January 7, 2008


Glenn Greenwald has a great post in Salon about how conservatives responded to Obama's victory in Iowa. Many, it must be noted, celebrated the win without snark. But others could only do so by invoking racist assumptions about Obama's followers. And it isn't just about race, but about what feels like a real disconnect between reality and the way they see the world. In this case, conservatives like Jonah Goldberg suggest that if Obama were to lose, that
certain segments of American political life will become completely unhinged. I can imagine the fear of this social unraveling actually aiding Obama enormously in 2008.
As Greenwald points out, "unhinged political behavior" actually describes how conservatives have responded. He notes the Republican operatives flown into Florida to riot against the recount, or Rudy Giuliani inciting white cops to riot against then Mayor Dinkins.

This reminds me of how conservatives often talk about political partisanship--as if the major players are on the left. As steves has pointed out here, there are certainly those types on the left, but the list of right-wingers prominently displayed on the media who spew out vitriol on a daily basis is truly staggering.

Or, it reminds me of the people who justified voting for Bush because they feared what John Kerry or Al Gore might do. Might do? That is all well and good unless you look at what Bush and his crew actually have done. Even in 2004, we had ample evidence of incompetence, torture, dissembling, etc. We had growing debt, a poorly managed war with moving goal posts and moving justifications. We had early evidence of constitutional malfeasance, and we had absolute evidence of fiscal irresponsibility. Yet the fear was some lefty doing what? Feeding the poor? Actually attending to insurance reform? Daring to put together a fabric of government that might respond to man-made and natural disasters? Might actually ask the American people to pay for their current wars rather than simply shifting the cost to their grandkids?

Please don't misunderstand. I am peeved, so the scales look a little uneven this morning, but I understand there is much validity to conservative thought. I have said that here before. I remember hearing George McGovern talk about the creative dialogue between conservatives and liberals that informed our politics, and I agree. I also know that many liberal proposals have their own unintended consequences. But when the country has shifted so far to the right, and gotten us in such worse condition, don't you have to stop blaming the left? When even Democrats are right of center (in many cases) and the Republicans were in complete charge for at least 5 of the last 7 years, don't you have to start recognizing that conservatives have made some errors? At the very least, don't you have to stop pointing at some specter of left-wing socialism?

Of course, Jonah Goldberg has himself given us a new book entitled Liberal Fascism with lines like this:
The quintessential liberal fascist isn’t an SS storm trooper; it is a female grade-school teacher with an education degree from Brown or Swarthmore.


steves said...

I am happy to say that the conservative forums I visit (about 3 or 4) have not echoed what Jonah Goldberg suggests. They continue to discuss Obama's policies on a variety of issues.

"Or, it reminds me of the people who justified voting for Bush because they feared what John Kerry or Al Gore might do."

I don't think it is as simple as that. I am only speaking for myself, but I am certainly not afraid of feeding the poor, insurance reform, and the other issue you describe. I don't know what it would have been like with Kerry or Gore as president and I am not going to rehash those elections. In reagrds to the current election, it comes down to a whole range of issues and is certainly not an easy decision, made even harder by the fact that I agree with some policies promoted by both parties.

Streak said...

And for me, with all due respect to thinking conservatives like yourself, this election is rather simple. As long as the Republican party is still represented by Bush and his policies, voting for the Republicans means voting for some continuation of those policies. And in past years, that was just as reasonable as the Democrats and just as flawed. But with the neo-cons and torture and what they have done to Iraq and everything else, the Republican party has lost legitimacy (in my mind).

steves said...

I agree with you. I will not vote for someone that wants to continue some of the current policies (such as the war, torture, infringement of civil liberties).