I'm back. Bob--aka "Badger." Cope still thinks the Boise Weekly staff wants to beat him up, so here I am. I shouldn't have agreed to write the column for him again, not after the way he censored me like a sonofab**** last week, but I did. This time, though, I'm trying something different. If Cope can conjure up characters to say what he hasn't got the nerve to say himself, so can I. I'm calling my guy "Beagle Billy." I think of beagles as yappy little sniffy dogs that chew on people's feet--which is pretty much the way I envision Billy. I thought about calling him "Blustering Billy the Bilious Boob," but that's too involved for dumb people to remember. And unlike Cope, I want even dumb people to pay attention. It's their country, too.
Here goes, the first column ever by Beagle Billy.
Beagle Billy here, filling in for Badger Bob, who's filling in for somebody named Cope, and I come today to argue that Boise State needs more conservative guest speakers. Definitely.
By all means, President Kustra! I enthusiastically add my voice to that of good ol' New Plymouth senator boy Monty J. Pearce in suggesting that Boise State students need to hear more conservatives speak. I'll go Monty one better. I say all of Idaho needs to hear more conservatives speak. Indeed, the whole country needs to hear more conservatives speak. Bring 'em on. Make my day. Rack 'em up. In fact, I believe the Legislature should impose a quota system on all of the state's institutions of higher education requiring that fully one-half of all guest speakers must be conservatives.
Make that five-eighths. Aw, what the heck! Let's make it an even three-quarters. Far as I'm concerned, there's no such thing as too many conservative speakers. Know why? Because the more conservatives speak, the more liberal America gets, have you noticed?
It hasn't always been that way. Go back 20, even 10 years, and conservative speakers were actually turning heads. Never mind that the heads they were turning didn't have a lot in them to begin with. Face it, we all know guys who eagerly welcomed Rush Limbaugh in the mid-1980s because here, finally, was a man who could get away with insulting blacks, women, intellectuals, 13-year-old Chelsea Clinton, liberals, moderates, gays, anyone different, common sense, the truth ... just like a pompous, fat, no-talent, ignorant, white guy oughta be entitled to do in America.
Yes, 20 years ago, the combined conservative buzz was gathering steam, enlisting recruits, swaying opinion, giving thoughtless people something to think they were thinking about. The South was on the rise, and along with it, everything that has made us thankful over the last 150 years that the North won the war.
But the tide has turned, can you feel it? The rise of the Right has gone flat. Like a souffle that got too big for its britches, the conservative surge has collapsed in onto itself, and all we hear now are the escaping gases.
Not to say there aren't plenty of conservatives around. But look at it this way: It's like when you're rousting your children out of bed in the morning. One of them has to be the last to wake up and get moving, isn't that just the way it is? That's how I think of Idaho, as that last little slowpoke who'd rather go on dreaming.
How is it that a movement--which as recently as 2000 seemed so confident it would never again be stowed away in the dusty national attic where crazy aunts and ugly baggage truly belong--has come to such an impasse?
Two reasons, basically. The first, and most simple, is that there are only so many stupid people to go around, and the Right scarfed up the lion's share. What did they think? That there was an endless supply of stupid people to recruit? Absolutely not! There's a limit to everything, and that includes stupid people.
Secondly, and most decidedly, it has to do with that debilitating Rhetoric vs. Reality problem that afflicts conservatives. In so many ways, these people have shown that the Americans least likely to be up to walking the walk they spend so much time talking about are themselves. In a way, they are much like one-name celebrities--Cher, Liberace, Yanni--in that we can describe six years of massive failure with a minimum of proper nouns. Katrina. Walter Reed. Iraq.
Even conservatives don't trust conservatives anymore to do anything right. What few smart ones there are--George Will, Andrew Sullivan, William Buckley--have abandoned ship.
But it goes deeper than mere incompetence. It's like when Ann Coulter impugned John Edwards as a "f****t" at that big conservative convention a couple of weeks ago. Everyone knows Edwards isn't gay, even those slobbering CPAC dullards. But they all laughed anyway, didn't they? Big funny. As funny as a fart in church ... as we used to say in the sixth grade. Coulter spoke a despicable lie that even they knew was a lie, yet they still embrace her.
Or take when Gingrich made his confession about how he was "porking" (and in Newt's case, I don't use that word lightly) a woman outside the sanctity of his marriage, even while he was trying to destroy Bill Clinton over Monica.
Or take Bill O'Reilly's recent comments about the kidnapped Missouri boy enjoying his abuse. Or David Kou's book about how Carl Rove and the Bush administration have been playing Evangelicals like a cheap flute.
Ah, but there is so much more. And all of it points to one, inescapable truth. There is nothing behind their mask. There is no reasoning behind those empty eyes. There is no joy behind that painted smile. There is no goodness within their preaching, and there is nothing of value in their steady incantation of values. And the more they talk, the more Americans see how hollow their words are.
So then, President Kustra, be my guest. Fill your school calendar with the most vicious conservative dogs you can find. Without doubt, they'll snag the stupid ones, but we liberals don't need--or want--the stupid ones. We'll be perfectly happy with the moderates, the independents, the thoughtful ones--all of those who recognize that noxious smell of decay coming from the Right.
It's me. Bob. I've read and reread Beagle's piece, and I'm still not sure if I'll keep him around. He came out sounding way too much like Cope for my taste, only a tad snottier. In fact, if Cope doesn't watch his a**, this Billy guy could have his job, I tell you what.