Okay, I have worried this bone down to the marrow, in an effort to be comprehensive and offer a useful political tool. Now, let's try to finish up.
By now, you know what to do. Print out parts I, II and III and use them as a long list of hypocrisy skewers to wear down an ostrich. Of course, you’ll have to be persistent, because it may take all of these things, before their state of denial finally erodes far enough for him to start getting mad. Mad over how they have been made a tool. Over how conservatism has been hijacked by monsters.
And, especially, furious at a gang of thieves, for putting him in a position of having to apologize for six years (and more) of obstinate block headedness!
Still, in order to avoid wasting time, be sure and distinguish between five types of Republican! Four kinds are a complete waste of time.
* The owners and thieves themselves, insiders benefiting from the Great Klepto Raid. Or their high-paid shills. I doubt you’ll meet any of these. But they already know what you’d say. Having sold America, they only care about evading accountability.
(Don’t worry, they’ll be taken care of - in the greatest irony of all - by their own children.)
* Fanatics and dogmatists (see below). Not all bad news. Some of the sincere religious are starting to see the light. But you lack the charisma, incantations, or credentials to be their agent of change.
* The narrowminded variety of libertarians, who can see only one threat to markets and freedom - bureaucrats. Ignoring all of human history, this oversimplifying silliness has rendered libertarianism a joke, in the one country where it had a chance. Pity. (Though, steer some of them toward Ron Paul! A decent man, if 1/4 crazy.) If you tell them Bush has systematically quashed our government’s professionals and institutions, in order to rob us blind, they will ask “so?”
* “Tribal republicans.” A far larger group. People who have simply bonded with the GOP and will accept whatever definition of “conservatism” is spoon fed to them by their anointed leader, or on Fox, even if it is diametrically opposite to what they were fed ten years ago. Their loyalty is tribal in the sense that it is far stronger than their love of country or civilization.
(In fairness, many lefties are like this, too!)
Most of your troglodyte uncles are just this hopelessly and rigidly and “tribally” certain. They might concede the entire list of hypocrisies, and blithely reply “well, the next republicans will be better.” Or else,“any democrat would be worse.”
* Which leaves the last group. “Decent conservatives.” Dole Goldwater Republicans. Men and women who have let their definitions drift, and who may have some tribal-obstinate reflexes, but who really do have some rock-solid values that you can appeal-to.
Above all, they would actually choose America, if forced to see that the decision really is in stark terms... a choice between our nation and today’s GOP. (This category also includes more broadminded libertarians, who have actually read Adam Smith.) Only this last part of Karl Rove’s Big Tent Coalition - the ostriches - will be budged by evidence or reason. That’s the bad news.
The good news? These people make up the largest single bloc in Rove’s tent! If we use honor, evidence and patriotism to lure enough of them outside, the tent will unravel. The crazies will be marginalized. Culture War will wither.
Even better, this category includes many of those skilled professionals - in the civil service, officer corps, FBI and so on - who may yet save us all. If they wake up. Enough to do their jobs.
So let’s finish up. Onward, with more skewers for hypocrites.
(Remember, don’t simply ask your Ostrich to read these on paper. They will skim and their minds will veer. It is essential to sit them down and read the list to them, aloud.)
==WOULD YOUR HACKLES RAISE IF IT WERE DEMOCRATS WHO...==
...insist that it is just fine for two companies, run by a pair of extreme partisan brothers, to manufacture the nation’s voting machines, never submitting their software code for open testing, obstructing paper trails or auditing, while lobbying for state laws that forbid exit polling, as a last ditch way to verify election results? Wouldn’t that combination make you a little, well, paranoid? That is, if democrats did it.
...kept buying up newspapers, radio stations and television outlets, aided by rule changes that allow just a few men to control most of the news Americans get to hear? Fabulously rich men who are actively and relentlessly partisan?
...let politically connected companies control the FDA, write laws, pick the inspectors who regulate them, and allowed Big Tobacco to settle court judgements for one penny on the dollar?
(Self-check: Admit it! If Cintonite Democrats had done any of these things, you’d be up in arms! So why are you ignoring it now?)
Don’t you think you would have called it politically “significant” if Democrats were involved in nine out of ten of the lawmaker sex/perversion/corruption scandals, in the last decade? Of course you would!
You’d call it symptomatic of deeply-rooted Democratic depravity.
So how do you manage to shrug it off as “irrelevant” when -- in fact -- it turns out to be GOP lawmakers getting caught as flagrant perverts or crooks, nine times out of ten?
