Catching Up

The problem with getting behind in my blogging is that, when I do get back to the blog, so much stuff has happened that I don’t know where to start. And, unfortunately, I have a huge amount of Other work to do today and cannot linger here writing something artful. So I’m just going to sort of free associate for a bit and run through some current items.

Leila Fadel and Nancy A. Youssef write for McClatchy Newspapers, “Is ‘success’ of U.S. surge in Iraq about to unravel?” I knew the surge — as a public relations tool, anyway — was in trouble last night, when I was half listening to Hardball. I heard Tweety ask something along the lines of “Is the surge working?” When Tweety’s catching on to something, you know it’s pretty damn obvious. See also Fester at Newshoggers.

The bobbleheads are beginning to write off the Clinton campaign again, for at least the third time. The Vegetable has her chances of winning the nomination at 5 percent, which makes it a near certainty she’s about shoot up in the polls.

Journalist and brother blogger Will Bunch scored a major coup yesterday with this story. (Senator Clinton is exaggerating? Who knew?) See also “Clinton: Pledged delegates are ‘like superdelegates.’ ”

I have to disagree with E.J. Dionne. He writes,

What’s the matter with conservatism?

Its problems start with the failure of George W. Bush’s presidency …

The problems of conservatism are intrinsic to conservatism. Bush’s failed presidency is just a manifestation of the internal failures of conservatism.

I don’t have any problems with what used to be moderately conservative positions, such as being cautious about raising taxes, spending the people’s money, and getting entangled in foreign problems we would do well to leave alone. A moderately conservative perspective needs to be represented in government as a counterweight to some of the flightier impulses of progressivism. By the same token, conservatism needs progressivism and its flightier impulses to keep it from being utterly stuck in the mud. And democratic government itself can only survive when it respects the values of liberalism.

The problem with conservatism is that, when taken to extremes and logical outcomes, it turns into a nasty, brutish thing that destroys everything it touches. And the problem with the Republican Party is that, in the 1970s, it was infiltrated and taken over by hard-core ideologues who were determined to take the GOP and the rest of the country to those extremes and logical outcomes.

And once the extremists had complete control of all branches of government, with no effective counterweights, they proceeded to destroy everything they touched.

You can argue — hell, I’ve argued — that any ideology, taken to extremes, will implode and self-destruct. Ideology is a bit like medicine; a bigger dose is not necessarily a better dose. One pill every four hours might cure you, but four pills every one hour might kill you.

Well, Other duty calls. Gotta go.

8 thoughts on “Catching Up

  1. I know this sounds like nitpicking, but there’s nothing wrong with conservatism other than the fact that this venerable belief system has been defamed by the neo-Trotskyites who have turned the Republican party into a parody of fascism.

    The Republican party I grew up in supported the environment because that was a conservative — not a liberal — position to take. They didn’t support government bailouts of mismanaged corporations, and they weren’t war hawks.

    Sadly, I wasn’t even out of high school when all that started changing, and when Nixon greenlighted the wooing of the Old Confederacy I left the Republican party. I’m not entirely comfortable in our corporatized Democratic party, but it’s no worse than the Republicans were post-McCarthy/pre-Nixon’s presidency.

    The truth is both parties have switched positions thanks to the Old Confederate states dragging their reprehensible racist baggage into the GOP. The Democrats are now the conservatives and the Republicans, well, not the liberals, but definitely inclined to radicalism.

    I guess you would call old skool conservatism to be “moderate conservatism,” but I can’t agree that Republican radicals are conservatives of any stripe, however much they love calling themselves by that label. It’s no truer of themselves than the labels they try to stick on liberals.

  2. “Two weeks ago, Clinton herself told Newsweek that “There are elected delegates, caucus delegates and superdelegates, all for different reasons, and they’re all equal in their ability to cast their “vote for whomever they choose. Even elected and caucus delegates are not required to stay with whomever they are pledged to.”

    From CNN Political Ticker

    Can anyone doubt the dangerous, egotistical, ambition that has brought this woman to be a candidate for President? The popular vote in any of the state contests is not relevant; they are all like superdelagates and can jump ship at the convention if they wish. Does she think democracy is a charade, or a ritual preliminary to her corenation?

