CommunityPam's House Blend

'Liberal' = a failure to pledge blind loyalty to the Chimp

Glenn Greenwald is brilliant. It’s a long, fantastic post with so many opportunities for pulling snippets. I don’t think I’ve seen anyone articulate the political insanity on the Chimp-humping Right any better than this.

Now, in order to be considered a “liberal,” only one thing is required – a failure to pledge blind loyalty to George W. Bush. The minute one criticizes him is the minute that one becomes a “liberal,” regardless of the ground on which the criticism is based. And the more one criticizes him, by definition, the more “liberal” one is. Whether one is a “liberal” — or, for that matter, a “conservative” — is now no longer a function of one’s actual political views, but is a function purely of one’s personal loyalty to George Bush.

…We see the same thing happening to hard-core conservative Bob Barr due to his criticism of Bush’s violations of FISA . Similarly, the minute a Senator with years of conservatism behind them deviates from a Bush decree on a single issue, they are no longer “conservative.” George Voinovich became a “liberal” the minute he refused to support John Bolton’s nomination; John Sununu is now “liberal” because he did not favor immediate renewal of every single provision of the Patriot Act which Bush demanded, and Senators like Chuck Hagel and John McCain long ago gave up any “conservative” status because of their insistence on forming opinions that occasionally deviate from the decrees from the White House.

People who self-identify as “conservatives” and have always been considered to be conservatives become liberal heathens the moment they dissent, even on the most non-ideological grounds, from a Bush decree. That’s because “conservatism” is now a term used to describe personal loyalty to the leader (just as “liberal” is used to describe disloyalty to that leader), and no longer refers to a set of beliefs about government.

That “conservatism” has come to mean “loyalty to George Bush” is particularly ironic given how truly un-conservative the Administration is. It is not only the obvious (though significant) explosion of deficit spending under this Administration – and that explosion has occurred far beyond military or 9/11-related spending and extends into almost all arenas of domestic programs as well.

Please click over and read all of Glenn’s post. He scorches the hypocrisy, and more pointedly, the ideological dishonesty of Dear Leader’s sheeple.

That said, I think that this claim can be made on the other side of the aisle as well, after all I would classify my latest whipping boy, Virginia Governor Tim Kaine, a “conservative” – a conservative-to-moderate Democrat. For the wingnut, love-the-Chimp-at-all-costs Right, there is no dissent — it’s all or nothing.

I readily admit that I classify myself as all-or-nothing in regards to gay civil equality and the Democratic party. I could easily support a Dem with moderate views on plenty of issues, but gay civil rights has served as an electability demarcation line for many politicians.

It’s been easy to toss gays overboard for them, to label civil equality a fringe issue when it has been a core value in the past when other groups fought against discrimination. I don’t consider my position on the fringe Left, but my party tells me this is so. Glenn:

We have heard for a long time that anger and other psychological and emotional factors drive the extreme elements on the Left, but that is (at least) equally true for the Bush extremists. The only difference happens to be that the Bush extremists control every major governmental institution in the country and the extremists on the Left control nothing other than the crusted agenda for the latest International A.N.S.W.E.R. meeting.

As Dems are out of power, a more apt comparison might look like the ideological battle in the Democratic party between the moderate wing (let’s swing to the right to get elected) vs. the progressives (reframe the issues and we can win). The questioning of purity of belief and principles is equally strong when you listen to the objections of people who are struggling to redefine the party, or at this point, even figure out what the party stands for at all.

This manifests itself in strange, almost amusing ways – Hillary shilling for a flag-burning amendment, Tim Kaine loving on a Virginia marriage amendment to give him “conservative street cred,” Joe Biden licking the boots of his Delaware credit card company masters for the bankruptcy bill; Holy Joe on just about any issue at this point.

Are they conservatives? Well, not if you follow the wingnut definition as defined in Glenn’s post. They don’t kiss W’s feet. I would define these Dems as “opportunists” rather than “conservatives” when I criticize them. I think they take the positions they do because they are willing to take any political position that allows them to retain the power and position they have (or seek to attain).

They are not any more ideologically pure than the loser sitting in the White House, or a host of political ‘ho bags up on the Hill.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding