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Cross posted at Polislice.com

The National Memo printed this state of the state of politics piece from the A.P. on Thursday that lays out that, despite public opinion and the GOP losing the popular vote in 5 of the last 6 presidential elections, the country has moved rightward politically.  
 

Conservative efforts have pushed the government rightward on taxes, spending and other policies, despite losses on some social fronts. One might say Republicans keep losing battles but winning wars.
But they don’t have the courage to say why and how that happened.

We didn’t just “drift” rightward as if by a zephyr that just came along, an act of God, no explanation necessary. Just the contrary.  After the Goldwater debacle of 1964 wealthy right wing activists organized and developed a nearly 50 year long effort to PUSH politics and the judiciary to accept and adopt a pro-business, anti-regulatory, anti-tax, anti-worker agenda.  Their adherents in private talked mostly economic issues, but in public used cultural issues to hoodwink middle class and working class people (Nixon’s Silent Majority, the Christian Coalition) to vote for politicians who talk a big culture warrior game but under the radar were moving the country further and further towards policies favoring the rich.  The surface culture wars were mostly a failure, but they succeeded spectacularly in driving the Overton Window to the right on economic issues while devastating the middle classes. (See “Nixonland” by Rick Perlstein).

We continue on an inexorable leftward push culturally towards more freedom, justice and equality, to the chagrin of the ultimately flaccid religious-right culture warriors. The only real exception over the last 30 years was in the debate on guns, which has recently taken a severe turn leftward and may well mark the end of the NRA’s 30 year reign of terror over politicians.  Also, abortion rights have been gnawed away at representing the only real “victories” the religious right can claim – to have made it harder for women in some states to actually get an abortion. That struggle continues, but I suspect the growing political activism of young women will mark a liberal political turnaround in that battle as well in the coming years.

It is ironic that the East-coast, Wall Street economic elitist segment of the GOP and the western  libertarian Goldwater wing needed the religious right typified by old Christian Coalition in order to get Ronald Reagan and the Bushes elected and implement their economic policies. The Wall Streeters and libertarians don’t, for the most part, share the cultural conservatism and religiosity of the Pat Robertsons.  And ultimately, the anti-gay, anti-choice, pro prayer in schools people have seen their power to pontificate and move elections erode except in the reddest of red states.  Without the veil of God, guns and gays the plutocrats are naked and have trouble selling their agenda.

But for 40 years on economic issues, neo-liberalism, which is a misnomer that represents a very conservative, plutocratic approach to finance, was very successfully insinuated into every economic debate and pushed the country very much rightward by this coalition on the right. This has been a very deliberate and planned effort by “movement conservatives” funded by very familiar names in ultra conservative and libertarian aristocratic circles.  Millionaires and billionaires like the Walton Family, the Koch Brothers, Richard Mellon Scaife, the Bradleys, Coors, etc. were recruited and organized into a concerted effort to push policies, especially in the areas of taxation and regulation, more amenable to wealthy plutocrats. Not just here in America, but through the IMF and the World Fund to spread the libertarian theories developed by Milton Friedman and the Chicago School of Economics, to the rest of the world.  (Please see “The Shock Doctrine, the Rise of Disaster Capitalism” by Naomi Klein) This is how a lobbyist like Grover Norquist can become one of the most influential people in D.C., even though until recently most Americans had never heard his name. Now almost everybody with an ear towards American politics is familiar with his no-tax pledge that was signed by almost every Republican elected in the last 10 years, and more than a few Democrats.  

GOP leaders and tea party activists routinely describe Americans as overtaxed. By historical standards, at least, it’s a questionable claim. In 1981, the top marginal income tax rate was 70 percent. Today it is 39.6 percent.

Federal tax revenues exceeded 20 percent of the gross domestic product in 2000. Under Obama, they have not exceeded 15.8 percent a year.


They quietly developed a long term strategy to overcome the democratic inclinations of the country and reverse the New Deal, the Great Society, and all liberal influences on governing. Think tanks were funded, newspapers and radio stations were purchased, colleges and universities were endowed.
 
- Over time conservatives took over AM talk radio.  

- The American Legislative Exchange is developed to push legislation (and legislators) at the state level, developing conservative ideas and politicians.

- The Federalist Society indoctrinates young lawyers with conservative legal principals in order to get these young activists on the bench and over time, one judicial activist at a time, they developed the very conservative courts we have today, including the Supreme Court, that never finds in favor of individuals or unions over businesses, ever.


This effort was not counterbalanced by any similar effort on the left, on the contrary, the left seemed to become a moribund force in American politics after Watergate. The activists of the 60s seemingly declared victory and went home after Watergate, the end of the Vietnam war and the women’s liberation movement. As if to say, we have bell bottoms, what more could we want? In my opinion the left sat back and took it and did not fight back in any coherent fashion until the outrages of the Bush administration reawakened them and the candidacy of Howard Dean gave them voice.

