E.J. Dionne Jr. - Not Helping

E.J. Dionne Jr.When in a blog rut, criticize! Dionne seems like a thoughtful guy, I saw him on a BookTV.org show recently, and he was a intellectual giant compared to Bill Kristol. Although that's not saying much. He is a solid liberal, but a card-carrying member of the Village, as well, so he falls into its beltway tarpits from time to time. This week he got caught twice.

"How Obama changed the right" gets it wrong right from the lede:
Barack Obama's campaign promise of change did not include a pledge to transform American conservatism. But one of his presidency's major legacies may be a revolution on the American right in which older, more secular forms of politics displace religious activism.
What does he mean? The basic premise is that the Tea Party is an echo of the John Birch Society. Now, lots of columns can write themselves by making some tenuous historical comparison, and that's part of the job, but this one gets the right wing very wrong.

He starts with a strawman:
Critics often see conservatism as an undifferentiated mass animated by hostility toward "big government," support for social traditionalism and a deep animosity toward liberalism. But conservatism is a diverse movement with many philosophical threads and tensions.
In fact, this critic sees conservatism as a differentiated mass animated by hostility toward "big government," support for social traditionalism and a deep animosity toward liberalism. And using "philosophical" in the next sentence is being overly generous. But of course there are different threads and tensions between them. He then continues with the same thread theme in the key graf:
The rise of the Tea Party movement is a throwback to an old form of libertarianism that sees most of the domestic policies that government has undertaken since the New Deal as unconstitutional. It typically perceives the most dangerous threats to freedom as the design of well-educated elitists out of touch with "American values."
For one thing, rather than a "throwback" to "theories long buried", today's Tea Baggers are a continuation of the Bircher program. And using terms like libertarianism, unconstitutional, freedom and American values allows the movements to dress themselves up in secular sheep's clothing, when at the core, they are a Christianist movement.

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