Sunday, November 18, 2007

Beyond Liberal & Conservative (Updated)

From Jack at "After The Future"

November 11, 2007
Beyond Liberal & Conservative (Updated)

From Frank Rich, "The Coup at Home:

Last weekend a new Washington Post-ABC News poll found that the Democratic-controlled Congress and Mr. Bush are both roundly despised throughout the land, and that only 24 percent of Americans believe their country is on the right track. That’s almost as low as the United States’ rock-bottom approval ratings in the latest Pew surveys of Pakistan (15 percent) and Turkey (9 percent).

Wrong track is a euphemism. We are a people in clinical depression. Americans know that the ideals that once set our nation apart from the world have been vandalized, and no matter which party they belong to, they do not see a restoration anytime soon.

Anybody who is still stuck in the liberal/conservative dichotomy is hopelessly incapable of understanding what's happening to us. We're now into the American/unAmerican dichotomy, in which 'American' stands for honor, decency, and the rule of law, while unAmerican stands for the kind of corruption and brutality in the name of national security that has overtaken the GOP. As Rich says earlier in this column:

To believe that this corruption will simply evaporate when the Bush presidency is done is to underestimate the permanent erosion inflicted over the past six years. What was once shocking and unacceptable in America has now been internalized as the new normal.

This is most apparent in the Republican presidential race, where most of the candidates seem to be running for dictator and make no apologies for it. They’re falling over each other to expand Gitmo, see who can promise the most torture and abridge the largest number of constitutional rights. The front-runner, Rudy Giuliani, boasts a proven record in extralegal executive power grabs, Musharraf-style: After 9/11 he tried to mount a coup, floating the idea that he stay on as mayor in defiance of New York’s term-limits law.

Democracies are certainly capable of electing governments that will do away with democracy. It's happened elsewhere, and while most Americans don't want to face up to it, it's happening here. Lots of people understand this, but it has been troubling to me that it has taken those Americans who think of themselves as moderates and principled conservatives so long to catch on. There are a few like Andrew Sullivan and John Cole, both GOP cheerleaders earlier on, who have publicly and repentantly repudiated their earlier administration support. They both understand that the Republican Party no longer stands for what they thought it did, even remotely. Why they ever thought this particular group was trustworthy is another question, but both have become ardent critics, and they should be credited for not allowing their good sense and decency from being obscured by their ideology. ...CONTINUE READING JACK'S POST

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