- Rick Perlstein has a taxonomy of honest conservatives.
The most important thing to take away from all of this (IMHO) is at the end of Perlstein's diary, a capsulized version of some things Brad Delong has written, on honest and dishonest Conservative Bloggers and concerning how to rate their honesty and , more importantly, what argument to expect from many dishonest CONservative Bloggers down the road.
Finally, Brad runs a brilliant rant by John Emerson on the moral cunning of conservatives that eloquently expresses why we call conservatism "the big con." He explains how "honest conservatives of the class of 2007" - the ones who only thought to turn away from Bush when it became obvious both was destroying the Republicans and the conservative project and empowering the Demorats and the liberal project - will use the public's memory of Bush's disasters to, well, destroy the Democrats and the liberal project. And, most importantly, points out that the media will let them get away with it. Read it, tuck it in your memory file, and, two years hence, when President ClinEdwardsObamaTon finds him/herself forced to govern with his/her hands tied behind his/her back, remember you read it here (or, if your smart enough to read Brad, there) first:
I think that when the "honest conservatives" reject Bush they're just setting up their assault on the Democratic president they expect to see elected next year. Their way of digging themselves out from under the Bush disaster (and obscuring their own massive role in that disaster) will be to swear that "Never again can an American President be allowed that kind of free hand!" This will justify their fighting the new Democratic President tooth and nail for every inch of ground.
For example, Bush's politicization of the career staff in Justice and elsewhere was a very bad thing, no? And certainly this kind of thing has to stop, no? So we will forbid the new Democratic President to interfere with career personnel, with the result that all of the political hacks Bush put in civil service positions will be untouchable. (When that happens, can we expect the media to understand what's going on? No, of course not....)
Now that they've stolen the horse, they're going to lock the barn door. It's just like January 2001: once Bush was inaugurated, the media and the Republicans decided that sabotage by impeachment and Gingrichian nastiness are really very bad things after all.
This little trap is already hitting the wingnutosphere and it is something that we, in the left, must begin to confront head on before it sets into the right-tilted media dialogue and handcuffs left candidates from fixing many of the problems, caused by bush and their dishonest cheerleaders, once they take office.
There are now investigations into at least 20 government agencies that may have been illegally politicized by the criminal bush administration and we need arguments that will allow us to bring impartiality and true bipartisan ethics back to those agencies.
The Office of Special Counsel, which has already recommended that GSA chief Lurita Doan be suspended or fired for participating in partisan activities while on the job, is now moving forward with its investigation of nearly 20 other administration agencies.
Eighteen agencies have been asked by the Office of Special Counsel to preserve electronic information dating back to January 2001 as part of its government wide investigation into alleged violations of the law that limits political activity in federal agencies.
The OSC task force investigating the claims has asked agencies, including the General Services Administration, to preserve all e-mail records, calendar information, phone logs and hard drives going back to the beginning of the Bush administration. The task force is headed by deputy OSC special counsel James Byrne.
The White House has admitted that roughly 20 agencies have received a PowerPoint briefing created by Karl Rove’s office “that included slides listing Democratic and Republican seats the White House viewed as vulnerable in 2008, a map of contested Senate seats and other information on 2008 election strategy.”
Politicization of the federal government has been illegal for decades. The 1939 Hatch Act specifically prohibits partisan campaign or electoral activities on federal government property, including federal agencies. But in 2005, Ken Mehlman, formerly one of Bush’s top political advisers, outlined the White House’s strategy of utilizing government resources for partisan gain:
One of the things that can happen in Washington when you work in an agency is that you forget who sent you there. And it’s important to remind people that you’re George Bush people. … If there’s one empire I want built, it’s the George Bush empire. [One Party Country, p. 102]
With that imperial partisanship in mind, the Bush White House has engaged in an unprecedented quest to politicize the federal government, giving briefings and PowerPoint presentations everywhere from the Interior Department to NASA on how to secure Republican victories. Said one Interior Department manager, “We were constantly being reminded about how our decisions could affect electoral results” (One Party Country, p. 103). Bush loyalists in federal agencies have also helped generate millions for favored political candidates.
After bush and his incompetent and unethical administration are dumped in the '08 elections, the left cannot afford to be stuck in a position where we have conceded GOP talking points to the media that leave us unable to resolve these serious problems.
Just be careful what you write about this topic, as you certainly don't want to re-enforce this wingnutty GOP talking point.