FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Conservative Malaise

I suspect that the malaise that has afflicted the conservative movement is not simply due to the defeat of John McCain and Sarah Palin. I think that their despondency goes much deeper than an electoral defeat. My hunch is that their depression is much more owing to a sense of serious discomfort arising from the knowledge that Democrat Barack Obama is about to acquire all the omnipotent powers that conservatives relinquished to President Bush as part of his “war on terrorism.”

The power to arrest people, including Americans, as “enemy combatants.” Indefinite detention. Torture. Isolation and sensory deprivation. Rendition. Military tribunals. Denial of due process and trial by jury. Suspension of habeas corpus. Secret judicial proceedings. Use of hearsay and tortured testimony. Warrantless searches. Signing statements. Spying on Americans. The power to ignore constitutional and statutory constraints on presidential power. The power to invade and occupy foreign countries with no congressional declaration of war.

Conservatives were willing to let President Bush acquire and exercise all those dictatorial powers because, they said, national security depended on it. The terrorists were everywhere, they said, and they hate America for its freedom and values, not because of the U.S. government’s foreign policy. The war would last for decades, perhaps even forever. We have no choice, conservatives said, but to vest the president with full power to wage this war until we kill them all.

Whenever libertarians and some liberals defended civil liberties and the Bill of Rights during the past 8 years, conservatives went on the attack. We were just soft on terrorism, cowards, pacifists, unpatriotic, even treasonous, they said.

The conservatives know that they have boxed themselves in. Can they now argue that the war on terrorism is over when they previously said it would last for decades? Can they now argue that the president should not be trusted with such omnipotent powers? Can they now argue that such powers are unconstitutional? Can they now argue that national security no longer turns on the president’s wielding of such powers?

No, in their hearts conservatives know that they must now argue that President Obama, the man they are convinced is coming to take away their guns, increase their taxes, spend more money than even President Bush, has ties to terrorists, has a Muslim name, and is friends with a radical Christian preacher, should wield all the same dictatorial powers that they relinquished to President Bush.

No wonder conservatives are suffering from malaise, despondency, and depression.

Jacob Hornberger is founder and president of The Future of Freedom Foundation.

 

More articles by:
April 24, 2018
Carl Boggs
Russia and the War Party
William A. Cohn
Carnage Unleashed: the Pentagon and the AUMF
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
The Racist Culture of Canadian Hockey
María Julia Bertomeu
On Angers, Disgusts and Nauseas
Nick Pemberton
How To Buy A Seat In Congress 101
Ron Jacobs
Resisting the Military-Now More Than Ever
Sonali Kolhatkar
The Left, Syria and Fake News
Manuel E. Yepe
The Confirmation of Democracy in Cuba
Peter Montgomery
Christian Nationalism: Good for Politicians, Bad for America and the World
Ted Rall
Bad Drones
Jill Richardson
The Latest Attack on Food Stamps
Andrew Stewart
What Kind of Unionism is This?
Ellen Brown
Fox in the Hen House: Why Interest Rates Are Rising
April 23, 2018
Patrick Cockburn
In Middle East Wars It Pays to be Skeptical
Thomas Knapp
Just When You Thought “Russiagate” Couldn’t Get Any Sillier …
Gregory Barrett
The Moral Mask
Robert Hunziker
Chemical Madness!
David Swanson
Senator Tim Kaine’s Brief Run-In With the Law
Dave Lindorff
Starbucks Has a Racism Problem
Uri Avnery
The Great Day
Nyla Ali Khan
Girls Reduced to Being Repositories of Communal and Religious Identities in Kashmir
Ted Rall
Stop Letting Trump Distract You From Your Wants and Needs
Steve Klinger
The Cautionary Tale of Donald J. Trump
Kevin Zeese - Margaret Flowers
Conflict Over the Future of the Planet
Cesar Chelala
Gideon Levy: A Voice of Sanity from Israel
Weekend Edition
April 20, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Paul Street
Ruling Class Operatives Say the Darndest Things: On Devils Known and Not
Conn Hallinan
The Great Game Comes to Syria
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: Mother of War
Andrew Levine
“How Come?” Questions
Doug Noble
A Tale of Two Atrocities: Douma and Gaza
Kenneth Surin
The Blight of Ukania
Howard Lisnoff
How James Comey Became the Strange New Hero of the Liberals
William Blum
Anti-Empire Report: Unseen Persons
Lawrence Davidson
Missiles Over Damascus
Patrick Cockburn
The Plight of the Yazidi of Afrin
Pete Dolack
Fooled Again? Trump Trade Policy Elevates Corporate Power
Stan Cox
For Climate Mobilization, Look to 1960s Vietnam Before Turning to 1940s America
William Hawes
Global Weirding
Dan Glazebrook
World War is Still in the Cards
Nick Pemberton
In Defense of Cardi B: Beyond Bourgeois PC Culture
Ishmael Reed
Hollywood’s Last Days?
Peter Certo
There Was Nothing Humanitarian About Our Strikes on Syria
Dean Baker
China’s “Currency Devaluation Game”
Ann Garrison
Why Don’t We All Vote to Commit International Crimes?
LEJ Rachell
The Baddest Black Power Artist You Never Heard Of
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail