The spring of their discontent

There’s all kinds of talk at The Corner about the lack of popular support for President Bush, and the deepening gloom among Republicans:

GLOOM [Jonah Goldberg]
I had lunch with another prominent Republican. I asked him if he could remember a time when Republicans were more dispirited. He shrugged and said, “It really is pretty bleak, isn’t it.” Or words to that effect.

Posted at 04:53 PM

But of course Republicans are gloomy. Junior, first son and chip-off-the-old-block, W., a smug arrogant politician whose political mission it was to sucker conservatives with his act of humility and conservatism into making him president, which high position he would then use to move the Republican party to the left while showing more and more contempt for most of what his supporters believed in and for his supporters themselves, and whose main policy initiative, the “war” in Iraq, consists of a bunch of empty, ever-changing, and ever-discredited assertions, a president who is intellectually incompetent and imperiously arrogant at the same time (a great combination, that), was narrowly re-elected in 2004 because his opponent, Sen. Kerry, was the most implausible and obnoxious presidential candidate in history. Throughout 2004 I kept saying, “If Bush were facing a half-decent or even quarter-decent opponent, he would be finished. But he’s not, so he’s not.” Throughout 2004 I also said that if Bush were re-elected, his project to move the Republican party to the left would be legitimized and institutionalized, destroying it as a vehicle of conservatism, and even as a party. I said it would be far more energizing for the Republicans to have a liberal Democratic president to oppose, as they did in 1993-94, than to continue under the thumb of a liberal Republican president who was leaching every bit of life out of them. I said that even though the short-term consequences of a Kerry presidency, especially in international affairs, would be disastrous, the long-term consequences would be good, because a Republican party free of the Bush incubus would have a chance to rediscover a genuine conservative agenda, find a conservative candidate, and win back the White House on that basis in 2008. But Bush was re-elected, and, though this has not been a complete disaster (consider how the House has stood up for real immigration reform), overall his re-election has had the effects I predicted. Bush-style Republicanism has demoralized the Republican party down to nothing, and all the leading GOP hopefuls for 2008 are meaningless Bush types.

Just as the function of liberals is to hollow out Western society from within, the function of liberal Republicans is to hollow out the Republican party from within. So, even though Bush is down now in the polls and in public estimation, have no doubt that he is succeeding in his fundamental task. What is a liberal, after all? Someone who won’t take his own side in a fight. From the conservative point of view, Bush is losing, but from the liberal point of view, he is winning.

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Paul Henri writes:

Most enjoyable. I predicted Bush would destroy the Republican Party, and it looks like he is right on schedule: 33 percent approval rating with no modern precedent. Yet he continues his stupid amnesty support, his Benedict-Arnold-like meetings with Mexico’s Fox, his support for Rumsfeld, and his losing of the war in Iraq. Moreover, when is he going to hit Iran’s nuclear sites—after the fact I’ll bet? His negatives just keep on coming: Karl Rove, FEMA/New Orleans, high oil prices, Homeland Security’s pervert, his rampant cronyism (e.g., his appointment of a 35-year-old White House lawyer in a high position in the immigration department), his alliance with the obvious self-serving Delay, his no-firings firings within the White House, etc.

Antony writes:

I believe it was Robert Frost who said “a liberal is someone who refuses to take his own side in an argument.”

May I suggest an amendment to that definition? “A liberal is someone who refuses to take his own side in an argument and forces that standard upon mainstream society.”

Not as punchy, but it sums up why liberalism is so destructive not only to the liberal but to everyone else, and it identifies the one condition upon which a liberal is prepared to fight.

Posted by Lawrence Auster at April 20, 2006 08:12 PM | Send

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