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Pay no attention to the people behind the curtain

Monday, June 04, 2007

Two Related Updates on My Thompson Post

One, Glenn Greenwald's been tracking the way conservatives are now desperately backpedalling over Bush, perhaps to let the candidates like Thompson run to Bush's right:
This fraud is as transparent as it is dishonest, yet there are signs that the media is nonetheless beginning to adopt this theme that there is some sort of epic and long-standing "Bush-conservative schism." But very little effort is required to see what a fraud that storyline is.

One of the few propositions on which Bush supporters and critics agree is that George Bush does not change and has not changed at all over the last six years. He is exactly the same.

And none of the supposed grounds for conservative discontent -- especially Bush's immigration position -- is even remotely new. Bush's immigration views have been well-known since before he was first elected in 2000, yet conservatives have devoted to him virtually cult-like loyalty and support. Just logically speaking, Bush's immigration views cannot be the cause of the flamboyant conservative "rebellion" against Bush since those views long co-existed with intense conservative devotion to Bush.

There is really only one thing that has changed about George W. Bush from the 2002-2004 era when conservatives hailed him as the Great Conservative Leader, and now. Whereas Bush was a wildly popular leader then, which made conservatives eager to claim him as their Standard-Bearer, he is now one of the most despised presidents in U.S. history, and conservatives are thus desperate to disassociate themselves from the President for whom they are solely responsible. It is painfully obvious there is nothing noble, substantive or principled driving this right-wing outburst; it is a pure act of self-preservation.
An excerpt does not do it justice. The facts in this case are merciless. Please read the whole thing.

Two, Dad29 kicked off the comments thread to that Fred Thompson post with this:
The main reason is that Thompson, just like Obama, sees the political situation as one which is deteriorating rapidly into a "tit/tat" partisan steaming pile of crap.
I pulled it out because I think it--and (humbly speaking) my response--deserves a little bit more light.

Dad29 seems to think Thompson is above partisanship. I suppose there are two possible readings of that sentence. The first is that Fred is someone who engages his opponents and finds common ground to move the country forward. This does not describe Fred Thompson: As I noted in response, Fred's talking the fringe talk (despite his history) on immigration, the Iraq war, health care, gay rights, and more. He doesn't seem inclined to move to the center on any of them.

A second reading, which, for all I know, is what Dad29 meant, is that Fred doesn't deign to engage the debate, talk to anyone who disagrees with him, bother with compromise. After all, Thompson's most significant campaign move to date is making a YouTube video where he tells Michael Moore to go check into an insane asylum unstead of engaging the filmmaker over the challenges of the US health care system.

And the conservatives ate that up. In part, I bet, because the rightroots hate Michael Moore. And in part because they love that mine-is-bigger-than-yours-ism (for Fred, a cigar is not just a cigar), that I-can't-hear-you-ism, that stay-the-course-in-the-face-of-disaster-ism.

That's why it's ironic that the conservative chattering classes are turning on Bush and turned on by Thompson: If the latter paraphrase of Dad29's statement is the more accurate one, Fred Thompson is George W. Bush.

And that, my friends and neighbors, is a scary, scary prospect.

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