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Talking Points Memo dug up a memo Bill Kristol wrote 20 years laying out how and, what I found more interesting, why, Republicans should oppose Bill Clinton's health care reform completely, no compromises, no making it better, offering no reforms except as talking points. This isn't just an historical document for the health care fight of 1993-94, nor is it significant merely because Republicans used the same no-compromise strategy to try to defeat Obamacare. It's significant for how it lays out why Republicans thought, and still think, the stakes are nothing less than the survival of conservatism.

Two things jump out: little mention of people with no access to the healthcare system (let unemployed people deduct the cost of health insurance without a word of how they pay for it with no income, and some regulatory fix for people with pre-existing conditions), and an assumption liberals don't care about health care, but just want to use it to expand big government and make the middle class dependent.

Any Republican urge to negotiate a "least bad" compromise with the Democrats, and thereby gain momentary public credit for helping the president "do something" about health care, should also be resisted. Passage of the Clinton health care plan, in any form, would guarantee and likely make permanent an unprecedented federal intrusion into and disruption of the American economy--and the establishment of the largest federal entitlement program since Social Security. Its success would signal a rebirth of centralized welfare-state policy at the very moment we have begun rolling back that idea in other areas.
But the Clinton proposal is also a serious political threat to the Republican Party. Republicans must therefore clearly understand the political strategy implicit in the Clinton plan--and then adopt an aggressive and uncompromising counterstrategy designed to delegitimize the proposal and defeat its partisan purpose.
But the long-term political effects of a successful Clinton health care bill will be even worse--much worse. It will relegitimize middle-class dependence for "security" on government spending and regulation. It will revive the reputation of the party that spends and regulates, the Democrats, as the generous protector of middle-class interests. And it will at the same time strike a punishing blow against Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government.
This is part of the big government/small government debate conservatives engage in, assuming our motives are the mirror image of theirs, when in fact we never have that debate on the left because we don't care. We want government to be big enough to do what we want it to do. So do conservatives, as it happens. They just want it to do different things, and to do those things, they'll make it as big as they have to. Really, among your liberal friends, ever had an esoteric discussion on how big government should be? For the conservatives looking in, ever have such a discussion with you starting it? Me neither.

The tragedy is Democrats tried so hard, both under Clinton and Obama, to take compromise positions that preserved the private health insurance industry despite the anguished screams of the Democratic base, and this compromise was impossible because Republicans can't compromise on it. They thought and still think giving in at all means giving up a future for conservatism.
Kristol does say Clinton's plan would be bad policy, repeating the usual tripe about the US having the best medical system in the world, yet like Republicans of the present day, his fear is the public will like the plan and conservative ideology will have been proven wrong. In other words, health care reform is doomed to fail, yet mysteriously if it happens, it will be popular. Having it work is worse than having it fail.

Republicans fought as hard against their own plan as they would have fought against single-payer, so what was gained by refusing to even bring up single-payer at a congressional hearing? Absolutely nothing. The error of congressional and presidential Democrats was the failure to understand their opponents, and to think, as Republicans did, that the opposition was engaging in the same thought process. No wonder Democrats thought the fight was about policy and fought it like the issue was how to solve problems and get everyone access to the health care system, while Republicans thought it was about which ideology would survive, and so they fought and still fight like the stakes are that high. It's "You're trying to destroy us" versus "We're trying to regulate the health insurance industry". Guess which side had more passion?

One more giveaway of conservative assumptions about liberals Kristol made: "If we can, in this way, provide a principled alternative to the paternalistic experimentalism that consistently underlies Democratic ideas of governance, Republicans will be poised to claim the moral high ground in this and future debates." So they're principled, and we're just engaging in paternalistic experimentalism. That's what conservatives think we're thinking with social programs. We're just rearranging the pieces to see what happens. We think food stamps is about people who can't afford enough food, and they think it's some experiment. We think unemployment insurance is about providing income for people who can't find work, and it seems not to occur to our opponents that fixing a problem has anything to do with it.

So when conservatives seem driven nuts by health care reform, and we're mystified they get so worked up about regulating the health insurance industry, it's because they don't believe us when we say it's about access to the health care system or addressing costs. That's the gist of all this: they believe it's an ideological attack, and if they don't stop Obama completely, conservatism loses forever. I'm skeptical of the notion that most people, wherever they are ideologically, have any idea what "ideology" means, or that they consciously think anything like "this attacks/supports my ideology". Kristol and his intended audience thinks that way, but we shouldn't assume most conservatives do. They do appear, however, to believe their traditions, culture, identity, and such similar words, are under attack. If someone starts with the presumption a policy is merely a means of ideological warfare, then it makes sense that the particulars of the policy don't matter to them.  Maybe if liberals felt under such an attack, we wouldn't care about the particulars either. There I go with the liberal nuance, but let' recognize that while recent years have been somewhat dislocating for everyone, it's been worse for conservatives. We've been frustrated when our ideas don't get tried, but they've been frustrated by seeing theirs tried and fail miserably. Whether they rationalized themselves into that position or spent too many hours credulously absorbing Fox News, there they are. We need to keep in mind that our opposition simply isn't coming at an issue, especially this issue, from a place similar to ours.

