Saturday, February 20, 2010

...and which principles would those be?

I hear that a bunch of conservatives sign this Mount Vernon Statement thing which seems to be a 21st century conservative credo. And as I'm reading it, all I can think is "...mmmyep." You can read it, but it's absolutely nothing new.

What I'm now wondering  about is the entire concept of "conservative principles". Maybe I'm being cynical, but I think the best thing you can say about this is that it's ironic. This is not to say that progressives are never unprincipled or hypocritical, but among conservatives it's like a competitive sport.

There's the whole "limited government thing. They absolutely oppose anything that looks like unnecessary federal spending, except the spending they ask for. They oppose all needless government interference in people's lives, except when it suits their arbitrary morals. They are against any expansion of federal power, unless it's to enforce those morals. They think all life is sacred, especially life of the embryonic and fetal variety  - but not if you're a pregnant woman with no insurance.

Because they're fiscally conservative too, right? That's why they support tax cuts and oppose healthcare reform and unions. That stuff leads to socialism, which is like what they have in Soviet Russia. Or Canada. 

And they want to lower taxes, right? They would totally get rid of income taxes except that would never work, so you know what they're going to do instead? Give a whole bunch of tax cuts to rich people, because, um... the Laffer curve says it's a good idea!

Well anyway, the conservatives would have you know that all the liberals want to do is be soft on communism terrorism. Because it's not like Bill Clinton spent a metric fuckton of money on counterterrorism or put a whole bunch of terrorists in prison or anything. And Obama? He's just as bad as Clinton (if by "bad" you mean "awesome". )

Oooooh, but did you know that Obama did drugs when he was younger? Republicans would never do drugs... okay, except that one time. See, what you don't understand is that "drugs are bad" means "for poor people".  Also "unless you're white."

But don't you dare call them racist, because they're totally not racist. They only defend people's right to continue displaying the Confederate flag because those people have a right to express pride their heritage; it says so in the First Amendment! But if you want to exercise your First Amendment rights by burning the flag or being "hostile" towards religion, well you're just a goddamn hippie.

ETA: Ezra Klein wrote a short but good post about how the Republicans conflate their political position with their philosophy - which explains why their "philosophy" changes whenever it suits them.


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