The Sick Social Darwinism Driving Modern Republicans by Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog, Posted on Alternet.org, December 6, 2011 — What kind of society, exactly, do modern Republicans want? I’ve been listening to Republican candidates in an effort to discern an overall philosophy, a broadly-shared vision, an ideal picture of America. They say they want a smaller government but that can’t be it. Most seek a larger national defense and more muscular homeland security. Almost all want to widen the government’s powers of search and surveillance inside the United States – eradicating possible terrorists, expunging undocumented immigrants, “securing” the nation’s borders. They want stiffer criminal sentences, including broader application of the death penalty. Many also want government to intrude on the most intimate aspects of private life. They call themselves conservatives but that’s not it, either. They don’t want to conserve what we now have. They’d rather take the country backwards – before the 1960s and 1970s, and the Environmental Protection Act, Medicare, and Medicaid; before the New Deal, and its provision for Social Security, unemployment insurance, the forty-hour workweek, and official recognition of trade unions; even before the Progressive Era, and the first national income tax, antitrust laws, and Federal Reserve…Social Darwinism offered a moral justification for the wild inequities and social cruelties of the late nineteenth century.…Social Darwinism also undermined all efforts at the time to build a nation of broadly-based prosperity and rescue our democracy from the tight grip of a very few at the top. It was used by the privileged and powerful to convince everyone else that government shouldn’t do much of anything. Not until the twentieth century did America reject Social Darwinism. We created the large middle class that became the core of our economy and democracy….
The Five Strands of Conservatism: Why the GOP is Unraveling By Drew Westen, Huffington Post, April 16, 2009 …the modern conservative movement…was built on an ideological foundation–and a coalition–that was fundamentally incoherent. It took a charismatic leader to bring it together (Ronald Reagan), a tacit agreement among its coalition partners to give each other what they wanted, and a message machine to start selling the idea that that there was coherence to a conservative “philosophy” that was anything but coherent. Modern conservatism wove together five discrete strands and interest groups that couldn’t coexist. What is remarkable is how well it held together despite the fact that those strands were actually difficult to interweave. The first strand is libertarian conservatism, reflected in leaders from Barry Goldwater to Ron Paul. Libertarian conservatives believe government should be small and weak and kept that way through low taxes…The second strand, with which libertarianism is entirely incompatible, is social conservatism, particularly Christian fundamentalism. Fundamentalists of any sort believe that they have privileged knowledge of God’s Will and hence have the right to use whatever methods available–including the instruments of state–to impose that will on others.The third strand of conservatism is old fashioned fiscal conservatism… essentially soft New Dealers, who accept the premises of the New Deal–that we need a safety net…but prefer the safety net and tax codes to be thin…The fourth strand, national security conservatism, is a different breed. National security conservatives tend to be hawkish…The final strand of conservatism is the one Nixon exploited with his Southern Strategy and the Republicans have exploited ever since, whether the issue is voting rights, “welfare queens,” affirmative action, or the fate of “illegals”: prejudice…conservatives don’t have much on their side on this one either, except to the extent that they can block the vote, because demographics are running in the wrong direction for them over the next 50 years. …the right [is] short on ideas, but they’re long on selling ideas, however vapid. Second, Democrats are exactly the opposite: They’re long on ideas but short on the ability to bundle them into coherent, emotionally compelling narratives that make people want to buy them…
Plutocracy, Paralysis, Perplexity by Paul Krugman, New York Times, May 4, 2012…Today, Washington is marked by a combination of bitter partisanship and intellectual confusion…The Congressional scholars Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein…say our political dysfunction is largely because of the transformation of the Republican Party into an extremist force that is “dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.” …money buys power, and the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties, in the process destroying any prospect for cooperation…the Republican Party is dominated by doctrines formerly on the political fringe…a party that, as Mr. Mann and Mr. Ornstein note, is “unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science.”…billionaires have always loved the doctrines in question, which offer a rationale for policies that serve their interests.…the real structural problem is in our political system, which has been warped and paralyzed by the power of a small, wealthy minority. And the key to economic recovery lies in finding a way to get past that minority’s malign influence.