Originally posted to ericf on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 03:15 PM PDT.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Tip Jar (170+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Gooserock, viral, camlbacker, MsGrin, CwV, GAS, peacestpete, erratic, blue jersey mom, More Questions Than Answers, gfv6800, a gilas girl, SteelerGrrl, TXdem, psnyder, scott5js, salmo, bluezen, happymisanthropy, myrmecia gulosa, jasan, annominous, Tara the Antisocial Social Worker, Auburn Parks, TracieLynn, Linda1961, yoduuuh do or do not, Alumbrados, Involuntary Exile, antirove, Chaddiwicker, Timbuk3, Mary Mike, DRo, desert rain, Hammerhand, annan, bastrop, maggiejean, most peculiar mama, Aaa T Tudeattack, mollyd, rbird, anodnhajo, angrybird, enemy of the people, Shippo1776, mkor7, Witgren, thomask, kerflooey, ColoTim, Alice Venturi, pimutant, prettygirlxoxoxo, tidalwave1, chmood, MRA NY, Jim P, Nice Ogre, linkage, offgrid, fumie, Bluefin, MartyM, skohayes, on the cusp, golem, nailbender, irate, cama2008, RustyBrown, starduster, rapala, Tinfoil Hat, onionjim, aaraujo, rexxnyc, Chi, mommyof3, Byron from Denver, GeorgeXVIII, Front Toward Enemy, sc kitty, katiec, Oldestsonofasailor, murasaki, devis1, mrgavel, GDbot, TomP, marleycat, Aunt Pat, Bridge Master, JosephK74, SuWho, xaxnar, vickijean, DuzT, Jollie Ollie Orange, steamed rice, Jay C, splashy, Ageing Hippie, ItsSimpleSimon, owlbear1, dotsright, Haf2Read, The Lone Apple, Aureas2, slowbutsure, Lilyvt, mbh1023, Dauphin, Sun Tzu, OutCarolineStreet, janmtairy, MarciaJ720, Kristin in WA, bunsk, wayoutinthestix, ichibon, TheDuckManCometh, mconvente, science nerd, greycat, Stwriley, happy camper, CrissieP, royce, poliwrangler, millwood, tobendaro, eeff, Gorette, Smoh, Orlaine, historys mysteries, RenMin, clinging to hope, Rogneid, Mayfly, pioneer111, Catte Nappe, Cofcos, NYC Sophia, GleninCA, NJpeach, ER Doc, artr2, LouisMartin, Timari, kaliope, Regina in a Sears Kit House, Ree Zen, Captain Sham, Matt Z, doinaheckuvanutjob, sawgrass727, writelight, chantedor, IreGyre, Dirtandiron, The Jester, Snarky McAngus, Eikyu Saha, concernedamerican, Liberal Thinking, JBL55, Jon Sitzman
  •  They're Misspelling "Libertarianism." (37+ / 0-)

    Conservative governments around the world support national health care, progressive taxation and more.

    Only in the US has "conservative" come to equate with economic libertarianism that would functionally strike promotion of the general welfare from the Constitution and its preamble.

    That's why they can't compromise. Their philosophy is absolutely no such government whatsoever. A compromise program would be no different to them than a fully liberal program.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 03:19:56 PM PDT

  •  This liberal DOES feel under attack (20+ / 0-)

    "Injustice wears ever the same harsh face wherever it shows itself." - Ralph Ellison

    by KateCrashes on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 07:05:29 PM PDT

  •  bill kristol is so creepy. everytime i see him, i (32+ / 0-)

    feel like i need to take a shower.

    i grew up (white) in the jim crow south, & what the r's are doing is putting into practice the southern "philosophy" regarding govt: it exists, not to serve the people, but to protect the status quo -- the exact opposite of how govt functions outside of the south (or, used to).

    •  You & me both - saw my first 'colored only'... (33+ / 0-)

      "bathroom" in Atlanta when I was roughly first field of abandoned cars, outside Conyers...each with a black family living in it...when I was 15.  These events, coupled with the deeply positive impressions made on me by the black men and women I spent time with, left me with a deep and abiding distrust of white men in particular, and white Christians in general ever since, and as a white boy raised evangelical in the segregated South, it has been a bizarre and searing ride.

      I've been watching and opposing those men (and the women who stand alongside them), getting wise to the act and the scams, and I say you're right:  call 'em White Citizens' Councils, the Klan, neo-Confederates, the tea party, the John Birch Society, the 'old boy network', the Dixie Mafia;  they want one thing, and that one thing is the freedom of slaveowners to do with their property as they see fit, without interference from government at any level.

      They want the Confederacy back, and intact.

      Their entire concept of freedom CANNOT be applied equally to all members of society without modifying how we define "members of society".  To do that would require the abandonment of every principle we claim to hold dear, and the exclusion & forcible indenture of, say, the homeless for example, or the unemployed or prisoners, or not-pink people in general;  in order for the tea-party wet-dream of FREEDOM!! to come true, there's gonna have to be people here in the USA who are available as property.  And THAT will require the removal of rights by force.

      trying to stay alive 'til I reach 65!

      by chmood on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 11:11:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Kristol meth (0+ / 0-)

      causes brain damage, even worse than Reaganist crack.  And now we learn that the GOP has been smoking it for 20 years.  

  •  conservatives feel under full attack and losing (21+ / 0-)


    they are losing ground on Marijuana.

    they are losing ground on Gay Marriage.

    They are losing ground on Gays in the military.

    They are losing ground on divorce.

    They are failing to gain ground on abortion much

    They are losing ground on the culture wars.

    they've been fighting medicare for 60 years.

