Thomas Ricks Moves Left

He’s not turning into a card-carrying leftie, assuming we carried cards, but Thomas Ricks writes that he realizes the country is just plain not working and he finds himself leaning toward center-left ideas.

I have again and again found myself shifting to the left in major areas such as foreign policy and domestic economic policy. I wonder whether others of my generation are similarly pausing, poking up their heads from their workplaces and wondering just what happened to this country over the last 15 years, and what do to about it.

And then he lists several areas of policy and social issues in which he feels the “conservative” approach just hasn’t worked, or made things worse, and now a more left-ish approach seems more harmonious with reality. Do tell.

One might ask, Why didn’t you notice this before? Because the U.S.Right has been crazy extremist for years. Is it that it’s just now sinking in that the country is dysfunctional? Is it that their own finances are hurt? Is it that the Right’s famous ability to cover over the craziness with correct messaging has been slipping?

Please also read Digby’s Texas gun nuts’ scary ritual: How hatred of a president turned profane. She begins by taking us back to November 22, 1963 —

The morning of Nov. 22, the Dallas Morning News featured a full-page ad “welcoming” the president to Dallas. After a preamble in which they proclaimed their fealty to the Constitution and defiantly asserted their right to be conservative, they demanded to be allowed to “address their grievances.” They posed a long series of “when did you stop beating your wife” questions asking why Kennedy was helping the Communist cause around the world. Here’s an example:

WHY has Gus Hall, head of the U.S. Communist Party praised almost every one of your policies and announced that the party will endorse and support your re-election in 1964?

WHY have you banned the showing at U.S. military bases of the film “Operation Abolition”–the movie by the House Committee on Un-American Activities exposing Communism in America?

WHY have you ordered or permitted your brother Bobby, the Attorney General, to go soft on Communists, fellow-travelers, and ultra-leftists in America, while permitting him to persecute loyal Americans who criticize you, your administration, and your leadership?

WHY has the Foreign Policy of the United States degenerated to the point that the C.I.A. is arranging coups and having staunch Anti-Communists Allies of the U.S. bloodily exterminated.

WHY have you scrapped the Monroe Doctrine in favor of the “Spirit of Moscow”?

MR. KENNEDY, as citizens of the United States of America, we DEMAND answers to these questions, and we want them NOW.

You get the drift. And you probably recognize the tone. The subject may have changed somewhat but the arrogant attitude combined with the aggrieved victimization is a hallmark of right-wing politics even today.

Digby brings this up because the Texas Open Carry herd has been staging regular demonstrations at the cite of the assassination.

Travelers from other nations who come to Dealey Plaza to pay their respects are undoubtedly startled to see yahoos carrying guns and passing out extremist literature very much like the literature that was distributed in Dallas in the fall of 1963. In most places in this world such contempt for national hallowed ground would be frowned upon by decent people. But in America, armed men and women marching around spouting hatred for the president at the very spot where a former president was assassinated is business as usual. We are “free” here to carry guns in public and dare others to argue with us. But that doesn’t make it any less vulgar and profane to do it in a place of national grief — and what should be a monument to right-wing ignominy.

I was only 12 years old when President Kennedy died. I know there were people who didn’t like JFK and especially did not like Bobby Kennedy. But I honestly had not remembered his being accused of being soft on Communism.

I’m not sure exactly how these articles go together, but I feel that they do.