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Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan are running to be in charge of the most powerful nation on Earth. They are doing so as budget men without any numbers to budget, policy fixers with no specific policy to grasp, and as cold, hard facts executives with no cold, hard facts to understand. Other than that, they are a pair of policy wonks and numbers guys.

It's important to fully realize just what a dangerous lowering of the bar they both represent. Basically, they are a tag-team pair of serial liars who are completely comfortable with trying to bullshit their way into the White House, just four short years after the last Movement Conservative tandem of bullshit artists nearly tossed America into a second Great Depression.

Now, I happen to believe that President Obama and VP Biden will win the 2012 election in the end, and that we will both manage to hold on to the US Senate and make real gains in the House as well. But after this election is over, when it comes time to look ahead to where we go and what we do after the 2012 race is over.

Isn't it time we made conservatism, specifically Movement Conservatism, 100% toxic?

The Big Lie About Small Government.

Let's start with the biggest canard holding up the great pyramid of fraud that is Conservatism. There are certain talking points, memes, and frames that are fundamentally important to the modern American Right. About taxes. Guns. Foreign policy. Immigration. Abortion. But there is one that is absolutely essential to the movement as a whole. Something that has to be believed by the masses and the traditional media at large or it will fundamentally effect Movement Conservatism's ability to do what it does. The Big Lie About Small Government.

Movement Conservatism is fundamentally about the permanent establishment of, and the Republican Party is uncompromisingly fighting legislatively to achieve, a small, fiscally responsible, and unintrusive federal government.
Well, at least here on Earth, there's just a little pink elephant in the room with that:

It's total 100% unadulterated bullshit.

No Conservative President, nor Congressional Majority, Has Ever Reduced the Size and Intrusive Power of the Federal Government. Not Nixon. Not Ronald Reagan. Not Dubya. Not the 'Contract On America' crowd. Nor Teahadi. None of them. In fact, not only hasn't the "Small Government" loving Movement Conservative Right ever really even tried to do what they say, but they have actually almost always either greatly expanded its powers, costs, and its deficits, or simply let the status-quo remain. All while the rabble and glibertati grumble and grouse about the burden and cost of the State for cheap theatrical effect.

The stunning depth of the bamboozlement that is occuring is utterly breathtaking.

Movement Conservatism is fundamentally about the permanent establishment of, and the Republican Party is uncompromisingly fighting legislatively to achieve, a massively intrusive federal government beholden to the whims of big corporations and the wealthy.
If you were to sit down and really seriously think about what it is that the Republican Party has traditionally been willing to do about actually enacting their oft-stated ideological agenda about government, it's almost always easy stuff. Like cutting taxes without attempting any offsetting spending cuts. Gutting regulations that protect the environment, the poor, and the middle class. Savagely attacking the social safety net. It is a dangerous myth that we are fighting over the size of the State in America in the 21rst century. We're not.

We are currently at risk of living through a second Gilded Age, and should the Right push us there it won't an age of small government. The United Corporate States of America will be big.

Every single penny that has ever been saved by non-Movement Conservatives choosing painful austerity and hard fiscal medicine to "prove they are as fiscally responsible" has essentially been for naught. There are no "Grand Bargains" that will not lead directly to another round of massive, and lingering, tax reductions for the rich. The Democrats have tried 'bipartisanship' for decades. Acted in good faith with bad faith Republicans.

There is another way.

Somebody has to say that Conservatism has Failed.

Movement Conservative economics are a massive failure. Deregulation and lack of adequate oversight alone almost destroyed the most powerful economy on the planet. Privatization is frought with endless epic fail. Neoconservative foreign policy is one conjob after quagmire after tar pit after fallen hornet's nest after another. Further, where Movement Conservatism hasn't failed, what remains is entirely a work of fiction.

Movement Conservatism is vulnerable in that it depends on a clean latticework of accepted lies. It has thrived for decades because far too many have not forcefully challenged its mythologies. The GOP has an existential need for Democrats to play by their rules, because they can't win an argument that isn't rigged by the process or the referees, or both, being slanted.

