A New Age of Liberalism?

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Obama Administration, torture

The Republican National Conventional appears to have turned voters off. That’s the result of a CNN/ORC poll that asked, “Does what you saw or read of the Republican National Convention in Tampa make you more likely or less likely to vote for Mitt Romney?” The “less likelies” were ahead of the “more likelies” by ten percentage points.

It’s too soon to know how much post-convention bounce went to President Obama, but all indicators so far point to some kind of bounce. And the Dems put more unapologetic liberalism on display at that convention than I have seen in a long, long time. Some rightie blogger wrote that it was the most liberal convention since McGovern’s, and he may have been right. Of course, I see that as a feature, not a bug.

Yes, the 1972 convention probably hurt McGovern more than it helped him, but that was 1972. This is 2012. A lot has changed in 40 years. Most notably, 1972 was the all-time peak year for real wages for working Americans; wages have been on a long, wavering decline ever since.

Since at least the late 1970s and 1980s Republicans have been pushing the snake oil of tax cuts, deregulation, and slashing “entitlements” as the cure-all for whatever ails the economy, and it seems to me that scam has about run its course. Even people who don’t follow politics all that closely are catching on, it appears. And after years of right-wing ideology dominating our nation’s political discourse, the Dems talked about citizenship, for pity’s sake, and it was a breath of fresh air.

At Daily Kos, Laurence Lewis wrote about the Republican death spiral.

The Republicans have no future. From climate change to national security to the economy to social justice and human rights, the list of issues on which the Democrats and public opinion are moving forward while the Republicans are stagnating if not attempting to move backward is endless. They can’t win on the issues. They can’t win on their freak show personalities. They can’t win using the principles of democracy and republic. The only hope for the Republicans is to lie, cheat and steal, and they are attempting exactly that. And to a party that now is habitually and congenitally opposed to basic scientific realities, lies aren’t incidental to their political strategies, they are in fact the basis of their world view. To a party that is openly bigoted against the diverse demographics that the rest of the nation not only celebrates but has become, voter suppression and the undermining of democracy isn’t but a political means to an ends, it is the inevitable desperation of the soon-to-be extinct. Their last and only hope is that they can buy a last election or two, and encode into law, and legislate from the bench into the Constitution an end to democracy itself.

This is right, which is why we cannot be complacent. The November election could still be close. A lot of states will remain snowed under by ultra-conservative legislatures and governors. A shrinking minority of right-wingers could very well keep progress in check for several years to come.

But the Buddha said — his last words, in fact — all compounded things will decay. It’s clear to me the wave of “movement conservatism” that picked up momentum from Goldwater and Reagan is now in its decaying phase, even as its takeover of the Republican Party is complete. Were it not for the media-“think tank” infrastructure keeping it alive, it probably would be gone already.

Now the Republican Party, which has bet all its chips on “movement conservatism” living forever, is in big trouble. It is being bankrolled by a small pool of mega-wealthy cranks and led by ideologues who cannot think, see, or feel outside of a very small box. And those two factors will prevent the GOP from adapting gracefully to a changing political ecosystem.

In short, we may soon see the dinosaurs die off and be replaced by scrappy little mammals.

Again, I don’t expect wingnutism to disappear in a puff of smoke the day after the November election. But by 2022, IMO, the GOP will have either shoved “movement conservatism” back to the fringe, or it will be dissolving into history to join the Whigs. And if one of those two things hasn’t happened, it will mean that today’s Republicans were successful in scuttling democracy itself.

Update:
See also “For the Romney campaign, it’s forever 1980.”

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33 Comments

33 Comments

  1. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 10, 2012 @1:22 pm

    When it’s cornered, is when a rat is the most dangerous.
    The same goes for ratf*ckers.

  2. Tom_B  •  Sep 10, 2012 @1:48 pm

    “The Republicans have no future.” The last time they had no future was 2008. Then 2010 happened. SOME DAY they will have no future. Until then, take nothing for granted.

  3. NeoBuddha  •  Sep 10, 2012 @1:56 pm

    GOP’s follies are real, but Obama’s policies are unable to generate the economic growth needed to get us out of the stagnation-recession that we’re stuck in. The jobs report proved just that in stark terms.

    Here is what will happen: Romney will defeat Obama in 2012, but will lose to an independent challenger in 2016 who will put the country back on track.

  4. maha  •  Sep 10, 2012 @2:29 pm

    GOP’s follies are real, but Obama’s policies are unable to generate the economic growth needed to get us out of the stagnation-recession that we’re stuck in. The jobs report proved just that in stark terms.

