Wednesday, October 9, 2013

How I Became A RINO

Yeah, It's Kinda Like That
Neo-NeoCon is the best conservative blog you're probably not reading. Or, maybe you are: she's gotten some good exposure. When I say the blog--and the anonymous blogger--is great, people who read this regularly may take it as some tongue in cheek: It's no surprise I like David Frum, he's considered a total apostate by most conservatives. That I liked McCain in the 2000 primary? Well, duh: he's a total sell-out. Wacko-birds indeed.

Neo-NeoCon isn't a RINO. She's not a sell out. She can't stand Obama. She's done her homework. She's a woman in the Republican party which, today, let's be frank, takes some guts (and once in a while a strong stomach). I certainly don't agree with everything she says--but I (a) agree with some (varying on degree) and (b) I really like the way she says it. She's classy, smart, and I learn things reading her (I felt the lack of an Obamacare question at Obama's 'presser' yesterday was mitigated by there being no interesting Obamacare question--and she proved me wrong).

So we'll start there.

How She Became A Conservative
The long-form set of posts I want to call your attention to are these: A Mind Is A Difficult Thing To Change. These posts make up the large part of her personal story as to how she went from a fairly reflexive liberal to a more critically thinking conservative. Amongst several points on a line there is one thread that stands out: she realized the press--the liberal press-corps and their attendant friends in academia--turned the American public against the Vietnam war in significant part by misrepresenting it.
This, I think, says it very well: during this time, the press turned from government associate to government adversary, and questioned not only tactics, theory, and judgment, but even the goodwill and motives of those in charge of decisions.
As she notes it did not simply misrepresent our "chances of victory" but actually misrepresented our character as a nation.

Editing on iPhone: It looks like I'm wrong about the image I had here (napalm girl) or, at least google cannot confirm. I will look into it later. The point was about whether the press coverage of Vietnam was biased, just plain wrong, or manipulative. It's not my area of expertise so I'll have to look into it more ... I'll add this link as possibly an example of what she's talking about.

Whether or not the press got it wrong or not--or whether there were legitimate mistakes (not to mention, yes, actual war-crimes) the idea that the American press was (a) liberal and (b) biased seems virtually self-evident to me--and it continues to be true today (did you hear the press's questions to Obama yesterday? Yes, conservatives were all in a lather--but yes, those were some softball questions).

Neo-NeoCon felt she was being manipulated. She checked things out. She didn't like it. She began, slowly, to shift from liberal to conservative. Today, I'd guess over 50 years old, she's a 2000-era neo-con. I'd guess that's her final landing zone.

On The Other Hand
I read this highly linked article on Liberal Intolerance: You Believe What? Our intrepid author goes to a dinner party with Liberals and finds his friends ('friends?') intolerantly astonished at his backwards conservatism. He's the picture of politeness--but, honestly? Well: Here's the final paragraph:
I doubt these folks thought of themselves as mean people. But I am certain many other conservatives have had similar interactions among liberals in elite, polite society. Worldly as they are, they have no clue.
It's certainly a head-shaker. Liberals, who trumpet their alleged tolerance are the first to be, well, zealous assholes, right? Conservatives are all reserved, refined, and respectful. If you've seen my Facebook feed you know that's not universally true--avoiding the "both sides" thing for a minute-- if you haven't read the Fox News comments (back when they were on) you might wanna get yourself an education. If you haven't seen various TrueCons (TM) lamenting the current level of civility--on their side--for being too polite (as in "we should be able to use the n-word) ... I can show you some (It's like a zoo exhibit! I swear)--but that's not my major point here.

