Monday, November 19

And This Time We Mean It

ONCE More with Feeling: it is, without question, the election of Ronald Wilson "Gipper" Reagan which marks the beginning of the decline of the American Empire, though it had been busy shooting off its toes for the previous three-and-one-half decades. It's the election of Reagan, or more precisely, the mass-market mythologizing of him which began with the assassination attempt a couple months into his presidency, and took wing when the absurd claims about his scam economic program happened to coincide with an uptick in the business cycle (if by "coincide" one means "precede by two years") which marks the point at which a functional voting majority of Americans decided to pull the lever for Pure Horseshit That Makes Us Feel Better About Ourselves over trying to correct some of the dumbass moves we'd made after WWII made us a military superpower.

Reagan was the candidate of 1) Jim Crow Wasn't Really All That Bad, And Should Have Been Allowed To Die Out Naturally, Subject to States' Rights; 2) We Weren't Allowed To Win in Vietnam; 3) Environmentalism is Just Another Name for Godless Communism; 4) Ours is a "Judeo-Christian" Nation, and its twin corollaries, 4a) Jesus says no abortion, and 4b) the modern State of Israel is, in fact, our magical mystical 51st state. That is, the up-to-the-minute trends in right-wing dipshittery, coupled with the usual collection of antifluoridationist nuts and Gilded Age capitalist rapine. And bonus hippie punching. Delivered affably.

Tell me, really, that this isn't essentially the Republican platform  of 2012, and all the years in between. Whazzat? I left out No Taxes and National Debt? Yes, because those are to the Republican party what bikini-clad nubiles are to the producers of domestic beer. Got nothin' to do with the product, but they do draw in the rubes. Taxes? Republicans don't pay taxes. Debt? Who raised the debt more than Reagan? Bush II?

So someone tell me why anyone would believe, fall for, or pay any attention whatsoever to Republican make-over talk? What could possibly come of it?

Sure, there's been sufficient amusement in Bobby Jindal or Marco Rubio complaining that post-defeat Mitt is unfortunately making the Republican party sound like Republicans. There's wizened mage Ted Cruz claiming Romney "French-kissed" Obama (is he unaware of the True "Conservative" talent that Romney defeated in the primaries?), and Mike Huckabee blaming Republicans for stabbing poor Todd Akin in the back, in defiance of all polling numbers.

Or this, which is the stupidest thing ever published in English.

But the real problem, if you ask me, hasn't been the ~10% of the electorate Reaganism managed to add to the "Conservative" coalition. It's so-called moderates, or centrists, who seem convinced that these people make so much noise they have to be on to something.

Consider Anne Applebaum.

After quickly dismissing, by cabbie proxy the idea of Republicans should consider the Hispanic voter (and sneering at Karl Rove's "voter suppression" line as an unfortunate appropriation of a standard liberal fantasy), Applebaum urges Republicans to return to their imaginary roots (apparently, dating to that imaginary amalgam of the 1950s and the 1880s they seem to inhabit): sensible Immigration reform (!), Public Healthcare (!!), higher gasoline taxes (!!!), conservation and budgetary austerity! (The last she's required to borrow from the Tories. But, really, if you already live there, is it stealing to lift a toothbrush? Or a couple of place settings?)

Do I hear scoffing? Well, 1) John McCain, Mr. Conservative himself, co-wrote the McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform Act of 2007, a piece of pre-campaign compromise he'd be repudiating less than a year later, when he needed actual Republicans to vote for him; 2) Ezra Klein, Mr. Conservative himself, has pointed out the the Heritage Foundation touted the individual mandate back in 1989; and 3) Charles "Merkw√ľrdigeliebe" Krauthammer, Mr. Conservation himself, is for higher gas taxes (to offset eliminating income taxes, but leave us not mar a beautiful dream).

With this historical template in place, with this solid foundation of True "Conservative" values as a jumping-off point, one wonders how the Republican party so suddenly veered off the road into such frankly gauche displays of common yahooiganism. One tries to figure out why Mitt Romney, Mr. Patrician himself, found it necessary to stoop to such things (before righting himself, of course) like a common job applicant.

And one wonders what Republican party Anne Applebaum, born the year Barry Goldwater took over the party, has been looking at the last half century.


