Friday, May 05, 2006

Services rendered

There's a new flurry of debate about the recent American conservative tactic that claiming that conservatism, as implemented by George Bush, didn't work because it hasn't been tried. Glenn Greenwald catches National Review's Jonah Goldberg taking this argument up to 11 and packaging George W. Bush as a liberal. Goldberg responds, predictably, by cherry-picking from his writings over the last 6 years and finding instances where he opposed Bush on something.

What he, or any of his conservative colleagues, would like to hide is the degree to which their contribution to the cause was not to praise Bush but to bury the other guy. The Bush campaign machine has been able to count on a steady stream of ridicule, polemic, and vituperation aimed at any candidate for office opposed to his policies. Any "dissent" was carefully calibrated not to occur during election season. Incidentally, this tactic has the side benefit of permitting a second distancing strategem, which will be to maintain that Bushism only succeeded because of the failings of the political opposition. Which is truly a remarkable dodge around what it means to be in charge.

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