Over the last couple of days, two very different Republicans have opened two completely different faults lines in conservative ideology. Video of Rand Paul lashing out at Iraq War profiteer Dick Cheney surfaced, and Jeb Bush made the case for viewing illegal immigrants as human beings. First Rand Paul:
MoJo –There’s a great YouTube of Dick Cheney in 1995 defending [President] Bush No. 1 [and the decision not to invade Baghdad in the first Gulf War], and he goes on for about five minutes. He’s being interviewed, I think, by the American Enterprise Institute, and he says it would be a disaster, it would be vastly expensive, it’d be civil war, we would have no exit strategy. He goes on and on for five minutes. Dick Cheney saying it would be a bad idea. And that’s why the first Bush didn’t go into Baghdad. Dick Cheney then goes to work for Halliburton. Makes hundreds of millions of dollars, their CEO. Next thing you know, he’s back in government and it’s a good idea to go into Iraq.
The motive for invading Iraq is not the big mystery some people make it out to be. It’s motive vs opportunity, greed meeting 911, oil-politics took full advantage of a moment of national panic, and Paul is right to point that out in the case of Cheney.
The thing about the lesser and greater Pauls is that once in a while, one or the other will say something that is indisputably true and yet terribly inconvenient. Not that that kind of conflict is hard to find. The GOP is rife with it. They want small government, the elusive kind of small government that monitors every phone call and email, safely handles thousands of nuclear weapons and trillions in defense spending, seizes property on suspicion alone, decrees who can marry who, and enforces what drugs can and can’t be used for any reason. They claim to love the free market and urge the government to encourage it at every turn, except when that market caters to civil rights or is incentivized to offer everything from affordable healthcare to cleaner energy sources.
They also claim to care deeply about personal freedom and the constitutional rights of every American, especially families. Except when American children have illegal immigrant parents in which case forced, mass deportation to a third-world country garners wild applause. It was on illegal immigration that Jeb Bush stirred up the hornets’ nest:
WaPo — There are means by which we can control our border better than we have. And there should be penalties for breaking the law,” he added. “But the way I look at this — and I’m going to say this, and it’ll be on tape and so be it. The way I look at this is someone who comes to our country because they couldn’t come legally, they come to our country because their families — the dad who loved their children — was worried that their children didn’t have food on the table. And they wanted to make sure their family was intact, and they crossed the border because they had no other means to work to be able to provide for their family. Yes, they broke the law, but it’s not a felony. It’s an act of love. It’s an act of commitment to your family. I honestly think that that is a different kind of crime that there should be a price paid, but it shouldn’t rile people up that people are actually coming to this country to provide for their families.”
The GOP and the entire conservative movement has been hijacked by a tiny handful of super rich greedy assholes and put to work getting those asshole more money, whether its tax cuts, deregulation, corporate welfare, or scapegoating the powerless. If viewed through that lens, all the conflicts and double talk and hypocrisy are quickly resolved.
Pointing out any of the simmering conflicts is a big no-no in conservative circles. So expect howls of Rhinosim and demands for scalps on the far right. Who will be the first to walk it back with profuse apologies? My money’s on Bush.