That’s Pretty Much the Conservative Credo

Michael Gerson, so close but yet so far:

Such is the zeal in portions of the tea party right that it is not enough to sweep out living members of the establishment such as John McCain. A brisk, ideological scrubbing must be applied to history as well.

So Glenn Beck, speaking recently at the Conservative Political Action Conference, identified a great enemy of human freedom as . . . Teddy Roosevelt. Beck highlighted this damning Roosevelt quote: “We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used.”

Ah, you don’t discern the scandal in this statement? Look closer. “This is not our Founders’ idea of America,” explained Beck. “And this is the cancer that’s eating at America. It is big government — it’s a socialist utopia.” Evidently, real conservatives defend wealth that is dishonorably gained and then wasted.

I’m hard pressed to come up with a better synopsis of Republicanism over the past couple decades than an accumulation and defense of wealth dishonorably gained and then wasted. From Enron to the tax cuts to the no bid contracts to the pallets of lost cash to the trillions for the wars to the Republican push to financial deregulation to the latest market swindle to the effort to make sure no financial reform happens at all- wasted dishonorable gains is pretty much the Republican credo.

And Michael Gerson spent years writing the speeches to make it happen.

41 replies
  1. 1
    geg6 says:

    This guy is part of the criminal cabal that brought us idiots like the Teabaggers. So Gerson isn’t charmed by their signs and costumes and what they’re hiding under them? Too fucking bad. He can fuck himself with a rusty chain saw for the crap he’s unleashed in this country.

  2. 2
    Zifnab says:

    So Glenn Beck, speaking recently at the Conservative Political Action Conference, identified a great enemy of human freedom as . . . Teddy Roosevelt. Beck highlighted this damning Roosevelt quote: “We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used.”

    The dude has taken contrarianism to some kind of post-modernist art form. I feel like I should applaud with a series of finger snaps.

    explained Beck. “And this is the cancer that’s eating at America killing /b/!.

    Fix’d.

  3. 3
    scav says:

    We need a pool as to when they start airbrushing the founding fathers out of the picture as not living up to the founding fathers idea of America. I’ll take the past.

  4. 4
    PurpleGirl says:

    Evidently, real conservatives defend wealth that is dishonorably gained and then wasted.

    Yes. Most true summary ever of the current state of conservative morality.

  5. 5
    John Cole says:

    @PurpleGirl: I know- has Gerson ever read NRO or Reason magazine?

  6. 6
    Bulworth says:

    It’s revealing that the only responses I’ve read to this teabagging CPACing conference of roll-back America regressives were from conservatives, Gerson today and Kathleen Parker last week. Our “liberal” and lifelong punditry class could only manage to gush about Marco Rubio. I can’t imagine the outcry if some liberal outfit, Yearly Kos, let’s say, featured round table discussions about how Old Abe was a fraud and a headline speaker who chastized The Bull Moose. This was about as anti-American a meeting as can be imagined, but most of our media let it fly by. Maybe they think they won’t be a casuality of such a retrenchment, were it to occur. I’d think they should be concerned with themselves if for no one else.

  7. 7
    Redshirt says:

    OT: Johnny McCain Exclusively on Meet the Press this Sunday!

  8. 8
    Sentient Puddle says:

    Not that I ever expect logic from Beck, but can anyone give me a roadmap of what he was trying to do to prove Teddy was a socia list? I’ve tried looking at that quote from as many angles as I can possibly think of, and none of them land me anywhere close.

    (I hate moderation)

  9. 9
    kid bitzer says:

    when will gerson be forced to apologize to limbaugh?

  10. 10
    Anne Laurie says:

    I’m hard pressed to come up with a better synopsis of Republicanism over the past couple decades than an accumulation and defense of wealth dishonorably gained and then wasted…
    __
    And Michael Gerson spent years writing the speeches to make it happen.

    Speaking of ‘dishorably gained’ — that would be Gerson’s entire professional career.

