During last year's Republican National Convention, South Carolina GOP leaders were regularly calling in to talk radio station WTMA to provide event coverage. On the day they were supposed to talk to me, I was informed that Republican Party officials did not wish to speak to Jack Hunter. A denouncer of big government and all its works, I never saw any reason to make special exceptions for Republicans, and for my anti-GOP sins I had become persona non grata.
Today, everyone is denouncing big government. Since Obama's election, tea party protests have sprung up across the country and conservatives are now rallying loud and clear against Washington's spending. But liberal politicians and pundits who are calling conservative activists "crazy" — or to borrow MSNBC host Chris Matthew's phrase, "wing nuts" — have it exactly backwards. It was crazy that anyone who might claim the label "conservative" would also claim to be a part of George W. Bush's GOP. Today's conservatives haven't lost their sanity — they've regained it.
In the meantime, the Left has gone completely nuts. Worshipping a president who promised "change," liberals continue to ignore the fact that little has. On foreign policy — the Left's primary gripe against Bush — Obama's war mentality is remarkably similar to his predecessor. In drawing down in Iraq, Obama has simply transferred the massive U.S. presence from Iraq to Afghanistan. Meanwhile, controversial war on terror-era measures like the Patriot Act, extraordinary rendition, and warrantless wiretapping remain intact. Notes observant liberal Noam Chomsky, "As Obama came into office, [former Secretary of State] Condoleezza Rice predicted he would follow the policies of Bush's second term, and that is pretty much what happened, apart from a different rhetorical style."
During the Bush years, conservatives loved to portray the outspoken antiwar group "Code Pink" as a perfect example of liberal wackiness. It turns out conservatives were right, but for reasons even they couldn't have imagined, as the same Code Pink that so vehemently denounced Bush's war in Iraq now supports Obama's war in Afghanistan. Writes Antiwar.com's Justin Raimondo: "Right on time for the somber eighth anniversary of the Afghanistan war and occupation, Code Pink founder and primary spokeswoman Medea Benjamin has announced that her organization — which made so many headlines and newscasts protesting 'Bush's war' — is now 'rethinking' their position on Afghanistan. A piece in the Christian Science Monitor, which Code Pink is now strenuously trying to spin, reports that the famous antiwar group is seriously amending their position after listening to the views of Afghan women."
Bush administration officials and conservative talk radio made the case time and again that the U.S. was simply "liberating" Iraqis from the oppressive hand of Saddam Hussein. At the time, I can't recall antiwar groups ever considering this argument, yet in supporting Obama's war in Afghanistan, Code Pink is now using the logic of Dick Cheney and Sean Hannity to justify American military intervention in the name of human rights.
But one need not look to the far Left to find liberal lunacy. South Carolina Sen. Lindsey Graham has quickly become the Left's favorite Republican for both his willingness to compromise with the Democrats and his attacks on conservatives. Liberals constantly praise Graham as a "reasonable" Republican, in contrast to the rest of his party.
Back when Dubya was public enemy No. 1 for the Left, Bush Republicanism had no better proponent than Graham. Under Bush, Graham was a big government Republican in all the ways liberals admire — expanding Medicare, No Child Left Behind, TARP — but also in the one way they allegedly despised, with his unqualified support for an explicitly neoconservative foreign policy. When possible Bush successor John McCain was saying that the U.S. might remain in Iraq for "100 years" or proclaiming that Americans "were all Georgians now" after the brief skirmish between Russia and Georgia, immediately injecting the U.S. into a tense situation, there was Graham at his side, nodding his head approvingly and enthusiastically. The Left loved to portray Bush as a "warmonger." If someone can tell me how Graham's politics differ in the slightest from Bush and Cheney, I'd love to hear it.
Liberals who note the hypocrisy of the tea partiers who now protest Obama yet were silent when Bush was expanding government have a valid point. But on the one-year anniversary of the last election, Obama Democrats have proven themselves no less hypocritical than Bush Republicans, particularly on the issue that most defined the Left during the last administration: foreign policy. Though few will admit it, liberals who voted for a "change" from Bush have not gotten it. And like the Republicans before them, the Democrats' faith in their president will likely continue to blind them to the fact that they may never get it.
Catch Southern Avenger commentaries every Tuesday and Friday at 7:50 a.m. on the "Morning Buzz with Richard Todd" on 1250 AM WTMA.