    The fact that Congress continues to block the President’s jobs bills tells me that the problem isn’t entirely “Obama’s policies.” He made some mistakes, particularly in not pushing for a larger stimulus package before the 2010 midterms. But since 2010 he’s been shut down by Congress; he hasn’t been able to enact any policies. Seems to me we don’t need a new President; we need a new Congress.

    Here is what will happen: Romney and Ryan will suck out loud in their debates and President Obama will be elected by a comfortable electoral college margin. If a Republican majority hangs on to the House, which is likely, we’ll continue to have gridlock in Washington. But the Affordable Care Act will go fully into effect in 2014, and by 2016 it will be popular enough to make the Republicans who badmouthed it look like the idiots they are. And then maybe we can get a real Democratic majority — not a Democratic minority plus Blue Dogs but actual Democrats — in Congress, and then if the Democratic president elected in 2016 is reasonably progressive, we can get the country back on track.

    And tell whoever is paying you to troll that it’s not working.

  5. Felicity  •  Sep 10, 2012 @2:58 pm

    As much as Clint’s performance was sliced, diced, deplored and undecipherable, its intention – as hoped for by its champions – was to raise about the only banner Republicans have to fly under these days “Make my day.” (Clint’s obvious on stage discomfort was probably because for at least 3 decades his movie personna has been (stuck in) Robin-Hood-with-an-attitude and getting out of character is tough for an octogenarian.)

  6. Dan  •  Sep 10, 2012 @3:24 pm

    Heard on RUSH this AM:

    ‘The election IS a referendum; the Liberal Media is trying to make this election about choice.’

    As with all things RUSH, his declaration makes reality thus…

  7. Swami  •  Sep 10, 2012 @3:35 pm

    Here is what will happen:

    Speak to me o’ wise and venerable sage!

  8. moonbat  •  Sep 10, 2012 @4:03 pm

    I’ve written before that I’m much less sanguine than you are. We hopefully will squeak by in 2012, due to the fact that enough of the public recogizes that the right’s message and candidates are hopelessly dated (I can’t think of anyone better than Clint Eastwood and his angry old man schtick to summarize what they’re about), and demographics are working against them. (Side note: I would REALLY like to see numbers on how young people responded to the RNC vs DNC vs neither).

    But I view it all like some drunk who drove a car into a store, killing himself, but who ended up wrecking the store and driving the owners out of business. The Republican party torpedo has done its damage to this country, and by all appareances is on its last legs (save for the deep pockets that perpetually fund it). But the point is, the damage is done. The torpedo is not the point, the fact that the ship is now on fire and listing perilously is.

    I fully expect a dollar devaluation sometime within the next five to ten years, as countries flee from dollars and as our debt runs out of control (this is why righties are always screaming about the deficit – they have a point). As Bill Clinton said, it is about “arithmetic”, the arithmetic of our debt.

    Obama and others are basically counting on finding new energy sources – such as from fracking – which is bad for the environment – to grow the economy out of our massive debts. This is because oil has become a chokepoint resource – as the economy grows, it drives up the price of oil, which stifles any recovery. All civilizations are driven by energy, and when that energy dries up, simplification of a civilization (a crash) occurs. And ours is especially vulnerable because of our debt. Other moves by Obama and right are also to simply reduce our cost structure, which means – in this environment – going after entitlements.

    It’s a gamble which I have a hard time believing is going to work. There will be a mini-boom with fracking, which will buy some time, but that’s about it. When this devaluation occurs – which will be economically catastrophic for most people in this country – achievements like the ACA will pale in significance. And this country – after being brainwashed for thirty years – is going to turn big time to fascism, to some daddy figure who will promise to make everything right.

    It isn’t so much that liberalism has the answers (mostly it does), it’s that it requires a somewhat educated population who can see its benefits, is willing to work for the larger good (so that they also can benefit) and can also see through the never ending con game conservatives play on them. Enough of the population has been so dumbed down, is too impatient for results, and is too broke, that they’re more than ready to believe any charismatic fool on the right who will promise them to “restore America”. Someone who would’ve been laughed off the stage thirty years ago. In 2012, we were just extremely lucky to have decent guys like Obama and Bill Clinton on our side, when all they had was animatronic Mitt, Eddie Munster, and Clint Eastwood. Our side happens to be more believable than theirs, to most of the population.

