Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Conservatives and Implosions...
Well, it was bound to happen sometime. I guess now is as good a time as ever. Conservatives (or those that like to call themselves that) in this country have a nasty habit of shooting themselves in the foot. Typically, it happens in the second term of a republican regime (unless you're GHW Bush, in which case, you somehow manage to implode before you have a second term), and it usually begins with one lone voice and builds into a deafening crescendo.

Such is the case for GW Bush and a few conservatives on a plethora of issues: John Bolton is too nasty to be U.N. Ambassador according to George Voinovich, who's supposed to be a republican. Terrorists captured on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq, or arrested in American cities, should be given all the protections of the Geneva Conventions, depsite the fact that they do not belong to any Army or fight for anything resembling a nation, according to John McCain. Ann Coulter, the columnist and my dream, has been turning various shades of red over the nomination of John Roberts to the Supreme Court.

Four years ago, with a republican congress firmly entrenched, Bolton and Roberts would have sailed through confirmation. Four years ago, when we were still smarting from the attacks of September 11th, no raghead on the planet would have escaped having his testicles trapped in a vise at Gitmo, and not a single American (those that count, anyway) would have objected one iota.

However, we're in the second term of a republican president and the implosion must, naturally, begin, as spring follows winter.

I'll go out on a limb here and say it's because conservatives are every bit as extreme as the liberals we so abhor on any given day. One of the things we never seem to understand (and the left fails to see this as well) is that because we have ultimate political power in the sense that we control all three branches of government (for now), it does not stand to reason that we have the ability to impose our views with impunity. We might have valid points to make, heck, we might even be right, but that doesn't mean there won't be opposition to what we do.

Paraphrasing Orwell, if Liberals or Conservatives ever actually did everything they said they would, they would have a revolt on their hands.

So we don't know where John Roberts would stand on abortion. The man hasn't spoken and already conservatives are angry that because we didn't get a fire and brimstone denunciation about it, he must be another Justice Souter (a sheep in Republican's clothing). The other side, of course, because the judge hasn't spoken, consider him a blank slate and they have the opportunity to slander him as much as they can. The Judge, in the meantime, simply says he will not answer any hypothetical questions concerning cases and causes that might one day appear before him in the Supreme Court.

The United Nations is a den of theives which is in dire need of a street-smart cop, a role which John Bolton fills quite well. However, after listening to a bunch of people who were motivated by personal animus, and selectively snipping a line or three from Bolton's memos, Senator Voinovich comes to the copnclusion that the man is not "very nice". "Very Nice", in this case, is the Kerry-esque quality of being able to kiss Kofi Annan's backside rather than kick it.

Why does this seem to happen to us all the time? We have the country in the palm of our hand right now: a congressional majority that's likely to grow soon, a lock on the White House and a soon-to-be packed (legally) Supreme Court. Why all the backpedalling, backstabbing and backsliding now?

One reason is that the Religious Right is beginning to believe the press. Normally, the RR wouldn't give the press the time of day, but print a bunch of stories that "Evangelical Christians" put GW Bush in the White House, and they begin to believe they're OWED something. Like stopping abortion right fucking now, Mr. President. Which is why Robert's ideas in this area are so highly sought after, and why the lack of candor gets these folks scared. They'd rather dump Roberts now than experience the heartache of another Souter or Sandra Day O'Connor --- someone who talks the game, but never really plays it.

They fail to realize the political enviornment in which GW and the party have to operate. Democrats (for good or ill) still exist in large numbers. They will oppose some of the more Nazi-like edicts of the religious right just as, conversely, we would resist the Stalin-like edicts of the Loopy Left. When it comes to certain issues in this country, and abortion is certainly one of them, the issue will not be decided until the culture decides it. Right now, the culture is beginning to perceptibly turn towards the pro-life position. Perhaps within 20 or 30 years, that will be the dominant position, and Roe v. Wade will go the way of the dinosaurs. But until that happens, abortion is here to stay, regardless of who's in the White House, the Congress or sitting on the Supreme Court. Roe V. Wade would have probably been thrown out of the court in the first place, unless the culture had not only wanted it, but verily demanded it.

The second part of the implosion equation has to do with prospective successors to the throne lining up and beginning to take positions they normally wouldn't. So, John McCain can suddenly stand up for relaxing some of the more stringent interrogation techniques being used at Gitmo. He can then hide behind the fact that he was tortured for six years by the Vietnamese to silence his critics. Bill Frist can suddenly 180 on stem cell research, and hide behind his M.D. It's merely posturing, but it has the effect of encouraging the other side to begin thinking there are cracks starting to form. It also gives the other side ammunition to use against us.

The final factor in the implosion is the fear that if conservatives go too far, that one day when they are on the receiving end, they'll have it stuck to them even harder. This was evident in the debates over the "nuclear option" a few months ago (and wasn't it a strange coincidence that McCain was the big concilliator there, too?). True enough, there is something to be said for "being kind to the people you met on the way up, because you'll meet them again on the way down", but some of this is bordering on spineless.

No comments: