There’s been a lively discussion about labels recently–particularly as more true conservatives attempt to create a position from which to oppose Bush without ceding their identity as conservatives. It’s a discussion I’ve been thinking a lot about, not least because I’m dabbling with an argument that we need to think of the "Conservative Movement" as a more cohesive, intentional whole. These thoughts, plus my recent obsession with Texas Royalty, makes me want to argue strongly for the term "Neo-Feudalist."

One of the problems–both for the left, and those true conservatives seeking to distance themselves from Bush–is that no one has challenged the misnomer "Conservative Movement." There is nothing conservative about what BushCo are trying to pull off–he’s trying to radically alter the structure of our government and society, in the process cynically capitalizing on conservative moral values while violating those values himself. And BushCo doesn’t aspire to anything so impermanent as a movement. (Though I do wonder whether they cling to the word "movement" in deference to Michael Ledeen’s belief that the Italian fascist movement was all good, it was just the regime that went bad.) We on the left would do well to avoid accepting this frame for their efforts. And the true conservatives really deserve to have their word "conservative" back, without the taint that it has acquired from its Movement and Neo appendages.

And in search for a term that more accurately describes their plan, I’m settling on Neo-Feudalist.

What Was Dick Really Hiding?

I’ve been promising for a few days now that I was going to do a post on Anne Armstrong, whom I’ve dubbed the grande dame of Republican scandal. I’ll get there, I’ll get there. But first let me talk about why I think it’s important.

By now, I think all reasonable people agree there are a number of curious discrepancies in the Deadeye Dick shooting story. And while I think the rumors floating out there have a germ of truth to them, I don’t think they can fully explain the story. Oh, sure, I’m sure alcohol was a big part of the story. First Katharine Armstrong the 100-yard eyewitness says "No, zero, zippo" then she admits on background that there might have been a few beers in the picnic basket? Then Dick sheepishly admits to a beer. (Though my former fake ex-husband tells me that the hunters around Jackson Hole–where Dick lives when he’s not playing Texan–don’t drink beer when they hunt, because it makes them pee; they drink whiskey.) I think the alcohol aspect is especially likely since the people who went to the hospital on Saturday night–Ben Love, Mercedes Whittington, Bob Hixon, and George Willeford–made up the entire other hunting party. If Dick’s hunting party was drinking heavily, it would make sense that none of them would go to the hospital while still shit-faced.

But the alcohol can’t be the sum of the story. If it were, Katharine Armstrong and Dick would not have made such herculean efforts to avoid mentioning Pamela Willeford, who after all really did see the accident since she was standing right there next to Dick (that is, if we can believe the stories they’ve been telling).

The Fault Lines on Torture