The banality of weasel

Brad DeLong (via MY) zeros in on an Irving Kristol quote that, to me, is the essence of neocon:

Among the core social scientists around The Public Interest there were no economists…. This explains my own rather cavalier attitude toward the budget deficit and other monetary or fiscal problems. The task, as I saw it, was to create a new majority, which evidently would mean a conservative majority, which came to mean, in turn, a Republican majority – so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government

To my mind, the willingness to lie and go along with crazy ideas is what defines neoconservativism. I wouldn’t say this with paleocons and theocons — with them, I usually feel like they’re stupid enough to believe in supply side economics or creationism (think Dan Quayle or Jack Kemp) or such assholes that they honestly like the idea of screwing the powerless (think Newt Gingrich or Mary Matlin). Neocons are often quite charming and seemingly intellectual — Brooks and Irving Kristol are classic examples — but they’re quite willing to lie about economics or about the price of meals at chain restaurants if it helps them attain their ultimate goal of invading Middle Eastern countries and sending men to Mars.

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83 replies
  1. 1
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    it helps them attain their ultimate goal of invading Middle Eastern countries and sending men to Mars.

    Since they’re also guilty of sending men to Middle Eastern countries I figure invading Mars can’t be far behind.

  2. 2
    Michael Finn says:

    I say we let them continue until we can send them to Mars. Everybody get’s to be happy except the Martians.

  3. 3
    neill says:

    i think maybe worshipping the god Mars is closer to it…

    and so Kristol always retained that essential ingredient of all Trotskyites (tho, perhaps not Trotsky himself) and that is the permanent revolution — against truth in the name of exploitation.

  4. 4
    Brian J says:

    Some Republicans are ideologically bankrupt assholes. Man bites dog. Nothing new here, folks.

    The bigger news, also via Brad DeLong, is that Arizona has had a public option for years. Despite some troubles along the way, the program was fixed. As it turns out, Arizona hasn’t turned into the Soviet Union, and the bodies aren’t piling up. Has this been reported here or any place else before? It seems like a fairly important piece of news. Read more here.

  5. 5
    MikeJ says:

    Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

  6. 6
    jeffreyw says:

    It’s not just the essence of neocon, it describes perfectly the essence of present day Republicans in that “party over country” is the driving force of their opposition to health care reform, and anything else the Democrats propose.

  7. 7
    Montysano says:

    so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government…

    IOW, winning elections was the only goal. Actual governance? Eh… not so much, because government is, by definition, the problem, and no one wants to be “part of the problem”.

    The right wing has successfully trickled this idea down to the uninformed masses, who now demand, demand, goddammit!1, that govt get out of the way and let the corporate ass rape continued unencumbered.

  8. 8
    Duff Clarity says:

    I don’t think “political effectiveness” was the hallmark of the cons, http://geeksdiary.wordpress.com/2009/09/20/cons/ was.

  9. 9
    jeffreyw says:

    @Brian J:

    And this quote from your link is the essence of stupid:

    Adams still argues that it unfairly competes by charging less than the private sector.

  10. 10
    Montysano says:

    Crap….. I’ll try again.

    so political effectiveness was the priority, not the accounting deficiencies of government…

    IOW, winning elections was the only goal. Actual governance? Eh… not so much, because government is, by definition, the problem, and no one wants to be “part of the problem”.

    The right wing has successfully trickled this idea down to the uninformed masses, who now demand, demand, goddammit!1, that govt get out of the way and let the corporate ass rape continued unencumbered.

    { Is there an Edit feature? Or do I not see because I’m on a Mac running Firefox? }

  11. 11
    MikeJ says:

    @Brian J: I think it was on ATC Friday afternoon.

    http://www.npr.org/templates/s.....=112966370

  12. 12
    Dustin says:

    The best part of that article Brian? Reading the insurance agency owner bitch about how “it’s not fair” that the public plan is cheaper even though he already spearheaded the effort to cut entrepreneur owner-operators out of the program and force it to operate completely independently and in the black.

    It’s funny how the goal-posts change like that, except I stopped laughing after the first 100x they did it. This quote says it all,

    “Adams still argues that it unfairly competes by charging less than the private sector. “

    It’s always about fairness to these fuckers, right up until the moment people point out they’ve been screwing us for years and that there’s a viable alternative.

  13. 13
    Ash Can says:

    This is why I don’t just disagree with right-wingers these days, I have a visceral negative reaction to them when they start talking. Since Kristol mentions the deficit, I’ll use that as an example. When the teabaggers or the horse’s asses in the House or the charlatans on Fox start crabbing about deficit spending, all they have to say is “Yeah, I know W ran up the deficit, but I agreed with what he was spending all that money on.” And voila — we have the makings of a bona fide, rational policy debate, just like that. But no. Instead, these yahoos simply start flailing and sputtering like they just this moment discovered the very concept of a federal budget deficit and it’s shocked them to the core. When the rest of us point out to them that it was the Republicans who ran up the bill in the first place, it’s a fait accompli, and the only thing to debate now is what to do about it, they respond with insults that have nothing to do with a coherent defense or explanation. Ultimately, all we can do is conclude that they’re dishonest, stupid, or insane, or some combination thereof, and blow them off. Some damned policy debate, all right.

