Thursday, August 08, 2002

Oh my... this bit from Brad DeLong is just great. He's talking about Mickey Kaus being outraged over slanted poll questions by organizations that work to mitigate world hunger(!) and Brad DeLong uses this as a way of showing a living example of a political transformation:

Kaus has thus passed through the third of the four stages of becoming a Rhinoceros... excuse me, a neoconservative.

The first stage is to hold that the flaws--the mighty flaws--of the center-left in American politics are important enough to more-or-less balance the flaws of the right. The second stage is to start making desperate and implausible excuses for Republican politicians and functionaries. The third stage is to lose contact with the substance of public policy issues, and focus instead on intellectual and rhetorical "errors" made by those left of center. And the fourth stage is to start acclaiming right-wing political hacks as noble thinkers, and right-wing office holders as bold and far-sighted leaders with a plan to guide us to utopia.

What more needs to be said, really? What's sad is that through the first three stages, people will still call someone "liberal" or "leftist" because of their past beliefs, sometimes including the subject of the transformation. Why liberals shouldn't be able to say "he's not one of ours- his carping complaints about our side is pretty obvious proof that he likes us about as much as angry fire ants" is beyond me; certainly the Republicans make great hay over their RINOs (instead of their, well, rhinos.)

At some point, saying "I think poor people should be able to eat" ain't enough, especially if you're playing for the other team in every other respect. After all, if all you do is spend your time complaining about how stupid and flawed and mindless and reactionary the left is, why the heck would you want to be associated with them?

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