Surprising Offspring of the “Reasonable” Republics

Vanity Fair - David Brooks and David Frum

While looking for images for my last article, I came upon this image from an article in Driftglass, Today in False Equivalence. I’m not so much interested in the article itself, because it doesn’t actually address what they’ve done with this image. It’s a takeoff of one or more of those Demi Moore covers that I guess are supposed to say that the magazine is celebrating the beauty of pregnancy, but somehow always come off as a celebration of pregnancy fetishes. But in this case, the point is clear: supposed reasonable conservatives don’t want to take responsibility for the craziness of the conservative movement.

Actually, I don’t know if they care. Based upon his writing, David Brooks seems a little concerned. He is part of the long line of conservatives who are embarrassed by all the coarse things that other conservatives say. Brooks is careful with his language so that when everything that he believes in crumbles and destroys millions of lives, he can say, “I said it might be a good idea to raise taxes on the poor and eliminate taxes on the rich; I didn’t say it would be a good idea!” So it makes more sense to apply the unwanted pregnancy image to him.

I have a special dislike for David Frum. He’s as much of an ideologue as any Tea Party wacko. The only reason people consider him reasonable is because he thinks that having a bit of gun control mightn’t be the worst thing in the world. He’s also recently okay with same sex marriage. For decades he was against it because he thought it would be bad for “the kids.” But now the data are in and that case can’t be made anymore. Fair enough. But the truth is that his original problem with it was not based on evidence. It was based upon bigotry. When evidence becomes overwhelming, Frum will change his mind. But it is always up to the world to convince him that his bigotry is wrong. In other words: he’s just a right wing wacko who is smart enough to know when his arguments are untenable.

What I think totally sums up David Frum is the popular phrase “axis of evil.” He’s the guy who invented it. And it shows that like all conservatives, he has no actual interest in the truth. In World War II, the axis powers were a coalition. Iraq, Iran, and North Korea were not a coalition. In as much as they had anything to do with each other, it was to fight. But Frum was more than happy to lump them in together because Frum is an evil little man who doesn’t care about the nation or the world. Just like with Cheney and Bush, Frum cares about power.

The image is perfect in that it shows that the smarter people in the conservative movement would prefer to deny that they are responsible for the state of the modern Republican Party. Those Tea Party people that continue to clog up Congress are an embarrassment. But let’s not kid ourselves. They are an embarrassment because they are vulgar. They are an embarrassment because they aren’t tactical about the long-term goals of the conservative movement. They are an embarrassment because they are ignorant and stupid. But they are right in line with the ideology of David Brooks, David Frum, and all the “respectable” conservatives.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

2 thoughts on “Surprising Offspring of the “Reasonable” Republics

  1. This condition they find themselves in surely can’t be their fault. They followed all the rules, wrote and said all the right things, and here they proudly stand naked, exposed, and innocent as the driven snow. There, you see, that ancient myth of the virgin birth can come true. Twice.

    • To a large extent, it isn’t their faults. They are just part of the conservative ecosystem. What’s problematic is that they are able to do a great deal of harm because they actively push this idea that conservatism doesn’t have to be stupid and mean. But just as I accept that 60s radicals and Lenin were part of the leftist movement gone wrong, I think they should embrace Jim Crow bigots and Nazis as their kin. But they won’t, because they are always slicing and dicing ideologies. Leftists have learned the lessons of the past about the dangers of ideology. Rightists have not because they carve out exceptions for every bad outcome of the past. And if “reasonable” conservatives like Brooks and Frum can’t admit that, the movement itself is hopeless. But that’s only true because, you know, the movement is hopeless.

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