Tuesday, June 27, 2006

losing the battle against one's own cognitive dissonance

Glenn Greenwald has penned (or shall I say... um... keyboarded?) the most insightful reaction to the Republican wankfest against the New York Times for their coverage of W's bank-record-monitoring. His attack of the assumptions of the conservative argument against the Times is cogent, for sure, but my favorite part is where he discusses how utterly unhinged many of these voices have become:
...all sorts of people who live and work in distant places that are far less likely to ever be the target of a terrorist attack so whimsically and stupidly accuse the journalists at the Times of wanting to help terrorists stage attacks against America.

That is the level of discourse and reasoning flooding the airwaves and public debates. Accordingly, the reporters of the Times are not publishing these stories because they believe that Americans ought to know about and debate the Bush administration's secret, oversight-less intelligence-gathering programs. No -- it's because they are enemies of the United States, they hate Americans, and they want to help The Terrorists stage attacks on this country (of which they are the most likely targets).

The sudden attack on the Times is truly bizarre considering that W himself bragged about "following the terrorists' money" years ago. It seems to me that, at this point, all El Presidente has left supporting him are the real hardcore Bushites, the people whom he couldn't get to stop supporting him if he armed a roadside bomb while screwing a yak on national TV (as long as it's not a gay yak). And every day it's gets harder and harder to be such a person.

Several times lately I've said that I'm glad during these dark times not to be a conservative. Because as hard as it is for me to watch a bunch of self-deluding ideologues running amok in Washington, it must be really, really hard to get everything you want, and put in all of your policies and governmental theories, and make the whole country your "Conservative Experiment," only to watch it get dashed upon the rocks of reality. All that talk of bettering the economy by lowering taxes, of the necessity of preemption and the benefits of American world hegemony, of abstinence-only sex ed, of all things "trickle-down," and now every week a new report comes out showing that, 10 years down the road, none of it works. The poor and middle class are worse off; college, gas, and health care costs have all skyrocketed; the war in Iraq has failed, and may well drag the War on Terrorism down the drain with it; and conservative policies are more unpopular than they've been in years, while liberal ones have sparked new growth (even support for gay marriage has reached a statistical dead heat in recent polls for the first time).

And to top it all off, they're losing control of the government. It becomes more likely every day that the Republican era of dominance in the House will come crashing down in November. Not only that, but every week for the last 3 weeks or so, a new Senate race with a Republican incumbent has become competitive (Burns vs. Tester in Montana, Chafee vs. Whitehouse in Rhode Island, and yes I'm counting it, Lieberman vs. Lamont in Connecticut), making even their hold on the Senate (long a conservative bastion) ever more precarious.

The kind of reaction we're seeing now to the bank records report is the natural consequence of that fact. With all this weighing on the minds of the Bushite, and languishing in a sea of opposition, they're having to make ever more absurd and desperate defensive attacks when backed into yet another corner because The Leader did something authoritarian or incompetent again. Anything to scare the others back in line; anything to draw attention away from Our Wounded Leader.

This is how the Conservative Movement is going to die: in an ever-accelerating frenzy of wildly flailing attacks against anyone and everyone they perceive to be "against us," while a mountain of evidence of corruption, secrecy, and authoritarianism compels the rest of the country, embarrassed for them and yet embarrassed to have ever supported them, to turn their backs and quietly walk away.

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