  14. 14
    Miriam says:

    The thing that has always bothered me about neocons is their fundamental and cynical antipathy towards democracy.

  15. 15
    Dustin says:

    You’re definitely more rational than me Ash, I have a viscerally negative reaction and urge to take them out behind a shed and beat them senseless. They’re not worth the effort, but these fuckers have ensured that my generation (gen Y) will be one of the first in American history to be worse off than my parents.

    That “rack up the credit card for future generations”… yeah, those generations are mine and my yet-unborn son’s. So they can scream about deficits all they want but my response will always be the same, “Fuck off, you had your chance.”

    /end rant

  16. 16
    Brian J says:

    @jeffreyw:

    I’d like to ask these guys a few questions. Do you think that something like a public option is unfair because it will absolutely have consistent access to taxpayer funds? Why do you think that?

    Let’s say it does. What do you expect it to be? Leaving aside any money for start up costs and costs for improvements over time, in the same sense as a government office upgrading computers or something, do you expect the deficit to grow exponentially over time? If so, why? Do you think there’s no way to control costs? What if some independent body could be set up to minimize the deficit? Or rather, what if a small deficit, relative to the size of the program based on the number of people it serves, was a better deal compared to either a much more expansive public health program or higher private sector costs? Or is that simply not possible?

    Or, to be more general, is there simply no escaping certain costs of treating people? How can they be minimized without denying needed care? What solutions do you have besides not insuring these people for sky high rates?

  17. 17
    cmohrnc says:

    @DougJ

    To my mind, the willingness to lie and go along with crazy ideas is what defines neoconservativism. I wouldn’t say this with paleocons and theocons—with them, I usually feel like they’re stupid enough to believe in supply side economics or creationism

    WADR, you’re confusing the distinction between what “defines” the ideas or motivation behind a movement and what “characteristics” of action, integrity, or consistency the key figures in the movement are are inclined to take in furtherance of their movement and believe these justified toward their ultimate end.

    The “definition” of neoconservatism [in domestic policy] is someone who believes first that liberal policies to reform society have for the most part been failures because of insufficient willingness to evaluate how well they actually achieved good vs counterproductive results in practice (and change course accordingly), and secondly, eventually coming around to a belief that most liberal policies are inherently counterproductive because while aiming at human ideal, they nevertheless run counter to practical human nature and motivation.

    What has “characterized” neoconservatives is a willingness to believe that stopping liberalism in its tracks is a worthy enough goal to achieve by any means necessary toward that end, even incoherence in many of neoconservative-driven domestic policies. And the fact that so many of them are simply asshat schmucks who come to believe that the US should be a meritocracy (in which of course their kind are the sort who’ve proven their worthy merit).

  18. 18
    Demo Woman says:

    @Montysano:

    winning elections was the only goal. Actual governance? Eh…

    It appears that with the election of some of the blue dogs that dems are doing the same thing.

    I think the edit function was just a tease.

  19. 19
    Brian J says:

    They’re not worth the effort, but these fuckers have ensured that my generation (gen Y) will be one of the first in American history to be worse off than my parents.

    How do you figure? To the extent that the recession and related problems can be blamed on them (and I think in a large way it can, but I’m not sure if I can give you an exact figure), it could affect people by lowering their lifetime earnings, for instance. But as far as budget problems are concerned, the big issue out there is the future of the public health programs. If we figure out a way to lower the costs of Medicare and Medicaid, and it seems we know how to, the other budget problems, like Social Security, are relatively minor. The problem is finding the political will to enact the necessary changes.

    This isn’t a criticism of you, but I wish more people would scream about the fact that the Republicans aren’t going along with the proposed changes in fee-for-service medicine in Medicare. If they were more concerned about the federal budget and less about scoring cheap points by opposing the president, they’d be doing more for this country in one simple vote than they have done for several years.

  20. 20
    jeffreyw says:

    Not gonna link to it on account of lazy, but I was struck by a comment on Ezra’s article discussed yesterday here.

    A loon was going all apeshit about health insurance, begging everyone to see haw foolish it was to offer policies that even sick people could buy. His argument was to compare that to letting a homeowner buy fire insurance while their house was afire.

    Not gonna try to parse his argument, just wanted to point out that the issue isn’t “how can we get everyone health insurance”, rather it’s “how can we get everyone health care”.

    The winger was hung up on the idea of how unfair it would be to sell a sick person health insurance and misses entirely how unfair it would be to deny that sick person health care.

