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John Adams Blog

The blog of The Antient and Honourable John Adams Society, Minnesota's Conservative Debating Society www.johnadamssociety.org

Monday, September 25, 2006

What they think of us

This article in the New York Times by Charles Baxter on the 6th District race in Minnesota is one of the most hilarious pieces I have read in a long time. The column is a blatent hit job:

...Having allied herself firmly with the president’s policies on Iraq and privatizing Social Security, she also advocates eliminating the estate tax. For supporting these radical reforms she is called an “archconservative,” though what she is trying to conserve, other than large family fortunes, is never scrupulously clear.

Compared to Ms. Bachmann, a suburban radical of an increasingly familiar sort, Patty Wetterling seems rather tame and pleasant and sensible — conservative, that is. In the view of Ms. Wetterling (who came into local prominence when her son was abducted at gunpoint and disappeared in 1989) we are not in the end times but in a stable world shaped by well-financed public education, Social Security, benefits for veterans, a decent respect for the opinions of others, a reluctance to engage in foreign adventures, and balanced budgets.

Perfect comparison. The Evil Bachmann v. the nice caring Wetterling.

The article gets worse:

But citizens don’t join hands much anymore in Minnesota, nor are they encouraged to. The problem faced by politicians who wish to preserve the social programs enacted by their grandparents is that President Bush has been wildly successful at creating an air of constant crisis, both foreign and domestic. Crisis rhetoric, which is inherently radical rather than conservative, dissolves social stability.

In this sense, terrorism has infected every subject and every discussion, even locally. Alarmism has become so ubiquitous in discussions of Iraq, the decline of the family and financing for Social Security and education that polarization is assured. Extremity, after all, is more newsworthy than good sense.

According to Baxter, prior to Bush we were all trying to "conserve" the social programs of our grandparents, but Bush has upset this great liberal order with his war on terror and fear mongering (i.e. crisis rhetoric). Baxter wants us to be conservative about overturning the great liberal welfare state - I think that was the same argument made by Southern slave owners. What I think Baxter (and many democrats) believe that the country would be liberal and democratic and tolerant if it wasn't for the great deceiver - Bush.