Just look at the fact that Richard M. Nixon, a bona fide conservative in 1968, proposed a more liberal agenda than Al Gore or Bill Clinton did in the 90s and 00s.  It seems almost mind blowing that a conservative Republican created the EPA, signed the Clean Air and Clean Water Acts, was a gun control proponent and had a plan for universal health care that would make the Tea Party scream “Communism!” Obamacare itself was based on proposals by conservative think tanks like Heritage.

But that’s just the point, these shadowy conservative forces have moved the Republican Party way off the map rightward and in its wake pulled the Democrats as well towards a more centrist stance.
 

Emory University political scientist Alan Abramowitz says the Democratic Party has become “essentially a centrist party, and has remained so despite losing its right wing since the 1960s as a result of the realignment of the South.” Meanwhile, he said, the GOP “has moved rather dramatically to the right since the ’60s.” The political middle ground, he said, “has also shifted well to the right of where it was 30 or 40 years ago on most issues.”

So something like an EPA today would be unthinkable from the Republicans and pretty much dead on arrival from the Democrats. Very much like climate control legislation – cap and trade. The GOP has adopted skepticism on science that would boggle the minds of the enlightened Republicans of the 60s, and in so doing have dragged Blue Dog Democrats by their tails back into the muck with them, leaving progressives alone on the field proposing ideas that would have been universally accepted 40 years ago as practical, scientifically sound, market-based solutions!

Obamacare is perfectly illustrative of how now, 40+ years into the plan, 30+ years into the indoctrination of conservatives of the evils of Democrats and liberals, the thinkers that began movement conservativism have, like Frankenstein, lost control of their monster. So Heritage comes up with a market-based way to cover more people with health care (something even republicans once cared about) and Republicans push that idea in the 90s as a conservative alternative to the universal healthcare that they dread is coming. But when Democrats adopt such ideas as Hilarycare in 1993 or Obamacare in 2008, instead of declaring ideological victory, these plans are attacked mercilessly because (1) can’t allow a victory for a Democrat, and (2)  the true believers on the ground, the Rush Limbaugh/Fox News audience that has swallowed Democratic demonization for decades, impulsively declares these conservative ideas “socialism” because they came from Democrats. The GOP wizards behind the curtain find they can no longer control the mob mentality against their own ideas, so out of self-preservation even they have to turn and, laughably, denounce ideas they previously proposed.

So now you have a GOP that has an ever diminishing quiver of ideas that they can take out and speechify about.  They can talk about their goals of small government and low taxes, but cannot come up with actual governing philosophies that people actually like.  Taxes are already as low as they’ve ever been and the average American believes that in the face of growing inequality and a struggling economy taxes should be raised on the wealthy and we should spend more on jobs and the middle class.

The “thinkers” of the past generation that developed the plan are now passing into irrelevancy and the party has been taken over by the “feelers” who internalized the now 40 years of propaganda, 30 years on radio, almost 20 years on TV. You have a generation that bought into the lies told for political purposes that were created as a “a beard” to mask the real agenda of pro-plutocrat policies.  They are outraged, but their outrage is incoherent and aimed at the people who are actually on their side like Occupy Wall Street or President Obama. They have lost credibility but like a zombie army fighting only on muscle memory of what motivated them when they lived, they swing wildly not recognizing how ineffective they are.  They are the Tea Party and they have taken over the asylum.  

The conservative master plan hatched after the Goldwater landslide is now on life support as the left finally fights back with both hands.  The problem is the conservative judiciary, like a sleeper cell, is still there, typified by an evermore out-of-step Antonin Scalia, making the left’s battle back to a more equitable society just that much more more difficult.

Originally posted to jetfan on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 01:57 PM PST.

Also republished by Community Spotlight.

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Comment Preferences

  •  I will be honest...I didn't read all of this (58+ / 0-)

    But I can tell you this is true..

    Conservative efforts have pushed the government rightward on taxes, spending and other policies, despite losses on some social fronts. One might say Republicans keep losing battles but winning wars.
    I know this because it has been 1 1/2 months since the President was elected, and yet I have heard nothing but arguments over how spending should be cut from Democrats.  I have not heard a single full speech, press conference opening, or other non Inaugural or SOTU speech focused on jobs.

    We are arguing basically the sames things Reagan argued in 1982.  I am not joking. The difference is Reagan actually was for raising revenue, so it was as hard to get done.

    You can't move the country left by focusing on right arguments.  That does nothing to move a progressive agenda.  And that is not just President Obama, that is the Democratic party as a whole, under his leadership.

    "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

    by justmy2 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 03:09:02 PM PST

      •  I'm pretty sure the Republicans and TradMed (7+ / 0-)

        ...also have something to do with it. I'm equally sure that the public who seems to want the right things but also expresses a disapproval of government spending motivates politicians and pundits alike.

