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View Diary: The Descent of Republicans (163 comments)

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  •  The GOP has devolved to the point (12+ / 0-)

    where there's nowhere left to go but either into the dustbin of history or into open fascism. All other directions point backwards, er forward, to a saner place, a place most Repubs, while paying lip service to it, are either unable or unwilling to go.

    Take Ross Douthat from his op-ed today in the NYT. He says something sane:

    This is a crisis that the Republican Party often badly misunderstands, casting Democratic-leaning voters as lazy moochers or spoiled children seeking “gifts” (as a certain former Republican presidential nominee would have it) rather than recognizing the reality of their economic struggles.
    But then he goes on to say the very thing that he claims to reject:
    This is a great flaw in the liberal vision, because whatever role government plays in prosperity, transfer payments are not a sufficient foundation for middle-class success.
    What could he possibly mean by "transfer payments"? Gifts!

    And then he goes there, back to 50's happytimeland:

    It’s not a coincidence that the economic era that many liberals pine for — the great, egalitarian post-World War II boom — was an era that social conservatives remember fondly as well: a time of leaping church attendance, rising marriage rates and birthrates, and widespread civic renewal and engagement.
    And which others remember for racial segregation, Jim Crow, social conformity, cultural blandness, HUAC, McCarthy, Nixon, and the Dulles brothers.

    What is it with these Little Lord Fauntleroys and their inability to let go of their white bread utopias? Can it be classified as a mental illness already?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:23:13 AM PST

    •  Does anyone disagree with Douthat here? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Gooserock, BobBlueMass
      This is a great flaw in the liberal vision, because whatever role government plays in prosperity, transfer payments are not a sufficient foundation for middle-class success.
      He's right.  Education is the key.  

      Intolerance betrays want of faith in one's cause. - Gandhi

      by SpamNunn on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:31:50 AM PST

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      •  He's Lying. The High Taxes Don't Transfer, (9+ / 0-)

        they excess prevent wealth from ever arriving in the hands of the rich to begin with. Enormous compensation is never offered, and that leaves it circulating in the rest of the economy.

        We had less education in the early 1950's but a lot more equitable wealth and income distribution.

        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 Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:43:30 AM PST

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      •  Jobs. Jobs. Jobs. (8+ / 0-)

        Ok. He's right about the transfer payment thing. But that is not the liberal vision.

        Why does he think we fight so hard for education? Fight against job destroyers, job exporters? Fight to get the tax a and healthcare burden off the backs of working and middle class families?

        Why does he think we fought for the stimulus, fight for more stimulus?

        A society is judged by how well it cares for those in the dawn of life, the children. By how well it cares for those in the twilight of life, the elderly. And, by how well it cares for those on the edge of life; the poor, the sick, and the disabled.

        by BobBlueMass on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:02:44 AM PST

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      •  I do (10+ / 0-)

        What could he possibly mean by "transfer payment" but wealth redistribution, or "gifts"? I.e. taking money from people who earned it and giving it to people who haven't. It's "Welfare Queens" dressed up for polite company.

        Government, without which sound education for all is simply not possible, is the foundation of every society's prosperity. Not free enterprise, not free markets, not individual initiative, not financial innovation, but sound government policy soundly implemented. I.e. the "American System", which requires taxation, i.e. "transfer payments". Someone has to build those roads and bridges, defend those borders, run those schools and invest in core research.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:03:58 AM PST

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      •  I disagree with him vehemently. He forgets about (14+ / 0-)

        the role of the GI Bill, VA and FHA loans.  Millions went to college in the late forties and fifties on the GI bill and vast swaths of new middle class housing erupted in and around our cities because of VA and FHA loans.  Douthat doesn't know crap about our history or economics.  Don't give him credit for his facile lies.

        Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a Republican. But I repeat myself. Harry Truman

        by ratcityreprobate on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:10:56 AM PST

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        •  I think that some of them are less willful liars (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          JerryNA

          than sad and delusional deniers of reality, subscribing to a worldview that while based on lies or illusions, seems real enough to them to believe in. They have grown up in it and are terrified of having it torn down. They are in certain ways like members of the antebellum southern aristocracy, living in an internally cohesive fantasy world based on lies and exploitation. Not many people have the moral courage or brain power to overcome that. They're stuck in their fantasies.

          "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

          by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:50:20 AM PST

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      •  He's lying or doesn't know Am Econ history; he's a (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MHB

        Liar.

        The radical Republican party is the party of oppression, fear, loathing and above all more money and power for the people who robbed us.

        by a2nite on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 11:52:43 AM PST

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    •  Yeah I actually thought he was one of those rare (5+ / 0-)

      sensible conservatives. Then he goes and talks about equality in the 1950s that liberals pine for. Are their minds so freaking warped that they only see the world from a white man's perspective?

      •  Like pretty much all conservatives (8+ / 0-)

        He makes dishonest arguments that contain just enough truth to seem plausible. Whether this is deliberate, or something they don't realize they do, I don't know (the former means they're dishonest, the latter just stupid).

