Rick Perlstein, the excellent historian of the Goldwater campaign, talks about the difference between conservatives and Republicans. He quotes liberal blogger, Digby, with the following remark: “‘Conservative’ is a magic word that applies to those who are in other conservatives’ good graces. Until they aren’t. At which point they are liberals.” I think that just about sums up our current situation. The party of Goldwater has become the party of Watergate. Money quote:

[C]onsider a group called the House Republican Caucus. They hold their controversial votes in the middle of the night: 2:54 am, 1:56 am, 2:39 am, 5:55 am on a Saturday morning. Or, for a vote on school vouchers in the D.C. public school system during primary season, during an out-of-town presidential debate.
Is this allergy to transparency a constitutive part of conservatism? A friend of mine suggests an answer, imagining Hillary Clinton reading conservative con law professor John Yoo’s assertion that “in the exercise of his plenary power to use military force, the President’s decisions are for him alone and are unreviewable”: ‘President Hillary thanks you.'”

And when these ‘conservatives’ have removed all checks from public spending, when they have validated detention of American citizens without trial, when they have endorsed torturing military detainees, when they have tried to write discrimination into the Constitution, and passed laws to govern individual right-to-death cases, where will they turn when their opponents regain power? When you have forsaken almost every principle you once had, what will protect you from the full force of government power in the hands of your enemies? Ah, then, there will be a reckoning. But not until. They’re enjoying power far too much right now to change anything.


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