Like Dr. Evil in the Austin Powers movies (though with actual hair and far better duds than a 1967 Nehru jacket), Steve Green has an excellent suggestion: “My Fellow Conservatives, Let’s Be Bad Guys!”
By the numbers: since President Barack Obama was sworn in, the financial markets have dropped to ten-year lows, housing prices are off by ten percent or more, nearly a million jobs have been lost, federal discretionary spending has doubled, the share of federal spending as a percentage of gross domestic product is set to soar by 50% by the end of the year, and there’s to be a trillion dollars in new taxes, trillions more in new debts, and even more trillions due as interest payments. Oh — and Republicans are the bad guys.
I say: Yeah, OK, we can do that.
A few years back, television writer/producer/directory/visionary Joss Whedon made a little libertarian-themed science fiction movie called Serenity. In it, our ragtag band of heroes make their way around the ‘verse by trading freely when they can and by stealing from the corrupt, oppressive central government when they must. Before launching a minor raid on a government stash of ill-gotten gold, Jayne, the hired muscle (played with an endearingly ignorant malice by Adam Baldwin), cocks his shotgun menacingly — is there any other way? — and suggests, “Let’s be bad guys.”
Yes. Exactly. Let’s.
A big difference between Ronald Reagan and John McCain is that the former knew there would always be a percentage of people to whom his ideas and personality would be anathema, and he didn’t try to be all things to all people. McCain was (and is) desperate to be loved by Washington insiders, power brokers, and, as Charlie Schumer would say, the chattering class. And for a time he was–until they decided, why have a moderate Republican, when you can have the real thing? A seemingly moderate sounding Democrat.
But why be quasi-evil? Why be the Diet Coke of evil–just one calorie, not evil enough? As Steve concludes, “We’re stuck [being] the bad guys. But don’t simply accept it; revel in it. In the movies, after all, the bad guys are usually the people having the most fun. All we need to do is the baddest thing of all: change the rules.”
Read the whole thing–in an evil Blofeldian accent that’s strangely reminiscent of Lorne Michaels, of course.