They’re Both Right

Rush and Steele make great water cooler gossip. What optics! Their exchange also offers a more revealing glimpse on contemporary American politics. To wit, the current health of the host-parasite dynamic between the Republican Party as organizational identity and the Movement exemplified by Rush through default.

We’ve all together here in our cozy family discussed this parasitic relationship for some time. What’s changed? All can see, even Entertainment Tonight. The Republican Party host is seen in public doing the walk of shame home. Or twitch on camera as an enfeebled desiccated husk, drained and discarded. The parasite, while chagrined and reduced, is remarkably vibrant still. Movement activists of all stripes note with wonder the new reserves of energy tapped from fury and no longer constrained destructive impulses.

Your anger has made you strong, now unleash your hate

Dear Readers you’ve all observed here before how the Republican Party began its eclipse as a separate and viable entity in 1994 until reaching its current nadir. So objectively one has to concede the truth of what Rush says: Steele does head the hundred plus faceless nobodies that elected him through exhaustion recently. Rush’s also correct that it’s now an almost entirely irrelevant position.

Obama’s Re-alignment

Obama in November extinguished any Republican Party hopes to exist without the Movement parasite for the foreseeable future. Moderates and independents who once might have voted Republican are so far firmly in Obama’s suprisingly centrist camp. As the NYT piece on Newt reported, Newt’s own view was that Obama’s inaugural address was the ideal Republican message and it and he should be studied and supported. As long as Obama governs in this fashion, the Republican Party — and Michael Steele – have only one option: subordination to Movement parasitism.

Eventually the Movement will find an actual political actor as its front. Defeat is too recent, anger too blinding for that process now. CPAC straw polls are meaningless. That individual will lead by default the expiring host as well. Steele is not even a footnote.

David Brooks et al. also are irrelevant. He’s largely viewed as a Neocon and effete Other – someone who pals around with Mark Shields, PBS and the NYT. That’s about the trifecta of communism right there. Movement people might now and then point to a Brooks thing for validation but if Brooks changed his last name to Gergen no one would care or notice.

Oddly, almost everyone wins in the current political alignment. Obama has an ideal foil to placate his Left. Rush keeps his demo in the current ad market collapse. Movement elected officials are amazed their base is so energized, fired up. Re-election is simple and clear cut. Career Republican Party institutionalists are the only losers. They’re a lonely bunch and Tom Davis’ fate awaits in due course. They lost the war for their future over a decade ago. The Movement just isn’t going to be down following Michael Steele bringin’ da noize, bringin’ da funk into the urban.

From a politcal science point of view, it would be interesting to see the Republican Party as an independent entity choose to reclaim itself from the Movement. A new beginning charting its own destiny, returning to liberal democracy with a constructive alternative to Obama. Derisively one could think Bob Michels. There are more dynamic, growth-oriented alternative outcomes. The enfeebled host would start from scratch. Build their own ground game. Identify and nurture cadres. Create new fund raising networks. Be on guard for infiltration. Accept initial defeats as antes in the game. And try to remember the time when the host controlled the parasite.

We don’t count on it. Neither should you.


  1. Dr Leo Strauss says

    Newt’s conversion to any orthodoxy should be a cause of concern for its stakeholders. Although I am sure it polls well with Hispanics. Sam Brownback would probably have a more pithy insight. But Newt is definitely not Opus Dei material most likely.

    One wonders if at the Old Neocon Folks Home they won’t sit around the bingo table and wistfully regret that 9/11 wasn’t a big enough crisis after all — that if only they could have framed a global economic meltdown on Islamo-fascists, U.S. troops would still be in Morocco.

  2. Anon says

    As as an aside, we think Charles recent column was a classic case of neocon-projection – He attributed all sorts of guile and slight-of-hand to Obama, but he ended up describing the whole neocon style. Recall, the neocons shape shifting arguments after 9-11 – confusing Qaeda with other groups on purpose to mislead etc.

  3. Anon says

    We see Krauthammer complaining about Obama supposedly bargaining away SDI. Charles always gives away the neocon game plan. Last year, the neocons and Bush were publicly pretending that SDI in Czech and Poland was solely directed at protecting Europe from Iran;s non-existant nukes.

    So Obama (brilliantly) pretends Bush (and the neocons) were being honest and sincere about that and he begins to bargain on that basis.

    YMMV – But we also were pleased to hear Charles also confess that the missle and radar bases were not to proetct those countries, but supposedly the US.

