Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Only Nixon can go to Nixonland

Conservatives built this monster.

It didn’t just wander out of the woods one day, or land here from another planet. The Wingnut Base -- whatever teabagger, Colonial Williamsburg camouflage they’re sporting this week, and however hard the media tries to pretend they aren't who we know they are -- was manufactured by the Conservative Movement to win elections. Made right here in the U S of A out of spare parts left over from the Segregationist South, Right-wing fundamentalism, Bircher paranoia and general Archie Bunker pig-ignorance.

Conservatives built the unholy thing, programmed it, wounded it up and sent it out to do their bidding.

And everyone knows it. David Brooks knows it. David Gregory. Tom Friedman. David Frum. The goofs at the "No Labels" freakshow. The entire GOP Brain Caste.


This is the same monster that never gave a shit that Reagan/Bush were running up historic deficits, or sold weapons to terrorists to finance illegal wars. The same monster that hunted and impeached Clinton. The same monster that completely looses its shit over "activist judges"...right up until five of the most malignantly activist judges in modern history put their candidate in the White House and gave corporations the right to buy elections.

The same monster that cheered on George W. Bush's serial, catastrophic betrayals and failures while it called Liberals "traitor".

The same monster that dutifully gets its opinions from Rush Limbaugh, its "news" from Sean Hannity and its Jebus from Pat Robertson.

And everyone knows it.

The title of this post is sadly facetious: Nixon would of course be considered a filthy Commie Liberal by the monster his strategies created and would have to carry Pat Buchanan in front of him like the Ark of the Wingnut Covenant if he wanted to get into CPAC.

And everyone knows it.

Everyone also knows that calling your Conservative member of Congress isn't going to budge them, because your Conservative member of Congress owes his or her job to the monster.

Nothing short of an extinction-level event is going to change the monster's course or ferocity: it is quite mad in exactly the way its designers intended. It has no capacity whatsoever to correct or even recognize its own madness, which means it is never going to recover.

So please stop trying to reason with it.

Instead, focus on what can be done, which is this: Nixon didn't go to China for the pandas and the Great Wall; he went to create a split in the alliances that held the Communist world together.

For 30 years, the staunchest ally of the unhinged Right has been the craven Center: that army of Beltway automatons who profit handsomely from propping up the Right’s every act of depravity with one outrageously false equivalence after another. This is the "But the Democrats" brigade, on well-coiffed display every Sunday at what I have been calling "The Mouse Circus" for the past six years.

Unchecked this state of affairs will continue for another 30 years or until we as a nation are finally burned to the ground and sold off for scrap by the Right, right under the noses of the Center who will be busy sternly lecturing Left on the need for more Compromise and greater Reasonableness, and compulsively masturbating into the pages of the New York Times about how an awesome new Third Party full of Radically Reasonable Compromisers

would solve everything:

Can’t We Do This Right?


Personally, I’ll support anyone with a real plan to cut spending, raise revenues and boost investment in the five pillars of our success — be they Democrats or Republicans. But if neither Republicans nor Democrats can see that we need a hybrid politics today — one that requires cutting, taxing and investing as part of a single nation-building strategy (phased in over time) — then I’ll hope for a third party that does get it and can take us where we need to go.

After which they will drive on back to their vast estates inside their gated communities while mobs in festive tri-corner hats driving Medicare-funded scooters start ripping the wiring and copper pipe out of the walls of the Home of the Brave in the name of Freedom.

In other words, it is long past time for that to change, which is why the Center must be destroyed: must be reduce to an economically uninhabitable no-man's land where it is no longer possible for the "Both Sides Do It" liars to ply their lucrative trade.

It is time for a new Pledge; a beneficent mirror-image of Grover Norquist's odious "Americas for Tax Reform" Party of God loyalty oath. A pledge where the signer promises they will not book guests on their radio or teevee show who are liars. Not link to websites that feature liars except to excoriate them. Will not buy from, advertise on or patronize media that hires and promotes liars. That they will not reference lying Centerists at all except to mete out to them the scorn they deserve.

As much as I like Lawrence O'Donnell, a couple of nights ago when he trundled Marcia Blackburn and Joe Walsh and David Frum out in front of the cameras, I turned his program off. I did it because I am not interested in what liars have to say.

I am not interested in watching a "debate" that isn't a debate at all.

Because, as everyone on the Left learned long, long ago, there are no depths to which the Right will not sink in order to hold power and enrich their paymasters. Treason, economic sabotage, scapegoating, direct appeals to racism, stealing elections, voter suppression, you name it.

But most of all, just plain lying. All the time. About everything.

