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


Friday, June 29, 2007

Thanks, but I think I'll take the Mary Celeste.

The New Republic has a creepy story up, in which an intrepid journalist joins the National Review cruise. And finds about what you'd expect. Recommended-- if bone-chilling-- reading.

There is something strange about this discussion, and it takes me a few moments to realize exactly what it is. All the tropes conservatives usually deny in public--that Iraq is another Vietnam, that Bush is fighting a class war on behalf of the rich--are embraced on this shining ship in the middle of the ocean. Yes, they concede, we are fighting another Vietnam; and this time we won't let the weak-kneed liberals lose it. "It's customary to say we lost the Vietnam war, but who's 'we'?" Dinesh D'Souza asks angrily. "The left won by demanding America's humiliation." On this ship, there are no Viet Cong, no three million dead. There is only liberal treachery. Yes, D'Souza says, in a swift shift to domestic politics, "of course" Republican politics is "about class. Republicans are the party of winners, Democrats are the party of losers."

I seem to remember a porno actress named Mary Carey saying almost the exact same words in describing her recent conversion to Republicanism during a Stephen Colbert interview for The Daily Show (one of the funniest things I've ever seen on the show). But to be fair, she wasn't making endless racist remarks or promoting genocide, as the author's fellow passengers did with seeming regularity.

The panel nods, but it doesn't want to stray from Iraq. Robert Bork, Ronald Reagan's one-time nominee to the Supreme Court, mumbles from beneath low-hanging jowls: "The coverage of this war is unbelievable. Even Fox News is unbelievable. You'd think we're the only ones dying. Enemy casualties aren't covered. We're doing an excellent job killing them."

Then, with a judder, the panel runs momentarily aground. Rich Lowry, the preppy, handsome 38-year-old editor of National Review, announces, "The American public isn't concluding we're losing in Iraq for any irrational reason. They're looking at the cold, hard facts." The Vista Lounge is, as one, perplexed. Lowry continues, "I wish it was true that, because we're a superpower, we can't lose. But it's not."

No one argues with him. They just look away, in the same manner that people avoid glancing at a crazy person yelling at a bus stop. Then they return to hyperbole and accusations of treachery against people like their editor.

Scary, huh? You pays your money, and you expects to be constantly reminded that they're the ones who are crazy-- and our side is a persecuted, misunderstood brain trust, the likes of which hasn't been seen since Galileo. Unfortunately, Galileo was right in the sense of 'correct,' not right as in 'delusional and fascistic.'

And that Vietnam stuff? I've heard wingers talk for decades about how hippies and pinkos cost us the war, but I've never heard any of them suggest why intercession and victory were so incredibly important in the first place.