Sunday, June 14, 2009


posted by Armadillo Joe

Following up on my post from Wednesday about the neo-Nazi violence at the Holocaust Museum (Selling Shit to the Shitheads) and dove-tailing nicely with my current reading material (Rick Pearlstein's "Before The Storm: Barry Goldwater and the Unmaking of the American Consensus"), I read today over at Yglesias' place about the so-called "China Lobby" that held sway in D.C. throughout the 1950's and into the 1960's and their adulation of General Chiang Kai-Shek (Yglesias quotes Robert Farley here):
the influence of the Lobby in the executive branch and in Congress helped prevent a Sino-American dialogue over Vietnam, the final status of Korea, the role of the PRC at the UN, and the potential for collaboration with the Soviet Union. When any President hinted at acknowledging the PRC, the Lobby could arm Congressional opponents with money and righteous rhetoric about the dangers of appeasing Beijing. Nixon was able to break the cycle, in part because the most vocal China advocates came from within his own party
That situation sounds to me like how our Middle East policy has been conducted for the last 30 years (since the Iranian Revolution of 1979), with deep-pocketed lobbyists and myriad influence-peddlers from foreign governments twisting our national dialogue, whether the issue be Iran, Iraq, Israel, Saudi Arabia, et al.. The difference between then and now, it seems to me, is that the ultimate triumph of a certain group of people in gradually taking over the levers of power in this country who were considered to be fringe-group fruit-loops in the 1950's -- a march to power that ran from Nixon's crime syndicate posing as a legitimate presidential administration from 1968 to '74 through Saint Ronnie's glorious 1980's through the tragedy the Cheney regime ending on January 20th of this year -- meant that during the run-up to the Iraq War, no grown-ups were left in the room to talk down the ruling clique of perpetual adolescents who have spent their lives being protected from the consequences of being wrong about everything all the time and who wanted to blow some shit up and torture some brown-skinned people real good to finally, in mid- to late-life, establish their macho bona fides, making up for not joining others of their generation who had those bona fides forced upon them in the jungles of South East Asia.

Once again, I was reminded that it is all of a piece, from the racist Dixieland sheriffs of the Civil Rights-era Deep South to the Glorious Reign of our Saint Ronnie of the Ray-Gun to our current military-industrial complex's deep and frightful warping of our nation's spending and foreign-policy priorities. Mark Twain once said that history doesn't exactly repeat itself, but it does rhyme and the deeper I get into Pearlstein's book, the more I realize just how much today's neo-cons are just a pathetic copy of a copy of a 100th Xerox'd copy of their political and intellectual ancestors in the 1950's, who themselves proved wholly and completely wrong about every single political and historical development since World War 2, but at least had gravitas and panache while being cowards and liars (looking at you, William F. Buckley).

The problem we encounter now is that so much of what has come to be defined as "conservative" over the last four or five decades subsumes a wide range of opinions, from monied business interests and wealthy cultural elites who resent the expulsion of monarchy from the realm of legitimate authority, southern race-warriors still bitter about losing the Civil War, a jingoistic military class who consider their political proclivities indistinguishable from the nation's security interests and a random assortment of slack-jawed, Bible-thumping hillbillies and other nattering, theocratic busy-bodies resentful of the tolerance expected in polite, civil society when living in a pluralistic, multi-ethnic country. Granted, many or even most of these groups overlap to some degree, but the outliers on the far edges of each group make for an uneasy alliance between them and, as I've said before, the only thing that truly unites all of them is a hatred for the Dirty Fucking Hippie.

Hatred is not a governing philosophy, which is why conservatives can't govern. They only know how to oppose and destroy things, which is why the porcine, drug-addled sex-tourist who leads their party will never step out from behind the microphone to actually take a run at public office. Inciting the screeching, poo-flinging monkeys of the Reich-wing to riot (and feigning surprise when they do) is a much more fun pastime for an opportunistic blow-hard with a black hole for a soul than the delicate job of compromise and problem-solving required by the idealism of a life in government service.

James von Brunn is a natural product of that putrid, seething cesspool and he won't be the last one to find his voice now that the poo-flingers have finally, for the first time since the 1970's (and probably not even then), been mostly driven from national office.

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