Conservative ‘Revolt’


Bush has allies in the House of Representatives — but what appears to be a unified and stalwart resistance in the Republican-controlled Senate. It turns out that the US does have a functioning opposition party after all. It’s called the authentically conservative wing of the Republicans.

Let me put this as succinctly as I possibly can.


This entire “ooh, conservatives have finally had enough of the Bush administration” line is just about the phoniest thing on the Internet, and that’s an Internet that contains way more than its fair share of info on Jessica Simpson.

Say it with me, Democrats. The only reason the Republican party is anti-torture now is that they’ll have to put their names to legislation, and they resent being backed into a corner in an election year.

To refresh everybody’s memory, here’s a list of thingswe knew this president was capable of years ago. That’s what we knew. This isn’t me being a Democrat, this isn’t (dear God, watch out Robert Heinlein, if my mind could create this kind of fiction) me making this up. This is the stuff people who were paying attention knew. This is the stuff people who were paying attention were screaming about, while you were callling us unhinged, fifth-column, Bush-hating traitors.

Where were our principled Republican opposition party friends then, Andy? Where was the voice of conscience, the stalwart defense of American values, during the first trip down the slippery slope? Where on God’s earth was the outcry and revolt then? Where was the legislation censuring the president? Where was the legislation calling for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld? Where were its dozens of Republican co-sponsors? Where were the press conferences denoucing Republican tactics of torturing in secret and then using those who spoke up as cudgels to beat the shit out of Democratic opponents?

Why, why, why should I be pleased that after six years of wallowing in the muck at the bottom of the hill, Republicans are now saying Gosh, maybe we shouldn’t allow ourselves to fall any farther?

And don’t throw John McCain in my face. Sure, McCain came right out and said he was against torture. Sure. Good for him. But “going on record” is not the same thing as “taking action to stop it.” What action should he have taken? He could have yelled a lot louder, for starters. He could have joined with the hundreds of humanitarian and yes, leftist, groups demanding the president answer questions. He could havestood on the steps of the Capitol day after day after day with all the TV cameras that love him so much and called for a president who ordered and allowed torture and rendition to be impeached and tried. Don’t tell me McCain was against torture. That’s what you do if you’re against torture. You don’t send out a press release and call it a day.

Sullivan wants to hold up the “revolt” by Republicans as some kind of grand move of conscience. Sure.Sure. Now that they’ve been forced to declare or shut the fuck up, they do so. I suppose it’s a reflection of the new standards that so-called conservative commentators are ready to give these guys a medal. Talk about the soft bigotry of low expectations.

We’ve been torturing people for years now. YEARS. If you can’t wrap your brain around that, Andrew, I feel sorry for you, but my sympathy does not extend to giving Republicans a cookie for not wanting to tortureany more. Will this legislation un-torture those who’ve already been tortured? Will it fly back to America those who’ve been shuffled off to prisons in Pakistan or wherever the hell else we send people when we want them taken care of but don’t want to know too much about it? Will it do that, Andrew? Because if it will, then I might be willing to build a statue to these guys for bucking the president.

This isn’t a revolt. This isn’t an act of conscience. It’s not an opposition move, either. It’s a chickenshitted calculation that since Bush is now radioactive, and people are looking for candidates who have something to say on some subject, any subject, that’s different from the president, and nobody really wanted to torture anyway if it hadn’t been such an effective rhetorical tool for wingnut politicians to size their national security dicks, they might as well vote against it.

If Bush’s approval was in the 60s or 70s, if Republicans weren’t on track to lose the House and maybe the Senate, if the American people in polls said they liked torturing and thought it actually benefitted our troops, if we really were winning in Iraq or had already won, does anybody, even you, Andy, really think Republicans would be bucking the president on this? Really?

This isn’t a revolt. This is circumstances forcing a choice that should have been made years ago. Pardon me if I don’t think that should be bronzed and hung on the wall.