The Daily Sandwich

"We have to learn the lesson that intellectual honesty is fundamental for everything we cherish." -Sir Karl Popper

Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States


Monday, October 17, 2005

Bush-bashing from the right

This online-only New Republic article by Franklin Foer is of interest for cataloguing anti-Bush rhetoric from the right over the last few years. Perhaps most interesting is the implication of what a party can accomplish when they're more interested in circling the wagons and winning elections than say.... getting what they actually want.

That in turn begs the question of how, if Foer's assessment is correct, there can be such an active group of bloggers, religious leaders and other reactionary activists (of course their CEO pals have deep pockets and are willing to spend) who are so rabidly committed to defending a guy who is neither a progressive nor a conservative. Which is why I started using the term neo-fascist to describe Bush Republicans last year.

This is the striking feature of the conservative backlash against Miers: It hasn't just involved a searing critique of the nominee, but also a damning assessment of the man who sent up her name. (A small sample of right-wing Bush-bashing from Rod Dreher on National Review's Corner: "I fully expect that if Justice Stevens retires, President Bush will nominate his dog Barney to fill that vacant seat. After all, who can a man trust to be loyal more than his dog?")

As the Miers debate reveals, many conservative intellectuals have exactly the same problems with Bush as liberals. They disdain his cronyism, doubt his intelligence, question his use of "character" to judge individuals, and can't stand his pandering to evangelicals. "The trouble with Harriet is that she has given us a depressing glimpse into the vast open space that now appears to be the Bush political mind," a piece on The Weekly Standard's website argued last week.

If you only read the conservative press, the president's tumble from grace might seem rather abrupt. The Right Man had lots of company at the bookstore--think John Podhoretz's Bush Country, Ronald Kessler's Character Matters, and so on. And it's not surprising that Bush's most grandiloquent champions would now suffer the pain of disappointment. Perhaps it was inevitable. There's no way that any leader could possibly meet these high expectations over an eight-year administration. Besides, the cult of Bush required reality to be bent quite heavily.

I can't find any fault with Foer's article, but my reaction is still "so what?" He's just pointing out the obvious without getting to any of the deeper issues. All well and good, but.... more. please. Not exactly a must-read, but interesting if you want to see some anti-Bush quotes from high-powered right-wing pundits.