How many freakouts have we seen, in the last six months alone, by the Right over the Democrats fighting back hard and the reaction to that being as if that's against the rules somehow? Sometimes I feel like I'm not seeing the same thing that our pols are seeing, because I can't count the number of times the Right has telegraphed that they don't like getting hit, and that lesson doesn't seem to stick at all.

If your opponents absolutely believe that the illusion of strength is actually strength, then even a paper tiger can rule with an iron paw that isn't. As a non-Movement Conservative, if you root deeply into the history of Movement Conservatism you will find that Rove-Atwater-Teabaggery simply doesn't deal well with direct and aggressive confrontation. Imagine a massive, noisy, and grim-looking paper mache tank. If you aren't immediately scared, then it is very likely that they are. If you aren't immediately retreating, then it is also very likely that they soon will be, and a lot of them running away embarassingly fast. From the Terry Schaivo debacle to the Komen for the Cure assault on Planned Parenthood disaster to Rush Limbaugh's "slut" overreach massacre, our recent political history alone is full of examples of why the Right is utterly dependent on all of those outside of it to 'just take our word for it, you don't want to mess with us'.

Conservatism is based on a combination of pure bullshit and bad policy.

There's no small and limited government party in our two-party system, only a lie that there is. Your choices as an American are between good governance and rule by the Koch brothers fiat. The frame that the Right offers, between "Big" and "Small" government is a staggeringly phony one that needs to be attacked viciously and without mercy. The GOP is the party of ushering in the Corporatized MegaState.

Your son in the Marines in a firebase under seige in some godawful faraway place, dug in deep and hoping that the BlackWater privateers backing him up don't get a better offer. Your kids playing on buried 55 gallon drums of godknowswhat because Big Chem, backed up by Scalitos on the bench, gets to dictate the scope of environmental laws. Your grandkids in a corporate Right-to-Work McSchool run by Kaplan.

Not only did the patron saint of modern "small" government Movement Conservatism, President Ronald Reagan, not reduce the size, expense, or the intrusive power of the federal government, he actually expanded it, upped its cost, and gave the State new invasive powers than some of his thought-to-be less ideologically pure Republican Presidential peers.

When Government has been shrunk, it has been shrunk at the hands of two Presidents from the hated party of "Big Government", that one that "always" thinks that "Government is Always the Answer" and is "Never Ever in Favor of Trimming the Fat". And those experiments have failed to deliver the lasting positive results the fake party of small government says will simply always occur when you do what they say will work. Democrats don't expose the fraud, and make an argument to change the argument, and they don't fundamentally change the game.

Movement Conservatism is like any hearty weed, you ruin it by attacking it at its roots. This is also a target rich environment for a motivated gardener with weed killer.

Just another late night, can't sleep, up and thinking ahead to what comes next.

Originally posted to LeftHandedMan on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 01:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by The Federation, Political Language and Messaging, Dream Menders, and Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (111+ / 0-)

    I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

    by LeftHandedMan on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 01:33:37 AM PDT

  •  Great solid writing, and critically important (37+ / 0-)

    As you say,

    There's no small and limited government party in our two-party system, only a lie that there is. Your choices as an American are between good governance and rule by the Koch brothers fiat. The frame that the Right offers, between "Big" and "Small" government is a staggeringly phony one that needs to be attacked viciously and without mercy. The GOP is the party of ushering in the Corporatized MegaState.
    [emphasis added]

    The huge bear market basically from the 1980s through 2008, along with a barrage of instantaneous electronic calculation and constant entertainment, has produced a sort of slick quicksand that seems to strip many people of any sense of truth, history, or compassion and pull them into a hallucinatory state that is bored with reality and dreams of nothing but control.

    As the Spanish painter Goya put it, "The dream of reason produces monsters."

  •  Conservatives only reduce the sanity of government (19+ / 0-)

    They want it to be just like them.

