Severe Conservative Syndrome
How did American conservatism end up so detached from, indeed at odds with, facts and rationality? For it was not always thus. After all, that health reform Mr. Romney wants us to forget followed a blueprint originally laid out at the Heritage Foundation!
My short answer is that the long-running con game of economic conservatives and the wealthy supporters they serve finally went bad. For decades the G.O.P. has won elections by appealing to social and racial divisions, only to turn after each victory to deregulation and tax cuts for the wealthy — a process that reached its epitome when George W. Bush won re-election by posing as America’s defender against gay married terrorists, then announced that he had a mandate to privatize Social Security.
Over time, however, this strategy created a base that really believed in all the hokum — and now the party elite has lost control.
The point is that today’s dismal G.O.P. field — is there anyone who doesn’t consider it dismal? — is no accident. Economic conservatives played a cynical game, and now they’re facing the blowback, a party that suffers from “severe” conservatism in the worst way. And the malady may take many years to cure.
I used to read Krugman religiously. Then he started drinking the Koolaid and lost a lot of his credibility. But he has a valid point here.
I remember when Ronnie Raygun ran in 1980. He promised he could cut taxes and increase government revenue. My math skills are such that I need to unzip my pants to count to eleven and that still didn’t make any sense to me. But I was young and dumb and full of shit so I voted for him anyway.
Raygun promised to cut taxes and slash government spending. One of the first things he did after taking office was push through a tax cut. But he never delivered on the spending cuts, he ran up deficits instead.
For over three decades virtually every Republican candidate in the country has campaigned on promises to cut taxes, reduce the size of government, eliminate regulations and strengthen the military. They also support “fixing” or privatizing Social Security, outlawing abortion, protecting us from Teh Gay, throwing more people in prison for longer periods of time and improving our economy by shipping jobs overseas. They hate welfare and illegal immigration too.
It hasn’t just been the Republican candidates. There is a whole swamp full of bloviating gasbags and print pundits piling it higher and deeper. They even have think-tanks where they sit around trying to spin shit into shinola.
Krugman is right about all that.
But where the fuck have the Democrats been all this time? What have the lefty advocacy groups been doing?
With rare exceptions they’ve been entrenching their own positions while doing doodly-squat for us. Now we have a Democratic president who has been pushing a Republican agenda.
I am a liberal pessimist. I believe that things are going to have to get worse before they get better. But the sooner they get worse the sooner things will get better. The best way to do that is let the Republicans win.
Let them try to eliminate Social Security and Medicare. Dare them to overturn Roe v. Wade. Let them do whatever they want for a few years. The Democrats should go limp. Basically a repeat of what happened in 2004-2006.
The Republican way won’t work. Some of that shit the conservatives talk about is stuff they don’t really want to do anyway. If the Democrats don’t stop them they’ll either have to pass their agenda and face the consequences or admit they were lying in the first place.
If the Republicans get their way one of two things will happen. Either they will be proven right in which case we’ll all be better off. Or their way will fail miserably and they will be permanently discredited.
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