 109th Congress. But doesn't credit have to be given where credit is due? Would this good news exist outside the fond imaginations of conservatives were the names above changed to Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi?

And let's not forget what would happen to the conduct of the war against Islamic Fundamentalism if the DisLoyal Opposition got back in charge. I think national survival is a bit more important than a few too many earmarks, don't you?

Mr. Hogsberg is wrong in his disclaimer. Those GOP base voters who stay home with their thumbs up their asses on November 7th can and should be blamed if their puerile vindictiveness surrenders the country to those who would surrender in the war in favor of one last socialistic orgy before the walls all come a-tumblin' down.