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Documenting the hypocrisies
Posted by: Jon Henke on Thursday, May 04, 2006

Atrios, 05/04/06: "It isn't liberal bloggers who regularly compare their political opponents to traitors and terrorists."
  • TRAITORS: Atrios (07/14/05) cites AmericaBlog, where John Aravosis writes "Senator Kit Bond (R-MO) support treason too." And for good measure, there's Atrios' (Duncan Black) co-worker Oliver Willis, who wrote "Dick Cheney, American Traitor". (cached here)


  • TERRORISTS: Atrios (08/23/05) posts "The American Taliban", citing Kos claiming the "Christian Right" is "cut from the same cloth" as "our Islamic fundamentalist enemies".

MORE: Patrick Porter at OxBlog points out that "activists of the antiwar movement object to being labelled as unpatriotic or treacherous", which is certainly fair. However, if "you object when people who disagree with you question your integrity, don't call people who were in favour of the war in Afghanistan or Iraq extremist, warmongering, unAmerican, Hitlerian, crazy Zionist, chickenhawks."

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Glenn Greenwald (05/04/06), writing that, though Bush has violated the tenets of conservatism, "conservatives will not be permitted to distance themselves from this administration"...
[S]ee e.g., this characteristically dishonest attempt by Jonah Goldberg to characterize the two failed Republican Presidents - Nixon and Bush - as "liberals" in order to imply that their failure is not a failure of conservatives; funny how we never heard any of that when The Commander had approval ratings in the 60s
Goldberg claims that Bush and Nixon are "liberal Republicans", because both share a "supreme confidence in the power of the state" and Bush's "compassionate conservatism shares with Nixon's moderate Republicanism a core faith that not only can the government love you, but it should spend money to prove its love."

This is dishonest? This is something we "never heard" until recently? Nonsense. In early 2004, Jonah Goldberg wrote precisely the same criticism of Bush's free-spending, "big government" brand of conservatism that, just like Nixon, leapt to say that "government is the answer" merely because "people were hurting." In fact, in a story on a speech he gave at Cornell in 2004, the Cornell Review wrote "[Goldberg] called Bush's politics a 'Republican version of Clintonism,' and compared his domestic record with Nixon's big-government policies."

But Greenwald tells us this is all new. And perhaps it is new. To him. But Goldberg is far from the first to point at Bush's domestic record and question his Conservative bona fides...
"Bush, of course, is not a "conservative" in domestic policy either, as his record deficit spending, including discretionary non-security-related spending, rather conclusively demonstrates."
That was written by one Glenn Greenwald. In February of 2006. Long after the same point was made by Jonah Goldberg.
 
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Previous Comments to this Post 

Comments
Well, you might have a little problem in characterizing Bush as a liberal. But you have no such problem with that characterization of Nixon.
Nixon was the instrument of wage and price controls, the EPA, racial quotas (in direct violation of the 1964 civil rights act).
Nixon was also the father of Detente, which gave the Soviet empire food, credit, and technology. Who knows but it might have collapsed a decade sooner if not for these props.
As much as the left hated Nixon, he was one of their own.
Don’t even try to deny it! NIXON = Liberal, on almost every issue.
 
Written By: kyle N
URL: http://impudent.blognation.us/blog
Don’t these people have Google?

I’m sorry, but if someone expects others to respect their commentary, then I just expect some kind of backing for such claims. If you’re going to put something out there that supposedly demonstrates the weakness of your opponent’s arguments, is it too much to expect that it actually be correct?

OK, so anybody can dash off something in haste, I suppose. So I’ll give Glenn the benefit of the doubt - if he does a bit of reconsideration on his claims.
 
Written By: Billy Hollis
URL: http://
Conservatives elected George W. Bush. They are precisely the reason he is in office. Of course, conservatives cannot distance themselves from him. How in the would could they? So Goldberg criticizes Bush. BFD. His criticism is meaningless if he supported Bush’s campaign or even voted for him.

And you know what? Bush knows this. He knew conservatives would vote for him no matter what he did. By 2004, it was clear Bush was a big-government type. And yet conservatives elected him anyway. And before you start talking about irrelevant dribble such as "Kerry was worse," remember the basic point: conservatives didn’t have to put Bush in office, but they did. So can they distance themselves from Bush? Of course not.

 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Conservatives elected George W. Bush.
Uh huh, just as liberals voted for Kerry. Given the alternatives did you expect either to do otherwise?

For conservatives there was always the hope they could control Bush. With Kerry there was no hope or expectation of that at all.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Uh huh, just as liberals voted for Kerry. Given the alternatives did you expect either to do otherwise?
If conservatives didn’t prefer Bush, they could have voted for someone else. Indeed, they probably could have forced the GOP to nominate someone else. But did they? No.

Kerry is not President, by the way.
 
