Conservatives Dis and Ditch McCain-Palin

Intellectual conservatives are scampering away from Bush-McCain-Palin as if the Republican party leaders were infected with a toxic contagion. George Will today brands Bush and McCain as "faux conservatives" and accuses them of carelessness, citing Iraq and the selection of Sarah Palin as examples.

Will begins by slicing and dicing Palin, starting with an amusing story designed to mock Palin's belief that the vice president is "in charge of the United States Senate."

She may have been tailoring her narrative to her audience of third-graders, who do not know that vice presidents have no constitutional function in the Senate other than to cast tie-breaking votes. But does she know that when Lyndon Johnson, transformed by the 1960 election from Senate majority leader into vice president, ventured to the Capitol to attend the Democratic senators' weekly policy luncheon, the new majority leader, Montana's Mike Mansfield, supported by his caucus, barred him because his presence would be a derogation of the Senate's autonomy?

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To be fair, while the vice president's role as president of the Senate had become ceremonial (except for the rare tie-breaking vote) by LBJ's time, the earlier vice presidents took a more robust view of their power to decide Senate procedure. Perhaps Palin has some "originalist" view of the vice presidency that she hasn't fully articulated.

Will takes nicely phrased shots not just at Palin ("an inveterate simplifier") but also at John McCain (who "has a history of reducing controversies to cartoons") and Dick Cheney ("the foremost practitioner of this administration's constitutional carelessness in aggrandizing executive power") before turning his essay into a rant against McCain's support of publicly funded elections.

Will isn't the only conservative turning against the McCain-Palin ticket.

Many disillusioned Republicans hoped that Mr McCain would provide a compass for a party that has lost its way, but now feel that the compass has gone haywire.

You won't see George Will endorse Obama like Colin Powell and Christopher Buckley did, but there are some less ideological, reality-based Republicans (admittedly few in number) who are drawn to Obama. The last Reagan Democrats have come home and some Obama Republicans are coming with them.

For many conservatives, Mr Obama embodies qualities that their party has abandoned: pragmatism, competence and respect for the head rather than the heart. Mr Obama’s calm and collected response to the turmoil on Wall Street contrasted sharply with Mr McCain’s grandstanding. ...

[T]he revolt of the intellectuals is coinciding with a migration of culturally conservative voters—-particularly white working-class voters—-into Obamaland. Mr Obama is now level-pegging or leading among swing-groups such as Catholics and working-class whites. A recent Washington Post-ABC poll shows him winning 22% of self-described conservatives, a higher proportion than any Democratic nominee since 1980.

A significant number of small town, small business Republicans who have paid more attention to the issues than Joe the Plumber will gravitate to Obama. Their party has done nothing for them and McCain offers nothing better. This year they won't vote based on fear, unless it is fear of further Republican mismanagement of government.

McCain is left with the voters who think Barack Obama is a Marxist and believe Sarah Palin would be a competent president. And maybe George Will will hold his nose and vote for McCain, but maybe he'll think about Sarah Palin in the White House and quietly cast his secret ballot for Obama.

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    I think that there will be more secret votes (5.00 / 1) (#1)
    by DeborahNC on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:33:08 AM EST
    quietly and privately cast for Obama than Republicans want to admit. At this point, it seems that some of them are afraid of their own party--as they should be.

    It's gratifying to finally see some Republicans attack their own, and George Will does it with such flair. Actually, quite a few have become quite skilled at it, even more effective than Democrats.

    It seems that some Republicans are embarrassed to see the crazies as representative of their party. When the verbal threats against Obama were aired and the hatred and bigotry were exposed, I think that was a tipping point for some. But hey, many Republicans welcomed them into the fold when they calulated it as an political advantage.

    Now, the distancing has begun!

    This is what you would call... (none / 0) (#19)
    by CoralGables on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:10:26 AM EST
    "The Reverse Bradley Effect" and I have found two potential cases of it within my own family.

