Sunday, September 07, 2008

It Goes To Credibility, your Honor...

Hilzoy, writing in the Washington Monthly, managed to nutshell one critically important aspect of the postmodern Presidency that McCain is striving to inherit, the critical fact that lies go to credibility.

If we are simply reduced to picking a candidate based on which lies we prefer while knowing they are lies, we may as well just write representative democracy off as a failed experiment. If a man or a woman lies to me in order to gain my vote, and worse yet, lies in service of appeals to my basest instincts, they work against the fundamental, REPUBLICAN premise; that some people ARE more qualified to represent us than others; that while you or I may not be interested in or able to do the job ourselves, it should be possible to learn enough about the candidates to choose between qualified candidates who make an honest case for their ambitions and intentions.

When politicians lie -- and here I mean not just putting the best spin on things, but out and out lying -- they might as well walk up to each and every one of us and say: Hello! I have no respect for the value of your time! You might have other things to do -- work, playing with your kids, taking a long hike in the mountains, whatever -- but I don't care. I'm going to put you in a position where you're going to have to research everything I say, or else just give up on your civic duty. You don't get to assume that my words are, if not exactly true, at least somewhere in the general vicinity of the truth, and decide whether or not to vote for me. If you want to be an informed citizen, you'll have to become obsessive, like hilzoy.

I was going to blog this, as a natural followup to my last post. However, I do like to read what other folks are saying, to see if there's a hole somewhere a post naturally fits. Well, it turned out that someone had written the damn blog post for me. Ted; I'll back this up with a personal invite; you can blog here any time you care to.

Palin is so obviously unfit for command -- not because of her experience, not because she is a woman, and not because comes from a small state or even that she holds conservative views. She is unfit because she has never even thought seriously about the job or the issues she would address before McCain gave there the nod.

That shows you everything you need to know about the nature of the Conservative Movement that has cynically selected a "maverick" like McCain to continue its control of the country. The conservative movement is not "conservative" in the least. It is radical and revolutionary at its core. And like all revolutionary movements through history it's aim is destruction. The Republican Party waves a lot of flags and speaks of duty, honor, country and patriotism. But at some deep level they do not believe that America today believes any of those things. They believe that conservatives are patriotic and loyal to the American tribe, but they don't think the nation is. And that is their primary issue. That is the "change" Republicans cheered last week. They are not interested in the least in the mortgage crisis, or the environment, or whether invading Iraq is wise or insane. They care only that people think America is pure and good. When Republicans listen to Democrats talk about what is wrong in America, they do not hear about problems that must be solved but proof that liberals hate America.

Conservatives are not in the least interested in a government that works because it doesn't believe in government. That don't want good government. They want no government at all. That is why conservatives can campaign against the government even when they control it.

Neither are they interested in good governance -- the kind that requires balanced judgment, knowledge of the issues, an even temperament for leadership. Governance requires balancing interests and bringing the country together by making people see that there is more that unites us than divides us. Conservatives believe in unity too -- but it is the unity of conformity and obediance to orthodoxy. And the only real issue they believe in is erradicating a modern, secular American culture which conservatives consider to be corrupt. They would replace it (or "purify" it to use a horrifying but accurate word) with something more aligned to the particular folkways of the largely rural southern sub-culture.

We are simply talking two different languages here. Democrats are running to take the helm of the government of a nation is perilous times. Conservatives are running to continue a cultural revolution that would destroy the very institutions they seek to control.

Posted by: Ted Frier on September 7, 2008 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

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