        People have had almost 4 decades now to beat back this impulse to express disapproval on spending, but the other side has won the debate.

        Every who detests the situation needs to own up to the inability to dissuade other citizens from Republican framing.Putting the responsibility on some politician or party is not the what is necessary to win.

        Bottom-up politics works. Organization works. But it doesn't happen magically.

        "There is nothing more dreadful than the habit of doubt. Doubt separates people. It is a poison that disintegrates friendships and breaks up pleasant relations. It is a thorn that irritates and hurts; it is a sword that kills.".. Buddha

        by sebastianguy99 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 05:21:05 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  ? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Matt Z

        Really?

        I get justmy2 point. There isn´t a good enough effort in communications and changing the themes and memes that dominate the DC gestalt. Your comment though smells to other things, things that the right wing loves to promote to decrease voting: Politicians are all the same, Ds are really Republicans, Nothing can be changed....

    •  Gotta be comment of the year so far (19+ / 0-)

      And this seems to be something that some people on the left are averting their eyes from. I don't care nearly as much about the D vs the R as I do about policy. I haven't voted for any Republicans since 1992 because they are a wholly owned subsidiary of Rich-n-Crazy inc. But that doesn't mean I will automatically support Democrats just because they are a lesser degree of batshit conservative. We're way out of balance and that needs to be restored before we can move forward.

      "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

      by MargaretPOA on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 06:41:04 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  we are a liberal country (5+ / 0-)

      with conservative governance. if democrats would do the people's will, the political result would be the end of the republican party.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 06:24:58 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  We are a socially liberal country and with (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Eyesbright

        are youth who are becoming more and more active and engaged politically this should continue leftward....however, economically and fiscally we are a center right, if not right, nation.

        Taxes are still a bad word, socialism and anything pertaining to it is scorned, programs to help the disadvantaged are ridiculed and mocked as if they don't need the help, capitalism and all that implies is still considered "worthy".....until the minds and hearts of everyday Americans change in the regard of the above mentioned and in great numbers...we have a definite challenge to see real progressive movement economically.

        •  flat wrong (0+ / 0-)

          polls show strong support for increased taxes on the wealthy, cutting corporate subsidies, and protecting social security, medicare and medicaid.

          The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

          by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 12:47:09 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I am not flat wrong and you know it. (0+ / 0-)

            Sure, polls show that the people want the wealthy to contribute more and want the big 3 that they pay for protected, but so what? Isn't that but a very small part of what we need to make this country great?

            Since when is raising taxes, in the way that truly needs to be done, a popular topic among taxpayers.  We can raise taxes only on the wealthy and still not come close to the needed revenue we need to move a true progressive agenda for a true progressive nation.

            Since when does the populace embrace the need for a big and strong government that provides for the people because the people chose to share in its growth by providing enough revenue, from their own pockets, so we can all share in the distributed services and goods.

            Since when is capitalism and all the greed and power it involves scorned, investigated and ridiculed by the people....instead of non profit or government programs, that suffer this everyday?

            Since when do the voters of this country want to protect the workers and immigrants even at the cost of their own "race to the top" and support a livable wage, open borders, strong and viable unions, and government employees...including teachers?

            Since when has greed been lost in this country?

            Again, until the heart and minds of a strong majority of Americans change to see the real value of shared sacrifice and shared prosperity and want to embrace it totally.... we will be stuck in a modern social country, that is quickly moving forward but that will also be lagging and backwards economically.

            •  try again (0+ / 0-)

              polls show strong support for the vague concept of government. the entire new deal remains enormously popular.

              The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

              by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 02:48:00 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  Please cite polls for support of my above argument (0+ / 0-)

                Again, the big 3 remain popular because people feel they are paying directly for their own, and and they are.  They support the extremely wealthy paying more, because it's a moral obligation that they should contribute more.

                However, show me some polls were we have a huge majority that support union rights, worker rights, fair and just open borders and immigration policy that centers around amnesty, favor for the turn away of runaway capitalism or even strong regulation of capitalism, higher taxes across the board (middle class too as it is needed) for government expansion, strong and big government in any regard, more money and tax collection for education... government programs....and polls supporting government workers and teachers striking when they are treated unfairly.

                Go look up polls about "big government" and see how strong it polls, even among Democrats. If you can't find them, I'll be glad to provide them.

                We must realize this is a problem, if we ever expect the meme to change, our leaders to change, and our voices to be heard.  Socially we  are doing great and moving at warp speed to a good future.  Economically and fiscally, we are not.

    •  Actually 5 months since election (0+ / 0-)

      1 1/2 months since inauguration

      "Small Businesses Don't Build Levees" - Melissa Harris Perry

      by justmy2 on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 06:34:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Lots of koses will "not read all of it."Single iss (0+ / 0-)

      ue and "coalition" approaches to the concentrated bile that is kleptocracy will not counter any of it. "Electing more and better Democrats"? What does that mean, in the reality of imperial court politics in our national and state capitals?

