1/18/09

Bigger Than Bush

As I've pointed out to my friends at Lucianne.com many times, the political and economic policies of the Republican Party, exploiting movement conservativism, were essentially a train wreck in slow motion. It may have taken decades for the policies to to bring all matters foreign and domestic to a crisis stage, however, it had nothing to do with luck or providence...... What we see today in America is the effects of a sustained undercurrent of proto-fascist foreign policy and corporatist laissez faire economics. Even the Republican "Southern Strategy" reflects their approach to do what ever was necessary to gain and hold the reins of power, even when the policies, pushed far to the right of the political spectrum, were only acceptable by a core 20-25 percent of the authoratarian-leaning part of the population; a coalition of the very very rich, christian rightists and an amalgram of bigots. All others.... especially those who called themselves "moderate" Republicans were essentially bamboozled..... taken along for the ride down the slippery slope we find ourselves on today. They voted Republican because it was their identity, not because they perceived the direction the Party was taking. Some have awaken to see that they now belonged and were taken for granted by a Party that had little concern for their point-of-view..... Colin Powell being an excellent example.

Once again Paul Krugman taps the history and underscores the salient points of that underlying strategy, policy and wrong-headedness that is modern Republicanism......

The Republican Party should collapse completely, and re-emerge in a form that returns to their Liberal Constitutional roots.... Reaganism, Reaganonomics and movement conservativism has demonstrably failed..... they've had it all their way, and reaped only the decline of a great Nation.


New York Times, 2 January 2009

As the new Democratic majority prepares to take power, Republicans have become, as Phil Gramm might put it, a party of whiners.
Some of the whining almost defies belief. Did Alberto Gonzales, the former attorney general, really say, “I consider myself a casualty, one of the many casualties of the war on terror”? Did Rush Limbaugh really suggest that the financial crisis was the result of a conspiracy, masterminded by that evil genius Chuck Schumer?

But most of the whining takes the form of claims that the Bush administration’s failure was simply a matter of bad luck — either the bad luck of President Bush himself, who just happened to have disasters happen on his watch, or the bad luck of the G.O.P., which just happened to send the wrong man to the White House.
The fault, however, lies not in Republicans’ stars but in themselves. Forty years ago the G.O.P. decided, in effect, to make itself the party of racial backlash. And everything that has happened in recent years, from the choice of Mr. Bush as the party’s champion, to the Bush administration’s pervasive incompetence, to the party’s shrinking base, is a consequence of that decision.

If the Bush administration became a byword for policy bungles, for government by the unqualified, well, it was just following the advice of leading conservative think tanks: after the 2000 election the Heritage Foundation specifically urged the new team to “make appointments based on loyalty first and expertise second.”
Contempt for expertise, in turn, rested on contempt for government in general. “Government is not the solution to our problem,” declared Ronald Reagan. “Government is the problem.” So why worry about governing well?

Where did this hostility to government come from? In 1981 Lee Atwater, the famed Republican political consultant, explained the evolution of the G.O.P.’s “Southern strategy,” which originally focused on opposition to the Voting Rights Act but eventually took a more coded form: “You’re getting so abstract now you’re talking about cutting taxes, and all these things you’re talking about are totally economic things and a byproduct of them is blacks get hurt worse than whites.” In other words, government is the problem because it takes your money and gives it to Those People.
Oh, and the racial element isn’t all that abstract, even now: Chip Saltsman, currently a candidate for the chairmanship of the Republican National Committee, sent committee members a CD including a song titled “Barack the Magic Negro” — and according to some reports, the controversy over his action has actually helped his chances.

So the reign of George W. Bush, the first true Southern Republican president since Reconstruction, was the culmination of a long process. And despite the claims of some on the right that Mr. Bush betrayed conservatism, the truth is that he faithfully carried out both his party’s divisive tactics — long before Sarah Palin, Mr. Bush declared that he visited his ranch to “stay in touch with real Americans” — and its governing philosophy.

That’s why the soon-to-be-gone administration’s failure is bigger than Mr. Bush himself: it represents the end of the line for a political strategy that dominated the scene for more than a generation.

The reality of this strategy’s collapse has not, I believe, fully sunk in with some observers. Thus, some commentators warning President-elect Barack Obama against bold action have held up Bill Clinton’s political failures in his first two years as a cautionary tale.