    •  They've gained massive ground on abortion. (16+ / 0-)

      You must be a man. We're rallying in Columbus on Wednesday because of the huge amount of damage done to women's rights here in Ohio already — and they're proposing more.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 09:33:15 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  "You must be a man..." (9+ / 0-)

        Ugly, divisive identity politics that fractures the party, rather than building support.  Sadly you weaken your own political agency in saying such things because who wants to support those who say this sort of stuff?  A charitable reading of patbahn's remark would have been that public support for women's reproductive rights continues to grow, creating the possibility for the formation of strong coalitions to fight the sort of legislation you're pointing at.  Instead you chose to vilify the person you were responding to.  Nice.

      •  what's the supreme court said? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        despite their putting a 30 year full court press on
        abortion, between  Roe and Casey?

        They've managed to go from "Strict Scrutiny" to
        "IUndue Burden" which is a  intermediate scrutiny
        standard, and they've gotten D&E moved into a regulatable

        What have they won on?  Plan B?  Nope.  
        Plan A? Nope, condoms are over the counter and
        contraception is in Obamacare.

        They've made progress on TRAP and shutting down
        abortion clinics, so, it's a problem getting an abortion in western kansas or mississippi, but, they aren't going
        anywere in California.

        more kids are having sex and fewer are becoming pregnant.

      •  I think he/she means haven't outlawed abortion. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Which is what they really want of course.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 10:44:43 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  They're also seeing their white privilege being (18+ / 0-)

      eroded away and in some areas, are becoming majority minority.  They're scared they're going to be treated as badly as they've been treating minorities for all these years, because that's just how they expect anyone will act.  Empathy - they don't have it.

    •  they have a bigger microphone than ever (5+ / 0-)

      they aren't losing anything. With their money, gerrymanders and media and de-voterization of Dems, they're in the driver's seat, you' all.

      This Rover crossed over.. Willie Nelson, written by Dorothy Fields

      by Karl Rover on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 10:30:55 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  right till the drive off the cliff. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Lying eyes, WVUCavalier

        The "Hastert Rule" or the Majority of the Majority,
        is at core a strategy based upon weakness.

        if you have 72% majorities, you can move a lot of stuff
        on whip calls and when it's a real divisive issue, like
        civil rights, you go across the aisle and get some votes.

        you can lose 30% and still be effective.

        but, the Hastert rule means,  51% drives 100 and 26 drives
        51.  That works great until the day you are 24%. Then suddenly you go from the power of yes and the power of no
        to F^&* all in power.

        worst that happens, is that the GOP keeps up with their gerrymandering,  but, as they lose states, the states can re-district at will. (See Tom Delay).  

        if the Dems come with a fair non-partisan, non-incumbent protection scheme.  the GOP will be way off with the whacko birds and the Dems will be doing well in both blue districts and purple districts.  That should last for a generation.

    •  And yet they ride on, to their doom, I fervently (6+ / 0-)


      To quote myself in another comment:
       The 7th Calvary GOP, LtCol George Custer Calgary Cruz Battalion, Major Reno Boner Boehner, Chief of Scouts: 2nd Lt Varnum Cantor and the rest of the doomed troopers Tea Partiers ride blindly against their vastly underestimated mortal enemies, the Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho tribes Plain Democrats, led by Sitting Bull Pres. Obama, Crazy Horse Harry Reid, and Kicking Bear Nancy Pelosi.

      The entire 7th Calvary GOP Cruz Battalion then get annihilated in the impending Battle of the Little Bigbudget.

      The 7th Calvary GOP plans to attack innocent native American Indian citizens in their villages goes desperately wrong due to faulty (and deficient) intelligence, and fatal overconfidence, instilled by their ego-driven leadership and incessant FuxNooz/RWRadioNJ bugle and drum platoon; which will inevitably  result in their bleached bones littering the bloody fields of Montana DC.

      Meanwhile, one of their brave rearguard stablekeepers, the odious and twitchy Cpl. Wm. Kristol, continues his feeble (and febrile) shoveling of GOP'er doctrinaire bullshit (never, ever accurate nor prophetic) to a dwindling audience of shiteatin' cretins.

      We’re Ready, Wendy’s Ready! WTF Are We Waiting For? Bring ‘em on! The revolution has begun! Come and take it!

      by Bluefin on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 02:13:16 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  nah, Charge of the Light Budgeters (5+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Smoh, Gorette, Bluefin, ericf, WVUCavalier

        Half a week, Half a week,
        Half a week on
        All in the vail of debt
        rode the morons.
        Forward the Light Budget,
        Charge for the mike, he said;
        Into the vail of Debt,
        Rode the morons.

        Forward the Light Budget,
        Was there a rep dismayed?
        Not one TeaBagger knew,
        Some pundit had blundered.
        There not to vote on by,
        Their's not to reason why.
        Theirs but to vote and die.
        Into the vale of Debt,
        rode the morons.

        Cameras to the right of them,
        Cameras to the left of them,
        Cameras in front of them,
        volleyed and thundered.
        Stormed at with Op-Ed and inkwell,
        Boldly they voted and well
        Into the jaws of debt,
        Over the Homeless vet,
        Rode the Morons.

        Thrashed by Obamacare
        Thrashed by a CR bare,
        Charging a nation,
        while all the world wondered
        Plunged in the debt revoke,
        Right through the pollsters stroke,
        Dems and Pundits,
        laughed with late night jokes
        then they rolled back, but
        Not the morons.