How Party of Budget Restraint Shifted to ‘No New Taxes,’ Ever
Obstruct and Exploit
The conservative learning curve
Conservatives’ Reality Problem
The GOP’s Voter Suppression Strategy
6 Right-Wing Zealots and the Crazy Ideas Behind the Most Outrageous Republican Platform Ever
Five Practical Reasons Not To Vote Republican
How the G.O.P. Became the Anti-Urban Party
Inside the Values Voter Summit By Rob Boston, October 2012, blog.au.org/church-state
The Rise of the Regressive Right and the Reawakening of America by Robert Reich October 16, 2011 by Robert Reich’s Blog, posted on CommonDreams.org - A fundamental war has been waged in this nation since its founding, between progressive forces pushing us forward and regressive forces pulling us backward. We are going to battle once again. Progressives believe in openness, equal opportunity, and tolerance. Progressives assume we’re all in it together…Regressives take the opposite positions.…today’s Republican right aren’t really conservatives. Their goal isn’t to conserve what we have. It’s to take us backwards…The regressive right has slowly consolidated power over the last three decades as income and wealth have concentrated at the top. In the late 1970s the richest 1 percent of Americans received 9 percent of total income and held 18 percent of the nation’s wealth; by 2007, they had more than 23 percent of total income and 35 percent of America’s wealth. CEOs of the 1970s were paid 40 times the average worker’s wage; now CEOs receive 300 times the typical workers’ wage. This concentration of income and wealth has generated the political heft to deregulate Wall Street and halve top tax rates. It has bankrolled the so-called Tea Party movement, and captured the House of Representatives and many state governments. Through a sequence of presidential appointments it has also overtaken the Supreme Court…
Yet the great arc of American history reveals an unmistakable pattern. Whenever privilege and power conspire to pull us backward, the nation eventually rallies and moves forward….regressive forces reignited the progressive ideals on whichAmericais built. The result was fundamental reform. Perhaps this is what’s beginning to happen again across America.
The Worst Of Times by Paul Krugman, April 16, 2010, New York Times blog
A question for the history-minded, related to today’s column: has there ever been a time in US political history when one of the two major political parties was so addicted to doublethink, so committed to pretending that it’s advocating the opposite of its actual agenda?
Obviously things like this have happened in world politics — Orwell wasn’t a fantasist, he was drawing on actual experience. But did a major U.S. political party ever sound so Orwellian before? I’d say no — but maybe it has been airbrushed out of our history. Inquiring minds want to know.
GOP must slip its ugly skin by Jeffrey Kolnick, StarTribune, August 22, 2012
Paul Ryan’s Biggest Influence: 10 Things You Should Know About the Lunatic Ayn Rand by Jan Frel, AlterNet August 12, 2012
War Room: The three fundamentalisms of the American right By Michael Lind
40 years after Watergate, Nixon was far worse than we thought
Alan Simpson Slams Fellow Republicans For Unwillingness To Compromise, HuffingtonPost.com, May 27, 2012
Are Republicans Social Darwinists? By Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine, April 2012
What Are Conservatives Trying to Conserve? by Ira Glasser, Executive Director, ACLU (1978-2001, Retired), HuffingtonPost.com 03/24/2012
What Happened to the Traditionally Conservative Republican Party? By Cliff Schecter, Al Jazeera English, Posted on Alternet.org, September 30, 2011
Goodbye to All That: Reflections of a GOP Operative Who Left the Cult by Mike Lofgren, Truthout | News Analysis, September 3, 2011
A grand old cult by Richard Cohen, Washington Post, July 4, 2011 -
In America Today, Republican President Dwight D. Eisenhower Would Be Bernie Sanders in the U.S. Senate By Rachel Maddow, AlterNet, January 28, 2011
The Rise of the New Confederacy: How America-Hating Right-Wingers Took Over the GOP By Theo Anderson, In These Times, Alternet.org, December 8, 2011
Understanding the modern conservative movement by Carl T. Bogus , StarTribune.com, November 29, 2011
Far-Right John Birch Society 2010 by Jonathan Karl, ABCNews.com, February 19, 2010
Party of No: How Republicans and the Right Have Tried to Thwart All Social Progress by Arun Gupta, TruthOut.org, posted on May 23, 2010
Saying Goodbye to Compassionate Conservatism by E.J. Dionne, Jr. Washington Post, published on Truthdig.org, November 17, 2010
How the Right Went Wrong by Karen Tumulty, Time Magazine, March 15, 2007
This is Not Fiscal Conservatism. It’s Just Politics by Jim Wallis, Sojourners, February 24, 2011
How Religion’s Demand for Obedience Keeps Us in the Dark Ages By Adam Lee, AlterNet, March 19, 2012
The Sad Race for Bottom on the Loony Right By Robert Reich, Robert Reich’s Blog, February 27, 2012
A challenge to conservatives By E.J. Dionne Jr.