Friday, November 03, 2006

On Moral Compromises.

One can tell a great deal about a person by finding out what he will not compromise: what lines in the sand he will not cross.

For all their faults, I personally will be voting for the Republicans in my district next week, as I believe national security remains the most important issue of the day and I continue to mistrust the Democratic leadership on that issue in particular. I believe that a Democratic majority in either house would result in a flood of hearings investigating Bush's foreign policies, a defunding of our efforts to forge a stable government in Iraq, or both. This would make it harder for Bush to confront a nuclear North Korea and a nearly nuclear Iran, it would make it harder for Bush or his successors to use military force against a rogue state, and it would send a signal of weakness unfathomably worse than our retreat from Somalia.

So far as I can tell, Rod Dreher doesn't give a damn about any of this. He is willing for us to lose face in front of our jihadist enemies just so Bush and Rumsfeld can be held accountable for what he believes is gross incompetence in Iraq. I don't believe they are guilty of such a thing, but even so: it's one thing to hold Lincoln to account for early defeats in the Civil War, it's another thing entirely to give the Copperheads the government in the process.

(Would that the modern Democrats were hawks...)

Because there's no clear indication that he's thought through the consequences of his petulant temper tantrum, I suspect that -- despite his otherwise clear appraisal of the threat posed by the jihadists -- Rod's willing to sacrifice national security to have his way in seeing the Bush Administration punished for Iraq.

It's now also clear that Rod's willing to sacrifice his principles on abortion to see to it that Republicans suffer for their supposed corruption and incompetence. There's a lot that's reprehensible about that post: there's the convenient redefinition of what it means for Rod to be "pro-life," and there's the suggestion that the American government isn't worth defending with Bush in the Oval Office:

"And I look at my own two sons, and wonder how I would feel if they were in Iraq now, putting their life on the line to protect two unworthy governments: Maliki's and Bush's. And that shapes my thinking heavily this year." [emphasis mine]

But beyond that is the emphasis on punishing the GOP:

"I think we are in a terrible, terrible situation in Iraq, and that the Republicans have a lot to answer for."

I find it hard to believe that a Dem-controlled Congress will make the admittedly rough situation in Iraq -- or, more importantly, national security overall -- any better, and I haven't seen any substance from Rod defending such a notion. Ultimately, I think the big issue for Rod is that Republicans must answer for their sins.

National security? It's not given much thought at all. Abortion? Important, he says, but not important enough.

I wonder what Rod won't sacrifice to satisfy his childish craving for punishing the GOP.

Update: In a later post, Rod quotes Paul Krugman -- odd how much our crunchy conservative likes and respects the NY Times' most liberal writer -- who asserts, "the United States has accepted defeat on [Iraqi] reconstruction."

God help us if that's true. But the interesting thing as it relates to Dreher is that it shows that he doesn't naively believe we can win in Iraq while the "crooks" in the White House are "roasted on live television."

He thinks Iraq is already a lost cause, and he furthermore thinks hearings where Rummy is grilled by indignant leftists is far more important than America's making clear its will to fight and to win.


Blogger pikkumatti said...

Great post, Bubba. You hit it exactly.

I got a hint of this back when I was commenting more frequently over there. In response to his post's question of "For what?", I had tossed out that the Iraq war had a noble goal, because we in the US so believe in human dignity that we are driven to free those under tyrants when we can, especially when it involves our national security.

Rod's response: You don't judge something like this by the ideals that motivated it; you judge by the actions.

Perhaps he doesn't. But it shows to me that ideals matter little to Rod Dreher. If he thinks something is not cool (Our Lady of Pizza Hut), or just wants to get back at something (the Catholic Church for the horror of the pedophile scandals; Bush/Cheney/Rumsfeld for whatever), then ideals matter not at all.

No reason to believe that national security or pro-life ideals would matter to him either, if Bush-bashing is at stake.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Pikku, thanks for reminding me of that comment, for even when judging the motivations, Rod has a disgustingly cynical view of our being in Iraq:

"Voting against the Republicans makes it more likely that he and men like him won't be sent into the meat grinder to preserve this president's self-image."

