Sunday, June 03, 2007


Self-styled "crunchy con" Rod Dreher sups on crow:
...I think as the last wheel comes off this presidency, and the GOP comes to grips with what this presidency has meant for the Republican Party and the conservative movement, there will be a strong temptation to resist owning up to our own complicity. Success has a thousand fathers, after all, and failure is an orphan. This failure is not President Bush's alone. The Republican Party owns it. The conservative movement, with some exceptions, owns it.

Few of us stood up to Bush when he took us to this disastrous war in Iraq. Few, if any, stood up to him over his foolish support for Rumsfeld, long after it became obvious what a disaster Rumsfeld was. Few, if any, stood up to him over his amassing of power in the executive branch. Few, if any, stood up to him on the spending. Few, if any, stood up to him over the massive prescription drug benefit. Few stood up to him over the political hackery pervading his administration, which became distressingly obvious during Katrina (indeed, there are still Republicans now who insist that the corrupt politicization of the Department of Justice is a non-issue, because these people "serve at the president's pleasure"). Correct me if I'm wrong, but the first time any of us stood up in significant numbers, and with full-throated voice, against the president was over the Harriet Miers debacle. And then we fell silent again, for the most part.

So yes, by all means let's turn our backs on this failed presidency, and save what we can, while we can. But let's not kid ourselves: Bush has failed conservatives, yes, but we have also failed ourselves. It doesn't take much courage to stand up for conservative principle to a president as weak as this one has become. It would have taken real courage to stand up for conservative principle in 2002, 2003, 2004, even early 2005. How many did? I know I didn't -- not until Katrina and Miers, which came late in 2005. If we're looking to blame someone for the failure of Republican government and the conservative crack-up, look to the White House, yes, and look to the late, unlamented Republican Congress. But also look to the conservative talk show hosts, the conservative columnists, and finally, in the mirror. The only way we're going to rebuild after the present and coming political shattering is through honest reckoning, and taking responsibility for what we've done. It is tempting to blame Bush for everything. But it's not fair, and it's not honest. Bush is today who he always was. The difference is we conservatives pretty much loved the guy -- when he was a winner.

The list of Bush horrors is incomplete, of course, but this one of the most self-aware and reality-based acknowledgments I have seen from right of center.

Amid the horror any sentient being must feel on a daily basis at the terrible toll taken by this Administration and its enablers, there are few causes for smiles. And we have to applaud when conservatives wave up and smell the java, even if they have overslept by a few years. But I will not apologize for a little schadenfreude once in a while.

I think using the oft-cited Pottery Barn rule as an excuse to stay in Iraq ad infinitum is stupid and perverse. But the Republicans broke much about America, and it is about time they started accepting the tab.

Update: Yglesias on Dreher: "It just turns out that if your conception of the president's job doesn't involve running the country well, then your team's president is probably going to wind up doing a shitty job of running the country."


Blogger Eric Soderstrom said...

Maybe it's because of the context of his article, but all he seems to care about in the cited passage is the damage Bush has done to the Republican Party and Conservatives. What about the damage done to our country? To our Troops? To our standing in the world?

I also think that conservatives will/are/have latch/latching/latched on to this red meme - that Bush and company have been and remain incompetent. The focus will be on his execution for Reds.

The focus should be on the selfish and immoral ideology and the failed policies, not on the execution of those policies. I believe that if we had half the American body count in Iraq, the same people who are now starting to abandon ship would still be cheering on their intrepid Commander in Chief.

2:15 PM  

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