    Everything there is to know about the GOP: They're the Bad Guys.

    by Troubadour on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 02:40:51 AM PDT

  •  Dark times ahead. (12+ / 0-)

    I worry about this stuff all the time. Funny thing is, I won't be affected by a lot of it being a middle-aged white man. But it bugs the shit out of me nonetheless because a lot of people are going to get hurt, even the Romney voters of the middle class.

    The Republican Party is now the sworn enemy of the United States of America.

    Listen to All Over The Place - we play all kinds of music!

    by TheGreatLeapForward on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 04:49:41 AM PDT

    •  To be honest (5+ / 0-)

      the more I think about the way the Movement Conservative Right does business, the more I think about how they made a concentrated, almost to the point of a laser-like focus, to rig the game.

      They need that. From policy negotiations to running for office, they need their opponents to go into battle playing by their rules, and taking things off the table they demand be off the table as attacks, because they have a really hard time dealing with assaults on their positions. They are hard to defend when they have to defend their track records and positions without a fuzzed up haze of muddy water, navel gazing from the people trying to change the discussion.

      And yet, we keep ending up the underdog against a loser movement, custom built for people who are only winners because they were born on third base, that dominates only when it gets treated like, no matter what, they are the '27 New York Yankees.

      Even their wealth-fueled bullshit machine can't handle a real fight. Sherrod Brown is a testiment to the limitations of buying your way out of trying to beat truth and unashamed conviction with passive-aggressive lie fueled weaksauce. Up until the painful first Presidential debate, Romney's lies were backed by millions and the President was thumping him.

      Winning ideas don't require a rigged game. To break the media, to turn "liberal" into a toxic term, to ratfuck minorities and other non-Conservative voters out of the right to vote, to make opinions "facts" and facts "opinions".

      I keep coming back to the same place.

      We don't attack Conservatism the way the Right attacks non-Conservative alternatives, and we should.

      They not only deserve it, but their track record is full of fail that is only survivable because liberals and true moderates do them the favor of not ripping the foundation of their house of cards down.

      Non-Movement Conservatives, not just liberals but moderates as well, seem to have what I call a "common sense will save us" fallacy built into their thinking about politics. That some things are so vile, so stupid, so obviously wrong... that they are self-discrediting.

      Well. There is no such thing as a self-discredited idea as long as the Conservative era of undeserved credibility for seriousness continues. Literally nothing. I would even go so far as to say that, as long as Conservatism itself is not fiercely attacked as a monumental failure, settled law that serves in the best interests of the nation, like the Civil Rights Act and the EPA, will be assaultable by the Right because they have figured out that nobody is trying to fundamentally undermine their credibility.

      It infuriates me that we are far more likely to have a mass outbreak of hippy punching instead of wingnut punching when things go wrong or sideways. The fallout from the debate is exactly what I am talking about. The whining about the debate fallout was bad, and instead of rallying, whining and grousing about the first wave of  whiners and grousers breaks out.

      What goes unsaid is that the reason that there is so much freak-out in the ranks of non-Movement Conservatives is that they expect to get fucked over. Punching the shellshocked and screaming at them to toughen up and stop being wimps and crybabies is not a cure for trauma. It just divides your tent into pockets of resentment to go along with fear and fatalism.

      The only way to rid non-Movement Conservatism of the built-in expectation of Lucy with the Football-ism, is to offer a new fight. A fundamental changing of the war. The Democratic Party has been flirting with finding a way to win that also lets them distance themselves from the ideas and policies and positions that make the party worth fighting for.

      If anything, non-Movement Conservatives are embracing Movement Conservative ideas, memes, and frames and trying to use them to produce liberal outcomes. The danger of this is that it produces phyrric victories that can be undone later, undermine non-Conservative arguments, and move the national conversation rightward instead of back towards the center left or outright left.

      It's not building the party as much as it's helping the Right establish itself as the dominant player in all forms of Americans political life.

      The only way to win an argument is to make a counter-argument, and one great way to start doing that is to get everybody on the same page and attacking Movement Conservatism as a massive failure, because it is.

