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You know, in certain older, civilized cultures, when men failed as entirely as you have, they would throw themselves on their swords.
July 24, 2006 4:15 AM   Subscribe

William F. Buckley: "If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we've experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign."
posted by EarBucket (80 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Er... Blair?
posted by A189Nut at 4:19 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Meh. Bush's catastrophic failures were no less evident in 2004. This is part of a series of lame attempts by conservatives to "distance themselves" from our 30%-approval-rating fuckwit commander in chief so as to get Republicans re-elected in the midterm elections and prep a front-runner for 2008. Cf. Joe Lieberman's moral condemnation of Bill Clinton on the Senate floor in 1998.
posted by Saucy Intruder at 4:27 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


Exactly: I want to thank Mr Buckley for his brave stand, now that the President doesn't need any more support from the voters.

Nice try. We know that, unlike many of the neocons, you have a brain. You knew *exactly* what Bush would do. You were rooting for it, and went on record supporting it, right up until Bush was elected to his second and final term.

Thank you for finally standing up for the Allies -- in May, 1945.
posted by eriko at 4:39 AM on July 24, 2006 [2 favorites]


Er... Blair?

You may not have to wait long.

As for Buckley, sure, it's weaselly of him. But I think it's notable that Bush is now seen as such a collosal failure and danger to Republicans in the midterms that even people like Buckley and George Will are backpedalling away from him as fast as their little legs will take them. I plan on greeting every Republican I know this week with "So, did you hear William Freakin' Buckley thinks Bush should resign?"
posted by EarBucket at 4:54 AM on July 24, 2006


Where the hell were you in 2004, you bastard?
posted by QuarterlyProphet at 4:55 AM on July 24, 2006


Most european leaders that supported the war have been voted out of office: Spain's José María Aznar and Italy's Berlusconi. Blair is still here.

... and of course I forgot Poland!
posted by homodigitalis at 4:56 AM on July 24, 2006


So, Bush has been "extravagent in domestic spending"? Tell it to the people of New Orleans... and to poor people all across the country. What a jerk. Mr. Buckley, just shut up and play with your dog, okay?
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:01 AM on July 24, 2006


Bush has been extravagant as far as domestic spending goes, just not on much that's worthwhile or sensibly designed. Think No Child Left Behind, the Medicare drug program, marriage programs, etc. And then of course there is Homeland Security, not all of which is a waste, but . . . Meanwhile, Will's been hounding Bush for quite a while now.
posted by raysmj at 5:08 AM on July 24, 2006


homodigitalis, NEVER forget Poland.
posted by gsb at 5:10 AM on July 24, 2006


Day late and a dollar short...
posted by Enron Hubbard at 5:14 AM on July 24, 2006


I predict our friends in the flyover states are going to wake up wondering when, exactly, they figured out they didn't like Bush anymore.
posted by phrontist at 5:25 AM on July 24, 2006


"With the benefit of minute hindsight, Saddam Hussein wasn't the kind of extra-territorial menace that was assumed by the administration one year ago," Buckley told the Times. "If I knew then what I know now about what kind of situation we would be in, I would have opposed the war."

I guess if William F. Buckley can think we needed to invade Iraq for our own protection, it's no wonder so many Americans did too?

Admittedly, I expected him to be better informed than Marge down at the Gas 'n Go.
posted by JaredSeth at 5:48 AM on July 24, 2006


definately not news to anyone who's been actually watching what happens. I've been yearning for some good old conservative foils for a few years now.

This tax cut and spend radical administration we got now is running on nothing but faith (in American complacency, in the paralyzing effects of fearmongering, in their rapidly bloating wealth to sustain them when the bottom falls out of the economy (triggered by someone trying to wrangle US policy back within reasonable fiscal policy limits), and lastly, in a higher power that has a hard on for them and them alone)

I'd try to redefine what conservatism means too.
posted by Busithoth at 5:49 AM on July 24, 2006


I'm currently watching wingnutz tear into Buckley on some of there discussion boards. Sure didn't take long for Bill to be branded "unAmurkan", "senile" and worse.
posted by RavinDave at 5:52 AM on July 24, 2006


The Soviet Union wasn't an example of real communism!
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 6:08 AM on July 24, 2006


As others have said on here, way too fucking late Buckley. I understand he's old and feeble now, but screw him. He gets no sympathy from me in his effort to distance conservatism from Bush at this stage in the game. All these idiotarians try to say he's spent too much domestically. Bullshit. He's starved domestic services. He's spent a trillion dollars on Iraq is what he's done. None of them complain about that. Rot in hell, William F. Buckley. I used to enjoy his commentary and had some respect for him, but that was a long time ago.

