Saturday, April 17, 2004

Another conservative sickened by this Administration's policies, part V

Here at Brad Delong's site he has both Rubenstein dishing GWB and the pro-war hawk Tish Durkin (who as you can see here is one hot dish herself at the 10:55 AM posting on Friday April 09th 2004 entry of The View From Baghdad blog) cracking the whip on the positive spin assessment of the Bush Admin for the Iraq situation. Remember that she's in Baghdad and GWB isn't.

Here is Col Lounsbury's interesting bit of news. North of Basra according to his CPA sources, commercial shipping doesn't exist. No commerce, no reconstruction. No reconstrucion, no hope. No hope, and we're dead and like a dinosaur we're just too dumb to realize it. If reconstruction has truly stopped and we can't get it going again, then it's game, set, and match and we're just watching a losing strategy play out to its inevitable resolution via cable news channels.

In addition I've added my comment on Brad's website about where oh where have the grown-up Republicans gone, and it lists some more outraged conservatives from Retired General and former Reagan NSA director Odom to Kevin Drum's posted email litany of embittered conservatives speaking about GWB's betrayal of conservative values. However, on the ground the old realcons continue to lose ground to the neocons, politicons, religicons, and aborticons.

But at this point, even some of the more pragmatic neocons like Kagan and Kristol are desperately signaling that Washington policy on Iraq is completely astray.

Oh and Bob Woodward, him of the Watergate "follow the money" reporter fame and the fawning run-up to Afghanistan war book, that Bob Woodward has published a book stating that Bush had his mind made up about Iraq soon after 911 whatever the evidence actually indicated. If Bob Woodward no longer finds Bush's assertions that we might find WMD in Iraq credible, then I would say that the Administration has a serious credibility gap inside the conservative base. Here are some parts of Woodward's writing as presented by Dowd in the NYT, detailing the sickened Powell who nevertheless failed to openly confront his superior gone awry.

If you want to know (where the grown-up Republicans are), on all levels, we've been forced out. The problem is that the grown-up Republicans always have been kind of distant, a little disasteful about pandering to the base. Because of that, over the last ten some years other up and comers - the religicons, politicons, and neocons - were able to seize the levers and positions of party power away from us.

Us realcons lost first the religious right, then the anti-tax crowd, then big biz and anti-environment, and then just recently the neocons eclipsed. Each time it happened by a group pushing a radical ideological agenda that pandered to the red-meat frustrations of various parts of the base that was transforming itself away from the old Republican base.

You see the old Republican base was the blue-collar guy who was hard working and loathed unions. He was the white collar guy who came home and read the WSJ. He was the business owner who wanted reasonable regulation and taxes. Once upon a time Eisenhower was a Republican for god's sake.

Nixon's Southern strategy really started changing us, as well as many who became unscrupulous and power seeking - politicons - after the long period of Democratic domination in the Congress. Eventually the captore of the House o'Reps by the politicon by Gringrich (who at heart is a pragmatic but ambitious politicon thru and thru) lead to the driving wedge of radicalized Republican legislative dominance - Delay, etc.

Reagan also turned out to be a polarizing force, moving the party further right. When the disastisfied elements rebelled in the forms of supporting both Buchanan and Perot, and choosing to defeat a relatively moderate incumbent Republican President they consolidated their control and focused on undermining Democratic seats in the Congress.

Rush Limbaugh was symptomatic, as well as the various string of televangelists whom I do not exclude BG here of a "dumbing down" of the Republican base. Where Republicans once prided themselves on sharp pragmatism and a limited government philosophy, gaming the system became more important. As the Republican base lost touch with its core values, and became consumed with party loyalty and winning the old realcons were consistently and gradually marginalized.

Now the voices of reason still do exist, but mostly have been shut out of the inner corridors of power. Even those who willing to speak out like Lugar have been attacked. There remains a significant minority of Republicans including me extremely discontented by this Administration

However we've been shut out Brad, shut out in the cold. They've got a clean lock on most of the base, and all the party levers of power. Even independent prominent guys like McCain, Hagel, etc. or dissenters - (even Susan Collins has sounded shaky recently ) - have minimal pull inside the party machine anymore.

Career guys like Halper or Odom are just plain locked out of the policy process.

We got the worst sort of ideologues in the driver's seat, and none of the "good guys" or grownups even allowed near the process. Anybody who does has to pass a loyalty litmus test. Even Rumsfeld has given dissenting signals on occasion, but he's loyal as a dog - he'll do the wrong thing because his boss told him to. Even to an extent Powell has succumbed to loyalty politics.

Anyone else who get's in their way, Republican or not like Whitman or O'Neill, simply get's used up, thrown away, or actively targeted for destruction. O'Neill's treatment was pretty shabby in the end.

To some extent, old realcons deserve some of the blame. Brent Scowcroft fostered and apprenticed Condi for instance. However she succumbed to a form of loyalty politics and gaming the system that the oldman would have never tolerated - and openly spoke out quite presciently against in the run up to the war.

We're locked out in the cold Brett. It's been leaked that even Herbert asked "what was the exit strategy?" before invading Iraq in private family meetings. However, he loves his son and has been publicly defending him. Loyalty politics.

Personally, I'd like to rescue the Republican party of those oldmen for a new generation because there used to be something Grand in the Grand Old Party indeed. But it's all gone to h*ll now Brett, and us grownups are forced to watch the hellion teenagers make a muck out of everything.

Posted by: Oldman on April 15, 2004 04:27 PM


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