Relativism: P. J. O'Rourke's GOP Endorsement genre: Hip-Gnosis & Polispeak & Six Degrees of Speculation

Rose colored glasses

The Weekly Standard's P.J. O'Rourke, in a new article titled What's the Smell?, does his best to apply relativism in order to endorse the continuation of GOP control. The problem with his argument, as I see it, is that the GOP transgressions he elucidates are real, recent, and relevant...while his condemnation of the Democratic Party is primarily a flawed attempt to invoke fear from fabrication. Nonetheless, his efforts are fully consistent with my prior suggestion that the GOP has made a calculated shift in their strategy which seeks to push voters to consider the idiom of "Better the devil you know than the devil you don't".

LIKE OTHER DEEP-THINKING people, I'm full of principled, idealistic, high-minded indignation at the GOP. What a stampede of sleaze. Jack Abramoff is the world's best lobbyist--for the Federal Penitentiary System. Bob Ney was deep in the ethical rough at St. Andrew's. Randy "Duke" Cunningham's favorite weapons system turned out to be the political suicide bomb. Tom DeLay may or may not have broken campaign finance laws, but he did his best to look like he was breaking them. He might as well have tied quail feathers to the GOP majority in Congress and sent it hunting with Dick Cheney.

Actually, the Republicans should be grateful for their lying, thieving scum. It distracts the public from the things the Republicans have done that are honestly bad. Our postwar policy is creating Weimar Iraq. And when the Islamofascist Beer Hall Putsch comes there won't even be beer.

So O'Rourke's first objective is to suggest that the list of offenses that have led to voter dissatisfaction with the GOP...like Foleygate, the Abramoff lobbyist scandal, and many more...aren't actually that bad. In a reversal of fortune, I might suggest he give consideration to the possibility that he and his elitist Republican cohorts views are not consistent with mainstream American values...an accusation the GOP leveled against Democrats for at least a decade.

He then argues that the policy issues that the GOP has botched...like Social Security, Immigration, and government spending...aren't getting the attention they deserve in an attempt to push voters into what I would call the "I don't want to appear stupid" corner. In other words, an intelligent voter would see past the inconsequential media driven trivialities to the substantive issues confronting the nation. Now that he has his readers attention and has them sufficiently fretting their political prowess, he seeks to finish the shaming process by telling voters just how preposterous it would be to give the Democrats the reigns.

I am so moved by principle and idealism, so indignantly high-minded, that I'm changing sides. At least the Democrats aren't hypocritical about being scum. After Gerry Studds was censured for molesting an underaged congressional page, he was reelected six times. Therefore, in the mid term elections, I'm working to get Democrats into office.

And work it is. There's the problem of putative speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi, whose very name summons images of children coming home from day care madly scratching their scalps. Then, when you see Pelosi speak, it's impossible not to think of Lucy holding the football for Charlie Brown. I hope her campaign slogan isn't "A New Kick-Off for America."

There is also the problem of issues for the Democrats to run on. You're going to elect Democrats to control government spending? And you're going to marry Angelina Jolie for her brains. The privacy issue--government spying on U.S. citizens--isn't going to work. True, NSA has been collecting all our telephone information, but anyone who's answered the phone during dinner knows that every telemarketer on earth has that information already. Illegal immigration? When the Democrats were in charge, the illegal immigrants were from al Qaeda. And as for Iraq, the best the Democrats have been able to do is make the high school sex promise: "I'll pull out in time, honest."

Maybe I won't work for the Democrats. It's too much of a job. And jobs are not something the Democratic base is famous for having. Maybe I'll just act like a Democrat and stay away from the polls on November 7 and hang around the house drinking beer. In fact, I think I'll start practicing that now, so I'll be ready on Election Day.

Aside from the numerous ad hominem attacks, do I smell a hint of good old boy misogyny? I contend that the GOP has a long history of vilifying women in positions of power within the Democratic Party (the she's a bitch attack) while at the same time seeking to portray their own women as inspirational principled citizens who bootstrapped their way to positions of influence the right way (the Pat Nixon & Nancy Reagan canonization approach). Add to that the Promise Keepers doctrine that the man leads and makes decisions while the woman follows obediently...because apparently "god" prefers men (hmmmm...but that's a completely different issue)...and you apparently have the bulk of O'Rourke's self-serving world order.

Let me posit that this diatribe serves two purposes...it reassures a number of men who need authority that the GOP understands and embraces their need and it is also a shot across the bow of those women who might act too independently in determining their own choices (the uppity feminist label). This type of argument is a testimony to the GOP's embrace of religion and values and the attempt to merge the two in order to amplify their hold on power through the invocation of absolutist rhetoric.

No price is too high to pay for principled idealism. And as soon as high-minded indignation has defeated the Republicans, there will be the impoverishment from protectionism, the horror of nuke-wielding petty dictators, and the increased killings by terrorists to prove it. Deep-thinking people will be relieved that Dennis Hastert can no longer cover up misbehavior in the congressional page program.

Ahh yes...make sure to toss in the final jab that the Democrats will bring the wrath of rogue dictators and anti-American terrorists to the front door of each citizen...because "high-minded" people are too focused upon the fact that Dennis Hastert didn't do enough to protect underage pages from a predator...huh? I'll hand it to O'Rourke...he's a good student of history. As with the Catholic Church, when the GOP faced allegations that they sought to protect their own by sweeping numerous scandal under the rug, they did the noble thing...they chose obfuscation and scapegoating while holding steadfast to their superior ideals. I guess O'Rourke prefers the priests pledge to the high school sex promise he mentions above...you know...the one that says we'll put it to you whenever we damn well feel like it because we hold a monopoly on morality.

Daniel DiRito | October 16, 2006 | 2:16 PM
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