alien & sedition.
Friday, January 05, 2007
  This Week in Conservative Organs: Exile on K Street

As Republican ex-staffers scramble to secure whatever lobbying jobs are left, our conservative organists this week take up the burden of advising the newly minoritized GOP legislators as to just what, exactly, they should do with themselves for the next two years.

TWICO Feature: Stop Breaking Down

The National Review Online offers a "symposium" on the key question: "How can the GOP show some constructive leadership during the Democrats' first 100 legislative hours?"

Veronique de Rugy, "a research scholar at the American Enterprise Institute," suggests they start by "reforming the supplemental spending process."
The increased reliance on supplemental spending is problematic because the lack of detail in supplemental budget requests — combined with their expedited approval process — leaves little room for congressional oversight. In addition, the reduced budget discipline for supplemental bills attracts earmarks and other projects that wouldn’t be funded on their own merits. [...]

Addressing the supplemental-spending shell game that Capitol Hill and the White House have been playing for years would save taxpayers roughly $100 billion per year.
Would Republicans magically manage to pass such reforms without Democratic support? I have no idea. Maybe the Democrats would go along. After all, why wouldn't they want to give the GOP's main domestic priority a boost:
That would make it easier for the GOPs to try to make their tax cuts permanent.
Former Congressman David McIntosh suggests that Republicans "should boldly propose ideas to further reduce taxes and eliminate unnecessary and wasteful government spending." McIntosh also insists that the GOP "vigorously oppose proposals that increase the size and scope of the federal government." To McIntosh, the minority is an opportunity for the Republicans to once again become "the party of ideas." No doubt the Republicans would find it refreshing to be just the party of ideas again, as those ideas haven't served them very well when they've been the party of power.

Grover Norquist, having helped drown the GOP majority in a bathtub, suggests the Republicans do only one thing: "Lose." Lucky for them Norquist is such an expert at that!
For the next two years conservatives will not be able to pass any useful legislation through the House of Representatives. Memorize that sentence. Place it on your PC screensaver. Use it as your message on your answering machine. A discreet but easily accessed tattoo would be helpful. [...]

Republicans in Congress need to use the first 100 days and the next two years to lose. Propose House rules that keep the present GOP requirement for a 3/5 vote to raise taxes. And lose. Propose House rules that term limit committee chairmen — the old GOP rule only applied to Republicans. And lose. Propose a tax cut. And lose. Heck, get denied an actual vote. Have a procedural vote. And lose. Propose an end to earmarks. And lose. Write welfare reform part three. And lose.
You know what? I agree with this.

I know, I know - it's all part of a clever strategy to make the Democrats look bad. Professor John J. Pitney Jr. has more:
To the limited extent that they can offer amendments and alternatives, they should force the Democrats to show whether they are as “moderate” as the conventional wisdom has depicted them.
Indeed. And what are these radical, loony ideas that will descredit the Democrats? Er... the minimum wage hike. And pay-as-you-go budgeting. I can hear the strains of the "Internationale"...

ALSO AT NRO: David Hogberg [note to self: name jokes are the lowest form of humor] darkly predicts that whatever the Democrats do about health care, they'll just end up making it cost more; Donald Luskin just knew that the Democrats were only pretending to care about the deficit; and K-Lo advises Mitt Romney: "Say it loud: I'm Mormon and I'm proud!"

Up-Is-Downism Award: Turd on the Run

You read this stuff and there are some articles that just seem to deserve special acclaim for diving boldly through the looking glass. It's so perverse it's almost unanswerable. Starting today, I'll be conferring a special award to teh most awesomely l33t mind-bender of the week.

So the inaugural Up-Is-Downism Award goes to R. Emmet Tyrrell, founder and still champion at the anti-Clinton scandal sheet, theAmerican Spectator. R. invites us to sympathize with the dilemma now facing President Bush, as this gentle uniter finds himself thrown to the ravenous Democratic wolves. Some excerpts [subtext in bold]:
The story here in this great city is that President George W. Bush, leader of the vanquished Republicans, is reaching out [middle finger extended] to the triumphant Democrats on Capitol Hill. [...]

What the Republican base might find reassurance in is that this is not a New Bush. He came to Washington believing in this sort of collegiality. He thought he experienced it in Texas with a Democratic legislature. He imagined he would experience it in Washington. My guess is that one of his greatest disappointments as president is that there has been so little consensus in Congress and so much partisanship. [No doubt Karl Rove was equally disappointed.] [...]

Mr. Bush spent most of his adult life as a businessman, not as a politician. For about two decades, as Mr. Bush was working in [failing upward through] the private sector and the likes of Nancy Pelosi and the Clintons were politicking, a growing partisanship was overtaking politics.
Okay, I just have to stop for a moment and catch my breath, make sure everyone's paying attention here now, because this next part is just absolutely delicious. Ready? Ok.
The Clintons and their cogenerationists were the main reason for it.
Ohhhhhhh MAN that's some good stuff. Oh yeah, sorry - the subtext:
[Says the rag that made its entire name and reputation with a series of vicious Mellon Scaife-funded partisan slanders on the Clintons!!]
Okay, it goes on, but I think we've seen more than enough to declare a winner.

