The Tea Party Led Right Is Not Conservative

John Podhoretz rails against the far right and labels them for what they are: anarchists. He points out that they have abandoned the order and security conservatism was founded on:

…in the realm of philosophy, “conservatism” from Thomas Hobbes onward is a worldview dedicated to order and tradition and the proposition that disorder is dangerous and deadly.

Thus, it is the opposite of “conservative” to embrace chaos instead of order. It is the opposite of “conservative” to embrace crisis rather than accept unpleasant realities.

Who’d want his job? John Boehner has an emotional moment after being re-elected as House speaker yesterday.

And yet, over the past week, that is exactly what many conservatives have done. They have violated fundamental conservative precepts.

In so doing, they have turned on other conservatives — people who agree with them on substance — and accused them of impurity and corruption for refusing to march their party and their movement over a political cliff.

He then defends those Republicans who voted for the Fiscal Cliff bill. The far right has been  mercilessly attacking them since the vote:

It wasn’t House Speaker John Boehner who was responsible for a bill raising taxes on individuals and small businesses who earned $400,000 a year or more. That was the doing of President Obama and the Democrats, who had the stronger hand to play.

Boehner agrees with his fellow conservatives that the Obama approach is the wrong one. So does Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. But unless they found some kind of common ground to stand on with Democrats, taxes were automatically going to go up on everyone.

They were in a thankless position, and they did their thankless job — and for it they got, you guessed it, no thanks. “Am I in some kind of nightmare, or what?” Boehner said on the House floor as the tax bill was being voted on. Those are not the words of a happy man.

And yet you’d think, from the conduct and rhetoric of many conservatives in the House and outside the House and Senate, that Boehner and McConnell had “caved” willingly.

No, they caved because they had no choice.

What they did was what leaders do — or rather, what leaders of those who are in a losing position do. The best they could.

He follows by attacking the Tea Party back; labeling them as anarchists:

And so many of them are literally embracing chaos. Though they oppose raising taxes, by voting against the tax bill on Tuesday night they effectively voted to raise taxes on 98 percent of Americans.

(To be fair, it’s not just righties who are acting out: New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, for one, went way over the edge this week, freaking out at a potential two-week delay in passage of the Sandy relief bills.)

Then came talk that Boehner should be fired as speaker of the House when the time came to vote in the new speaker yesterday afternoon. Yet none of the insurgents was brave enough to stand against him; instead, a bunch of them cast nonsense votes for someone else or refused to vote at all.

In so doing, they came close to handing Boehner a humiliating and entirely destructive defeat — forcing a second ballot and leaving their own party leader critically injured. They seemed to crave disorder.

This is how people who are more comfortable on the margins than in the middle of things behave. This is cannibalism, not political combat. This is unreason, not reason. This is temper, not temperament.

This is anarchism, not conservatism.

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