  4. Anon says

    Leo, on a sincerity meter between 1 and 10, how do you rate Newt’s reported upcoming conversion to RC faith?

    (10 being the sincerity of Padre Pio examining a fresh stigmata and 1 being Newt telling MTP he is concerned about Opera funding shortfalls.)

  5. Anon says

    Newt is melting on air on MTP – Zuckerman cannot help but whince when Newt lies and pretends to be concerned about the Metropolitan Opera and pretending he wants to Obama to succeed,

    Newt’s gimmick approach to politics still has some resonance with insiders, but it has worn out its welcome elsewhere

  6. Anon says

    “IN WASHINGTON, protracted crisis creates opportunities. The cold war gave rise to a national-security elite whose members flourished for decades while rotating in and out of government. To this very day, the Arab-Israeli “peace process” performs a similar function, supporting the existence of various research institutes and advocacy groups while providing fodder for endless conferencing and endlessly repetitive studies, essays and op-eds.

    The Long War—the Pentagon’s preferred name for the global war on terror—promises to do much the same.”

    Andrew Bacevich 3/2/09

  7. Anon says

    We read on TNR that Freeman was scuttled, but it seems that was a head fake attempt by Marty to jump start a conventional wisdom ball-roll.

    It seems that the Israel maximalists have not learned the essential political lesson of Obama despite claiming to support his Presidency – Namely, it’s not so bad to have differing views about stuff and cool people should not feel threatned and earnestness in rhetoric is good and effective. Chait is attempting a ludicrous effort to pretend to care about China/Tianammen. Freeman’s somewhat brutal statements about China are politically toxic, but are they really different than Bush 41s sad but sensible policy response?

  8. Dr Leo Strauss says

    One thinks of Bill Murray after getting slimed in Ghostbusters. The Brits still do things with more decorum.

  9. Aldershot says

    “Khamenei’s rant should not be considered Iran’s final word on Washington’s so far non-specific offers of bilateral dialogue. Rather it reflects an uneasy realisation in Tehran that Obama and Clinton are in the process of launching a multi-pronged strategic offensive across the Middle East that directly challenges recent Iranian gains.

    It is a truism that George Bush’s policies, especially the invasion of Iraq, greatly enhanced Iranian influence in the region. Now Obama appears intent on rolling back those advances even as he holds out the prospect of improved relations.

    This week, after a phoney war dating from last November, the grand US-Iran battle for strategic control in the Middle East was joined. The visiting Clinton’s underlying message was simple: game on.

    Speaking in Egypt at the beginning of the week, Clinton said Washington’s top priority was achieving “a comprehensive peace between Israel and its Arab neighbours and we will pursue it on many fronts”. But this objective is becoming inextricably intertwined with the more urgent aim of pegging back Iran.”

  10. Aldershot says

    How it must have rankled Martha to be a jailbird. But I think it helps greatly for the intelligent to be able to draw on inner resources.

    Life be not so short but that there is always time for courtesy.
    -Ralph Waldo Emerson

  11. dilbert dogbert says

    Re: Steele
    Does he spit or swallow? That is the only important question left to answer.

    • Dr Leo Strauss says

      Agree, a well written summary of AIG today. AIG benefitted twice over from Washington ignorance. Policy wonks focusing on Defense of Marriage Act talking points don’t understand markets. Add insurance and it’s hopeless. We sat in a meeting with senior Cheney people about insurance after 9/11 and within then seconds as the words ‘risk syndication’ and ‘secondary markets’ were uttered, eyelids fluttered, jaws became slack and spittle dripped. AIG had strong kung fu and used their Jedi mind tricks to great effect. Still does. Notice how little real reporting there is on its bailouts even now?

      What I would have added to the piece is that AIG and its component parts never really was an insurance company. Greenberg’s maniacal pressure cooker focus on production or professional death created a monsterous hybrid creature. And this well *before* the real housing boom.

  12. Anon says

    Hank Greenberg is gonna be on cnbc this moring – being interview by Kernan and others who worship him because Spitzer was against him (aside from the merits of the case).

    Greenberg is insane and is now suing AIG.

  13. Anon says

    Rush looked unwell and defensive if you watched his c-span thing with the sound off. We think he overclocking now, but will be upended in some way in the near future.

    Frum and some others are trying to re-market himself as WFB, of a kind, and context Rush & Co as the Birchers.

    We think that’s how it will go – albeit in a diminished fashion from the days when Buckley tried toanswer
    the dis from Lionel Trilling re Conservatives.

    How about Bob Michel?

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