    Everyone knows a few people like this. The person that will drop a subtle racial joke in a family setting and who in the past had no trouble dissing the DEM nominees...but this go round sits quietly when the subject of the election comes up and you can't help but wonder, are they going to vote for Obama but don't want to out themselves?

    Yup, the Reverse Bradley Effect could come into play...people that won't admit to voting for Obama but can't wait to vote for change.


    where were these so-called (5.00 / 6) (#2)
    by cpinva on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 02:49:09 AM EST
    "intellectuals" while the republican party was being taken over by right-wing, religious extremists; your basic, hard core reagan-to-bush supporters?

    george will should stick to baseball, a subject he at least knows something about. he's amply demonstrated, over the past couple of decades, that he's pretty much an empty suit, merely an echo for republican fiscal talking points.

    i take great delight every time paul krugman trashes him in public.

    Those so-called intellectuals were welcoming the (5.00 / 5) (#3)
    by DeborahNC on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 03:05:51 AM EST
    extremists with open arms when it was politically expedient. Now, they can't get away fast enough. Hypocrisy? Yes, indeed.

    "Intellectual" (5.00 / 3) (#4)
    by pluege on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 03:10:00 AM EST
    is an excessively strong word to be calling any self-proclaimed "conservative". Being that conservatives run (and behave) as anti-intellectuals, its actually an oxymoron.

    All conservatives are anti-intellectual? (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by AlkalineDave on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 08:36:13 AM EST
    Just because you disagree with conservatives does not give liberals a monopoly on intellectualism.  In your opinion, Rice, Kissinger, Buckley, and Milton Friedman would not be intellectual?

    Friedman was immorral, not anti- (5.00 / 1) (#12)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 08:43:28 AM EST
    intellectual. Buckley should not be considered an intellectual: his magazine spewed racist, bigoted tripe for 50 years. Rice is an intellectual, but not an impressive one.
    Kissinger applied his considerable intellect to the promotion of butchery worldwide---the conservatives can have him.

    When so-called intellectuals stop believing and promoting fairy tales about economics which have no basis in fact and are not supported by theory, then  they can be conservative and intellectual without being fools.  


    Rice, Kissinger, Buckley, & Milton Friedman (none / 0) (#34)
    by pluege on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:17:42 PM EST
    are intellectual in that uniquely conservative worshiping at the alter of sadism way. Cheney too - the pride of sadism.

    Surely you conflate clever deceptions, thinly veiled excuses, and doublethink constructs fomented to maximize the infliction of suffering with intellectualism.


    Building the narrative. (5.00 / 5) (#6)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 04:47:49 AM EST
    It was Bush and everyone who supported him and put him in office that doomed McCain.  Palin is just going to be the ever-so-convenient scapegoat that lets everyone forget eight disastrous years of Bush rule enabled by six years of GOP control of Congress.

    It's the policies NOT the personalities.

    George Will: No heart; no brains (5.00 / 3) (#7)
    by lentinel on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 06:28:57 AM EST
    "...for many conservatives, Mr Obama embodies qualities that their party has abandoned: pragmatism, competence and respect for the head rather than the heart".

    Did Will say, "heart"?

    I say, no heart.

    Will is using the word "heart" to define the erratic and psychotic and greedy and ugly behavior of the Bush administration and those who voted with them.

    I am hoping that if we have an Obama administration, the quality that might appear would be "heart".

    George Will an intellectual? (5.00 / 5) (#8)
    by Dr Molly on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 06:37:53 AM EST
    Please, spare me.

    The very first college assignment I had in English comp was to deconstruct the rhetoric in a George Will article wherein he defended the gang rape of a woman in a Boston bar by citing her provocative clothing and her gall to go in the bar alone. She asked for it, dontcha know.

    He is an appalling, cold-hearted jerk who embraced the very same things in George Bush that he now decries in Palin. I guess timing is everything.