Is that symptomatic? Deep-rooted? No?
Among all of the major candidates running for the Democratic and Republican presidential nominations, five out of six of the divorces... and all of the really nasty ones... are on the GOP side.
Not important, you say? Not morally indicative?
Would you have said the same thing, if the stats were reversed?
Well then, would you call it politically “significant” if all if the worst spies to harm America in the last generation happened to be Democrats? Of course you would! You’d call it symptomatic of Democratic wickedness and a propensity for treason.
So how do you manage to shrug it off as “irrelevant” when -- in fact -- it turns out that all if the worst spies to harm America in the last generation were, in fact, Republicans?(The Walkers, Aldrich Ames, Robert Hanssen, and so on.)
When “abstinence” programs result in much higher teen pregnancy and STD rates than Sex Education, can you be practical and abandon a dogma that failed?
When divorce rates are much higher among fundamentalists than among bluestaters, shall we listen to them preach about marriage?
When they rant against science, doesn’t it embarrass you?
When brazenly doctrinaire fundamentalist groups take millions in your taxes, to use seeking converts, does your copy of the Constitution even cringe?
When they declare that millions of their fellow citizens are literally and inherently damned to eternal torment in Hell, because of differences in faith, do you squirm, even a little?
Above all, when those same fanatics publicly yearn for an end to the world -- impatiently salivating for an imminent, blood-drenched, Revelations conflagration -- shall we rush to give such people control over diplomacy, policy, our military, and nuclear weapons?
People who pray daily for events that will terminate America should be given control of our nation’s tiller?
Is this where “conservatism” has gone?
And is that whirring sound Barry Goldwater, spinning in his grave?
Oh, but the ironies and hypocrisies go on.
==WOULD YOU HAVE BEEN UPSET IF BILL CLINTON...==
...responded to a terror attack by grounding all Americans for two days, not allowing them to fly...
...but meanwhile whisked out of the country, in luxury, every rich or well-connected citizen of a hostile foreign power? The same foreign power from which most of the terrorists had come? Including some relatives and close friends of the plotters? Not even allowing the FBI to ask them any questions?
Would you have let all that tickle your paranoia bone, if a Democratic president did it? Or would you have shouted treason?
Then why aren’t you even a little bit curious in this world. The world where your party has guided America down a path of steep decline?
Is there even a chance you’ll be honest and honorable enough to realize that -- this time -- it is your side that has gone quite jibbering insane?
And delusional, even at the level of personal evaluations of character.
WARNING: some of the following section may seem immature and degrading. Skip over it, if you like. But none of it is below the level of things spewed by Rush Limbaugh and Anne Coulter, for decades.
==What if Bill Clinton...==
...preened and preached about his own personal courage, then had himself put unconscious under anesthesia, simply to avoid the discomfort of a routine colonoscopy? Not once but twice? While the White House made a big deal out of “minimizing the risk this caused the nation” by transferring power officially to the Vice President? Can you imagine what Rush would have made of such incredible wimpiness, if Clinton had cried to be put out for a routine exam?
...preened and preached about his own personal courage, then hid out for the first few days after a nation’s trauma with a major terrorist attack? (That is, after finishing reading a 2nd grade children’s book aloud, before watching cameras.)
...mocked and sneered at a condemned woman’s plea for clemency, on national television? (Whatever your opinions on capital punishment, is a “mature leader”someone who treats such matters with sober dignity, or with fratboy nastiness and hand-rubbing glee?)
...spent his first days in office re-assigning scores of FBI agents away from proper duties, sending them, instead, sifting through executive department files, in a vain and (utterly!) fruitless search for any kind of dirt on the previous administration? Agents who were thus not on duty, looking out for dangers to the people, during months leading up to a terrible terror attack upon the nation?
(Wouldn’t you have called that an impeachable offense... even outright treason... if the fellow doing it had been Bill Clinton?)
What if, while publicly calling out for tighter immigration controls, Bill Clinton acted to cripple the Border Patrol during his first year in office, so that his backers would have access to cheap, undocumented labor?
(Of course, in real life, Bill Clinton did the opposite, doubling the Border Patrol, during his first months, while preaching racial tolerance. But what if someone else did do that other thing? Would it make you even a little mad?)
...had to be bailed out of failure after failure in college, the military, law school, and every business venture that he ever “ran” (into the ground) always counting on friends of his father to come save the day? Only then, with ultimate power in his hands, he found new friends, with character more like his own? Whereupon he banished pop’s former advisors, and party elders, and old-style conservatives - and even the old man himself - from any further position of advice, party leadership, or “grownup supervision”?
