The party of ideas has descended into potty-mouth Purgatory this primary season--but not to worry.
No matter how wrong or wrong-headed conservatives can be, they never ever take the hit for just being wrong. Being a conservative, in fact, means never having to say you're sorry -- whether you're sorry or not. Mistakes or missteps? They're for liberals, silly, the movement so ashamed of themselves they duck the word "liberal" like a miscreant priest at Confession.
Conservatives really are different from you and me, Billy Bob. They live for hypocrisy, for the thrill of finding Al Gore recumbent in a gas-guzzling jet, Eliot Spitzer enjoying a whore spritzer, or the effrontery of the tree-lubbing Earth Liberation Front.
They live, in other words, to find liberals wrong even as they embrace their own Rightness.
Lost somewhere in all of that reactionary high-fiving is the notion that conservatives are the party of personal responsibility, their first amendment to the idea that less from government is much more. You would think conservatives would be the last people in the world to spend a buck--or to pass it--but you would be wrong.
The way it works, people on the Right are always right, especially when they're wrong. Don't believe me. Just ask them the last time they admitted they were wrong about anything big or small.
You're still waiting, right?
So what happens when things go horrendously wrong for conservatives while they're in power? When the Iraq war turns into a bloodbath even though the Baath Party is no more? When the preponderance of evidence about climate change renders the greasy Grand Oil Party out of gas? When the fact of homosexuality flies in the face an infallible Bible so contradictory as to be incomprehensible?
What happens is nothing, nada, not a thing--if you discount the knee-jerk reflex that answers all comers, heterosexual or not, with the idea that liberals are hypocrites. In the face of wrong-headed positions, conservatives suddenly are nowhere to be seen, intellectually speaking. No matter how bad things get, they ascribe any and all badness in America to lisping, panty-waisted liberals who will one day depend on government for their Depends.
But bitching about recycled hypocrisy can only get you so far--and not nearly far enough to move conservatives off the dime. For every Log Cabin Republican who tells Richard Vigurie to "love me for who I am", there's a score of conservatives still trying to settle the old homosexual scores with Emersonian chest bumps. Being heterosexual is a matter of personal responsibility for conservatives, but the movement's overt denial of the obvious in the 21st century has rear-ended them into the politics of necrophilia, of hoping that a cow-licked Ronnie Reagan will ride in on a presumably white horse and tie up the godless in knots.
If conservatives had a soft drink sponsor it would be Geritol.
Conservatives, you see, are not to blame for Iraq, our dependence our oil, our ignorance of climate change, our out-of-the-closet hostility to homosexuality, or an economy that would and probably will go to hell in a handbasket if gas hits $4. Conservatives, with an apostle's creed of personal responsibility, are responsible for absolutely nothing that's gone wrong.
Party of ideas? That's a nice idea--but can you name one new one? I didn't think so, but not to worry. The conservatives will become the party of ideas lickety-split if they can just find a way to blame their new idea on liberals.