The Contradictions Never Change

For the last two months, life has happened. Other priorities swamped my time for reading and writing about our democracy; far from a disaster, this has proven a wonderful detoxification from the pomp and plunder of American politics. But a funny thing happened on my way back to the routine…I found that nothing had changed. Our politico-media machine isn’t capable, it would seem, of original thought. To twist the popular phrase, not even the names change to protect the innocent.

Illustrating the absurdity, Salon is up with an interesting piece that demonstrates how little the debate has changed on taxes and the deficit since 1993. Some of the key players from that debate, conservatives who screamed that the Clinton tax-hike would end the world, have now been wound up and are regurgitating the same program. In his piece, Steve Kornacki sums up the fundamental GOP problem; the tax hike didn’t hurt the economy, and did create surpluses that started paying the debt down. But these inconvenient truths don’t seem to phase a conservative movement aggressively moving away from its intellectual roots.

Contradictions define conservatives in the 21st Century; more’s the pity. We can see the movement now as a collection of tactically brilliant chess players, all completely incapable of seeing more than a couple of moves into the future. Bound and determined to check themselves, they would accomplish their goals if only the Democrats had an endgame. As an example, witness the conflicts (that always seem to miss major press coverage) within two of the conservative world’s goto issues.

The Republican Party has morphed, under the influence of the libertarian intelligencia, into the party of state’s rights. Resisting the overwhelming power of the federal government is a cause celebre among conservatives. But it creates a sticky problem on the shoes of the birthers. States and their local instruments of governance are the issuing authorities for birth records in the United States. While the CDC works with states on vital statistics, they don’t force form standardization on local government.

So how is one in favor of (indeed how is one a staunch supporter of) states rights, while simultaneously questioning the State of Hawaii’s vital statistics practices now or in the past? The President released his official copy of his birth record, and the original was examined and confirmed by Hawaii officials. I thought that this issue was past its use by date, but a significant number of conservatives are still chewing on this issue. (The same conservatives, as a rule, have also spent the last year pushing expanded and extra-constitutional rights for states on health care regulation and immigration.) At least the controversy has produced uncomfortable humor at the expense of the Donald.

The other hot-button issue in the now would seem to be the deficit. I long ago despaired of everyday Americans (or even pundits paid to know better) actually looking at the arithmetic of the Bush tax cuts, two wars, and recession. I gave up on the notion of conservatives ever rationally addressing the three decade inflation of health costs that represents the true long term threat to fiscal stability. But I had maintained hope that Boehner’s Boys would stick to their guns and be the deficit hawks they promised.

Fat chance….

Members of The Middle will know my feelings on deficit hawks, but I was still prepared to enjoy the exquisite pain of the Tea Party as they were forced to eat their own words on “fiscal responsibility”. I was, alas, only kidding myself. Conservatives changed the rules, and ran to the waiting cover of the conservative mainstream media. CNN even ran an internet headline claiming the GOP House passed “sweeping reforms” in its budget guidance document. But the truth is much more mundane; we have heard this story before.

The GOP and its allies have yelled for two years that our nation was broke and on course for fiscal disaster. That they completely discounted the fiscal disaster that happened in 8 million households is old news…they aren’t concerned with the “lazy” and/or “entitled” unemployed. Conservatives made it very clear that our debt and deficit were unsustainable. Nothing less than the future of the nation was at stake. (This information, of course, all courtesy of the CBO, which conservatives endorse when it sings a tune they can dance to.)

So what did the Boehner Supremacy do when they got in office? They asked for a $100 billion cut in this year’s spending. Wow! That does sound like a lot……doesn’t it?

It is 10% of the annual deficit (not the debt, the one year deficit)…


“OK…here is 100 gallons.”

Then, the same conservatives who stood united against stimulus that went to regular Americans; who stood united against healthcare reform; who stood united against clean energy, compromised on $38 billion in cuts.


“OK…here is 38 gallons.”

It should not be surprising that the cuts are to programs that conservatives don’t like. The contradictions, remember, never change. Vote for bank bailouts…vote against stimulus for the working class. Refuse to authorize unemployment insurance benefits because they are deficit expanders, then vote for them when they are given tax cuts which are deficit expanders. Bipartisanship…where Americans go to please conservatives.

Contradictions…where conservatives go when they have an argument to win and absolutely no stake in the innocent victims. Will we ever learn?

The Rational Middle is listening…

5 thoughts on “The Contradictions Never Change

  1. “The small government republicans want to have a the government run your life right down to the last breath. And they want some company to make a profit from it.”

    Very well said, W. West.

  2. Pingback: The Contradictions Never Change « The Rational Middle | NotSoCrazyNews BETA

  3. The real goal of a certain minority of the Republican party – the heirs of the radical republicans of the Post Civil War congress has always been to have a one party system of government. Much of the horrid mess that was reconstruction was based in part on the notion that if the Radical Republicans could obtain a solid majority in the states, they could rule the nation forever.

    The regurgitation of the same, tired, failed fiscal policies is a smoke screen for the true goal of the Tea Party: Absolute Control. We have a media that is largely controlled by giant corporations who support the Tea Party because they know that it will be much to their own advantage to have the ruling junta on their side. So the media pants and wags its tail like an excited Chihuahua over last century’s bad ideas, the real policy and ideological goals are buried in “local” issues.

    Financial Martial Law. This plan is ingenious and hinges upon a common fact: few, if any, local political organizations are financially self sufficient. They rely on federal and state tax money to make ends meet. So, the republicans have a brilliant idea that sounds very good: Train Financial Managers to replace elected government that can’t make ends meet. The trick is that the easies way to make a town, county, or school district insolvent, is to cut their state funding. Create the crises, swoop in and take over, and now we have an appointed official who answers only to the governor. Any time a large company stands to gain from such a move, and whose, there goes another town. The financial manager can do anything he pleases and by the time the courts sort it out, the assets are long pillaged and plundered.

    Education. The Tea Party hates education because educated people are harder to control, Knowledge is power, and the less the average citizen knows the easier it is to screw him over. Corporations like this, because they want to be able to pay $145.00 per month for technical jobs (that’s the pay scale in India). The already wealth do not want anyone else to become wealthy, or they don’t care if anyone else ever becomes wealthy.

    Social Programs. The Tea Party doesn’t like social programs because they take away desperation. The Desperately Poor will work for pennies a day and will be grateful to live in a garbage dump. Demonizing and dehumanizing the poor makes it okay to hurt them, use them, and abuse them. The social programs are seen as a cost on the balance sheets of companies who do not want to spent ANY money if they can help it.

    The far right is using the same tactics that were used b the fascists of previous century. Demonize and hate certain groups of people: liberals, gays, and the poor. In a previous incarnation, fascism hates gays, foreigners and jews. Promise many things if only we are given absolute power, and the do something horrible once they have power. This is EACTLY what the republicans are doing right now. They promise to create jobs and help America prosper. They take away rights, give money to their own cronies, and cost Americans jobs.

    The reason it’s not being sen by the big media is two fold: they have no interest in covering the story, and two, the focus in the many states. The small government republicans want to have a the government run your life right down to the last breath. And they want some company to make a profit from it.

  4. Truth is many conservatives are miss-labeled. They are actually quite radical. A linked characteristic of radicals is that they don’t listen well.

  5. There is only one rule to the Randoid game. It has all devolved into the following statement. And our culture, economy and life is ruled by this one statement.

    “It doesn’t matter what you do to get ahead!”

Comments are closed.