The Unbearable Uselessness of Being a Conservative

September 14, 2007

We frequently hear from some of the more stable conservative commentators — “stable” being a relative term, applicable to those pundits not howling for an immediate invasion of Iran — that George II is “not really a conservative,” and that his fatheaded hubris, swinish spending habits and insane overreaching in the Middle East are anathema to the true spirit of conservatism. 

So it was with great interest that I turned to hear what William F. Buckley Jr., the intellectual Saruman whose caverns helped produce the current generation of snarling wingers infesting our airwaves and op-ed pages, has to say about the administration’s four-year game of kick-the-can in Iraq. And by “kick-the-can,” I don’t mean the ass-kicking our boy emperor always likes to crow about, but the sullen game of “let’s keep this going until Bush’s term ends and we can fob everything off on the Democrats” being played by the administration and the Republicans in Congress.

So, what does the father of modern conservatism say about continuing to support this squalid fiasco?

U.S. elections are around the corner. And there are voters who are not persuaded by the analysis of Ambassador Crocker, or those of American newsmen. And this is of course the final branch of government: the voters. The critical questions in the halls of Congress: Will they understand if you do? And if you don’t?

If the vote were mine, I’d say: Stick it out. You can’t, by doing so, be accused of thoughtlessness, certainly not of perfidy.

Thoughtlessness and perfidy are the least of the things the Republicans can be accused of in this war, but I do appreciate hearing this bit of — how do they put it? — moral clarity from the grayest eminence in the conservative ranks. Rather than counsel the GOP to pull the plug on this catastrophe that has fouled America’s good name, Buckley says, in effect: cover your butts and vote to string things along some more. After all, it’s not like any of us are getting shot at or blown up in Iraq.

Useless creep.  
   

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