As for Poland, I'm not sure what point is being made... they've got a relatively new fascist in power, with his twin brother as fascist mayor of the capital.
posted by the_savage_mind at 6:09 AM on July 24, 2006


It's time to start demanding early elections!
posted by brucec at 6:11 AM on July 24, 2006


Dear Mr Biuckley: whom did you vote for in the past two elections?
posted by Postroad at 6:24 AM on July 24, 2006


As for Poland, I'm not sure what point is being made... they've got a relatively new fascist in power, with his twin brother as fascist mayor of the capital.

Not mayor, prime minister! Identical twins run this country.
Indeed, the views of the new Prime Minister and President are so similar that they often finish each other's sentences. The only way to distinguish them is by a small mole to the left of Lech's nose and the cat hairs on Jaroslaw's clothes.

Lech is married with a daughter, but his brother lives with their mother in a house full of cats. ...
posted by pracowity at 6:28 AM on July 24, 2006


when Kennedy fired Allen Dulles after the Bay of Pigs he said something like, if this were Britain I'd have to resign but in our system you're the one who has to go

and what everybody else said, it's kind of pathetic that Bush's flunkies are now trying to say that, heck, who would have thought Bush was incompetent and a budget buster and the opposite of a libertarian. and also, hey, they were all independent thinkers, all of them, yes sir

you just wait until Jebby gets nominated, they'll all go back to singing for their supper
posted by matteo at 6:37 AM on July 24, 2006


"If you had a European prime minister who experienced what we've experienced it would be expected that he would retire or resign," Buckley says.

What a meally mouthed, passive way to say that somebody fucked up.
posted by signal at 6:51 AM on July 24, 2006


In some parts of civilized Europe, longtime supporters of corrupt, destructive regimes aren't simply allowed to escape with a last-minute condemnation of the leader of that regime, their hanged in the town square.
posted by Astro Zombie at 7:02 AM on July 24, 2006


What will Jonah Goldberg and the rest of the Cornerites do now?

As for Jonah, my money's with him telling mommy on that mean Mr. Buckley.

Is the new meme "BushCo wasn't really conservatives like us?"
posted by nofundy at 7:08 AM on July 24, 2006


Conservative commentator Doug McIntyre - An Apology From A Bush Voter. Quite a good read.
posted by swell at 7:15 AM on July 24, 2006


This isn't Europe and he's not a Prime Minister.
posted by thirteenkiller at 7:19 AM on July 24, 2006


It was the wrong course. All of it was wrong. We are not on the road to victory. [...] The liberal media didn�t create this reality, bad policy did.

Fuck you and all your brethren, and shove your apologies. Four years ago people were screaming at the top of their lungs about this folly and about what was going to happen. Millions of people in the streets, if you recall.

Too goddamn little, too goddamn late.
posted by jokeefe at 7:27 AM on July 24, 2006


Of course anyone who was prematurely anti-Bush is a suspected communist.
posted by Artw at 7:27 AM on July 24, 2006


Well, we could always impeach him.
posted by crunchland at 7:30 AM on July 24, 2006


It's interesting to see Buckley, someone I've always been at ideological odds with, produce statements that I can basically concur. However, it's difficult to look at him without thinking of the incredible creature masks of Rick Baker.
posted by gcbv at 7:31 AM on July 24, 2006


I realize that he's talking about the position Bush has taken, but this just made me snicker: "There will be no legacy for Mr. Bush. I don't believe his successor would re-enunciate the words he used in his second inaugural address because they were too ambitious. So therefore I think his legacy is indecipherable." His choice of words there - re-enunciate and indecipherable - is almost like a dig at Bush's inability to communicate like the supposedly college-educated person that he is. Ah well... How many days til January 20, 2009?