ALSO AT THE AMSPEC, Quin Hillyer outlines conservative resolutions for the new year: support the 'surge,' embiggen the military, kill the nanny state, take a bite out of crime, and be really, really ethical. Meanwhile, "The Prowler" begins the political deathwatch for Republican Senators Warner and Sununu, and Pia de Solenni says there are two kind of women: women who want to get married and thus end up having lots of lonely premarital sex (and here she coins the phrase of the week: "sex without context"), and women who don't care about other people and thus remain happily chaste. (She also earns bonus points for using examples from Sex and the City without even knowing the characters' names, referring to Samantha only as "the promiscuous blonde.")


AT THE WEEKLY STANDARD, Fred Barnes wishes President Bush would shut up about Social Security and start talking up Health Savings Accounts. Any deal that Bush could make on Social Security would be unacceptable to conservatives ("Were Bush to approve a substantial tax increase without any compensating reform, he would sever his last solid link with conservatives"). But now everyone's talking about health care, and here conservatives have a chance to get in at the ground floor. Plus, it wouldn't require horse trading!
To extend their use, Bush doesn't need the approval of Democrats, most of whom oppose HSAs. Legislation passed in the lame duck session of Congress made it easier for companies and individuals to sign up. All that's required of the president is to mount the bully pulpit to spread the good word about HSAs and promote their use.
You know, this is actually legitimately dangerous. Conservatives can never kill the great liberal innovations like Social Security. But they can kill health care reform before it starts. That's exactly what Barnes is advocating.

MEANWHILE AT THE STANDARD, Louis Wittig is baffled by Al Jazeera English, which seems almost as fair and balanced as Fox News, if only they wouldn't talk about Arabs so much; and Victorino Matus says "Saddam got off easy:" why, they didn't even desecrate his body!

ZIPPING THROUGH... At the neoconeriffic Commentary Gabriel Schoenfeld frets that the election of Keith Ellison and the existence of a handful of Democratic congresspeople with less than 100% ratings from AIPAC mean that the Democrats are turning into the Hate the Jews Party. Meanwhile, Joshua Muravchik, who once almost ended up on the Ali G. show, manages to argue that: 1)Borat is a great movie because it's mainly about making fun of people in the Third World, and 2)Criticizing Israeli policies is more anti-Semitic than singing "throw the Jew down the well".

FINALLY, the paleocons at The American Conservative feature a special liberal guest star: Glenn Greenwald, who wonders why none of the talking-head war cheerleaders have been made to answer for their foolishness:
Yet there seems to be no accountability for these pro-war pundits. On the contrary, they continue to pose as wise, responsible experts and have suffered no lost credibility, prominence, or influence. They have accomplished this feat largely by evading responsibility for their prior opinions, pretending that they were right all along or, in the most extreme cases, denying that they ever supported the war.
ALSO, Steve Sailer demonstrates the dark side of communitarianism, denouncing free market social Darwinism but also American cultural diversity. It seems that people - especially brown people - just don't like each other very much. Proposed solutions: martial law, IQ tests, or universal Christian fundamentalism. Take your pick.

AND FINALLY, Tom Piatak reviews Dinesh D’Souza’s new book, whose title is something like Why 9/11 Was the Liberals' Fault. Piatak's a little taken aback by D'Souza's fondness for sharia law, but his reaction is less interesting than D'Souza's thesis, which goes like this:

1. They hate us for our freedoms
2. Liberals are the ones who use freedoms
3. They hate us for our liberals.

It's nice to see the conservatives and the terrorists have something in common. Whatever gets your rocks off.

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Dinesh D'Souza is on to something.
Do you think muslim nations want a 33 percent illegitimacy rate like we have (and far higher for underperforming minorities)? Probably not. Are liberals responsible for our 33 percent illegitimacy rate? Largely, yes, through pushing relentlessly against the social stigma against single motherhood. This is the kind of think D'Souza speaks of, not "freedoms" in general that you mention. Conservatives hate freedom from social stigma for making horrible choices (because it leads to more people making those horrible choices), which is not quite the same as hating freedom itself.
I find bizarre the notion that Al Qaeda's attacks have anything even remotely to do with old debates over American domestic social policy. Al Qaeda has attacked us specifically because of the way our own foreign policy has intersected with their political aspirations in the Muslim world.

D'Souza is dishonestly using the spectre of terrorism to ride the same domestic policy warhorses his ilk have been flogging for years. (Hope that metaphor didn't get too mixed.) He's far from the only person to do that, but he does it with a special flair.
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