I vaguely remember seeing a movie years ago about the Spanish Civil War in which a general for the Republic was depicted as not-so-secretly expressing sympathy for the Franco insurgency. He impatiently responded to the salutes of his troops with the pro forma words: “Yes, Yes, of course, long live the revolution.”
That sort of totemic utterance is becoming common among conservatives who wish to warn their brethren of over-confidence or ideological excesses. To gain a hearing, they have to establish their right-wing bona fides with a recitation of one of the Tea Party’s favorite slurs of Obama and the Godless Democrats.
This was evident yesterday in a column by the once-great Michael Barone, who wanted to express his belief that Barack Obama would be a very formidable candidate for re-election in 2012. After reciting a series of facts and historical comparisons, Barone felt constrained to throw in this ritual incantation:
Working against Obama still will be substantive issues. Most Americans want to repeal Obamacare; he wants to keep it. Most voters rejected his vast expansion of the size and scope of government; he still thinks it’s a good idea.
Obama came to office with the assumption that economic distress would increase support for his policies to (in his words to Joe the Plumber) “spread the wealth around.” But the 2010 midterms make it about as clear as these things can be that voters reject such efforts.
Now the idea that Obama has proposed or executed a “vast expansion of the size and scope of government” is not a fact, or even a theory; it is simply agitprop. Similarly, the very tired recitation of Joe the Plumber’s mischaracterization of an Obama campaign trail comment, as though it represented a proud and much-repeated item of the Obama credo, is complete BS. But presumably Barone felt such pandering to the fantasies of the Right would make his sound advice go down easier.
On another front, Southern Political Report and Insider Advantage honcho Matt Towery did a piece suggesting that his fellow conservatives should be less inclined to call each other RINOs for such heresies as supporting the START treaty (as did Georgia Sen. Johnny Isakson). But Towery thought it necessary to preface these thoughts with his own statement of right-wing solidarity:
Here’s both my qualifier and my bona fides for the opinion that
follows: I earned my Republican stripes working for a GOP U.S. senator, for
Ronald Reagan’s first successful presidential campaign and for Newt
By the end of the column, Towery was defensively boasting of his support for the repeal of the 17th Amendment, and railing against Obama’s threats to the free enterprise system and fundamental liberties. And he’s a guy who sorta needs a relatively objective image for the benefit of his public opinion firm’s credibility.
Now I obviously don’t know what’s in the minds of Barone and Towery (and many others) who seem to feel they must offer some sort of party salute or denunciation of opponents in order to express a potentially unwelcome opinion. Maybe the gestures are so empty that they are virtually unconcious. But they sure are conspicuous to those of us who haven’t been inducted into the Conservative Brotherhood, or learned the secret handshake.