BTW - points for the Serenity reference. Nicely done.
posted by JerseyBear at 8:01 AM on July 24, 2006


It doesn't seem like a lot of you have any idea of what Bill Buckely, or for that matter, Jonah Goldberg or the rest of the NR crew, are trying to do.

Of course they didn't heavily criticize Bush in 2004 -- the only result of that would have been to elect John Kerry; talk about going from the frying pan into the fire.

Criticizing Bush in 2006 is another matter entirely. There will be significant changes in the last years of the administration, as there always are for two-term Presidents, and the changes will be particularly acute if the Republicans lose either house of Congress. And then, of course, there's the 2008 nomination for President -- the widest-open contest since 1964, and the widest open contest without a strong Democratic incumbent since 1952.

NR and other conservative commentators are in a position to make a significant impact upon these decisions, and willingness to criticize Bush, even heavily, is going to be a big part of that.
posted by MattD at 8:02 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


On some level, I think the most avid conservatives are not too worried about a trillion-dollar waste and an elective war based on false premises, when the result is that they got 4 more years of a Republican administration, two more SCOTUS appointments, a vetoed stem cell bill, etc., etc., etc.

I quite expect that there were a large number of Republicans who knew exactly how bad a second Bush term was likely to turn out, but weighed it against their "winning" in the ideological fight, and so were quite willing to put that ahead of our national welfare.

Of course, now, some of them must come out and admit the ill result of their calculus - and blame it on mere bad judgment so as not to be seen as completely evil. But they now offer their protestations, as has been noted, when it takes little courage to do so.

Buckley is too smart not to have taken the measure of Bush in November 2004 or where this was all headed. Nothing has appreciably changed since then for him to have some great epiphany. He knew then what he professes to know now. More's the pity that he thinks the rest of us are gullible enough to accord him the entirely implausible credit of having been too naive and stupid only two years ago.
posted by darkstar at 8:09 AM on July 24, 2006


As far as I've seen, radio silence from the children in the sandbox that is the Corner.

Too bad to see what that magazine has degenerated into.

I think a lesson for those of us on the thinking side of the political spectrum is not to get all charged up about being in power, once it happens.

Conservatives didn't have Congress or the courts for many, many years; once they got all 3 branches, they jettisoned their principles, and marched in lockstep at a word from the Leader, in support of policies they'd decried 10 years ago or less. Don't let's do that, when we take back Congress and the White House, OK?
posted by ibmcginty at 8:09 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


MattD: I've read Jonah Goldberg as of late, and he's nowhere near as critical of Bush. He's really not critical at all, but spends most of his time responding to Bush's critics in one way or another. He's totally into the spin game, as opposed to the at least quasi-independent thought or long-term strategic business.
posted by raysmj at 8:18 AM on July 24, 2006


NR and other conservative commentators are in a position to make a significant impact upon these decisions, and willingness to criticize Bush, even heavily, is going to be a big part of that.

I would take "criticism" of Bush's policy seriously if NR and Buckley et al. would give equal airtime to criticism of the Republican-controlled House and Senate which has enacted Bush policy all these years.

The fact that they do not criticize the legislative branch indicates this is simply more election-year, talking-point agendafilter bullshit, aimed to preserve the Republican stranglehold on national and international policy in 2006 and beyond.

Bush's conservative policies are a problem, insofar as he is a politically expedient target for Republicans who want to pretend to voters that 2006 will finally allow them the ability to clean up the system, even though they've had the keys to the kingdom for nearly a decade.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:22 AM on July 24, 2006


I find it pretty f-ing disingenuous to start saying now that Bush is a disaster for the country and the world. It's not like it was a well hidden secret that he was both an idiot and a crazed right-wing war mongering ideologue. Remember this article, 'Our Long National Nightmare Of Peace And Prosperity Is Finally Over' from the Onion?
"We as a people must stand united, banding together to tear this nation in two," Bush said. "Much work lies ahead of us: The gap between the rich and the poor may be wide, be there's much more widening left to do. We must squander our nation's hard-won budget surplus on tax breaks for the wealthiest 15 percent. And, on the foreign front, we must find an enemy and defeat it."
I know that quote is just satire but The Onion didn't make that up out of nothing, everything in that article was common knowledge at the time. If you thought that Bush was going to be any different than than that, you were either not paying attention or just being willfully stupid. So popping up now six years later and saying, "Ohh, who knew this would happen?", really just doesn't cut it.
posted by octothorpe at 8:27 AM on July 24, 2006


William Buckley-- Kruschev for our times. Thanks, Will. You can always be counted on to do the right thing long after it's become obvious. After all, isn't that what "conservatism" is all about?
posted by deanc at 8:28 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


George Bush is the first president with an MBA.
posted by blue_beetle at 8:53 AM on July 24, 2006


From a personal standpoint, I find it hilarious that I reached Buckley's conclusion's years ahead of him. He's a hack and flack.

