Putting the Con In Conservative

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum on the conservative con game

When you have the likes of high profile conservatives like Joe Scarborough, David Frum, and Bill Kristol all use the word “racket” to describe the hucksterism that dominates modern day conservatism, you know that the ends days of the GOP as we’ve come to loath it are nigh.

In the clip above, after relaying that major GOP donors consider the results of the 2012 election as “apocalyptic,” Frum opines:

Republicans have been fleeced, exploited and lied to by a conservative entertainment complex.

A month later, Scarborough seconded the emotion saying:

You have a lot of people running around, saying harsh things that sell books and push ratings and lose elections. Conservatism is a racket for a lot of people to get very, very rich.

And Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol wrote:

And the conservative movement—a bulwark of American strength for the last several decades—is in deep disarray. Reading about some conservative organizations and Republican campaigns these days, one is reminded of Eric Hoffer’s remark, “Every great cause begins as a movement, becomes a business, and eventually degenerates into a racket.” It may be that major parts of American conservatism have become such a racket that a kind of refounding of the movement as a cause is necessary.

For instance, Rachel Maddow details the money laundering merry-go-round between Dick “Romney Landslide” Morris’ PAC and Newsmax:

See also Media Matters here.

Then there’s FreedomWorks. As Crooks and Liars explains, Dick Armey left the SuperPac after spending $40 million of their rubes’ money while failing to elect over 75% of the candidates they backed. His golden parachute for a whole two years worth or work? Oh, a mere $8 million. Like the Bard said in “Love Minus Zero No Limits”:

There’s no success like failure, and failure is no success at all.

As for the other profit centers of the winger confidence game, one can hardly find a radio program or a blog site that isn’t plastered with advertising for various survivalist books and products. What they all have in common is that they depend on fear to motivate their audiences to buy whatever they’re selling.

Sales down? Punch the fear button harder. Repeat focus group tested words like socialism, communism, foreign. And phrases like: Government takeover of healthcare; Obama is coming to take your guns away; the UN is coming to take your home schooled child away; Obama hates capitalism and is bankrupting the country to enforce a Kenyan socialist fascist regime.

Let Yeats have the last word:

TURNING and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity. Surely some revelation is at hand;
Surely the Second Coming is at hand.
The Second Coming! Hardly are those words out
When a vast image out of Spiritus Mundi
Troubles my sight: somewhere in sands of the desert
A shape with lion body and the head of a man,
A gaze blank and pitiless as the sun,
Is moving its slow thighs, while all about it
Reel shadows of the indignant desert birds.
The darkness drops again; but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born? 
-The Second Coming

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