Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Elmer Gantry

This is not your father's Republican party.

I don't know what the Republicans stand for these days. They used to claim to be the party of smaller, less intrusive government, fiscal restraint & responsibility, personal accountability, defender of the military, and states' autonomy on personal issues. They believed in habeas corpus and the Bill of Rights. But over the last 12 years their actions, incredibly, demonstrate the opposite intent on all these issues. And they are incapable of civilized, constructive dialogue about any national issue, preferring to spread fear and hate with clever, meaningless, mean-spirited sound bites. And like the German Reich of the 1930s (as well as many other autocratic repressive governments in history) they angrily brand a dissenting voice as being in bed with some simplistic two-dimensional enemy, like the fictional superhero villains. They only speak in negative terms, never in hopeful possibilities.

I hear people defend the party, calling the current bunch in charge NeoCons, a temporary fringe religious bunch who are not true Republicans.

But the name on the door is still "RNC" (and if you want a taste of their positive message, check this out).

But trying times can make strange bedfellows. I find myself reading some sane, constructive conservatives like George Will. I actually listen to Pat Buchanan (though I don't agree with most of his opinions, they are well reasoned). And Lou Dobbs has clearly turned a corner

Toward the former, Mr. Will, I recently read a column of his where he quite astutely separates and analyzes two flavors of modern conservatism (I believe there are three). He uses the Mark Foley debacle as a backdrop.

Speaking of Foley, I actually read a female rightie columnist trying to minimize the Foley thing by saying we have to "separate true children" from teenagers, and that men between the ages of 16 & 18 at their "muscular peak", as if that explained everything (others have made similar arguments, though not to this extent). So much for black & white right and wrong. Equivocation and nuance where it serves us. Definitive clarity where it does.

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