In order to preserve their privileged positions, there are also no depths to which the "Both Sides Do It" Center will not sink to continue pretending none of the above is happening, and/or that the Left is always equally wrong in equal measure in the opposite direction.

Lastly, and most tragically, time and crisis have demonstrated over and over again that there is absolutely no magical combination of facts, logic or goodwill that can dislodge the Center or the Right from their destructive, co-dependent ideological bunkers.

To his credit, Paul Krugman has now gone all the way there:

The Cult That Is Destroying America

So what do most news reports say? They portray it as a situation in which both sides are equally partisan, equally intransigent — because news reports always do that. And we have influential pundits calling out for a new centrist party, a new centrist president, to get us away from the evils of partisanship.

The reality, of course, is that we already have a centrist president — actually a moderate conservative president. Once again, health reform — his only major change to government — was modeled on Republican plans, indeed plans coming from the Heritage Foundation. And everything else — including the wrongheaded emphasis on austerity in the face of high unemployment — is according to the conservative playbook.

What all this means is that there is no penalty for extremism; no way for most voters, who get their information on the fly rather than doing careful study of the issues, to understand what’s really going on.

You have to ask, what would it take for these news organizations and pundits to actually break with the convention that both sides are equally at fault? This is the clearest, starkest situation one can imagine short of civil war. If this won’t do it, nothing will.

And yes, I think this is a moral issue. The “both sides are at fault” people have to know better; if they refuse to say it, it’s out of some combination of fear and ego, of being unwilling to sacrifice their treasured pose of being above the fray.

It’s a terrible thing to watch, and our nation will pay the price.

We did not choose this ridiculous fight with these depraved and reckless imbeciles and their cowardly enablers: our nation has more than enough real, serious problems without having to deal with one more manufactured drama pulled out of thin air by the monster the Conservatives created and set loose to win elections long ago.

But once again the war is thrust upon us.

And this nation can no longer survive half-Fox and half-free.


Retired Patriot said...


After reading Krugman this morning, I could only think that he's been reading a lot of your work! Keep it up. Maybe you'll be invited to the "new media" world where the flying monkey "centrists" are caged and cogent debates about reality can be heard.


glurg - the last sound you'll hear from the monsters when they meet their crashed economy doom... or will it be "please help me"???

Anonymous said...


I don't so much disagree with your assessment, full of despair as it is. But I can't exactly make a full-throated defense of President Obama. I voted for a Democrat thinking he would hold to the principles he gave voice to during his campaign. I didn't vote for someone who, as it turns out, at best is a moderate Republican. His idea of meeting Republicans half-way is to cave into their demands -- time and time again. Since when has he not done this?

Doc Nieman

Anonymous said...

Best post I've read in a long time -- by anyone. A donation is in order.


Anonymous said...

We need a Tax the Rich rally.

Maybe we could get a million people on the Mall.

I know a lot of other issues can and will (and maybe even should) be attached to the march (my favorite is outlawing the purchase of our congress by corporations and the rich).

But we need to learn to keep it short and simple. I like "Tax the Rich" as the slogan and main purpose.

I like it especially because it flies directly in the teabaggers' faces. Let's show them what a _real_ crowd of patriots looks like (and see if Fux covers it.)

Sad Iron said...

But remember, 3rd party Ralph Nader was crazy, talking about things like "corporate paymasters." What a nutjob.

Anonymous said...

I've always thought moderates or Independents were like people who fill out their March Madness brackets the night before the tournament. They have no idea who to pick because they don't pay attention, so listen to someone, anyone, and go with their picks. But picking wrong in a college hoops bracket is a lot different than giving the keys to the House of Rep to a buch of idiots like Boehner and Cantor and retards like Rep. Allen West.

Sad Iron said...

@Anonymous. Exactly. You know that scene in Apollo 13 where they throw the box of "junk" on the table and say, "we need to figure out how to make something of this in order to save lives." In this version of the film, there are no smart people in the room, or even people. There are a couple of chimps, a Beagle, and "Clyde" from "Every Which Way But Loose."

Steve said...

Who you going to believe me or your own lying eyes. Look at Germany, America could be like Germany but with natural resources, why is no one saying, hey lets be like Germany?

driftglass said...

Retired Patriot,

Doc Nieman,
Who is calling for a full-throated...anything? These are our choices, lazy fantasies about magical 3rd parties and never-gonna-happen mass rallies that will suddenly flip public opinion around aside. But it is interesting that, following this long and specific assay, your first reaction was "But the Democrats..." :-)

Many thanks. I full-throatedly support people giving me money!

Yeah dude. Because that would totally blow their fucking minds! In 1967! But see, I live in 2011, where mass rallies of Liberals rarely get covered at all, or get "balanced" into oblivion by a counter-wingnut rally w/ 250 people at a Holiday Inn.
Nice try though.

