What’s wrong with the right these days?
Allow, please, for some rambling, for something that is less a tightly crafted essay than some thinking out loud. Consider:
Here we are facing a leftist Democratic congressional leadership that is calling, in effect, for surrender in a foreign land — and we can’t gain much traction on the issue.
Here we are facing a leftist Democratic congressional leadership that badly porks up an “emergency” defense spending bill with non-defense projects — and we can’t gain much traction.
The leftist Democratic leadership passes a budget that would effectively require a massive tax increase. It moves towards elimination of “abstinence education” even though the pro-abstinence efforts are popular with parents. It pushes big government everywhere even though polls still show preferences for smaller government. It came to office, on a wave of disgust at Republican ethical lapses, promising higher standards and better enforcement — and then it fails to discipline one of its most prominent members when he breaks the rules.
The leftist Democratic speaker of the House embarrassed herself by pretending to conduct diplomacy with Syria, and was widely excoriated even in the liberal media. The Majority Leader of the Senate keeps sticking his foot in his mouth. The front-runner for the Democratic nomination is somebody with some of the highest “hard negatives” in poll results that any presidential candidate has ever seen. The Democrats appoint to the Homeland Security Committee a man best known for accepting a dirty $100,000 payment and hiding $90,000 of it in his freezer.
But the right can’t get much traction.
Finally, we Americans are enjoying the greatest economy in the history of mankind, with yesterday’s report about soaring consumer confidence adding to the good news. The unemployment rate is very low. Inflation remains in check. Interest rates are below average. Wages are up. Home ownership is at record levels, while home values remain near record levels even after a slight slowdown. Stock market indices are at record levels, and the percentage of Americans owning securities is at or near all-time highs. The poverty rate is ticking downward. Shopping malls are filled to the brim. All at the same time, all when somebody usually identified as conservative sits in the Oval Office.
But the right still can’t get traction.
MAYBE IT’S TIME FOR a conservative renewal. Perhaps it’s time for conservatives to become reformers again. Definitely, it’s time for conservatives to remember what conservatives are supposed to believe in.
We’re the movement that believes in a smaller, more efficient government. We’re the movement that believes in applying the lessons of history to current situations — including the lesson that you can’t secure a peace without boots on the ground. We’re the movement that believes in the rule of law. We believe in national security. We believe in traditional values. We believe in open government, and in honest government. We believe in civil discourse — except that on immigration policy, the pro-leniency faction continues to call the law-and-order faction “bigots,” “nativists,” racists, and the like, and our president says the law-and-order folks “do not want to do what’s right for America.”
We believe in empiricism, meaning we learn from evidence rather than rely on theory. Yet our administration ignores a National Intelligence Estimate that warns of infertile ground for democracy in Iraq and the probability of sectarian violence if Saddam Hussein is overthrown — and, in response, the administration overthrows Saddam (good) without planning much at all for sectarian violence or for creating the institutions necessary to seed democracy.
We believe in merit, supposedly. Yet “our” administration fills the appointed ranks of the bureaucracy with second-raters. To handle national disasters, the president appoints a guy whose previous job experience involved heading a horse-industry interest group (and resigning under pressure therefrom). To oversee the Justice Department, and to handle Iraqi reconstruction, and supposedly to serve on the Supreme Court, values such as “loyalty” and, well, “values,” are held in higher esteem than brilliance and relevant experience.
Faced with incompetence, the president cites lack of law-breaking as a positive attribute. Faced with unprecedented disaster, the president says an appointee has done a “heckuva job.” Faced with a despot and former KGB honcho governing a huge nation with thousands of nuclear weapons, the president informs us that he can see into the despot’s heart and soul and that the selfsame heart and soul are good.
In Congress, our leaders fight to keep their pork, appoint ethically challenged Members to key committees, break their word and bend all sorts of rules when in power and yet get re-elected by their caucus….
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?