Adding to DougJ’s post, who could have predicted that the right, after earnestly supporting EVERYTHING Bush and the Republicans did the last eight years, would determine that the tattered wreckage left behind was not the fault of… conservatism? It is just priceless. Again, I ask, do you remember all the mass protests organized by Freedom Works and the fiscal conservative teabaggers when Bush and DeLay were jamming through the Prescription Drug bill? You remember 60-100,000 wingnuts descending on DC screaming “I want my country back?” while wailing about out of control spending? Me either.
This isn’t about principle. This is about cynical partisan politics, with an assist from the media and the glibertarian excuse makers- only a complete fool would be blaming Obama for our current mess, and only a complete fool could look at the last few decades and think the solution to our nation’s woes is giving the Republicans another shot in 2010 and 2012. Only this time, they really will take us towards that elusive conservative Utopia that eluded them while they ran the house, the Senate, and the White House! I promise! The check is in the mail! I will respect you in the morning!
Regardless, I’m sure the Fonzi of Freedom Nick Gillespie will have another video up soon telling us that the protest in Washington last week was really about people who care for limited government, all while fluffing wingnuts like Mike Pence and Jim DeMint. Just don’t pay any attention to the birthers, the neo-confederates, the militiamen, and the Glenn Beck groupies.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again- these “conservatives” sound like the excuse makers for the Soviet Union who tell us communism didn’t fail, it just wasn’t properly implemented.
It’s not like the GOP has another play here. Even they are admitting the last 8 years are a failure with this move. But they are counting on a congress full of democrats to grab their ankles and present for all their demands. And I’d give them even odds on that.
If it weren’t for Conservative fuckups, mental laziness and bubble making, there wouldn’t be any need for liberals.
Bush was a closet liberal. Also, the economic problems didn’t start until Socia…list Democrats came into office in 2006 and destroyed the economy by raising the minimum wage. Also.
Conservatism can never fail. It can only BE failed.
Sadly, the mouth-breathers who make up the loyal base of the Republican party will swallow this bilge without blinking.
You nailed it. I still hear people claiming that the financial crisis was caused by government mandated programs to force lenders to “give” loans to poor (i.e., brown and black) people who obviously could not afford their homes. This is always followed by the assertion that if government would only get out of the way and let the free market work, then we would soon achieve capitalist nirvana. And also too, cut taxes.
Typo quibble: “only a complete fool would be balming Obama for our current mess.” That should probably be “blaming.” “Balming” would be calming Obama, or maybe putting lotion on him.
Sorry. As I said, a quibble.
Maybe the wingnuts felt that 2001-2006 *really was* a conservative utopia?
Only a complete fool would balm Obama, yes.
Aside from that, yes. It also brings to mind Pat Buchanan’s defense of Hitler.
Part of this is the true-believer syndrome. C.F. Sully, who discovers as “authentically” conservative those with whom he finds himself at least temporarily in agreement. Hence, Obama is the situational reincarnation of Burke, and Bush — and the Republican establishment, are radicals.
Well they are, of course — but they were when he celebrated them as the embodiment of the right values and policy.
All of which is to say that beyond the cynicism that is surely there, the deeper problem is that between 20 and 40 percent of our fellow citizens have no connection to external inputs. Reality seems to them to be whatever conforms to the movie running behind their eyelids.
Or to put it another way:
(with apologies to whoever’s tagline I thus steal.)
By the way…..
Jonah Goldberg has already decided Nixon was basically a Democrat (in a Salon interview about Liberal Fascism when asked what he thought about the GOP having started the war on [some] drugs). It’s inevitable. They’ll re-write history like they did in the USSR.
I was arguing with my dad about it in the spring, and I basically made the point that the GOP sounds to me like all my Marxist professors did in college: “Our theory is SOUND! It just hasn’t been applied correctly yet!!”
It’s the same nonsense.
It’s inevitable, I guess. Humanity being what it is…
I just read Animal Farm for the first time, and it may as well have been written about the last 8 years. The pigs cooked the books, and if there were any questions the scapegoats were trotted out to release the tension.
@Comrade javafascist: I’d give even odds the a majority of elected Dems believe 2 million were in D.C. last saturday. Or at least sounded like 2 million from under their desks.