      As long as anybody on our sides is treating this unserious clownshow as something to be respected, or feared, we will be the underdogs and always burdened with dead weight unborn by the other side.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:20:43 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  All feed at the SAME corporate trough = un-dem. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        LeftHandedMan, George3

        TIME to get money out of politics once and for all.

        - SIX CORPORATIONS own the newz
        - continuing to make money on campaign BS
        - that no one cares about but... wait for it
                ... the corporation, again!

        Feels sick, like gambling in Vegas - the corporation always wins.

        We the people must regain our democracy... now.
        NO MORE LIES.

        “The whole aim of practical politics is to keep the populace alarmed (and hence clamorous to be led to safety) by menacing it with an endless series of hobgoblins, all of them imaginary.”
        —  H. L. Mencken
  •  Somebody has to say that Conservatism has Failed (14+ / 0-)

    it's a lot easier to say that when they stop winning elections. For whatever many reasons there are, the root of the problem is a large segment of the voting public.

    •  Conservatism, or perhaps we should say (7+ / 0-)

      neo-conservatism, has failed as policy, but conservatives haven't failed as power hungry, unscrupulous cheats. They are very good at seizing and exercising power, but the results are disastrous for the country and even the world since we export "democracy" with a heavy dose of war.

      "The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. Now do you begin to understand me?" ~Orwell, "1984"

      by Lily O Lady on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 12:33:18 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  I would argue we have let (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      wxorknot, George3, lostinamerica

      Conservatism off the hook by not making them pay for their myriad of mistakes. I have yet to see a referendum on Movement Conservatism. Even after they almost dropped us into a second Great Depression.

      If we want to short out the ability of the Right to do what it does, we have to actually short out the ability of the Right to do what it does by discrediting it.

      We don't really attack Conservatism as a failure the way we should. It's a failure and this should be one of the biggest and most frequent criticisms we make.

      In a lot of ways, the Democratic Party is institutionally too nice. A lot of times we are too nice and too civil for our own good. Dems and their party sometimes really go out of their way to show respect to laughable notions and ideas and treat unserious bad faith actors as if they are serious and acting in good faith.

      I get that there are a lot of forces (working against it) in DC and around the nation that don't want a Democratic Party that makes a strong counter-argument to Conservatism. Why should we help?

      The last thing the Right wants is a two-sided Culture War, beause they would lose.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:26:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You took the words right out of my mouth . . . (20+ / 0-)

    Seeing that hypocritical Joe Scarborough brought this very thought to mind. Joe always separates himself from any Republican whose latest perfidy is being exposed to the world. Because, unlike all of those other "bad Republicans" out there, Joe is "a small government conservative." Of course, he immediately exposes the lie because he can't help linking himself up with that other conservative of conservatives, the kingpin of conservatism and small government -- Ronald Reagan. And, of course, even a quick examination of Reagan exposes the lie.

    The other big lie, of course, is Reagan the Tax Hater. His one tax reduction exposed the fallacy of the Big Lie. The economy tanked and he had to raise taxes several times and still left with a huge deficit.

    There are two kinds of Republicans. 1. Those who drank the Kool-Aid and simply believe the lies without bothering to examine the facts. 2. Those who know it's all a big lie and simply tell the base the myths it wants to hear.

  •  Very important -- crucial -- analysis (16+ / 0-)

    Just look at the two most recent two term Republican presidents.  Reagan expanded the government as his administration tried to spend the Soviet Union out of existence and continued to spend even after Gorbachev decided he wasn't going to play any more. W created at least one new bureaucracy within government -- the Department of Homeland Security -- and increased the COST of it with the two wars.  Heck, even though the National Security Council was created when Truman signed the bill creating it, it was Eisenhower who expanded it into a parallel State department.

    Tipped, rec'd and republished to a couple of groups.

    -7.75, -8.10; All it takes is security in your own civil rights to make you complacent, and we are all Wisconsin.

    by Dave in Northridge on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 06:26:21 AM PDT

    •  If the entire DHS monstrosity were eliminated (7+ / 0-)

      tomorrow, I would feel much more secure than I do today. How can the American Right possibly champion such a bloated, intrusive, fabulously expensive creature, while at the same time pretending to advocate for a small "hands-off" style of government? It doesn't make any sense.

