Crazy-Cons Embarrass Serious Conservatives

With anti-intellectualism, hostility towards science, and belief in conspiracy theories becoming dominant views within the conservative movement, it has become increasingly common to see the more sane conservatives either leave the movement or point out its many faults. The later then tend to be run out of the conservative movement.

Professor Brainbridge, in a post entitled It’s Getting To Be Embarrassing To Be A Conservative, pointed out ten embarrassing items. Many of these  are similar to problems in the conservative movement which I’ve often pointed out:

  1. A poorly educated ex-sportwriter who served half of one term of an minor state governorship is prominently featured as a — if not the — leading prospect for the GOP’s 2012 Presidential nomination.
  2. Tom Tancredo calling President Obama “the greatest threat to the United States today” and arguing that he be impeached. Bad public policy is not a high crime nor a misdemeanor, and the casual assertion that pursuing liberal policies–however misguided–is an impeachable offense is just nuts.
  3. Similar nonsense from former Ford-Reagan treasury department officials Ernest Christian and Gary Robbins, who IBD column was, as Doug Marconis observed, “a wildly exaggerated attack on President Obama’s record in office.” Actually, it’s more foaming at the mouth.
  4. As Doug also observed, “The GOP controlled Congress from 1994 to 2006: Combine neocon warfare spending with entitlements, farm subsidies, education, water projects and you end up with a GOP welfare/warfare state driving the federal spending machine.” Indeed, “when the GOP took control of Congress in 1994, and the White House in 2000, the desire to use the levers of power to create “compassionate conservatism” won our over any semblance of fiscal conservatism. Instead of tax cuts and spending cuts, we got tax cuts along with a trillion dollar entitlement program, a massive expansion of the Federal Government’s role in education, and two wars. That’s not fiscal conservatism it is, as others have said, fiscal insanity.” Yet, today’s GOP still has not articulated a message of real fiscal conservatism.
  5. Thanks to the Tea Party, the Nevada GOP has probably pissed away a historic chance to out=st Harry Reid. See also Charlie Crist in Florida, Rand Paul in Kentucky, and so on. Whatever happened to not letting perfection be the enemy of the good?
  6. The anti-science and anti-intellectualism that pervade the movement.
  7. Trying to pretend Afghanistan is Obama’s war.
  8. Birthers.
  9. Nativists.
  10. The substitution of mouth-foaming, spittle-blasting, rabble-rousing talk radio for reasoned debate. Michael Savage, Glenn Beck, Hugh Hewitt, and even Rush Limbaugh are not exactly putting on Firing Line. Whatever happened to smart, well-read, articulate leaders like Buckley, Neuhaus, Kirk, Jack Kent, Goldwater, and, yes, even Ronald Reagan?

He cited an op-ed in The Los Angeles Times by David Klinghoffer entitled From Neocons to Crazy-cons. Klinghoffer began:

Once, the iconic figures on the political right were urbane visionaries and builders of institutions — like William F. Buckley Jr., Irving Kristol and Father Richard John Neuhaus, all dead now. Today, far more representative is potty-mouthed Internet entrepreneur Andrew Breitbart, whose news and opinion website,, is read by millions. In his most recent triumph, Breitbart got a U.S. Department of Agriculture official pushed out of her job after he released a deceptively edited video clip of her supposedly endorsing racism against white people.

SciFi Weekend: Amy’s Kiss, Torchwood, Hope For FlashForward To Return, Dollhouse, Caprica, and The Promethius Awards

The season is over on Doctor Who but that doesn’t mean we won’t see more of what happened to the Doctor and Amy over the past year. The season five boxed set, which will be released on November 8 in the UK and November 9 in North America, will contain a feature showing some scenes which took place between episodes. This includes why Amy was floating in Space above Starship UK and what happened after Amy kissed the Doctor (video above).

The Los Angeles Times has a story on Neil Gaiman writing a story for Doctor Who next season along with blogging.

Torchwood in the USA

Torchwood will be very dark when it returns, like last year’s Children of Earth miniseries. The upcoming ten-episode  miniseries, being  jointly produced by the BBC and Starz, will have Jack and Gwen return along with adding some additional American characters.

Starz might do more to continue genre shows than co-producing Torchwood. They have expressed some interest in reviving FlashForward. The show showed tremendous potential but sagged creatively in the middle of the season, losing much of their audience. The series ended on ABC with an episode which was clearly intended as a season-ending cliff hanger and which did not work as a series finale.

Dollhouse Comic Epitaph

At least Dollhouse managed to wrap up their brief run with Epitaph Two which showed what happened after the events of Epitaph One. A comic is also being planned to fill in the gaps which never made it to television. It will be distributed with the DVD and Blu-Ray sets of Season Two which will be released in October.

The second half of Caprica has been postponed until January. There’s no official word on whether there will be a true second season, but many involved with the show do sound optimistic in recent interviews.

The Libertarians Futurist Society has announced their annual Promethius Awards. The Unincorporated Man by Dani and Eytan Kollin won as best novel.

Tea Party Diversity Day

There was a Tea Party Rally in Philadelphia today in which organizers had hoped to show how diverse their group is in hopes of reducing accusations of racism.  They had a very diverse group of white conservatives, but few others.

While not all conservatives and Republicans are racist, racism has always been a major influence on the right and non-racist Tea Party members would be rather naive to believe they are not surrounded by racists at the rallies. However it is also worth mentioning that a few factors might actually lead to others over-estimating the influence of racism.

Many of their views can be motivated by both racist and non-racist beliefs. There really were some conservatives who opposed 1964 civil rights legislation based on a small-government as opposed to a racist philosophy. Of course many, such as Barry Goldwater, later recognized that the type of racism which was endemic in the south was not compatible with a belief in individual liberty and admitted they were wrong.

Another tricky issue is the belief in states’ rights. Personally I fail to see the logic in advocating states’ rights out of any belief in liberty. I’m far more concerned about concentrating on which governmental acts to limit, regardless of level, than about which level of government is involved. States’ rights has historically been used to justify reductions in civil liberties, along with allowing racial discrimination. However, on the extremes of the right wing I do believe there are some people who do have a philosophical identification with states’ rights which is independent of racism.

I think the biggest reason that people might over-estimate the amount of racism in the Tea Parties is due to trying to come up with some explanation for their views. They hold so many views which are counter to fact that many people cannot believe that the reasons they state are the real motivation for their positions. This leads many to conclude that their views are primarily motivated by opposition to a black president. While having a black man in the white house has certainly stirred up many parts of right wing, it is also likely that they would hold many of the same political positions regardless of which Democrat was in the White House.

The modern right wing is essentially an authoritarian movement which blindly follows the propaganda of their leaders (even with Tea Parties where the leadership is ideological as opposed to organizational). There is one characteristic which defines the modern right wing even more than racism–ignorance. You don’t have to be a racist to hold the views held by the Tea Parties, although it definitely does help.

Chelsea’s Wedding

It sounds like Chelsea Clinton’s wedding was quite an event. They paid attention to all the details in planning the wedding. With Bill around it sure was a great idea to give all the bridesmaids a supply of Plan B.