Columnist's Far-Too-Late But Dead-On Essay Merits a Too-Rarely Bestowed 'Intellectually Honest Conservative Award' from The BRAD BLOG!
By Brad Friedman on 10/14/2005, 12:50pm PT  

Actual Conservative George Will unleashes on Republican "Faux Conservatives" in his NEWSWEEK column this week.

While his column raises the question of why it has taken so long for Will to finally get firmly on board the bandwagon of honest-to-God Conservatism in calling out the Republican Party and their leaders for their phony use of the "Conservative" label for little more than cynical partisan expediency, The BRAD BLOG is impressed enough with his no-holds-barred column to award him our "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award".

We hope this award --- very rarely bestowed these days due to the overwhelming dearth of actual Conservatives willing to call out their fake "Conservative" brethren for what they are --- may soon find still more recipients as the Conservative Momement finally begins to distance themselves from the disaster that is the Bush Presidency and the failed Republican Leadership in Congress.

By way of making the case for Bush and the Republican-led Congress' complete avoidance of true Conservative values, consider this point amongst many from Will's latest piece:

In 1987 Reagan vetoed a transportation bill because it contained 152 earmarks --- pork --- costing $1.4 billion. The bill President Bush signed contained 6,371, costing $24 billion. The total cost of the bill --- $286 billion --- is more, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than the combined costs of the Marshall Plan and the interstate highway system.

While we have many and various policy disagreements with true Conservative philosophy, we welcome the general tenets of Conservativism as applied towards American discourse and policy-making. What we are appalled by however, and have been for some time, is the continuing phony use of the "Conservative" label for pure partisan gamesmanship and political opportunism. That, even while the supposed "Conservatives" in control of every branch of the Federal Government have grown its size --- including so-called non-military discretionary spending --- beyond anything that any of the most "Liberal" Presidents or Congresses have been able to do in the history of the country!

And yet, a majority of Republican voters, according to the latest NBC/Wall Street Journal poll, continue to blindly support the anything-but-Conservative borrow-and-spend Republican "President" and Congress.

In that regard, Will is particularly on-target in his attack on the beseiged, disgraced and ethically-challenged Rep. Tom DeLay. In a blistering attack, Will describes the fallen U.S. House Majority Leader as one "who neither knows nor cares any more about limited government than a camel knows or cares about calculus."

He then continues to take on what he describes as the "faux conservatism" of today's Republican Party as sold out to the D.C. lobbyist's brand of what Will describes as "K Street conservatism."

Quoting Rep. Mike Pence (R-IN), leader of the conservative Republican Study Committee who charges that some Republicans think "big government is good government if it's our government," Will unleashes on the entire "faux conservative" cabal in Washington:

DeLay's troubles, and his party's, may multiply with coming revelations about the seamy career of uber-lobbyist Jack Abramoff. He is emblematic of DeLay's faux conservatism --- K Street conservatism. That is Republican power in the service of lobbyists who, in their K Street habitat, are in the service of rent seekers --- interests eager to bend public power for their private advantage.

Since 2000 the number of registered lobbyists in Washington has more than doubled, from 16,342 to 34,785. They have not been attracted to the seat of government, like flies to honey, for the purpose of limiting government.

He closes with a remarkably lucid assault on the abandonment of virtually all true Conservative values --- including a complete abdication of the bedrock Conservative notion of personal accountability --- by those now (for the moment) in power in Washington in general and in the White House's War on Iraq in specific:

Conservatives are not supposed to be cuddly, or even particularly nice. They are, however, supposed to be competent. And to know that scarcity --- of money, virtue, wisdom, competence, everything --- forces choices. Furthermore, they are supposed to have an unsentimental commitment to meritocracy and excellence. The fact that none of those responsible for the postwar planning, or lack thereof, in Iraq have been sacked suggests --- no, shouts --- that in Washington today there is no serious penalty for serious failure. Hence the multiplication of failures.

All of which leaves us scratching our head in continued wonderment and asking, along with Eric Alterman, who commented on a new Pew Research poll released today by asking "You couldn't have figured this out, say, last November?"

Alterman's question was directed to the American people, a majority of whom for the first time, the Pew poll finds, now say "George W. Bush's presidency will be judged as unsuccessful" and that "By a 2-1 margin, people said the Bush administration has had a negative impact on politics and the way government works."

Setting aside what the people actually said last November --- since we have no real way of knowing due to the disastrous gutting of a once fairly-reliable and once fairly-transparent Electoral System in this country --- it's perfectly appropriate to direct Alterman's question towards Will. Where the hell was he last November?!

Nonetheless, given the dearth of Republicans who still maintain an actual set of Conservative Values --- better late than never, we guess --- we'll go ahead and award Will the coveted BRAD BLOG "Intellectually Honest Conservative Award" today. We offer it in the hopes of "shaking the bushes" to encourage other true Conservatives to step out from the shameful, murky, self-deceiving and destructive cynicism of Power-before-Policy and Politics-before-Country brand of "Faux Conservatism" that has hijacked and perhaps irreconcilably destroyed both the Conservative Movement in America and the Republican Party along with it.

{Thanks to Des for tips to both Will's and Alterman's pieces.}