THE BLOG
12/12/2008 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Fear and Loathing in the Conservative Blogosphere

I promised myself a while ago that I would never steal Hunter Thompson's oft-used phrase; my writing already draws too many comparisons to the man's as it is, which was fun and flattering the first few times, but has since become the source of a gnawing, Holden Caulfield-like insecurity about the possible phoniness of my craft. But the hell with that. The weird, bent direction of the major conservative blogs deserves no title so well as this one. Besides, if Keith Olbermann can rip off the Granddaddy of Broadcast Journalists every time he signs off his show, I can certainly burglarize from the King of the Gonzos.

Right. To the point. Since the election of Barack Obama just a week ago, the conservative blogosphere -- never a place for sober reflection -- has become a nightmare bizarro world in which up is down, black is white, and George Bush is a brilliant orator.

No, seriously. Witness John Hinderaker, one of the trio of bloggers behind the conservative Power Line Blog, in a post from two days ago:

"Obama thinks he is a good talker, but he is often undisciplined when he speaks. He needs to understand that as President, his words will be scrutinized and will have impact whether he intends it or not. In this regard, President Bush is an excellent model; Obama should take a lesson from his example. Bush never gets sloppy when he is speaking publicly. He chooses his words with care and precision, which is why his style sometimes seems halting. In the eight years he has been President, it is remarkable how few gaffes or verbal blunders he has committed. If Obama doesn't raise his standards, he will exceed Bush's total before he is inaugurated."

Until reading this, it seemed impossible to me that one could have lived on planet Earth over the past eight years, have followed politics closely, and actually hold the opinion that President Bush has actually committed remarkably "few gaffes or verbal blunders." How is it possible? What sort of drug-induced torpor would a man have to be in to consider Bush a thoughtful, well-spoken man?

No, no. It can't be drug-induced. I may not be an expert, but I have enough experience in these matters to know that even a serious dope fiend couldn't hold this opinion. It has to be something worse. Something even more depraved.

As the conservative movement licked its wounds over the past week and decided how to move forward, a lot of talk centered on who should step into the leadership positions, especially the ones that have the responsibility of getting Republicans elected: the chairmen of the NRSC, NRCC and RNC. Yesterday, Michelle Malkin wrote a blog entry in which she came out against Newt Gingrich for RNC chair. The reason? Wait for it ...

Because he's too nice to Democrats! "He cuddled Nancy Pelosi on Al Gore's global warming couch," Malkin fumed, "and he's played footsie with Hillary Clinton on health care."

Yeah, ace, you read that right. Newt Gingrich is too bipartisan to be the RNC chair. And those are hardly extreme examples of the conservative-blog genre over the last week. Too much, too much. Life appears to have passed them by. How long until a major conservative blogger finally suffers a complete breakdown, disassociates from reality, and starts pretending that Bush is still president?

It all comes down to the GOP's fiction-based community. As Ron Suskind noted in a 2004 article, one Bush aide told him "that guys like me were 'in what we call the reality-based community,' which he defined as people who 'believe that solutions emerge from your judicious study of discernible reality.' ... 'That's not the way the world really works anymore,' he continued. 'We're an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you're studying that reality -- judiciously, as you will -- we'll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that's how things will sort out. We're history's actors...and you, all of you, will be left to just study what we do.'"

But what happens when that fictional "reality" the GOP has created comes crashing down on the heads of all the people who bought a ticket to the dance? What happens when, at long last, reality demonstrates that it goes along pretty much whichever way it wants, the wishes of a tiny speck of a human being be damned?

The implosion of the Republican Party itself came last Tuesday. But the implosion of the pseudo-reality it tried to create and the conservative pundit class that actually bought into this uber-bullshit has only just begun. It will be long, it will be painful to witness, and many will not survive. Rome is burning.