Two weeks ago, I wrote that the breakdown of the nation's financial industry was undeniably a self-induced injury; that it would finally force conservatives to own up to the wrongheadedness of their deregulatory project; that they couldn't possibly blame the disaster on any of their traditional bogeymen.
But I had forgotten about conservatives' extraordinary instincts for blame-evasion. This is a movement, after all, that blandly recasts its greatest idols as traitors once their popularity has crashed; that routinely sloughs off responsibility for . . . well . . . anything since, by its logic, conservatism has never really been tried in the first place. Consider in this respect Mitt Romney's remarkable speech to the Republican convention a few weeks ago, in which he rallied his party against Washington -- a place his party has controlled, to one degree or another, for nearly three decades -- by listing the city's various institutions and crying, "It's liberal!"
Or consider the way the House Republicans torpedoed the bailout bill a few days ago. The real reason they did it was almost certainly to evade responsibility for an unpopular measure but the announced reason seemed designed to convince the nation's 7-year-olds -- because Nancy Pelosi said something mean.
On economic questions the standard exculpatory maneuver is even simpler. When some free-market scheme blows up, one needs only find an institution of government in close proximity to the wreckage and commence accusing.
The GOP is unable to every accept responsibility for anything. They have thoroughly screwed up two wars and the economy and they insist that nothing is their fault. As if they have been little more than by-standers all these years. It's pathetic and sickening. The GOP deserves the electoral drubbing that it will be getting this fall and then some. Perhaps the few sane Republicans left can regain some control over the party and take it back from the religious base and the Grover Norquists foot soldiers. That coalition is funamentally unserious about governing and shouldn't be allowed anywhere near the levers of power.
Go give it a read. We need to support Frank at the WSJ, one of the very few voices of sanity on their op-ed pages.