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Tuesday, March 3, 2009

The "Democrat" Party

I was reading an article in the Washington Times about the Limbaugh CPAC speech, and as loopy as it sounded, it insisted that this was THE conservative speech of the year. This was seconded by Ross Douthat over at The Atlantic -- a sober-minded conservative who happens to be young AND think the Republicans are currently jumping off a cliff.

So I decided to watch the speech in its entirety -- and I'm about halfway through now. I was wondering if it would contain anything different from his radio show (which I listen to pretty regularly. Know thy shock jock.) But it's the same mix of COMPLETELY (and knowingly) misleading statements with an occasional dash of honesty. But I'll only take one thing up -- his insistence on using The "Democrat" Party. That says everything necessary about the essential lack of seriousness among these conservatives. Leave alone whether they have substantive disagreements on policy -- many wouldn't know because they're not even willing to recognize with any honesty the positions of their liberal opponents. They're not even willing to call them by their actual name. Name calling, as we all remember from our earliest years, is a synechdoche for stupid, threatened behavior. And if you're behaving like a toddler, you'll think like a toddler, and you'll sound like one.

What ALWAYS amazes me, is that every once in a while Limbaugh will make a true statement, i.e., "Obama is spending money he doesn't have -- he's spending wealth that has yet to be created" and there's NO applause. Then "He wants to get everyone in the soup kitchen. Why? Because he doesn't want them to learn what they need in order to succeed on their own" -- followed by rabid, slavering cheers.

What's striking to me, is that at some level, I don't think any of them believe that last statement. They know he's doesn't really want people to stay ignorant and poor. But another part of them directly conflates what they see as the outcome with his own desires. Hence the childishness.

In psychology they talk about a developmental transition called "the mirror phase." In it, the child comes to recognize that those other creatures (mommy, daddy, puppy) are independent entities--they are not extensions of the kid, but creatures with distinct thoughts, feelings and desires, creatures that don't feel or think the same way. Rushlimbaughian rhetoric can only work if Republicans are able to turn that insight off. Hence the screaming scrum of toddlers. "He agrees with us, because everyone thinks the same way, because we are right. So if he says that, he must want to destroy America. And the Jonas brothers were teh awesome last night."

P.S.> I realize many Republicans felt that the Obama fanatics thronging at his campaign events were the same way -- swept to sea in a teenagery cult of personality. But CPAC isn't a bunch of fans. It's the best and brightest conservatives have to offer -- the leaders, the luminaries, the lucid. And this is what the sober conservative adores and respects.

1 comment:

Matt said...

Seems similar to the belief my parents have that if I agree with a politician (namely Obama), it's because I somehow trust and admire him as a person. The decision gets stripped of my ability to think critically about policy and form opinions. It's bizarre.