We're still in Iraq just so Bush can preserve his self-image? Saying that reveals the sort of rabid Bush hatred that's found in the fever swamps on the left: Dreher needs to have some sense beating into him.

3:15 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

Rod's rhetoric lately has been in the spirit of wishing the death of his neighbor's cow, rather than exceeding his neighbor. That is a shame.

It is vindictive, shortsighted, and foolish.

To go wobbly on abortion is unthinkable.

You are an engineer so follow the pattern it is leading to a democrats and me post.

4:56 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

By the way...

His book's original title was too short. It should have been this:

Crunchy Cons: How Birkenstocked Burkeans, gun-loving organic gardeners, evangelical free-range farmers, hip homeschooling mamas, meth-buying possibly-gay-prostitute-hiring preachers, right-wing nature lovers, men who obsess about cooking like elderly Italian women, and their diverse tribe of countercultural conservatives plan to save America (or at least the Republican Party)

4:58 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Mystic, ought we to have a pool for when Rod announces the obvious?

4:59 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

To go wobbly on abortion is unthinkable.

Amen! Preach it, brother.

BTW, do you see the kind of folks his blog's attracting these days? The old blob-of-tissue crowd. How **anyone** can cling to that blob-of-tissue stuff in this Age of the Increasingly Sophisticated Sonogram is beyond me.

5:21 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...

You can't vote for a D, and not be a D. So the pool is about when he will convert. Spanking your neighbors cow or choking his chicken represents regressive thinking and faulty logic. So eventually the justification will catch up to the desire.

Along those lines, what's this support of Webb? I've been spot checking, and did not catch it. Also B-net seems to be having replication problems. Regardless how can he be pro-Webb with Webb's sexual writing? Webb was writing about some unhealthy touching, I certainly won't be reading his work now to find out the context. It seems like a case of strange bedfellows.

5:42 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Mystic, see here, defended here and here.

In a less than intellectual fashion, Rod argued that there ought to be other factors than a candidate's stance on abortion. I think I actually agree. For one thing, I'd support a pro-choice candidate for president if he was an originalist when it came to the Constitution and running against someone who supports judicial activism: originalist judges are our best bet for overturning Roe.

For another, I'd support Rudy over a pro-life Republican in the primaries if the guy was utterly unserious about the threat of jihad. Awful as abortion is, an existential threat trumps it for the moment.

I can certainly understand those who find my position wrong, but what gets me is not that he's willing to compromise on abortion, but why: to Hell with national security, Rod Dreher just wants to see Bush and Rumsfeld grilled.

It's about the most petty reason possible.

5:54 PM  
Blogger Cubeland Mystic said...


Avuncular advice, forgive me if I am mistaken about your twenty something age, but everyone over 40 is a Machiavellian. Around the late thirties you start to receive the reigns of power. Around 40 you sit there in the board room and look past your CIO’s confident patrician glaze, and into what remains of his soul. You look past the Prozac induced calmitudes, to see his screeching demonic wife spending his fiscal 2009 performance bonus, while he asks you if he should spend a million dollars on this or that software. You make your decision based on what is best for Mrs. CIO, and not necessarily the truth. If you can get a twofer out of it more power to you.

You have the ideal, but you are always confronted by reality. Hence one can say that they are an originalist and pro-choice. But I suspect when the rubber hits the road, that the pro-choice predilections will reign supremely over the originalist ones.

I don’t want to tangle with you on the slippery slope, because it is an overused scare tactic. Most frightening things can be managed by rational people. But abortion is abhorrent. My gorge rises at it. It is not even a slippery slope it is a slippery cliff. It is a Faustian bargain, and one generation will have to pay the devil for it someday. It is an existential threat. One cannot participate in it without being bloodied. And when the soul can no longer abide the festering sliver within it, what is it that the woman has to repent of? It’s not the parents, girlfriends, or boy friend that has to face the guilt. It’s the woman, and again, what does she have to repent of? That’s why a pro-choice politician must stay true because too many of the supporters would have to consider the consequences of their actions.

A mature candidate who can say that they are originalist and pro-choice is not right. I would tend to believe that their pro-choice darkness, shades their constitutional light. A politician is going to play the hand that is dealt him, and may bluff with origianist ideas, put practically they still have to play their cards. In the end they will support abortion before abstractions about the constitution.

