Fires are weird creatures. Once they start, if not properly fought with the correct strategy, they can get out of hand fairly quickly. Fought halfheartedly or with inadequate resources, they often become raging infernos comparable to the scale of the location they are in.
For months, a slow-burning fire has spread amid conservative partisans around the country. Licks of flame have been spotted at town hall meetings, state party conventions and even national media outlets, but only in recent weeks has the fire truly begun to be visible to most without even looking for it. That fire has been the suspicion that Barack Obama was not really born in the US, that he may be a secret emissary of Islam and that he is some odd hybrid of fascist/Marxist/terrorist intent on destroying America. While all three variants are out there in the public eye at various gatherings, popular blogs and even being uttered or suggested to an extent by allegedly respectable politicians, the first has been the one which has garnered the most momentum.
It is now a near-act of courage for conservative institutions like National Review and well-regarded commentators and analysts such as Rick Moran to speak out against the fantasy-based dreams/nightmares of Obama’s non-citizenship. Check out the YouTube video of Delaware Republican Congressman Mike Castle being overwhelmed by a proponent of the fantasy and her many supporters in the crowd. Think that was a planned conspiracy to ambush him? In reality, it is likely the increasing feeling of a significant element in the “base” of conservatism. People want Obama to just go away. The fastest, easiest way to get there would be some great scandal or revelation about him. The best thing to latch onto then is the birth scandal. Facts seemingly are not required.
With a few Senators and popular talk radio hosts encouraging them, they are ignoring their more responsible brethern and giving into a fit of populist rage and fantasy.
A more insighful gentleman told me in another venue something to the effect
“that Jacksonians are prone to conspiracies” . He is right, but I wonder at what cost to conservative credibility will this conspiracy entail?
I am not familiar with how widespread among liberals the belief that Bush was behind 9/11 was. I do know that wherever they went spreading that lie, they were often forcefully pushed back by their bretheren. Now that sane conservatives are finally doing the same, will this myth go back to being a fringe belief of the few or will it continue to spread, like the seemingly raging fire it has become in recent weeks?
Parallels have their limits but the more I hear about the Republican Governor of Utah, Jon Huntsman, the more I think of David Cameron in Great Britain and what he has done to turn around the Tory Party.
Bobby Jindal mismanaged Louisiana’s finances by defying common sense (as well as historical precedent) and pegging his expensive programs and tax cuts to the rising cost of oil (plus he seems to have a problem with the truth and has been foolishly grandstanding on the stimulus by taking 9/10 of it while bragging about not taking the other tenth). Other than Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (another pragmatic conservative), I do not see anyone else at this point for the GOP. Embracing the failed ideas of people like Rush Limbaugh and Eric Cantor seems to be the order of the day for the current GOP, but with continued losses in the face of such idiocy, perhaps reason and rationality will return to the party faithful.
Huckabee, Romney, Palin and other contenders seem to have enormous flaws that would (hopefully) preclude them from wasting the party’s time in 2012 or 2016. This is all far away, but as a potential leader of the party, a pragmatic but conservative governor like Huntsman is mighty appealing.
Senator Byron Dorgan (D-ND), recent recipient of a sweetheart mortgage deal from sub-prime superstar Countrywide, is a staunch champion of “Buying American”, particularly in the Congressional stimulus package.
As a protectionist measure that could impose substantial costs on free/fair trade progression around the world, this is a terrible idea.
That Dorgan is unlikely to be punished for his corruption is disappointing but not surprising. That “buying American” is likely to be implemented as national economic policy is perhaps even less surprising but extremely disheartening for brighter hopes for the nation’s economic future.