Respectable Republicans vs. Lou Dobbs
0 comment Tuesday, September 23, 2014 |
Rich Lowry correctly says in this piece that the 'conservatives', (by which he assuredly means 'mainstream conservatives', or the Bush-can-do-no-wrong, dittohead, junk-food conservatives), may have gone too far in their vendetta against the Mainstream Media.
The conservative campaign against the mainstream media has scored notable successes. It exposed Dan Rather's forged National Guard memo and jumped all over Newsweek's absurd report of a Koran-flushing incident at Guantanamo Bay. The mainstream media is biased, arrogant, prone to stultifying group-think and much more fallible than its exalted self-image allows it to admit. It also, however, can be right, and this is most confounding to conservatives.'
He is right; how many times have I participated in discussions on the big 'conservative' web forums where the junk-food cons were insistent that some given story was 'lies' because it was in the New York Times, or it was put out by the AP? This attitude, as Lowry says, led a lot, maybe most, 'conservatives' up a blind alley, wherein they refused to even consider that things in Iraq just might not be going too well.
Their flights of illogic were always along the lines of: 'the MSM want us to fail in Iraq, because they hate Bush and they hate war, so they are keeping all the good news in Iraq from us.' So, if the war seemed not to be going well, the hue and cry was 'they purposely tell us bad news and hide the good news.'
Sure, the 'old media' are biased; only the most deluded leftists deny that. But you can allow for the bias, and still decide, to some extent, what is true and what isn't, via common sense and a little discernment. But the dittoheads and GOP loyalists refused to believe what they did not want to believe, and so kept on blindly promoting what is now acknowledged to have been bad policy in Iraq. I have not been a regular listener of Rush Limbaugh in recent times, except for the occasional segment of a broadcast, but I suspect he cranks out the party line, and the 'junk-food-con' audience repeats his mantras.
Remember in the early days of the Iraq occupation, when the violence continued to escalate? We had the adminstration telling us that 'it's just a few dead-enders causing all the trouble.' And then Rumsfeld assured everybody that their increasing attacks were 'a sign of desperation.' It's proof that they're on their last legs, so we were told. And then we heard from the administration that it was 'outside agitators' causing all the mayhem; it seems there were terrorists, I mean, 'insurgents' streaming into Iraq from all over the Islamic world just to attack American forces. After all, the Iraqis, 'the Iraqi people', were on our side; they were grateful and happy we were there. If only those darned Syrians and Iranians and Palestinians would stop making trouble, all would be well.
And when anybody in the media dared to deviate from the script, the 'conservative' mainstream joined in to denounce them as 'Bush-haters', 'doomsayers who don't want democracy to succeed', and so on.
Woe to any conservative commenter on the big web-forums who dared to differ; such a commenter would be swarmed with ugly comments from fellow 'conservatives.' Those of us who didn't toe the party line learned fairly early on to keep our mouths shut if we wanted to avoid a cyber-tarring and feathering.
So the 'conservative' mainstream closed its eyes and ears to any criticism of the Iraq war, until the deterioration of the situation became impossible to ignore.
Most of the pessimistic warnings from the mainstream media have turned out to be right -- that the initial invasion would be the easy part, that seeming turning points (the capture of Saddam, the elections, the killing of Zarqawi) were illusory, that the country was dissolving into a civil war.
Partly because he felt it necessary to counteract the pessimism of the media, President Bush accentuated the positive for far too long. Bush allowed himself to be cornered by his media critics. They wanted him to admit mistakes, so for the longest time, he would admit none.'
As the old cliche goes, even a busted clock is right twice a day, and the old media, the dead tree media, the controlled media, are right once in a while. As much as I distrust them, I don't think they are making everything up out of whole cloth, as many of the 'see-no-evil' dittoheads insist.
The 'mainstream conservatives' who are mostly party-line Republicans, are too inclined to shoot the messenger if they don't like the message.
In this earlier piece by Rich Lowry, he takes on CNN's Lou Dobbs.'Apocalyptic centrism' is the cute little term Rich Lowry has coined expressly to sneer at Lou Dobbs. It seems that Dobbs is a favorite whipping boy of the NRO Cornerboys. Why? Because he is critical of their revered Leader? Or because, as Lowry indignantly mentions,
Dobbs once made a living at CNN hosting a show that flacked for corporate America. After leaving to try to cash in on the dot-com bubble just as it burst, he has returned to make a living at CNN hosting a show that trashes corporate America. (Full disclosure: I am a commentator for the rival Fox News Channel.)'
I get it: CNN bad, Fox News, good. Such is the thinking of the knee-jerk 'respectable Republicans' of Lowry's circle. And anybody who criticizes Corporate America is The Enemy.
