Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Pity the disillusioned conservative

Their ranks appear to be growing. These are not the crybaby conservatives for whom manufacturing outrage is a hobby as engrossing as macrame or pottery. These are relatively level-headed people whose views are based on some degree of thought, not on repeated exposure to Faux News. Needless to say, since they're rational conservatives, they don't like Bush, and now Brad DeLong has a breakdown of the right-wing anti-Bushosphere.

I think we should recognize that the intelligent, honest conservatives out there are not Bush supporters, and turn that to our advantage in selecting honorable intellectual adversaries.

What I would like is a list of "honest conservatives" who fit into the following categories--and let me try to give an example of a person whose existence is recognized by the mainstream media for each class:

Class of 2000: People who in 2000 said, "George W. Bush is not qualified to be president, and we should be really worried about this."

Class of 2001: People who in 2001 said, "I supported Bush in 2000, but George W. Bush is not listening to his honest conservative policy advisers, and we should be really worried about this." John DiIulio

Class of 2002: People who in 2002 said, "I supported Bush in 2000 and 2001, but 911 has unhinged the administration; it's detention and other policies are counterproductive; it needs to be opposed." Richard Clarke

Class of 2003: People who in 2003 said, "I supported Bush over 2000-2002, but enough is enough. That's it. I supported the invasion of Iraq because I was certain there was evidence of an advanced nuclear weapons program--otherwise invading Iraq was just stupid. Well, there was no advanced nuclear weapons program. Invading Iraq was just stupid. Plus there's the Medicare drug benefit. These people need to be evicted from power." Tim Barnett, Bill Niskanen

Class of 2004: People who in 2004 said, "I've been a Bush supporter. I'm a Republican and a conservative, but I've had enough: I'm voting for Kerry." Andrew Sullivan, Bruce Bartlett, Brent Scowcroft

Class of 2005: People who in 2005 said, "I voted for Bush in 2004. But I made a mistake. A big mistake."

Class of 2006: People who in 2006 said, "I know I supported Bush up to last year, but that shows I'm not the brightest light on the clued-in tree." Rod Dreher, Andrew Samwick

The class of 2007--people who are now opposed to Bush only because they think Bush will drag the Republicans down in 2008--doesn't count. Dead-enders who are still claiming that Bush is Teddy Roosevelt don't count. They aren't honest conservatives. They are only worth scorn, and fit objects for nothing but mockery. One just doesn't joust with them in honorable intellectual combat. It's not done.

Yes, there is at least one tool who has compared Bush to Theodore Roosevelt. TR's descendants would beg to differ.

It would also be nice if those conservatives who once parroted the "evil L1BrUL war critics R TEH SUX0R!!!1!1!!" line circa 2002 would retract their statements. Yes, Sullivan, I'm talking about you. Those kinds of lies have poisoned general discourse on your side of the aisle.

(Via Mockingbird's Medley.)