    George Will is conservative with facts---- (5.00 / 1) (#9)
    by ThatOneVoter on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 07:46:25 AM EST
    He never has used many.

    Intellectuals everywhere scream in pain... (5.00 / 4) (#10)
    by lambert on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 08:17:25 AM EST
    ... as the Bowtie of Understanding is classified as one of them.

    Will and others are full of it (5.00 / 1) (#13)
    by Democratic Cat on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:00:30 AM EST
    They would be all in for McCain-Palin if they were ahead in the polls. This is just an attempt to distance "conservatism" from a losing ticket and to preserve their influence by coddling up to those who will soon be in power. We shouldn't let them get away with it by accepting their pronouncements and celebrating their endorsements.

    You've nailed it (5.00 / 0) (#15)
    by sj on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:20:44 AM EST
    "They would be all in for McCain-Palin if they were ahead in the polls."

    The attempt to distance "conservatism" from a loser started with someone (I forget who right now) declaring that Bush wasn't a real conservative.  The massive failures were because conservative ideas weren't really implemented.  Why on Earth did anyone think that a bunch of rich people who thought government was always the problem would ever be able to manage its reins?

    It's enough to make you want to puke.


    It's true though... (none / 0) (#21)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:23:44 AM EST
    social issues conservative yeah...but in no way, shape, or form could GDub be called a fiscal conservative of classic conservative in the Teddy Roosevelt mold.  He just ain't.

    The conservative pundit poster children may simply be distancing themselves from a loser...but if it is a real intellectual awakening from the right that their party has been hijacked by market-riggers, corporate fascists, and religous loons...that would be most welcome.

    Lets be real for a sec....some conservative principles being implemented would be good for America....such as balanced budgets, debt reduction, conservation, minimal government intrusions in free American lives, general respect for individual liberty.  The Republican party as a whole doesn't stand for any of these things...hence they are not a conservative party.  



    Yeah, you're literally correct (none / 0) (#23)
    by sj on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:53:23 AM EST
    But here's the thing.  It's the wingnut vision of "conservative" that they're trying to save for later re-use.

    I may be giving... (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by kdog on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:39:14 AM EST
    credit where it is not due, point taken.

    But we can hope it ain't another pile of bullsh&t, right?


    well (5.00 / 0) (#14)
    by connecticut yankee on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:07:26 AM EST
    I think its entertaining.  Peggy Noonan and David Brooks seem to have similar opinions.   A few weeks ago David Brooks did a whole column on the flight of the educated from the republican party.

    The campaign that McCain is running is basically an IQ test.

    Not so.... (none / 0) (#17)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:02:43 AM EST
    Both campaigns are running on stupid and rhetoric and emotion and knee jerks and hot buttons.

    One of the reasons I have no love for political campaigns, especially presidential campaigns, is because every time I pay attention to try to learn something I keep thinking "You must not be talking to ME because I'm not stoopid." .


    heh (none / 0) (#18)
    by connecticut yankee on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:07:11 AM EST
    We must not live in the same universe.  The universe where the losing party is forced to hurl the kitchen sink. Obama has no reason to throw them.

    There is absolutely no comparison in the rhetoric of the two camps. None, zero, zilch, nada!


    Ick. (5.00 / 1) (#20)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:12:53 AM EST
    I listened to Obama's stump speech where he was mocking McCain's attacks.  Wow.  So not impressed.

    Talk to me about the new green economy, re-engineering the infrastructure, making sure the middle class doesn't become an endangered species.

    Shared your toys in kindergarten?  Big frigging whoop.

    But then again this is Obama talking about his favorite topic - himself.  


    Standard fare. (none / 0) (#29)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:05:01 PM EST
    It always end up at school yard taunts.  Always.  Or purple heart band aids or some such thing.

    How did we go from the Lincoln-Douglas debates that went on for hours to this?