  21. 21
    Montysano says:

    @Dustin:

    They’re not worth the effort, but these fuckers have ensured that my generation (gen Y) will be one of the first in American history to be worse off than my parents.

    Maybe. I’m a Boomer, and personally, I’ll won’t have it as good as my parents. They hit the jackpot. Many of them worked 25-30 years and retired at 70% of their income, plus social security. Those days are gone, unless you’re on the public tit in some way or another.

  22. 22
    Warren Terra says:

    Since pretty much the only rationale the Neocons have proffered for the Mars endeavor is the explosive joy our nation will feel as its giant symbolic phallus rockets forth, it’s pretty clear that the “thought” processes in both undertakings are really quite similar, and you could simplify that last sentence to end with something like “achieving the conquest of various middle-eastern countries and, while we’re at it, Mars.”

  23. 23
    Tony J says:

    Slightly OT, but as an example of lying and going along with crazy ideas, today’s piece by the WaPo’s Ombudsman doesn’t just take the biscuit, it takes the dessert trolley and half of restaurant with it in an explosion of counter-intuitive hackery.

    Apparently, the WaPo has been ignoring the solid investigative work of Glenn Beck and the rest of Fox News because, in the words of the WaPo’s Executive Editor, “We are not well-enough informed about conservative issues. It’s particularly a problem in a town so dominated by Democrats and the Democratic point of view”. He goes on to add that he’s been pressuring the newsdesk to seek out the opinions of the “rabble-rousers” on the extreme right, especially concerning their views on ACORN.

    Just to make sure he’s giving all sides of the story a fair chance to comment, the Ombudsman goes for clarification to the director of the Pew Research Center’s Project for Excellence in Journalism, who thinks there are too many liberals in newsrooms, and to the Heritage Foundation, which thinks the MSM is guilty of avoiding stories that might favour Republicans.

    He concludes by saying that the WaPo should be less ‘tardy’ in paying attention to Right Wing Media, but without, of course, abandoning its own investigative standards.

    If you think that’s bad, read the whole piece. It’s so mirror-universe that the link should be wearing a goatee.

  24. 24
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    The banality of weasel

    The good that men do is oft interred with their bones; their weasel lives on after them.

  25. 25
    Corner Stone says:

    @Montysano: It’s kinda crazy isn’t it? My dad’s 66 and he’s told me frequently, “I wouldn’t trade places with your generation for anything.”

  26. 26
    r€nato says:

    @Brian J:

    Brian, I have lived in Arizona most of my life and I had never heard of this until I heard it on NPR. Isn’t that something?

    And of course they had some asshole gigadouche of a GOP legislator who is dying to kill it because – yes, that’s right, it costs less than the private health insurance market so IT’S NOT FAIR! to not be able to profit from human misery.

  27. 27
    The Main Gauche of Mild Reason says:

    @jeffreyw:
    We all know no one ever gets sick unless it’s their fault.

    Subbing for Sullivan, Jonah Lehrer had a series of really good posts on the “just word hypothesis” (more like an axiom) that a lot of naiive individuals seem to base their beliefs on. He was discussing it in the context of the judicial system, where there’s a subset of judges that take the side of the establishment 100% of the time and don’t seem to believe that anyone can be arrested/charged without some culpability. Apparently the human mind has a pretty intense capability for rationalizing away injustice, even when it’s really obvious.

  28. 28
    r€nato says:

    @jeffreyw:

    i wonder if anyone pointed out to mr. wingnut that perhaps you wouldn’t have as many people coming down with expensive, chronic illnesses if they could have proper preventive health care in the first place.

    i also wonder if anyone asked mr. wingnut if he was proposing that sick people without adequate health insurance should just be left to die in the street (or out of mr. wingnut’s sight so he doesn’t have to trouble his beautiful mind about it).

  29. 29
    r€nato says:

    @Tony J: that piece is just begging for a sharp wit to cut it to shreds with satire.

  30. 30
    r€nato says:

    for neocons, power is an end in itself, not a means to an end.

    it doesn’t take much reading of history to see that that sort of thinking can only lead to a bad end.

  31. 31
    Mark S. says:

    I’m a bit confused: I know what neocon foreign policy is, but is there a coherent neocon domestic policy? Is there any domestic issue that either of the Kristols differ substantively from other conservatives?

  32. 32
    Brian J says:

    And of course they had some asshole gigadouche of a GOP legislator who is dying to kill it because – yes, that’s right, it costs less than the private health insurance market so IT’S NOT FAIR! to not be able to profit from human misery.

    You know, he’d have a point if the problems in the program that required the government of Arizona to bail it out weren’t fixed. But according to the article, they were fixed, and the program is currently operating at a surplus or however you want to define “in the black.” Does this mean they can never return? No, but it does a lot of damage to the claim that it’s impossible to operate a government program successfully.

