Leonard Pitts takes conservatives to the woodshed today in his column, and it's a thing of beauty. He completely deconstructs the attempt by the modern right-wing to save their brand by casting George W. Bush out of the land of conservative ideology. I can see why they'd try it--as Paul Krugman has said many times, George W. Bush is what you get when you let conservative ideology run rampant in the government, and his approval ratings show that most people in the country don't like it. Pitts lays the wood to them all through his column, but I especially liked this part:
The funny thing is, I agree. Stack the traditional definition of "conservative" alongside the events of the last few years, and it's hard not to. It is, for example, difficult to find evidence of government getting out of people's way in the Terri Schiavo affair. Or evidence of lean, mean government efficiency in the Hurricane Katrina debacle. Or evidence of fiscal restraint in a projected $500 billion budget deficit. Or evidence of foreign policy pragmatism in the invasion of a country that had not attacked us and did not threaten to. Or evidence of accountability in the eagerness to duck blame for all the above.Indeed.
The current conservative complaint sounds an awful lot to me like the complaints I read online from teenaged economists ranging from Libertarians to Communists--I have no proof that they're teenagers; they just argue like they are--that we don't know that Communism or Libertarianism won't actually work because we've never tried the pure form of them. Conservatives make the same argument all the time, and it's just as intellectually empty, because in a representative democracy, you're never going to get a pure form of government, no matter what the ideology. The closest we've come in my lifetime was from 2000-2006, when the Republicans, after doing a lot of work on the courts from 1980-1992, also had the Congress and the White House. We're living in the wreckage right now.
John McCain and his advisers would have us believe that he's a different kind of conservative, even though every piece of objective evidence available points to him being the same old thing, even down to his willingness to lose whatever scrap of honor and dignity he has left in order to win an election. At this point, I'd like to see him lose both.