      Most of us are bit players, not having the Big Picture clearly in mind, not having the strength to organize and insist (stamping feet and DEMANDING ain't gonna do it) on social justice, unlike those folks in the past who faced down the kleptocrats in previous peaks of their ascendance. No, we don't have the billionaires to wag the tails of elected (and thus nominally "legitimate") Non-representatives. We have sashayed right past the last big Crash, without DEMANDING that Vampire Squiddery be ended and seeing that it is done. Yes, we have unlimited iDistractions, and have, horribly, suckered ourselves into buying into the whole Ownership Society (sic) theme, to the point that most of us have reflexive anger at tales of "welfare queens" and "government employees with pensions and health care."

      Most of us know, deep down and thanks to human physiology and psychology and a lot of hidden and not so hidden indoctrination, that we want to be kleptocrats ourselves, the next Zuckerman or Gates or Buffett, and we know that as heedless consumers pursuing insatiable "wants," we are all among the guilty when it comes to poverty, hunger, war, climate change, all of that. We look "forward" to salvation from unbridled technology, that instead brings us micro-drones and Monsanto taking over the world's food supply and "austerity" as a seemingly acceptable concept, so wise and post-Depression "sensible." We have lost sight of what those labor organizers (another term that in many engenders a shiver of Koch-bred disgust) and Evil Socialists knew and worked from:

      The fundamental truth that despite all the consumptive and predatory behaviors, there still is more than enough of everything that matters to go all the way around the table.

      Instead, we wink wryly at the aging joke about the CEO and the rest of us:

      A CEO and a bunch of workers are sitting around a table. On the table there's a plate of fresh-from-the-oven, warm, buttery, rich chocolate chip cookies, baked by the ordinary people sitting there. The CEO reaches out and grabs the plate, crams all but one cookie into his mouth and puts the plate back in the middle of the table. Then he looks around at the rest and says, "Better watch out! one of you is planning to grab that cookie."

      And you know what the reaction of the rest of us has been. It sure ain't been to grab the CEO and make him disgorge all those cookies and push him away from the table...

      "Is that all there is?" Peggy Lee.

      by jm214 on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 07:49:56 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  When Reagan was President (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      justmy2

      He was able to force the Democratic Party to give him cuts in entitlement benefits in return for an increase in the payroll tax cap.  

      The difference today is that it is a Democrat in the White House bragging about how obsessed he is with cutting entitlements without any increase in revenue in the entitlement programs.  

      Hey, he even labels the cuts he wants "superlative".

    •  Isn't that the guy who is about to be indicted? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Dirtandiron, OleHippieChick

      There are some things happening in England that will not be fun for Rupert and his son, as their actions and dishonesty in regard to past crimes by their papers have continued to be delved into by the British Parliament.

      The extent to which the Rupert empire bribed and corrupted public officials and police officials is fairly staggering.  It was just sort of "how things worked", and the public be damned.

      But the reaction to that drift into "corruption as usual" is growing and growing, to the point where some major things may be about to happen.  And then we will see what effect the US law on the bribery of foreign officials has on News Corps.  Or "corpse" perhaps...  the record of their behavior in the UK is so dreadful and so unfeeling that the public finds it repulsive.

      That kind of thing is not usually very good for business.

  •  I'm still (8+ / 0-)

    betting on the 98%.  I'm just a cock-eyed optimist!

    "The light which puts out our sight is darkness to us." Thoreau

    by NancyWH on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 03:45:17 PM PST

  •  Are they crazy? (20+ / 0-)

    The lack of investigative journalism (Rachel Maddow excepted) shocks me.

    Had the GOP not gerrymandered like crazy, the House would be Democratic.

    What we need is some bored graduate student who would re-count the 2012 House votes, but put them into the 2008 district boundaries, and re-calculate the election.

    If anything, this nation is moving strongly and definitively to the Left.

    •  Limbaugh dancing. (9+ / 0-)
      The lack of investigative journalism (Rachel Maddow excepted) shocks me.
      The media's bending over backwards as far as they can in hopes Limbaugh won't find something to cry about in the inch their shoulders are off the floor.

      That stop order on reality checks is a huge reason the people who would benefit from Democratic policies but were distracted by Republican propaganda such as the culture wars.

      The furor over Friday's [10.5] job report revealed a political movement that is rooting for American failure, so obsessed with taking down Obama that good news drives its members into a blind rage. -Paul Krugman

      by Judge Moonbox on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 05:25:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Exactly. Who is MAKING them treat Rush (6+ / 0-)

        ... with such deference? Their bosses? Some unspoken code of "don't piss off the money makers"?

