Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Relax, liberals. You've already won

What a great article this was. It is often hard for liberals, like myself, to accept the great strides made in protecting this nation from the radical right wing neocons that have controlled the government for seven years. There are several things I want to touch on in this article. There are so many good tidbits that I don't want to just let you read it without my comments on some things.

For all its concessions to the pharmaceutical companies, this was the biggest expansion in socialized medicine since Medicare was signed into law by Lyndon Johnson in 1965. That Bush had expanded entitlement became part of the conservative complaint that Bush wasn't a true conservative. Some of that complaining was a simple desire to back away from an unpopular president who had tarnished two brands, "conservative" and "Republican." But it was also true that the GOP expansion of Medicare was a major ideological capitulation.

This really makes me laugh. For all the republican tripe about democrats being socialists, it is the republicans that expanded our biggest social programs, not democrats!

In Bush's first term, the neoconservatives, whose influence had been limited in the Reagan years, called the shots. They rejected international law as a trap and argued that only an American monopoly of brute power, not great power cooperation, could achieve peace. The theory of conservative lawyers is simple: If the United States does it, it's legal, and if the president does it, it's constitutional.

Why won't he just say it? The Bush years have seen the destruction of our international image and influence, as well as the whittling away of our liberty, and the desecration of our constitution by President Bush! Never in all my life would I have expected to see this country say it is okay to torture people! It is an insult to every American that a President allows torture!

"In the United States at this time liberalism is not only the dominant but even the sole intellectual tradition," Lionel Trilling wrote in 1950 in his introduction to "The Liberal Imagination." "For it is the plain fact that nowadays there are no conservative or reactionary ideas in general circulation … the conservative impulse and the reactionary impulse do not … express themselves in ideas but only … in irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas." Almost as soon as he wrote these words, they ceased to be true, thanks to the emergence of significant intellectuals on the right like Milton Friedman, William F. Buckley Jr. and James Q. Wilson.

Today, however, Trilling's words are true again. The Buckleys and Friedmans have been replaced by Goldbergs and Coulters, and their obsessions -- denying the reality of evolution and global warming and blithering about "Islamofascism" and "liberal fascism" -- are accurately described as "irritable mental gestures which seek to resemble ideas."

Talking heads like Ann Coulter, Bill O'Reilly, Shawn Hannity, Rush Limbaugh, and Michael Savage had made sure to repeat these gross generalizations to the point that no one even cares any more. Even die hard republicans don't use "islamofascist" any more. And no one really believes we are headed towards "liberal fascism" which is in itself largely a myth instead of an actual institution that has ever been seen.

This article largely supports what I already knew from the facts. That conservatism is dead. And what the republican party now is a neo-conservative corporatist/fascist imperial party that spends more than the democrats, expands government more than democrats, then claims it is the party of less spending, small government and lower taxes. The problem is, the first two are lies, which makes lowering taxes, simply insane.

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