It's important to fully realize just what a dangerous lowering of the bar they both represent. Basically, they are a tag-team pair of serial liars who are completely comfortable with trying to bullshit their way into the White House, just four short years after the last Movement Conservative tandem of bullshit artists nearly tossed America into a second Great Depression.
Now, I happen to believe that President Obama and VP Biden will win the 2012 election in the end, and that we will both manage to hold on to the US Senate and make real gains in the House as well. But after this election is over, when it comes time to look ahead to where we go and what we do after the 2012 race is over.
Isn't it time we made conservatism, specifically Movement Conservatism, 100% toxic?
The Big Lie About Small Government.
Let's start with the biggest canard holding up the great pyramid of fraud that is Conservatism. There are certain talking points, memes, and frames that are fundamentally important to the modern American Right. About taxes. Guns. Foreign policy. Immigration. Abortion. But there is one that is absolutely essential to the movement as a whole. Something that has to be believed by the masses and the traditional media at large or it will fundamentally effect Movement Conservatism's ability to do what it does. The Big Lie About Small Government.
Movement Conservatism is fundamentally about the permanent establishment of, and the Republican Party is uncompromisingly fighting legislatively to achieve, a small, fiscally responsible, and unintrusive federal government.Well, at least here on Earth, there's just a little pink elephant in the room with that:
It's total 100% unadulterated bullshit.
No Conservative President, nor Congressional Majority, Has Ever Reduced the Size and Intrusive Power of the Federal Government. Not Nixon. Not Ronald Reagan. Not Dubya. Not the 'Contract On America' crowd. Nor Teahadi. None of them. In fact, not only hasn't the "Small Government" loving Movement Conservative Right ever really even tried to do what they say, but they have actually almost always either greatly expanded its powers, costs, and its deficits, or simply let the status-quo remain. All while the rabble and glibertati grumble and grouse about the burden and cost of the State for cheap theatrical effect.
The stunning depth of the bamboozlement that is occuring is utterly breathtaking.
Movement Conservatism is fundamentally about the permanent establishment of, and the Republican Party is uncompromisingly fighting legislatively to achieve, a massively intrusive federal government beholden to the whims of big corporations and the wealthy.If you were to sit down and really seriously think about what it is that the Republican Party has traditionally been willing to do about actually enacting their oft-stated ideological agenda about government, it's almost always easy stuff. Like cutting taxes without attempting any offsetting spending cuts. Gutting regulations that protect the environment, the poor, and the middle class. Savagely attacking the social safety net. It is a dangerous myth that we are fighting over the size of the State in America in the 21rst century. We're not.
We are currently at risk of living through a second Gilded Age, and should the Right push us there it won't an age of small government. The United Corporate States of America will be big.
Every single penny that has ever been saved by non-Movement Conservatives choosing painful austerity and hard fiscal medicine to "prove they are as fiscally responsible" has essentially been for naught. There are no "Grand Bargains" that will not lead directly to another round of massive, and lingering, tax reductions for the rich. The Democrats have tried 'bipartisanship' for decades. Acted in good faith with bad faith Republicans.
There is another way.
Somebody has to say that Conservatism has Failed.
Movement Conservative economics are a massive failure. Deregulation and lack of adequate oversight alone almost destroyed the most powerful economy on the planet. Privatization is frought with endless epic fail. Neoconservative foreign policy is one conjob after quagmire after tar pit after fallen hornet's nest after another. Further, where Movement Conservatism hasn't failed, what remains is entirely a work of fiction.
Movement Conservatism is vulnerable in that it depends on a clean latticework of accepted lies. It has thrived for decades because far too many have not forcefully challenged its mythologies. The GOP has an existential need for Democrats to play by their rules, because they can't win an argument that isn't rigged by the process or the referees, or both, being slanted.
How many freakouts have we seen, in the last six months alone, by the Right over the Democrats fighting back hard and the reaction to that being as if that's against the rules somehow? Sometimes I feel like I'm not seeing the same thing that our pols are seeing, because I can't count the number of times the Right has telegraphed that they don't like getting hit, and that lesson doesn't seem to stick at all.
If your opponents absolutely believe that the illusion of strength is actually strength, then even a paper tiger can rule with an iron paw that isn't. As a non-Movement Conservative, if you root deeply into the history of Movement Conservatism you will find that Rove-Atwater-Teabaggery simply doesn't deal well with direct and aggressive confrontation. Imagine a massive, noisy, and grim-looking paper mache tank. If you aren't immediately scared, then it is very likely that they are. If you aren't immediately retreating, then it is also very likely that they soon will be, and a lot of them running away embarassingly fast. From the Terry Schaivo debacle to the Komen for the Cure assault on Planned Parenthood disaster to Rush Limbaugh's "slut" overreach massacre, our recent political history alone is full of examples of why the Right is utterly dependent on all of those outside of it to 'just take our word for it, you don't want to mess with us'.
Conservatism is based on a combination of pure bullshit and bad policy.
There's no small and limited government party in our two-party system, only a lie that there is. Your choices as an American are between good governance and rule by the Koch brothers fiat. The frame that the Right offers, between "Big" and "Small" government is a staggeringly phony one that needs to be attacked viciously and without mercy. The GOP is the party of ushering in the Corporatized MegaState.
Your son in the Marines in a firebase under seige in some godawful faraway place, dug in deep and hoping that the BlackWater privateers backing him up don't get a better offer. Your kids playing on buried 55 gallon drums of godknowswhat because Big Chem, backed up by Scalitos on the bench, gets to dictate the scope of environmental laws. Your grandkids in a corporate Right-to-Work McSchool run by Kaplan.
Not only did the patron saint of modern "small" government Movement Conservatism, President Ronald Reagan, not reduce the size, expense, or the intrusive power of the federal government, he actually expanded it, upped its cost, and gave the State new invasive powers than some of his thought-to-be less ideologically pure Republican Presidential peers.
When Government has been shrunk, it has been shrunk at the hands of two Presidents from the hated party of "Big Government", that one that "always" thinks that "Government is Always the Answer" and is "Never Ever in Favor of Trimming the Fat". And those experiments have failed to deliver the lasting positive results the fake party of small government says will simply always occur when you do what they say will work. Democrats don't expose the fraud, and make an argument to change the argument, and they don't fundamentally change the game.
Movement Conservatism is like any hearty weed, you ruin it by attacking it at its roots. This is also a target rich environment for a motivated gardener with weed killer.
Just another late night, can't sleep, up and thinking ahead to what comes next.