Writing for the Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne observed:
“The cause of Edmund Burke, Leo Strauss, Robert Nisbet, and William F. Buckley Jr. is now in the hands of Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity -- and Sarah Palin. Reason has been overwhelmed by propaganda, ideas by slogans, learned manifestos by direct-mail hit pieces.Click here to read all of “Civil War on the Right.”
“And then there is George W. Bush. Conservatives once hailed him as creating an enduring majority on behalf of their cause. Now, they cast him as the goat in their story of decline.”
Yes, Bush is the goat, alright, but it seems a lot of Republicans haven’t caught on that the same sort of propagandists Dionne cited are still bellowing much of the same claptrap they have been all along.
They aren’t decrying the power-grabs of the Bush administration, or the money-grabbing tactics of the get-rich-quick corporations that put President George Bush in power in the first place. They aren't really saying Bush was wrong invade into Iraq. They aren't saying Bush cashed in on post-9/11 fear to make his rich friends richer.
Now they are in the process of demonizing Bush, as if he, himself, was the real problem, instead of his policies and their horrible results. Ironically, the same thing is being done to Bush as what was done to anyone who questioned the Bush administration’s tactics in prosecuting the War on Terror, guiding the nation's economy, and so forth.
Republicans who haven't marched to Limbaugh's beat have been smeared as Republicans in name only (RINOs). The demonizing thing is what Limbaugh, et al, are best at. For instance: They'd have us believe that America’s problem with al Qaeda is all about that demon, Osama bin Laden. That if we just smoke him out, if we take bin Laden off the game board, then the grievances the bloodiest militants of the Islamic world have had with American foreign policy in the Middle East will simply melt away.
Furthermore, serious Republicans need to accept that their party’s anti-intellectual, anti-foreign, anti-reality way of strutting its stuff during the Bush years had plenty to do with what happened on election day.
As long as Republicans keep looking to the same people who drove their party’s bus over the cliff for their direction, they can’t expect for their situation to improve.
Closer to home, it’s good that Virgil Goode lost. He had become an embarrassment to the Commonwealth. Jim Gilmore? His campaign was a bad joke, warmed-over. Forget about both of them.
Where are the Republican fresh faces with traditional principles and new ideas? Where are the conservative Virginians who can articulate a vision for the future that relies on something more than harnessing old prejudices and mouthing tedious slogans?
Here’s the plainest of truths: There’s no way to get that GOP bus back on the road as long as Virginia Republicans see fit to allow the likes of Del. Jeffrey Frederick to be the face of their party. Try to imagine what Barry Goldwater or William F. Buckley would think of such a backbench rube.
When Buckley and Goldwater were at the heart of the Republican Party, it had a mind and a soul.