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Howie Fineman — clueless part 2: AmTaliban is in retreat

Duh (again).

Howard Fineman, that wise sage at Newsweek pontificated the following about James Dobson on May 4 (see “Howie Fineman: clueless on Dobson“):

I asked him what his top priority was in public life, and was astonished to hear him answer: ending the filibuster rule.

Our MSM oracle is at it again — this week we have his web-exclusive, highly insightful laff-riot, “Food Fight in the Big Tent,” ruminating hilariously whether voters starting to turn against the AmTaliban (the emphasis is mine):

I’m wondering if we haven’t just witnessed a turning point in politics. Years from now, when we look back on the “Gang of 14” deal, will we see it as the moment when the tide of conservative Republicanism crested?

American public life moves in cycles. A generation ago, Lyndon Johnson trounced Barry Goldwater. But Goldwater’s 1964 crusade unleashed energy and ideas that inspired the New Right-Republican movement, which eventually reached its zenith in George W. Bush. He unified the libertarian, religious and corporate cadres of conservatism under his GOP banner.

Is the wheel turning again with another bold Texan in power? Hard to know, of course, and the Democrats won’t rise in some mere hydraulic fashion. They need to find vision, ideas and charismatic leaders, and none of them seem to be in great supply. But the line of products—call them “Bush Right” —suddenly is looking like what marketers call a “mature brand.” There are signs of age, strain and overreach, internally and externally.

I won’t disagree that the Reich is over-reaching, but damn, what echo chamber has Fineman been in? There’s no one there from the real world in there with him. The wingnuts are not in retreat by any stretch of the imagination. He’s convinced that the recent filibuster compromise represents a smackdown on the Right.

Inside the Big Tent, the “Gang of 14” deal pitted libertarians against the religionists, with Bush —who rose to power by taming both—caught in the middle. Faith-based conservatives felt betrayed by the bi-partisan deal and with good reason: they were betrayed.
But most of the GOP members of the Gang don’t feel guilty about it—they are (privately) delighted. Many other Republican senators, who stayed away from the filibuster-judges deal for various reasons, were relieved that rules of the Senate were saved and that religious conservatives were, in essence, told to shove it.

Again, he’s not completely incorrect, just dementedly short-sighted. This is a short term “loss” for the AmTaliban, but when the Supreme Court vacancy is ready to be filled (these “moderate” Repugs better pray Rehnquist doesn’t kick it around election time), Dobson, like The Mummy, will be back, staggering and slobbering all over them again, threatening to club them into submission.

That nuclear button will be pushed when the Repug theocrats are ready because the whole religious extremist movement is about changing the direction of this country by appointing justices that will “make things right” — in the biblical terms. This little filibuster jousting match means nothing to them — this as a long-term war and they intend to go the distance. I cannot fathom how anyone in the MSM can seriously observe that some kind of political corner that has been turned, harkening a return to centrist control.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding