Larison’s Take

Daniel Larison has a pretty perceptive piece up that is worth visiting:

Of course, the “fiercely independent” McCain spent the bulk of 1999 and the early months of 2000 (and many years after that) trying to please other people. The difference then was that Ignatius and other members of the Washington press corps were the ones he was trying to please and unironically, accurately referred to members of the media as his base. During the 2000 campaign, he referred to the GOP establishment as the “evil empire,” which seemed perfectly fair and satisfactory to his boosters in the press because they thought this was simply a description of reality and not a slur. Pretty much every “maverick” episode in McCain’s career has involved staking out a position in opposition to his party in the interests of attracting good press and cultivating a reputation as one of the “good” Republicans–the “noble, tolerant” McCain that Conason refers to in his piece–and he has done this by adopting a haughty, self-righteous tone as a champion of reform fighting against the forces of corruption (campaign finance) and bigotry (immigration “reform”) within his own party. By endorsing the worst prejudices about his party held by his party’s political opponents (while enabling some of their genuinely worst attributes in his warmongering), he became renowned for his integrity, just as Republicans have been lauding Joe Lieberman for his character and courage for denouncing liberals, his own party and that party’s nominee in terms that perfectly fit GOP talking points…

That he now approves of taking the so-called “low road” against Obama is nothing new. Indeed, by comparison with the treatment of some of McCain’s other opponents in policy debates, Obama is still being treated pretty easily.

He has a point. Much of what created the perception of his being a maverick was the object of his attacks. What made him a maverick was that he spent much of his time attacking Republicans, which made the press love him and the party hate him. Now, the target has changed, and we find the rank-and-file slowly moving towards him and the press wrinkling up their noses in disgust.

And let me just state again that you really should be reading the American Conservative magazine.

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11 replies
  1. 1

    AC is the few places where you can regularly find thoughtful writing from a conservative POV. Its good for our national discourse to have thoughtful and rational policy debate. Unfortunately, the GOP was hijacked by the opportunists and war criminals like Bush and Delay.

    BTW Bill Moyers had a great piece on the GOP and Jack Abramhoff last night. It didn’t contain anything new for those of us who have followed TPM’s coverage of these criminals, but it will probably open a few eyes. It should be mandatory TV for everyone who thinks that Grover Norquist, Karl Rove, Jack A. and Ralph Reed are “good Christian fellas” and are getting a bum rap.

    After the past transgressions from the GOP (and I certainly include your list of civil rights abuses in previous posts)we should all cast a suspicious eye toward our government. Even our very own Democrats. I don’t expect them to change things overnight after 12 years of a Republican Congress and 6 years of one party rule, but I do expect SOME progress. They have made a bit.

    I do recall a much beloved Republican saying, “Trust, but verify.” Sound advice indeed.

    Even a blind squirrel finds a few acorns.

  2. 2
    cleek says:

    BTW Bill Moyers had a great piece on the GOP and Jack Abramhoff last night.

    the latest Harpers has a good article on Abramoff and Reed and the rise of the College Republicans and all their various escapades. it’s not online yet, though.

  3. 3
    whocoodanode says:

    That’s right, come to this “reformed” Republican’s site and get pointed to the “American Conservative.”

    Because somehow, surely, there must really truly be an actual “conservative” ideology after all. Somewhere. It’s just total hypocrisy that never works and never did and it carries the seeds of its own and society’s destruction. But it is really what you should be reading.

    I’m putting it out there that old Republicans cannot be trusted. Case in point is Mr. Cole, who cannot spit out the koolaid once swallowed, and sadly it is slowly reclaiming him. Ah well, there was no guarantee the patients could be cured of their political disease simply because they find they really, really hate the symptoms.

    If you have the virus that makes you keep looking backwards for answers, you apparently have it forever. It makes you think that being properly conservative in your life means that the government must, simply MUST, work the same way. No matter how many people’s lives are destroyed, your con beliefs are so … believable. It is cotton-candy wonderbread for the soul.

    Go back, Cole, they are calling you…

    Or if you must continue on with this lucrative “I have seen da light” gig, then SHUT UP AND SING. I know you’ve heard (and agreed) with that one before.

