I mean, the guy is a sort of poster-child for "entitled and clueless". His positions on pretty much every issue can be limned by just looking at any sort of potential subject of political, economic, or social dispute and thinking "Now...what would I think about this if I were a clueless douchebag who never had to face a moment's fear or a minute's want in my entire pampered, deferred-to life..?" and you'd have it nailed.
So I can't pretend I was eager to read his latest editorial about why the Teatards shut down the federal government. I figured I'd pretty much sussed out what he had to say. But I had some idle hands and those are, as you know, the devil's playgrounds. So I clicked the link and off I went.
And I found that he DID have something I needed to read, but not, I'm sure, for the reasons he wrote it. Here it is, in his own words:
"Conservative politicians take power imagining that this time, this time, they will finally tame the New Deal-Great Society Leviathan...and then they make proposals and advance ideas for doing so, the weight of public opinion tilts against them, and they end up either backpedalling, getting defeated at the polls, or both."At which point I have to admit, I didn't smirk.
I laughed out loud.
In a nation with perhaps the industrialized world's least-comprehensive "social safety net", where a single major illness or screw-up or a couple of cases of hard luck can put you out in the street, where, for example, were I to lose my job through no fault of my own it is entirely possible that I and my entire family will drop into poverty because no one will hire a 56-year-old geologist with a family and a bum hip in one of the shittiest development economies in fifty years...that when you "make proposals and advance ideas" that will make the lives of people like me less secure, more precarious, more likely to end up in poverty in our old age...our opinion "tilts against you".
Can you imagine that?
But there you have it. The inside of the heads of the people who, like Ross Douthat, think of themselves as "small-government conservatives" who..."see as forty years of failure, in which first Reagan and then Gingrich and now the Tea Party wave have all failed to deliver on the promise of an actual right-wing answer to the big left-wing victories of the 1930s and 1960s — and now, with Obamacare, of Obama’s first two years as well."
You note the crucial qualifier here.
The Thirties and the Sixties.
Not the Forties, when Big Government went from a standing Army of 100,000 to one of 8 million. Not the Oughts and Teens when the CIA became part of a Directorate of National Intelligence and the NSA became all of our internet service provider. Not the Fifties, when Ike warned us about the "Military-Industrial Complex" (he left out "Congressional" but, hey, the man had to think of his Party...)
Nope. "Big Government" isn't the National Security Agency. It's not the Department of Homeland Security. It's not the Department of Defense, or the hungry corporate remoras that live off the federal dollar from those organizations; Raytheon, General Dynamics, Electric Boat Company, FLIR Systems, Boeing.
It's poor people.
It's sick people.
It's old people.
It's the "Great Society".
THAT's the evil "Big Government".
THAT's who Ross and his "small government conservatives" want to take out behind the barn and put two into the skull.
THAT's why we are where we are.
Because the people that Ross Douthat talks to, the people who are talking to the numbskulls in Congress, the numbskulls themselves, want to "shrink" government...not by getting rid of all those expensive warships, or by not bombing unpaved parts of the world where someone might be eating some Osama bin Ladin kulfa balls, or by cutting back on agribusiness subsidies, or tax giveaways to Kim Kardashian...but by making sure that I can't get insurance for my pre-existing condition or a pension when I'm too old and sick to work and my broker has looted my 401K.
"And if this attitude sounds more like a foolish romanticism than a prudent, responsible, grounded-in-reality conservatism..." concludes Douthat.
Well, no. Actually. This attitude sounds like the meeching whines of a bunch of sour douchebags terrified that somewhere, somehow, someone they don't like is doing okay because of some tax dollars that they think should be going to the Walton family to buy yet another vacation home.
I'm still waiting for some "prudent, reasonable, grounded-in-reality" conservative to show up with a plan that isn't based on hippie-punching and sour grapes that their side fucked up in 1929.
And if our boy Ross is any example I don't expect that to happen anytime soon.
These fucking people...