Instead let's go to another dinner party where a different conservative travels amongst the Europeans and hears their ways. This time it's Roger Kimball in London ... in 2012. They don't like Obama--being 'Politically Mature'--but they're sure he's going to win.
All of the guests were what my friend Otto Penzler calls “politically mature,” i.e., they regarded Barack Obama with varying degrees of fear, loathing, and distaste. But they had also, most of them, imbibed deeply of The Narrative: the fairy tale dispensed by virtually all the legacy (formerly known as “the mainstream”) media that Obama was as sure a thing to win as was possible to discover in this mutable sublunary world. 
There was some surprise (not to say incredulity), then, when I repeated my frequent refrain (like a broken record) that I thought Mitt Romney would not only win but win big. ... 
That is one reason that, although you’ll rarely hear a peep of dissent on the “major” networks or politically correct organs like The New York Times, there is nevertheless a strong and indeed growing current of contrary sentiment, broadcast by venues like PJ Media but underwritten by a vast electorate that is seething with discontent over the top-down, socialist, spread-the-wealth-around policies of our handsome but shockingly incompetent president.
That's a lot of bold--let me break it down for you: The 'politically mature' Europeans think Romney's gonna lose. The left-wing Mainstream Media says he's gonna lose. But Roger--Roger and the conservative media? They're on to something. Romeny's gonna win. And win big.

We know how that turned out. You totally called that one, Roger.

It looks now like even Romeny's internal polls put him at 18% to win. It's just that no one on the Red Team believed it.

How Now!?
At an age too young to vote I found Ronald Reagan an inspirational figure. It was not just his charisma but a general sense of both intelligence and solidity of character (yeah, there was that whole Iran-Contra thing ... I know). His campaign promise of "Morning in America" was something I got at an instinctual level even though I was too young to be truly effected by 70's gas lines.

I was way too young for Vietnam--and I had a moderately poor opinion of hippies that I still hold to this day. In other words, I came into the game after Neo-NeoCon but before 9/11 2001. What happened in 2001 was this: I already knew about the Taliban. Bin Laden was somewhat on my largely non-political radar screen (Clinton's cruise missile--which I approved of generally). I'd been activated in the military for Desert Storm (but not sent over, just put on alert). Generally? I thought someone should annihilate the Taliban and I was happy to see it done with American Specter gunships (there are few sexier weapons: look it up).

For a few months the whole world agreed with me.

When we started torturing people in the same prison that Saddam Hussein did, though, I drew the line. I was pretty sure that "take the gloves off" led to that. I looked into water-boarding and decided John McCain, better than anyone else I heard speaking in the Republican party would know if something was torture--to see people excuse it for no good reason I could see other than 'team-spirit' or willful ignorance was stomach-turning.

I don't support "my country right or wrong"--I support my country when it's right (and I think we generally are)--but I'm not afraid to criticize it when it's wrong. Killing the monster that was Udday Hussein? I'm fine with that. Waterboarding KSM to the point where his confession was meaningless? Wrong-o. To try to excuse that smacks to me of denial. Of propaganda. Of manipulation. And finally, of fear--fear of criticizing the home team because the other team might capitalize on it.

And that, ultimately? That's lying.

If there is one thing that Neo-NeoCon might be uncomfortably forced to agree with me on, it's this: last year the conservative media told a biased manipulative story that fooled the people who desperately relied on them. This was done for what I can only classify as ideological reasons.

If she's honest with herself, she'll realize that, actually, that happened since the campaign of 2007. The TrueCon media, growing out of the selection of Sarah Palin and coalescing with the Tea Party whose better goals were subsumed with birtherism, historical revisionism, unwarranted Reagan worship (and I'm a fan), and, well, racism* has created a gulf between the truth and the message that is at least as wide as any that existed in 1969.

Hell, it's wide enough even Romney fell in.

* Ugly. Don't take my word for it, ask the College Republican and look at their study.


  1. So since RINOs can't win primaries, and are afraid to put the names on a discharge petition to end the shutdown, what's left for them to do? Become moderate Dems? Indies?

    1. Well, first things first. The comments isn't a good place to cite--but moderate Republicans today are VERY aware that they are considered potential traitors by their own parties. Paul Ryan is getting the RINO treatment for not mentioning Obamacare in his speech. It's a witch-hunt and it can happen to anyone.

      The point is that just as the No True Scotsman fallacy has no real limit, neither does the TrueCon RINO allegation. EVERYONE is a potential RINO--it just takes one misstep ... anywhere.

      The question is not "what can RINOs do" but rather "what ideas does a hypothetical moderate Republican party have? When (ever) this is answered then any potential Moderate Republican will know what to do (adopt those, see if they fly).

      Right now it's the part of NO(thing).