Monday, February 13, 2006

What does Bushism mean?

Another great piece by Greenwald, a follow-up to one he entitled, "Do Bush Followers Have a Political Ideology?"

Unclaimed Territory - by Glenn Greenwald: Follow-up to the Bush post yesterday

In my view, both of these posts explain quite well what conservatism and liberalism have become to many people in contemporary American political discourse. See also Digby's reaction. Digby argues:
So, it isn't precisely a cult of George W. Bush. It's a cult of Republican power. We know this because when a Democratic president last sat in the oval office, there was non-stop hysteria about presidential power and overreach. Every possible tool to emasculate the executive branch was brought ot bear, including the nuclear option, impeachment. Now we are told that the "Presidency" is virtually infallible. The only difference between now and then is that a Republican is the executive instead of a Democrat.

This must be a function of psychology more than ideology. David Gergen said this morning on This Weak, that the Republicans are much better at "messaging" than the Democrats, but that they aren't good at governing. This is true. They win by selling a fantasy of freedom and riches ---- and govern as despots. You can see from the examples cited above that there is no real conservative ideology. If they can jettison their most cherished ideals (small government, balanced budgets, checks and balances, states' rights, individual liberty etc.) whenever a Republican holds office, it is quite clear that what they care about is the power, not the "message" on which they ran.

Today I read that Bob Barr, a man who made his bones by calling for Clinton's impeachment even before the Lewinsky scandal broke, is now being booed by a room full of arch-conservatives for suggesting that the president saying "trust me" is not adequate. We know very well that if the president were a Democrat, everyone in that room would not find it adequate.

Then there is this gem at the end of Digby's post:
I believe now that Goldwaterism was nothing more than public relations and the "conservative movement" that sprang from his failed presidential campaign was nothing more than an elaborate con job. Throughout all the years that they decried Stalinism, it wasn't an idealistic belief in human rights and democracy that drove them. It was quite the opposite, in fact. It was envy. All that control over other people. The huge police and military apparatus. The forced conformity. The only thing they genuinely hated about the Soviet Union was its economic philosophy. The totalitarian system, not so much. When you read about the "conservative movement" you find over and over again that the anti-communists immersed themselves in Stalinism and modeled their organizational style on it, often quite openly admiring its efficient application of power. And as we know, one of totalitarianism's most obvious features is the cult of personality that always grows up within it.

The modern Republicans do show all the hallmarks of an authoritarian cult. But I believe that the metaphorical statue of George W. Bush will be toppled very shortly after he leaves office after an "election" based on a message of "reform." They must restore the fantasy. His statue will be replaced, of course, with another infallible leader. That's how it works.

All I can say to that is: Ozymandius.


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