Thursday, May 03, 2012

Stupid Shit Jonathan Bernstein Says, Ctd.

A division of "Stupid Shit Andrew Sullivan Says, Ctd."

Mr. Bernstein is one of a handful of bloggers (and a sometime WaPo writer) to whom Mr. Sullivan's daily drives an immense amount of traffic.

As you read this snip from his reaction to Thomas Mann and Norm Ornstein's article on the devolution of the GOP into a party of berserk, reactionary assholes, see if you can figure out why:

The Core of the Problem Lies With the Republican Party

Tom Mann and Norm Ornstein, political scientists and (I hope they wouldn't object to the characterization) quintessential center-loving establishment types, take full aim at the Republican Party in a column today at the Washington Post.

It's an excellent piece, and I agree with almost all of it. My only caveat would be about the language they use to characterize the GOP: that it's moved "sharply to the right," that they've "gone from their 40 to somewhere behind their goal post," that it's about the "bedrock right." I don't believe that the program they're writing about, and the examples they give, have anything to do with conservative vs. liberal, conservative vs. moderate, or extreme conservative vs. conservative. And for the most part I'm not really talking about the question of what's "really" conservative -- you know, the argument that you'll hear from Andrew Sullivan or Conor Friedersdorf or Noah Millman or Dan Larison that the positions on public policy supported by mainstream Republicans isn't really conservative. They have a point, but that's not really the key here.  
And that gets back to the question of what is "really" conservative, because the problem is that when your leadership is so radical, and radically dishonest as well (consider, just as one example, the "fight" against the UN swooping in and taking away everyone's guns, or the claim that Democrats are trying to do that), it's very difficult for a party to really develop either viable policy or principled policy. ...

The Republican Party is severely dysfunctional, not severely conservative. And it's going to take honest, sane, conservatives to restore it to health. How that can happen, alas, I have no idea at all. 

Also too, this:
Elsewhere: Liberal Democrats, Rational Voters? Oh My!

Let's see...over at Post Partisan today, more follow-up on discussion stemming from the new Mann and Ornstein stuff. This time, from liberals who object to their claim that the Democratic Party has become more liberal over the last couple of decades. Sorry, liberals, but it's true.

Of course, this is just nonsense.

Once you start comparing the actual, 40-year track record of the Left and the Right, the whole Big Lie of Centrism falls apart like a Newt Gingrich wedding vow.

As I have said many different ways many times before:
Using the 1972 Democratic Party platform as a baseline, note what happened the Left over the last 40 years. And ask yourself, honestly, in that time, have the Left's policies and expectations tacked consistently towards the 1972/GOP Right...or has the Left seized America's guns?

Have we outlawed religion?

Has the Democratic Party moved to make abortion 100% legal and government funded through the ninth month of pregnancy, no questions asked?

Is pot cheap, legal and available over-the-counter at every CVS and Piggly Wiggly?

Have we sold off our last battleship?

Are our schools impossibly well-funded?

Does every citizen have free, lifetime health care?

Does every building sport solar panels?

Is gay marriage legal everywhere?

Have we nationalized our banks and oil companies?

Do we tax the rich at 98%?

Is there an 18 month paid parental leave by law? And three months of mandatory paid vacation?

Is there a $22/hr minimum wage?

Is union membership now mandatory?

Are fully half of the Democratic members Congress stocked open and committed Socialists?

Are a quarter of the Democratic members Congress stocked open and committed Communists?


None of these things have happened.

And yet unless all of these things and more were true, there is simply no comparison between the slow, depressing rightward slog of the Left over the last 40 years...

...and the rage-fueled, anti-science, anti-environment, anti-woman, anti-freedom, anti-Middle Class bullet train to Crazytown that the Right has been on during this same period:

And it is this gargantuan gap between the Actual Left and the Imaginary Left -- between reality and the Big Lie of Centrism -- that terrifies our Beltway Media. Scares them so bad that none of them will debate or even discuss the matter in a public forum, or within shouting distance of a Beltway camera and microphone.

The Big Lie of Centrism is the Magic Lie. The Philosopher's Stone of lies which has transmuted dozens of mediocre hacks into Very Wealthy and Serious Persons, and hundreds of the smaller lies our political media tells every day into the common wisdom of our Imperial Media. The Big Lie of Centrism is also incredibly fragile, which is why so much effort must be devoted to its constant maintenance and protection.

The Maginot Line of the Beltway Media can withstand any assault as long the Big Lie of Centrism remains intact.

But once it falls, the world will change.

The one conversation that every one of these gentlemen (and virtually every member of our political press) is most desperate to avoid is the one conversation we most desperately need to have.

The speed with which they run from it and the feverish energy with which they dent it means one thing

They're scared.


Monster from the Id said...

Last battleship?

Not the best metaphor, as battleships have been of limited use at best for some time now. No battleship remains active in any of the world's navies.

Somebody doesn't Remember Pearl Harbor...

Suzan said...

But we didn't sell 'em.

(Made exhibits out of some, sure, but . . . .)

And that was Republicans.

ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said...

And it is this gargantuan gap between the Actual Left and the Imaginary Left -- between reality and the Big Lie of Centrism -- that terrifies our Beltway Media.

What? They're terrified all the way to the bank.

They are a crucial ingredient in the stew that makes the whole scam go.

It's how we've ended up with a Democratic President (aka the Marxist from Kenya) who is trying to cut Social Security to pay for the plutocrats' wars, tax cuts, and bankster bailouts.