But America in 1993 was a very different country — not just a country that had yet to see what happens when conservatives control all three branches of government, but also a country in which Democratic control of Congress depended on the votes of Southern conservatives. Today, Republicans have taken away almost all those Southern votes — and lost the rest of the country. It was a grand ride for a while, but in the end the Southern strategy led the G.O.P. into a cul-de-sac.

Mr. Obama therefore has room to be bold. If Republicans try a 1993-style strategy of attacking him for promoting big government, they’ll learn two things: not only has the financial crisis discredited their economic theories, the racial subtext of anti-government rhetoric doesn’t play the way it used to.

Will the Republicans eventually stage a comeback? Yes, of course. But barring some huge missteps by Mr. Obama, that will not happen until they stop whining and look at what really went wrong. And when they do, they will discover that they need to get in touch with the real “real America,” a country that is more diverse, more tolerant, and more demanding of effective government than is dreamt of in their political philosophy.

29 comments:

Daisy said...

Hi Ghost. It's Jan. 18--just two more days until Obama gets a chance to start making some of these bold changes. I so hope that he will and can. We desperately need things to be done differently than the way it has been the last few years.

I hope you have a good week ahead of you. :)

christopher said...

Ghost, I can't disagree, but try really, really hard not to be political. It is not my heart. I am leftist thru and thru, except when it comes to how I make my living, which is totally capitalistic or I can't make it work.

Ghost Dansing said...

wow... a real Leftist.... i didn't think there were any real Leftists..... maybe that little "l" means you're really something like a Center-Left Liberal.....

but if you really are a Leftist.... ok....

i understand.... there are a lot of people who stay away from politics like the plague....

maybe they're right :)

christopher said...

I want Christian Communism to work with the God and without the Christian. But people fuck that up more than they fuck up capitalism. There is no democracy. If that was tried it would fail worse than communism. Capitalism is cruel and disgusting but it sort of works even with people in it, because greed helps and self interest spans the gap. I refuse to support it but let it support me. How left is this?

Ghost Dansing said...

i can see why you stay away from politics.... you mix apples, oranges and potatos....

Christianity is a religion. if you read Christ's words.... the red ones in the Catholic Bible, you'll note that most of His prescription for getting to the Kingdom of Heaven involves exercising a part of our human nature that we are not very good at exercising..... in fact, one might say that to get to God we have to spend a lot of time overcoming our more basic instincts..... actually going against our base natures.

Communism is..... well many things.... but it is at least an idealized system of government. i think Lenin or one of those guys said something like ".... if everybody were like Francis Assisi, there would be no need for Communism...." so i see the connection.... but once again it is utopian idealization (much like the ideals of Christianity).... but as we know it ends typically in totalitarianism.

totalitarianism is the result of extreme, idealized utopian Leftist or Rightist philosophy.... the practical result is essentially the same, typically culminating in dictatorship, authoritarianism and abuse of the people.

Capitalism is neither a system of government, nor is it a system of morality.

Capitalism is a system of economic distribution that relies on need, greed and profit to keep it running. It is, if you will and economic engine.

and like all engines, it requires a regulator.....

as you know there is a utopian idealized concept of capitalism which is extreme laissez faire. the basic idea is that if you just let the economic engine do its magic, there actually is no need for government (essentially that's what they are saying).

interestingly, there is an American political party that embraces this economic philosophy and unsurprisingly they have in fact become a proto-fascist influence in American politics.... back to Totalitarianism and authoritarian governmental forms.

so.... i'm like a Liberal.... i believe America is founded as a Liberal Democracy, and that it is a hybrid with built in checks and balances, a product of the European enlightenment, which i think also, ironically, had something to do with the Christianization of Europe.

at any rate, one thing Leftists and Rightists agree on is that they HATE Liberalism.

i think capitalism is fine.... it has to be regulated and it does not answer all social needs.

i think governmental programs and even centralized governmental programs like Social Security are fine, because they answer social needs that would not be answered by laissez faire.

i distrust any utopian, idealized governmental theory, but am willing to see practical, pragmatic utility in specific application.

so are you a Leftist? i mean like, it's ok, i just don't think utopia is near.

christopher said...