        Sure the 50's were a prosperous time. They were also an unequal time, not just economically but racially and sexually. And the inequality was institutional, not just social and cultural. They were also culturally conformist, at least for most Americans who dared not risk leaving the mainstream (obviously, lots of very interesting stuff going on outside the mainstream, e.g. music, art, activism).

        Deep down, they all share the same view that older straight white Judeo-Christian conservative males are morally superior and everyone should listen to, follow and try to be like them. They all have this weird daddy complex that I've never quite been able to figure out, simultaneously loving and fearing some mythical daddy figure. Very old testament, obviously. They take that shit seriously, poor saps.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:58:08 AM PST

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        •  It depends on what you mean. (0+ / 0-)

          Some people, when talking about the '50s, mean "the '50s".  Some mean "before the '60s".  Were the '50s worse socially and culturally than times before then--worse than the '20s, '30s, or '40s, or the turn of the century, or the Victorian Era?

          The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

          by Panurge on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:25:55 AM PST

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          •  I think they mean the actual decade (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            JerryNA, MHB

            In which it was good to be a member of the racial, ethnic, religious and social majority. They're been trying to recreate ever since.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:47:10 AM PST

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            •  Wasn't that true of times before, though? (0+ / 0-)

              In that case, "the '50s" does, in fact, mean "before the '60s".

              The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

              by Panurge on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:55:19 AM PST

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              •  No, they're specifically referring to the 50's (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                MHB

                As what they view as the high water mark of what their view as the ideal America, i.e. prosperous, peaceful, happy and well-ordered--for people like them. There had not been such a time in the US since the early 1800's.

                To them, the 20's were decadent.

                "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

                by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 10:21:00 AM PST

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    •  One can be forgiven I hope... (0+ / 0-)

      ...for concluding that "our Financial Overlords" would like nothing better than for all of us to be required to carry what they believe would be the most relevant form of Personal Identification: a summary of one's current net worth as defined by them, accurately refreshed every minute or so.

      Transfer payments that would mitigate the otherwise "abject  failure" of somewhere in the neighborhood of 99.75% of us "lesser mortals" would simply be blinding us to the reality of our absolute failure as wealth units...or something.

      When you are right you cannot be too radical; when you are wrong, you cannot be too conservative. --Martin Luther King Jr.

      by Egalitare on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 06:56:03 AM PST

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      •  Ok maybe I'm missing something here (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        But I seem have a different interpretation of the term "transfer payments". Is that some sort of technical term I'm not aware of, because I read it to mean taking money from the rich and giving it to the non-rich, which is classic RW nonsense.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:06:24 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Wikipedia has a good definition. (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          kovie, tardis10

          Wikipedia: Transfer Payment

          In economics, a transfer payment (or government transfer or simply transfer) is a redistribution of income in the market system. These payments are considered to be exhaustive because they do not directly absorb resources or create output. In other words, the transfer is made without any exchange of goods or services.[1] Examples of certain transfer payments include welfare (financial aid), social security, and government making subsidies for certain businesses (firms).

          -7.75 -4.67

          "Freedom's just another word for nothing left to lose."

          There are no Christians in foxholes.

          by Odysseus on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:39:51 AM PST

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          •  Then my original interpretation was the right one (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            tardis10, a2nite, Odysseus, JerryNA

            And I stand by my statement that Douthat was basically invoking Romney's view of them as "gifts" taken from the rich to give to the non-rich, for political gain. He just used fancier words and imagery to say the same thing.

            Modern Republicans simply do not believe in top-down resource reallocation, whatever they call it. Thing is, no society can prosper, nor avoid abject poverty, without a fair amount of it. The free market is a fantasy. And whether Repubs object to reallocation on moral or practical grounds, they're simply wrong.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:45:01 AM PST

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    •  It seems to work for them. (0+ / 0-)

      We were working on a new Utopia of our own back in the '60s and '70s, but for some reason we dropped it.  (Well, I didn't drop it, but just about everyone else did.) Now, even the liberal utopia is simply a sort of reformed '50s white bread, just with universal health care; green policy; and equality for minorities, women, and gays.  We dropped our Utopia, and now only the GOP has one.  Of course they're gonna be winning.

      The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

      by Panurge on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:29:57 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Um, maybe because utopia is a fantasy? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        JerryNA

        Instead of changing human nature, we realized that we need to find better ways of harnessing its better aspects and guarding against its worse ones. And I see nothing wrong with the goals you cited above. But I agree that the GOP is still utopian. Except that their utopia is our dystopia.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:51:33 AM PST

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        •  It doesn't matter. (0+ / 0-)

          Our fantasies are expressions of our values and most deeply held desires, and give us a sense of direction.  Without them, we mostly just have policy positions--and, yes, a fairly basic sense of justice.  But we need to be able to say, "Here's how the world can be different--and better."  Drawing a picture of that can be highly useful.   Disparaging it as "fantasy" doesn't really serve much.