  33. 33
    kid bitzer says:

    “such assholes that they honestly like the idea of screwing the powerless (think Newt Gingrich or Mary Matlin)”

    no list of such assholes can be complete without grover norquist.

    although not a neocon–more of a k-street glibertarian–he too is willing to lie about everything in order to push his agenda.

  34. 34
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @Mark S.: Neoconservatism started as much focused on domestic policy as it did on foreign policy. It was fairly indistinguishable, especially in time, from extreme conservative thought in general. Here’s a quote from Wikipedia:

    In the late 1990s Irving Kristol and other writers in neoconservative magazines began touting anti-Darwinist views, in support of intelligent design
    Initially, the neoconservatives were less concerned with foreign policy than with domestic policy. Irving Kristol’s journal, The Public Interest, focused on ways that government planning in the liberal state had produced unintended harmful consequences. Norman Podhoretz’s magazine Commentary, formerly a journal of the liberal left, had more of a cultural focus, criticizing excesses in the movements for black equality and women’s rights, and in the academic left

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neoconservatism

  35. 35
    r€nato says:

    @Brian J:

    No, but it does a lot of damage to the claim that it’s impossible to operate a government program successfully.

    …which, of course, is why Mr. Gigadouche (R) wants to kill it.

    Conservative philosophy is a malignancy.

  36. 36
    Anton Sirius says:

    It’s not just the essence of neocon, it describes perfectly the essence of present day Republicans in that “party over country” is the driving force of their opposition to health care reform, and anything else the Democrats propose.

    Exactly. Politics is reduced to the level of a sporting event, and even then ethics are pretty much tossed out the window. It doesn’t matter how their team scores, just so long as the points go up on the board.

    Hmm. Does that make Republicans the equivalent of Pats fans?

  37. 37
    Emma Anne says:

    @Dustin: “these fuckers have ensured that my generation (gen Y) will be one of the first in American history to be worse off than my parents.”

    I think the late boomers and the X-ers are going to beat you to it.

  38. 38
    Brian J says:

    …which, of course, is why Mr. Gigadouche® wants to kill it.

    Why did you have to register that name? I’d love to start using it. Not cool man, not cool.

  39. 39
    Leelee for Obama says:

    After several years of study, I have discerned their domestic policy. Be born to rich, former trotskyite, current neo-con families or work till you’re usefulness is over and then die, thank you very much. This applies most especially to folks with the last name Kristol.

    Presented as a public service.

  40. 40
    jeffreyw says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    Presented as a public service.

    In the same spirit, I offer this illustration of my hopes for the success of the neocons going forward.

  41. 41
    Sly says:

    The bigger news, also via Brad DeLong, is that Arizona has had a public option for years. Despite some troubles along the way, the program was fixed. As it turns out, Arizona hasn’t turned into the Soviet Union, and the bodies aren’t piling up. Has this been reported here or any place else before? It seems like a fairly important piece of news. Read more here.

    Lots of states have public programs, actually, but there’s a distinction between a public option available to everyone in the risk pool and a subsidized program for people who meet certain qualifications. You can make the argument that Healthcare Group of Arizona’s limitation to small business might not be a big qualifier, but it’s still not available to people in the individual marketplace or to large businesses.

    Any public option worth its salt would ideally be offered to all three, because that’s pretty much the only way a non-profit competitor can actually force changes in the market. That’s a big problem with Baucus’ Co-ops, as not only are they limited by size but also by availability.

    But there are other qualifiers too. For instance, New York has Family Health Plus, which is run by our Department of Health. It’s basically a program for people who don’t make enough money for private insurance but make too much money to qualify for Medicare. The people on FHP have already been rationed out of the system anyway, and there’s a difference between providing a public program that serves to close gaps in services provided by the private sector and a public program that’s supposed to fundamentally change how the private sector operates.

    Then you have to make a distinction between legitimate non-profit options and high deductible plans run by for-profit insurers. We also have Healthy NY, which is a subsidized program run by Empire BCBS (Anthem), and its pretty shitty. So shitty that most families who get it only keep it for critical care needs and don’t use it for regular health services (checkups, doctor visits, etc).

    This isn’t to say that Healthcare Group of Arizona isn’t a good program. It is.

  42. 42
    TenguPhule says:

    Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.

    It’s not who wins the game, it’s who’s still getting paid to feed the public shit after all the players have gone home.

  43. 43
    Sly says:

    Above should read “too much money to qualify for Medicaid”

  44. 44
    TenguPhule says:

    I’m a bit confused: I know what neocon foreign policy is, but is there a coherent neocon domestic policy?

    Yes.

    It goes along the lines of: “Fuck you, I got mine already.”

