Conservatives in the Sandbox

As older conservatives (Buckley, the elder Kristol, Novak, Safire) pass away, the younger ones demonstrate an embarrassing state of arrested development almost every time they open their mouths. Call it the sandbox mentality: if you don’t do things my way, I won’t play with you. If you still insist on playing, I’ll throw sand at you.

Yes, Virginia, there is a vast right-wing conspiracy, as Hillary Clinton said many years ago.

Obfuscate, distort, shout, lie—above all distract elected leaders so they cannot focus on the problems they were elected to solve. Impeach Clinton; swiftboat Kerry; demonize Obama, whatever it takes so that the nation’s problems cannot be addressed.

Much has been written about Congressman Joe Wilson’s scurrilous attack (“You lie!”) on Barack Obama during the president’s speech on health care a month ago. Rude, crude or impulsive? Wilson sat there like an unhappy child who didn’t get enough candy.

He was not alone. Several Republicans—who perhaps suffer from ADHD (Attack Democratic Health Directive) were unable to sit still and listen to the speech but had to consult their BlackBerries and Twitter. And Twitter is perfect for politicians who can’t think beyond 140 characters. Or feel for anyone besides other Conservatives.

Wilson’s loud disruption revealed that he suffers from Tourette’s Syndrome, but don’t worry, his premium government health plan permitted him to seek his doctor’s advice even though it’s a pre-existing condition he had not previously disclosed.

The sandbox mentality reveals the mendacity of phony patriotism. Conservatives loathe America. The idea of one tax dollar spent for the greater good is anathema. So don’t let the party in power make progress with anything. Thwart everything. Drag the country down to the lowest possible denominator.

Throw sand in everyone’s faces.

CHARLES R. LARSON is Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C.


Charles R. Larson is Emeritus Professor of Literature at American University, in Washington, D.C. Email = Twitter @LarsonChuck.