Just Some Fuckhead
Mort Zuckerman yesterday on my teevee.
Bill E Pilgrim
Conservatism: the ultimate floating signifier.
Full of sound fury, signifying nothing bad, anything good.
This isn’t about principle. This is about cynical partisan politics
This is about an 8-year old trying to blame anyone but himself for making the huge dent in the side of the family car.
And btw, communism didn’t fail, it wasn’t properly implemented. Of course, I don’t think it is possible to properly implement it, the human capacity for greed and selfishness is too great.
General Winfield Stuck
Yes, and I would extend that equation further to it’s end point. Conservatism without power its dead. It is about power, getting it, using it, then ultimately abusing it–because the ideology is only a means to that end. And to take it even further, while it is about power, but more so the opportunity to control others. Control them with brute force, economic deprivation, or common lies and consequences. It is the elusive dream of the republican mind. Or, if we can get people to do what we think is right, we will be content and even happy. Add onto that the race to accumulate personal wealth, and the fantasy is complete, with the irrational notion of achieving some vague semblance of immortality, or at least some nutty ethereal sense of transcendence from the common rabble.
You realize, of course, that you’re going to be permanently excommunicated for even thinking that conservatism may have flaws. No going back now.
The only difference is that the socia..list apologists can at least point to a Denmark or a Sweden whereas libertarians have no similar country they can point to where moderate libertarian edits to the economy have left the country better off in the long-term. I mean, the closest they got was Iceland and Ireland, which quickly went into the shitter and modern America which they have totally imploded.
But they definitely have the historical revisionism down. Stalin would be proud.
And the excuses go waaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaay back. Ronald Reagan started the ball rolling with bone-crushing deficits as far as the eye could see, all to fund a pointless and wasteful military buildup of superweapons that didn’t actually work (Star Wars missile defense boondoggle)…
And what was the conservative reaction?
They loved it.
They lapped it up like a dog eagerly licking up its master’s vomit.
The sociopaths in the White House for the last 8 years merely continued Reagan’s delusional and destructive policies. More crazy military spending on superweapons that don’t work, more religious fundamentalists appointed to cabinet positions, more overseas aggression, more brutalization of the poorest 20% of American society, more tax cuts for the superwealthy billionaire top 1% of American society…nothing new about any of this. It goes way, way back, it goes back 30 years.
When Reagan’s policies wrecked America’s military and trashed America’s finances and filled the streets with armies of homeless people and created a seemingly endless series of corrupt scandals from the S&L scandals to the HUD scandals to the Michael Milken bond scams…the conservative response was “It was all Jimmy Carter’s fault!”
Nothing has changed in the last 30 years. Today, it’s Bill Clinton’s fault (or Barack Obama’s fault), not the responsibility of the Republican sociopaths who controlled congress and the White House for the last 8 years.
And when I confronted a teabagger who angrily railed about how the U.S. government should be cut “by 50%,” I congratulated him and asked him which parts of the U.S. military he wanted to cut by 50%. And he stared at me open-mouth, googly-eyed, like a guppy in a fish store tank, his mouth opening and closing.
“B-b-b-b-but..the U.S. military isn’t THE GOVERNMENT!” he finally shouted, in incoherent rage.
Among conservatives today, this is what passes for “thinking.”
When you stop to think about it, though, conservatism faces a much deeper problem than hypocrisy and an hallucinogenic disconnect from reality.
If you think about it for a minute, you’ll realize that conservatives have not gotten a single public policy issue right in the last 100 years.
Think about it. Conservatives told us slavery was fine ‘n dandy. Conservatives told us women should be able to vote. Conservatives told us the 7-day work week was just great, didn’t need to be changed. Conservatives told us eliminating child labor would destroy the American economy. Conservatives told us public libraries were a waste of public money. Conservatives assured us that compulsory universal public schooling was an unwarranted intrusion into the family by the state. Conservatives told us public health laws and vaccinations were bad. Conservatives told us food safety laws would wreck the diary and meat and poultry industries. Conservatives told us that establishing medicare was a step “downward to the anthill of totalitarianism” (Ronald Reagan’s own words, from his 1964 speech railing against medicare). Conservatives told us that letting black people vote would destroy American society. Conservatives told us that setting up the Environmental Protection Agency and cleaning up our water and our air would put American business out of business. After WW II, conservatives told us the G. I. Bill that let ex-soldiers go to college on the government’s dime “would turn Harvard into hobo junction.” Conservatives told us losing the Viet Nam war would turn all Asia into a communist stronghold. Conservatives told us the Berlin Wall would never come down unless American tanks knocked it down, and any liberals who thought communism would disintegrate without massive armed intervention by the U.S. military were weak sisters and pinkos and fellow travelers.
On issue after issue, for the last 100 years, conservatives have been wrong. Consistently wrong. Uniformly wrong. Systematically wrong. Conservatives have batted zero for five thousand over the last 100 years. On every public policy issue in every area of public life, conservatives hage been wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong.
And each time, conservatives ignore the seemingly endless litany of their pass errors, and they assure us, yes, they were exactly right advocating slavery or opposing voting right for women or upholding child labor, and this time, on this issue, conservatives are right once again.
So what’s new?
@Cerberus: Don’t forget Somalia.
Erratum: should be “conservatives told us women should not be able to vote.”
@slag: The collapse of banking system due partly to deregulation and regulators looking the other way is example one that conservatism doesn’t work.
Cutting taxes on the rich does not lower the deficit, example two.
Mockery is all they deserve. As I said in an earlier thread, from now on I’m calling them the Klueless Klutz Klan.
Brick Oven Bill
Obama’s answers to our challenges are to institute ‘green energy’, and ‘cap and trade’. Both of these are falsehoods that will work against the interests of Americans. Who is it that is doing his writings? Whoever it is is either an idiot, or employed by OPEC or Goldman Sachs.
The power structure targets Beck because he is an effective communicator, but if you objectively look at his plan, it is very good. There is nothing wrong with it, as it is based in fact, not some stupid theory from the University of Chicago, or some corporate agenda.
What is wrong with this?
It was the power structure that supported woman’s suffrage mclaren. They understood that the evolutionary energy expended upon women was typically to nurture. This is why females have boobs instead of strong arms. Removing the capacity to lead from the electorate allowed them to insert their own agenda, which is not in the national interest. It is all about the consolidation of power for these people. It is greed.
@ThatLeftTurnInABQ: How about “Clueless Cottonballs R Us”?
@Alan: But, in both cases, the reason they didn’t work is, invariably, that we didn’t deregulate enough. We didn’t cut taxes enough. They seem to think that if we just keep doing the opposite of what makes sense, everything will be alright. I’m starting to think of it as just one big Wingnut Event Horizon.
The Grand Panjandrum
For some reason I have connected this video with your post. I can’t explain it.
General Winfield Stuck
REally? Geesh, we spent half a semester studying it in grade school. Of course, this was the sixties and the middle of the Cold War where we were all just trying to stop worrying and learn to love the bomb.
I’ll happily make the following deal with starve-the-beast so-called conservatives. Our military spends as much as the rest of the world combined. Our non-military government spending, not so much. They can cut our overall govt spending by some non-trivial percentage so long as our military and non-military spending are both the same percentage of global spending for that branch of the public sector. You want us to spend only 20 percent of global governmental expenditure? No problem. Have fun cutting the Pentagon budget down to size by a factor of five while I’m over here micro-tuning the budget for NASA and the USGS.
“This is why females have boobs instead of strong arms.”
Balloon Juice has boobs, too. Or at least one, and thy name is BOB.
Their problem with Bush is the two terms. Anyone could have been fooled the first time.
It took real idiots to re-elect.
No incumbent US President during a time of war has ever been defeated in a general election. Bush’s margin of victory as a percentage of the popular vote was the lowest recorded in such circumstances. So you could look at the glass as half full and say that people are learning. I prefer Churchill’s saying that you can count on Americans to do the right thing after they’ve tried everything else.
The Fonzi(e) of Freedom? Dude, he’s not even the Potsie Weber of Freedom.
He’s the Ralph Malph of Freedom. A clueless clown who doesn’t get that people are laughing at him, not with him.
John, you see the article on poison tap water in WV?
I say that’s a monumental fuck-up of the free market. And it’s heartbreaking.
We’ll never know for certain, but I think LBJ would have been defeated in ’68 had he not opted out.
