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Thursday, January 15, 2004

Changing Stripes

Dennis Miller commenting on how he is not a traditional conservative in the January 15, 2004 New York Times:

“I’ve always been a pragmatist,” Miller said. “If two gay guys want to get married, it’s none of my business. But if some idiot foreign terrorist wants to blow up their wedding party to make a political statement, I would rather kill him before he can do it, or have my country kill him before he can do it, instead of having him do it and punishing him after the fact. If that makes me a right-wing fanatic, I will bask in that assignation.”

No, it doesn’t make you a right-wing fanatic; it makes you puerile and smug. I think the truth is that Miller’s new-found conservativism is a career move (He is airing a talk show on CNBC). Not many people are going broke these days spewing out right-wing bile. It is one of the few growth industries left in America.

Miller tells about how he went from being a liberal to a conservative after 9/11. He’s big on America protecting itself from terrorists although he himself didn’t serve in any capacity in the defense of this country. He sure does like to talk tough. Can you say “chicken hawk?” To me, anyone who has a radical change of heart concerning their political beliefs for any reason tells me that their intellectual foundations weren’t very solid to begin with. I have been a left-wing jackass as far back as I can ever remember. I can’t imagine anything happening to me or around me that would make me alter the basic tenets I hold on equality, equitable distribution of income, democracy, and community. Miller certainly isn’t alone in his post-9/11 metamorphosis; he can hold hands with a lot of the warbloggers on the internet.

People like Miller, and warbloggers who jumped into the right-wing deep-end after 9/11, remind me of people who turn to Jesus after hitting rock bottom. Someone once asked Stephen Jay Gould if his battle with cancer had changed the way he thought in any way. He said no, not in the least. He was too preoccupied fighting cancer. This is what I expect from a brilliant mind. How could anything as insignificant as a personal battle to overcome cancer alter the thinking of a truly great mind? You wonder how easily Miller could be convinced to abandon his conservative stance to become a communist or a Muslim fundamentalist.

“People say I’ve slid to the right. Well, can you blame me? One of the biggest malfeasances of the Left right now is the mislabeling of Hitler.” In this childish utterance Miller is referring to a couple of entries (out of 1,500) in the Moveon.org competition for anti-Bush television advertisements. The ads comparing Bush to Hitler didn’t make it anywhere in the competition and in no way reflect any credible liberal constituency but that hasn’t kept the Republicans from trying to taint the entire competition of this citizen-based political action group. The Republican attacks against MoveOn.org are embarrassingly pious. You don’t have to look too hard to find examples of the right comparing liberals to Hitler. Just ask any gun nut about what they think of any sort of gun control and they will say that the first thing Hitler did when he gained power was restrict guns thus anyone who works for gun control is like Hitler (The first thing Hitler did was exterminate anyone with liberal views but I never argue history with a guy who wears a camouflaged hat with earmuffs and whose other major fashion accessory is a deer rifle.).

Once again I say that anyone who changes political allegiances for such a half-assed reason must have not felt very deeply about his beliefs to begin with. I defy anyone to name a single progressive liberal thinker who would compare Bush to that Austrian guy with the dumb moustache. Most people on the left simply consider Bush to be an amazingly untalented and unintelligent mouthpiece for the economic aristocracy, someone who achieved his position through nepotism and cronyism—truly undemocratic methods.

Now the new disciple of Rush Limbaugh is airing a new talk show on CNBC which is fine by me. I don’t even know what CNBC is and I never once thought that Miller was funny.