Written By: mkultra
URL: http://
Cue *sound of The Point screaming over mkultra’s head*
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Let me explain something to you, mkultra: the Republican Party is a Big Tent, somewhat similar to the Democrats’ ad-hocracy.

"Conservatives" are not the monolithic entity they are often made out to be. They come from diverse roots, and had to build themselves up by attacking the Democrats’ big tent over the course of several decades from many angles.
For instance, Frank Meyer’s fusionism, starting in the mid-to-late 50s, pulled together staunch traditionalists (roughly what you might call "social conservatives"), anticommunists and libertarians. The initial roadmap for a shared intellectual framework was made. You spend several decades out of power, you learn to make coalitions work.

We’ve got all kinds of interests within the party, several of which compete from time to time for influence within the party. This can be a bit trying on certain factions within the party, who often compromise with other elements within the party. The various groups’ views overlap in some places, but where those views don’t overlap some accomodation is made for political expediency, so that a working coalition can function and keep beating the coalition of interests that are even more frightening, like socialists.

We can’t just nominate whoever the heck we want. Any candidate who has a chance of winning in the national election has to have some appeal to the entire GOP base.
In the name of beating outright statists, libertarians and fiscal conservatives often have to put up with habits among our political allies that we don’t particularly appreciate — like obscene spending habits. Often we get fed up as hell, but then we take one look at the guy the Democrats are running and get heartburn. The man’s usually fresh from the Democratic primaries, where he just out-competed eight other Democrats to see who could pander furthest to the Left.

It can’t honestly be said that the fiscal conservatives and libertarians have had many good choices for a long, long time. But most libertarian-leaning people are apparently more comfortable trying to share a George W Bush with social conservatives and neocons than attempting to compete with socialists for a piece of John Kerry.
(Oh, and the LP is a ridiculous, doctrinaire losing machine at the national level. No luck there.)

A big part of the reason that libertarian-leaning people can’t leverage that kind of power is because libertarian-types tend to balkanize over even the most trivial issues, issues that are easily swept under the carpet in a functioning political coalition. While libertarian ideas are actually more widespread than you might think (when it comes down to it, something like 20% of the country subscribes not to "liberal" or "conservative" principles, but to more distinctly libertarian principles), they don’t have some monolithic presence that can steer things.
We’re working on that, though. That’s part of what neolibertarianism is all about. Perhaps with some pragmatism and purpose-filled organization, we can get a little more success — if not in the GOP, then somewhere.

In the meantime, get real. "Conservatives" weren’t about to nominate someone else because they weren’t going to hand-pick someone who would lose to Al-Freakin’-Gore. Instead they were wooed by a Southerner with a very recognizable name who could put together a dynamite team and had enjoyed considerable success in one of the biggest GOP success stories of the previous couple decades: Texas going from blue to solid red. Rove had identified him early on as the candidate of a lifetime.
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
Wow, did I say "within the party" enough times in the third paragraph?
 
Written By: OrneryWP
URL: http://
If conservatives didn’t prefer Bush, they could have voted for someone else.
Of course they voted for and prefered Bush ... given the alternative. That was my point.
Kerry is not President, by the way.
Which has nothing to do with anything except me giving a great sigh of relief.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Conservatives elected George W. Bush. They are precisely the reason he is in office. Of course, conservatives cannot distance themselves from him.
Sweet. So, since McQ and I did not, in fact, vote for Bush, that means you’ll stop calling us "wingers" now!
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Sweet. So, since McQ and I did not, in fact, vote for Bush, that means you’ll stop calling us "wingers" now!
Jon, good luck with that thought. ;

Mk has only one speed.
 
Written By: capt joe
URL: http://
Speaking of using the term ’wingers’ to designate only the right wing....I meant to ask yesterday if MK’s ornathalogical world has birds in it that only have one wing.


 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Well of course they do, because his side comes from the lunar order of chiroptera.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
Speaking of using the term ’wingers’ to designate only the right wing....I meant to ask yesterday if MK’s ornathalogical world has birds in it that only have one wing.
Yes, yes they do... it allows them ony to circle, in ever smaller spirals the abatoir of their making and demise...IRAQ! Geez, dude isn’t it OBVIOUS, and I’m not even MK.
 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
"Chiroptera" - Now that I say it aloud.....sounds like something a crowd of Japanese civilians should be shouting (badly dubbed of course) as a giant moonbat trashes Tokyo.

Then again, MKultra sounds like the weapon the Japanese (and 1 American) scientists will use to try and destroy Chiroptera, so it all fits.
 
Written By: looker
URL: http://
Jon, I think what Greenwald is driving at is that just because Bush is "not conservative" doesn’t necessarily mean he’s "liberal."

Goldberg and his ilk use liberalism as a synonym for reckless and stupid. Bush’s Medicare bill was therefore "liberal," even though it wasn’t designed to meet any real liberal goal and the vast majority of Democrats voted against it (11 Senate and 16 House Dems voted in favor).