        Look, we all are undergoing livelihood pressure that makes us do things we'd rather not do. But aside from that, they are CHOOSING to respect Rush and his craniorectal excretions.

        Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

        by Lucy Montrose on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 07:10:17 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's called interlocking directorates. (13+ / 0-)

          The Boards of Directors of the five major media orgs are chock full of banksters, koch bros corps, etc.  In no way will we see any true reporting.  If we did the sociopaths corps would collapse and the hardcore twenty percent of conservatives would never be heard from.

          W/Petey Peterson shoving hundreds of millions of dollars, to distort, mislead and lie and not a single media outlet reporting it, we don't have a chance.  Yet his sycophants like Ed Rendell, Simpson/Bowles, etc get ,maximum time in print and all media, they are never, NEVER called out as mouthpieces for their owners. Chris Matthews has Rendell on almost nightly and never discloses he is paid by Peterson's Fix the Debt conspiracy to pose as a Dem and lie to America about Peterson's pathological crusade.

          Don't believe everything you think.

          by BrianParker14 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 09:07:13 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  So it's all one big buddy system. (5+ / 0-)

            Nobody's going to want to check or balance anybody. Doesn't that functionally make them all one entity, if they all think alike?

            Hell, to gain a seat on these boards, they probably have screening processes worse than the worst companies. I bet the minimum income for admission is a million dollars, and they have people a la Henry Ford's aides to go check to see if you drive the "right" car, live in the "right" neighborhood, wear the "right" clothes and have the right friends. And of course you cannot display any empathy for the 99 percent.

            Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

            by Lucy Montrose on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 10:17:11 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

  •  Reagan was tipping point, groundwork came sooner (14+ / 0-)

    I look back now and see just how bad Reagan was.  Yet the behind the scenes groundwork started in the late 60's and 70s: The Southern Strategy, Republicans getting in bed (yes, bad pun) with the evangelicals, funding think tanks, the Powell Memorandum, the beginning of deregulation under Carter, co-opting the Chamber of Commerce, getting the obedient crazy conservatives into the local low level offices, and so on.

    Its been a forty, nearly fifty year effort. Multi generations of wealthy conservatives trying to destroy/transform this country.  Its heartbreaking, and so far they are winning.

    •  the tide has turned (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      OregonOak, Habitat Vic

      it won't be as quick as we would like, but it is happening.

      The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

      by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 06:29:14 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Lawrence, the "tide" will turn (4+ / 0-)

        only when plutocrats can find a way to control it and profit from it.

        They're running the engine right now, won't give up without complete societal disintegration. The smart ones will be lead by the masses to move policy to a more progressive image while maintaining tight control over (upward) wealth redistribution.

        The indicator of overall control by plutocrats will be the continued suppression of unions. Plutocrats might want to mitigate the continuing impoverishment of the non-wealthy, but they'll never permit the rise of unions-- ever again. A small rise of the minimum wage may be acceptable, but unionization of the US workforce? Never.

        The effects of plutocratic control in the coming years will also be evident in the lowering of the US individual life expectancy due to decreasing quality of public health and rising inequity of income levels. Rising health care costs will eat into the Obamacare agenda and lead too many citizens to an early grave BECAUSE the health care exchanges themselves will be priced out of the reach of most new payers of premiums. Without a public option, there are no price controls for the exchanges.

        Overall, the money changers don't really have a dog in the fight against systematic depopulation. In fact, their overall philosophy is to decrease population to preserve precious and basic resources for themselves and their "stakeholders". But a rational approach toward depopulation has always been criticized as social engineering, while increasing death tolls through famine, disease, and war are framed as shit that just happens.

  •  Politics have been dragged rightward (18+ / 0-)

    While poll after poll clearly shows overwhelming support among the public for traditionally more liberal values. Like medicare, social security, interest in helping the helpless, smart regulations like food safety, etc. The DC bubble is what has moved right. And the apathetic dupes who say stupid shit like "Keep your government hands off my medicare...". The money has got. To. Go.

    "Given the choice between a Republican and someone who acts like a Republican, people will vote for a real Republican every time." Harry Truman

    by MargaretPOA on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 06:36:46 PM PST

  •  Article is a load of crap. (11+ / 0-)

    GOP superiority on national security/  discredited.
    GOP view on entitlements:  never more unpopular
    GOP view on gays:  discredited
    GOP view on 'greed is good' and tax cuts for the rich:  unpopular.
    GOP view on immigration:  unpopular
    GOP view on education:  discredited
    GOP view on climate change:  discredited
    GOP view on abortion:  this one ebbs and flows, but right now unpopular.

    GOP view on us exceptionalism: unpopular
    GOP view on regulation: unpopular.

    I could go on and on.  But we were a center right country in the 80's.  we're a center left country today, GOP guerrilla tactics notwithstanding.

    Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

    by khyber900 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 07:06:34 PM PST

    •  I think that's the author's point.. (9+ / 0-)

      ..that even though the conservative views are unpopular, they still dominate not only Washington media memes, but lawmakers' priorities as well.  Note all the recent obsession with the deficit and cutting government spending even though the last election showed that people were more interested in leveling the playing field between the plutocrats and the workers and investing in jobs and economic recovery.

      •  GOP has done a good job working (0+ / 0-)

        the DC agenda, but they still gave up tax increases for the first time in 4 decades or so.  When Clinton raised taxes, there were no GOP votes, and the GOP did not have the power to stop it by themselves, else they would have.  They still funded health care reform...first time ever. We have a more extreme GOP congress, but that's because the country's priorities have shifted away from them.

        Alternative rock with something to say: http://www.myspace.com/globalshakedown

        by khyber900 on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 10:49:30 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Your comment illustrates one way that (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bisbonian, caul, greenbell

      the right has been so successful in their rightward push.

      Other than on the issues of gays and abortion modern democrats largely subscribe to the same policies and agenda that 80's Republicans held (the President himself as explicitly stated that his policies would have made him a moderate Republican in the Reagan era--a firmly center-right position).

      Climate change is a draw--Democrats (of today) tend to acknowledge that science isn't fiction, while Republicans (of today) tend to still wear their anti-science trappings, but since the leadership in the Democratic party aren't really interested in doing anything about it it's only a rhetorical difference, and therefore scarcely worth noting.

      The only way one can claim with a straight face that we live in a 'center left' country today is if one subscribes to Rush Limbaugh's version of what "left" means (which is, "not batshit insane, teabilly conservative"). That doesn't mean it's actually left. But you aren't alone, and that's what I meant with my opening statement in this comment. The right has been very successful at convincing well-meaning center-leftists (and even those firm-leftists) that enacting conservative (and sometimes very conservative) policy is "center left" just because the GOP makes noises about opposing it.

      •  no (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Whatithink, unfangus

        public opinion on the issues is solidly to the left, including on taking action on climate change. the politicians and the politics are lagging popular opinion, but that is slowly changing.

        The cold passion for truth hunts in no pack. -Robinson Jeffers

        by Laurence Lewis on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 06:30:58 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  The former may be true, but I don't see (0+ / 0-)

          evidence of the latter, unless by "changing" you mean "drifting even further away from" (toward the right).

          Frankly I'm skeptical of the former, too. I think in general the public is mainly some kind of weird frankenstein-monster of civil-center-left/economic-libertarian, which doesn't fit neatly on a scale with a left/right dichotomy. Were I forced to shoe-horn it in I would identify it as a right-wing (perhaps close to the center) position, because political liberty with economic slavery is fairly useless.

    •  Obama can't wait to enact the GOP view (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph

      on entitlements.  He can hardly utter a sentence that doesn't contain the words "entitlement reform".  

      It's right there on his web site.  He's bragging about his zeal to cut Social Security benefits with "superlative" CPI.  

      •  . (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        greenbell

        when he mentioned the increased private capital being used to 'rebuild the infrastructure' instead of 'burdening the overtaxed taxpayers' actually means privatized roads and bridges.  It is NOT a good thing, it is monopolization of an existing infrastructure that has been neglected for decades by misappropriations of capital such as an oversized military with about 700 more foreign bases than we need or want.

        "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

        by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 01:07:01 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Do not forget the EMOTIONAL needs the GOP (6+ / 0-)

    ... has tapped into.

    The GOP's strategy would not have been so durable and long-lasting without having tapped into a deep, thick vein of emotional need.

    And I'm not talking about fear; or even authoritarianism, necessarily.

    They also do a phenomenal job of fomenting one opposite of fear: comfortability and relaxation.

    Remember, the GOP loves it when we're apathetic. They count on us to get tired out, to tune out, to make it our goal to seek nothing more than comfort, ease, simplicity and fun. They tap into the base need we all have for being comfortable, to just focusing on ourselves, to conserving our energies. Hell, that may just be another meaning of the word conservative.

    The GOP is right there, when we feel beaten by life, with strokes, soothing words, and quick-fix answers like blaming the Kenyan Usurper in the White House. "You don't have to spend all your time being unhappy! Take a load off, de-stress, get comfortable. It's hard work trying to be egalitarian all the time; why not take a break? Why not ditch the environmental, dietary, etc. hyper-vigilance for a while? You'll just be happier if you follow your instincts."

    And they're right about that. It IS hard work being a liberal. The default position of human nature does indeed seem to be conservative. It does seem to get you more social support-- and therefore happiness, according to our most widely-read sources about mental health-- if you just go with the flow. As long as the GOP presents itself as the party of comfortable convenience, their ideas will remain seductive.

