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.

10 thoughts on “Thomas Ricks Moves Left

  1. 15 years?
    15 years!!!

    Look, we’ve had the Klan and their never ending racism and Christian religious bigotry since right after the Civil War.
    And then, we had the anti-Communists/hyper-Christians ever since the Russian Revolution, reaching the heights of insanity with Joe McCarthy and The John Birch Society, right after WWII.
    Ike and Goldwater didn’t want to have anything to do with either group.

    Nixon adopted the Klan.
    Reagan welcomed the Christian Right.
    And Bush II followed the Neocon’s agenda, and also opened the door for The JBS lunatics – who saw their opportunity the moment that imbecile, Santelli, had his rant on the floor of a stock exchange.

    So, Mr. Ricks needs to move his timeline back several decades.
    This conservative bullshit really got started politically the second that lying criminal sociopath and barely human sack-of-shit, Richard Nixon, took his hand off the Bible.
    I know there’s no God, because if there was, Nixon would have been struck dead by lightening the moment his lying hand hit that Bible.

  2. It sounds like Ricks was heavily embedded in military culture, “a detached centrist” by profession, and so it’s not surprising perhaps that it’s taken this long for him to connect the dots. Good to see an article by someone like him in Politico. I don’t demean the guy, rather I see it as another sign that this particular course of right wing stupidity has hopefully run its course.

    “Soft on communism” was a household slogan during the Cold War, and any national-level politician had to defend themself against it. I’m sure Nixon’s campaign tried to tar JFK with it, as he did with other politicians.

    Digby likes to post that ad from the Dallas Morning News from time to time (bless her!) – it’s so instructive to see that nothing has changed, fifty years later. The same paranoid whack-job losers are still living under rocks spewing the same crap, as they did in 1963.

    Somewhere else, I read a comment by someone who was trying to explain the state of Texas to Canadians. “Big state, small minds” was the punchline.

  3. Being assassinated was not all that great for Kennedy personally, but politically it could not have been better; his approval ratings shot through the roof. This was because of a national consensus (shared by all news outlets) that a national tragedy had occurred. Here and there, some lunatics celebrated, such as an Oklahoma dentist who reacted to the news by saying “Great; I hope they got Jackie too!”

    I cannot be certain that the same national accord would prevail today, and Fox News would be in a bit of a bind if its talking dead heads had to try to act shocked and dismayed. I suspect that there would be a number of open celebrations in the red blogosphere, and that people like Limbaugh would say, “Mourn what?” The open carriers in Dealy Plaza would likely say “Sic semper tyrannis !” It would be a very ugly scene indeed.

    • If, Buddha forbid, an unnatural end befell our POTUS, by the end of the day somebody on Fox News would be saying that whatever happened was his own fault.

  4. His own fault? He’ll, they’d say he planned it to draw attention away from ______ (fill in the blank with whatever, out of dozens, thing the nutcase is fuming about at the moment).

    • they’d say he planned it to draw attention away from _____________

      This would be followed by “deathers” certain that he faked his own death to escape justice, or something.

  5. Well, it’s a little ominous that Obama may be in escrow for a house near Palm Springs. I just get the sense that with the probable autumn capture of both House and Senate by the GOP, BHO may be checking out psychologically.

    …Any day of the week, Obama would prefer an intimate meal with intellectuals rather than drinks with the majority leader, golf with the speaker or a cocktail party in Georgetown. When he was in Rome this month, Obama had the U.S. ambassador pull together a dinner guest list more to his liking: prominent architect Renzo Piano, particle physicist Fabiola Gianotti, Fiat Chairman John Elkann and Elkann’s sister, Ginevra, a film director. According to a New York Times report, the president and his guests were up until midnight, talking about science, sports and “the future of the universe.”

  6. One might ask, Why didn’t you notice this before?

    I’m not boasting about being exceptionally intuitive or anything like that, but when they started kicking around the concept of a preemptive war I kinda got an inkling that the conservative/right wing approach might be a little bit out of kilter.

  7. “Fox News would be saying that whatever happened was his own fault”

    Shortly followed by: “everything happens for a reason and maybe now the country can finally get past the divisive nature of his Presidency”!

    From the very beginning these gun fondlers have been poking at this administration, they want a confrontation, each display is ratcheted up, they started open carrying guns in parks, then discount stores, then aiming long rifles at BLM officers, now they are symbolically acting out a potential assassination, it is really unbelievable. As a gun owner myself I see these gun fondlers as the biggest threat to the second amendment!

  8. Shortly followed by: “everything happens for a reason and maybe now the country can finally get past the divisive nature of his Presidency”!

    Followed by criticizing his first Dem successor (other than Biden, probably) as not like Obama, a person we could work with.

    The RWNJ thought Ike was a closet communist. JFK was a no-brainer

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