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The media and those who follow it too closely have the habit of focusing too much attention on the mania of the current moment and on the surface of things.

All the media talk since the election has been about GOP "soul-searching" that amounts to nothing but trying to answer the question How can we win again?

If the GOP were doing any real soul-searching, it would be asking itself Why has Reality punched me in the gut, and what do I need to do differently to stop that from happening?

Republicans and conservatives have encountered as a group the same sort of experience that we all encounter individually when our personal habits of though and action meet resistance from Life.

And in order to stop getting gut-punched by Life, they need to do the same thing everyone in that situation needs to do: admit to their shortcomings, repudiate them, and change.

A bit more below the orange whorl.

In their case, it means admitting that it's not their "message" that has failed. They can continue to try what seemed to work in the past—dog whistles, sophistical Orwellian doublespeak, packaging advertising to appeal to the fearful, the intolerant, and the ignorant—or they can own up to the fact that THE IDEAS THAT THEY PACKAGE ARE WRONG BOTH INTELLECTUALLY AND ETHICALLY, so that they can only expect more disappointment and suffering if they continue to operate on the basis of those ideas.

It's not hard to see that many of their ideas are either distasteful or hateful. The shiny wrappers they put around racism, xenophobia, religious intolerance, homophobia, white and Christian supremacy, class rivalry, vulture capitalism, and the like are fooling fewer and fewer voters. They can expect to get pummeled in the future if they keep putting out those "messages."

But there is still a "moderate" position that continues to fool voters. It is pitched in this way: "Conservatism as a governing philosophy has done good service to the nation." And it sometimes is boiled down to two main pillars—small government and low taxes.

When people begin to realize that conservatism has not done any good for the nation (unless it comes in the very mild form of "be prudent," as exemplified by Eisenhower—which is just common sense that no party can disagree with); when they begin to see that "small government" is lunacy in a nation this size and only exists as a slogan to hide the conservative hatred of being required by some power to act responsibly and not selfishly; when they begin to get the idea that "low taxes" is just a dog-whistle for people who don't want to contribute to the public good—then the GOP will be done for good.

And good riddance.

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Comment Preferences

  •  good diary. tip'd & rec'd. as ralph reed once said (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    RUNDOWN, filkertom

    of politics, you either get the "joke" or you don't, & those who get it, rise to positions of power -- & many times that means behind the scenes, like in ralph's case.

    the gop has always been the party of the past & the status quo, & that's what they're selling: the warm, fuzzy memories of the good old days that never were.  and as long as they are suckers who fall for it, they'll keep pitching it b/c they have nothing else.  they're the political arm of big business & whenever anyone tries to expose their real agenda (like paul krugman) they run away from it as far & as fast as they can.

  •  Instinct-driven people are, as you suggest, (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    responsive to superficial optics --what things look like at first glance. Their behavior is either habitual of imitative of what someone else seems to have done. Indeed, I think imitation is what introduces change and variety into their habitual repertoire.
    It seems that, in addition to directing behavior, habit also preserves results.  That is, failure can become habitual and a familiar experience that is difficult, if not actually undesirable, to give up. So, they perseverate in failure, in preference to doing something untried and new.
    I think where other-directed people perhaps go wrong is in assuming that conservation is directed towards the external world when, in fact, so-called conservatives, of the Cons, as I prefer to call them, are entirely self-centered, concerned about conserving their habits and predilections. Indeed, one can question whether they have any sense of the other at all -- except perhaps as an impediment to their own inclinations.
    They don't want to conserve or preserve the nation, just their own condition.
    They are not selfish, because they are not aware of having a self. They are self-centered, like a top spinning on its axis.  Thus, they are easily knocked off and that makes them insecure--also a source of comfort.

    Think of that. Failure and insecurity are a comfort. What chance do change and risk have?

    We organize governments to provide benefits and prevent abuse.

    by hannah on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 08:58:00 AM PST

    •  An old friend of mine used to say (0+ / 0-)

      that some people are just comfortable being uncomfortable.  They've lived that way for so long that anything else seems terrifying.

      -7.62, -7.28 "Hold fast to dreams, for if dreams die, life is a broken winged bird that cannot fly." -Langston Hughes

      by luckylizard on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 07:49:12 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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

    Not only is "small government" lunacy in a country this size, but it's also a fiction designed to obfuscate Republican interest in different government priorities, not different government size.

    As you may have noticed, Republicans are not interested in shrinking the defense budget one iota. And also, far from being genuinely laissez-faire, the government under Republicans (and, frankly, under the post-DLC wing of the Democratic party) has a vested interest in being actively interventionist in the market, providing business with all kinds of hidden subsidies.

    No, when Republicans talk about "small government," what they really mean is a) the creation of a more regressive tax regime, and b) the upward redistribution of government funding, from welfare state provisions to subsidies for corporations and the affluent.

    Nothing requires a greater effort of thought than arguments to justify the rule of non-thought. -- Milan Kundera

    by Dale on Sun Nov 25, 2012 at 02:11:11 PM PST

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