The Rittenhouse Review

A Philadelphia Journal of Politics, Finance, Ethics, and Culture

Saturday, September 11, 2004  

Sydney Schanberg on Republican & Neoconservative Excesses

Be sure to read “Convention of Hate,” by Sydney H. Schanberg, in the Village Voice, September 7. Pull quote, focusing on the Republican Party’s rabid dogs:

We have seen nastiness at both parties’ rallies before -- many will remember Pat Buchanan’s garbage-truckload of rhetoric at the 1992 Republican convention -- but in my time, which goes back to FDR, I can remember no oratory sanctioned by a major party that was more obviously a hate speech than Zell Miller’s.

In response to the unhinged but thankfully soon-to-be-unlamented-former-senator Miller’s slanderous “spitballs” comment, Schanberg writes:

That’s the kind of fear-inducing rhetoric that dictators use to keep their opponents cowed and submissive. Unfortunately it’s merely a ratcheted-up version of the message President George W. Bush has been regularly sending across this nation: If you don’t support the war in Iraq, you’re a bad American. If you view my tax cuts that favor the wealthy as reckless, you’re a bad American. When he needs to have this message magnified to scare enough people into voting him a second term, he of course turns to pit-bull surrogates like Miller and Dick Cheney, his super-hawkish vice president.

No button-sporting proponent of the Kerry campaign, Schanberg still offers this still-useful observation:

President Bush has allowed himself to become captivated by the ideology of a group of radical conservatives -- civilians with no military or combat experience, mostly alumni of the Reagan presidency, who now steer the Pentagon and work through the vice president’s office, where one of their number, I. Lewis Libby, serves as Cheney’s chief of staff.

We know who Schanberg is talking about here: the neoconservatives, the powerful and closely, often nepotistically, interconnected group of “intellectuals,” now thoroughly discredited by their hubris, loquaciousness, and misguided bravado. The same people who in the past bragged about their influence over various presidential administrations who now all but claim there’s no such thing as a “neoconservative movement,” that it’s all a figment of the “liberal media’s” imagination.

Here’s a hint to the neocons, including Richard “Can I Get My Hand in That?” Perle, forming yet another little committee isn’t the road to intellectual, political, or strategic redemption. You’ve bluffed and blustered your way to irrelevancy. And many of us are glad for it.

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