Has the conservative movement finally, permanently, gone off the tracks?
I noticed something funny on the Conan show last night. Now, to be fair, I haven’t watched late-night talk shows in years (except the Daily Show and Colbert, of course), but it seemed a small window into the current climate. I don’t ever remember Conan being political in years past, but last night he definitely was. Here are some rough quotes from a sketch he did last night pretending to go through an autograph book:
Alberto Gonzales: The restroom was out of toilet paper. Good thing I brought the Constitution with me!
Dick Cheney: 666
I’m also reminded of Bill O’Reilly being publicly shamed by David Letterman.
This is some evidence that it’s becoming socially acceptable, even popular, to talk critically of the conservative movement. Does that matter? Definitely. This is such an interesting point in time because, honestly, this administration deserves a lot more than to just be made fun of. They have been proven, in multiple ways, to be completely corrupt and deceitful. Yet, they still maintain some, admittedly small, amount of credibility as a government.
I think there are 2 reasons these fools do maintain some credibility:
- The conservative “noise machine” is fantastic. They manage to almost completely drown out all but the absolute worst scandals.
- People are very tied to political parties in the US. They often grow up “as a Republican” or Democrat. For those people there is basically no reason for which they would abandon their party because it means admitting a part of themselves is wrong too. A consequence of this is that they will also accept a lot of sketchy evidence/logic to help hold their position.
While many books could be written on this interesting situation, I only mention it to discuss the current climate. If you look at the approval numbers of Bush, the whole administration, or the Iraq war, the numbers of say 30% seem exceptionally low but would imply a non-trivial amount of support. But, I would suggest if you were able to separate the “fanatical” supporters from the true supporters (based on real ideological agreement), the fanatical ones would take up most of that 30%.
So, I think the media is seeing this and becoming more comfortable talking critically of the administration, but I think the idea that the entire conservative movement is being derailed is overblown, because:
- It’s really showing that this administration is being derailed. Any knowledge of the US political system will show the “liberal” and “conservative” movements cannot be derailed. There are cycles as to which side the moderates feel comfortable supporting.
- Approval numbers shouldn’t drop more than they are now, if the reasoning about fanatical supporters earlier was sound. Though, it will help solidify the moderates/independents on the Democrat side.
- We all know absolute power corrupts, which is what the GOP had until recently, and the same thing happened to the Democrats a few decades ago.