Wingnut apostate Mickey Edwards lays out the ugly truth:
Today there are few things that set a “conservative’s” teeth on edge more than a defense of “civil liberties;” yet that is what American conservatism was all about–protecting the liberties of the people. It was a system designed to protect the people from an over-reaching government, not to protect the government from the people. American constitutionalism was a historical high-point in recognizing individual worth. Stop at CPAC today and you will find rooms full of ardent, zealous, fervent young men and women who believe the government should be allowed to torture (we condemned people at Nuremberg for doing that), who believe the government should be able to lock people up without charges and hold them indefinitely (something Henry VIII agreed was a proper exercise of government authority). Who believe the government should be able to read a citizen’s mail and listen in on a citizen’s phone calls, all without a warrant (the Constitution of course prohibits searches without a warrant, but nobody cares less about the Constitution than some of today’s ersatz conservatives).
Most “conservatives” today don’t dislike big government. In fact, they absolutely love big government if it is used in the service of further empowering America’s economic elite. Witnesseth Rich Lowry’s hilarious defense of Enron buying off government officials:
LOWRY: Well, no one can point to specifically anything they got that they shouldn’t have gotten. And, you know, the fact is, Enron backed Chuck Schumer, the Democrat in the 1998 New York Senate race. Why? Because Chuck Schumer agreed with Enron on deregulation. Companies that support deregulation are going to give money to candidates who support deregulation. There’s nothing inherently corrupt about that…
And of course, they also love using the government to start unjustified wars and to torture people. It’s a pretty sick ideology, but hey, if people want to vote it back into power, be my guest — after all, I’m a white heterosexual male, I’m supposed to benefit from this shit. I think this country needs to get wingnuttery out of its system once and for all, and Dr. Paul Ryan’s plan to throw old people off of Medicare might finally do the trick. It’s sad that we’ll have to have bankrupt elders dying in the streets to make this happen, but if that’s what it takes, so be it.
UPDATE: As many of you in the comments have pointed out, I’ve been acting like a childish jerk about issues like this. All the same, it’s hard not to be cynical when you read stuff like this:
Okay, I’ve got some more info for you on what the health care compromise proposal that Obama will bring to the summit next week is going to look like.
Bottom line: It’s all but certain to have the Cadillac tax in it, even though House Dems oppose it, and no public option, aides say.
OK, so no public option AND a tax that will screw over union members. Hot damn, that’ll get the Democratic base to turn out in droves!
I think what we actually need is a genuine populist politics in this country, and not the fake sort of Rich Lowry and Sarah Palin. Because the policy makers we’ve elected just aren’t cutting it.