Thursday, September 20, 2012

Scotch Or Popcorn?

The Republican Civil Wars are getting interesting. On the national stage, Conor Friedersdorf chronicles "Rush Limbaugh's attack on Bill Kristol, the latest skirmish in an ongoing six-way battle for the character of the conservative movement."

Friedersdorf gives Kristol the edge:
Kristol is the rare sort who sometimes uses scurrilous attacks to discredit people, rather than engaging in substantive argument; but who at other times makes comments that run afoul of movement orthodoxy. He shares Limbaugh's comfort with odious means, but while the radio host's ultimate end is the mindless advancement of Team Red (along with self-aggrandizement), Kristol has substantive goals and commitments (and knows that quality work can be packaged with shoddier fare so that the latter is taken more seriously than it deserves to be). He's also unafraid of debating Limbaugh, knowing he'd get the better of the exchange.
Friedersdorf also points out that Limbaugh is dangerous to friend and foe alike:
Limbaugh's "keep quiet, right or wrong" attitude is cancerous to any ideological movement. The orthodoxy he attempts to enforce isn't to a set of principles or even issue stances. For Limbaugh, criticizing Team Red's candidate during election season is verboten, regardless of who is right or wrong. And should that Republican candidate become the president? As we saw during the Bush years, Limbaugh's approach is to carry water for GOP presidents for years on end.
In South Dakota, the person enforcing the "keep quiet, right or wrong" attitude is being enforced by someone with a little more official power than Limbaugh; Governor Dennis Daugaard has thrown the weight of his office behind the effort to silence groups making robocalls calling into question the conservative bona fides of Republican legislative leaders. Establishmentarian legislator Dan Lederman has filed a law suit. Meanwhile, Stace Nelson, the Republican legislator that the establishmentarian love to hate,has asked South Dakota Attorney General Marty Jackley to investigate Daugaard. A former marine verses a flannel shirt wearing farmer is so reminiscent of the professional wrestling matches I used to watch.

A Democratic Civil War would remind me of my youth, so if I were watching a Democrats beat up on each other at the state or national level, I would kick back with a Diet Coke and a bag of salted peanuts, pour the peanuts into the bottle of soda, and sip and savor like I did when I was young'un watching the old guys at the grain elevator.

This Republican Civil War is much more interesting. I spend about $100 a year on alcohol, but there's something about a Limbaugh and Kristol battle that makes me think savoring a scotch on the rocks while Kristol eviscerates Limbaugh would be satisfying. On the other hand, the South Dakota Republican Civil War requires popcorn and only popcorn, lots and lots of buttered popcorn.

The one thing I'm certain of is that I won't pour scotch over popcorn.

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