What is going on is conservatives posturing for a 2008 candidate. Thye are also giving any 2008 contender some cover - come out now against Bush and the war and we'll protect you from the faithful in advance of 2008.

And the cornerites are debating whether to back Haley Barbour or Mitt Romney.
posted by Pastabagel at 9:20 AM on July 24, 2006


Bush isn't a conservative because he failed. Conservatives don't fail, ergo, not conservative. It's really quite simple, people.
posted by slatternus at 9:32 AM on July 24, 2006


Buckley is too smart not to have taken the measure of Bush in November 2004 or where this was all headed. Nothing has appreciably changed since then for him to have some great epiphany. He knew then what he professes to know now. More's the pity that he thinks the rest of us are gullible enough to accord him the entirely implausible credit of having been too naive and stupid only two years ago.

darkstar is correct. I can't help but be pissed, however. If it weren't all so deadly serious, I would count this as an instance of having my chain well and truly yanked, but, you know, the stakes have been terribly high, and the results of Bush's adminstrative decisions disastrous.
posted by jokeefe at 9:42 AM on July 24, 2006


If these people were really sorry, they're wouldn't just be offering apologies. They would be demanding war crimes investigations.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:57 AM on July 24, 2006


George Bush is the first president with an MBA.

Ah yes. That explains why he was able to build Arbusto by the very sweat of his brow, attract independent investors unconnected to his family on its technical and financial merits alone, and go on to make such a splendid success of it.
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:14 AM on July 24, 2006


Oh, and that MBA was awarded by Harvard, was it not?
posted by George_Spiggott at 10:22 AM on July 24, 2006


"I guess if William F. Buckley can think we needed to invade Iraq for our own protection, it's no wonder so many Americans did too?"


Buckley never really believed any of that horseshit about Iraq. He knew exactly what crap it was from the get go, as did all but the mouth-breathingest of his GOP brethren.

He knew it was an unjustified scam. He just hoped they'd make better use of the hustle than they did.

It's the results he's unhappy with, not the last five years' shuckin' and jivin'.

That's my problem with "conservatives." They're real "ends justifies the means" types, and those people are dangerous.
posted by stenseng at 10:30 AM on July 24, 2006


the_savage_mind: I used to enjoy his commentary and had some respect for him, but that was a long time ago.

Was it as long ago as 1957 when he wrote this screed in the National Review in which he argued that the because of the "cultural superiority of White over Negro", Whites were entitled to prevent Negroes from voting, and "to thwart the majority may be, though undemocratic, enlightened."
posted by JackFlash at 10:31 AM on July 24, 2006


Thanks for the link, JackFlash. It's always good to be reminded of how recently this sort of thing passed for intelligent discourse.

(And also how much more recently it was typical to refer to "women and other minorities".)
posted by jokeefe at 11:10 AM on July 24, 2006


Does anyone really think the choice between [insert Democrat] and [insert Republican] in 2008 is really any different than choosing between Coca-Cola and Pepsi? Both are corn syrup laden artificially flavored carbonated beverages... and both hold an almost religious backing behind one or another.

The reality though, is both pretty much taste the same.
posted by fet at 11:14 AM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]



Was it as long ago as 1957 when he wrote this screed in the National Review in which he argued that the because of the "cultural superiority of White over Negro", Whites were entitled to prevent Negroes from voting, and "to thwart the majority may be, though undemocratic, enlightened."


Nope. Not that long ago. And I'm not saying I was right to have the limited amount of respect I did. I was a kid, and I'd seen some of his television shows. My respect was for his apparent education and analytical skills.

