The Amazing Liberal Race
Continuing the reposting of my Addictinginfo opinion pieces.
We are in a race against the clock and the stakes are the very soul of the country!! If this comes off as a breathless, Glenn Beckish prediction of doom, AWESOME! I’m practicing my heated rhetoric in order to terrify you. Are you scared yet? You ARE?! Geez! That was easy. You need to get laid more often; you are waaaay too tense!
But, seriously, we are in a race. We’re in a race against conservatives and we are winning in a way Charlie Sheen can only dream of in his coke induced mental breakdown.
“But how can you say that, you filthy liberal scum? The GOP is all over the country repealing child labor laws, banning abortion, persecuting homosexuals andbreaking unions! They’ve set up a little dictatorship in Michigan and are passing laws to make voter registration almost impossible in vital swing states! This is WINNING?!”
“You’re mad, FLS! MAD, I say!”
Well, I don’t know about mad. Easily irritated, perhaps. But mad? No, I’m far too optimistic to be mad.
You see, there are a few key things you’re overlooking, my “the glass is half empty and the other half is cyanide” friend.
First, we have the internet to mobilize all of the filthy liberal scum in the country. This cannot be overstated enough. The Democratic Party is terrible at firing up the base. Part of this is due to an inability to craft the message. Far too often we let the GOP frame the debate or obscure the true issue. This is becoming harder to do as less and less people get their news from traditional sources like newspapers and cable news. Why do you think the Right is investing money in professional trolls to disrupt and direct online debates? And why do you think the GOP is so dedicated to ending Net Neutrality? They know, as surely as Sarah Palin will say something stupid every week, that conservative concepts cannot survive in the open marketplace of ideas. When exposed to honest inquiry and examination, conservative policies are revealed for the hatred and greed that permeate their every word.
Sure, conservatives have the internet too, but conservatives wouldn’t know a real grassroots effort if it ran up and bit them on the ass. Without corporate money to fund and direct the Tea Party, they would have been a bunch of yahoos in silly hats that smell vaguely British. Since conservative policies are indefensible on their face, the GOP and their corporate masters need to spin everything like a top to advance their agenda. That’s where the astroturf organizations like Freedomworks come into play. The problem occurs when their policies take effect and people start to notice how badly Republican rule damages the country. How do you think we got a black man in the White House almost 50 years before we, as a society, were ready for it? Thank the GOP for being so true to its nature. For those that think I’m being overly dramatic, I would direct your attention to the Birther “movement”. Seriously, if you think that it’s not 100% about race, you need professional help. Or you’re Donald Trump. And you STILL need professional help.
Thanks to the internet, it’s become MUCH harder for the GOP to hide what they are doing. This is the Information Age. When almost the entire House GOP votes to destroy Medicare, there’s only so much they can do to hide it. It’s right there, online, for everyone to see. It used to be pretty hard to keep track of all the bills voted on in Congress, but now? Click, click, click, and there it is, in all of its “we hate non-rich old people” glory.
Speaking of Medicare, that brings me to my second point: Ryan’s “Path to ahahahhahahahahahah!”
Sorry about that. Let me try again.
Speaking of Medicare, that brings me to my second point: Ryan’s “Path to BWAHAHAHAHAHAH!”
Dammit! I can’t say it without laughing!
OK, how about I just call it “Paul Ryan’s Conservative Porn”? Yeah, that’s about right. Have you looked at this thing? Not only does it privatize Medicare (although you won’t catch a Republican on the face of the Earth admitting that), transform Medicaid and food stamps into programs that can ignore the very people, the poor, they were created for in the first place, it gives more tax breaks to the rich (as MSNBC’s Cenk Uygur would say, “Of cooooourse!”). The only things missing from Ryan’s “plan” is a provision making it legal to kick Bill Clinton is the nuts every ten minutes and another proclaiming Ronald Reagan to be the patron saint of the needlessly rich.
UPDATE 2012: Ryan’s new budget is essentially the same as last years’. Huge tax cuts for the rich, huge cuts to social services and another attempt to profitize Medicare. And it looks like the GOP is going to vote for it…again!
Yup, Paul Ryan really knocked it out of the park with this one! The House GOP was so excited to be a part of this plan that all but four of them voted for it. I’m not entirely sure what those four were thinking but I suspect the fact that they were thinking at all played a large part of their very wise decision. What made it so wise? Well, let’s jump in the way back machine to the distant year of 2004. War hero Bush (of the Texas National Guard, who never saw a day of actual service) had just defeated that yellow bellied coward John Kerry (that had still somehow managed to get three Purple Hearts, one Bronze Star and one Silver Star) by promising the country that a vote for Kerry was a vote for DEATH AND DESTRUCTION!! So after winning re-election by elevating the discourse and not cheapening our political process AT ALL, Bush decided he had a mandate from the people!