I've done my share of defending capitalism in my time, but here's a clue: capitalism is not blameless in this current mess America is in. Capitalism without a conscience is capable of doing great damage. Capitalism is not an unqualified good; it really only works well when it is restrained by Christianity. In a society which is becoming increasingly amoral, in which traditional ideas of responsibility and morality are seen as passe and old-fashioned, capitalism will become increasingly conscienceless. We can see the perfect illustration of this in the open-borders stance of business: too many businesses feel no responsibility to employees or to the communities and indeed the countries in which they do business. Business, the corporate world, is in large part the machine driving the globalist juggernaut. The corporate world, with its insatiable desire for cheap labor and new 'markets' is greedy for more immigration and more offshoring and more outsourcing, all of which spell disaster to the average American. Unless you are one of the corporate elite, you do not benefit from globalism.
Saying this no doubt makes me an 'apocalyptic centrist', according to the Lowry school of thought. So be it, although I am not a 'centrist' but a traditional conservative. Lowry and his crowd are the centrists who merely masquerade as 'conservatives' and see themselves as the standard-bearers of 'conservatism' and as the gatekeepers, who decide who is 'conservative' and who is not. Obviously, people who rock the boat and question the respectable Republican order of things are outsiders, who are to be ridiculed, dismissed, and marginalized.
I can't speak for Lou Dobbs, but somehow I don't think the criticism and sneering from the Lowrys of the world will crush him. Personally, I would take it as a sure sign that I was on the right track.
Lowry dismisses Dobbs's case for a crisis in this one sparse paragraph:
Evidence of this imminent crisis is thin. Dobbs basically has to ignore the record stock market, an unemployment rate of 4.5 percent and the 20 years of growth since the early 1980s, interrupted by only two brief recessions. Dobbs is worried because the U.S. imports more than it exports and China sends a lot of its capital here, making us ''a debtor nation.'' But his alarmist case really relies on the tired stupidities of old-fashioned
protectionism. '
So all Rich has as a refutation of Dobbs is his flat statements about 'the record stock market', the 4.5% unemployment rate, and '20 years of growth.' That's not much of an argument. People who are out in the real world, which I suspect Lowry knows little about, know that a low unemployment rate can be deceiving. We all know about the 'hidden unemployment', people who are discouraged jobseekers, who aren't even counted in the statistics anymore. There is also the fact that many of those who are employed are underemployed; there are a number of people with degrees working at low-wage, no-benefit jobs. Many American jobs no longer provide benefits like sick leave, health insurance, vacation time, and so on. Many jobs are part-time, and people are working less than they would like. Many employers, in order to save a buck, have slashed benefits and wages. And of course the presence of millions of immigrants (legal and illegal) drives down wages. It's simply the law of supply and demand.
Lowry sneers at Dobbs' assertions about our being a 'debtor nation' without offering any refutation to what Dobbs says. He makes a halfhearted slur about 'tired stupidities of old-fashioned protectionism', but that is no argument. It's merely labelling and dismissing. He moreover implies that Dobbs is the only one who is troubled by our huge trade deficit, as if Dobbs had trumped up the issue for the sake of demagoguery. But this study cited here recounts the negatives of our trade deficit.
And I suppose Lowry thinks that calling protectionism 'old-fashioned' is enough refutation. He seems to take the view that 'everybody knows' protectionism is bad and 'free trade' is good, although this was not necessarily the conservative position in the past. It is essentially a libertarian position, and is one more evidence that many of those 'conservatives' in the GOP owe more of their thinking to libertarianism than they acknowledge. It's just the 'in' thing in their circles, part of the air that they breathe, but it is not necessarily conservative.
In fact, it's in great part because our government in the past practiced 'protectionism' that America once had the most enviable standard of living in the world, and we had many factory jobs which paid high wages, enabling our middle class to thrive. Dobbs acknowledges that in today's world of 'McJobs', there is a slippage of the American standard of living.
What is it about Lou Dobbs and Tom Tancredo which inspires so much animosity and outright hostility from the so-called 'conservatives'? Are they afraid that the 'right' may go off the Republican reservation, and refuse to conform to the Main Street Republican version of reality? Are they afraid that too many real conservatives will wake up and defect, leaving the old Republican Party as irrelevant and obsolete as the Whigs? They might well be worried. Some people are beginning to question the party line, and to see that the GOP is as disconnected from the American traditions as the Democrats.
Lowry shouldn't worry too much, though, about the 'junk-food cons' defecting over to the Dark Side, as he sees it, of Lou Dobbs' brand of populism. Last time I checked, over at the GOP faithful forums, they were lambasting Dobbs as a 'Bush-basher'. So Lowry and the rest of the GOP can rest easy; the party faithful will continue to quaff the party Kool-Aid for the time being, lulled by the Fox News neocon-men and the talk-radio pied-pipers.

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