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View Diary: No Conservative Has Ever Reduced the Size and Intrusive Power of the Federal Government (52 comments)

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  •  Actually GOP conservatives DID reduce the size (9+ / 0-)

    and scope of government in the 1920's, with ultimately disasterous results (i.e. the crash of '29 and resulting Great Depression--not to mention an isolationism that allowed conditions in Europe to fester and boil over and ultimately lead to WWII). And, while technically not conservatives, Democrats such as Jefferson and Jackson, who shared certain anti-government views with modern conservatives, also reduced the size and scope of government, with similarly disasterous results (severe recessions and, in Jefferson's case, our military forces being completely unprepared for the War of 1812--which Jefferson helped bring about with his idiotic foreign and economic policies such as the Embargo Act).

    So, while modern conservatives actually increase the size of government (in ways that are unhelpful and often hurtful), their ideological and political forebearers, who did decrease government, did so incompetently and disasterously.

    Let's face it. Whether sincerely or dishonestly carried out, conservatism is a FAILED ideology that should never be let out of a self-styled vanity "think tank". It's an ideology for morons, fools, nutjobs and con artists. PERIOD.

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 09:00:18 AM PDT

    •  OK so why does half the voting public (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie, lostinamerica, bfbenn

      subscribe to it? The question is, are we willing to define  a good 50% of our neighbors and acquaintances and work-mates as being "morons, fools, nutjobs and con artists"?

      I don't think so. They have their reasons for thinking and voting the way they do, and we dismiss those reasons at our own peril.

      We tend to think, that if we can just elect Obama and enough Democrats, the path to a liberal America will be secured. I call that the DKos fallacy. America is not a liberal democracy, and we liberals have always been a minority, in a sea of right-wing, war-mongering idiocy.

      Even Obama is no kind of a liberal. Wall Street practically owns him, and the various other centers of American power like the Chamber of Commerce and AIPAC and the MIC limit his influence severely. But Obama is a gradualist, as I am, and he does not believe that deep changes should be made suddenly, but rather incrementally, little by little.

      I think Obama is tired. I think he sincerely believed that he could unite the nation, that he could heal the wounds caused by Bush the Lesser, and unite us all in a higher vision. I think his failure to do this has exhausted him, and turned his hair gray in four years.

      It's possible that Obama will win another four years, but equally possible that he will not -- in which case we will participate in an irreversible slide into outright fascism under Romney. And what that might entail, who knows? It does not bear thinking about.

      "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

      by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:16:07 PM PDT

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      •  If he truly believed that then he too was a fool (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, LeftHandedMan

        Sorry, being smart and well-educated doesn't mean that you can't also be a fool. There was absolutely zero room for the sort of "post-partisanship" that he championed during the '08 campaign (and which frankly I always thought and continue to think was more PR than genuine belief), and if he believed otherwise, he was a fool. More likely, he pretended to believe it because he thought it made for good PR--which it did, until it didn't.

        In any case, just because slightly over 50% of the electorate sometimes votes GOP at the presidential level (I think it rarely if ever does at the congressional, state and local level in terms of total numbers) doesn't mean that they all do because they like or buy into conservative mantra. Probably 30-40% do, while the rest are either moderate but loyal Repubs, right-leaning indies, or centrist Dems who sometimes cross the aisle. These latter types don't necessarily buy into conservatism so much as they sometimes prefer the more conservative candidate--or dislike the more liberal one.

        But to he extent that many of these truly do buy into conservatism--modern, movement, fiscal and social conservatism--then yes, I believe that they one of the above. Some are truly insane or effectively so, like Steve King or Allen West. Some are morons, also like Steve King or Allen West. Many are con artists like Romney or Ryan. I should also add that many are racists, or at least tribalists who are more about racial and cultural identity than policies and ideas. And many are just plain fools, low-info politically detached types who believe whatever they're told by the news outlets they tend to trust the most, uncritically. They might be "smart", but on politics, they're just fools.

        Seriously, can there be any other reason to believe in modern conservatism since it clearly doesn't work and logically can never work (not to mention is inherently racist, sexist, intolerant and mean)? I'm all ears.

        And while I believe that Americans tend to be more conservative than liberal culturally and socially these days, and even ideologically, I also believe that they tend to prefer liberal over conservative policies when they're properly explained to them. The disconnect is largely due to conservatives' much more successful effort to sell conservatism to Americans than liberals' effort to sell liberalism. Part of this is systemic, given that media outlets tend to be run by more conservative-leaning people (or people who favor conservative policies because they favor them). But part is because conservatives have just been better at it than liberals. That's unfortunate and didn't have to be that way.

