They both are predicated on the orthodox religion of the Republican party in 2012.
The former is a result of both the absolute refusal to act as if anthropogenic global warming is real and the literally self-immolating war on public employees, including firefighters. The latter stems from the absurd hypocrisy that the free market cannot fail, so how dare we allow competition.
Everywhere you turn this summer, there is evidence contradicting this theory brought to its apotheosis with the Reagan administration and its reductio ad absurdum in that of George W. Bush. The eastern half of the country is experiencing weather that mocks the flight to the sunbelt of decades past. Why move to Phoenix when Pittsburgh will do?
The rightwing is also busy applying its orthodoxy to its life-long foot soldier, the Chief Justice of the United States, who realized that he could not adopt the novel constitutional argument put forth by his mates and strike down the signature legislative accomplishment of both the President and the former Congress (ironic, isn’t it, that the Senate’s de facto 60-vote threshold of passage makes it all the more ridiculous for the Court to strike down laws?) without terminating the integrity of his branch of government, which had been on life support since December of 2000.
And the bizzaro-world refusal of a number of states with the highest percentage of uninsured residents to take advantage of the Medicare expansion of the PPACA both probably out of spite for losing their case and in order to sabotage the law so that it cannot be pronounced a success the way their party’s nominee’s plan has succeeded in making his state have the lowest percentage by a country mile of uninsured residents. This is the same approach they have taken to public education: sabotage.
Indeed, the glue-sniffing delusion of the Republican party in 2012 is getting so intense that it requires a much more Machiavellian mind than the average voter has in order to hold all of its contradictions and dissonances together, on script, on cue.
Even the Romney campaign can’t seem to coordinate with its party whether what Romney did in Taxachusetts is good or bad, and if it’s good why what Obama did is bad, or if it’s bad why it’s ok that Romney did it.
Bill Buckley conservatism is dead. Intellectual, positive, problem-solving conservatism is dead. Even if it weren’t, there is no more need to apply “free market” or the concept of “limited government” to our political system. We’ve been doing it for decades. Taxes have been slashed to the point that Mr. Romney can pay a mere 15% effective rate and not be disqualified from running for office.
Remember, in Eisenhower’s time 90% was the highest tax rate; in St. Reagan The Great’s, it was 50%. In the booming 90s, it was higher still. But of course, that was because the Socialist Bill Clinton and his Citibank crony Rubin were running things. I think. (Again, I can’t keep all of these contradictions and dissonances together. In the 90s, Congress was responsible for the great economy, but in the 80s, it was the President, and now again it’s the President’s fault.)
Indeed, with the exception of some areas of social concern, almost every aspect of the Goldwater conservative’s program has been achieved. Taxes are historically low. Inflation is historically low. Labor unions have been destroyed. Health insurance must be supplied by private insurers except to the poor, the aged, and the veterans. The defense budget is at an all time high. Desegregation has even failed.
Unless you are hung up on abortion, gay rights, and affirmative action (none of which were concerns of the Goldwaterites), your plan has won. Even those failures are arguably connected to a general deregulatory trend that is, according to conservative’s own free-market prophets, connected with social regulation.
There are a few genuine areas where Traditional Conservative values, tempered by a respect for the need to compromise and build consensus, (another aspect entirely absent from the Tea Party) could contribute. It is apparent that the federal government’s role in student loans has only helped people get increasingly meaningless degrees at higher and higher prices netting lower and lower wages.
If students were large investment banks, the government would have socialized their debt and paid off the lenders out of the public fisc.
Traditional Conservatives might be more inclined to question the purpose of some of our foreign policy, but the Weimar “stabbed in the back” myth transposed to Vietnam has been so engrained in the regnant generation’s mythos that anyone questioning any act of aggression (even if it is disastrous to our national grand strategy) is in drastic need of reeducation. A temporary truce exists in this realm, for now, because the Republicans still must know, somewhere down deep, that their losses in 2006 and 2008 are the result of Iraq, while the Democrats are constitutionally unable to abort any bombing mission, or even pepper spraying, lest the word McGovern be uttered.
Indeed it is the complacency, cowardice, and belief in a different failed and empirically refuted orthodoxy, that of “technocracy,” “bipartisanship,” and Aaron Sorkinesque establishment snobbery that defiles the once scrappy and progressive Democratic party, the party of Roosevelt, Truman, and Johnson.
Sending these pencil pushers out to fight the Republicans is like watching the Polish cavalry flee from the Blitzkrieg; It’s no wonder they get rolled. It’s only the fact that most people still are not completely insane that they occasionally give electoral victory to the spineless yet sane Democrats.
And Colorado Springs, like My Lai, is a village burning so that it can be saved from the phantom-limb syndrome pain of Socialism, long since vanquished though easier to believe alive somewhere where people ride trains to work than in the non-entity that is last decade’s bogey man, “terrorism” now that the Manchurian candidate has killed Osama Bin Laden.
If you told me in 2004, after Bush was reelected, that in 2012 there would be a mostly universal health care law, that Don’t-Ask-Don’t-Tell would be history, that we would be out of Iraq, that Osama bin Laden would be dead, that a black man would be president, that another comprehensive nuclear arsenal reduction would have been completed, I might have taken heart. But today, this is somehow a “failed presidency.”
Of course, if you would have told me that in 2012 the Republican party still had most people denying global warming, still trying for some reason I can’t fathom to stop gay marriage, still trying to cut taxes while whining about the deficit, and seriously believed that the President of the United States was born in Kenya, I might have drunk even more.
If I had been told that the two alternatives would be this rabid Know-Nothingist, Social Darwinist, Corporate Petro-theocracy and a bunch of sniveling Dutch boys trying to hold their fingers in the dike of the status quo, I might have despaired entirely.