Republicans In Disarray!

2 comments August 31st, 2008at 01:59pm Posted by Eli

Well, looky here – a senior editor of the Weekly Standard bashes the Republicans on the op-ed pages of the NYT:

Republicans this year faced a special difficulty, of course. Every American who’s not a Republican can’t stand them, a complication that robbed the platform writers of several traditional techniques.

The premise of most party platforms is that while this is the greatest country the world has ever seen whose most wonderful days lie just ahead, it’s headed straight for hell. Our only chance, therefore, is if you read these 50 boring pages and do exactly as we say.

Blame is easy to apportion: If your party holds the White House but not Congress, you blame Congress for the country’s precarious position. If you hold Congress you blame the White House.

But what if, for most of the previous eight years, you’ve held both the White House and Congress, and things are still a mess?

The draft platform’s answer is ingenious: Blame Republicans, too, just the way everybody else does.

This isn’t made explicit, but the meaning is clear. The writers distinguish between the grossly incompetent and corrupt Republican officeholders in Washington who created the mess and the terrifically thoughtful and luminous “grassroots Republicans” who sent the corrupt Republican officeholders to Washington in the first place. (We are to assume, needless to say, that John McCain and Sarah Palin are as grassrooted as Republicans can be.)

“The American people believe Washington is broken … and for good reason,” the draft concedes, without conceding too much. Special interests rule, expediency triumphs, congressmen are indicted. No need to mention any names.

Instead, the platform goes on, “As grassroots Republicans, we demand a return to our party’s core principles.” Such a revival, the platform implies, will fix just about everything.

That places the document on more familiar footing, and in the traditional manner it becomes a series of bold proposals, made all the bolder by the knowledge that, with the party safely slumped in a comfortable minority in both houses of Congress, there’s no chance they’ll be acted upon for the foreseeable future, no matter who the president is. “Core principles” are much easier to “return to” when they’re strictly hypothetical.

THIS freedom gives the document a freewheeling, devil-may-care flavor. Sometimes it even struts.

“Republicans,” the platform says, “will attack wasteful Washington spending immediately,” even though they can’t. They can’t impose anything on anybody, either, but nevertheless “we will impose an immediate moratorium on the earmarking system.”

Powerlessness opens up a limitless future. It has the fierce urgency of not right now.

It is vitally, existentially important for Republicans and conservatives to convince America that the Bush administration and its compliant Congress were not true conservatives, that everything that went wrong was a betrayal of modern American conservatism rather than its bitter fruit.

But the fact remains, that these “grassroots Republicans” are, in fact, the exact same people who gave the Bush administration a free hand to flush the American Constitution, economy, prestige, and military might right down the toilet of history.  I see no reason to expect them to behave any differently a second time around.

Entry Filed under: Bush,Corruption/Cronyism,Elections,McCain,Media,Politics,Republicans


  • 1. Cujo359  |  August 31st, 2008 at 6:33 pm

    I know how they feel. I don’t think of the Democrats who are running Congress as being real progressives.

    I wonder what would happen if real progressives and real conservatives ran things? I suppose nothing would get done, what with all the arguing, but it still might be an improvement.

  • 2. Eli  |  August 31st, 2008 at 6:35 pm

    I can think of several instances where “nothing getting done” would be a distinct improvement.

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