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Do Republicans Still Think the War Doesn’t Start until Midnight?

Posted on March 4 2010 6:00 am
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I hate to see friends fight, especially when one of them is swinging a blunt object, so Bill Bennett’s recent seal-clubbing of Glenn Beck, and bench-clearing brawl that ensued, was unfortunate. At issue were some of  Beck’s remarks made at the CPAC conference, notably the characterization of the Republican Party as an unrepentant drunk — which offended Bennett as well as any unrepentant drunks who may have voted Democrat — and the assertion that the difference between the parties was largely one of degree. For a full recap of what happened next, Google “Glenn Beck Bill Bennett” and stick your fingers in your ears.

This is a situation that would probably benefit from a beer summit — or in deference to Beck, a near-beer summit — since a couple of minutes over a few Buckler’s would reveal more areas of agreement than difference.

For instance, I think we can all agree that the Republicans have their own history of  profligate spending and big government policies when in power. I think we can also agree that at least some of them, even while clutching the bed-post and muttering “I’m not the man I was, I’m not the man I was …” may not be completely sincere.

Finally, while the party benefits from the Young Turks cited by  Bennett – DeMint, Coburn , Pence, Ryan – only uber-partisans would fail to notice it also seems to have more than its share of Colonel Blimps who don’t appear to have any problem at all with the old way of doing things.

These are the “moderates” who get all doe-eyed in the well of the Senate and bemoan the bi-partisan spirit that mysteriously disappeared when the Democrats assumed power, and never seem to ask themselves why the only time the word “compromise” is uttered is when the Democrats are losing. For them politics is a gentleman’s war that “doesn’t start until midnight,”  hampered only by the boors in Tea Parties and other cabals, who obviously can’t tell time.

So, while no one should minimize the efforts of Ryan et al, the fact remains that others in the Republican fold – senior “others” if it comes to it – continue, in particularly meddlesome ways, to support things not remotely conservative.

Consider that master tactician Lindsey Graham and his participation in a compromise bill to replace Cap and Trade.

Let’s review. The “Climate-Change-as-Change-Agent” expedient is now in full retreat, it’s scientific foundations in serious disarray, it’s back-peddling proponents like Al Gore increasingly the object of ridicule. The Democrats, now in daily fear of being pulverized at the polls, couldn’t give away the Cap and Trade Bill with ten gallons of gas, even if they upped the ethanol content — so Obi-Wan Graham determines this is a propitious time to gather together on Mars Hill and negotiate a Republican surrender. He wouldn’t call it that, of course, but co-sponsoring a “Cap and Trade Lite” Bill that will insert the thin end of the wedge for others to kick wide open later can’t reasonably be interpreted any other way.

“Both Senators Kerry and Graham have been clear that putting a price on carbon is essential to making a market-based system work for these new renewable-energy technologies,” says Reid Detchon, executive director of the Energy Future Coalition of labor, business, and environmental groups. “We believe a bill can be put together and passed by the Senate that emphasizes those elements.”

Harvard researchers estimate such policies will result in $7 a gallon gasoline prices. With the economy already careening around the bend on two wheels what could possibly go wrong there?

This is the kind of thing that gives Glenn Beck apoplexy, and should minimally give Bill Bennett pause. If we are truly to believe the Republicans have had their “come to Jesus” moment we need to remember the classic definition of repentance:  180 degree turn – no emotion necessary.

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