        Cameras to the right of them,
        Cameras to the left of them,
        Cameras in front of them,
        volleyed and thundered.
        Stormed at with Op-Ed and inkwell

        While Boehner and Cantor fell,
        and Cruz spoke on at the well
        those who had no green eggs to sell
        straight into the votes from hell
        All that was left of them,
        left of the morons

        When will their caucus fade,
        O'h the wild charges they made,
        All the world wondered about the
        claims that they made.
        Under the Morons,
        Silly Morons.

        The Charge of the Light Brigade
        Half a league, half a league,
          Half a league onward,
        All in the valley of Death,
          Rode the six hundred.
        'Forward, the Light Brigade!
        Charge for the guns' he said:
        Into the valley of Death
          Rode the six hundred.

        'Forward, the Light Brigade!'
        Was there a man dismay'd?
        Not tho' the soldiers knew
          Some one had blunder'd:
        Theirs not to make reply,
        Theirs not to reason why,
        Theirs but to do and die:
        Into the valley of Death
          Rode the six hundred.

        Cannon to right of them,
        Cannon to left of them,
        Cannon in front of them
          Volley'd and thunder'd;
        Storm'd at with shot and shell,
        Boldly they rode and well,
        Into the jaws of Death,
        Into the mouth of Hell
          Rode the six hundred.

        Flash'd all their sabres bare,
        Flash'd as they turned in air
        Sabring the gunners there,
        Charging an army while
          All the world wonder'd:
        Plunged in the battery-smoke
        Right thro' the line they broke;
        Cossack and Russian
        Reel'd from the sabre-stroke
        Shatter'd and sunder'd.
        Then they rode back, but not
        Not the six hundred.

        Cannon to right of them,
        Cannon to left of them,
        Cannon behind them
          Volley'd and thunder'd;
        Storm'd at with shot and shell,
        While horse and hero fell,
        They that had fought so well
        Came thro' the jaws of Death,
        Back from the mouth of Hell,
        All that was left of them,
          Left of six hundred.

        When can their glory fade?
        O the wild charge they made!
          All the world wonder'd.
        Honour the charge they made!
        Honour the Light Brigade,
          Noble six hundred!

    •  I don't think the (8+ / 0-)

      conservative elite care much about these cultural issues at all.  They're tools they use to stoke up a certain segment of their base so they can round up votes, but at the end of the day their politics is organized around one thing and one thing only:  devising strategies to funnel wealth to the 1%.  Failure to understand this is a failure to understand American politics, what we're up against, and the root that needs to be fought.  Indeed, those of us who become obsessed with cultural politics, ignoring economic politics, are also being controlled by the right because we allow the shifts in economic policy to go through because we're ignoring them, thereby increasing the general immiseration of all.  We need to address the cultural issues, but in such a way that we don't forget the economic politics that pervades every political issue.

      •  which is why the conservatives feel under attack (0+ / 0-)

        if they were winning what they should have,
        the Supreme court would have reverse Roe v Wad
        and struck abortion as a right.

        The Zero-tolerance on marijuana would still be in,

        the gays would be back in the closet.

        The laws on divorce would be misery.

        women would be in the kitchen, not piloting space shuttles,


        only place they have real advances in gun carry stuff.

        •  As I said, I don't (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          thinkdon't think the conservative elite (the 1%) really cares much about these issues.  They're tools they use to manipulate the public, not their real political aims.

          •  the 1% and the 1% of the 1% are actually (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            very liberal.

            You think Charles koch gives a damn if his CPA is gay?

            Hell, he wants to hire the most creative accountants and
            lawyers in the world.

            Same with the rest of the billionaires.

            They just cynically took advantage of the hillbillies.

            if you ever read "Whats the matter with Kansas"
            one day the country folk will wake up and kill their leaders.

  •  Single payer was a non-starter in Congress. (22+ / 0-)

    Probably didn't have 50 Dem votes, let alone 60 and it would have lost a lot more blue dog votes in the House as well.  

    Obamacare is a step towards single payer though, I really believe that.  It might have not have blown the door wide open off it's hinges, but it opened it wide enough to get a foot in, and that foot will make sure the door can never close again, all the while trying to push it further and further open over the years and by future administrations.  

    Glenn Greenwald promotes far-right fringe extremist group The Oath Keepers -

    by Jacoby Jonze on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 07:44:04 PM PDT

    •  I think you're right (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      ladybug53, Gorette, Calamity Jean

      Change has always moved at a snail's pace in this country.  Obamacare is the first slimy inch towards a better future.  


      hmm, maybe the snail isn't the right metaphor in every respect :)

      The more people have guns, the more people use guns. The more people use guns, the more people die.

      by nominalize on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 09:34:10 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  You negotiate before you vote. Single-payer was a (14+ / 0-)

      stronger starting point. Worst case, you get what we ended up with. Likely better, at the least.

      It also had the advantage that the public wanted it, overwhelmingly, even majority of Republicans, under various names. Stand for it strongly, and you likely change 2010's election outcomes in a lot of places.

      Anyone who thinks they can predict what votes are possible while excluding popular pressure on Congress when leadership focuses it is fooling themselves that they are DC Bubble Insider sophisticates.

      The fact is the insider sophisticates of the Dem Party valued 'appearing reasonable' and 'willing to compromise' and 'getting the insurance companies on board' over getting what the nation objectively needed. They could have stood for that, and right this moment we might not be dealing with red herrings and lies on ACA.