I've since learned better. Many times over.
posted by the_savage_mind at 11:25 AM on July 24, 2006


Does anyone really think the choice between [insert Democrat] and [insert Republican] in 2008 is really any different than choosing between Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

I'm sorry but part of batshit insane are you not getting here? The democrats may be weak and ineffective but at least they'r e not actively trying to destroy the world.
posted by octothorpe at 11:34 AM on July 24, 2006


You know, there are only about 10 words you'd need to find/replace in this for it to be some angry young socialist's screed about why socialism failed so dramatically in the last half of the 20th century.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 11:52 AM on July 24, 2006


I'm with octothorpe, fet. Do you REALLY think that President Gore's response to 9/11 would have been NO different than President Bush's? Do you REALLY think President Gore would have created historically high defiicits?
posted by fingers_of_fire at 12:01 PM on July 24, 2006


The difference, fet, is that the Republican cola all comes from that little bottling plant in Bhopal....
posted by jamjam at 12:04 PM on July 24, 2006 [2 favorites]


I was a kid

I understand. You were young then, but I'm always surprised at the number of adults that are intimidated by affectations of intellectual superiority and mistake verbal eloquence for wisdom and judgement.
posted by JackFlash at 12:20 PM on July 24, 2006


Does anyone really think the choice between [insert Democrat] and [insert Republican] in 2008 is really any different than choosing between Coca-Cola and Pepsi?

Clearly, the Democratic party has a history of supporting corporate rape of America as well as an uncritical support of Israel's policy over their neighbors, among other things. Clinton continued most of Bush, Sr.'s policies, for example.

And yet it's also obvious that in the current situation, with the Republicans running all three branches, we have a collective, criminal insanity to an extent has never seen in the US (or, arguably, hasn't been seen since the Gilded Age). We certainly wouldn't be seeing Iraq or the destruction of our social safety net, science, schools, medical care, etc., if Gore had won. We wouldn't be seeing a situation where we sat by and said nothing to Israel about their actions in Lebanon, but we would likely see a situation where we did nothing to them when they ignored us. The only president I recall ever trying to monkey with monetary/military support to Israel was Bush, Sr., and then the Democratic Congress completely screwed him.

The Republicans are doing everything they can to destroy everything decent about America as quickly as possible. There's definitely a difference. I just wish it was a hell of a lot larger.
posted by the_savage_mind at 12:32 PM on July 24, 2006


See also George Will.

But ya, like others have said, "true" conservatives pointing out how "false" conservatives have betrayed the movement is the new game. The hard-core wingnuts at LGF and Freep will be playing soon too, but still have that Gandalfian "fool's hope" that Iraq is actually going to turn around. I expect them to turn sometime in November, shortly after Dems make huge gains in Congress.

Conservatism has been on philosphically shakey ground ever since Ronald Reagan raised taxes. But hey, facts just get in the way of good PR and ideology.
posted by bardic at 12:33 PM on July 24, 2006


Oh, and color me cynical, but expect McCain's primary meme for 2008 to be something along the lines of him being one of these so-called "true" conservatives, who can fight terror by cutting all those gold-plated toilet seats the government gives away to single black mothers who are probably on crack.

Because they are the ones who are making things so difficult for our boys in Iraq.

I mean, his campaign speeches practically write themselves.

Me, I'm just waiting for the day about ten years from now when they open up the Bush II library. Think of what a strange fucking day in American history that'll be. Honestly--try to picture it.
posted by bardic at 12:40 PM on July 24, 2006


octothorpe:
I'm sorry but part of batshit insane are you not getting here? The democrats may be weak and ineffective but at least they'r e not actively trying to destroy the world.


That's more a function of owning all three branches than it is of difference of opinion. I expect that if the Dems owned all three branches we'd be experiencing a more nuanced version of the same song and dance. Gridlock is good.

fingers_of_fire:

I'm with octothorpe, fet. Do you REALLY think that President Gore's response to 9/11 would have been NO different than President Bush's? Do you REALLY think President Gore would have created historically high defiicits?


I think we would have probably ended up with similar deficits as we have now -- probably a bit less, as the tax cut would be less palatable, but all members of government, no matter what side of the aisle, seem to be happy

As to 9/11, I think we would have ended up with something like the resounding successes we experienced in Kosovo instead of the resounding successes we're currently experiencing in Iraq.