Sad Iron,
You would be hard pressed to find anyone on the Left who thought Nader's overall critique of American politics was "crazy" so stop listening to the voices in your head. OTOH, how'd that "noty a dime's worth of difference" Naderite kamikaze drive to get Dubya elected end up working out?


Lots of people are talking about Germany. And Emilia–Romagna (look it up). Thom Hartmann covers it just about every week. Several unions are using it as a model. In Chicago there are several amazing programs based on those models. Obama has talked about it in the dozens and dozens of factories he has visited. Obama's Manufacturing czar has talked about it repeatedly. The uber-Conservative Nat'l Association of Manufacturers (believe it or not) doesn't hate the idea.

I could go on and on (you shoulda heard me at Netroots Nation on the subject :-) but it still hasn't penetrated.

Care to speculate as to why?

jim said...


Given that Friedman's theoretical SuckOnTHIS Party would operate on the false predicate that "D = R" ... a demonstable lie that only ever seems to help the right ... & that third parties always wind up being election-spoilers & deal-makers once they get elected ... I wonder which party's candidates & policies they'd wind up supporting the most?


Sad Iron said...

@Driftglass. No argument here. I'm just saying that, as you point out, the media marginalized Nader and treated him as a joke (I wasn't saying the left thought he was crazy). You run any of his talks now and they sound like pure prophecy. I couldn't agree more with the point about dubyah--yes, I wish those votes for Nader could be shifted. Either way, I was just trying to say the media pushed him into the corner with an "unserious" hat on, and the man's ideas were serious. I still voted for Gore. Anyway, love this blog. I read everyday.

prof_fate said...

... I’ll support anyone with a real plan to cut spending, raise revenues and boost investment in the five pillars of our success ...

Ok, Tommy Boy, how about this: Stop pouring money into the sand in Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Somalia, and our newest front in the War on Spending Taxpayer Money on Anything Except War, Libya. Content ourselves with a military only two-thirds the size of the rest of the world combined. Let the Bush tax cuts on income above $250K expire. Use the bulk buying power of the government to negotiate better deals from Big Pharma. Stop subsidizing Big Oil.

Spend the money saved on infrastructure and green investments, and reinstate federal revenue-sharing. Train and hire more teachers, and make higher education free to anyone who can keep their grade levels up.

I eagerly await your statement of support -- which I expect to receive on the same day it's reported that a Poland China sow named "Maisie" exceeded an airspeed of Mach 3 in the skies over White Sands.

Batocchio said...

Bravo, DG, Bravo. Krugman's a must-read, and he's been on fire recently, and you have been as well. I thoroughly enjoyed that last line (although I appreciate the preceding meat even more than the wit).

Linked. Tell the truth and shame the Centrist Beltway Douchebag Devil.

Anonymous said...

I'm with you all the way. Now what do we actually do? What's the new plan, Stan?

vicbastard said...

Love it, driftglass. Remembering of course, that the asshole is square in the center of the body politic.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah dude. Because that would totally blow their fucking minds! In 1967! But see, I live in 2011..."

That is a belittling tone, my friend. You don't like it when people do it to you.

I know it's hard to change habits (I have the same problem, and my words seem justified to me when they leave my mouth.) But I wish you would take an example from bg, and keep working on it, or at least save it for the people who deserve it, and cut it the fuck out when addressing people who support you, and who believe in many of the same things as you do. You can disagree without belittling.


I know you are about 10 years younger than me. I know you have an excellent knowledge of history, but, believe me, it's not quite the same as when you get that draft notice. The big thing different about 1967 is that our asses were going to die in Vietnam en masse. What looks to be happening now may well hit masses where they live again, and then you'll be able to see people in the streets first hand. It doesn't feel like a stoned fantasy.

James W. Pharo said...

I like your "and they know it" formulation. For many years, I've used my own formulation of the same phenomenon: "Thins We All Know(tm)." Feel free to steal it.

We all know the GOP viscerally hates poor people. We all know that the GOP doesn't have a good faith agenda for governing. We all know that John McCain is deeply confused and likely dealing with dementia. We all know that Mitt Romney is a craven hack who has no core beliefs at all. The Dems are the good guys, the GOP are the villians.

Yet one could read a month's worth of newspapers and not hear one person say these things out load. Yet, we all know they are true.

Anonymous said...

I beg to differ with your premise that the Repugs are responsible for the baggers. The Vichy/Quisling Dems have gone so far to the right it allowed the luantics a place in main stream politics.

t8 said...

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu"

t8 said...

"A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. Lao-tzu"

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