      The health INSURANCE discussion would most likely a) be over, and b) helping every single one, not just 'more than before' while everyone still is burdened by the insurance industry, and c) still not eating up personal and national budgets.

      What we'd likely be talking about as 2014 elections come upon us is the fact that we still have one of the worst health CARE outcomes per dollar spent on care of some 30 or 40 nations. Still.

      I don't believe in DC ouija boards, especially when they're cited as a reason not to fight for what's needed. The inadequate, after all, is the enemy of the necessary.

      Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

      by Jim P on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 11:45:09 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Yup n/t (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        irate, Chi

        "This is the best bad idea we have by far..." ~Argo

        by MsGrin on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 12:07:46 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  and yet HCR at this site (0+ / 0-)

        was focused solely around the compromise position of the public option from the get-go.  those of us wanting deafening calls for single payer were shouted down and told it wasn't possible.

        Please don't dominate the rap, Jack, if you got nothin' new to say - Grateful Dead

        by Cedwyn on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 07:24:42 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  What's funny? Repub rep on tv saying Obamacare (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Bluefin, doinaheckuvanutjob

        doesn't cover ALL. That some 30 million won't be insured and by that measure is a FAILURE. HEHHH..... Couldn't believe that would be an argument given today --by them-- about why it should be abolished.

        "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

        by Gorette on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 10:55:00 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Joe Lieberman, Ben Nelson and a couple other creep (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Senators blocked the doors. The delay in implementation from 2010 to 2014 was Lieberman's stroke. Those deciders, they had the deciding votes, watered down and delayed things. No public option thanks to them.

        Not sure you can start a negotiation with these guys that is too far left. Maybe you're right, I'm not sure, but I take into consideration what I saw with the blue dogs who blocked the doors.

  •  I am always amazed at the simplistic (26+ / 0-)

    grasp on reality evidenced by those regarded as "luminaries" on the right.

    For example, Kristol bewails a federal health care program as a "federal intrusion into and disruption of the American economy." Does he really believe that there is an "American economy" uninflected by federal government spending and the products of that spending? Can he really believe that policies that effect what is amusingly called "redistribution" are political but that policies that determine "distribution" are not? He has twirled himself into a dizzy free-market delirium that has never been anything but an abstraction.

    And what sort of understanding of democracy does it betoken to dismiss as "paternalistic experimentalism" policies that are of, by, and for the people? Sounds to me like that's how democracy is supposed to work. It would be paternalistic if we allowed minorities like the Koch brothers and the rest of their clique to subject us to their experimentalism.

    An ideology like conservatism requires epistemic closure. Anything not with it is against it. Hence we have a minority vanguard right making themselves enemies to the rest of us, even as they presume to know our minds and our own good better than ourselves.

    Good diary. Thanks.

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

    by psnyder on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 07:52:52 PM PDT

    •  I always wonder how much of this (14+ / 0-)

      Kristol — Mr. Always Wrong — actually believes, and how much of it is playing to his audience.

      The idea of "defending the middle class by restraining government" is ludicrous and hypocritical. Only the government can protect the middle class against the predations of big corporations and banks. Shrink government and you increase their power and systematically destroy the middle class. Bu I think Kristol is too locked in his little ideological prison to know what's going on in the real world.

      Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

      by anastasia p on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 09:36:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Don't ignore the 3 crucial words in that quote. (8+ / 0-)

        Kristol said "Republican claims to" defend the middle class by restraining government.

        He knows that the idea of doing anything to benefit the middle class is only a "claim," made to get the support of the downtrodden, the suspicious and the gullible.

        That claim packed a lot of punch, though, because it carried the unspoken code: that government was out to destroy the middle class by making equals out of the undeserving lower class.

        (And that idea is one of the main persuasions the anti-ACA ads are using, today. "I like what I have and I want to keep it, and Obamacare will take it away." What will Obamacare take away? My superiority! My conviction that everything I have, I got by myself, by sheer hard work and force of character.)

        •  Of course, since the fed gov is the source of (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Gorette, psnyder, Bluefin, Matt Z

          our national currency, the dollar, it funds all our incomes.

          A fact of life that the right covers over with rhetoric of how the private sector funds the fed gov.  As though the private sector issues our national currency.

          If people fully realized that the Constitution granted a Public Monopoly on our currency, the right couldn't get away with their silly rhetoric of how markets should be free of the fed gov.  They're totally dependent on the fed gov providing markets with net financial assets, ie, final payments, ie, their income.

        •  No, only your employer or your insurance company (0+ / 0-)

          has that power.

          Ed FitzGerald for governor Of Ohio. Women's lives depend on it.

          by anastasia p on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 09:42:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  The threat of downward mobility (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Bluefin, UnionMade

          is a favored cudgel of the right.

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

          by psnyder on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 11:15:05 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  No, they sincerly hate and fear democracy. (7+ / 0-)

        That is the heart of modern US 'conservativism':  They believe the market 'works' bc it ensures a minority (usually the same folks over time) own all but the table scraps, and anything that prevents that result is to be fears and condemned.  Thus, the middle class learning and using its political power to force results more favorable to it, and thus the large majority of citizens, is 'dependency' bc they will become 'dependent' on using their collective power, i.e., government, to prevent small minorities of all-but-hereditary wealthy from both controlling and reaping the benefits of civilizations.