Shades of the same color.
posted by fet at 1:31 PM on July 24, 2006


I think we would have probably ended up with similar deficits as we have now -- probably a bit less, as the tax cut would be less palatable, but all members of government, no matter what side of the aisle, seem to be happy


Christ almighty... we wouldn't have spent a trillion dollars on a counter-productive war!!! We would have some money to spend on medical care, schools and infrastructure! Quit ignoring reality.
posted by the_savage_mind at 1:35 PM on July 24, 2006


Me, I'm just waiting for the day about ten years from now when they open up the Bush II library.

Do you really think that this administration will ever allow the citizens to see what they were doing? There'll be a big-ass bonfire on the White House lawn before that happens.
posted by mkhall at 1:38 PM on July 24, 2006


Arguable. It's easy in retrospect for Gore and Kerry to talk about having withdrawn from the war (or not gotten involved in the first place) but the political environment at the time kinda suggested that it would have happened (differently than it has? more than likely...) anyway.

I really, really doubt that Kerry, if he had been elected, would have immediately pulled all troops out of the region. It's not even faintly feasible...
posted by fet at 1:40 PM on July 24, 2006


Oh, but there'll be a library. Millions will be raised to build it, probably somewhere near his Potemkin ranch in Crawford, and it'll be a monument to revisitionist history. A whole museum based around trying to pour some sugar atop of the massive clusterfuck that was his administration and foreign policy. I think it'll be funny, but my sense of humor is a bit sick.
posted by bardic at 1:42 PM on July 24, 2006


Arguable. It's easy in retrospect for Gore and Kerry to talk about having withdrawn from the war (or not gotten involved in the first place) but the political environment at the time kinda suggested that it would have happened (differently than it has? more than likely...) anyway.

I really, really doubt that Kerry, if he had been elected, would have immediately pulled all troops out of the region. It's not even faintly feasible...


If Gore had won, we wouldn't have GONE to that war. There's no speculation about that.
posted by the_savage_mind at 1:45 PM on July 24, 2006


W. F. Buckley: "I think Mr. Bush faces a singular problem best defined, I think, as the absence of effective conservative ideology..."

... Because, as we all know, if you have enough effective conservative ideology, you've got no problems at all. Right?

Somebody needs to challenge Bill's premises a little more often, I think...
posted by lodurr at 2:10 PM on July 24, 2006


"...absence of effective conservative ideology..."

Is this the same as absence of magic pixie dust?
posted by mkhall at 2:50 PM on July 24, 2006


Gore and Bush's approach would surely have been significantly different on quite a number of issues, I suspect.

Roberts and Alito? Ashcroft, Gonzales, Rumsfeld? Kyoto, the Clean Air Act, Social Security? Flag Burning, Gay Marriage and a raft of other wedge issues the GOP trots out to fire up their base? Not to mention the hundreds of other appointees that derive from the Admin as well as state and local efforts that are boosted by the party in control of the White House.

It's a convenient, but rather simplistic and misleading fiction that the two parties are essentially the same.
posted by darkstar at 3:07 PM on July 24, 2006 [1 favorite]


What savage_mind said. I don't know enough about economics to argue for or against the NECESSITY of a tax cut, but I surely don't think it would have been as sweeping. I don't think we would have gone to war - in fact, from having read various sources, I think it's highly possible (if not probable) that 9/11 could have been stopped. Barring that, I think Gore would have been WAY more likely to use the sympathy flowing our way in the fall of '01 to make a more measured and, incidentally, more effective response.

I also don't think Kerry would have (or SHOULD have) immediately withdrawn the troops.
posted by fingers_of_fire at 3:15 PM on July 24, 2006


Hmm...is there even a point in posting given the gainsaying here?

I’d argue Bush’s singular problem best defined is the absence of any defining ideology at all. I’m not even sure, given the chaotic nature of his decisions, if he adheres even to expediancy.
Certainly there were different views on the Iraq war. I myself am guilty of giving the benefit of the doubt to Bushco in the invasion, but then rarely does one have the government not only baldfaced lie to you, but then get away with it.
Furthermore I don’t think anyone expected the morass that exists there now. Certainly we all had positions that “if ‘x’ then ‘y’” but no one really expects the government to completely ignore the most basic and elementary advice from it’s experts.

