I don’t consider myself a conservative so I really don’t have a dog in this fight about what the Republicans did wrong. I do consider myself a libertarian though and certainly a free market advocate. P.J. O’Rourke considers himself a conservative but reading this rant, I can’t help but believe he’s just a libertarian who had no party.
The only problem with blogging about a P.J. column is trying to decide what passages to post. There are too many good ones and if I start, I’ll just end up posting the whole damn thing. Obviously, that would be copyright infringement or something so I’ll give it a try:
Let us bend over and kiss our ass goodbye. Our 28-year conservative opportunity to fix the moral and practical boundaries of government is gone–gone with the bear market and the Bear Stearns and the bear that’s headed off to do you-know-what in the woods on our philosophy.
I’d say that’s about right at least for now. The Republican party is bound for minority status for a long time if they don’t change.
Thoughts on the “Southern Strategy” of Nixon:
Since then modern conservatism has been plagued by the wrong friends and the wrong foes. The “Southern Strategy” was bequeathed to the Republican party by Richard Nixon–not a bad friend of conservatism but no friend at all. The Southern Strategy wasn’t needed. Southern whites were on–begging the pardon of the Scopes trial jury–an evolutionary course toward becoming Republican. There’s a joke in Arkansas about a candidate hustling votes in the country. The candidate asks a farmer how many children he has.
“I’ve got six sons,” the farmer says.
“Are they all good little Democrats?” the candidate asks.
“Well,” the farmer says, “five of ’em are. But my oldest boy, he got to readin’??.??.??.??”
There was no need to piss off the entire black population of America to get Dixie’s electoral votes. And despising cracker trash who have a laundry hamper full of bedsheets with eye-holes cut in them does not make a man a liberal.
Most of the planet is conservative according to P.J.
It’s not hard to move a voting bloc. And it should be especially easy to move voters to the right. Sensible adults are conservative in most aspects of their private lives. If this weren’t so, imagine driving on I-95: The majority of drivers are drunk, stoned, making out, or watching TV, while the rest are trying to calculate the size of their carbon footprints on the backs of Whole Foods receipts while negotiating lane changes.
People are even more conservative if they have children. Nobody with kids is a liberal, except maybe one pothead in Marin County. Everybody wants his or her children to respect freedom, exercise responsibility, be honest, get educated, have opportunities, and own a bunch of guns. (The last is optional and includes, but is not limited to, me, my friends in New Hampshire, and Sarah Palin.)
Reagan managed to reach out to blue collar whites. But there his reach stopped, leaving many people on our side, but barely knowing it. There are enough yarmulkes among the neocons to show that Jews are not immune to conservatism. Few practicing Catholics vote Democratic anymore except in Massachusetts where they put something in the communion wafers. When it comes to a full-on, hemp-wearing, kelp-eating, mandala-tatted, fool-coifed liberal with socks in sandals, I have never met a Muslim like that or a Chinese and very few Hispanics. No U.S. immigrants from the Indian subcontinent fill that bill (the odd charlatan yogi excepted), nor do immigrants from Africa, Eastern Europe, or East Asia. And Japanese tourists may go so far as socks in sandals, but their liberal nonsense stops at the ankles.
We have all of this going for us, worldwide. And yet we chose to deliver our sermons only to the faithful or the already converted. Of course the trailer park Protestants yell “Amen.” If you were handling rattlesnakes and keeping dinosaurs for pets, would you vote for the party that gets money from PETA?
In how many ways did we fail conservatism? And who can count that high? Take just one example of our unconserved tendency to poke our noses into other people’s business: abortion. Democracy–be it howsoever conservative–is a manifestation of the will of the people. We may argue with the people as a man may argue with his wife, but in the end we must submit to the fact of being married. Get a pro-life friend drunk to the truth-telling stage and ask him what happens if his 14-year-old gets knocked up. What if it’s rape? Some people truly have the courage of their convictions. I don’t know if I’m one of them. I might kill the baby. I will kill the boy.
On impeaching Clinton:
Our impeachment of President Clinton was another example of placing the wrong political emphasis on personal matters. We impeached Clinton for lying to the government. To our surprise the electorate gave us cold comfort. Lying to the government: It’s called April 15th. And we accused Clinton of lying about sex, which all men spend their lives doing, starting at 15 bragging about things we haven’t done yet, then on to fibbing about things we are doing, and winding up with prevarications about things we no longer can do.
On farm subsidies:
Agriculture is a business that has been up to its bib overalls in politics since the first Thanksgiving dinner kickback to the Indians for subsidizing Pilgrim maize production with fish head fertilizer grants. But never, since the Mayflower knocked the rock in Plymouth, has anything as putrid as the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act of 2008 been spread upon the land. Just the name says it. There are no farms left. Not like the one grampa grew up on.
A “farm” today means 100,000 chickens in a space the size of a Motel 6 shower stall. If we cared anything about “nutrition” we would–to judge by the mountainous, jiggling flab of Americans–stop growing all food immediately. And “bioenergy” is a fraud of John Edwards-marital-fidelity proportions. Taxpayer money composted to produce a fuel made of alcohol that is more expensive than oil, more polluting than oil, and almost as bad as oil with vermouth and an olive. But this bill passed with bipartisan majorities in both houses of Congress and was happily signed into law by President Bush. Now it’s going to cost us at least $285 billion. That’s about five times the gross domestic product of prewar Iraq. For what we will spend on the Farm, Nutrition and Bioenergy Act of 2008 we could have avoided the war in Iraq and simply bought a controlling interest in Saddam Hussein’s country.
I think I’ll stop there and just urge you to read the whole thing. It is priceless. I hope the Republicans are listening.