"DES MOINES, IA – Word must have gone out early, either by word of mouth, or by all those social media platforms that conservatives have discovered since 2008, or perhaps by that strange wingnut telepathy only practiced by the true initiates who know all the conjuring words. (People could make Lois Lerner jokes secure in the knowledge that every single person in Iowa who would find them funny was somewhere in the hall.) In any case, the rhetoric at the Iowa Freedom Summit, hosted by Steve King and Citizens United, was startlingly muted. Oh, they hit all the proper notes. Liberty! Constitution! American exceptionalism! And the melodies were consistent; the first few bars were gloomy as they meandered through the many failures of the current administration, many of them largely imaginary, and then the final movement was all sunshine and rainbows and Republican promises of a brighter day. Every speech was like a Requiem Mass that concluded with a rousing chorus of 'Tomorrow.'" Charles P. Pierce of Esquire has some colorful choice words to say about the recent Iowa Freedom Summit.
The Republican Party began selling new web domains ending in .gop today at www.join.gop. Public interest has definitely been sparked, but perhaps not for the reasons Republicans have hoped. [more inside]
If mainstream conservatism is a “philosophically flabby movement,” and I won’t argue that it isn’t, this is not evidence of its success but simply of its exhaustion and lack of imagination. Perhaps conservatism should thrive on loss and defeat, but I see little evidence that the conservative movement in America understands that it has already lost on many fronts. There is an illusion of success that the most recent election has kept alive, but it is a temporary one.As the campaign for the Republican nomination for president gets weirder by the minute, what does it mean to be an American conservative? Daniel Larison and Corey Robin debate the changing nature of conservatism.
Bonus: A Liberal Reads the Great Conservative Works
"How do you talk about something like gangsta rap from a conservative perspective?" he said. "Are you going to critique it, or just disagree with it?" Friedersdorf tried gamely to square that circle in a piece exploring his conflicted feelings about dancing to Lil Jon at a wedding, but it was an essay that could have been written only so many times. A post-mortem on Culture11. (previously)
The conservative (post-election) Crack-Up. In the wake of their recent defeats, many American conservatives have formed a circular firing squad, with some arguing that the GOP needs a little less GOD, while others say it's just a matter of returning to their roots. At this point, it looks like the party is headed for civil war and electoral disaster. Democrats and liberals may be enjoying the show these days, but what does the future hold for the GOP? (Previously.) [more inside]
Conservatives on why the GOP should lose in 2006. Let's quit while we're behind by Christopher Buckley • Bring on Pelosi by Bruce Bartlett • And we thought Clinton had no self-control by Joe Scarborough • Give divided government a chance by William A. Niskanen • Restrain this White House by Bruce Fein • Idéologie has taken over by Jeffrey Hart • The show must not go on by Richard A. Viguerie
South Park Refugees. "The G.O.P. used to have a sizable libertarian bloc, but I couldn't see any sign of it at the conference. Stone and Parker said they were rooting for Hillary Clinton in 2008 simply because it would be weird to have her as president. The prevailing sentiment among the rest of the libertarians was that the best outcome this November would be a Democratic majority in the House, because then at least there'd be gridlock."
Pat Buchanan has realsed a new book called "Where the Right went Wrong" just in time for the Republican National Convention. The politics of war in the U.S. must make strange bedfellows if Pat Buchanan, Lou Rockwell and more recently Rep. Doug Bereuter of Nebraska can have anything in common with Moveon.org and Common Dreams. What does it mean for such a notable Republican to publish an anti-war book and be this critical of President Bush? Will moderate Republicans stay at home, vote third party or even switch to John Kerry? A growing trend or blip on the radar? [More inside]
How the left's fear of a right-wing Christian conspiracy gets George W. Bush -- and today's evangelical Christians -- all wrong. Alan Jacobs (more from him here and here) suggests that the idea that President Bush's evangelical Christianity has an impact on his politics is really a misunderstanding of Bush, fundamentalists, and evangelicals.
Return of the vast right-wing conspiracy? Al Gore is quoted in the New York Observer: "Fox News Network, The Washington Times, Rush Limbaugh—there’s a bunch of them, and some of them are financed by wealthy ultra-conservative billionaires who make political deals with Republican administrations and the rest of the media …. Most of the media [has] been slow to recognize the pervasive impact of this fifth column in their ranks—that is, day after day, injecting the daily Republican talking points into the definition of what’s objective as stated by the news media as a whole." Has Al Gore lost his mind?
Rush Limbaugh has gone deaf. While he can recognize sound, he cannot understand it, including callers to his radio show. He's working around it now (somehow), but may have to change his format in the near future. Rush's site is being hit hard, but you can find a transcript of his monologue here.