(I’d again point out the distinction between conservatives, neo-conservatives and Republicans - but what’s the point.)

I will say however that many conservatives have disagreed with much of what Bush has done for some time now. Myself among them. I don’t fault Buckley for his slow response. I prefer a degree of measured deliberation myself. This is not to say I agree with Buckley, but I do agree with some of his ideas and things he has said.
Apparently however someone who disagrees with some folks’ position is always wrong whether they remedy their position or not.
It’s unfortunate that can’t all be counterterrorism, economic, and political science experts like so many folks on metafilter (with well-reasoned posts excepted of course).
posted by Smedleyman at 3:23 PM on July 24, 2006


I’d argue Bush’s singular problem best defined is the absence of any defining ideology at all.

I would argue that Bush's singular problem is his inability to lead, or really to make critical decisions himself. He's nothing more than a puppet to the interests that got him into the job. Don't get me wrong; I know that there is a fair degree of that for any sitting president. But I've never seen that concept so wholly, ubiquitiously represented as with this president. I simply do not believe that he adds anything other than a rubber stamp to someone else's policy decisions.

Furthermore I don’t think anyone expected the morass that exists there now. Certainly we all had positions that “if ‘x’ then ‘y’” but no one really expects the government to completely ignore the most basic and elementary advice from it’s experts.

Yes, plenty of people anticipated a not-so-simple-as-go-in-and-get-out war in Iraq, well before we put troops on the ground. And I for one fully expected the experts to be ignored, once it became plain that going to war was an absolute mandate, regardless of, well, really anything. Rumsfeld and Cheney had the drive of religious zealots for it; it has always been an alarming thing to behold.

(I’d again point out the distinction between conservatives, neo-conservatives and Republicans - but what’s the point.)

At this time, no, I don't think there is a point. Not a point that will be heard anyway. Especially when all three have seemingly existed in the Legislative branch this whole time, and without fail have gone lock-step in line with the administration's every whim, often against the tenets of true conservativism or historic Republicanism. That kind of hypocrisy is hard to look past. I don't have any great love for Democrats either, but I honestly think that the term conservative needs to be stripped from the people who have co-opted it. There's nothing conservative about this administration's policies.

It’s unfortunate that can’t all be counterterrorism, economic, and political science experts like so many folks on metafilter (with well-reasoned posts excepted of course).

I don't really care what pundits say; it's their job to have opinions, and often the more provocative the better, for them. It rules those people out as any source of information or concern for me.

But what I do care about is the people who are making legislative and executive decisions that directly affect me. They either need to be experts in counterterrorism, economics, and political science, or they need to listen to the people around them who are. That's their responsibility, and they don't get a pass when it's politically expedient to hide their collective heads in the sand.
posted by Brak at 4:10 PM on July 24, 2006


One of Buckley's greatest debate moments was at the 1968 presidential conventions where he did point/counterpoint commentary with Gore Vidal on live network TV. At one point Vidal called Buckley a "pro-crypto nazi" to which Buckley replied "Now listen, you queer. Stop calling me a pro-crypto Nazi, or I'll sock you in the goddamn face and you'll stay plastered." You won't hear great stuff like that on the pundit shows today with their robo-talking heads.

Buckley later wrote an article for Esquire magazine about Vidal in which he said "the man who in his essays proclaims the normalcy of his affliction [homosexuality], and in his art the desirability of it, is not to be confused with the man who bears his sorrow quietly. The addict is to be pitied and even respected, not the pusher." He sure has a way with the words.
posted by JackFlash at 4:22 PM on July 24, 2006


"I simply do not believe that he adds anything other than a rubber stamp to someone else's policy decisions."

Indeed. What is scary is they seem to be semi-competing interests, which is what perhaps leads to this outward appearance of schizophrenia in policy and direction.