  11. 11
    Alex S. says:

    This should be on shirts and coffee mugs, like

    “real conservatives defend wealth that is dishonorably gained and then wasted.” – Michael Gerson, Bush speechwriter

  12. 12
    Alex S. says:

    @Redshirt:

    Finally! I can’t wait to hear what he has to say about the health-care summit and I really want to know what he has to say about John McCain at the health-care summit.

  13. 13
    Chris H. says:

    Didn’t W love TR and hold him up as an example all the time? I wonder if he knew he was idolizing a socialist…

  14. 14
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    A Palin/Godzilla ticket in 2012 will fix this shit.

    And Ron Paul can be head of the new Destruction of Government government agency.

    Gerson, as always will be Tsar of Dipshits.

  15. 15
    Zifnab says:

    @Bulworth:

    Our “liberal” and lifelong punditry class could only manage to gush about Marco Rubio. I can’t imagine the outcry if some liberal outfit, Yearly Kos, let’s say, featured round table discussions about how Old Abe was a fraud and a headline speaker who chastized The Bull Moose. This was about as anti-American a meeting as can be imagined, but most of our media let it fly by.

    Be thankful they did. Do you really want to hear Blitzer and King nod sagely and heap praise on this clusterfuck? While Chris Matthews preened over Andrew Brietbart, commenting on how the man’s rugged masculinity sends a shiver up his leg? Because fluffing the conservative wingnuts is really all these folks know how to do.

    My bet is that this was a FOX News event – given that so many FOX News pundits and hangers’ on were in attendence – and that the other news agencies simply weren’t welcome.

  16. 16
    qwerty42 says:

    @Redshirt: …McCain Exclusively on Meet the Press…
    I saw that. What is wrong with MTP? McCain looked like an out-of-touch old man yesterday; cripes I was expecting an aside about wearing an onion tied to his belt, (which was the style in those days). If I just had to have someone to carry on about the GOP talking points, I’d get Ryan. I don’t agree with him, but he at least has some idea what is going on.

  17. 17
    Brick Oven Bill says:

    Speaking of ill-gotten gains.

    1. Barack assigned Mark Patterson, Goldman Sachs lobbyist, to be Tim Geithner’s Chief of Staff.

    2. Tim Geithner’s best man at his wedding was his dad.

    3. Gee, I wonder what dirt Goldman Sachs has on Barack?

    Glenn’s point is that it is not the business of the government to tell us what to do with our earnings.

  18. 18
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @scav:

    We need a pool as to when they start finish airbrushing the founding fathers out of the picture as not living up to the founding fathers idea of America.

    Fixt.

    Go take a look and see what’s become of Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine (two of the most radical left wing figures we’ve ever had in any position of influence in this country) in contemporary American history books. I dare you. I triple-dog dare you.

  19. 19
    General Egali Tarian Stuck says:

    @Alex S.: Haven’t you heard, John Mccain and the repubs won the summit by tying Obama who was mean and churlish and also because he thinks he’s some smarty pants hot shit. It had to turn out that way or else the Army of Wingnut would have had to surrender their talking points in defeat and David Gergen wouldn’t have anything to be balanced about.

  20. 20
    Keith G says:

    These are the things that scare the fuck out of me though. We laugh and rightfully ridicule these dopes, but their single minded, persistent harping on perceived wrongs create the narrative that wins the news cycle week after week.

    It is a lullaby of the craven eroding away the synapses of pro-social thinking. They have won the field by default because so many of us feel they are too fucking crazy to be taken seriously.

    We need to join combat or they will kick our asses even as we wink, nudge, and point out their absolute silliness.

  21. 21
    AuldBlackJack says:

    “Labor is prior to, and independent of, capital. Capital is only the fruit of labor, and could never have existed if labor had not first existed. Labor is the superior of capital, and deserves much the higher consideration.” – Abraham Lincoln (December 3, 1861)

    http://www.infoplease.com/t/hi.....on/73.html

    Gee, I hope nobody tells the wingnuts.

  22. 22
    nitpicker says:

    As Beck’s supposed hero, Thomas Paine once wrote:

    “Wealth is often the presumptive evidence of dishonesty; and poverty the negative evidence of innocence.”
    – Dissertation on First Principles of Government, 1795.

