By: Mark W Adams

In one of his more twistier pieces of pseudo-logic, George Will pronounces, quite cynically, that Americans are not cynics -- merely too idealistic.


No surprise that he manages to lay the phenomenon of unrealistic expectations we Americans "suffer" from at the feet of that bogeyman of the right for generations, Franklin Roosevelt. I guess I'm too much of an idealistic naif, a product of a nation founded on ideals that we could form a More Perfect Union, that we were endowed with Inalienable Rights.

How is it possible to trace back the history of Presidential Rhetoric elevating the office to something more than the mere head of an ungainly bureaucracy and ignore the trust we put in Presidents since at least Lincoln to ensure that a "government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth." Ya just don't get such banalities and pragmatism like that anymore, do you. Nearly as pedestrian as "give me liberty or give me death." (No wonder Patrick Henry never became president when he would utter such nonsense.)

At least Will is one of the few (very few) voices on the right who sums up the last administration as an exercise in Presidential overreach:
Today's president has claimed the power to be the "decider," deciding on his own to start preventive wars, order torture prohibited by treaty and statute, and arrest American terrorist suspects on American soil and hold them indefinitely without legal process.

However he misses entirely the idea that elevating the Presidency to cult-like status is a product of right-wing authoritarianism in practice as he dissects Cato Institute's Gene Healy's analysis of America's Dangerous Devotion to Executive Power.
Liberals think boundless government is beneficent. Conservatives practice situational constitutionalism, favoring what Healy calls "Caesaropapism" as long as the Caesar-cum-Pope wields his anti constitutional powers in the service of things these faux conservatives favor.
How perfectly droll.

As usual, Will has no desire to truly understand how liberals think or what we think about. At least he is more generous than most. He gives us credit for at least thinking at all.

The same tired meme of "big government liberals" is uncritically lobbed out today by Tom Coburn at the WSJ. They spew this as if it actually has any meaning when the Reagan and Bush astronomical deficits, juxtaposed against the Clinton era surplus, should prove for all time what a lie such notions as fiscally responsible Republicans are. It's truly absurd.

Yet Coburn, like Will, dances around the simple-minded follow-the-leader mentality of right-wing authoritarians. they acknowledge it in passing without understanding it for the disease it is.
Many Republicans are waiting for a consultant or party elder to come down from the mountain and, in Moses-like fashion, deliver an agenda and talking points on stone tablets. But the burning bush, so to speak, is delivering a blindingly simple message: Behave like Republicans.
The authoritarian mentality is not a side-effect, a mere symptom. It's is the root cause of the disease whose exploitation has metastasized in the body politic to the current cancer of Bush/Cheney. The "cure" is not returning to fictional glory days of Republican administrations that guarded the purse and wisely administered competent, honest government. they don't exist except in the romanticized minds of deluded pontificators like Will and John McCain.

Please tell me the last time such could be said to describe a GOP administration? Reagan and Bush's myth of responsible spending is a joke since no previous presidents could come close to their deficit spending. Nixon left paying for Vietnam to Carter, and his followers blame Carter for the wrecked economy to this day. Ike? 90% tax rate on the wealthiest? Puhleeze. Before that you've got Hoover, the Nero of the Great Depression and Harding selling off the country to the highest bidder (Teapot Dome still being at the top of corruption scandals despite the intervening history of Watergate, Iran/Contra, and the litany of GWB's criminal excesses).

Are these guys harkening back to the era of Teddy Roosevelt, maybe? No way. That guy was way too liberal of a tree hugger.

The cure for the disintegration of the Conservative Movement is a strong dose of reality. Quit deluding yourselves by foregoing inconveniently accurate truths in favor of revisionist history and spin. Take the halo off Saint Reagan for one, and recognize him for the nice, yet dottering fool he was -- who for all his good intent allowed a secret, illegal war to be run right out of his house -- and didn't have a clue. A guy who raised taxes as much as he cut them, and nearly bankrupted us all while spending the money on crooks and crap.

Next, understand that Conservatives have institutionalized the nurturing of sheeple, lemmings that are valued more for their loyalty than competence without which the modern Republican Party would have ceased to exist long ago. That a monolithic, top-down power structure may be very effective in the short term by sheer force of it's efficiency -- it is decidedly un-(small-"d")-democratic, un-American even. The power-structure of the modern Republican party is hardly a model of even "republican" principles, violating the very spirit of representative government. When they not only campaign, but govern through these crony-capitalist structures, their effect is more fascist than free.

Seriously, if all they truly want to stand for as conservatives is responsible economic policy, who would say that's a bad thing? Clearly there is much more, and most of it bad, to Replublicanism.

But no. They will give prominent media pedestals to liars like the ever Stupidest Guy on the Planet to try and spin us on how the first draft of the history of the the Iraq War should be re-written, again. My oh my how fun to watch the neocon intelligencia blame their idiot salesman for their shitty product.