        Re-write anything a US 'conservatives' says so that it reflects the above formulation and you will have the truth about the policies they propose and, pretty-much always, their results.

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

        I thought Billy Kristol was a funny guy...

        Then he started opening his mouth about politics and he just became pathetic...

        It must make a comedian very bitter when he loses about 1/2 of his audience over a joke....

        "Do you realize the responsibility I carry?
        I'm the only person standing between Richard Nixon and the White House."
        ~John F. Kennedy~


        by Oldestsonofasailor on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 06:00:15 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Oh, I think they all believe it. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Conservatives have a burning desire to get out from under the government.  Perhaps it was the fact that many were drafted to go to war and felt that was unfair, maybe it was something else.  The huge problem with their theory is that the problems facing this country are not being addressed by their ideology.  The only logical conclusion is that the conservative ptb have brainwashed people into believing gov is bad so that they can gain control of money and power.  The r's had both houses and the presidency during Bush for 6 years and no help came for the middle class.  That should in itself be proof of the goals of the conservatives.  I will tell you that every single conservative I speak to spouts off about the nanny state etc.  It drives them all crazy to think they still have to listen and obey someone.  I have known this for a long time and I try to ask them questions about how they would solve problems.  They only ever spout talking points, they never have statistics or facts to back anything up. When I throw some facts out there they retreat to the welfare cheats tirade.  I have given up and tell them that they are no fun to talk to because they repeat stupid talking points and never have an idea of their own.

        Everyone! Arms akimbo! 68351

        by tobendaro on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 10:39:35 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Exactly regarding distribution vs. re-distribution (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Progressives need to combat this fallacy/confusion.  Unfortunately too many progressives fall into the same confusion:  But how do we pay for....... whatever.

      Easy:  Because the fed gov deficit spends to fund all our incomes.

      Too many Progressives believe, along with the Tea Party folk that the private sector funds fed gov spending.

    •  Well said! I like how you put it about Kochs. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      It would be paternalistic if we allowed minorities like the Koch brothers and the rest of their clique to subject us to their experimentalism.
      ALEC has been doing enough experimentation in the states like FL where I live, like Stand Your Ground, an experiment leading to deaths.

      "extreme concentration of income is incompatible with real democracy.... the truth is that the whole nature of our society is at stake." Paul Krugman

      by Gorette on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 10:58:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  It's A Good Thing To Unveil The Mask (7+ / 0-)

    Of the clowns who pass themselves off as pundits - instead of declaring that they are paid employees of a tiny privileged few.

    For most of the pundits, if you 'follow the money' - you can correctly guess what they will be writing and saying.

    I think that progressives have a tendency to be too academic - no amount of logic will change the mind of a psychopath like Hitler or the typical Wall Street vulture (hint: Bain Capital & Co) who cares not about human misery, suffering or death.

    The only language such psychos understand is force - not necessarily guns. In Hitler's case - yes, military weapons were necessary; with the Wall Street vultures, you need to fight back using the exact same tools they use.

    •  Throw the fact that our Constitution grants (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      Congress (and via Congress, the Fed Reserve) sole authority to issue our currency, thus funding all our incomes, and you'll put a very large hole in their rhetorical armor.

    •  It's not about (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      changing the minds of the psychopaths.  You'll never reach them.  It's about changing the mind of the audience.  I do agree about us being too academic, though.  You see it here with diaries that have links out the wazoo.  This reflects a theory of persuasion deeply divorced from how average minds that don't follow the news deeply and keep up on all the details of policy work.  What we need are easy to understand frames that speak to common and familiar experience.  Instead we talk like university professors to the public and the audience tunes out.

  •  He's such the soothsayer, isn't he? (6+ / 0-)

    "No sooth for you! Next!"

    The place was utterly dark—the oubliette, as I suppose, of their accursed convent.

    by bastrop on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 08:43:50 PM PDT

  •  Did Bill Kristol effectively destroy the GOP? (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Lucy Montrose, Matt Z

    I'm beginning to debate that.

    •  Bill Kristol is a liberal "plant" (0+ / 0-)


      "Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless."

      by Snarky McAngus on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 08:27:24 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Excellent take (8+ / 0-)

    You're one of the few diarists I've seen who realizes that people typically assume that everyone is like them (and can't figure out the communication problem when it turns out they're different).  

    The more people have guns, the more people use guns. The more people use guns, the more people die.

    by nominalize on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 09:35:23 PM PDT

  •  Thanks, I found this insightful. Only point of (6+ / 0-)

    divergence I'd have: Conservatives have neither an ideology, nor reasons; they only have uncontrolled fear and greed masquerading.

    The 'if we give anything we die' is simply paranoid delusion. That the things they're being asked to permit will hurt their position and their wealth, that's their greed. That they have a right to make people miserable, that's the grandiose side of paranoia -- they constitute the superior beings in society in their minds.

    Of course, the superior person has the right to guide and correct their inferiors in their world view. Even a duty to do so.

    All their reasons and whatnot are just excuses. Otherwise they'd have to face what mean and cruel souls they cultivate.

    Actual Democrats: the surest, quickest, route to More Democrats. And actually addressing our various emergencies.

    by Jim P on Fri Sep 27, 2013 at 11:24:48 PM PDT

    •  So true (6+ / 0-)

      I was thinking the same thing about Elisabeth Hasselback after I heard her complaining about  the"redistribution of wealth" in providing decent health care for all our citizens.