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© said... is, without question, the election of Ronald Wilson "Gipper" Reagan which marks the beginning of the decline of the American Empire, though it had been busy shooting off its toes for the previous three-and-one-half decades.


And I say it's the election of triangulating 'New Democrat' Bill Clinton that turned the Democratic party into nothing more than GOP policy enablers.

Note: the gay-bashing, misogyny, and racism that the GOP uses to differentiate itself from the corporatist Dems do not constitute policy. That is rube bait:

The primary purpose of the GOP these days is to provide tax breaks and other financial advantages (such as not regulating pollution and other socially costly externalities) to their wealthy donor base. All the rest of their platform, all the culture wars stuff, is simply rube bait.

Bulworth said...

"Sure, there's been sufficient amusement in Bobby Jindal or Marco Rubio complaining that post-defeat Mitt is unfortunately making the Republican party sound like Republicans. "

Yup. Guilty of accurately capturing the party's disdain for the left in all their coastal leftist decadent enclaves full of takers, taking stuff away from the teabagGOP's house of makers.

Victor said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Victor said...

After having created and nurtured their rabid, ravenous beast, the monster known as "The Base," and shot it full of rage, fear, racism, misogyny, xenophobia, homophobia, and bullsh*t, they find they're not only having a hard time controlling it, but can't seem to shake the monster off, now that it's got a death-hold on their necks.

Couldn't happen to a nice group of troglodytes.

Victor said...

Btw - great site you've got here!

You are a terrific writer. I'm sorry I missed this site all of these years.

Keep up the GREAT work!

Your CRAPTCHA SUCKS, though!

Sator Arepo said...

the stupidest thing ever published in English

I loves ya, Doghouse, but I have to call you out when you're trying to pull a fast one.

You see:

I read Atlas Shrugged.

Anonymous said...

Your Anne Applebaum link led me to a 404, alas.

Otherwise this is a classic. When Reagan finally gets his paragraph in history, I fervently hope it's yours.

I don't know about the shelf life of your essays but you should consider printing out a collection. Christmas is coming and I have no idea what to get my knuckle-dragging relatives.

Why are my favorite writers Irish? Beckett, Joyce, Flann O'Brien and Doghouse Riley. Maybe Gin 'n' Tacos best service was to flag your website once.

Anonymous said...

Also, I hope you noticed Marco Rubio's answer when asked about the age of the earth. You can't find comedy like that easily.


Pops said...

"You can not find comedy like that easily". I beg to differ. Did you know Ye Old Dinosaur Rangler Booooby Jindal has a Biology Degree from Brown University. "Yahoo Dino lets head over to Bogalusa for for an Brown Alumni meeting."

Anonymous said...

The GOOPERs conveniently ignore the Saint's contribution to Islamic fundamentalism.

The Saint used our tax money to train and arm Islamic fundamentalists. He compared them to our founding fathers.

The Saint basically allowed the US to server as midwife to Pakistan's acquisition of nuclear weapons

And It wasn't as if the dangers of Islamic fundamentalism were unknown to the West.

Redhand said...

I'm relatively new to your blog: great stuff this.

Consider me a John Cole type Democrat, in that I was conservative (mostly on foreign policy) for many years until Bush II came along and it was clear the Repubs. were the party that couldn't be trusted with it. In my defense I did vote for Carter and Clinton (the first time) and boycotted the 2000 and 2004 elections on "no choice" grounds. (A big mistake in retrospect.)

But, there are SO many other reasons why I switched and am now way to the left of Obama on all issues: Cheney et al and torture, the illegal war of aggression against Iraq based on neocon lies, ridiculous (non) tax policy, Bush II's "voodoo economics" redux, and insanity like the Terry Schaivo
bill in Congress, plus the toleration of corporate criminality and Bush's whole crony jobs thing.

My one comment on St. Ronnie. One of the reasons he won was because of Jimmy Carter's failed presidency. Carter was pathetic, especially in the Iran hostage crisis and in his "I give up" floundering on economic policy during a very difficult time. That gave Ronnie the opening he needed for the "Morning in America" and "You ain't seen nothing yet" stuff.

Anonymous said...

Nice to have you aboard Redhand, but your favoring Reagan over Carter has more to do with your youthful naivete than with with Carter being "pathetic." Carter was undone by bad breaks more than by a superior opponent.