Boondoggle

One blogger’s personal bridge to nowhere

Sarah Palin needs a thesaurus

I’m not going to make a substantive comment on Sarah Palin’s hatchet job of an op-ed in the Post.  Instead, I’m going to do what good East Coast elites are supposed to do: make fun of her.

The ironic beauty in this plan? Soon, even the most ardent liberal will understand supply-side economics.

The Americans hit hardest will be those already struggling to make ends meet. As the president eloquently puts it, their electricity bills will “necessarily skyrocket.” So much for not raising taxes on anyone making less than $250,000 a year.

Even Warren Buffett, an ardent Obama supporter, admitted that under the cap-and-tax scheme, “poor people are going to pay a lot more for electricity.” [emphasis mine]

Heh.  At least she didn’t pull out any Michael Gerson-esque similes.

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July 14, 2009 Posted by | Conservatives, U.S. politics | , , | 1 Comment

Freedom in the Middle East or bust

Beyond such stomach-churning lines like this (and we all know Michael Gerson’s 5th grade-level aptitude for similes) — “Democracy is not inevitable like communism was said to be; it is inevitable like hope.” — Gerson’s op-ed today is unsurprisingly political hackery. His broad brush paints an admittedly jagged swath across the Middle East, but this trajectory still inevitably leads — this is Bush’s former speechwriter, remember — where else but to freedom.

Inevitable democracy

Inevitable democracy

But while the development of democracy in the Middle East is not linear, it is also not random. It moves in steps, but upward. Taken together — a constitutional Iraqi democracy, a powerful reform movement in Iran, democratic achievements from the Gulf sheikdoms to Lebanon — this is the greatest period of democratic progress in the history of the region. Given consistent outbreaks, it seems clear that the broader Middle East is not immune to the democratic infection.

This reminds me of nothing so much as Condoleezza Rice’s cringe-worthy utterance that death and violence simply represented the natural “birth pangs of a new Middle East.” The reflexive habit of neoconservatives to any spate of elections as a triumph of this abstract notion of “freedom” — even, remarkably, when they acknowledge, as Gerson does, the tendency to “overinterpret events to confirm preexisting views” — is simply an indication of how politically fraught this term has become. Gerson does not need to analyze the specific politics and social dynamics of each Middle Eastern society; he sees what he wants to see (in Iran, that means a “powerful reform movement” and “martyrs” of democracy, who will no doubt eventually succeed), and uses these out-of-context planks to reconstruct his political project: vindicating his old boss’s “freedom agenda.”

Such a baldly partisan op-ed contributes less than nothing to informed discourse; its only effect is in reminding readers that Republican talking points, whatever the facts on the ground, will prevail. The ark of the political universe is long, one might surmise, but it bends inevitably toward freedom democracy the GOP.

(image from flickr user carcollectorz under a Creative Commons license)

June 26, 2009 Posted by | Conservatives, Foreign politics, Middle East | , , , , | Leave a comment

Michael Gerson wishes death upon people

And I thought that was, you know, not the most Christian thing to do.

Aragorn...dispenser of justice in Northern Uganda

Aragorn...dispenser of justice in Northern Uganda

There is a natural and appropriate hesitance to wish death for any man. “Many that live deserve death,” warned J.R.R. Tolkien. “And some die that deserve life. Can you give that to them? Then be not too eager to deal out death in the name of justice.” It is a wise saying — with some notable exceptions. And one of those exceptions is Joseph Kony, who has dealt out death to so many.

Well, he did cite J.R.R. Tolkien — who may have been talking about orcs, for all we know — so I guess he’s going on credible authority here. Look, I think Kony is a despicable fellow.  The most despicable of the despicable, in fact.  But I don’t think he is deserving of a summary judgment for execution — nor, as a pundit, do I even presume to have the authority to wade into that moral territory.  I’m not a Christian.  But I don’t believe in the death penalty — as a principle, and least of all as a cute way to end an op-ed.

(image from flickr user Lin1000.tw under a Creative Commons license)

January 9, 2009 Posted by | Africa, Conservatives | , , , | 2 Comments