March 05, 2008

Bushites Gone Wild

My friend Dan McCarthy has an excellent take on the recent White House scandal in which the president?s ?liaison to the conservative movement and religious Right? was caught plagiarizing his guest columns at his local paper?a little skullduggery so brazen and ham-fisted that a crusading blogger was able to uncover the charade with merely a few clicks on google.

?One might wonder why there seems to be an unusual number of conservatives lately getting nabbed for things like plagiarism and shoplifting. I think the mixture of power-mania and personalized religion that mainstream conservatives have embraced in recent years has something to do with it. (If you know you?re on the side of the angels when it comes to big matters like the GWOT and abortion, what does it matter if you cheat a little ? especially when you have a close personal relationship with Jesus?)

I think Dan is definitely getting at something here?although perhaps it?s not exactly accurate with respect to Goeglein. 

As Dan mentioned, Goeglein actually sent a note to a ?paleo professor? (perhaps Taki readers might guess who this is) congratulating him on the publication of his book, and ?a certain paleo editor received a cordial invitation to lunch with Goeglein.? This last person was I, and I must say that I actually enjoyed talking with Goeglein about the GOP and conservatism over Bratwursts in a restaurant just a block away from the White House. Whatever the Left wants to say about him, Goeglein struck me as more than a Rovian Machiavel interested only in mobilizing the megachurches and the ?vangies to vote Bush. He actually seemed to have a genuine sense that the conservative movement was something distinctive from the GOP and possessing its own literary tradition?a tradition he seemed reasonably well-acquainted with. He told me that many Bush haters often told him, ?you?re not one of them.? Perhaps he wasn?t. 

In this line, it?s worth comparing Goeglein?s crimes with those of other Bushites gone wild. Take, for instance, the revolting Jeff Gannon, who appeared nude on gay escort-service websites and then had a short-lived career brown-nosing Scott McClellan. Then there?s the shop-lifting former White House aide Claude Allen. Goeglein?s compulsive cribbing is risible?it?s the kind crime one would expect to find in a college dorm. But then he did have the good taste to copy from a movement stalwart like Jeffrey Hart. Is there a term for a hack with grand pretensions? 

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