  23. 23
    rollSound says:

    dishonorably gained

    Like, companies who hurt America by shipping jobs overseas to increase their skim,

    or charlatans on Wall Street who “create” wealth like the rabbit from the hat, sucking the money out of the system and leaving it ruined,

    or crybaby second- and third- generation plutocrats who think the wealth created by their ancestors is something they “earned”.

    and then wasted

    Like those same baby plutocrats who, we were assured by the Trickle-Down folks, would reinvest their wealth in the country that helped create it, but then squandered it on the illusion that they were modern-day sultans,

    or dozens of CEOs who accumulated staggeringly stupid amounts of money in a *(ahem)* measuring contest that is harming the nation’s economy to this day.

    pretty much the Republican credo

    Check.

  24. 24
    Phoebe says:

    @scav: you win.

  25. 25
    burnspbesq says:

    @qwerty42:

    McCain looked like an out-of-touch old man yesterday 15 years ago.

    Fixed.

  26. 26
    burnspbesq says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Glenn’s point is that it is not the business of the government to tell us what to do with our earnings.

    And in that as in everything else, Mr. Beck is demonstrably wrong.

    It’s real simple. No taxes, no state.

    No state? Well, some may think that would be a Randian paradise, but it’s much more likely to resemble Hobbes’ state of nature. Y’know, the place where life is “nasty, brutish, and short.”

    If that’s what you aspire to, knock yourself out. I happen to prefer civilization.

  27. 27
    David Hunt says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Not that I ever expect logic from Beck, but can anyone give me a roadmap of what he was trying to do to prove Teddy was a socia list? I’ve tried looking at that quote from as many angles as I can possibly think of, and none of them land me anywhere close.

    This would be my interpretation: “We grudge no man a fortune in civil life if it is honorably obtained and well used.

    My guess would be that it’s fasho-communist for government to have any say whatsoever in how the rich spend their money. Beck reads that passage and he sees, “We will take everything from you and spend it on poor lazy black people to buy them Cadillacs to pick up their welfare checks and steaks for the strapping young bucks.” Actually he probably sees something much more crazy and stupid, but I’m not going to try that hard to think like Glen Beck. I know what is said about “gazing into the Abyss.”

  28. 28
    Donald G says:

    @Sentient Puddle:

    Not that I ever expect logic from Beck, but can anyone give me a roadmap of what he was trying to do to prove Teddy was a socia list? I’ve tried looking at that quote from as many angles as I can possibly think of, and none of them land me anywhere close.

    Beck, like many who fancy themselves great thinkers (particularly self-educated ones who think they have all the answers), probably thought that he was being wonderfully iconoclastic… part of that whole (performance) “artist as creator/destroyer kick”. And what better Republican icon to tear down than a larger than life figure like Teddy Roosevelt who went after official corruption and aristocratic fatcats for the benefit of the Dickensian poor and downtrodden.

    But like Rush’s claim that his spending millions of dollars on a luxury beach house is more moral than providing affordable healthcare for the less well-off, Becks’ choice of that particular Roosevelt quote to attack (and the applause the line got) show precisely where Beck and these radical (so-called) conservatives are coming from.

    They worship money … for its own sake and for the most selfish of reasons – power, possessions and status. Now, I no longer consider myself a particularly religious person, but when I did, I seem to recall Jesus having a good deal to say about that kind of thing, and it wasn’t particularly complimentary.

    For people – not particularly C-Streeters – who cloak themselves in the mantle of traditional social and moral values, the embrace of Beck and Limbaugh and those who applaud them of their worship Mammon over and above their capacity of compassion for their fellow human beings clearly demonstrates their stunted moral development and their shriveled souls.

  29. 29
    Tony J says:

    This was about as anti-American a meeting as can be imagined, but most of our media let it fly by.

    Well sure, that’s what they do. The same way that a live-on-TV pawning of the Senate GOP becomes a hard-fought draw that, on balance, Republicans won, because that’s what they do.