      And the wars! The constant push to get us involved in war after war, with no end in sight. How in the world can they square that with "limited government"? I have no idea. And I suspect, neither do they.

      This is a terrific essay by LeftHandedMan. Primo late-night writing, and thinking.

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

      by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 12:10:47 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You can take it back (17+ / 0-)

    a lot further than Reagan. At its essence, the Republican party, which was founded on the premise that slavery was bad, rapidly morphed into the pro business party replacing Hamilton's Whigs. The guts of the Reagan revolution go back to the 1950's discovery that the "conservative" movement could appeal to authoritarian followers. Thus, the John Birch Society, which is still with us and has a booth at the annual right wing conflagration in DC. Karl Rove traces his intellectual lineage to Mark Hanna, William McKinley's Rove who publicly stated that big business was now living int he White House and the house was open for business.

    Jefferson said:

    "Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties:

    1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers
    from them into the hands of the higher classes.

    2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in
    them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although
    not the most wise depository of the public interests. In every country
    these two parties exist, and in every one where they are free to think,
    speak, and write, they will declare themselves. Call them, therefore,
    Liberals and Serviles, Jacobins and Ultras, Whigs and Tories,
    Republicans and Federalists, Aristocrats and Democrats, or by whatever
    name you please, they are the same parties still, and pursue the same
    object. The last appellation of Aristocrats and Democrats is the true
    one expressing the essence of all."

    Small government translates exactly as "no regulation no protection for labor". It is now and always has been a class war and too many in my class have drunk the kool aid.

    "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

    by johnmorris on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 07:03:00 AM PDT

    •  Too true. Yet currently we have nearly half of, (4+ / 0-)

      or even more than half of the populace embracing the ideals of Jefferson's "Aristocrats". Why would they do that? How could this be?  Is there some sort of mass-suicidal impulse that liberals have failed to discern?

      Or a mass-identification perhaps, with the rich and famous among us, the "successful" people as it were? The desire and hope that we too, though lowly-born and presently disadvantaged, may some day rise to dream-like heights of prosperity and power? Is that what the "American Dream" is fundamentally made of, for so many "Conservative" Americans?

      The pirate mentality, the casino mentality, the winner-take-all mentality which is essentially criminal in nature, has always been a big part of the American psyche. It favors independence over regulation. It favors Dirty Harry over Jimmy Carter. We have folk heroes like Jesse James and Billy the Kid and J.P. Morgan, who defied authority but either won the day, or lost it in a blaze of mythological glory.

      Martin Luther King.... only recently and not so much. As for Gandhi, who the fuck is he? The  rational, well-educated, and relatively compassionate side of the American character is not so deeply rooted as the other side of it.

      Americans are largely an ill-educated people, though we are passionately opinionated, generous, proud, greedy, and ambitious.

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

      by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 01:08:50 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Part of the mystery (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        native, Russgirl, George3, palantir

        can be cleared up by reading Bob Altmeyer's

        He has spent a long time answering the question "Why are there authoritarian followers?" Its really a conundrum. But its also a constant in our history. It might be the case that education would solve the problem but at least part of it is emotional preference for a "strong leader" to "keep us safe".

        "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

        by johnmorris on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:39:54 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  That explains it well, but how strong (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          do you feel this authoritatarian current to be? We live in revolutionary times, when all manner of religious, political and ethical paradigms are being overturned.

          Ordinary people feel cast adrift from the moral and ethical sphere within which they have lived for generations.

          Human beings need a firm metaphysical foundation upon which to base their political loyalties, especially in chaotic times.

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

          by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 04:10:04 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  I'll give the answer (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            snazzzybird, native, lostinamerica

            to the question "how low can GW's approvals go?" Tyrone, without pausing says "27%". John says "How do you know that?" Tyrone says "Barack Obama faces Allen Keyes in a Senate race in 2004. Keyes is from out of state so he has no local base. Both candidates are black so there's no racial advantage. And Keyes is so bug fuck nuts that he thinks abortion is the equivalent of the Holocaust. He pulls 27% of the vote. So, there is a reliable Republican constituency out there that is so bug fuck nuts, they'll never give up."