">...The addict is to be pitied and even respected, not the pusher."
Yeah, I don't see eye to eye with Buckley on everything. I have to agree, I find the thought of being engaged in homosexual acts revolting. But by the same token I'm revolted to the point of vomiting by the ingestion of yams. But I understand others are nourished by them and even find the taste appealing. Too often we mistake our own tastes for the rectitude of cultural mores and useful traditions. And I indeed find those who insist on the equivalency far more revolting than I would, say, being in a gay porno.
(on preview: Buck Smedleyman stars in "Privates of the Caribbean: Smed man's Chest")
posted by Smedleyman at 5:03 PM on July 24, 2006


When has Bush ever been a "true" conservative, economically? Cutting taxes while radically increasing spending? That doesn't sound like "fiscal responsibility", and he's been doing it practically since day one.
posted by Target Practice at 5:04 PM on July 24, 2006


No, not really, unless you take the more nefarious point of view that he's trying to spend the government into oblivion to kill it off...
posted by fet at 5:12 PM on July 24, 2006


"I predict our friends in the flyover states are going to wake up wondering when, exactly, they figured out they didn't like Bush anymore."

This already happened when they realized that Bush wouldn't put a wall around the country and shoot everyone who looks Mexican.
posted by UseyurBrain at 5:15 PM on July 24, 2006


JackFlash: It's funny you should mention Vidal. I was just thinking about how much Buckley reminds me of him.

Buckley is much the more tolerable of the two; that he so profoundly glories in his intricate narrow-mindedness makes that fact all the more sad.
posted by lodurr at 5:20 PM on July 24, 2006


Furthermore I don’t think anyone expected the morass that exists there now.

Well, then you don't know any people who have a decent grasp of history and human nature. Personally, I know plenty of people (including myself) who knew exactly what kind of morass we were likely to get into. Not because we're freak genii, but because if you have a god-damn clue about Iraq's history (which is only a hundred years) and the glue holding it together, as well as what's going on around it (Iran, Kurds vs. Turks, etc.), there was only one sane conclusion to draw.

What has happened is EXACTLY what a lot of people who have far more credibility than the hillbillies in power said would happen. Well before the fact. Of course they were shouted down as idiots or anti-American. Hurrah!
posted by the_savage_mind at 7:19 PM on July 24, 2006


Are you sure it wasn't William *G* Buckley who said that?

WFB was always a snake. In the days of "Firing Line", he even darted his tongue in and out.

posted by Twang at 7:59 PM on July 24, 2006



“Yes, plenty of people anticipated a not-so-simple-as-go-in-and-get-out war in Iraq, well before we put troops on the ground”
and
“What has happened is EXACTLY what a lot of people who have far more credibility than the hillbillies in power said would happen.”

To clarify - my position is not the Bushesque ‘no one expected the levies to overflow’, but instead - no one expects a purposeful drive into chaos. No one expects a sober individual to swerve into oncoming traffic for no reason at all ignoring all relevent signals and prior training, traffic law and agreed upon rules of the road.

As has been stated, there were plenty of people who knew exactly what sort of conditions could occur and what the dangers were. To completely ignore that - even given an illegitimate goal - is as utterly perplexing as the above scenario.
The difference being one of expectation. I expect at least some level of competance even in an adversary. Which is why I find the ‘teh conservatives all suck forever’ nonsense irrelevent and insipid (and vice versa). One expects such nonsense from Rush Limbaugh and the like, but there is - or at least until this point always has been - a built in sort of institutional common sense in our government.
Nixon, for example, was very interested in using nuclear weapons in Vietnam. The rank and file resisted such assertions.

In retrospect it appears at least part of the reason this administration was able to carry this off is because they have replicated government positions within the Republican party - a sort of political judo to reverse the neutralizing effect of the bureaucracy.

I quite frankly did not expect such a thing to be carried off. Furthermore, I expect that anyone able to execute such a plan should have some degree of competance. The reality of Iraq disabuses me of that notion.
But again, going back a ways, there is no way to predict the morass that we’re in. It’s similar to asking someone if they’re really going to stick their dick in a light socket.
“You’re not actually going to do that, are you?”
Meanwhile there are plenty of people with no small amount of power in opposition, and nothing is happening. That also surprises me. But then I’m an optimist.
posted by Smedleyman at 7:21 AM on July 25, 2006


no one expects a purposeful drive into chaos. No one expects a sober individual to swerve into oncoming traffic for no reason at all ignoring all relevent signals and prior training, traffic law and agreed upon rules of the road.

I understand now what you mean.
posted by the_savage_mind at 7:51 AM on July 25, 2006


Pro-crypto nazi. That's the word I was looking for. Not snake.

Sorry for any confusion.

posted by Twang at 1:06 PM on July 28, 2006


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