    The whole “DC wired for Republican control” thing isn’t just something someone once said that was funny ‘cos it’s true. It’s actually one of the major reasons why the undeniably batshit-insane GOP is still able to function after the disaster of the Bush Years.

    Remember during the 2008 Campaign when Johnny Walnuts twice attacked the MSM because they weren’t doing for him what they’d done for Bush, i.e. work solely for his campaign? He genuinely expected them to do it, but what he didn’t have the nous to understand was that the MSM had already looked at the likely result of the 2008 Election and thought, “Y’know, despite the BBQ and the POW and all the other acronyms, John just won’t win this thing, not after George.” They’d do just about anything for Love (and it still is love) but they wouldn’t do that. Oh no, they wouldn’t do that.

    This is a different time, and the GOP have operated since Day One of the Obama pre-Impeachment Interregnum on the understanding that the MSM have their backs in a way McCain never did. If there’s even a single crack in the IOKIYAR barrier while the GOP are dialling the crazy to this level, there’s not going to be a Republican Party to contest the next election, and then there’s no horserace. There’s just the long crackle of gunfire until the last Palinite is rounded up, disarmed, and denied Internet privileges.

    Shorter me – You have a Conservative Media, this is what they do.

  30. 30
    scav says:

    @ThatLeftTurnInABQ: Well, I did take the past so I win both ways :

  31. 31
    Ed Drone says:

    Republicans spend so much time whinging and crying and acting like spoiled babies, it’s time we did the “send ’em a teabag” thing, and mailed a binky (baby’s pacifier) to each one in Congress (especially the Senate).

    Publicize the mailing, so that people will “get it” that these WATBs (Whiney-Assed Titty Babies) are what’s holding up real progress on efforts to save this country.

    There are a few Democrats who need a time-out, too, but the Repubs are the largest group — isn’t the collective noun for a group of Republicans a “tantrum” anyway?

    Ed

  32. 32
    Jared says:

    “From Enron to the tax cuts to the no bid contracts to the pallets of lost cash to the trillions for the wars to the Republican push to financial deregulation to the latest market swindle to the effort to make sure no financial reform happens at all- wasted dishonorable gains is pretty much the Republican credo.”

    Beautiful, John. The relative lack of punctuation here is straight-up Kerouac. :-)

  33. 33
    ThatLeftTurnInABQ says:

    @Tony J:
    This, all of this. Well put.

  34. 34
    Mike in NC says:

    Mr. Gerson is obviously overdue for a waterboarding session to cure him of his heresy!

  35. 35
    Comrade Dread says:

    Not that I ever expect logic from Beck, but can anyone give me a roadmap of what he was trying to do to prove Teddy was a socia list?

    Well, Roosevelt was a Republican who actually believed that government might be able to do some good and passed regulations governing food and drug standards, established national parks, fought to break up large corporations, regulated the railroads, and wanted to push further.

    So it’s only natural that Beck would be against him.

    And given Roosevelt’s reputation, If I were Beck, I’d personally be worried about the ol’ bastard crawling out of his grave to kick my ass for slandering him.

  36. 36
    celticdragonchick says:

    @rollSound:

    That.

  37. 37
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Brick Oven Bill:

    Glenn’s point is that it is not the business of the government to tell us what to do with our earnings.

    The part where you learn that we all live in something called a society seems to have escaped you in school.

    As explained above however, if you want to live in a Hobbesian nightmare where the government can’t tell you to do shit, I hear Somalia really rocks.

  38. 38
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Evidently, real conservatives defend wealth that is dishonorably gained and then wasted.

    This.

  39. 39
    burnspbesq says:

    @Comrade Dread:

    Well, Roosevelt was a Republican who actually believed that government might be able to do some good and passed regulations governing food and drug standards, established national parks, fought to break up large corporations, regulated the railroads, and wanted to push further.

    That’s all true, but Roosevelt failed in his signature policy initiative. Imagine how much better off we would all be if he had succeeded in banning football.

  40. 40
    tc125231 says:

    Maybe Gerson had an epiphany –like various of Bush’s former idiot supporters.

  41. 41
    Tim I says:

    I object to Gerson describing John McCain as ‘living’.

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