    Real Democrats don't abandon the middle class. --John Kerry

    by Lucy Montrose on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 07:30:25 PM PST

  •  skepticism of science: (7+ / 0-)

    What they're peddling isn't skepticism. It's reality-denial. A good skeptic will still accept something for which there is compelling evidence.

    The right dismisses any info as biased and/or attacks the source if that info doesn't confirm what they already believe.

    liberal bias = failure to validate or sufficiently flatter the conservative narrative on any given subject

    by RockyMtnLib on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 07:30:37 PM PST

  •  The Dems allowed the GOP to shreaded what is left (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    greenbell

    of our safety net even further , after the 2010 elections , go look back at all the cuts obama folded on back then , now the sequester will shred it even further , and the dems were just handing it to them , and getting zero back , they passed military spending without a peep , then said they had no choice but to bend over for every gop request there after , the dems put up no fight at all

    Now look at the sequestered cuts , defunding obamacare , I said it at the time , why are dems signing onto budgets cuts , and thinking the gop will not take ALL OF THEM? AND SHRINK GOVERNMENT ? THE VERY FANTASY THEY WORSHIP?

    I do not think obama can even save his presidency at this point , everything will be buried by all these cuts , the only hope is a sudden economic boom , good luck with that , the economy will sputter , so will revenue , and we have less of a safety net than we did before , A WIN WIN WIN WIN FOR THE GOP AND WALL ST

    In 6 months , people will be wondering " what all the BIG DEM TALK during the campaign was all about ? " ,  because all we are going to be getting is the gop minority agenda the next 2 years , and little else , but obama will be able to brag he cut spending , cut taxes , helped balanced the budget , by screwing the elderly , poor , and working class ...You know , all those people he said he wanted to help for the last year , I certainly hope I am wrong this time

  •  The Dems fell for the Sequester (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Laurence Lewis, Patango

    Hook, line and sinker.

    "Purposely bad" is what Republicans dream of.

    This is why we lurched to the right. We're too worried about not hurting anyone's feelings, about being politically correct, about stepping on toes.

  •  Actualy, this is not really what happened (5+ / 0-)
    The activists of the 60s seemingly declared victory and went home after Watergate, the end of the Vietnam war and the women’s liberation movement.
    They were being arrested, beaten and killed, so they came to the conclusion that it was very dangerous to be and activist. Many saw what was going to happen in the future with climate change, our oil addiction, environmental degradation and pollution, so they started working quietly on things like alternative ways to generate power and get off oil, how to farm sustainably which led to the organic revolution, and how to live in a way that works with the environment.

    They bowed out of politics, because the right wingers were so violent. Realizing that direct confrontation ended up with bigger push back, they went the less direct route.

    Women create the entire labor force. ---------------------------------------------------------------------------------------- Sympathy is the strongest instinct in human nature. - Charles Darwin

    by splashy on Sat Mar 02, 2013 at 10:33:01 PM PST

    •  It wasn't just the GOP right-wingers, (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mightymouse, Bisbonian

      either--a fact too many just ignore or pretend isn't true.

      I view such slander about activists quitting as basically the other fist flying from the hippie punching brigades--leftist activists are either too potent at demoralizing the electorate (blamed for 2010) or else hand-wringing wimps who either don't stand up (for democrats) or else declared "victory" and quit (blamed for not fighting the rightward shift).

      The activists were marginalized by the conservative ranks in the machinery of the only major party that could be, at one time, considered allies. It's not like they stopped fighting or pulled a Bush "Mission Accomplished" stunt and quit putting effort in. And the marginalization continues as illustrated, even if unintentionally, by this diary.

    •  and activists are more cut off from the people (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Bisbonian

      now that the media does not cover demonstrations, unions, etc., it is more difficult for regular people to change the agenda.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 05:35:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Great Essay - N/T (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mightymouse, shmuelman

    "Upward, not Northward" - Flatland, by EA Abbott

    by linkage on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 01:00:13 AM PST

    •  yes it is - excellent. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      shmuelman

      One small quibble - "neo-liberalism" is not really a misnomer, though it can be a confusing term.

      The term "Liberalism" has multiple (conflicting) meanings. One is what we might call "free-market economics." Another is what we in the US think of as "liberal" - economic regulation, govt. action to compress the gap between rich and poor, etc.

      "Neo-liberal" comes from the first.

      An ambulance can only go so fast - Neil Young

      by mightymouse on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 05:39:46 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Pushed? We were gerrymandered. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    viral

    Democratic candidates for the House received 2.5 million more votes than Republicans in the last cycle. If not for the Republican gerrymander in a half dozen blue states, Democrats would control the House.

    Republicans only win when they cheat.

    "A lie is not the other side of a story; it's just a lie."

    by happy camper on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 07:07:09 AM PST

    •  But isn't that what this diary is about? (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      unfangus, viral

      There has been coordinated, sustained efforts by American plutocrats to set the agenda. They have invested money in state elections while the Dems slept through them, not understanding the long term importance of holding state legislatures in MI, PA, OH etc. Conservatives run for school boards and control education policy in many places. They spread the money around everywhere. Not until the 50 state strategy, did the importance of every seat become apparent.

