Friday, October 10, 2008
Open letter to conservatives
These are tough times for everyone, but I know these are especially tough times for you. From Iraq to Katrina to this global financial meltdown, you’ve made rather a mess of things, and now your party’s standardbearer is running a historically abysmal campaign made up of one part lies and two parts hate. His proposal for health care is somewhere between stupid and vicious, and his response to the financial crisis is, amazingly, even worse. Who’s his base now? Left Behind fans and people who can get hoppin’ mad at Barack Hussein Obama for spending three million dollars on an overhead projector thingy whatsis. Yes, you have a VP candidate who got the base (and Rich Lowry) excited. But as Hunter pointed out the other day,
The wingnut base is the easiest group of people on the planet to fire up. They get fired up when they think gays might steal their marriages. They get fired up when they have to press “one” for English. They get fired up when some black guy gets all uppity and runs for president. They get fired up when their sub-sub-sub-version of Christianity isn’t the dominant religious ideal of the nation. Holding Sarah Palin in front of them is like teasing a dog through a fence, but that’s about it.
Face it, folks, there’s nothing left. You have a big bag of fail at this point. Just the lies and the hate, which is more than enough to generate a $20 million salary for Sean Hannity but not enough to keep ordinary people from understanding that racial minorities are not to blame for the subprime crisis, and that Bill Ayers is not responsible for the Dow’s collapse.
So, what to do? Those of you who have a shred of human decency and/or intellectual integrity are in a bit of a bind: you can cut your losses, recapitalize your institutions, and try to keep the brand alive a little bit longer. Guys like Charles Krauthammer are offering to lead the way out for you: keep insulting Democrats and their beliefs while admitting that, well, uh, you have nothing. Or you could take poor flailing David Brooks as a model. One day after this humble blog suggested that high-end conservative pundits will slurp down any old slop they’re fed by the party, Brooks was slopping out this review of Sarah Palin’s debate performance:
this debate was about Sarah Palin. She held up her end of an energetic debate that gave voters a direct look at two competing philosophies. She established debating parity with Joe Biden. And in a country that is furious with Washington, she presented herself as a radical alternative.
By the end of the debate, most Republicans were not crouching behind the couch, but standing on it. The race has not been transformed, but few could have expected as vibrant and tactically clever a performance as the one Sarah Palin turned in Thursday night.
Only a week later, having realized to his horror that writing columns like this will soon deprive him of dinner-party conversation with sane people, Brooks has decided to call Palin a “fatal cancer to the Republican party.” Now that’s the way to throw someone under the couch, folks—if you want to maintain some sense of self-respect as a Serious Person.
But what about the rest of you? What about those of you who don’t have any decency or integrity or self-respect? What about all of you who want to spend the next eight years foaming at the mouth every time someone turns up shocking new evidence that Bill Ayers wrote Barack Obama’s autobiography, or that the secret Muslim Flight 93 memorial points to Mecca, or that Rachael Ray wore a scary scarf?
Folks, I don’t think you understand how we truly feel about you. We mock you and tease you, I know, and you hate us for it. But we don’t hate you back. Really, we don’t. We’re secular pluralists, after all, and we know we have to find ways of sharing this planet with people who can’t stand secular pluralists. We really just want you to leave us alone. Still, we have our limits. The way you’ve behaved over the past decade or two leads us to believe that you’ll do whatever it takes to make the next decade or two a living hell for everyone who’s sincerely trying to clean up all the messes you’ve made. And we just can’t be bothered with that nonsense right now. This is too important.
Understand, I don’t want to deprive you of your pastimes and your livelihoods. On the contrary: I want you to enjoy them to the fullest extent imaginable—but in a way that doesn’t interfere with sane people. So I have a proposal.
We will spend $500 trillion and create 150 million new, high-paying jobs creating an alternate reality for you. In a state of your choosing—but preferably Utah, Oklahoma, or Alaska—we will construct a massive VR installation complete with all your favorite obsessions and catering to your every resentment. In this separate, self-enclosed universe, President Palin and Vice-President Tancredo will run things just like you think they oughta be; crescents and croissants will be banned; An American Carol will sweep the Oscars; television will consist of two channels, Fox and Fox Sports; and the ten commandments will be proudly displayed in every classroom and courtroom, together with a Very Angry Eagle if you like. There won’t be any elite universities or sneering college professors, of course, but there will be Mexicans, so that you can call for their deportation and then hire them to mow your lawn and work in your pork-processing plants; there will be gay people, so that your sense of sexual identity can be properly threatened at all times; and there will be a black person, played by Gloria Foster, so that you can prevent her from voting.
It’s totally a win-win. You’ll love it, and you’ll be out of our hair. And all you have to do is lie down in this comfy little pod of pink goo.