Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Gorillas In The Mist: Washington Edition

OK, I’ve said before that I don’t want to turn this place into, but if ever a guy wrote posts with a metaphorical ‘kick me!’ sign on his back, it’s him. Take his post on his visit to America’s CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference). In so far as this event attracts the kind of lively, youthful, non-elite crowd the Tories couldn’t attract if they had a free bar, you think any Tory visitors would be taking notes. Well, not so much.

Actually, it’s tempting just to reprint his post, subbing in the word ‘gay’ at the appropriate places, particularly when faced with prose like this:
The Conservative Political Action Conference, which I am attending in Washington, shows the very best and the awful worst of the American right. I had never attended one of these before and wasn't sure what to expect. Part of me expected to be appalled by a predominance of so-called "religious right" groups.
If anyone wrote this way about a Mardi Gras, Dale would need a novacaine suppository to calm him down. Instead, we get a Christianist atrocity story:
Apart from a twenty two year olf who confidently asserted that he would pray for my redemption and that he had the self discipline to banish lustful thoughts from his mind, I haven't really seen any evidence of what I feared. In fact, quite the reverse.
I guess we’re supposed to be appalled by loony evangelicals claiming they can cure homosexuality, but let’s just compare the number of Christians who believe this with the number of gays who talk about ‘repression’. Plenty of mainstream, prominent homosexuals claim just about every straight guy on the planet wants to sleep with them, except we’re just too repressed to recognise our true, gay nature. Renounce your sins, release your inhibitions. Potat-o, potat–ah. Except no one ever used the Bible to justify anal rape.

As with much else, Dale’s whining about ‘gay cures’ would have a lot more credibility if he was similarly energetic in condemning the toxic ideology of the home team, but don’t hold your breath. Besides, consistency doesn’t appear to be his thing:
However, having gone round the conference centre this afternoon asking people who they would like to see as the Republican candidate in 2008 it was clear that Giuliani has a lot to do to appease the social conservatives.
Appeasement ? Is the Reverend Dale, pastor of the Church of the Perpetually Offended, really comparing socio-cons to Nazis ? Yep, and that’s a mere aperitif to the humbug that’s coming next:
One lady told me she wouldn't vote for Giuliani because he wanted to take away her gun. I gently pointed out he was a proven leader and had a great record on crime in New York, but she wasn't going to be persuaded.
Yes – that really is Iain Dale criticising someone else for being over-invested in a single issue. Mind you, if you’re a snotty Limey, wandering round one of the top US political meetings ‘gently’ pointing out how ill-informed and stupid actual Americans are about their own politicians, I can see why you wouldn’t want them to be armed. I’d find Dale’s condescending drivel easier to take if he showed any evidence of trying to understand why the RKBA is such a totemic topic in US life, but apparently socio-cons are so despicable there’s no need to actually listen to what they say.

But what really sums up Daleism is this quote:
But [John Bolton] lost my respect when he appeared to advocate a US intervention in North Korea, designed to bring about the reunification of North and South Korea. He also made clear his view that the US should prepare to use military action against Iran. I would certainly not rule that out, but he seemed to positively salivate at the thought.
No actual policy disagreements then, but he doesn’t like Bolton because….. what ? Excessive salivation ? How exactly is that measured ? Is it a simple scale or logarithmic ? And is Dale really saying that he would have had no problem with these policies if only Bolton had indulged in Cameronesque theatrics, complete with sonorous phrase-making and ostentatious lip-biting ? If ever there was a good reason for letting Israel be ‘wiped off the map’ – as Ahmadinejad once said, while doubtless rending his clothes and wailing constantly – the failure of US statesmen to behave like guests on Oprah isn’t it.

Of course, not to put too fine a point on it, but Dale’s decision to concentrate on the Bolton Saliva Status Report may actually be for the best all round. It’s not at all obvious why events in Iraq would prevent the US striking at Iran. No matter how heavily engaged the US Army is, massive air and naval forces remain free to strike. Ditto, how exactly does Dale justify Bolton’s criticising the UN for giving too much power to free riders, even as he criticises Bolton for not showing enough respect for free riding Europeans. Shouldn’t being an ‘ally’ require deployment of actual troops ? Who knows ? Not the Reverend that’s for sure.

Inevitably, Dale’s ‘what I did on my holidays’ report tells us more about the pathologies afflicting the Tories than those of the American Right. You almost expect his report to be popping up anytime now on a pro-UKIP site, so perfectly does it capture the basic obnoxiousness of the Tory top brass. On the plus side, I’m sure they’re tough on salivation and tough on the causes of salivation.

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