      She lies on TV while her husband throws a football, which makes them rich in our society. All the everyday--often menial and low-pay--work of her fellow countrymen merits such low regard from her that she thinks tens of millions of them should go without adequate health care.

      Mean and cruel are understatements for her depravity.

    •  It is an ideology, just greedy and short-sighted (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bluefin, Snarky McAngus

      To Republicans, taxation is theft, basically. If some level of taxation is necessary, it should be as small as possible, and many believe it can be shrunk to a level no modern-day society has yet managed.

      This is short-sighted because, in the long run, creating impoverished people (who can't consume the things and services that are being produced), or uneducated people (who can't participate at a high level in the workforce), or unhealthy people (who are a cost to society at large), just creates costs that counter-balance tax savings, besides being inhumane. And cutting back on national infrastructure, or environmental standards, also creates at least deferred costs that in the end have to be paid, by someone. The conservative mind-set doesn't add these into their calculations, partly because they believe they will shift such costs onto someone else, or because they more highly value short-term profit. Addressing these issues via government and funding them via taxation prevents this, however.

    •  "superior people"... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Jim P, Bluefin

      It never crosses conservatives' minds that some day, someone bigger, stronger and smarter than them could deem THEM "inferior" and treat them as such. They always assume they'll come out on top; and close their minds off totally to any alternate possibilities.

      Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

      by Lucy Montrose on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 08:45:30 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Of course they have an ideology (0+ / 0-)

      which is simply a frame for perceiving the world.  Theirs is based upon beliefs and ideas that circulate within the conservative community.

      There's nothing to say these have to be reasonable or necessarily true, simply believed.

      Their ideology is constructed of ideas such as xenophobia, misogyny, racism, entitlement.

      "Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees, to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people, 
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless."

      by Snarky McAngus on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 08:33:38 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  You Hit the Bullseye (10+ / 0-)

    Liberals think in terms of issues. If a Republican president proposes to fight climate change, the liberal is on board and will support the president. If a Democrat president proposes tax cuts for the rich, the liberal will oppose the Democrat president. By thinking in terms of issues, the liberal downplays the value of loyalty.

    On the other hand, conservatives think in terms of philosophy. What is most important to them is to defend the conservative ideology itself. The Affordable Care Act is based on Republican think tank proposals and modeled after Romneycare, but Republicans can't support it because they fear that its success would damage the conservative cause. This type of thinking makes conservatives place a high value on loyalty.

  •  So What? (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Chi, joe from Lowell

    "Democrats thought the fight was about policy and fought it like the issue was how to solve problems and get everyone access to the health care system".

    Well, it was.

    It is the responsibility of the governing party (Democrats) to craft legislation that will pass Congress and effectively meet policy goals.  So, that is what they did.

    The Republicans?  Well, the old adage applies:  "A jackass can knock down a barn".

    Whining that the party responsible for crafting legislation has the heavier burden - what is the value of that?

  •  Not surprised at this mindset at all. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, JosephK74, Odysseus

    1. The right's perennial sense of victimhood. They ALWAYS cast themselves as underdogs, outsiders, put-upon, etc. Wins more hearts that way. Because Americans love underdog heroes.

    2. They're always stuck on the bottom of Maslow's pyramid. So worried about mere survival, to the exclusion of what makes life truly worth living! I guess a meaningful, exciting, human life is only for those who are wealthy, or had it gifted to them by God, or both.

    3. The conservative mindset in its current form doesn't deserve to survive. Who and what does it benefit? Only those lucky enough to be part of an inner circle of friends and family, and a set of blinkered social instincts that short-sightedly focus on our feeling comfortable at all costs. The future belongs to those brave enough to mix with all walks of life... not the ideologically pure and socially hunkered down.

    Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

    by Lucy Montrose on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 04:08:58 AM PDT

  •  It's also part of the authoritarian white (5+ / 0-)

    Supremacy mindset.

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 04:57:15 AM PDT

  •  This memo keeps coming up (5+ / 0-)

    Because nothing has really changed in conservative minds. (Duh!)

    They are terrified of the idea of government making life better for everyone; they simply don't think in those terms. All they want out of government is to protect their stuff, and help them get their hands on other people's stuff, to put it simply. It's all about using government to protect their personal power and wealth, and screw everyone else.

    They do NOT want a government that considers the big picture, looks at what everyone has and what everyone needs, and has the power to do something about that. They like their privileged status, and see anything that reduces that privilege by lifting other people up as unfair.

    To reduce this to school yard level, your typical conservative is really a bully at the core and sees the rest of the world as either bullies or victims. They want government as a toady doing their bidding; they do NOT want a government that can out-bully them or threaten their supply of victims.

    "No special skill, no standard attitude, no technology, and no organization - no matter how valuable - can safely replace thought itself."

    by xaxnar on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 06:56:57 AM PDT

  •   sad part is their success opposing clinton HCR (5+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    a2nite, Bluefin, wordwraith, Odysseus, Matt Z

    and single payer and public option is due largely to the same inability of the left/dems/progressives to recognize the right's  best weapon.

    defeating clinton HCR and making single payer politically impossible were great victories for the invisible talk radio monopoly, as is the tea party that screamed at the town halls to defeat public option and now threatens to default the country over obamacare, or whatever.

    crystal and the cons and their think tanks can strategize and deny and rationalize all they want but without the invisible megaphone of RW radio they'd be the minor minority they really are.

    they need that unchallenged repetition to 50 mil a week to sell/popularize their uncompromising absolutism and authoritarianism and we let them have it practically for free.