    I hope I’m wrong about all this, a lot can happen that I can’t foresee. But the damage caused by thirty years of Republican domination is pretty severe, and I unfortunately don’t see us coming out of it without a great deal more pain.

    Bottom line, it’s going to depend on whether Obama can grow the economy fast enough to outpace our debts. If that can’t happen, then people are going to walk away from the dollar, which will be catastrophic for anyone holding dollars. At this point, we will be like Weimar Germany during the Depression – their two major parties had no answers, and they were ripe for dictatorship, someone who would promise them a restoration, but the public has to give this person unlimited powers to do it. This country has been so dumbed down, and will be so desperate, that enough them will say “go for it”.

  9. joanr16  •  Sep 10, 2012 @4:33 pm

    Here is what will happen:

    That supernatural power would be much more useful if applied to the PowerBall.

  10. Swami  •  Sep 10, 2012 @5:39 pm

    joanr16…. 🙂

  11. buckyblue  •  Sep 10, 2012 @5:56 pm

    Obama’s policies have not failed, we have not had a chance to see if they work. We have been operating under republican economic policies for three years. Given that, it’s the republicans policies that haven’t worked to stimulate the economy, not Obama’s. Sitting here in cheeseland, with Walker’s republicans economic policies full bore, we are last in job growth (the only state with a decline) and 50 outta 50 in economic prospects. WI has never, ever, been like that.

  12. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 10, 2012 @6:04 pm

    buckeyblue,
    Sorry to hear about the jobs in WI.

    And everyone’s got to love the “brass” of the people who didn’t let President Obama carry out his policies – then complain that President Obama’s policies didn’t work.

  13. muldoon  •  Sep 10, 2012 @6:25 pm

    Buckyblue, I think you just made an excellent point.

  14. Swami  •  Sep 10, 2012 @6:51 pm

    buckyblue…I agree, excellent point.

  15. Doug Hughes  •  Sep 10, 2012 @10:22 pm

    A good post, Barbara. I have watched the devolution (reverse evolution) of the GOP over the last decade. Like Mr. Lewis, I think there is a scheme behind the announced politics which would make elections a sham by putting programs which reflect the popular will beyond the reach of the federal government to create or fund. This is ‘Starve the Beast’ raised to a Satanic level. The BBA is the cornerstone of that plan but it’s unraveling, I think, as voters perceive rich people funding campaigns which relieve the rich of their tax obligations at the expense of programs dear to the middle class.

    I did not see any of the convention because of a personal tragedy. My son, age 24, committed suicide by head-on collision on the 408 in Orlando, killing an innocent person. The word ‘grief’ is inadequate. Still, I am determined to return to some kind of normalcy, even though that means being a pest on Mahablog on a regular basis.

    One thought – and this is not a prediction but an observation. Rick Perry saw his campaign implode over a single question in one debate. CNN has Obama up by 6 points today. All the negative advertising in the world (from superpacs) won’t save Mitt from a series of bad performances in debates. If Mitt is down in the polls, he can’t wait out the clock – he has to be aggressive – which means Obama can counterpunch. So the poll shift to Obama will shift strategies for both sides in the debates. That’s in about 3 weeks.

  16. maha  •  Sep 11, 2012 @8:24 am

    Doug — I am so sorry to hear about your brother. You have my deepest condolences.

  17. Swami  •  Sep 10, 2012 @11:36 pm

    Doug…My deepest sympathy to you and your family.

  18. Swami  •  Sep 10, 2012 @11:53 pm

    Doug…Your gonna have to post early and often to knock me out of the pest position.

  19. moonbat  •  Sep 11, 2012 @12:21 am

    I am so sorry, Doug. Thanks for letting us know.

    BuckyBlue, Robert Reich made a similar point in a recent post, The Biggest Economic Challenge in Obama’s Second Term. I so like the sound of that – “Obama’s Second Term”. How wrenching and dispiriting it must be for those of you in Wisconsin.

  20. Swami  •  Sep 11, 2012 @2:01 am

    moonbat ..I enjoyed your comment above as I enjoy all of your postings. But there was one part that I couldn’t grasp your meaning .It was where you mentioned entitlements. For whatever reason I have difficulty with that word. I assume because it’s been convoluted to such a degree by repugs—ala Gringrich —that it could easily serve, and be understood, as a synonym for parasite or leach.

    In another sense I see it as vital function of our ecomony. Similar to a circulating pump that pumps money through our economy, and I see it as extremely benefical and necessary.When I look at food stamps for instance, I ask myself…Who is the ultimate beneficiary? It’s the merchants/ businesses. Sort like giving out free cell phones, huh?