    Now that's entertainment! (none / 0) (#32)
    by Fabian on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:21:23 PM EST
    So why do our pols pretend at politeness face to face?

    Easy to be brave at a distance.  Easy to pander to a cheering crowd.


    I don't know where Will (5.00 / 1) (#22)
    by brodie on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:28:47 AM EST
    got his anecdote about Lyndon and Mansfield.  It's certainly a very misleading representation of the situation post-1960 election as LBJ went from being Majority Leader to VP and schemed to retain some of his former power.  

    The actual fact is that Johnson was able to persuade about-to-be ML Mansfield to not only let him keep his old leader's suite of offices just off the senate floor (Lyndon's lavishly appointed "Taj Mahal") but also to give him the role of Chairman of the Dem senate caucus, normally a function automatically assigned to the ML.   A number of senate Dems were stunned and angry, most notably Al Gore, Sr, who directly confronted Johnson.

    Mansfield's motion for Lyndon then carried -- but only after he threatened to step down from the ML post he'd just been elected to unless it passed.  Johnson however was greatly taken aback by the vocal opposition and grumbling from too many of his former colleagues.  So, while he kept the official title of party caucus Chair, he rarely attended the caucus sessions thereafter, and knew his attempt at retaining a power base in the senate was gone.

    George Will had no problem backing (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by No Blood for Hubris on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 10:55:21 AM EST
    the aguably just as clueless George W. Bush, did he?

    What is making the difference for these dudes?  What has finally put them over the edge?


    losing (5.00 / 2) (#25)
    by sj on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:16:23 AM EST
    that's the difference.

    "But does she know..." (none / 0) (#5)
    by pluege on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 03:10:35 AM EST

    omg! (none / 0) (#16)
    by cpinva on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 09:32:17 AM EST
    The campaign that McCain is running is basically an IQ test.

    that's hysterical! :)

    George Will is a pompous arse (none / 0) (#26)
    by kmblue on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 11:28:11 AM EST
    He's guaranteed full employment whining about Obama for at least the next four years.


    An "intellectual" is a well-informed (none / 0) (#31)
    by wurman on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:14:35 PM EST
    person who uses his/her intellect to think about & analyze concepts based on the information.

    George Will has been consistently mis-informed, mainly because he is ignorant--a basic failure generated by his life-long learning disabilites.  Will is incapable of reading & comprehending a simple declarative sentence; e.g., Ambassador Wilson stated that Iraq never made any attempt to acquire yellowcake from Niger.  George Will (& Buckley, Broder, Brooks, et al.) feel some genetic instinct to parse such sentences & re-write them; i.e. they publish "Joe Wilson is a liberal sympathizer unfairly attempting to undermine the Vice-President with nonsense observations from his government expense account vacation to Africa."

    Because Will & his ignorant colleagues can actually spell most of the words they use (even though they seldom know the meaning), they are labelled "intellectuals" by the conservative rabble who cannot even spell "redistributionist."

    W.F. Buckley ran a bogus word schtick quite often on his moronic PBS propaganda hour.  Once, I watched him utter some sesquipedalian term to the Swedish socialist Gunnar Myrdal, a proponent of the "middle way."  Myrdal replied (my paraphrase): [that word is not known to me in English or Swedish & I don't have the time to pore over dictionary pages finding almost apt meanings for insertion to a conversation in order to divert it.  What did you mean?]  Buckley droned & rambled, unable to state what he meant.

    Will makes a living droning & rambling, mostly in print.  His gig is to transform mis-information into dis-information & catapult that Bu$hwa to an audience of folks who enjoy having their drivel spoonfed with a pseudo-intellectual flair.  It's as if the rightwingnutz concepts show up at a mud wrestling contest in a tuxedo.

    By the way, George Will doesn't know much about baseball, either.

    As my Father said the other day - (none / 0) (#33)
    by CST on Thu Oct 30, 2008 at 12:41:27 PM EST
    Rats jumping off a sinking ship.