  3. I read this great commentary at alternet and wanted to share it with Maha and the regulars. My hero is Miss Manners and I always try to remember that “just because someone is rude to me does not give me the right to be rude to them.” However, I have been thinking we liberals have been way too nice to the rabid, radical rightwing. Maha has written about this, too. But, today John Dolan has hit on this theme and covers it well. My favorite is the following:

    “Why, for example, not popularize slogans that mock the Bush loyalists as “suckers”? Something like, “There are two kinds of Republicans: millionaires and suckers.” Put that on a few bumper stickers and I guarantee a lot of “South Park Republicans” will quit the GOP.”

    The link is as follows:

  4. “Why, for example, not popularize slogans that mock the Bush loyalists as “suckers”?

    Bonnie, Just do it over the internet so your safety is assured. There are to many unstable Republicans out there to run that risk. Antagonizing them could jeopardize your life or your property. You’ve got to remember that a vast majority of the republicans have the passions and mentality very close to a typical abortion clinic bomber. By mocking Bush you provide in their mind the justification of righteousness necessary for them to act against you with violence.

    Doug…you gotta lighten up on Hillary..after all,didn’t she win a Distinguished Flying Cross in Kosovo, and get baptized by fire Tuzla?

  5. We continue to see a world-wide conservative backlash. Political and religious.
    When France elect’s Bush-lite Sarkozy, you know we’re faced with more problems than we realize.
    The American Revolution and the French Revolution were liberal, progressive movements which shook the world. The conservatives were shaken to the bone and have been fighting back ever since.
    While American’s saw that the political movement’s in Italy, Japan and Germany in the early 20th Century were deeply CONSERVATIVE movement’s, they failed to see that so, too, were the Russian and Chinese Revolutions. The last two were ultimately found to have used Marxist language to cloak truly totalitarian aims. And when the conservatives labeled them as Marxist and liberal, they were able to shift any argument to the right. And so it goes until this day…
    Our world is on the precipice of cataclismic environmental/nuclear disaster. And, until American’s realize that we need to lead with liberalism and progressivism, the world will continue it’s conservative spiral to Hell.
    I don’t buy into the notion, generally, of American Exceptionalism. But, it is a fact that WE were the ones who followed in the the footsteps of The Renaissance and the Enlightenment and took it a step further. WE were the ones who shook the world. No American Revolution, no French Revolution (and never mind what the aftermath of that turned out to be). And, like it or not, we need to shake it again. If we don’t, who will?
    2008 is the year of the future. Elect a Democrat, and we might have a chance. MIGHT…
    Elect a conservative, and you can kiss your children and grandchildren goodbye in November of this year. Oh, the world won’t end the day after the election. But, as surely as the sun rises in the east, our fate will be sealed. If we don’t all bake in a man-made nuclear sun, we will bake under the natural one over our heads.
    That is what we need to sell to the American people.
    This is life or death, folks!!!.
    So which will it be?
    Life, or death?

  6. When France elect’s Bush-lite Sarkozy, you know we’re faced with more problems than we realize.

    Like big conservative nations waving their ICBMs around in the faces of small liberal democracies? Just how do you expect people respond when they are told that Bad Things will happen to their country if “unfriendly” leaders are voted into office?

  7. pnertrt,
    Exactly as they did.
    And will do.
    And that is my point.
    That if we don’t wake up and lead, LIBERALLY, the horror’s that will follow can be squarely put on our broad shoulder’s and bulging codpiece’s…
    Again, though I am no advocate of ‘American Exceptionalism,’ we have to admit we did create most of the the problems (OMG – how can he say that? Well, it;s true! Read a few book’s). And, now, we have to fix them.
    I don’t mean keeping troop’s in Iraq for decades.
    I mean leading the world in a paragim shift toward’s mutual respect and disarmament. Toward’s a holistic environmental approach that only we can lead.
    WE have the largest military. WE consume more energy. Who’s going to take the lead? China? Russia? Haiti???
    No, it has to be us. On both front’s – military and environmental. And we need leader’s who can see that.
    That is my point….

  8. China? Russia? Haiti???
    Those three being, I presume, the only other countries on Earth.

    Toward’s a holistic environmental approach that only we can lead.
    You have a rather strange way of showing your lack of execptionalism. Did you perhaps consider that might actually be other peoples out there competent to participate in their own governance?
    Or notice that many have been trying to do just this very thing, only to find each and every attempt met with incoherent rage, belligerence and escalating threats of repeisal?

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