        I'm not calling for or predicting a glorious liberal future. Most Americans will probably never fully embrace liberalism, because it seems to run against certain long-held American values like self-reliance and liberty, and because liberals refuse to lie about it to make it sell better, unlike conservatives. But I do believe that we can and should nudge Americans in a more liberal direction, gradually, both ideologically and politically, and in policy. We used to be more liberal. Why can't that be true again? I think it can. And although Obama is certainly no FDR or LBJ, and has validated certain conservative ideas, he's also, I believe, shifted things in a somewhat more liberal direction, in term of ideas (e.g. we should all have decent and affordable health care) and policy (e.g. ACA). But he can't and won't do it by himself. All of us have to help.

        And that goes way beyond GOTV, extending to day to day discussions we have with non-liberals, LTE's and online comments in media sites, community action, books and articles that some of us write, courses that we teach and speeches and lectures we give, rallies, protests, and yes, even posting here.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:59:19 PM PDT

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        •  I feel rather honored for an extended response (0+ / 0-)

          from kovie, one of the best of the best on DKos IMHO, and I agree as usual with most of what he says.

          But if we can manage to "nudge Americans in a more liberal direction" that is the extent of what we can hope to do. We cannot change the fact that a great plurality of Americans are hopelessly ignorant and bigoted, and are determined to remain so, for one reason or another. Otherwise the polls would not be what they are.

          Our countrymen are not in fact, what we would like them to be. Or rather, not nearly enough of them are, to achieve the kind of nation that we liberals envision. There seems to be a fundamental dichotomy, inherent in our national psyche, that precludes both compromise and common sense.

          We will never rid ourselves of this dichotomy by hurling insults at the opposing side, no matter how well-deserved the insults might, or might not be. The Enemy is not about to go away, no matter who wins the election.

          DKos focuses on reform of the Democratic Party, as a way to reform the American political landscape in general, and I think that's a reasonable strategy. Or at least a strategy that reasonable people can embrace. The problem is, Democratic politicians are almost as likely to lead us into the Next World War as their Republican cohorts are. It's hard for a liberal such as myself to endorse Democrats who advocate and promote dangerous hostility vis a vis Iran, to no benefit whatsoever for the USA. The same way most Democats followed Bush the Lesser sheeplike into Iraq and Afghanistan. And even now refuse to admit their guilt.

          Yes, those Democrats - including most of them in the Congress. They would include Hillary Clinton and many other Democrats, tied I would bet, to the MIC in some way, or otherwise obligated. Is Obama any better? I have my doubts.

          He's better than Romney, no doubt - but that's not saying much. When I see so much DKos energy and intelligence and insight focused on the narrow goal of augmenting the Democratic Party, I have to question whether this institution is worthy of our energies.

          "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

          by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 06:00:41 PM PDT

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    •  Well what bugs me are these pseudo-intellectual (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie, LeftHandedMan

      "think tanks" full of academic scholars who just happen to promote a right-wing agenda. Not that they were engineered to be that way, via kickbacks and promotions, but from a purely objective viewpoint of course, replete with a veneer of intellectual integrity.

      "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

      by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:35:55 PM PDT

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      •  They're funded by corporate and rich dude money (4+ / 0-)

        What more does one need to know than that to understand what their real purpose is? They're set up structurally to seem like legitimate academic institutions, and many of them have some token legitimate scholars (e.g. Norm Ornstein at AEI). But at heart they're all about advancing the RW ideological and corporate agenda and will rarely veer from that.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 04:05:51 PM PDT

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        •  Yup. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          lostinamerica

          And yet they get all kinds of fawning press, as if they were somehow importantly knowledgeable. Which they are not. Ooo-la-la, so-and-so from the American Enterprise Institute made such-and-such a pronouncement, so says the Wall Street Journal.

          And we're all supposed to sit back and listen respectfully? Applaud maybe? Paid-for academics are a dime a dozen, and these AEI jerks are about the worst of a very motley crew.

          "Here's another nice mess you've gotten me into." - Oliver Hardy

          by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 06:39:30 PM PDT

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    •  Thanks, I was going to make this point (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftHandedMan, native, kovie

      Harding and Coolidge had large conservative Republican majorities in both houses of Congress for all 8 years of their reign.  Harding was probably more interested in having sex with his mistresses and in drinking whiskey with his buddies while he praised and enforced Prohibition, but Coolidge was a doctrainaire who was very successful in getting his program enacted to substantially reduce taxes, then paid by the wealthier minority, and in eliminating or reducing what little the federal government was doing to bring some rationality to the economy.

      "We have always known that heedless self-interest was bad morals, now we know that it is bad economics." Franklin Delano Roosevelt, Jan. 20, 1937

      by Navy Vet Terp on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:17:20 PM PDT

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