For those of you as yet uninitiated into the complexities of conservative politics, a mandate is a special privilege reserved only for conservative candidates. Even winning by the slimmest of margins means that the newly crowned Republican
King President has the authority to do anything he wants. By way of comparison, a liberal candidate never has a mandate. Even winning by an obscene majority (like, say, the upcoming election in 2012) will not grant the newly RE-elected illegal tyrant alien Nazi zombie Socialist Democratic President a mandate and he will be completely beholden to the losing party or they’ll throw temper tantrums (again).
So anyway, back to 2004. Bush, with his “mandate”, set his sights on Social Security, long a bugaboo of the Right. (“Bugaboo” to be defined as something the GOP truly despises on a genetic level. I, myself, aspire to “bugaboo” status but will be content with “pain in the ass”.) The bugaboo of Social Security literally defines what the Right is against, namely, the people of our country coming to together for mutual sacrifice and the benefit of all. Egads! The horror! No wonder they’ve been trying to kill it since before it was even signed into law(who says Republicans don’t support abortion? – dark humor of the day). Inflated with a sense of RIGHTeous purpose, Bush went on the road, much the same way Obama did to support Health Care Reform. Key difference? Bush got massacred and failed spectacularly. The country rose up, across party lines and without Koch-funded astroturf organizations, to denounce the GOPs’ attempts to take away the safety net for our future senior citizens. Part of this Epic Fail led to the Democrats retaking the House in 2006.
And the disaster that is the Ryan Plan will, in all likelihood, hand the House back to the Democrats. The Tea Party is learning, the hard way, that blowing up trains is easier than making them run on time (metaphorically speaking). Let’s hope the learning curve continues to be steeper than they can handle. Radicals should never be rewarded for stupidity.
The third thing to be optimistic about is that the GOP has truly painted itself into a corner. By embracing the lunatic fringe, the moderates have been banished from the mainstream of the GOP. That plays well to the base but you can only appeal to the independents for as long as you can keep the crazy at bay. And the crazy is loose. Big time. The GOP promised the country jobs, jobs, jobs. That’s all they talked about in the election. It got them a sweeping victory in the House and a few seats in the Senate. “Where are the jobs, Mr. President?” was the refrain. How about now, Mr. Day-Glo Speaker? What have YOU done since taking power? Oh, right. Abortion, attack the poor,abortion, attack Medicare, abortion, tax cuts for the rich, abortion, redefining rape, abortion, attack “The Gay”, etc…
Oh yes, and killing off 700,000 jobs? “So be it.” Can’t forget that one.
Yeah, I’m pretty confident that after two years of this crap, the people who stayed home last year, won’t be doing so again. And a lot of the people who were snookered by the “jobs, jobs, jobs,” con job the GOP pulled will be registering their extreme displeasure with the Republican insistence on fighting a Culture War when the country is in economic shambles. “It’s the economy, stupid!” is a lesson the GOP just can’t seem to hold on to for long.
But beyond all of this is the simple reality that the conservative movement is in serious trouble and they’ve done it to themselves. By using wedge politics, the GOP has refined their base into an ever-shrinking core of angry, racist, homophobic, older white people. This is not a recipe for long term electoral success. ESPECIALLY since Republicans continue to assault Social Security and Medicare whenever possible.
About that, a quick comment to any Republicans reading this: Give it up, guys. You couldn’t do away with S.S. when Bush had the country terrified of its own shadow. You got slapped down, hard. Afterwards, you pushed the country to the brink of collapse, got a black guy into the White House and, riding high on the resulting freak-out, you STILL can’t take on S.S. or Medicare without getting assaulted by your own constituents, never mind the rest of the country. It’s over, you blew your best chance. This country will ALWAYS take care of its own no matter how desperately you want it to be a nation of greedy, self-centered assholes like yourselves. Even if you kneecap us, we’ll still move forward, all you can do is slow the pace and increase the misery in the short run.
So there you have it. The GOP is stepping up its timetable for its radical agenda of disenfranchising Democratic voters, forcing a social agenda on to us instead of creating jobs, breaking the unions to eliminate the competition and selling America off to the highest corporate bidder. Sounds grim, doesn’t it? But it doesn’t have to be. Even as they overreach, the GOP is steadily losing power. Their base is fracturing in two as the radicals of the Tea Party got a taste of power and are unwilling to relinquish control to the GOP. This generation of angry old white people is being steadily replaced by a generation of socially and ethnically diverse Americans uninterested in wedge politics and less affected by the hate so central to the conservative platform. Without the hate, the GOP has nothing to offer.
If we liberals can continue to inform and educate the public, if we can hold true to ours values of equality and fairness, if we can keep the country from breaking down long enough for the GOP to finally collapse under the weight of its bigotry and hypocrisy, we can and will win the future.
How’s that glass looking now? Half empty or half full?