Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Quote of the Day

Balloon Juice's Tim F. had a good post on the continuing efforts to marginalize those in the American public who saw President Bush for who he was all along, and who saw through the administration's hyped-up case for war. Along the way, he makes the key part on how fear, and partisan blindness, made so many conservatives go wrong-
"One hardly needed a jaundiced eye to doubt the government’s chicken little picture of a towering, evil Saddam who fired glowing red anthrax beams from his eyes and blew mushroom clouds out of his ass. A reasonable viewing of the government’s case found it sketchy, constantly shifting, based heavily on hearsay and too often (mobile labs, aluminum tubes, yellowcake, terror drones) refutable with information available to any moderately intelligent citizen...

...[Classic] conservatism winnows out the culture war noise and narrows conservatism to its putative core: private enterprise, skepticism of freely expanding government power and government solutions, and a reluctance to solve global problems by sending American kids with guns. But [when the war began] none of that attitude [was] evident at all.

What happened?... If Bush had not proved himself a criminally incompetent nincompoop I have little doubt that most of these 'conservatives,' ... would still feel just as unquestionably trusting towards a strong benevolent government (think of it as a big, tough 'brother' keeping away the mean schoolyard kids) as they did on September 12...

...The obvious point [is] that like nearly all modern 'conservatives,' his conservative principles were not all that deeply held. All it took was a single terrorist attack for American conservatives to not just suspend their principles but negate them almost entirely, enthusiastically supporting reckless military adventurism and wildly expansive government violations of privacy and private lives. Some have argued that if you scratch a conservative you’ll find a libertarian. Well, 9/11 scratched conservatives and revealed something else entirely."

And that something still rules the conservative base. And likely will for some time.

[Related reading: Conservatives and the Presidency (Cato Institute)]


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