18 March 2009

The death spiral continues

If you doubt that American conservatism and the Republican party are in deep and deepening trouble, check out this posting at The Plum Line. The data, from just two days ago, show that the national approval rating for the Republican party leadership has fallen 6 points, from 34% to 28%, over the last month. It's fallen by even more -- 12 points -- among Republicans, from 55% to 43%.

Conservatives will not be helped by their response to the latest eruption of public anger over the AIG bonuses. AIG, recipient of billions in taxpayer bailout money, is paying out $165 million in bonuses to its executives, because it can't risk losing the brilliant and talented leadership which has, uh, steered the company into the tar pits from which the taxpayers are now spending so much money to extricate it. Those long-suffering taxpayers are so angry about this that it's even hurting Obama's approval rating because he's viewed as not doing enough to stop the bonuses. (This isn't really fair to Obama -- the President is not a dictator and the Constitution doesn't allow him do just anything he wants.) But what are most conservative bloggers and pundits doing now? Trying to justify the bonuses and trivilize the issue. That seems to be present-day conservatism's highest imperative (after hating abortion and fags, anyway) -- protect the looters. Make sure the malefactors of great wealth are never held accountable.

Is there any hope on the horizon for conservatism? The only thing that comes to mind at the moment is the nationwide "tea party protest" movement. It's clearly a grassroots movement based on a classic conservative cause -- resistance to taxes and redistribution -- without the gay-bashing and creationism and all the other nutty stuff. My guess would be that most of the people at those protests aren't too happy about the AIG bonuses, either. But the protests will need to get a lot larger before it's clear that they represent something important. And there are already signs of them being sillyized by the "going Galt" meme.

More relevant links and observations here and here. I should also call attention to this posting by Andrew Sullivan about his struggle to stay loyal to conservatism and the Catholic Church after both of them have so dreadfully betrayed what he thought they stood for.

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