Friday, January 11, 2019

The Alleged Rehabilitation of Conservatives

 “Any economic system that weakens and destroys families is not worth having. A system like that is the enemy of a healthy society.” - Tucker Carlson, January 2, 2019
(By American Zen's Mike Flannigan, on loan from Ari.)
Don't be fooled by it. And by "it", I don't mean a Clintonian "it" but the new right wing populism.
     On the face of it, we're seeing something extraordinary- Right wing talking heads actually making sense from time to time. It had started long before January 2nd but the debate among conservatives kicked into high gear that night when Tucker Carlson said in his irritating white man voice that capitalism is a mere tool, not a religion. He also said, among many other incendiary things, “All I’m saying is don’t act like the way things are is somehow ordained by God.”
     Of course, Carlson wasn't talking about religious matters (although it's long past the time when we should've had a substantive debate on religion's place in American politics) but capitalism in its present self-dealing, hideously top-heavy incarnation. What Carlson essentially said in his usual snide way was that the center (meaning the center of American finance- Wall Street) cannot hold.
     Yet it was just years ago that Carlson was saying equally snide (and untrue) things about Occupy protesters, such as this gem from November 2nd of that year in which he linked to an article from his own Daily Caller. But for now, the corrosive inequality very much in evidence on Wall Street, especially during the Age of Trump, is starting to take some hits from conservatives who seem to have suddenly woke up on New Year's day and remembered that not only does a middle class exist but that it's hurting. Just to hedge more bets, Carlson also fired a shot simultaneously across the bow of the MIC and the GOP by saying, “Republicans have considered it their duty to make the world safe for banking, while simultaneously prosecuting ever more foreign wars.”
     And Carlson is hardly an outlier, a lonely voice distorted by the howling, lonely winds of the wilderness. Ann Coulter had also taken aim at Trump, recently saying last month, "In the end, we'll probably find out 'wall' was Trump's 'safe word' with Stormy Daniels. It's just something he blurts out whenever he's in trouble." Anticipating the shutdown, she even predicted, "In a few weeks, he'll start blaming the Democratic House."
     Keep in mind, however, that the only reason Coulter unloaded on Trump was because of her rage at him for not building the wall that he promised on Day One. After all, she said in her opening paragraph, "If you were elected president after decades of politicians doing nothing about the millions of illegals pouring into our country every year, committing crimes, dealing drugs, driving drunk, molesting children and killing Americans like Kate Steinle, and your central campaign promise -- repeated every day -- was to build a wall, wouldn't you have spent the entirety of your transition period working on getting it done?"
     In my book, that doesn't even qualify as populism. That's just xenophobia dressed up as outrage and patriotism. (To her credit, though, that screed got her unfollowed on Twitter by Trump.)
     Let's keep in mind that Carlson, Coulter and other grifters in the right wing media initially supported Trump because they honestly believed that he would make America great again even if only by keeping Hillary Clinton out of the White House. Now, after two years, the sticker shock is setting in and they're starting to call in the note or even ask for a refund.

A Weak Standard
The apostasy really all began with Bill Kristol, who'd recently said that we need to keep Trump off the 2020 ticket or at least keep him from getting re-elected. And just under a year ago, Kristol called out the aforementioned Tucker Carlson and Fox for veering "close to racism." (Some would say it and Carlson are closer than close.)
     Indeed, the guy who couldn't shoot straight and even predicted Romney would beat Obama in 2012 suddenly turned around his accuracy rate and zinging Trump almost daily from his own Twitter account with the precision of an Olympic-class fencer.
     Steve Schmidt, who'd worked on the presidential campaigns of George W. Bush, Senator John McCain and the gubernatorial campaign of Arnold Schwarzenegger, is also taking pot shots at Trump and the Republicans who almost to a man fell in goosestep behind him. Nearly seven months ago, Schmidt famously dropped out of the Republican party and began backing more centrist Democratic candidates.
     The Bushes became practically folk heroes when George HW Bush privately let it be known he didn't want Trump anywhere near Barbara Bush's funeral when she passed away last year. John McCain said the same and Trump was effectively muzzled by the Bush family when he was invited to attend but not speak at HW's own memorial service at the National Cathedral last month.
     But Ann Coulter agreeing with Ocasio-Cortez and Tucker Carlson calling out capitalism for its rampant greed isn't populism any more than neoliberalism has anything to do with real liberalism. It doesn't mean the earth has shifted off its axis and that Bill Kristol will be seen on Reddit dancing naked in a Copenhagen drug commune.
     All it means is that they long for the good days when Bush was the so-called president, when posts got filled (however ineptly) and the middle class wasn't completely savaged out of existence through one deregulation or another. They are just showing that they have indeed reached the spongey and reeking bottom of that proverbial barrel and that Donald Trump is the line they've drawn in the sand.
     But keep in mind most of these pundits I've mentioned initially thought Trump wasn't the bottom of the barrel and that we could still get much worse than him. And, considering the Republican devolution since Eisenhower, while that may indeed prove to be true, it's not easy to see how it can be. They want to climb out of the bunker and breathe fresh air again, even if it means staying out of the withering, disinfecting sun.


At January 11, 2019 at 5:30 PM, Anonymous CC said...

In short, these conservative pundits simply want to be assholes instead of motherf*#@ing assholes.

At January 11, 2019 at 6:15 PM, Blogger jurassicpork said...

Pretty much.


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