  45. 45
    Veritas78 says:

    The way to stop invading other countries is to cut off the funding. We spend as much on defense as every other country combined. Yet no politician dares suggest that we cut the military except “loons” like Kucinich.

    Turn it on its head: if we’re so damn smart, why can’t we defend ourselves for $200 billion instead of $600 billion?

    Note that the Denver bombing ring was broken up by the FBI for peanuts. Without torture, and without invading another country. We can deal with Al-Qaeda just fine without buying Textron’s latest “civilian-free!” cluster bomb.

    Close our 730 overseas bases, stop pissing off other cultures, take the $400 billion and invest it in something productive here at home. Otherwise, we will go the route of Rome and every other empire that blew their money on an unproductive military. We are not one bit safer.

  46. 46
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @jeffreyw: That works for me!

  47. 47
    Mark S. says:

    What I kind of meant was meaningless bullshit like this:

    Kristol also distinguished three specific aspects of neoconservatism from previous forms of conservatism: neo-conservatives had a forward-looking approach drawn from their liberal heritage, rather than the reactionary and dour approach of previous conservatives; they had a meliorative outlook, proposing alternate reforms rather than simply attacking social liberal reforms; they took philosophical ideas and ideologies very seriously.

    I mean, this is classic stawmanning (“We, unlike our opponents, take philosophic ideas very seriously”). As @Bill E Pilgrim noted, their domestic ideas (anti-intellectualism, racism, and sexism) aren’t any different from the standard conservative fare.

    There is, though, a big difference in the foreign policy sphere. Pat Buchanan and Daniel Larison are examples of paleocons, which is very different from the neocons.

  48. 48
    Anne Laurie says:

    “Norman Podhoretz’s magazine Commentary, formerly a journal of the liberal left, had more of a cultural focus, criticizing excesses in the movements for black equality and women’s rights, and in the academic left.”

    And at the time, plenty of us “excessive” minority-rightists pointed out the obvious: the Podhoretzes and Kristols conceived of ‘liberalism’ not as a philosophy of inclusion, but as the method for their own out-group (urban Jewish intellectuals) to force their way into the top income tier. Since this had been successfully accomplished, their conservative instincts required them to do everything possible to assure that other outgroups (women, people of color, new immigrant groups) would never achieve a similar success.

    In my lifetime, at least, Conservatism has had only two touchstones: “I’ve got mine, forget about you” and “Pull up the ladder, here come the wogs”. The neoconservative ‘genius’, such as it was, lay in combining the two Golden Slogans (tribalism and xenophobia) by convincing the “traditional” Republicans that a bunch of ex-Trotskyite first-generation-immigrant non-Christian professional intellectuals deserved special admission to their not-so-Big Tent… by agitating loudly & dishonestly against any “gains” by other outgroups.

  49. 49
    Sly says:

    A big aspect of Neo-Conservativism is its adherents ability fetishize Henry “Scoop” Jackson. Which makes sense, really, when you consider that the big Neo-Cons in the Bush Administration (Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams) were all former aides to Jackson in the 60s and 70s. The constant refrain is “where have all the reasonable Democrats gone?”

    You know, the ones who supported Japanese Internment and bombing the shit out of Cambodia.

  50. 50
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @Anne Laurie: And, so, a new aristocracy was born. I sometimes wonder how they squared all the anti-woman’s rights stuff with Mrs. Kristol AKA Gertrude Himmelfarb. I sat through a seminar by this person on BookTV last year. If you’re planning on leaving this world, I can recommend this seminar as an accompaniment, if not a catalyst. So much BS, so little sense.. but she always had an audience at AEI.

  51. 51
    Montysano says:

    @Veritas78:

    Turn it on its head: if we’re so damn smart, why can’t we defend ourselves for $200 billion instead of $600 billion?

    My god, won’t someone please think of the defense contractors?

  52. 52
    ericblair says:

    @Tony J: Slightly OT, but as an example of lying and going along with crazy ideas, today’s piece by the WaPo’s Ombudsman doesn’t just take the biscuit, it takes the dessert trolley and half of restaurant with it in an explosion of counter-intuitive hackery.

    I threw up a little in my mouth after reading this, too. Essentially, the ombudsman stated that the Post has not been parroting right-wing talking points as forcefully as they should, and promise to regurgitate any right-wing garbage that comes their way tout-suite, after making sure to correct any spelling errors and adding a gloss of intellectual bullshit. Just go read it, I’m not exaggerating.

  53. 53
    Montysano says:

    In case no one has mentioned it, today’s Frank Rich column is indispensable.

  54. 54
    Linkmeister says:

    @Montysano: I was back and forth between LA and Honolulu in the Reagan 80s. While in LA I’d get the Sunday Times. The classified ads were amazing. Grumman, Northrop, Raytheon and MDAC each had separate employment sections within the paper.

    You know the joke about Sunday papers being big enough to kill your unsuspecting dog if thrown to your door stoop? With that paper in those times it was true.

