Why I Dropped My Subscription to The New Republic

This is why. Editor-In-Chief Martin Peretz thinks it’s just awful that poor Scooter Libby has to spend 30 months in jail. Why, all he did was perjure himself and obstruct a federal investigation. What’s the big deal?

TNR is supposed to be a liberal magazine. It hasn’t been for a long time, but it pretends. I did subscribe, briefly, once upon a time, ca. 2003. Lately the new owners have been trumpeting the “new” TNR. I’ve gotten two sample issues. See? It has a new format. It’s so much prettier.

The only change that would tempt me to renew is a complete overhaul of the masthead.

Getting Up With Fleas

I know I spend way too much time reading rightie blogs than is good for me. But I did get a kick out of this post at the rightie blog Jawa Report.

On May 29, in Glynco, Georgia, George W. Bush made the following statement, hammering hard against the opponents of his immigration bill, most of whom are on the Republican side of the aisle:

    “If you want to kill the bill, if you don’t want to do what’s right for America, you can pick one little aspect out of it, you can use it to frighten people. Or you can show leadership and solve this problem once and for all.”

These words and sentences are not complicated. The inferences are pretty clear. Let’s break it down:

    …if you don’t want to do what’s right for America…

The logic: The President’s way is what’s right for America. If you Republicans and Democrats do not agree with the President’s way, you are personally against what’s right for America.

The inference: No matter who you are, Republican or Democrat, if you are against the President’s way, you are against the best interests of this country (or maybe this continent).

Well yes, exactly. But the thing is, m’love, he’s been doing this same song and dance for almost six years now. You’re just now noticing?

There’s an old saying, Lie down with dogs, get up with fleas. I’d say the entire Republican Party needs a good soak in Frontline Plus.

Those of us who criticized the President’s other policies were shouted down and called haters, weasels, even traitors. Our concerns were dismissed as lunatic ravings; our expressions of dismay and disgust were considered proof that we hated America. (See, for example, this vintage Ted Barlow post, “Since the beginning of time, liberals have yearned to destroy the sun.”)

So now some of you are getting the same treatment you’ve been shoveling on us, and you don’t like it. Boo bleeping hoo.

Glenn Greenwald writes,

It is vital to emphasize repeatedly that the havoc wreaked on this country by George W. Bush is, first and foremost, the work of America’s so-called “conservative” movement, which venerated Bush to a degree unseen in the modern presidential era. Here was not a mere President, but “our” Commander-in-Chief during a Time of War, and to criticize him was to criticize America. There were multiple culprits-in-arms along the way — principally the news media — but the right-wing movement now seeking to re-invent itself as dissatisfied victims of the Bush presidency in search of a “Real Conservative” to lead it are the ones who bear full responsibility for the devastation this presidency has wreaked on the country.

In times past, there was a general understanding between the two major parties that everyone wanted what was best for America. Our disagreements were over what that best thing was and how to go about obtaining it. But for the past few years — predating the Bush presidency, actually — Republicans have taken the attitude that they were America, and everyone else was apostate.

The idea that someone could sincerely love America and, for example, be opposed to the war in Iraq was utterly outside the rightie conceptual universe. We couldn’t even get righties to see the inherent contradiction in warrantless wiretapping to preserve “freedom.” Those with concerns about violation of the Fourth Amendment were painted as terrorist sympathizers.

But now righties who criticize Bush’s immigration policy are getting just a little taste of what they’ve been dishing out to us lo these many years, and they don’t like it. And Bush himself, accustomed as he is to his security blanket of absolute sycophant-ism, is astonished that Republicans don’t like it.

President Bush did not intend to single out his conservative supporters for criticism in a speech on immigration reform last week and was “surprised” that his remarks angered Republicans, White House spokesman Tony Snow said today.

“He was surprised by the reaction,” Mr. Snow said of Mr. Bush’s speech in Glynco, Ga., last week. “The speech in Georgia was, ‘We’ve got a serious problem and we need to fix it.’ It was not in any way designed to be pointed at Republicans.” …

… Some Republicans on Capitol Hill said that Mr. Bush seemed to be questioning their patriotism, and several conservative activists said the president was splitting the Republican Party by insulting those who have been his most loyal supporters.

Mr. Snow yesterday said the immigration dispute between the president and conservatives “does not mark a point of disjunction,” and emphasized that the White House recognizes and is responding to conservative opposition to the measure.

“We understand if you’re going to get this thing done, you’re gonna need Republicans,” Mr. Snow said. “It’s important to build a large coalition, including our conservative base.”

But Bush’s idea of coalition building is to expect everyone to fall in line behind whatever he wants. Otherwise, you are being “partisan.” He does cave in occasionally — Harriet Miers’s SCOTUS nomination comes to mind — but don’t expect him to compromise. Bush doesn’t do compromise. He either gets his way, or he takes his ball and goes home.

Hey, righties — itching, much?