Thursday, 13 December 2012

Fame, Fortune, and "the Conservative Movement"

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Rest assured that there is no short supply of “conservative leaders” in Washington and the media who draw their inspiration, not from any moral conviction or passion, but from the hunger to achieve fame and fortune. Such “leaders” or “spokespersons” are mercenaries who have every one of their stakes invested in seeing to it that the base of the movement buys lock, stock, and barrel the narrative that they continue to feed it.

According to this narrative, “conservatives” are the guardians of our “Founders’” dream of constitutional or “limited” government, the lone champions of liberty who are engaged in an enduring struggle with the forces of “the socialist” Left who long to swallow up the old Republic in a “cradle to grave” national government.

This epic struggle plays out every presidential election cycle, when “conservative leaders” promise us that what we face is nothing more or less than “the most important election of our lifetime.”

It plays out on any number of Fox News shows, when photogenic panelists with a shared interest in greater publicity for themselves and greater ratings for their network strive to convince audiences that their negligible differences over details are fundamental differences in kind. 

It plays out on “conservative” talk radio, where the hosts do a masterful (if transparent) job of walking the proverbial tightrope as they aspire to simultaneously persuade listeners that they are both losing and winning the country.

And it plays out in “conservative” publications of various sorts, where pseudo-intellectual writers are forever parading out the next Great Idea that will cure the nation of the ills inflicted upon it by “liberalism.”

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That far too much of “the conservative media” is as shallow in thought as it is lacking in conviction is readily gotten from any number of examples.

Throughout the first six years of his presidency, George W. Bush’s Republican Party held strong majorities in both chambers of Congress. Thanks to his policies, and his disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan particularly, the Democrats not only defeated the Republicans in 2006 and 2008, the former actually gained super majorities in the House and the Senate. Bush retired from his second term with a 30-percent approval rating.

Yet no sooner was Bush II on the road back to Crawford, Texas than “the Architect” of the GOP’s defeat — Karl Rove — as well as other Bush lackeys, such as Dana Perino, were signing their contracts to become regulars on Fox News. It is there that such stalwart “conservatives” as Sean Hannity, who daily beats the drums about the Democrats’ exorbitant spending, routinely consults Rove and Perino, accomplices to Bush’s exorbitant spending, for counsel on how to frustrate the Democrats’ exorbitant spending.

It is on Fox that the likes of Bill Kristol and Charles Krauthammer continue to be treated as bottomless fonts of wisdom in spite of their spectacularly checkered track records on all manner of topics.  From the Middle Eastern wars within which we remain mired to the presidential nominations of McCain and Mitt Romney to amnesty for the millions of Third World immigrants who are transforming the character of America, Kristol and Krauthammer have been almost shockingly wrong.

There are numerous other instances that could be cited to show that “the conservative movement” has, by and large, been taken over by fame-seekers of one sort or other.  The most recent of which I’m aware is that of World Net Daily.

World Net Daily is a popular “conservative” website whose editor, Joseph Farrah, has rightly ripped into Karl Rove for the faux conservative that he is. Yet Farrah just hired former Pennsylvania senator and GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum as a regular contributor to WND.

Now, Santorum is about as conservative as Rove. Indeed, if there is any significant difference between the one and the other, or between Santorum and our last president, whose “brain” we are forever told was none other than Mr. Rove himself, I have yet to discover what it could be.

Santorum not only supports “socialized medicine” — i.e., Medicare and Medicaid — but in voting for Medicare Part D, a prescription drug benefit that marked the largest expansion in Medicare since its inception, Santorum actually strengthened socialized medicine while paving the way for ObamaCare.

This former Pennsylvania senator, who enjoys the distinction of having lost his bid for reelection by a larger margin than any senator in the Keystone state’s history, advocates not just “big,” but Gargantuan Government. That Santorum actually wants to increase our troop presence in countries around the world (the 160 or so countries where we currently have troops stationed isn’t sufficient I guess) shows that his foreign policy vision is even more ambitious than that of Bush’s. 

Among other Gargantuan Government policies that Santorum supported are No Child Left Behind, government bailouts for the airline industries, and Bush’s “Home Ownership Society” (that climaxed in the mortgage meltdown and the recession of ’08 that gave the country Barack Obama). 

Yet Joe Farrah, staunch critic of Rove, has decided to make Santorum an exclusive WND contributor.

Farrah may as well see if the real McCoy, Rove himself, is interested in writing for his magazine. After all, why go for a replica if you can get the real deal?