Things you’ve heard before
Only this time, written by people other than discredited, fringe Visigoths such as me. Who, like me, I believe need to be frozen out from the “conservative” punditry industry post haste, if we’re ever going to win elections stealthily, then stealthily pursue liberal policies to fool the liberals and moderates into allowing us to keep power.
Let the backdoor whisper campaign begin! Today’s scapegoat? Jerry Bowyer, a Forbes contributor. Who needs be banished for the unhelpfulness:
We’ve had a wide variety of conservative: the neo-cons, the paleo-cons and most recently the crunchy cons. Have you ever noticed how many of the most prominent conservative voices in America sound more like liberals? I have, and I believe they are in class all their own: they have a special mission and fit a particular profile.
They are what I like to call ‘kept cons.’ They are ‘kept’ by liberals in that kept cons generally work for liberal institutions and seem to fill the role of token conservative; they write conservative columns for national liberal newspapers or appear as conservative hosts or commentators on CNN or MSNBC or CNBC; but they don’t sound all that conservative. You can spot them slamming Sarah Palin or tamping down on the Tea Party. Their usual message is always something like, “I’m a conservative but these other people, these gun owners/southerners/TEA Partiers/Tax Cutters/Randians/Supply-siders/Pro-lifers/Climate Change Deniers/Libertarians/Gun Nuts/ Gold Bugs, etc., are beyond the pale.
The kept conservative’s announced job is to represent the conservative point of view, but their real job is to give the illusion of balance without really challenging any of the core tenets of liberalism. They spend lots of time ‘reinventing’ the Republican Party, and the new invention is always the same: more liberal. They live among liberals, their friends are liberals, and, of course, they are paid by liberals.
They raise money from across the U.S. on the grounds that they will represent heartland values in the corrupt seat of political power. But, nevertheless, they live in Washington, D.C., they think like D.C., they are haunted by the fear that if their career flags too much they will be banished from D.C., and they fight each other for the right to sit on the floor nearest the table of the liberals, where they can get the biggest scraps which fall from that table.
They are the loyal opposition: loyal, that is, to the regime, not to the people. They are not the solution. In fact they are more of a problem than the liberals, because when occasionally they are in power, they spout disconnected free-market slogans while they spend us into oblivion and practice crony capitalism, giving free-markets an undeserved black eye. True resistance to socialism will not come from such an opposition force as our current conservative ruling elite. Better no opposition than faux opposition.
Counties in America are often governed by a county commission system under three commissioners. The system is set up so that two are of the majority party and the third is of the minority party. In Allegheny County (the Pittsburgh region) that pretty much always meant two Democrats and one Republican. The only real fight the Republicans ever fought was not which party would govern the county, but which Republican would be the minority commissioner. If he didn’t make too much trouble, some small sliver of jobs patronage was thrown his way, maybe a few contracts for his favored vendors with the county, and a small staff on the county budget, plus his salary, benefits, driver, etc. Crumbs from the table of the Democrat machine.
I see the same thing on a national scale right now: Republican congressmen who are more afraid of losing their jobs than they are of losing their integrity. I get it, really I do. D.C. is a company town and the company is government and if the company keeps growing there’s something for everyone.
The safest route is to become invested in the mission of growing the company and keeping your bit of the big game safe. But if you take a risk, a real risk, and stand up for principle and just vote ‘no’ on the fiscal cave, or draw a line in the cement (enough with the lines in the sand, which are washed away with each new tide) and vote ‘no’ on new debt, you just might end up being exiled from all of that, sent back home to Poughkeepsie, New Rochelle, Upper St. Clair, Springfield, Greenville, Franklin or Fairview, where it’s back to work on Monday running the restaurant chain or the auto dealership. […]
The opposite of a kept conservative could be called a ‘Saint Thomas More conservative’. He (or increasingly often, she) values integrity more than power. Thomas More, of course, valued his integrity even more than his life! I wonder: can’t we at least get conservatives in Washington who value their integrity more than their lifestyles?
I have but one bit to add here, namely that the problem goes far deeper than just “kept cons” leading us on the national and local political levels; worse still is what I’ll call the “auditioning kept cons,” those minor-leaguers, both in the blogosphere, on local radio, and writing “conservative” columns for their local papers, who aspire to becoming full-time kept cons, to enter the Beltway culture, to become the reliable (and perennial) “loyal opposition” — knowing full well that it’s a ruse, and the we have a de facto one-party system of big government, with political theatrics highlighting constant existential battles between the parties that, of course, always resolve to the side of big government.
It’s a puppet show. And there are plenty of people over the past decade of new media who have sold their integrity for the silk strings they wear, and the recognition their practiced dancing brings.
Those of us who’ve been around long enough have seen it. There are “networks” of blogs and columnists that make up the farm teams for the Potemkin conservative “counter”-messaging (THERE IS NEVER A HILL WORTH DYING ON! DON’T YOU PURISTS WANT TO WIN ELECTIONS?), each one hoping one day that some Republican sugar daddy opens up a new prominent venue for Party-line thought, and that on the day of such league expansion, they get called up to take their place in the starting lineups.
I have no more use for them. And they for me — although I at least used to try to engage them on an intellectual basis. Whereas they just learned that the best way forward for them was to pretend I didn’t exist and dry up my linkage.
I hope the crumbs they gather are worth the rationalizations they nurture that have them convinced that the surrender of their principles is a noble thing they do. For Party and Country.
Because many of us see their hideous nakedness. And it’s blinding.