Thursday, December 8, 2011

Conservate hate machine

When I started this blog, I told myself that I wouldn't let it become too much of an end zone-dance celebration of conservative failures. (Although, my second post was about how Rick Perry and Christine O'Donnell reacted dumbly to being questioned, so you can see how far I got with that plan.)

But I have to comment on Erick Erickson's "confession", in which he confesses that he breathes oxygen. No, wait, he confesses that Newt Gingrich makes him uncomfortable--which is like confessing that he breathes oxygen. Don't we all feel a little uncomfortable around Newt. Exhibit A:

We could discuss Erickson's fetishization of character--what makes Erickson uncomfortable with Newt is his history of marital fidelity, not Newt's questionable political history. But what I particularly liked in this confession was Erickson's paean to Rick Perry:
I hope for a Perry rebound. He’s on his first wife still and has the most consistent record of conservative policies. And we hate the same people and institutions. We have the same general world view. 
Emphasis mine, because--my god--how could I not emphasize that Erickson's political leanings seem to be motivated by affect. Maybe that's an attempt at humor (which doesn't mean it's not true); and maybe he doesn't feel the need to elaborate what he hates since this is on (where everyone knows what he hates--Commerce, Education, and, uh, the third one).

But can you imagine a worse way to run a movement than (1) to fetishize character ("on his first wife still")--especially in a form that has so many factors. (I mean, where's the wife's agency and personhood in Erickson's formulation? Or is marriage just an expression of the husband's character?); (2) to ignore policy deficits while lauding conservative consistency (what about Perry and the children of undocumented immigrants?; what about vaccinations for children?)--which is just another way of emphasizing character over politics; and (3) to found your support on undefined hate.

Actually, maybe hate wouldn't be such a bad foundation for a movement; only I always get the feeling that conservative hate is poorly directed--fine, eliminate Commerce, but what about the Census?--and so often defined as "liberals like X, therefore I hate X."

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