    This is a list of 76 universities for Rush Limbaugh that endorse global warming denial, racism, sexism, and GOP lies by broadcasting sports on over 170 Limbaugh radio stations.

    by certainot on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 06:59:05 AM PDT

  •  The Cynicism Of Cristol Is Breathtaking (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy Montrose, ShoshannaD, Bluefin, Matt Z

    No concern for people. No concern for decency. Only a worry about the 1% and their stock portfolios. If there ever was a poster child for why conservatism is a failed and vile ideology, it is Bill Cristol.

    The creatures outside looked from pig to man, and from man to pig, and from pig to man again; but already it was impossible to say which was which.

    by The Lone Apple on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 07:49:37 AM PDT

  •  More Wisdom From An Architect of the Iraq War nt (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lucy Montrose, Bluefin, Matt Z

    Men are so necessarily mad, that not to be mad would amount to another form of madness. -Pascal

    by bernardpliers on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 08:31:10 AM PDT

  •  Kristol is not (4+ / 0-)

    the only one. A few other conservative think tankers and out-of-office retired right wing politicians have let this slip over the years.

    They aren't stupid, much as we like to call them that. They know what success will mean, and they are scared to death. It probably galls them even more that the black guy is the one sticking it to them.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 09:45:49 AM PDT

  •  Kristol's balls (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    joe from Lowell

    " Republican claims to defend the middle class by restraining government."

    This is the Republican's ballsy con:  Propagandize with catchwords like "markets", "deregulation", "socialism", a phony idea of freedom to the so-called middle class.  The Republicans let plutocracy and oligarchy destroy the middle class.  Sad to say, many Democrats went along with it.

  •  Kristol and the rest of the GOP, Tea Party, Koch (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Addicts have no idea about the American people as a whole.  They are content to advance the 1% agenda, sell it, lie about it, and cry about it when it gets taken to task.  The telling line with Kristol is this:  he did not have a care about the health care of most Americans, just oppose without qualification Clinton's health care proposals.  The GOP, Tea Party Koch Addicts are unfit to govern and must be turned out of office and never be given alot of power again.

  •  Divergent from reality.... (3+ / 0-)
    The tragedy is Democrats tried so hard, both under Clinton and Obama, to take compromise positions that preserved the private health insurance industry despite the anguished screams of the Democratic base, and this compromise was impossible because Republicans can't compromise on it.
    I don't know what you are smoking, but I suggest you get it checked for insecticide residue.

    The "compromise" position under Obama is now the law of the land. What does the "impossible" refer to, then? That Republicans couldn't cooperate with it? Screw them, it's coming whether or not they cooperate, and the more they hurt their own people with petty delaying actions, the worse it will be for them in the end. "The anguished screams of the Democratic base"? The "Democratic base" you're talking about here doesn't do "anguished screams." They're more into "whimper and sputter." If they were any good at the "anguished scream" level of getting what they want done, the teahadists would have been shouted down right at the beginning and single payer would at least have had a chance. As it was, there was no chance for single payer, because the people who were most behind it were the very ones who have always been more interested in ankle-biting their own leadership than ripping the throats out of their enemies.

    "They smash your face in, and say you were always ugly." (Solzhenitsyn)

    by sagesource on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 12:14:20 PM PDT

  •  The diary's best parts r about Kristol's memo. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Theodore J Pickle, Odysseus, Matt Z

    You do a good job explaining that mindset, that fear of government success. Unfortunately, your explanation is marred by a misunderstanding about the politics of Obamacare.

    First of all, you treat the basic structure as something the Republicans actually wanted to see in 1993, as opposed to just something they pretended to support as a tactic to derail Clinton's health care plan. Didn't you notice that the Republicans dropped the plan entirely as soon as it had served that purpose, and never made the slightest effort to adopt it when they controlled both houses of Congress and the White House?

    Second, you assume the compromises in the PPACA were made to win the votes of Republicans; the weren't. They were made to win the votes of conservadems.

    The ACA is the Democratic health care plan - the plan supported by the whole spectrum of Democrats, from Sanders on the left to Baucus and Lieberman on the right. That's why the Republicans never implemented it, but rather, did (and continue to do) everything they can to block it.

    Art is the handmaid of human good.

    by joe from Lowell on Sat Sep 28, 2013 at 02:29:51 PM PDT

  •  T&R'd, bookmarked for community edu. (0+ / 0-)

    Sending this out to my corner of the whirl...

  •  When is he going to engineer an exodus from (0+ / 0-)

    the Republican party?  The foreign policy wing kind of needs the executive branch.

    I'll always be...King of Bain...I'll always be...King of Bain

    by AZphilosopher on Sun Sep 29, 2013 at 01:59:56 AM PDT

  •  I don't think that Democrats gave an inch (0+ / 0-)

    in the healthcare debate. The problem is that Democrats are not homogenous. The law we have was the best bill a majority of Democratic legislators could support. Even when attempts were made to get a few Republicans on board, those attempts were also about getting conservadems on board.

    And what is more, I don't even hate the conservadems who saddled us with private insurance companies into the unknown future, because without them, we wouldn't have controlled the agenda in both houses of Congress, and nothing at all would have gotten passed. And I feel strongly that what we have in the ACA is significantly better than where we would be without it.

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