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  • Tuesday, March 14, 2006


    Jacksonianism, Wilsonianism,
    Messianism and Cronyism

    Rich Lowry explains it all to us. Posted by Picasa

    Turning away from indicting the media for losing the war by reporting on it, as well as blaming the "lefties" for predicting the sad state of affairs we continue to find ourselves in overseas, the Right slathers a lovely marinade all over itself and start chowing down . Prime example, Rich Lowry on the To Hell With Them Hawks
    The “to hell with them” hawks are conservatives who are comfortable using force abroad, but have little patience for a deep entanglement with the Muslim world, which they consider unredeemable, or at least not worth the strenuous effort of trying to redeem. They want to detach Bush’s Jacksonianism from his Wilsonianism. But the tendency is problematic and, in its own way, as naïve and unrealistic as Bush at his dreamiest
    Chiming in is one of the PowerPuff Boyz (this time it's the goofy one):
    Lowry argues that "[e]vents have conspired to knock the supports out from under the Wilsonian aspects of President Bush’s foreign policy." He says that Democrats are headed in this direction too, though they haven't been notable supporters of the second of the two elements of the Bush foreign policy that Lowry identifies: (1) treatment of Islamism as an aberrational departure from Islam, a "religion of peace," and (2) wedding this treatment to Wilsonian democratic idealism seeking a democratic transformation of the Middle East.
    Borrowing the intellectual framework of Walter Russell Mead, Lowry identifies a trend among conservatives who seek "to detach Bush’s Jacksonianism (the hardheaded, somewhat bloody-minded nationalism) from his Wilsonianism (the crusading democratic idealism)." According to Lowry, the "to hell with them" tendency is predicated on "doubts only as the retrospective justification for the war and the war aims themselves became increasingly Wilsonian." Lowry asserts that the "to hell with them" reaction "replicates almost exactly the reaction to Vietnam."
    Needless to say, reading Wilsonianism and Jacksonianism into George Bush's motives is like looking for elements of commedia dell'arte in According To Jim. 9/11 was the worst day in George Bush's life and the best thing that ever happened to his presidency. Without it he would have flopped around like a landed trout after getting his tax breaks for the rich pushed through. His presidency was still tainted with the stink of electoral fraud until 9/11 came along and made it declasse to mention his backdoor entrance into the White House. Bush, the shiftless layabout who had had everything handed to him by his fathers buddies during his entire life, now had a purpose in life as prophesized:

    Shortly after his 1998 re-election as governor of Texas, Republican heavyweights begin to discuss George Bush Jr. as a presidential prospect. W. is dubious. Then one day he's sitting in church, Highland Methodist in Dallas, with his mother. The pastor, Mark Craig, preaches on Moses' ambivalence about leading the Israelites out of bondage. ("Sorry, God, I'm busy," the minister has Moses responding. "I've got a family. I've got sheep to tend. I've got a life.")

    Pastor Craig moves on from the allegorical portion of his sermon. The American people are "starved for leadership," he says, "starved for leaders who have ethical and moral courage." He reminds his congregation, "It's not always easy or convenient for leaders to step forward. Remember, even Moses had doubts."

    Barbara Bush, the high-church Episcopalian whose husband rejected advice to insert scriptural references into his speeches because they made him uncomfortable, tells her son, "He was talking to you."

    George W. Bush, the born-again Christian, apparently hears his mother's "he" as the providential He. According to Stephen Mansfield's sympathetic account in The Faith of George W. Bush, he then calls his friend, the Charismatic preacher James Robison, host of the TV show Life Today, and tells him, "I've heard the call. I believe God wants me to run for president."
    But elections and tax breaks were childs play for God. He had much bigger plans for His latest begotten son.

    Meanwhile, 9/11 made Karl Rove's job so easy he should have been working half-days since the piddle-stained masses are just his kind of meat. Fear and war. War and fear. This shit just writes itself. Kick a little Taliban butt in Afghanistan and the world is your oyster, and if you don't catch the main man, all the better. Emmanuel Goldstein? Professor James Moriarty? Osama bin Laden? Whatever keeps the narrative going and the nightsweats flowing.

    Back at Rancho Borracho, Dick Cheney started pointing out to his youthful sidekick that, well, since we're in the area, now might be the time for a little payback time for Saddam for trying to kill the lesser Bush père. And the opportunity to install a few permanent bases in a region chock full of Texas Tea while grossly enriching some buddies and contributors with taxpayer dollars was better than a four hour erection. And so, in we plunged...

    Of course, now that the war has started to lose its flavor and the public is getting tired of sending their kids off to die while signing blank checks for a box full of hot air, some of the conservatives are looking to call the invasion a noble experiment gone agley without being accused of "cutting and running" so much as "cutting and walking swiftly away". And it is up to worthies like Rich Lowry and Scott Johnson and the Pod to keep the ball rolling and not give up the good fight because winners never quit and quitters never win and besides it's not a sprint, it's a marathon.

    Not that they're running in it, mind you.

    They're too busy putting the 'ism' into onanism.


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