            I think those are the authoritarian followers. I know some of them. A firm metaphysical foundation doesn't have to be rational. I'm a Liberal Democrat from a labor background so I think mine is mostly rational but some of it is class consciousness. The R's, I don't know.

            "If I pay a man enough money to buy my car, he'll buy my car." Henry Ford

            by johnmorris on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:55:47 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

  •  The only thing that conservatives want to do with (13+ / 0-)

    government is to hand out big fat government to their own friends and supporters.

    Their meme of "limited government" has been proven wrong under GW Bush. They really only believe in "crony capitalism".

    "We must be the change we wish to see in the world" - Gandhi
    "The test of our progress is not whether we add more to the abundance of those who have much; it is whether we provide enough for those who have too little" – FDR

    by smokey545 on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 07:47:00 AM PDT

    •  Yeah, it's government by who you know, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      LeftHandedMan, lostinamerica

      what you can get from them, and what they can give you in return. In other words, it's the classical power game. Old as the hills. Democrats play it too, because most often it's the only game in town.

      Power is a combination of influence, money, and access. The ability to get things done. Ideology minus power will always be ignored, as being simply irrelevant. See, Dennis Kucinich.

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

      by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 01:31:14 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Small government?!? (8+ / 0-)

    Can anyone say:
    * Homeland Security
    * PATRIOT Act
    * Ma'am, what are you doing with your virgina?

    Yup. government can be a problem.

    Either you're wit' us or a Guinness -- Brilliant!

    by Unforgiven on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 08:08:28 AM PDT

  •  W didn't even cut HUD (6+ / 0-)

    HUD was energized during Clinton's Presidency. HOPE VI public housing design reforms were among the accomplishments of Sec. Henry Cisneros. But HUD's bureaucracy got smaller. Under W. HUD lost momentum, but grew in size. GOP hacks got sit around jobs and programs were focused on feeding greedy vendors("job creators"). Dems want government to work efficiently. GOP administrations want it to fail. The GOP is about failure. Thanks for pointing that out.

    Cities are good for the environment

    by citydem on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 08:20:53 AM PDT

  •  This diary would be even better with (7+ / 0-)

    a table of specific numbers that would be easy to cite in an argument.

    Fry, don't be a hero! It's not covered by our health plan!

    by elfling on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 08:29:33 AM PDT

    •  You are absolutely right (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, palantir

      and I apologise for a lack of them.

      I was, to be completely honest with you, putting a slew of ideas down on how to go about game changing after the election, what comes next, and going forward and taking these kinds of discussion to the next level beyond spitballing and seeing what others think this isn't going to be helped by a lack of numbers or examples.

      No excuses, I'll do better next time. You are right.  

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:30:03 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Guns. Foreign policy. Immigration. Abortion (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ozsea1, LeftHandedMan, wxorknot

    And Jeebus. Don't forget Conservative Jeebus.

    Perhaps one day the Fourth Estate will take their jobs seriously. Or not.

    by Anthony Page aka SecondComing on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 08:48:56 AM PDT

  •  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

      [ Parent ]

      •  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

        [ Parent ]

        •  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

          [ Parent ]

    •  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

      [ Parent ]

      •  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

        [ Parent ]

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

          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

          [ Parent ]

    •  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

      [ Parent ]

  •  During the Reagan years, (8+ / 0-)

    I shared an office with a young Republican and an early Reagan supporter. He believed in the small-government cant...until, a few years in, he read an article with a graphic in the WSJ that showed how, under Reagan, the counties around Washington, DC, had suddenly become among the most prosperous in the country. That wasn't supposed to happen if Reagan were really shrinking the government. The article pretty much ended his romance with movement conservatism.

    Terrific diary. Well done.

