Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Forgive me, but...

posted by Armadillo Joe

I know B'way-C said no SUPERTRAINS!, but in this instance I have to break the rules and hope for the best because it sure is funny when conservatives say one thing and do another -- which is, naturally, all the time because they could never actually live by the words they profess (but that's another blog post for another time) -- and watching them get on the bandwagon while protesting the very same bandwagon is one more too-precious-not-to-mock entry in the hypocrisy file.

Because, it turns out, despite the fact that he belittled the whole idea mercilessly with lies about an L.A. to Vegas high-speed link, Eric Cantor remains true to the for-me-not-for-thee creed of the modern GOP when he actually expresses the idea that rail is a good for the car-loving folks of Vir-ginny (via Huffpost):
Asked about high-speed rail at a recent local event in Virginia, Cantor was all thumbs up. "If there is one thing that I think all of us here on both sides of the political aisle from all parts of the region agree with, it's that we need to do all we can to promote jobs here in the Richmond area,"
Of course, he is (as ever) disingenuously acting the part of the aggrieved party. If you read that passage closely, you realize that he is getting all upset because Obama's rail plan doesn't include a high-speed link between D.C. and Richmond. Why a high-speed link would even need to exist between D.C. and Richmond he doesn't say, but I chalk it up to regional chauvanism as everyone thinks their part of the puzzle is the most important. He's in the House, so I am unsurprised that he wants some of that steel wheeled "pork" for his district, too. One man's pork is another man's stimulus.

But yet another conservative, though, has had a revelation that "law-zee mercy" rail is a good, conservative thing that any self-respecting conservative should support because a car-oriented culture is destructive of families and communities, which are good conservative things that conservatives like (and no one else is allowed to like, fucking hippies) so conservatives should support such uplifting, conservative policies that promote rail travel.

OK, I make fun, because the author David Schaengold, actually very eloquently and persuasively makes some very salient arguments in favor of rail travel and against what I have called (stealing from James Kunstler) the Happy Motoring culture. He even sums up rather nicely the heretofore liberal/conservative split on rail travel (h/t Sully):
Sadly, American conservatives have come to be associated with support for transportation decisions that promote dependence on automobiles, while American liberals are more likely to be associated with public transportation, city life, and pro-pedestrian policies. This association can be traced to the ’70s, when cities became associated with social dysfunction and suburbs remained bastions of ‘normalcy.’ This dynamic was fueled by headlines mocking ill-conceived transit projects that conservatives loved to point out as examples of wasteful government spending. Of course, just because there is a historic explanation for why Democrats are “pro-transit” and Republicans are “pro-car” does not mean that these associations make any sense. Support for government-subsidized highway projects and contempt for efficient mass transit does not follow from any of the core principles of social conservatism.
It is amazing to me how the conservatives are always on the wrong side of everything. Now that we've seen what expensive gasoline can do to our economy and the whole idea of Peak Oil is gaining ground in the mainstream, the policies championed by conservatives for decades, policies that promoted car-centric sprawl and corporate big box stores and all the assorted accoutrement of the Happy Motoring suburban lifestyle (a lifestyle that tended to vote Republican, BTW -- hence the support) is now coming back over to the side of rail.

Anyone remember National Review's list of "Conservative Rock Songs"? It's kinda like that, in the "if I like it, it can't be liberal - thus it must be conservative" sort of way all conservatives everywhere are willing to make moral, economic, political, ethical and cultural exemptions for themselves from their much vaunted "values."

At any rate, though a conservative, Mr. Schaengold makes some very good arguments in favor of rail travel. Hell, he's so far off the GOP reservation that he not only manages to pay Hillary Clinton a compliment, he does so regarding one of the Hillary-bashing canards Reich-wingers have used relentlessly for over a decade to club the former First Lady: he agrees with her declaration that "It Takes A Village."

I'll wait for them to apologize for impeaching her husband, too.

Please read the whole thing. It is definitely worth it.


Matt Osborne said...

If a foolish consistency is the hobgoblin of little minds, then a consistent fool is a little mind full of hobgoblins. That pretty much describes Cantor in a nutshell...pun intended.

Annette said...

That's ok Mr. Armadillo Joe.. this was more about the hypocrisy of Cantor and the rethuglicans in general than about Super Trains, I am sure B'Way Carl will allow this one. It was a superb piece.