No, that’s their perfect example of the principle applied to the letter, something Marxist professors never had (Stalin and Lenin made some serious tweaks to the theory, even if it is untenable on the large scale in general). The so-called perfect libertarian system.
So strange it isn’t used as a shining example more often. Maybe they’re bitter that black Africans get to enjoy all the fruits of their philosophy while they are shackled by the unfair tax burdens of America especially with the nonexistent Somalia government preventing all the runaway immigration to paradise on Earth.
If you haven’t noticed lately, complete fools comprise no small part of the GOP voting bloc.
Well that’s pretty much the underlying “philosophy” of all conservatism. Conservatism is the denial of change, usually positive, because it is scary and disruptive to have your world radically change during your lifetime. It is a delay tactic.
As such any strategy is justified and all tactics used to keep people from noting that the same people protesting X good idea from the DFHs were the ones against every current good idea that has ever been. You can bet your ass that at the beginning of civilization, there were a conservative group of elders protesting that new wheel thing and fire because it would remove the natural morality that can only be found from eating meat raw and carrying things on your shoulders.
And were also making damn sure no one caught on that they were the same group that protested sharp rocks tied to sticks.
No, I’ve heard it explained that it doesn’t really qualify as a true libertarian situation because the people aren’t civilized and there are no systems in place to give the proper structure for a functioning libertarian state. Er, yeah. Actually, Iraq shortly after our “liberation” was a good libertarian situation since we had “civilized” people in charge setting up free markets, etc. Altho that didn’t seem to work out too well, either. But I know one day, my shares on the Iraqi Stock Market will gazzuble in value. Really they will.
The WaPo is catering the peasant mentality of their middle-middle and upper middle class readers. Please see the concise and savage Taibbi quote on this topic from yesterday in this very blog.
Adam Smith, the 18th century economist, described the same phenomenon in one of his books, with less concision, but with savage ridicule that I think is very similar to Taibbi’s.
It would be interesting to find Smith’s passage and compare it to Taibbi’s (and ask the celebrity TV media talking heads who make fun of Taibbi what they have written that can be compared to Smith)_
joe from Lowell
Reason isn’t the best target for your point. They really were up in arms over Medicare Part D and the USA PATRIOT Act in real time.
Yeah, they really don’t let their racism hide well when you point out the Somalia thing. It’s not the same, because it’s filled with, you know, them. Same thing about Iraq.
In fact in all my dealing with libertarians who didn’t want large-scale government involvement when it came to putting down blacks, roughing up latinos in the name of immigration, or terrorizing women with abortion bans. It’s basically, we want the government to enforce white male dominance, but we don’t want that same power structure to ever inconvenience us with things like taxation or bans against pot.
Selfish children the lot of them.
mcClaren: great piece. Nailed it.
BoB- comic relief, offered up with a gustsy dollop of truthiness!
Thanks to all, once again great reads….
It began way back in 2005 or 2006, or at least it was predicted then. There’s an article I read back then, but no matter what I Google I just can’t find a link to it. I think it was in the Washington Monthly (magazine, not blog). Maybe I’ll try looking for it a little more later on.
Yeah, like it was really the conservatives/Republicans who wanted NCLB, or Medicare Part D, or the stimulus package, or the Wall Street bailouts, or the auto bailouts, or cap and trade, or the current health care clusterf**k.
Haven’t you people done enough damage already?
Any day now you can get the f**k out of the way and let some real Americans run things.
Yep. They do indeed sound like the moronic apologists for communism one would encounter on campuses in my youth.
When White House press secretary Dana Perino was told that 77 percent of the country thought we were on the wrong track, she said what I was thinking: “
Who on earth is in the other 23 percent?”
I knew who they were—the same people supporting the John McCain campaign.
From the GQ article on Bush speechwriter Latimer.
Yeah, GQ, your essential news magazine in today’s media.
“This woman is being put into a position she is not even remotely prepared for,” [Bush said].
@kay: It took real idiots to re-elect.
Hey, you’re dissin’ the proprietor.
(I don’t care how many Tunch photos you show, I’m never forgiving you for this, John Cole.)
The analogy is perfect and no one knows this more than conservative leaders themselves.They know that if they implemented all of their espoused values it would have lead to an even more abrupt,intense, collapse than what we have already experienced.All they try to do when in power is to bleed the system just enough to please the elites they serve,unfortunately they have been leeching the body politic for so many decades now that it caused a breakdown anyway.
