Mike the Mad Biologist

There’s a superb piece by Mark Schmitt that’s been making the rounds. While most people have focused on the Republicans’ use of “Americaness” and identity politics, something near the beginning of the piece stuck with me–and I think it has a lot to do with how Scott McClellan is being treated (italics mine):

The Republican Party, though, has always had a different attitude about risk, almost courting disaster while the Democrats postponed it. In Building Red America, his slightly belated 2006 opus on the Republican plan for permanent power, Thomas B. Edsall points to studies showing that core Republicans are “confident risk-takers”–white men with a very high tolerance for hazard. But as Edsall notes, they are so confident because they have been generally insulated from the consequences of their risk-taking–think of George W. Bush’s career as an oil man, or of Bear Stearns, or of the quasi-celebrities whose messes are discreetly taken care of. And while conservative pundits and some of their politicians are in a state of panic, political strategists like Karl Rove carry themselves with the confident swagger of an investment banker who just lost $2 billion of someone else’s money but still has the Fifth Avenue apartment and the house in Bedford. Rove’s scheme to establish a 30-year reign of absolute Republican power increasingly looks like yet another gamble of the bubble economy, like a hedge-fund scheme that couldn’t fail until it failed.

Failure for the movement conservatives has little or nothing to do with the consequences of one’s actions. As long as one remains ideologically correct–even though this correctness is ultimately defined by politically loyalty–one has done nothing wrong. This is why they are jumping all over McClellan. Of course, if one can’t fail because of how one did, but only by what one believes, all failures must be placed on someone else’s shoulders, which in turn, leads to paranoia and scapegoating.

Fortunately, that hasn’t happened to the Republicans….

Comments

  1. #1 Michael
    May 29, 2008

    One could replace “conservative” with “liberal” and the conclusion about ideological/political loyalty would be just as true. See also Chappaquiddick, the meaning of “is”, documents stuffed in one’s socks, and more.

  2. #2 iRobot
    May 29, 2008

    No, sorry but your wrong. Chappaquiddick was wrong and he should have been prosecuted. He’s a rich, white guy: they never get off. Its not like W broke laws and got away with it, whoops he did. You are smoking some seriously strong stuff if you think liberals have that follow the leader thing like conservatives. Thats the thing that makes us so different. Conservatives do what “daddy” tells them to. Lying under oath about sex: bad. Lying under oath about outing a CIA agent: good. See I can say the lying under oath was bad, not impeachment bad, esp since that was just a ploy to get Clinton out. I bet you NEVER EVER will say W and co’s lying was bad. Go ahead prove me wrong!

  3. #3 PhysioProf
    May 30, 2008

    Of course, if one can’t fail because of how one did, but only by what one believes, all failures must be placed on someone else’s shoulders, which in turn, leads to paranoia and scapegoating.

    Gee! Sounds like some other ideological system with passionate adherents I feel like I’ve heard of somewhere. Now what the fuck could it be!?

  4. #4 Rob
    May 30, 2008

    iRobot is right. To expand, note how Democrats were highly critical of how Clinton handled the Lewinsky affair, and how they criticized Congressman Jefferson. For contrast, the Republicans never seem to balk at any level of corruption, right up to the point of their own conviction in court. None of the criticism by conservatives addresses the points made by the hapless McClellan. Hell, look at the e-mail sent by Bob Dole to summarize the traitor/victim narrative.

  5. #5 Michael
    June 1, 2008

    iRobot is not right; he is insane. Scooter Libby was found guilty of obstruction of justice. Bush could have pardoned him; he did not. There have been many conservative critics of Bush’s policies. (More relevant to me personally, there have been even more libertarian critics of Bush.) Duke Cunningham is in prison for his crimes. It took about nine months from exposure to sentencing in his case. In contrast, where is Congressman Jefferson? He’s still in Congress, thanks to the other Democrats there and their stonewalling around a guy caught with $90,000 dollars of bribes in his freezer.

    If you’re going to draw comparisons, don’t stop at criticism. Look at the penalties people have suffered beyond mere talk. After all, liberals are great at talk. Except when it comes to taxation, they’re not so good at action.