Thursday, November 09, 2006

I would never blame Mark Shea for the GOP losses ...

They would have come whether or not he turned into an utter demagogue on the subject of torture as it relates to Catholic morality or adopted a creeping paleoconservative ideology. Judging from his increasing embrace of all things paleocon, I think it's fair to speculate that had Rush Limbaugh announced his addiction issue today he would be greeted with far less sympathy and far more scorn over at CAEI now that it's been determined by Shea that he's "sold out," an ironic charge indeed coming from someone who now appears ready to embrace just about any and all criticism of the Iraq war and its supporters as just another rhetorical club in his arsenal regardless of its factual accuracy or internal consistency with his positions. And before readers state that I am being uncharitable, I would note that I am speculating here, not describing Mark's actual behavior. If only the same were returned whenever he rails against CoF and all our works because we dare to question his fundamentalist reading of Magisterial documents.

The Republican defeat yesterday has a thousand fathers and anyone attempting to ascribe a silver bullet to the situation is hopelessly naive. Now that the debacle has come and gone, all of the predictable ideologues are coming out of the woodwork claiming that if only people had listened to their pet issues that things would have turned out differently.

I think that an honest assessment of the situation would involve acknowledging that Republicans got roundedly trouced whatever their views on Iraq, immigration, social conservatism, corruption, et al. And from a domestic political perspective, I'm not as concerned about this as some since you can always recoup domestic political losses in a democracy. While it is true that the GOP losses have ended any realistic chance of appointing a constitutional constructionist to the Supreme Court for the next 2 years, rumors to the contrary it is not altogether clear that such a vacancy will in fact occur. As the Washington Times notes, McCain came out of the Tuesday Night Massacre looking pretty well and that's fine by me given my preference for him as a presidential candidate for 2008. It is not immediately apparent to me why many conservatives who deride McCain as though he were Satan incarnate do not have similar reservations about "fantasy candidates" such as Guiliani or Rice, but that's probably a post for another time.

What I will continue to hold Mark accountable for, however, is the contradiction of his stated view that the current violence in Iraq and the horror he claims to feel over the fate of the Iraqi Christian community (Mark's position, near as I can determine, is that Saddam could kill all the Kurds and Shi'ite he liked so long as he kept a few Chaldeans around as museum fixtures) while simultaneously arguing that the US needs to depart from the country as quickly as possible. Such a view, as I have repeatedly noted, goes quite against the stated positions of the Vatican that he claims to care so much about when it comes to discerning whether or not the Iraq war was justified (if the Vatican said "no" when Mark claims everyone was insisting the US should go to war and dismissed it, how exactly does he get off with ignoring or dismissing it now that it is equally opposed to everyone in the US pulling out?), but I expect that this is just another example of him using inconsistent or ill-thought arguments and then holding them up as though they were shouted down from Mount Sinai. But more than Mark's contradictory views on when to listen to the Vatican is the fact that to abandon Iraq is to turn all those Iraqi people whose fate he claimed to be so damned concerned about over to the tender mercies of al-Qaeda and Sadr. Maybe he thinks they'll be nicer to the Chaldean community, who are the only Iraqis whose lives I guess he thinks we should care about, but if so I sure as hell haven't seen any sign of it. Or maybe he intends to personify that famous adage that the single death or torture of an Iraqi is a tragedy, whereas the deaths of thousands at the hands of the insurgency is a statistic. If the latter, then I would at the very least expect him to adopt the Derbyshire view that Muslims and Arabs are just too stupid to have a democracy (a view that excuses the failures of entirely too many people here in the US for me to accept it) rather than still pretend to care about the dumb brown people. That doesn't even begin to get into the broader strategic implications of leaving al-Qaeda with a strategic safe haven at the center of the Middle East and no, the argument that we should not have gone in to begin with has nothing to do with what to do now that we are there. I'd be very interested to see if Mark is going to argue that Iraq has nothing to do with the war on terrorism given who exactly the Coalition is currently fighting in Iraq. Bottom line, the Iraqi people should not have to be sacrificed on a funeral pyre so that the US anti-war movement can feel vindicated but they probably will be. Just like last time around.

Also, I see Mark is still holding on to his view that no one in the Republican leadership is actually pro-life. Unlike him, I don't possess the charism of telepathy (the same one that lets him know the inner thoughts and intentions of people quite beyond whatever their actual positions are) and quite frankly I don't care. I don't vote for them because of their inner thoughts (which I do not know) about rather because of their public positions (which I do) and so long as they appoint constitutional constructionists to the bench (where abortion is really going to be decided nationally one way or another) and pass pro-life legislation I'm not going lose any sleep over what they really think on the issue. The events of Tuesday quite likely made it politically impossible to get any decent constitutional constructionist through the Senate Judiciary Committee and I expect the president will take that into account.

One last point to be made about Rumsfeld. I'm not terribly sad to see him go, but it was done in the worst political manner possible. Rumsfeld out 3 months ago would have almost certainly helped the GOP among conservatives and independents who were (correctly) concerned about Iraq and probably won them the elections by highlighting Republican national security with the confirmation hearings. Instead, he was thrown out in the (stupid) hope of appeasing the Democrats by depriving them of a punching bag and taking away some of their post-election gloating. Instead, he has basically dumped a sack of blood in a shark tank and his successor is apparently part of the same Baker commission led by a member of the Bush 41 crew (the same ones who stood by and let the Iraqis get slaughtered back in 1991) that plans on selling the Iraqi people down river. Just like South Vietnam or Cambodia, whose victims we never seem to hear that much about in all the nostalgia over the 1960s anti-war movement. I doubt we'll hear much of them this time around either, until we, once again content in our own self-righteousness, look back over at Iraq and see how al-Qaeda slaughters the populace and think of what a tragedy that is.

1 comment:

paul zummo said...

he was thrown out in the (stupid) hope of appeasing the Democrats by depriving them of a punching bag and taking away some of their post-election gloating.

Considering the success he had in getting the left to like him after No Child Left Behind, McCain-Feingold, the prescription drug benefit, etc, this is just another in a long string of brilliant political maneuvers that will have the ultimate effect of uniting left and right, culminating in us all gathering hands and singing around the campfire. /sarcasm