    Even when the word is taken at its face value it tends to convey some sort of earned right when not all things that are encompassed within its conventional meaning are earned.It’s a difficult word.

  21. justme277  •  Sep 11, 2012 @4:31 am

    Doug I am so sorry.

  22. justme277  •  Sep 11, 2012 @4:42 am

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/wp/2012/09/10-do-15-of-ohio-republicans-think-romney-killed-bin-laden-probably-not

    Not related to this story but I had to share this.. I am sorry I don’t know how to link

  23. Javier Pinchagrande  •  Sep 11, 2012 @6:03 am

    This is one of my favorite sites though I practically never comment but let me also say to Doug that I’m so sorry to hear such tragic news. Javier P.

  24. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 11, 2012 @6:30 am

    Doug,
    I am so sorry for your tragic loss.

    Please keep commenting. After my father passed away, I found some solace in reading my favorite blogs, and commenting on them.

    My sincerest condolensces.

  25. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 11, 2012 @7:38 am

    WAY OT – But very, very important!
    Apparently that PDB that Bush got on 8/6/01, wasn’t the only warning about attacks by al Qaeda. His mis-administration didn’t listen to warning ALL spring and summer. Despite the CIA trying to get Bush and Cheyney’s attention, the NeoCLOWNS still thought Saddam Hussein was a bigger threat that Osama bin Laden.

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/09/11/opinion/the-bush-white-house-was-deaf-to-9-11-warnings.html?_r=1

    I just hope that the surviving Conservative members of the Supreme Court read this and hang their heads in shame.

    Could the 9/11 attacks have been prevented?
    We’ll never know.
    But it would have been nice if there’d been at least SOME effort. And no one will ever convince me that this would have happened under Al Gore, who was from an administration that had already tried to get bin Laden.
    The attacks may still have happened – but at the very least, there would have been an effort to look into what the CIA was screaming about.

    SHAME! SHAME!! SHAME!!!

  26. c u n d gulag  •  Sep 11, 2012 @7:50 am

    And speaking of it taking some “brass,” Condi Rice having the chutspah to speak at the RNC, when she should be spending the rest of her time on Earth attoning for ignoring the warnings, and her job, takes the cake.
    What was her title again in 2001?
    Oh yeah, National SECURITY Advisor!
    SHAME!

    This is what happens when you let criminals, incompetents, morons, baffoons, and the criminally incompetent moronic baffoons to hold high office in a country.

  27. goatherd  •  Sep 11, 2012 @7:51 am

    I am so sorry to hear about your loss Doug, I am sure all of us who have enjoyed your comments here are saddened and hopeful that your grief will pass.

  28. joanr16  •  Sep 11, 2012 @8:43 am

    Doug, I can’t even imagine how you must feel. Please continue to visit here, your comments are among my (numerous) favorites. Holding to a routine can provide relief from all kinds of pain. Take care.

  29. joanr16  •  Sep 11, 2012 @8:45 am

    Sitting here in cheeseland, with Walker’s republicans economic policies full bore, we are last in job growth (the only state with a decline) and 50 outta 50 in economic prospects. WI has never, ever, been like that.

    Buckyblue, thanks for that. WI doesn’t deserve it, even if they couldn’t dislodge Walker (since it was outside influence that saved him). Real, personal experience beats false claims of clairvoyance once again!

  30. Swami  •  Sep 11, 2012 @10:54 am

    This is what happens when you let criminals, incompetents, morons, baffoons, and the criminally incompetent moronic baffoons to hold high office in a country.

    I hear ya Gulag! Not that Romney is any of the above ,but there’s a flaw to his character that comes at me with an all comsuming warning. My attacks on his boyhood episode at the Cranbrook school is not to accentuate his abiding homophobia, but more to show his refusal to accept responsibility for his actions..The basic measure of maturity and of being a man — and the same as Bush.

    I can’t say it loud enough..America, look at Romneys character!

  31. Lynne  •  Sep 11, 2012 @11:18 am

    Doug, I am so sorry to hear about the loss of your son.

  32. erinyes  •  Sep 11, 2012 @3:21 pm

    Doug, I’m sorry for you and your family beyond what words can convey.

  33. khughes1963  •  Sep 11, 2012 @8:32 pm

    Doug, I am sorry to hear about your son, please accept my condolences to you and your family at this time.



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