          The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

          by Panurge on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:54:13 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  There are utopian fantasies (0+ / 0-)

            that stand a chance of being at least somewhat realized, and are just extensions of universally accepted moral values and goals, and ones that don't and are not. I would suggest that ours are more like the former and theirs the latter. So no false equivalence please. We are NOT the same, even in the quality of our dreams.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 10:57:31 AM PST

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            •  OK. (0+ / 0-)

              But my whole point is that we do have dreams, and we have them for good reasons.

              The '60s were simply an attempt to get the 21st Century started early....Well, what are we waiting for? There's no deadline on a dream!

              by Panurge on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:43:48 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

    •  Parties evolve ( or devolve) (0+ / 0-)

      There was a time when the Democratic Party supported southern conservatism and segregation and republicans were the progressive party.   The solid south was once democratic and just as conservative.  

      Dustbin of history?  Perhaps.
      But only and always perhaps.

      What I find just as disturbing is how my party has changed over the same time period.   But then I care more about this party than the GOP.

      "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

      by Rikon Snow on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 07:50:03 AM PST

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      •  The GOP is not evolving, it's devolving (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Rikon Snow, JerryNA

        If you look at US history we don't see two parties evolving along separate tracks, influencing and being influencing each other but remaining separate. Rather, we see two parties in competition, one of which evolves and the other not, with the latter party splitting or fading away, and its former members forming a new party or joining the other party, which itself eventually splits, to form a new two party system. The Federalists disappeared, its former members either dying of old age, leaving politics, or joining the Jeffersonian Republicans, the latter party eventually splitting over ideology, one part taken over by Jacksonians to become the nucleus of the modern Democratic party, the other to become the Whig party, which itself split over slavery, as did the Democratic party, the pro-slavery part of the Whig party joining the pro-slavery part of Democratic party to remain the Democratic party, and the anti-slavery parts of both forming the Republican party. And so on.

        The modern GOP as currently constructed is politically untenable. It will either disappear, splitting into two new parties, or it will cast off its far-right wing, which will form its own party, doomed to oblivion (unless some massive economic or other catastrophe launches it into power a la Weimar Germany), and remain as a much smaller and less powerful minority party, more moderate than the current GOP, gradually absorbing more conservative elements of the Democratic party as that party become more liberal again, until both parties are on some sort of parity again. But that will likely take a generation or longer.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:02:05 AM PST

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        •  I dunno. We've had " these" two parties (0+ / 0-)

          For the last 150 years thereabouts.   More stability with rapid communications and transport.    Think it very unlikely that either will disappear.   Both parties evolve.  The idea that only one evolves seems shortsighted.

          "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

          by Rikon Snow on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:11:48 AM PST

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          •  How has the GOP evolved since the 50's? (0+ / 0-)

            I see no evidence of such. None. Sure, Nixon did some progressive things like the EPA but that was because he had no choice, and it was just a continuation of Eisenhower's moderate policies. The GOP reached its most evolved state in the 50's and has been going downhill ever since.

            "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

            by kovie on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 08:24:05 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I just use evolution in the sense of "adaptive (0+ / 0-)

              change."  I don't put a value on the changes.  They are either adaptive or not, successful or not.

              "Let's see what fresh fuckwittery these dolts can contrive to torment themselves with this time." -- Iain Banks, The Hydrogen Sonata

              by Rikon Snow on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 09:53:32 AM PST

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          •  They're not really parties... (0+ / 0-)

            ...as a European or even a Canadian would understand the word "party".  The Republicans and Democrats are broad coalitions whose constituents have changed over the years. Southern whites and rural evangelicals used to be part of the Democratic coalition; northeastern liberals like Jacob Javits and Nelson Rockefeller were Republicans. During Reconstruction African-Americans were solidly Republican, as hard as that is to imagine today.

            The constraints imposed by the federal Constitution pretty much guarantee there will always be two opposing coalitions in American politics. Whether they were called Federalist and Republican, Democrat and Whig, or Democrat and Republican, they have always been there, and only a major constitutional rewrite will change that, I think. The notion that this or that faction of the Republicans will split and form a third party is unrealistic; such a new party would surely merge back into the Republican coalition  once the futility of its independent efforts became evident, or else it would bring the majority of the old party with it, becoming essentially the Republican party by any other name.

            The core of the Republican coalition has always been big money. Some of its other elements, like evangelicals and working-class whites, have nothing to gain from big money's agenda; by siding with it they are working against their own economic interests. They belong in the Democratic party, if only they understood this. We need to go after them. Think of what we could accomplish if all working-class Americans sided with us against Wall Street.

    •  No (0+ / 0-)

      It's not and illness.
      It's about evolution. Back in the mid 1850s blacks were concidered 3/5 s human, and so not able to vote. Since emancipation, blacks have become educated, culturally advanced, and become more intergrated in society. Hell, we even have one in the White House.
      The Repubs have remained stuck in the past, refusing to evolve.
      It's is they (Republicans) who have become 3/5 ths human.
      They shouldn't be allowed to vote.

      The Job Killing Republican Party is directly responsible for the Great Bush Recession.

      by earthling1 on Sun Nov 18, 2012 at 03:50:40 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

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