    The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

    by psnyder on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 10:10:02 AM PDT

    •  Isn't it weird though? (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      native, palantir, lostinamerica, psnyder

      He got enlightened by stumbling across a Movement Conservative news outlet that undermined the whole cause without probably thinking about their graphic or their article actuallly having the end result outcome of doing that.

      God, wouldn't it be great if that worked tens of millions of times? I wish.

      I really do believe in the idea that far too many times as non-Conservatives really do end up misguidedly believing that common sense and self-refuting arguments do our jobs for us.

      As your example shows, their is a lot of room to undermine the central premises and core beliefs that are just not true about the fruits of conservative policy outcomes.

      The problem is, these things don't point themselves out, and we can't depend on conservatives and resentful bamboozled folks to have fifty million "aha!" moments on their own.

      I am from the Elizabeth Warren and Darcy Burner wing of the Democratic Party

      by LeftHandedMan on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 03:35:58 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  And we can't depend on the mainstream media (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        to point them out, obvious though they may be. They see their job as being to entertain, not to inform.

        With the exception of Fox of course, which sees its job as being to propagandize and entertain simultaneously.

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

        by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 07:00:35 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, we can't depend on that. (0+ / 0-)

        I think that the biggest failing of the first Obama administration was Obama's belief that there was a bright line between politics and governing, and that once he commenced governing, he didn't have to do politics - to fight publicly and constantly for his policies and for the social vision that they represent. He thought that if he only pursued good policies, that would suffice; his policies would speak for themselves; good policies were good and enough politics. I think he's learned now that that is not the case.

        The GOP can't win on ideas. They can only win by lying, cheating, and stealing. So they do.

        by psnyder on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 10:02:58 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  Isn't that the irony? (5+ / 0-)

    My boss is an ultra-conservative.  He presents many passionate and thought-provoking arguments.  And I may even agree with him (a little) that the preservation of this society has been largely through conservative principles like fiscal responsibility and self-governance.

    But these greedy bastards running the Republican Party are none of these.  I knew it when Reagan was president, and I was a snot-nosed teenager.  The Republican Party is not a political ideology; it's a power-grab, a dedication to the most base human condition that I need to get the most I can for myself, at the expense of the poor and disenfranchised, and the rest of the world to go to hell.

    I do the best I can to educate my circle of influence.  It's hard to convince them of that when they have the "20% tax reduction" carrot dangling in their face.  Or when they absolutely believe that you're poor because you're too stupid to be anything else.

    God, I hope Obama and the Dems win this November.

    •  "Fiscal Responsibility and Self-Governance"... (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ozsea1, LeftHandedMan, native, palantir

      ...may be "conservative" when applied to one's personal life (I guess as opposed to being a "liberal spender"), but they have nothing to do with political conservatism or the conservative movement, and it is a mistake to use the words to imply that they do.  

      "Conservative" fiscal policy is that the wealthiest are always taxed too much (no matter how much they are actually taxed), and spending that helps the poor is always too high (no matter how much they have already cut from it).  "Conservative" fiscal policy says taxes on the wealthy do not have to be paid for, but benefits for the poor do (but not by raising taxes on those who can pay them).

      "Self-governance" (or as they're more likely to call it, "personal responsibility") is something that applies to other people, not themselves.  Whether it's using government funds from programs they have derided, getting abortions at clinics they have protested, or committing the voter fraud that they claim is rampant, there is always an excuse to explain why the rules they create for others shouldn't apply to them.

      "If you want me to treat your ideas with respect, get better ideas." John Scalzi

      by SoCalJayhawk on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 11:47:43 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I totally agree... (4+ / 0-)

        the point I was trying to make (inelegantly...ha!) was that the conservative movement as it exists today does not espouse conservative principles - hence, the irony.

        The boss I  mentioned goes to lengths to make me understand that he does not agree with Mitt Romney's agenda - but that it's not enough to make him change his vote.  I mentioned that Obama's agenda, in an effort to promote bipartisanship at the beginning of his term, actually is a nod to true conservative principles (Nixon created the EPA, for god's sake) but, as we lament constantly here and on other liberal sites, this version of the Republican party is a smash-and-grab, me-first philosophy.