Which is why I have no patience for the likes of Andrew Sullivan and all his pining for “true” conservatives.Theres no such thing.To paraphrase Bill Parcells : conservatives are what the record says they are.
@Koz: Any day now you can get the f**k out of the way and let some real Americans run things.
I really do not like arguments based on postulating what “real Americans” would do.
I assume he means ‘White people’.
@Brick Oven Bill:
What is wrong with this?
1. I believe in a balanced budget and therefore will vote for a freeze in government spending until that goal is realized.
– The military is the government. How do you feel about freezing Military spending right now? You say you are open to that and we can talk.
2. I believe government should not increase the financial burden on its citizenry during a difficult economic times, therefore I will oppose all tax increases until our economy has rebounded.
– after going so far into debt the answer is not to spend nothing. You have to spend money to make money. Putting funding into plans that will help us relieve the debt is the way to go and appears to be working.
3. I believe more than four decades of US dependence on foreign oil is a travesty, therefore I will support an energy plan that calls for immediately increasing usage of all domestic resources including nuclear energy, natural gas and coal as necessary.
– we want our children to not need gas masks to breathe. Green technology is clearly the way to go. Also – you are talking about government spending.
4. I believe in the sovereignty and security of our country and therefore will support measures to close our borders except for designated immigration points so we will know who is entering and why. I will vehemently oppose any measure giving another country, the United Nations, or any other entity power over US citizens.
– How are we going to closer our borders except for designated immigration points without any government spending? Closing our borders is basically as UnAmerican as you can get. Shall we store the Statue of Liberty in a warehouse or just throw it out permanently? I vehemently oppose requiring everyone to shave their heads… Just about as relevant. Although, I do like to play well with others.
5. I believe the United States of America is the greatest country on earth and therefore will not apologize for policies or actions which have served to free more and feed more people around the world than any other nation on the planet.
– That’s some nice rhetoric you spew there. But, meaningless… I also believe that the USA is the greatest country on earth however, I recognize that nothing is infallible and therefore will apologize for mistakes because I am mature enough to realize that growth and understanding are paramount to staying the greatest nation on earth.
Pride is a sin.
Wow. If I read this correctly, Koz is blaming liberals and Democrats for the Bush administration.
I also notice that he doesn’t list the Iraq War as one of the sins of the libs, so I guess he approves of that.
What must it be like to have as your *only* example of ‘the way things should be’ in America be some wildly distorted and selective memories of the 1980s?
you should ask him where they are going to get the smart people to come up with real cool weapons, awesome fighter jets, and all that good stuff? Germany? I suppose we’ll just get home schooled and private school folks right? (nothing wrong with either, but I suspect that both are somewhat hard to do in our current society)
I think there is a cultural war of some sort where people living lifestyles that require both people to work to get to that american dream. I don’t know. Hopefully, we’d get more realistic on what our lifestyle chances should be.
...now I try to be amused
This is about tribalism. Support the tribe, crush the “enemy” tribe. Never mind that their tribal leaders aren’t acting in their best interests.
They remind me of Baghdad Bob, remember him?
Curse you blockquote!
Good post on the issues on which conservatives have been wrong.
One you didn’t mention is raising the minimum wage. Every time that the proposal to raise the minimum wage has been put forth, the screaming and gnashing of teeth from the Right has been HUGE. All sorts of businesses, esp. small businesses, would go bankrupt or would lay off massive amounts of people because there was no way the owners could afford to pay people any more than they already were paying. Of course, that didn’t happen. Probably there were a few very marginal businesses that went under, but not many, and raising the minimum wage resulted in a little more money in some people’s pockets, which could then go back into the economy.
It’s worth keeping in mind that the USSR was not really a communist country (or bloc, or republic, or whatever you want to call it) . A bunch of complete bastards used the appearance of communism to, in a way, replace religion as the opiate of the masses, in order to control the people and make themselves ridiculously powerful. I don’t think there has ever been an actual communist country. I’m certainly not defending communism, it is one of the stupidest ways to run a country ever devise, but it has never really been honestly tried. Of course we have never tried using dog shit as a currency either.