One of the strangest phenomenae I have seen in my life, is the way political sorts will swoon for a person at one point, then turn completely against them later. Mood swings worthy of a mental institution have become commonplace in recent years, and never more so than the present “Love You/Always Hated You” hypocrisy of the Right Wing.
Writing for Salon magazine, Glenn Greenwald is unfortunately all too aware of the hypocrisy, and worse for the Right, he has documented it in his latest article. While he pursues the obligatory “Bush is evil, inept, and a total failure” meme which is required of all Liberal writers these days, Greenwald is devastatingly ruthless in showing the way many Conservative pundits have ruined their integrity by changing their opinion of the President solely because of poll numbers. Greenwald simply posts what each pundit said, along with the opinion poll numbers at the time. The results are damning indeed, but not for the President.
Jonah Goldberg for instance, just a few days ago wrote that if you “look at Bush from the right angle, he looks an awful lot like a liberal”. But back in 2003, Goldberg wrote this about the President:
"Georrge (sic) W. Bush has proved that he's a Reaganite, not a "Bushie." He may not be a natural heir to Reagan, but that's the point. The party is all Reaganite now. What better sign that this is now truly and totally the Gipper's Party than the obvious conversion of George Bush's own son?”
Was Goldberg lying then, or is he lying now? That is, after all, how the Liberals will cast it, and it’s hard to claim Goldberg was honest in both places.
But Greenwald is not short of examples. He shows the same dishonest embrace-then-run-away from the President by Rush Limbaugh, by Bob Novak, and by Rich Lowry. It’s bad enough that such prominent pundits have engaged in such unethical practices, but it hurts the Conservative Movement that the Left can use it to claim moral superiority. Greenwald quotes Rod Dreher, who explains the behavior succinctly:
“It is tempting to blame Bush for everything. But it's not fair, and it's not honest. Bush is today who he always was. The difference is we conservatives pretty much loved the guy -- when he was a winner.”
I understand the frustration among Conservatives. I am still a Conservative myself, though many of the Bush-haters have pretended otherwise. And that’s the problem. We know there are many more Conservatives than Liberals, and we know that any serious consideration of the Conservative vs. Liberal arguments would prove the superiority of the Conservative position. We also know that the American people will follow a Conservative leader, indeed are hungry to do so. The only way Conservatives can lose, therefore, is when they allow themselves to become fragmented and factionalized. The only way that regular people can come to believe that Democrats are a better choice for leadership than Republicans, is if Republicans attack other Republicans and prove they cannot seek answers and solutions.
It’s too much, perhaps, to expect apologies from the people who have poured gasoline on the fire. But at least the rest of us can try to work with the other Republicans, and the other Conservatives, for the good of the nation and the hope of the future. Because if we do not, History shows us how painful the price of that hubris can be.