  55. 55
    kay says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    How in the HELL does Bill Kristol get to a place where believes he understands the particular wants and needs of rural, red state low to middle income female voters over forty?
    Why does he imagine he has any clue what they’re looking for in a candidate, and then announce Sarah Palin fits the bill?
    What an ego.
    Does he know even ONE woman who fits this demographic personally? Where would he meet one? Between exiting his home and getting to his car door? He’s not meeting them at work, certainly, or at home, or socially, and he doesn’t “campaign” so he’s not even chatting with them on a rope line.
    He’s spent virtually his entire life in this almost hermetically sealed room of privilege and nepotism, yet he feels perfectly comfortable pontificating on the wants and needs of The Heartland he imagines exists. It’s mind-boggling to me.
    David Brooks does it too. Where do they get the “information” they base their opinions on?

  56. 56
    gnomedad says:

    @Ash Can:

    When the rest of us point out to them that it was the Republicans who ran up the bill in the first place, it’s a fait accompli, and the only thing to debate now is what to do about it, they respond with insults that have nothing to do with a coherent defense or explanation.

    I think if you could nail them down they would say that W spent money on protecting us, dammit, and if only the Dems had said yes, sir! and put the axe to all those programs for the undeserving and silly regulations we wouldn’t have a deficit.

  57. 57
    Bill E Pilgrim says:

    @kay: Applebee’s salad bars.

    Great place to meet people. Especially the entirely imaginary ones.

  58. 58
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @kay: Bill Kristol doesn’t know anyone like those he considers the target of his genius. He doesn’t need to. They are the figments of the imaginations of his people Klan. By that, I mean the neo-con thinkers. If they only believe in them, then, surely, God will send them and convince them that the Kristol Klan have only their best interests at heart. The sad part is, some people actually do come to believe, and vote accordingly. Against their own and their children’s best interests, and to the detriment of the nation. There is no sacrifice too big to make for their glorious dream, as long as it isn’t one of them

    Speaking of throwing up a little…

  59. 59
    kay says:

    @Bill E Pilgrim:

    I’ll make a deal with David Brooks and Bill Kristol.
    I won’t pontificate on the wants and needs of the Ivy-educated lucky heirs set if they’ll shut up about people they know NOTHING about.
    David Brooks once wrote an entire column based on a trip he took with his son’s baseball team, where he briefly encountered several middle class parents in the hall at the hotel, or something. He LEARNED so much!
    It was incredibly patronizing. They were good people, really, simple and hard-working. Just puke-inducing, his earnest attempt to breach the class divide, and report back!
    His finger’s on the pulse of the nation, right? I’m supposed to believe that? Why?

  60. 60
    kay says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    I love, love, love how all conservatives are now bemoaning the plight of the unemployed. The Bush recession started around 2004 here. We’re well into year four on record-breaking bankruptcy and foreclosure rates, here in the rural rust-belt Heartland, and no conservative gave a rat’s ass, until Obama was elected.
    if people here get through this, it will be solely and completely through the remedial efforts of Democrats, because that’s the only group who even attempted to offer practical short-term help.
    Republicans did not one thing but stand back and watch it burn.

  61. 61
    Notorious P.A.T. says:

    “that essential ingredient of all Trotskyites ”

    Under communism, man exploits man. Capitalism is exactly the reverse.

  62. 62
    eemom says:

    A new dimension of surreality opens as Steele suggests that Obama is racist against BLACKS.
    http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-.....reelection

  63. 63
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @kay: Because government is the problem not the solution, kay. Surely your neighbors have bootstraps they could have employed to help themselves, no? Had they no buckets to catch the trickle-down?

    This is why I hate these asshats. I’ve tried not to; I know that hate is wrong and counter-productive. But, these horrible, thieving, lying, cheating cock-suckers deserve nothing as much as my undiluted hatred. Besides, it makes me feel a little better.

  64. 64
    bellatrys says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I’m a bit confused: I know what neocon foreign policy is, but is there a coherent neocon domestic policy?

    Yes.

    It goes along the lines of: “Fuck you, I got mine already.”

    Aka “I’m all right, Jack”…

  65. 65
    slippytoad says:

    I just tried to post the following on Wikipedia under Irving Kristol’s quotes:

    The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle’s chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon’s domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at the White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC [Republican National Committee] and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at Penn and the Kennedy School of Government.

    “With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of affirmative action. ‘I oppose it,’ Irving replied. ‘It subverts meritocracy.’ “

    It was instantly reverted as being “unconstructive.”

    I have just now flushed Wikipedia down my digital toilet as a source of any credible information. God forbid a public figure should be discredited with his own god-damned words.

  66. 66
    kay says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    I watched a little of the Presidential interviews today, and the bobbleheads were all asking the same thing: “why have you inspired such vehement opposition?”

    Oh, I don’t know. Maybe it’s because this President doesn’t silence his critics by sending out the White House and Congressional troops to call the opposition unpatriotic? Maybe that?
    Maybe it’s because this President actually makes himself available for questions, engages in debate, and releases information prior to enacting policy?

    Nah. That can’t be it. I DO notice we only have these “vigorous debates” when conservatives are out of power. I notice that.

  67. 67
    gnomedad says:

    @eemom:

    A new dimension of surreality opens as Steele suggests that Obama is racist against BLACKS.

    Beck + Steele = Obama is pan-racist.

  68. 68

    @Sly

    A big aspect of Neo-Conservativism is its adherents ability fetishize Henry “Scoop” Jackson. Which makes sense, really, when you consider that the big Neo-Cons in the Bush Administration (Wolfowitz, Feith, Abrams) were all former aides to Jackson in the 60s and 70s. The constant refrain is “where have all the reasonable Democrats gone?”
    You know, the ones who supported Japanese Internment and bombing the shit out of Cambodia.

    And also the ones who supported the Civil Rights acts of 1957 and 1964, publicly owned power systems and Scandinavian style national health insurance systems. Jackson was a complex man, you can damn him for supporting Executive Order 9066 but if you’re going to do so at least have the honesty to lump in Franklin D. Roosevelt, who signed it (does executive order 9066 invalidate the entire New Deal?) and Earl Warren, who supported it as wholeheartedly as Jackson did. If you’re going to damn Jackson for his support of the Vietnam war then please have the honesty to also damn Jack Kennedy for getting us involved there above and beyond what the Eisenhower administration did (Ike was smart enough to realize that Vietnam would be a quagmire that would make Korea look easy and limited America’s involvement as much as he could) and Lyndon Baines Johnson for lying to the American people about the Gulf of Tonkin and cynically using it as a casus belli to burnish his anti-communist and national security credentials in the 1964 election.

    It’s part and parcel of the intellectual dishonesty of the neocons that they fetishize Scoop Jackson’s cold warrior and pro-Israel stances but completely ignore the domestic policies he advocated. Jackson had a lot of failings, you mention two of them, and one that could be added to the list is that he hired all of these neocon dickheads and gave them their start in American politics.

  69. 69
    Joey Maloney says:

    I have to disagree – I think it’s TBogg who spotted the anecdote that captures the essence, if not of neocon, then at least of Kristol père et fils:

    (Not gonna risk the blockquote – everything from here on is copied from the link…)

    “I remember back in the late 1990s, when Ira Katznelson, an eminent political scientist at Columbia, came to deliver a guest lecture. Prof. Katznelson described a lunch he had with Irving Kristol during the first Bush administration.

    “The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle’s chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon’s domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at the White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC [Republican National Committee] and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at Penn and the Kennedy School of Government.

    “With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of affirmative action. ‘I oppose it,’ Irving replied. ‘It subverts meritocracy.’ “

  70. 70
    eemom says:

    @gnomedad:

    yeah, he just hates everybody. You’d never know it to listen to him.

  71. 71
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @kay: Yup, yup! Funny how the spending of money to make war is not a “bad” deficit, but spending money to help Americans protect their health and their savings, is wasteful, and generational theft. Fuckers!

    @gnomedad: I noticed that Steele had his head as far up his ass as possible, so I changed the channel. It seems I was correct in my assumption that Steele would once again make a complete idiot of himself.

  72. 72
    eemom says:

    @Leelee for Obama:

    if his head gets any further up his ass, it’s gonna be back where it started.

  73. 73
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @eemom: And even more full of shite!

  74. 74
    tc125231 says:

    @Leelee for Obama: It IS wrong to hate those asshats. After all, are cockroaches and maggots worthy of such emotion?

    Disdain however –a profound disdain –is entirely justifiable.

  75. 75
    Leelee for Obama says:

    @tc125231: OK, profound disdain it will be. It’s less personally corrosive, good for my soul.

    I don’t have much emotion for cockroaches and maggots-more revulsion, which is also applicable to neo-cons, come to think of it. But cockroaches and maggots don’t choose to be what they are-it’s nature. These asshats choose to be what they are.

  76. 76
    Scruffy McSnufflepuss says:

    I just hope that when we invade Mars, we get the same talking-points we got for Iraq. Operation: Martian Freedom should be a real success. We have to fight them over there so we don’t have to fight them here.

  77. 77

    So I was looking at the Wikipedia page about Irving Kristol, who, since he was a Jew and did not accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior, is now burning in Hell (Hey, I don’t make the rules, that’s what the Bible says.) and came across this gem.

    “An intellectual may be defined as a man who speaks with general authority about a subject on which he has no particular competence.”

    Kristol wrote this in 1967 and it is a prescient and perfect description of his son Billy’s career arc.