Okay, let’s put aside all the lesser character flaws of narrowmindedness, incurious dogmatism, yes-man egotism, and irresponsibility. What about the truly monstrous and unforgivable flaw of sheer ingratitude?
Toward the men who smoothed life’s road before him? Or toward the nation that nurtured him? Or toward his own father? Would this story of relentless, feckless “failing upward” - combined with smug, unprincipled and unappreciative ruthlessness - have drawn at least a little worry from you by now?
That is, if Bill Clinton were the one described here?
== A Capsule Summary?==
How can any final capsule envelope all these comparisons? All these crimes?
If one president balanced budgets and the other bankrupted us. If one enhanced government efficiency while the other gave 200+ billions in non-bid contracts directly to friends. If one oversaw a boom in small business and the other a surge of monopolies. If one sliced secrecy while the other sent it rocketing to levels never seen in the Cold War. If one helped all society to prosper spectacularly and the other helped only aristocrats. If one earned respect from the US Officer Corps and the other one betrayed the military at every turn...
...which would be the logical choice for a patriotic and logical "decent conservative?"
If one maintained military readiness, including thirty fully ready combat brigades, and the other one stripped us bare, exhausting our brave troops and leaving us with only two ready brigades, which would be a "strong" president? The one who handled his war with fierce, surgical precision costing no American lives and transforming a continent, while boosting our popularity and alliances? Or the one who has driven away all of our allies, made us more hated than ever, while accomplishing nothing at all?
One doubles the Border Patrol and the other shatters it. Which was the Republican? One leaves office without a single official indicted and the other loses comrades to jail or ignominy almost every week. Which was the "sleaze" subjected to a $2 billion witch hunt?
Oh, there is no way to summarize. No way to reprise or shortcut. Because ostriches will squirm and struggle to keep their heads in the sand. No, the only way to do this is to go through the whole thing, over and over again, till the hypnotic spell shatters, the neocon fever breaks, and they -- our cousins and neighbors and fellow citizens -- finally wake up.
== THE WORST HYPOCRISY OF ALL==
Let’s cut to the chase. Of all the actions that would have condemned Bill Clinton and the Democrats to perdition, if they did it to America -- Culture War would surely have been the worst crime of all. Dividing our nation, pitting us against each other along dismal, geographic and dogmatic lines. Making partisanship the sole test of any issue. Any at all.
That would have enraged you, if the other side did it. Now, live with having helped and excused the same crime, simply because “culture war” served your side, for a while.
Only, dig this: it was “blue America”... people living in the nation’s cities... who responded with courage and fortitude, both on 9/11 and every day since. Who fought back (aboard Boston originated flight UA93). Who stood atop rubble in New York, shouting at the terrorists“Is that all you got?”
Urbanites already pay the most taxes, getting least in return. Yet, led into war, they say “Tax us, not our grandchildren, so we can support the troops and get on with winning... or else get us out of that crazy quagmire!”
Above all, they have said: “Fear? What fear? An ‘endless emergency’ only gives in to terror and lets crooks bypass the law! Let America get back to normal law. Normal rights and progress. Accountability. And stop using us as an excuse to grab power.
“Yes, urban America is in the crosshairs. When more bad things happen, we will take the hits. But we’ll face whatever comes, with courage, refusing to let it daunt or change us. Can you say the same?”
== WE REFUSE TO BECOME THE USSA==
Our country won’t be panicked into becoming the United Security States of America.
Red America can’t have it both ways, despising cityfolk while using New Yorkers as martyrs. Yammering fear of terror, while loathing their fellow citizens who actually live in the crosshairs. Demanding the benefits of a continental republic, while waging Culture War against half its populace.
It’s time for “decent” conservatives to pull their heads out of the sand. Former supporters of the neocon movement must own up and say aloud the words that every scientist - and every honest citizen - learns to speak, from time to time, as a simple matter of mature habit:
“I might be wrong.”
Admit, before it is too late, that you were so very wrong about culture war, about the neoconservative Gang of Thieves, about climate change, and just about everything else, since the 21st Century began.
Admit it! Be adults. Salvage the best parts of conservatism by rescuing the movement from monsters. Act now, while there is still something left of it to save.
And join us in rebuilding our country, repairing the ravages of this, our latest Civil War..
“We will not walk in fear, one of another. We will not be driven by fear into an age of unreason, if we dig deep in our history and our doctrine, and remember that we are not descended from fearful men.”
- Edward R. Murrow