Lightning Round: An Ode to the GOP's Many, Many Hacks.

  • It's the first day of CPAC, so let's take stock of the conservative movement's success in taking over the Republican party for the good of the nation: The newly empowered Republican House majority is riven with factionalism and can't get anything done; by one measure, the GOP is less popular than Democrats on the generic congressional ballot; the GOP's personal propaganda network behaves like...a propaganda network; and Republicans issue falsehoods at a 3-1 rate compared to Democrats. Good job! But it's not all bad -- they've got Donald Trump speaking at CPAC, which surely ought to turn their fortunes around.
  • Surely the poster child for inscrupulous right-wing Republicanism must be Karl Rove, who musters the courage to demand health care reform be repealed under majoritarian budget reconciliation rules, after spending the past two years forcefully arguing against the Democrats' use of same rules, which were of course an unseemly power grab that would have made the Founders faint on sight. I know it's in Rove's nature to be nothing less than an immoral hack, but anyone pretending that Rove is making an "argument" here is deluding themselves.
  • I believe it was Dave Weigel who once said something to the effect that the influence of Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism on the conservative movement is under-appreciated. I agree, not because the book is some great intellectual achievement, but because it sets the bar for "serious" conservative inquiry so low that practically anyone can go about proving their pet theory about liberalism under a pseudo-scholarly guise. A good example of this is where Glenn Beck borrows a sloppy, out-of-context quote from Goldberg and repeats it to his sub-literate followers, convincing them that yes, liberals are all about the Mussolini. That's influence.
  • Remainders: Hack former House Speaker says Obama would be welcome at CPAC if he would act more like a right-wing Republican; for Mitt Romney, a rewrite is not a form of an apology; and how cowardly, provincial and bigoted do you have to be to oppose learning Arabic in a classroom?
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