Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Where have you been the last 30 years, Andrew?

Right-wing reactions to Barack Obama's landmark speech yesterday have Andrew Sullivan beginning to suspect that movement conservatives are not nice people.

For me, this is an epiphany of sorts. Not that I have changed my mind about the things I wrote in "The Conservative Soul." Not that I have stopped believing in limited government, individual freedom, personal responsibility, pragmatic change. But I have come to believe that large swathes of today's conservative movement truly are hateful.


To read the Corner today was to be reminded that some are immune to the grace and hope and civility that Reagan summoned at his best; the anger and bitterness is so palpably fueled by fear and racism it really does mark a moment of revelation to me.
I like Andrew Sullivan's writing. I check his blog every day, several times a day. But I have to say, I am just gobsmacked by how clueless he sounds here.

I cannot believe he just noticed that people in the conservative movement are motivated by impulses that the rest of us learn to control, if not leave behind, in elementary school. Conservatism exploits the most primitive aspects the human psyche for political advantage: greed, fear, suspicion, and yes, hatred. And it has always done so.

Sullivan's stubborn devotion to the Reagan myth indicates he has not completed the intellectual journey he only began, apparently, when reading the reactions to Obama's speech posted on The Corner. What hope did Ronald Reagan summon when he began his 1980 presidential campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi with a speech referencing states' rights? What civility inspired his invention of the "Welfare Queen," one of the vilest racist stereotypes of my lifetime, one that continues to infect our political discourse to this day? Anger, bitterness, fear, and racism were the building blocks of the Reagan coalition. They continue to form the foundation of the conservative movement.

You're not seeing the full picture just yet, Andrew. Open your eyes a little wider.


betmo said...

i am beginning to wonder if it's genetic somehow- or if these folks truly have been left behind on the evolutionary scale. none of them seem to have the ability to see past their own viewpoint and all of them seem to be interested only in their world. conservatism is a selfish movement. limited government and unbridled capitalism- exist solely for a few to make profits hand over fist. there is no nobility in the conservative movement. and reagan was a paid actor. wake up andrew.