Not nearly as good as vaudeville when it comes to pure entertainment value. But they do have their moments.
Jonah Goldberg has been a particularly oleaginous Trump hater. Back in the primary, his game was to play the guilt by association gag on the NRO blog. For instance, when NeverTrump loons claimed David Duke was a Trumper, Goldberg made the claim that Trump’s dismissal of it was proof he was in the KKK. It’s the oldest Leftist ploy. One Prog lies and the other swears to it. That’s because the Progressive mind sees no clear line between the truth and a lie. One is as good as the other, as long as it furthers the cause.
You see that with this post from Jonah Goldberg at National Review. Ostensibly it is a post about sexual misconduct. In reality, it is a game of moral equivalence so he can denounce Roy Moore, a proxy for Trump.
Whenever popular passion swamps politics, true-believing zealots and opportunistic demagogues will exploit that passion. The zealots will overreach. The demagogues will demagogue — using a good cause to destroy political enemies and defend unworthy allies. Republican Senate candidate Roy Moore is credibly accused by nine women of preying on teenagers, one as young as 14. Harvey Weinstein is credibly accused by at least 50 women of a long list of offenses, including rape. Democratic senator Al Franken has been accused by two women of inappropriate advances or groping.
Notice the slight of hand. Calling the Moore accusers credible is what people in the business call a lie. The best you can say about some of them is they are not obviously insane. The worst you can say about Moore, is he wanted a young wife forty years ago when he was still a relatively young man. Franken and Weinstein, in contrast, are admitted degenerates. There is a mountain of corroborating evidence to support the claims against them. Goldberg knows this, but he lies anyway, because that serves the cause.
That’s the thing to keep in mind with the neocons. Neoconservatism was never a right-wing phenomenon. It was a Progressive heresy, and only a very narrow one. Their dispute with the Progressives was never over ideology. It was over tactics. The neocons wanted to aggressively wage jihad against the Soviets. After the Cold War, they wanted to use the American Empire to make the world safe for global Jewry. Otherwise, they were perfectly fine with the Progressive social project, as long as it did not harm the war effort.
Hence the immediate adoption of the “repeal AND REPLACE” subterfuge, instead of just “repeal,” which would have been the correct conservative position. Not that these clowns ever had any intention of actually doing either, as is now all too apparent.
Actually, many of the neocons WERE Progressivists, for many years, although it wouldn’t necessarily be accurate to say of Goldberg himself. These specimens of the breed were libs who were frightened half out of their notional wits by 9/11, and needed some way to embrace the wholly unfamiliar and uncomfortable idea of America fighting a “good war,” which is what Afghanistan was to them (Iraq, not so much). Then, once they felt all safe and protected and cozy again, many of them reverted back to their old liberalism, although some still do refer to themselves as “conservatives” for whatever reason. See: Rubin, Jennifer for a prime example.
The funny thing about this is many neocons over the years have made this argument about Progressives. Jonah Goldberg was fond of pointing out that the Left was an ends justifies the means ideology, while the Right was a means justifies the end ideology. That was just another lie to further the cause. When the game is to trade away the culture for a free hand in foreign affairs, they needed a way to explain away their failure to conserve anything on the domestic front. Principled failure was the answer.
The truth is, conservatism is the rejection of ideology, and therefore a rejection of both sides of the neocon coin. Roy Moore, like Donald Trump, is no one on the Right’s idea of the perfect candidate. There is no such thing. Moore serves a purpose, faults and all, that no other candidate serves. He’ll vote the right way on the important issues. The same is true of Trump. He can be vexing, but he has a knack for finding the best answer when it matters the most. That’s conservatism. Muddling through from one thing to the next.
Hmm. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think ZMan may have just reclaimed the term “conservatism” there, and made it something other than an embarrassment again.