12:45 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

A little old but pertinent to the subject of Rod's love affair with Webb, here's something from one of my favorite sites. (Yeah, their top 10 lists go up to 11. Take that, Spinal Tap!!)

I also (finally) read the short passage from Webb's book linked on that page which caused all the flap to begin with. Gross, yes, yet boring -- but shouldn't that get the ol' Rod rage going? Oh, wait, the adult in the story wasn't a Catholic priest and Webb's not a Catholic priest either. Or a Republican -- sorry, my mistake, stupid me....

8:06 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Pikkumatti, I read the combox you mentioned, well. skimmed it. That Heather in OH was really beating up on Rod's argument pretty bad. Of course, he didn't reply to her....

Rod's out on the lunatic fringe on Iraq, isn't he? I mean, George Will isn't keen on the war, but he wouldn't call it a "meat grinder" I don't think. I don't know, Will bores me, so I don't read him. But "meat grinder" sounds awfully John Kerry-ish.

8:58 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

cubeland, well put.

Abortion, for me, is absolutely the issue that trumps all others in this election. Two reasons: 1. There are 1.1 million victims a year in this country alone; and (2) they are all innocent and defenceless.

Other current issues pale beside that.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Mystic, you're probably right that a pro-choice originalist is a risk compared to an pro-lifer who believes in judicial activism. It may be a risk worth taking, especially as I believe judicial activism is wrong even when I would otherwise like the outcome.

My point is, while I can definitely understand those for whom abortion trumps all, it may be the case that some who have other priorities -- such as national security -- are sober-minded for having them. Rod Dreher ain't one of 'em.

Rod's "meat grinder" comment is repulsive -- and odd considering the low number of casualties we've suffered in Iraq. It simply highlights the overabundance in emotion and the paucity of rationality when it comes to Rod's position on Iraq.

Rummy's supposedly worse than McNamara; the Bush Administration is full of crooks; Iraq is a meat grinder. Not only will Rod sacrifice seemingly every principle to get his way on having Republicans punished, he'll say anything in the process.

5:43 AM  
Blogger Bubba said...

Clark Stooksbury's tried his hand at (deliberate) comedy, proving himself quite unoriginal in the process; Rod thinks it's worth a chuckle.

I now have in my mind a clear image of Rod Dreher as the Arnold Rimmer of the writing world, desperate for respect but both unable and unwilling to earn it.

It's an amusing mental picture.

7:11 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

hey stooksboy, i've also joined the Church of Itchy Sweaters are Bad, the Church of Dark Chocolate is Good, and the Church of Kitty Cats and Winter Sunsets are Usually Pretty Good.

8:00 AM  
Blogger kathleen said...

seriously, it's pretty amusing it's taken seven months for these guys to try to combat humor with humor. they have seen the light! now, if only they were funny.

"you've joined the church of x...." -- that perfectly pitched piece of rapier-wit syntax Stooksboy has introduced into the vernacular -- is all too illustrative of stooksboy and company's state of being. if i may, (if i must, really), they have "joined the church of bush is bad bad bad bad bad bad i tell you"! For them it is clearly an article of faith that bush is bad, since they have given no substantive evidence for it if one sensibly discounts the rabidly biased media reportage about iraq and the administration. (and nice try pointing out the ridiculous vanity fair claim about the neo-cons, effectively rebutted by frum)

8:18 AM  
Blogger pikkumatti said...

This is really pathetic on Rod's part. See, now Rod is a victim of the A**holes for Christ, and somebody else says so (with a remarkable lack of wit). And then Rod links to it, so all can see his Courage.

One more step toward Rod becoming a full-fledged Democrat -- he's a victim.

8:40 AM  
Blogger Diane said...

Bubba, my soul-mate! Another *Red Dwarf* fan. LOL!!!

3:46 PM  
Blogger Diane said...

Kathleen, I think I belong to all those churches, too. Especially the one with the kitty cats and winter sunsets.

You are one funny kiddo. :)

3:47 PM  
Blogger Pauli said...

Who's commenting on Rod's blog now? Read the comments to Abortion and Photography for a good laugh.

5:42 AM  

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