  4. 4
    John Cole says:

    Or if you must continue on with this lucrative “I have seen da light” gig, then SHUT UP AND SING. I know you’ve heard (and agreed) with that one before.

    Alright, who is responsible for this spoof?

  5. 5
    gbear says:

    Another good piece that TPM linked to this morning.

    What Schmidt and his associates have apparently concluded is that McCain’s weaknesses—on the election’s most salient issues and as a candidate—are so pronounced and Obama’s vulnerabilities so glaring that the low road is their guy’s best, and maybe only, route to the White House. They’ve concluded, in other words, that even if McCain may not be able to win the election in any affirmative sense, he might still wind up behind the big desk if he and his people can strip the bark off Obama with sufficiently vicious force.

  6. 6
    jason says:

    I’m no conservative, but I do read the magazine online from time to time, as well as Larison’s blog. Their take on foreign policy pretty much squares with mine.

  7. 7
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    he has done this by adopting a haughty, self-righteous tone

    But not “arrogant”, oh no, not him.

    the latest Harpers has a good article on Abramoff and Reed and the rise of the College Republicans

    I started reading that article in hard copy but just couldn’t bring myself to finish it. Those people are pure scum.

  8. 8
    F-Dog says:

    Larison is one of the few self-identified Republicans I can stand to read.

    Still, he gives the press far too much credit here:

    During the 2000 campaign, he referred to the GOP establishment as the “evil empire,” which seemed perfectly fair and satisfactory to his boosters in the press because they thought this was simply a description of reality and not a slur.

    Turned out it was quite accurate in describing reality, but neither the press nor McCain believed it. The press just loves back-stabbing, which seems to be their only proxy for independent thought, then or now…

  9. 9
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Pretty much every “maverick” episode in McCain’s career has involved staking out a position in opposition to his party in the interests of attracting good press and cultivating a reputation as one of the “good”

    Hasn’t Lieberman been doing essentially the same thing to the Democratic party? No wonder they’re lil buddies.

  10. 10
    Blue Buddha says:

    Yeah, The American Conservative is where many of the “paleo-con” Republicans fled to after the GOP was taken over by the borrow-and-spend/let’s-police-the-world/intellectualism-is-bad (and now furthering yourself is bad)/let’s-give-kickbacks-to-corps neo-cons. Sure, they have some things that are at odds with progressives, such as completely eliminating tax and a few hints of racism (ie: Buchanan), but when this country has been screwed over by neo-cons for almost three decades and the MSM still kisses their asses, the paleo-cons have quite a few goals in common with progressives.

  11. 11
    liberal says:

    whocoodanode wrote,

    Because somehow, surely, there must really truly be an actual “conservative” ideology after all. Somewhere. It’s just total hypocrisy that never works and never did and it carries the seeds of its own and society’s destruction. But it is really what you should be reading.

    Not fair in general. There really is a difference: the main difference is paleo-con vs neo-con. In particular: does the conservative think there’s no national interest at stake in the middle east (Iraq in particular)? Does he or she think we don’t need all these military bases all over the world? Then such a conservative is possibly someone worth listening to.

    You can find a lot of them at antiwar.com.

    Now, granted, there are very few such conservatives in the presidential cabinets or (especially) Congress. Hagel made noises about getting us out of Iraq, but they were just noises—IIRC he never really made an effort to actually challenge Bush in terms of actual legislation on funding the war.

    AFAICT the only “good” conservatives in this sense are all House members:
    (1) Ron Paul
    (2) Walter Jones (the “freedom fries” guy, who amazingly enough had some kind of epiphany)
    (3) Gilchrest, a MD rep who isn’t that conservative in terms of his overall voting record (and who, unfortunately, lost his primary battle to yet another right-wing Republican thug)

    One paleo-con who I don’t trust is Buchanan. Some staffer at antiwar.com (probably a libertarian) pointed out that while Kerry’s Senate record on the war left a lot to be desired, the only way for voters to meaningfully come out against the war in the 2004 presidential election was to vote for Kerry. But Buchanan supported Bush anyway. So IMHO he’s a slimeball.

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