      "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

      by shmuelman on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 08:17:48 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Opposing Modernity works because (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    unfangus

    even though the Enlightenment principles won by defeating on the battlefield the Corporate/Monarchist/ Christianist Rule in about the year 1918, the Enlightenment (humanity, tolerance, equality, security) is hard to fathom, hard to teach, hard to see, hard to make an individual profit from and hard to see the end result of. (Ending a sentence on a preposition is one thing up with which I will not put!)

    The Corporatists and Monarchists simply moved over to the Enlightenment side of things and said, ok, you want science, you got it. Now watch us work. They replaced the Monarchists and Theocratic power structure and claimed it for their own, making most people wonder; is this the Enlightenment we signed up for? More control, disease, oppression, political disenfranchisement and poverty by way of really good science; the science of chemical and financial engineering backed by enormous computing power?

    We are not even 100 years beyond that break point yet. And the Enlightenment principles of humanity, tolerance, dignity and equality for all people have been sorely tested by the Corporatists claiming of Enlightenment principles.

    Unless we check this overreach of our lives, the entire Enlightenment project will collapse, and we will get more theocracy and monarchy than we have ever seen in human history. That is the promise of the Republican Party. Return to theocracy, corporate control and monarchy as long as they get to appoint the kings and princes.

    We recoil at the prospect.

    Figures don't lie, but liars do figure-Mark Twain

    by OregonOak on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 08:06:01 AM PST

  •  Nixon, the last liberal President (0+ / 0-)

    at according to Chomsky. How different things are now. Your point is very well taken in a number of areas.  Bush I would say "read my lips, no new taxes," but of course, didn't take it seriously. The next generation conservatives buys and sells its ideology, and have left absolutely no room for themselves. They can no longer govern America, not even do disaster aid in the US. The neoliberals (meaning illiberal) at least are competent at running the government, but if we get a Democratic Congress, we will see, once again, their true colors with their ever increasing military spending, executive privilege  and entitlement cuts.

    "You can die for Freedom, you just can't exercise it"

    by shmuelman on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 08:13:04 AM PST

  •  Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain (0+ / 0-)

    It's the Media!

    Ask yourself why the national polling on issues people care about is 180 degrees apart from the manner these same issues are covered in the national media.

    This past Thursday in Washington Progressive Democratic Senators Tom Harkin and Peter De Fazio held a news conference as they introduced a bill in the Senate for a Wall Street financial transactions tax of .03%. Almost nobody from the beltway press even showed up to cover that news conference.

    But if Boehner or Cantor calls a presser to preen & posture and say nothing substantive at all, they all show up .

    Ask yourself why. Ask yourself how this happens.

    I think it happens because the newsroom editors who deploy the beltway press take their orders from folks like Rupert Murdoch and his ilk. And these people know that, as the saying goes, "If a tree falls in the forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?"

    Unfortunately the answer is no, it doesn't.

    The mainstream media will not and can not cover itself. They must be abandoned.

    •  I'd say it's more like they know the Democratic (0+ / 0-)

      Party has no intention of taking Tom Harkin seriously unlike the Republican Party which takes the Tea Party totally seriously.  

      The difference is whose base is holding the party accountable.  If the progressive base would hold the party accountable, the media would pay attention to Harkin because they'd know it mattered.  

      As long as it's "oh, wow, I can't wait for Hillary because Hillary is Hillary" and not "where does Hillary stand on issues and if she isn't standing with the Tom Harkins on the left, let's find someone who is" don't blame the media.

      •  take your point, but (0+ / 0-)

        isn't this a chicken/egg question?

        After all if the Progressive Caucus in the House, on behalf of its constituents, were to come out with clear policy positions that broke with Obama's (and they have), I don't think that would be covered either (they weren't).

        •  But they haven't been serious (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Patango

          If the Progressive Caucus, much of which is African American, were to come out strongly against his austerity budget, that would make news.   After all almost anything that is getting through Congress these days requires almost all Democrats supporting it because Republicans aren't agreeing to anything.   The only way the Progressive Caucus is going to make news is by DEFEATING a bill Obama wants.  And they don't do that.  Talk is pointless if you aren't willing to back it up.  The Tea Party has proved it will put its vote where its mouth is.    

  •  . (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Patango

    a 'centrist' government when the current nation-state is still deep in fascist territory is still a fascist government... just saying.

    "History records that the money changers have used every form of abuse, intrigue, deceit, and violent means possible to maintain their control over governments by controlling the money and its issuance." -James Madison

    by FreeTradeIsYourEpitaph on Sun Mar 03, 2013 at 01:09:04 PM PST

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