Christianity as following Christ is a spiritual walk first, but I said without that but with God. I also said it wouldn't work. Communism is a de facto Christian heresy, modeled after the way the early Christians tried to live when they were a Jewish Messianic sect. Remove God, replace it with the state, insist there is no god, make the perfectability of humans your spiritual walk, wallah. Christianity without God. Which is of course the heresy.

Not being political very much, I don't follow the careful use of the words. I think of myself as left and right both depending, but invariably I can't stand the Right lies and I can sometimes swallow the lies of the left.

I have spent some time aghast recently at how spiritual a certain group seems to be but they really think the Dems are evil lying SOBs and that Bush did pretty good and Palin got a bum deal and on and on. I never thought I would run into some people doing both really good spiritual seeking and that kind of politics. To me that doesn't compute. They see their path through tradition. They also say that true Liberalism belongs on the right. You go to the extreme left edge of Republicanism and you are still in Liberal country. The Dems are across the divide and are genuine leftists.

I think that many grown ups on the Left already know that Utopia is far away if even possible at all. Leftists keep utopia in sight because you should, not because it is possible in this lifetime. This is like Buddhists of a certain sort keeping the Bodhisattva ideal in sight, even taking vows, knowing that attaining that in this lifetime is quite doubtful, perhaps impossible. To say there is a spiritual tinge to such thinking is obviously quite all right with me.

But my livelihood demands that I take action in non-leftist ways. I don't feel like a hypocrite. I feel like an alien with a work permit.

Linda S. Socha said...

Woah!
My goodness. I see I stumbled into a Ghost/Christopher dance! Had I my energy back for the past couple of weeks of stumbling too much into the physical world an cols and such...I would take you two intellectual/political/personages on!/Alas not today

Ghost...Thank you for your totally lovely comment on my blog. I have seen you floating about the atmosphere and I loved seeing you on my blog comments. I am secretly in love with Christophers curious mixture of intellect and intuitive knowing so reading this post and these comments was a c double treat!!
Ghost D
I would love to exchange following blog links if you have an interest...but I do not see the widget thing on you blog? Let me know if you accept followers?
Linda

christopher said...

hmmm. Most people think me strange in one or another way. I'm just a fat old man trying to get along with his own brain...

I ignored the folk wisdom that to go into my mind alone is like going into a bad neighborhood alone. Now I have to live with the consequences. Some of them might actually work out.

Ghost Dansing said...

Linda.... thanks for dropping by.... appreciate your comments.

i don't have a widget and don't have any of those things that let me know how many people visit or anything.....

you are certainly welcome back any time....

kisafa is too.... mainly for further study.....

Ghost Dansing said...

oh.... i do have a pet bat, Wraith, that everybody can play with, and i have a clock and music thing that i stole from other bloggers....

so if there is something i like from your blog, it might end up here too....

christopher said...

Ghost, my brains are like pinballs and bumpers. It's really hard to get stuff past the bounce. My cat wants to eat your bat.

Indigo said...

Curiousity brought me here after the uplifting comment you left on my journal (blog sounds like something bogged down). I generally don't do introductions very well.

Then I stumble in here to quite the stimulating conversation and post. Personally I'm all for separation of state and religion. Way to many people blame failure, or even success on one religious diety or another. Amazingly these same people fail to believe in themselves. I've always pondered that one...how can you believe in anything of meaning, if you can't believe in you.

Oh I've been known to tell people prayers on the smoke. Burning sage carries a heartfelt plea on the wind, who is to say who hears. There is life in everything that surrounds us. Politics are a human's making of rules and regulations. Humanity has never been known for it's perfection. In light of that however, we hope. We stand united or we fall.

I truly think this country needs to hope, believe in something again. Which goes back to my original belief, it gives us liberty to believe in ourselves.

Well this was a long Hi! I seldom cross those hairs in any event. Religion and politics just don't belong in the same conversation. Hope this hasn't put you off from continuing to visit me. I'd like to come back and read more of your post. (Hugs)Indigo

Ghost Dansing said...

blog "blogged down"..... i like that. that's my blog for sure.... just a little totem hanging out here in cyberspace where raven hangs his trinkets.

you can hear them rattle when the wind blows through the boughs....

i like you even more now and will visit more....

thanks for dropping by..... keep telling prayers on the smoke.

thanks for dropping by...