Liberals can be guilty of the same kind of disingenuous argument, of course, defining "not liberal" as selfish, racist, etc.
 
Written By: Andy Vance
URL: http://
For conservatives there was always the hope they could control Bush. With Kerry there was no hope or expectation of that at all.
I have to differ with this statement. I voted for W. in 2000, but could not make myself do so in ’04. Now, my state was never in doubt (which made the decision to go Bednarik a little easier), but I truly could not vote for a man who betrayed so many conservative principles so flagrantly in his first term. To me, it was abundantly obvious by his earlier actions that there was no controlling Bush.
 
Written By: Tom in Texas
URL: http://
Greenwald? If I want a reasonable voice, I stay away from his site. A slightly milder Kos.
 
Written By: David R. Block
URL: http://
David R. Block writes: Greenwald? If I want a reasonable voice, I stay away from his site. A slightly milder Kos.

No. While I understand how his single-minded focus with the sins of George Bush and those who steadfastly defend him might lead one to that conlcusion, the tenor, word choices, and people he links to are frequently quite different from Kos. Greenwald reads and links to this site. Twice in the last two days he has enthusiastically recommended this Cato Report which very decisively smacks Bush around for essentially the same issues that have me and Greenwald so aroused, namely, radical and illiberal notions of Executive power, and a lack of love for the United States Constitution.

Now, I suppose it is conceivable that Kos would repeatedly sing the praises of a paper from the libertarian Cato Institute, and not repudiate the report’s embrace of gun rights and disgust with McCain-Feingold, but somehow I’m doubting it.
 
Written By: Mona
URL: http://
So Goldberg criticizes Bush. BFD. His criticism is meaningless if he supported Bush’s campaign or even voted for him.

I liked that asinine argument better when it was first posited by Andrew Sullivan at least two years ago. Get a new rap.
 
Written By: RW
URL: http://blog.rjwest.com
So Goldberg criticizes Bush. BFD. His criticism is meaningless if he supported Bush’s campaign or even voted for him.

Just noticed that, quote. That’s one of the most stupid things anyone has written! So let me see, we live in a totalitarian thought state. I voted for X so I can NEVER criticize X’s actions. I see, I can hardly wait for one of MK’s candidates to be elected, for now MK WILL NEVER BE ALLOWED TO DISAGREE WITH HIS CANDIDATE, because one has to agree with everything they did/do, because you voted for them. Huh... MK is often wrong, but that was just stoopit, sorry MK.

 
Written By: Joe
URL: http://
Now, my state was never in doubt (which made the decision to go Bednarik a little easier), but I truly could not vote for a man who betrayed so many conservative principles so flagrantly in his first term. To me, it was abundantly obvious by his earlier actions that there was no controlling Bush.
You just came to the conclusion a little earlier than others.

BTW, I didn’t vote for him in ’04 either.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://www.qando.net/blog
The fact is, a lot of the Bush failures were eminently predictable and were predicted. And Goldberg is wrong, they are failures of conservatism, not Bush. I’ll predict another one: the economy. Any administration can temporarily boost the economy by massive deficit spending and tax cuts. If you put these together with interest rates that have been held artifically low, enabled by factors such as China’s still effectively locking their currency to the dollar, Bush has had the gas pedal glued to the floorboard for years. If his tax cuts (and spending) were channeled in any kind of effectual way, the economy should have overheated a long time ago. But his and our irresponsible, immoral doubling of debt has produced only anemic job growth, almost no growth in middle class income, and a modest boost to the economy. Pretty soon, it will all come crashing down, and once again, the bill will be delivered directly to said middle class.

But here’s the ironic thing. Goldberg reminds me of nothing so much as all those apologists of Communism before the fall who were so rightfully mocked in times past. They’d say that in theory it’s a beautiful thing. It’s just fails because it’s not being practiced right. They deny the fact that the basic tenets are bull$hit and always have been.
 
Written By: Indenial
URL: http://
Oops, I was inadvertently making a point that had been made a long time ago, prophesying Goldberg’s article.
To underscore the point just a bit more, Digby wrote in November of last year:

There is no such thing as a bad conservative. "Conservative" is a magic word that applies to those who are in other conservatives’ good graces. Until they aren’t. At which point they are liberals. Get used to the hearing about how the Republicans failed because they weren’t true conservatives. Conservatism can never fail. It can only be failed by weak-minded souls who refuse to properly follow its tenets. It’s a lot like communism that way.

Reading Goldberg’s article describing Bush as a "liberal," is it possible to imagine a more perfect embodiment of exactly what Digby is describing?
 
Written By: indenial
URL: http://
not-X != Y

That is all. Think about it.
 
Written By: ahem
URL: http://

 
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