If proof were needed that conservative Republicans are not always serious-minded people, proof there was at The Conservative Summit” where a panel consisting of Kate O’Beirne, Mona Charen, Michelle Malkin, Laura Ingraham and Kathryn Jean Lopez, spent much of their time denigrating and making fun of Democrats. Occasionally Mr. Ingraham dealt with reality, but for the most part an adoring audience clapped and guffawed at the silliest of comments – – “silly” being something of a departure given the poisonous spewing for which Ms. Malkin, in particular, is known.
Among the jibes offered up Ms. O’Beirne mentioned that one of Hillary Clinton’s brothers is in bankruptcy court. What a hoot! And she laughingly went on to wonder what Bill would be like in the White House with time on his hands. After all when he was there before, she said, he was actually busy – – hilarious. Now, like Hillary or not, support her or don’t, she is a serious person with serious ideas and a far more sophisticated understanding of domestic and foreign issues than anyone on that panel.
But if family members are to be fair game consider some of the Bushes. There’s brother Neil who sat on the Board of Silverado, one of the nation’s largest savings and loan disasters and who developed educational-testing-prep software just in time to benefit from the president’s no-child-left-behind program. Or who can forget Mother Barbara allowing as how Katrina survivors were doing quite well at the Houston Astrodome since they weren’t used to much anyway. And one can only imagine the vitriol that would have been heaped on Hillary if it had been she who killed a former boyfriend in an accident with her car instead of a youthful Laura.
As for the bona fides of President Bush has there ever been a more flagrantly unqualified inhabitant of the White House? How prescient those concerns about his lack of “gravitas” were. Under-traveled, under-informed, incurious, the country has paid dearly for his failure to deal effectively with issues that define the desperate times in which we live. Panel participant Mona Charen giggled about the possible makeup of a Hillary cabinet – – Ramsey Clark at Defense, Madonna at Health and Human Services; this was one funny group. But who has served in this administration other than a lot of Bush-One pals and numerous political hacks – – how fortuitous that Cheney daughter Elizabeth was available to serve as Deputy Assistant of State for Near East Affairs.
For her part Michelle Malkin, recently returned from Iraq, said there were lots of good things going on there and lots of contented, committee troops, none of whom were reading John Kerry’s book but many of whom clutched copies of books written by Fox New Commentators. Now there’s a scary picture. Guilty of the shoddiest reporting, Fox News airs stories, call it news on the cheap, such as the muck about Barak Obama’s early education, and when their stories are disproven, much like the president, they refuse to admit being wrong. Currently they are gleefully promoting their upcoming telecast of that portion of ABC’s “The Path to 911” not originally aired – – the section they say “Bill Clinton doesn’t want you to see” – – quite possibly because it isn’t accurate. One can only hope it leaves Fox open to charges of slander.
Seeing the world through the eyes of this panel is an unsettling diversion. When the sarcasm and meaningless partisan banter subsides, they turn to their deadly serious role as arbiters of social policies they would incorporate into the body politic – – a kind of conservative-knows-best philosophy. And when they talk about Iraq and Iran, and wax rhapsodic about how grand it is that the president has stepped up to posit new strategies it is positively mind-numbing. If only, they say, the media (of which they are all members) and the Democrats (never mind a huge portion of the country and most Middle East experts) would stop predicting failure for the Bush grand design.
Could there be five less qualified foreign-policy analysts? Just having an opinion is not a credential. Consulting a random selection of ordinary Americans passing by on the street might very well produce opinions no less sound and quite possibly more profound than this bunch. Barak Obama wrote about The Audacity of Hope. The members of this panel exemplify the audacity of an overblown self importance that leads them into policy areas for which they are ill-prepared and encourages them to promote a social agenda that seeks to define the lifestyle and dictate the personal decisions of an entire agenda.
But perhaps most disturbing of all was the panel’s mindset that, as a congressional minority, Republicans should do battle with people like Ted Kennedy and work feverishly to reclaim their majority status – – forget bipartisanship and hold out for more right-wing advocates like Rick Santorum and John Cornyn. Just as diplomacy has had no place in the current administration so for these panelists at least there is no middle ground and nothing to be gained by working with Democrats.

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