Wednesday, September 23, 2009

The would-be loyal opposition

I rather like this piece by Heather Mac Donald against anti-Obama hysteria, but I found this point a little too pat:
Republicans were furious at the criticism of Bush, “a wartime president!” We’re still “at war,” but the respect that should be accorded a wartime president, per the Republicans, is nowhere in evidence. The Democrats who are now so offended by Obama-hatred either participated in Bush-bashing themselves or didn’t object to it.
She later makes this point: "We are not moving from pure capitalism to pure socialism, we are moving from an already highly regulated, corporate- and individual-welfare-saturated economy to an even more regulated and redistributed economy...The difference is one of degree, not of kind..." I think the same applies about Bushbashing vs. Obama-hatred, in which Rove & Co. deliberately initiated a polarizing strategy to split the country and alienate blue-staters, while Obama has bent over backwards to talk about how not all conservatives are greedy and slimy, etc. Bush hatred was part of the plan in the former plan, in fact, it was a desirable side effect to show the base just how nuts the other side was. But Obama hasn't sought to alienate conservatives, and indeed has extended his hand in friendship many, many times. Even granting that a lot of liberals thought Bush was essentially evil in much the same way that a lot of conservatives now find Obama evil, with the caveat that liberals loathed Bush for what he did, said and represented while conservatives loathe Obama for no reason in particular, the difference to me is that the infrastructure of the left deliberately tried to shut down the influence of outright, high-profile Bushbashers like Michael Moore (usually by giving them no profile), while simultaneously slamming Bush on his failures of leadership and management viz. Iraq and Katrina. In other words, the Democrats on an elite level maintained the same sort of opposition that Heather wants to see from Republicans. Elite Republicans, on the other hand, are now indulging the tea parties, Rush daily spews incendiary rhetoric, Glenn Beck regularly indulges in fabulism, and Inhofe and DeMint keep talking about the impending socialist/fascist/communist putsch, since all three of those things are roughly the same and have never fought in any wars against each other. Whoops...

Of course, I suppose Mac Donald couldn't well say that Republicans should oppose like the Democrats, as drawing these sorts of moral equivalences (rather, moral inadequacies) turns you into the next Charles Johnson.

The Man, The Myth, The Bio

East Bay, California, United States
Problem: I have lots of opinions on politics and culture that I need to vent. If I do not do this I will wind up muttering to myself, and that's only like one or two steps away from being a hobo. Solution: I write two blogs. A political blog that has some evident sympathies (pro-Obama, mostly liberal though I dissent on some issues, like guns and trade) and a culture blog that does, well, cultural essays in a more long-form manner. My particular thing is taking overrated things (movies, mostly, but other things too) down a peg and putting underrated things up a peg. I'm sort of the court of last resort, and I tend to focus on more obscure cultural phenomena.