        Makes me wonder how bad the Repubs need to screw up this country before we throw them, all of them, out.

        •  No, you made your point very well. (0+ / 0-)

          What used to be "conservatism" is no longer the same thing as it once was. Today's Republican Party has gone way off the deep end of fiscal, social, and foreign policy, and even responsibility -- to the point where it now espouses outright militarism, oppression of the lower classes, and private ownership and control of what used to be called the commons.

          To call these policies "conservative" is a misnomer, because they are in fact not conservative, but rather radical right-wing policies. They might appeal to your boss and other bosses, on account of their promise to reduce taxes on them, but the end result of this philosophy would not be at all pleasant, neither for your boss nor for his employees.

          The direction that the Republican Party is trying to take us, is toward an iron-clad Corporate/State controlled oligarchy, in which wages are low and profits are high, corporate globalism rules, and war is a constant reality demanding vigilant attention and domestic repression.

          This is not conservatism, this is insanity. This is twisting the thought of Edmond Burke into so many spirals he would never recognize himself. This is Christianity on crank, on steroids. This is xenophobia magnified to Armageddon. This is just plain nuts.

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

          by native on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 08:02:14 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

  •  Very well written - thanks for posting! (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftHandedMan, palantir

    I enjoyed this a lot.  More, please...

  •  But wait, there's more... (5+ / 0-)
    Your grandkids in a corporate Right-to-Work McSchool run by Kaplan.
    And my personal nightmare, that favorite of the old Roman Empire, Debt Bondage!  I'm just waiting for some "compassionate" corporation to come up with the bright idea of paying off people's debts in exchange for giving them a "job", which they cannot leave, with no pesky minimum wage requirements or hour limits, and in which they will spend the rest of their lives working for their "corporate benefactor". No pension, no 401K, no health care, no OSHA, no rights of any sort.  I imagine they'll appear in the corporate inventory as "work units".

    There's a sucker born every minute; they watch Fox news and vote Republican.

  •  Thanks (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

    by a2nite on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 01:09:42 PM PDT

  •  Here's the danger: (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Eventually, Republicans will get sick of losing elections by running crooks, nutjobs or a combination of both at the top of the ticket.

    Some day, Republicans will find a Chris Christie, a Jon Huntsman or a Brian Sandoval who will say:

    "We're deregulating banks and uteruses (uterii?)"

    "Gay marriage?  Not only are we in favor of it; it's mandatory!  (Gay marriage generates revenue for small businesses like flower shops, dress shops, etc)"

    "Guantanamo Bay?  We're renting it out to Marriott and it's $400 a night if you want to stay there."

  •  Conservatives want to conserve everything for (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    LeftHandedMan, snazzzybird, native

    their own selves. They see the government as a cow to be milked, slaughtered, and skinned.
    Years ago someone quipped "They complain that government is broken, then when they get elected, they do their damndest to make sure that it really is."

    WE are the government. We the people.

    Everybody got to elevate from the norm....

    by Icicle68 on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:01:12 PM PDT

  •  I was thinking about this on my drive home tonite (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    native, lostinamerica

    We must take back the framing of fiscal sanity. Democrats are the only ones who have won the wars, balanced the budget, and shrunk government. And yet we're "tax and spend liberals". The right has used that meme for over 30 years and it's time for it to stop. We must start calling our party the one of fiscal sanity, anti-war, pro American, pro personal rights, pro women's every way shape and form.

    Great diary!

    Isn’t it ironic to think that man might determine his own future by something so seemingly trivial as the choice of an insect spray. ~ Rachel Carson, Silent Spring ~

    by MA Liberal on Sat Oct 13, 2012 at 05:59:44 PM PDT

  •  Excellent essay, thanks! (0+ / 0-)
  •  On security contractors. (0+ / 0-)

    These guys are generally tasked with providing security  to non-military agencies in theater, from State and various civilian subcontractors engaged in reconstruction activities, mess, business, etc.  Very rarely do their responsibilities intersect with military ones, and then as at a matter of expedience.

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