I must confess my endless amusement at the gnashing of teeth from what I call the “grass roots” left and right. Those are the principled, idealistic activists of both camps, as opposed to the power brokers who profit from the sweat of their respective foot soldiers.
Those poor soldiers are a little shell-shocked these days. And they feel betrayed.
For instance, many loyal troops from the left, who imagined they were trudging door to door, working phone banks, and stuffing envelopes to elect a “peace” candidate, are horrified at Obama’s warmongering, which smells, tastes, and feels just like the warmongering of his predecessor. As dutifully (and cheerfully) noted by the American Conservative:
Smack in a middle of his latest FOX News torture apologia, ex-Veep Cheney says President Obama would be “hard put to find anyone better than Stan McChrystal” to lead the forces in Afghanistan.
Oh, and for good measure, Max Boot and Charles Krauthammer approve, too.
Here’s The Progressive weighing in on Obama’s latest Bushian maneuver:
Obama has just made a terrible choice in his new commander for Afghanistan.
By choosing Lt. Gen. Stanley McChrystal, Obama shows how indifferent he is to the serious allegations that have swirled around McChrystal, a darling of the Bush-Cheney regime. …
And, according to Seymour Hersh, McChrystal was the guy who was running Cheney’s assassination squads. From 2003-2008, McChrystal headed the Joint Special Operations Command, which Hersh called “an executive assassination wing” that reported directly to Cheney’s office.
Death squads are supposed to be confined to ultra-right juntas, yet here’s the US doing the same thing — and one of its enablers is being rewarded under a liberal Democratic administration! Why are the despised Neocons applauding? What happened?
Then there are the ongoing revelations about Nancy Pelosi, that San Francisco liberal, giving tacit support to the Bush-Cheney torture program. As liberal Robert Scheer wonders in an article entitled “Pelosi the Enabler”"
Why did she not speak up, or if it were a matter of a lack of reliable information, demand an accounting from the executive branch, as befits a leader of the loyal opposition in Congress? …
By acquiescing to the cover-up of unpleasant truths in the treatment of prisoners, Pelosi contributed to the betrayal of the ideal of public accountability that is the bedrock of our system of governance, which Congress is charged with protecting.
Then there are those poor, deluded souls in the right-sided trenches of the grass roots who can’t figure out why their Neocon allies are distancing themselves from the social and economic conservative goals that once defined middle-class activism. The answer, of course, is because those goals were only the bait for the real Neocon agenda. So when David Horowitz advises his readers to “cool it” in their criticism of Obama, it’s because Obama is championing the only project that really mattered, which is keeping the military-industrial complex humming along. As I commented at the time, what’s a little socialism among war supporters?
Even more pathetic is the noisy split between the grass roots conservatives and Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs. Once united behind Bush’s wars, these former comrades-in-armchairs have gone their separate ways, with Johnson condemning those who disagree with him on immigration reform, religion (he’s apparantly an agnostic), and the preservation of Western culture.
All of this is no surprise to small-government paleos and Southern conservatives. Unlike the post-Trotskyite ideologues who call themselves “Neocons,” we reject highfaluting theories and instead see the continuation of a beloved tradition, our inherited culture, as the focus of our loyalty. We knew Obama (or McCain, for that matter) offered nothing but the continuation of the same Big-Government agenda Bush and his Neocon enablers had crammed down our throats for the past eight years. It’s not that we’re psychic; we just know how empires work, and that the bureaucracy in DC is an imperial control mechanism. And we knew that Obama was just the newest hired hand of the DC empire.
One of the tests of a theory is its predictive value, and I’d say current events have validated the predictive value of Southern conservatism.