WSJ – GOPork vs. the Candidate
March 7, 2008
With all the talk about how Mr. McCain needs to unify his party, lost has been the question of whether some people will let him. Washington Republicans know he’s their best shot at retaining the White House. Yet many remain ambivalent about him — not because they question his conservatism, but out of resentment that he may get in the way of their earmarks.
Republicans have a choice. They can unite behind the feisty Mr. McCain, and take a position that is true to their small-government principles, popular with the public and a smart political move. Or they can hurt themselves, and possibly their nominee, by sticking with the lard.
During the past few months I had dozens of posts that never happened about the whole primary process. Most of them had to do with the fact that not a single section of our civil society seems to have retained even the slightest sense of historical perspective. Not that there’s anything new about that (or maybe I’m projecting into the unrecorded past of the past few decades…) The biggest peeve I’ve had arising from this is the ludicrous claim that Romney is/was more of a “real conservative” than McCain.
The terms liberal and conservative have been taffy pulled into meaninglessness in American usage, so the search for a “real conservative” is necessarily quixotic. But where are those issues where McCain falls further from the standard* than his erstwhile rival, the governor of Massachussets? Certainly not abortion, religious orthodoxy, fiscal restraint, small government, same-sex marriage, support for the military, or any of the other issues normally identified these days (reasonably or otherwise) with conservatism. Immigration is the issue where McCain most alienated “the base,” but in this he’s on the side of Reagan and W – so the two sides should cancel each other out, right? What else is there?
I think this article gives us a clue – it’s McCain’s insistence on trying to rein in the infrastructure underpinning what the Democrats referred to as the “Culture of Corruption,” the mutual-back-scratching-machine made up of lobbyists, legislators, corporate welfare queens, privatizing plunderers, media whores, ideal-less professional activists of all stripes, and every variety of opportunistic parasite imaginable. It’s a truly bipartisan monstrosity, but for the GOP we can call it the DeLay wing of the party. McCain attacked their meal ticket repeatedly (even if he’s not the spotless saint he wishes we believed he was.) And that was enough to make him supposedly less palatable to every other branch of the party and less of a conservative than a man who created a universal health care system, defended a woman’s right to choose abortion, believes he will become a god, et cetera. The key is that it was the professional “leaders” of the other wings of the party who were offended, because as full time political parasites, they all belong to the DeLay wing before any other allegiances and ideals they may espouse. These days the political assassination is even easier, with the party machine having outsourced nearly all of their disciplinary propaganda tasks to News Corp. – the company that single handedly brought you the ugliest aspects of both sides of the “culture wars.”
* If it wasn’t clear before, the GOP debates this cycle firmly established that the standard for conservatism is something called the “Reagan mantle.” Which is kind of odd, since, as I pointed out in a recent post, Reagan was a former Democrat (and not a Dixiecrat), not religious, divorced at a time when divorce was only slightly more acceptable to most social conservatives than gay marriage is now, ran up previously unthinkable deficits, gave amnesty to illegal immigrants, and was known for his bipartisan appeal to the middle class (one heard the term Reagan Democrats far more than Reagan Republicans for the first 20 years after his election). Of course, when a new term is brought in as a measure of a term already watered down to meaninglessness, it can be made to mean whatever one wants, and since all history before 2000 has been erased from the public memory, there’s no grounds on which to actually contest any of the meanings it is slapped on to.