Today, putting aside childish things, I'm giving daily affirmations entirely to conservatives.
1. While the substance of Dick Cheney's attacks on the Obama administration may be maniacal, I've never quite understood the procedural case against them. Pete Wehner persuasively defends Cheney's right to express his lunacy:
In his column today, Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post writes this:
Other high-ranking officials from the previous administration… have had the manners and good sense to follow long-established custom and refrain from attacking the new president and his policies. Cheney, however, is not only accusing President Obama of knowingly putting American lives at risk — an outrageous charge — but is also diving headlong into partisan politics.
As I point out in my posting over at Contentions, former Vice President Al Gore charged that George W. Bush had brought “deep dishonor to our country” and had built a “durable reputation as the most dishonest President since Richard Nixon.” Gore said President Bush had “betrayed this country” and he called Bush a “moral coward” and said that his administration was allied with “digital brownshirts.” These kind of hateful and irrational utterances by Mr. Gore belong in a different universe that what Cheney has said about President Obama, which has been wholly appropriate. I would be eager to know if Eugene Robinson ever, even once, condemned Gore’s comments. I would bet a nice lunch at the Palm that he hasn’t. And if he hasn’t, might that not open Robinson to the charge of being a partisan hypocrite?
Aside from the over-the-top characterization of Gore's attack on Wehner's disgraceful boss, good point, Pete Wehner!
2. Yesterday I made fun of Jerry Taylor for his oddly contorted minimization of Rush Limbaugh's wild unpopularity. Taylor replies today that he was simply unaware of the (widely publicized) fact of Limbaugh's unpopularity, and then dares to say what nearly any half-intelligent conservative surely understands:
While I suspected that Limbaugh’s popularity rating was as low as CBS reports it to be, I did not know that for a fact and didn’t care enough to dig into it. Reading denial of that CBS-reported reality into my post is to read too much into my thoughts on Limbaugh and Hannity.
But since they brought it up . . . I am no fan of either. While I will admit to not listening to their shows, the snippets that I have caught over the years have irritated. One can agree with a majority of their vision regarding what constitutes good public policy and who is worthy of my vote while being annoyed by the manner in which their arguments are being made and chagrined by the dubious logic and dodgy evidence being forwarded to buttress their arguments. One can also be driven to frustration by the seemingly endless parade of political red herrings and conspiracy-minded nonsense that I have heard both of them traffic in.
Taylor's apostasy is perfectly highlighted by the follow-up reaction by an aghast Kathryn Jean Lopez:
Listening to "snippets" of talk radio will never do the job these men do daily justice. Have you listened to countless calls from on-the-fence or outright hostile listeners these guys take? If you have, I doubt you'd dismissively ask "do either of these guys actually convince anyone (elitist or not) outside of the choir?" Everyone loves to say Rush is an "entertainer," which is absolutely true --he is entertaining--but he's also a teacher. As I say to young people all the time, listen to him consistently and you hear someone who knows what he believes in. It's why he's so adamant that conservatism not be watered down or remade.
Popularity ratings are all fine and good, but more people hear what Rush has to say than know what the Cato Institute (or The Corner, alas!) is saying today. Rush and Sean are incredible assets for the conservative movement. And conservatives ought to appreciate and even celebrate that.
You might not agree with everything. You might do it differently. But I think our time is better spent each doing our part rather than shooting at those who are doing theirs--and successfully.
Good point, Jerry Taylor!
3. Richard Posner concedes the degree to which the conservative movement has intellectually failed:
My theme is the intellectual decline of conservatism, and it is notable that the policies of the new conservatism are powered largely by emotion and religion and have for the most part weak intellectual groundings. That the policies are weak in conception, have largely failed in execution, and are political flops is therefore unsurprising. The major blows to conservatism, culminating in the election and programs of Obama, have been fourfold: the failure of military force to achieve U.S. foreign policy objectives; the inanity of trying to substitute will for intellect, as in the denial of global warming, the use of religious criteria in the selection of public officials, the neglect of management and expertise in government; a continued preoccupation with abortion; and fiscal incontinence in the form of massive budget deficits, the Medicare drug plan, excessive foreign borrowing, and asset-price inflation.
By the fall of 2008, the face of the Republican Party had become Sarah Palin and Joe the Plumber. Conservative intellectuals had no party.
And then came the financial crash last September and the ensuing depression. These unanticipated and shocking events have exposed significant analytical weaknesses in core beliefs of conservative economists concerning the business cycle and the macroeconomy generally. Friedmanite monetarism and the efficient-market theory of finance have taken some sharp hits, and there is renewed respect for the macroeconomic thought of John Maynard Kenyes, a conservatives' b