  78. 78

    Oh, and Forbes has an absolute A2M blowjob of an obituary for Kristol. It’s almost as if they were giving his corpse one last rusty trombone before they put him in the ground. According to Forbes it was OK for Kristol to be a Trotskyite because he only became a Trotskyite because of the Stalinists, and in those days if you wanted to be politically involved you were one or the other. The idea that perhaps you didn’t need to join one authoritarian cult of personality to oppose another authoritarian cult of personality seems to have escaped the writer of the rusty trombone obituary.

    The rusty trombone is worth reading though because of the fine irony it contains, including this gem:

    “We in Alcove No. 1 were terribly concerned with being ‘right’ in politics, economics, sociology, philosophy, history, anthropology, and so forth,” Kristol once reflected.
    That naturally led to general skepticism of Utopian ideals, and in articulating his politics, the ostensibly radical Kristol did not sound much different from the later conservative one. “Utopian political doctrines are to be deplored, and not only because of their unattainability; in practice they will have worse effects than those more conservative and cautious,” Kristol wrote (under his Trotskyist party name, William Ferry) in one of his first published essays in 1943. The next year he denounced the “simplistic faith in perfectibility which cultivates the domineering arrogance of the self-righteous reformer, and which forgives in advance inhumanity disguised as humanistic zeal.”

    Hmmm, utopian political doctrines are to be deplored, do you mean utopian political doctrines such as sending troops into a middle eastern country that Winston Churchill slapped together in a drunken stupor one afternoon, a country which had no democratic traditions and no experience with the rule of law, toppling that country’s leadership and then expecting a functional democracy to take its place in a short period of time? Or perhaps he meant utopian political doctrines such as allowing a completely unregulated market in various financial schemes. I have to say that Irving and I are in agreement on some things, as an example I too have no use for those who have a “simplistic faith in perfectibility which cultivates the domineering arrogance of the self-righteous reformer, and which forgives in advance inhumanity disguised as humanistic zeal.”, which is why I haven’t voted for a Republican presidential candidate since 1984 and any other Republicans at the state or local level since 1992.

    There is additional irony in the quote posted by DougJ at the start of this thread and Kristol’s statement that “…We in Alcove No. 1 were terribly concerned with being ‘right’ in politics, economics, sociology, philosophy, history, anthropology, and so forth…”. I guess it just goes to show that in the case of Irving Kristol that you could take the boy out of the authoritarian cult of personality but you couldn’t take the authoritarian cult worshipper out of the boy.

  79. 79
    tc125231 says:

    @Leelee for Obama: Of course, if you want a prescient and profoundly disturbing treatment of how the cockroaches are taking over the world, I recommend finding a copy of the play “Balm in Gilead”.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balm_in_Gilead

  80. 80
    William says:

    @slippytoad:

    There may be a place in Wikipedia for a discussion of Kristol family nepotism, but shoehorning it in to the “Quotes” section on Irving Kristol’s bio isn’t it.

    Honestly, your rejection should make you trust Wikipedia all the more. You really think anonymous partisans with an axe to grind should be able to stick in unverified negative quotations in the middle of articles on the recently deceased?

    Personally, I think Bill Kristol is a giant douchebag, but too I would have undid that in a heartbeat. I note that the editor who reverted you and called your edit “unconstructive” (correctly, IMHO) is a 20-year-old liberal democrat who’s a big fan of gender equality and LGBT studies. Hardly the picture of somebody strongly biased in favor of the Kristols.

  81. 81
    HRA says:

    jeffreyw:”It’s not just the essence of neocon, it describes perfectly the essence of present day Republicans in that “party over country” is the driving force of their opposition to health care reform, and anything else the Democrats propose.”

    That is exactly what I thought while reading it. It has to be the pattern they are using now.

    Corner Stone: I agree with your father. I wouldn’t trade places with my children or my grandchildren today either. Why would I want to repeat the same struggles I went through again?
    My parents and my only sibling are of prior generations than me. I can also throw in my grands and greats since I have the knowledge of their life histories, too.
    We all struggle one way or another with life, responsibilities and whatever comes our way. No one is exempt. Sure it’s good to sometimes get it out there and it’s much better IMO to leave it behind and move on.

  82. 82

    The link to the story which fact checked Brooks’ earlier article was much appreciated. That story should be carried around and read aloud to anyone who dares to refer to Brooks as a “journalist” or intelligent.

    The next question is….did anyone at the Atlantic fact check it?
    Could they sue Brooks to get whatever money they paid him for this piece of non-fiction?
    Or am I mistaken and was it filed as a fantasy piece.

    The comments were quite good to read. Thanks Doug.

  83. 83
    marc sobel says:

    Re: Bill E Pilgrim and invading Mars.

    There you go, denying the destruction of Earth spy missions by the Martian Imperial Forces

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