Pagan Sphinx said...

ghostdansing wrote:

"as you know there is a utopian idealized concept of capitalism which is extreme laissez faire. the basic idea is that if you just let the economic engine do its magic, there actually is no need for government (essentially that's what they are sayin"

Yeah, I know the idealized concept of capitalism you are talking about and so do the majority of Americans. Thanks a fucking lot.
Capitalism is a disaster. It can't even work in "war time" anymore. If there ever was any real truth to that assumption to begin with.

Great post and comments. Ghost, I've seen your comments at Sherry's. I'm glad you came by The Sphinx.

Peace

Ghost Dansing said...

thanks for dropping by Pagan Sphinx.... just for clarification.... i didn't actually invent capitalism..... i just talk about it on blogs :)

christopher said...

Pagan Sphinx, Ghost Dansing is a mystery enigmatically wrapped, perhaps not too tightly, but there are experiences and many lives prior to this one. Who knows what pressures were placed, and where...It may be true that capitalism was "invented by someone else, then again...

SaoirseDaily2 said...

You go ahead and steal away. Have a fun weekend.

Charli said...

Hi Ghost... I just wanted to tell you how much I like the images you make... I can see so many things in each one.

Linda S. Socha said...

Ghost...you are a hoot! Thank you. I love seeing you turn up here and there!
Linda

Ghost Dansing said...

Kissafa..... i is speriencin' increes vizts 'cuz my nu clock....

all bloggers want to see the time, so they come here to check...

Saorise, i stole your picture and put in in a special place where i can find it again....

Charli.... that's very nice of you to say that..... i like to make the little pictures, hang them here and spread them around..... sometimes i just steal things from other places and spread them around too.... the danger of it all is very exciting.....

Linda.... you seem to be in a lot of places too.... i followed a little trail and discovered a whole world of poets that are really fun to read.....

christopher said...

Ghost, speaking for Kissafa, who couldn't come to the keyboard just now,

Oddly, I looked to my right on my desktop and found not only a clock strikingly similar to yours, but a calendar was there too...I wonder how that happened?

Kissafa is off plotting...

Linda S. Socha said...

Hey gril...We are on the move! It is my dancing at the computer
Hugs
Linda

Mary Ellen said...

Hi Ghost! Just thought I'd stop by to see how things were going. Looks like you and Christopher have had quite a conversation.

I've seen so many cool widgets to put on a sidebar, but that %$##@ Wordpress won't take javascript and I can't figure out how to reconfigure the html code to accept it. Sheesh! I hate computers and they hate me right back!

Have a good day...miss seeing you at my blog with all your great music videos!

Ghost Dansing said...

hi Mary Ellen..... i get lost in my own bookmarks and it is taking longer and longer to make the rounds....

Christopher is a real Leftist.... i didn't think any actually existed any more. but I think he is really a Liberal like me....

i know just the music video for you.... i'll come by and post it soon....

thanks for dropping by...

G-Man said...

Ghost, Thanks for the link.


I miss Suzanne too........

SaoirseDaily2 said...

Thanks as always for the tuber. All great spaghetti westerns. We just got the new western Appaloosa. Looks like a good one.

Have a great week.

Mary Ellen said...

I've heard it said that this new stimulus package will be Obama's "Iraq". I guess we'll have to see. After seeing some of the pork that's thrown in and the concessions to special interests, it doesn't look like that much touted change I've been hearing about.

Ghost Dansing said...

hi Saoirse.... glad you liked the video.....

hi Mary Ellen..... a swing to the center is a swing far far to the left for modern Republicanism....

i'm sure there is going to be some crap in the stimulus packages, but at least it's not a bunch of Republicans giving the Treasury Secretary carte blanc and no accountability (which was the going-in position of the previous administration if you recall).

it is interesting the Republicans are all "concientious" now that the government has to take extreme measures regardless....

change? i say yes definitely a change from proto-fascist government.....

radical, progressive, ideological change?

no.... we're looking at center-to-center-right governance without the torture chambers.

i really love how they put out to the administration that they should not rely on any legal papers of the previous administration as foundation for policy.....

duh... ya think?

Ghost Dansing said...

oh... hi G-Man.... i intend to visit your place a lot more... like i was saying to Mary Ellen, i have so many fine blogs bookmarked i literally get lost.....