A few days ago I linked to this essay by Christopher Buckley, announcing his intention to vote for Barack Obama.
Buckley seems not to have realized that modern Republicans politics has nothing to do with arguments and ideas. It has to do with extreme stupidity and mindless hate for dissenters. National Review was so inundated with negative responses to Buckley’s column, that he was effectively forced to resign. Buckley explains the situation:
I had gone out of my way in my Beast endorsement to say that I was not doing it in the pages of National Review, where I write the back-page column, because of the experience of my colleague, the lovely Kathleen Parker. Kathleen had written in NRO that she felt Sarah Palin was an embarrassment. (Hardly an alarmist view.) This brought 12,000 livid emails, among them a real charmer suggesting that Kathleen’s mother ought to have aborted her and tossed the fetus into a dumpster. I didn’t want to put NR in an awkward position.
Since my Obama endorsement, Kathleen and I have become BFFs and now trade incoming hate-mails. No one has yet suggested my dear old Mum should have aborted me, but it’s pretty darned angry out there in Right Wing Land. One editor at National Review–a friend of 30 years–emailed me that he thought my opinions “cretinous.” One thoughtful correspondent, who feels that I have “betrayed”–the b-word has been much used in all this–my father and the conservative movement generally, said he plans to devote the rest of his life to getting people to cancel their subscriptions to National Review. But there was one bright spot: To those who wrote me to demand, “Cancel my subscription,” I was able to quote the title of my father’s last book, a delicious compendium of his NR “Notes and Asides”: Cancel Your Own Goddam Subscription.
Regular readers of this blog will be unsurprised to learn that I am a subscriber to Free Inquiry magazine. I have had many occasions where I was so angered by some of their columnists (especially Nat Hentoff) that I have resolved to cancel my subscription. But then I calm down, remind myself that not everyone has to agree with me, and decide that my support for the magazine is more important than my momentary anger at a foolish column.
Apparently the right-wingers never get to the calm down stage.
Buckley sums up the situation:
While I regret this development, I am not in mourning, for I no longer have any clear idea what, exactly, the modern conservative movement stands for. Eight years of “conservative” government has brought us a doubled national debt, ruinous expansion of entitlement programs, bridges to nowhere, poster boy Jack Abramoff and an ill-premised, ill-waged war conducted by politicians of breathtaking arrogance. As a sideshow, it brought us a truly obscene attempt at federal intervention in the Terry Schiavo case.
What does the modern conservative movement stand for? No mystery there. It stands for the mindless pursuit of power for its own sake. It stands for a motley collection of anti-science theocrats and greedy, self-interested plutocrats. What did you think? That it had to do with small government at home and realistic foreign policy goals abroad? So naive…