The Right-Wing Coup Continues

E.J. Dionne calls the right-wing takeover of America a stealthy coup, which is what a lot of us have been saying for years. It has been a slow motion coup. I had hope that the elections of 2006 and 2008 were the beginning of a turn-around. However, last week’s shocking performance by the Supreme Court tells us that SCOTUS has effectively been taken over.


Last week’s Supreme Court oral arguments on health care were the most dramatic example of how radical tea partyism has displaced mainstream conservative thinking. It’s not just that the law’s individual mandate was, until very recently, a conservative idea. Even conservative legal analysts were insisting it was impossible to imagine the court declaring the health-care mandate unconstitutional, given its past decisions.

So imagine the shock when conservative justices repeatedly spouted views closely resembling the tweets and talking points issued by organizations of the sort funded by the Koch brothers. Don’t take it from me. Charles Fried, solicitor general for Ronald Reagan, told The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein that it was absurd for conservatives to pretend that the mandate created a market in health care. “The whole thing is just a canard that’s been invented by the tea party .?.?.,” Fried said, “and I was astonished to hear it coming out of the mouths of the people on that bench.”

Paul Krugman

The big bad event of last week was, of course, the Supreme Court hearing on health reform. In the course of that hearing it became clear that several of the justices, and possibly a majority, are political creatures pure and simple, willing to embrace any argument, no matter how absurd, that serves the interests of Team Republican.

Krugman goes on to explain why the budget passed by the House last week is a fraud. Not just a bad budget or a stupid budget, but a fraud.

Mr. Ryan talks loudly about the evils of debt and deficits, but his plan would actually make the deficit bigger even as it inflicted huge pain in the name of deficit reduction. But is his budget really the most fraudulent in American history? Yes, it is.

To be sure, we’ve had irresponsible and/or deceptive budgets in the past. Ronald Reagan’s budgets relied on voodoo, on the claim that cutting taxes on the rich would somehow lead to an explosion of economic growth. George W. Bush’s budget officials liked to play bait and switch, low-balling the cost of tax cuts by pretending that they were only temporary, then demanding that they be made permanent. But has any major political figure ever premised his entire fiscal platform not just on totally implausible spending projections but on claims that he has a secret plan to raise trillions of dollars in revenue, a plan that he refuses to share with the public?

I plan to write more about this as the week goes on, but apparently they’ve been pulling a “fast and loose” scam by showing the public, and the Congressional Budget Office, Ryan’s budget without the tax cuts.

Going back to Dionne, who wrote (among other things) that last week the House teabaggers forced a vote on the Simpson-Bowles recommendations, except with the tax increase recommendations cut in half. That last part you weren’t likely to learn from news stories.

Note how many deficit hawks regularly trash President Obama for not endorsing Simpson-Bowles while they continue to praise Ryan — even though Ryan voted to kill the initiative when he was a member of the commission. Here again is the double standard that benefits conservatives, proving that, contrary to establishment opinion, Obama was absolutely right not to embrace the Simpson-Bowles framework. If he had, a moderately conservative proposal would suddenly have defined the “left wing” of the debate, just because Obama endorsed it.

This is nuts. Yet mainstream journalism and mainstream moderates play right along.

And to get a little closer to the bottom of this — read “How Billionaires Destroy Democracy.”

If SCOTUS really does nix the entire ACA — and I keep reading there is little hope that they won’t — we may be coming to the time when the mechanisms of representative government are too compromised to stop the coup.

21 thoughts on “The Right-Wing Coup Continues

  1. I have been considering for years now, that the US is no longer the place for me or anyone who believes in participatory democracy and in institutions which support this. My children are more optimistic than I.

  2. I know I harp on this all of the time, but the problems are a mis/under/un-informed citizenry. And that’s aided and abetted by a cowardly, compliant, and sometimes even completely complicit MSM – like in this case:

    Did you know that the Romney this country can’t get enough of is Ann Romney? According to the totally complicit idjits at Politico, she’s a veritable rock star. That right – A ROCK STAR!
    And no, it’s NOT an “April Fools” joke!

    The problem isn’t just a new form of profit-based government, with lobbying groups giving guaranteed jobs for complicit politicians when they leave, or are forced from, office.
    The other problem is a bottom-line, profit-based corporate MSM who’ll do anything, ANYTHING, to insure a close horse-race in November – all the better to stuff their pockets with even more money than usual because of CU money. We’re talking BILLIONS of additional dollars.

    And finally, the “coup’s” about done.
    There are only a few more “i’s” to dot, and “t’s” to cross – and we will soon be a nation at the complete thrall of corporations (read: Fascism).

    The only thing we can hope for, is that the rest of the world learns from our mistakes, and demands an independent MSM – and not propaganda outfits like FOX News, the WaPo, WSJ, and Politico. That airwaves are there to inform the public, not to propagandize to them. And that, on them, hate speech isn’t free speech. It can cost you a nation.

    oh, btw – if Ann Romney’s a rock star, I’m the Prima Ballerina at the NY City Ballet Company.

    • I’m not even sure what Ann Romney looks like. Blonde?

      oh, btw – if Ann Romney’s a rock star, I’m the Prima Ballerina at the NY City Ballet Company.

      I really am Brad Pitt, you know. I work on this website in the trailer on the movie set.

  3. On the radio this morning they said that the debate over the Ryan budget was a debate over two different visions on the role of government. I responded “Well, more like two different visions on the truth of arithmetic, since the numbers, such as they are, don’t add up at all.” (Yes, I do talk back to my radio. Don’t you?)

    But the SCOTUS, along with the recent news that global climate change is close to a tipping point, has me thoroughly depressed. Bush v. Gore was bad enough, but the line-up has only gotten more right-wing since then. And Citizens United? Oy.

    If we had a miracle, and only elected liberal Democrats as President for the next 20 years, we’d still be suffering from the “legal” interpretations of this Court, big and small. Sorry, coming generations. It will really suck to be you.

  4. Brad – it’s you?

    This is me, Anjelina, in the trailer right next to you!
    You have the kids there now, right?

    • This is me, Anjelina, in the trailer right next to you!

      I’ve been wondering why you spent so much time on the laptop!

  5. What, Brad, you want I should spend my time on YOUR lap? 😉

    We have too many children as it is!

  6. This is just one more datapoint in a long series, beginning at least with Bush v Gore, but really having its roots going much further back, and much deeper in the American character. I don’t comment much any more because I’ve really given up on this country and am focusing my energy in an effort to move outta here (destination as yet unknown). It’s not worth my energy to follow the tiny, day to day, political perturbations that occur against a overwhelming backdrop of steep decline, in almost every area. The resulting mental peace from such a disconnect is its own reward.

    Even though such a move may not be practical for you or your readers, there are a number of bigger picture thinkers out there, emerging onto the scene, who begin with the assumption that It’s Over For This Country, that you might find illuminating. Someone else put me on to Morris Berman, a historian, as he talks about his book Why America Failed. Early in the talk, he reveals that he moved to Mexico a few years ago.

    • Early in the talk, he reveals that he moved to Mexico a few years ago.

      I’m not seeing Mexico as an improvement.

  7. Oooh, you are both so lucky that I’m NOT Jennifer Anniston!

    If we had a miracle, and only elected liberal Democrats as President for the next 20 years, we’d still be suffering from the “legal” interpretations of this Court, big and small. Sorry, coming generations. It will really suck to be you.

    My brother’s kids are so smart, compassionate and optimistic. It just breaks my heart that they’re getting a deck so horribly stacked against them.

  8. The only comfort is that the very excesses of the right do provide some grounds for optimism about this year’s election. We’ve already got the War on Women and now, incredibly enough, the Tea Party types seem to be in the process of rallying around George Zimmerman.

    That really blows my mind. The Trayvon Martin case doesn’t have to be an issue in the election, but it’s looking more and more like it’s going to be.

    And the Ryan budget is of course a fraud, and they’re not going to be able to keep that a secret from anybody but the Tea Party once the Obama campaign gets in gear.

    It’s like they’re running this weird anti-campaign, where they’re going around the country giving everyone who isn’t a rich white racist misogynist asshole a bunch of reasons NOT to vote for them.

  9. The extreme shift to the right has not only affected the Republican party but the Democrats as well. IMHO much of the Democratic party and this administration is to the right of the Nixon administration and that is scary

  10. Lynne – I have to agree with you. A while back I dug this statement up from my old college history text, published in 1950, “Great nations inexorably follow the trajectory of primitive, republican, imperial decadence.” I really think that we’re on that ‘trajectory.’

    As to the Court, in the recent Court discussion of the ‘mandate’-not-mandate one of the conservative judges made the alarming observation that if he and others quit buying a particular car, the price of the car would go up. Given that he and other conservatives on the bench profess to be champions of a free-market economy, this blatant misunderstanding of one of its basic principles should sound alarm bells warning us that they probably are equally clueless when it comes to the mandate issue.

  11. I’m not seeing Mexico as an improvement.

    People choose this or that country for completely idiosyncratic and personal reasons. Who knows what sort connections Berman had in Mexico that made him go there. Toward the end of the talk, he mentions that he really likes a manana culture, and that it afforded him the space to write a couple of books, including a work of fiction.

    The point is not Mexico, the point is all the reasons why Berman chose to leave.

  12. joan,
    This SC no longer follows “Stare Decisis” – they follow the stars on FOX and talk radio.

  13. This whole conversation is really depressing. I think the only thing I have going for me is that I have no children and am 66.

  14. I just want out. I’ve given up making excuses for this country. I’m ready to leave; I just can’t see how. I wish other countries (I’ve traveled a bit, and northwestern Europe, though it has its own problems, looks most attractive to me) would accept liberals from the US as “political exiles”…! I am actually actively going to school now for a program that’s listed as being somewhat in demand so that it might be easier to get a job, if I can ever escape. In the meantime, as I am stuck here, WHAT CAN WE DO??? Would someone please tell me how we can gather people together to get something done about the horrific, politicized, knee-jerk supreme court, etc.? If the large and highly mobilized crazy right wing can do it constantly, how do we do it? Or if someone here knows how we can escape, please let me know. This country is nuts and it is literally giving me migraines.

  15. Charlotte – there is a wealth of info on the web. If you’re serious about leaving you need to get started soon researching this. Here’s a few sites I’ve found:

    Expat Daily News

    Shelter OffShore – is geared toward people from the UK.

    Overseas Exile – now and then, is particularly good at coming up with odd situations suitable for young people, students who wish to emigrate.

    Future Expats Forum – is a newer site, haven’t really explored it much.

    This list is by no means comprehensive, it’s just a bunch of sites I’ve run into over the years. Search for “expat” and you’ll probably get many more hits. Good luck and get started!

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