Tag: Conservatism

Thinking Like a 12 Year Old

How Conservatives Have Lost Their Way

Bill is joined by former Republican Congressman Mickey Edwards, a founding father of modern conservative politics who now fears the movement has abandoned its principles. Edwards explains why both political parties require radical change, and shares his perspective on Grover Norquist and anti-tax pledges. “It’s not conservatism, not rational, not adult,” Edwards tells Bill. ” It’s a 12-year-old’s kind of thinking.”

Edwards chaired the Republican Policy Committee, was a founding trustee of the conservative Heritage Foundation, and served as National Chairman of the American Conservative Union.

Full transcript is here

Several readers pointed out some dishonesty on the part of Rep. Edwards and Mr. Moyers’ failure to correct him.:

I was buying Mickey Edwards’ ‘bi-partisan’ pitch until he complained about Democrats focusing their argument on increasing tax rates on ‘millionaires and billionaires.’ Edwards argued that the Democrats’ ‘dishonesty’ sprang from not focusing on the $250,000 threshold for the Administration’s proposed tax increased. Sorry, Mickey, since $250,000 is indeed the threshold, not a cent of additional tax is raised on anybody’s $250,000 income. It’s you who seek to mislead, Mickey, and shame on you, Bill Moyers, for letting Mickey’s ideological disingenuousness pass by without comment.

Nor does Mr. Moyers’ correct him when he said that Social Security contributes to the deficit. It does NOT.

The Plan: It is Working

I read the news today oh boy…..

I am filled with a sense of sickness in the pit of my stomach, in my soul.

Greece to Sell State Assets to Raise 3 Billion Euros (Update1)

By Christos Ziotis and Natalie Weeks

June 2 (Bloomberg) — Greece plans to sell stakes in railway and water companies and the postal service to raise 3 billion euros ($3.7 billion) and help reduce a budget deficit that sparked the debt crisis across southern Europe.

“We decided to accelerate the privatizations process,” Greek Finance Minister George Papaconstantinou told reporters in Athens today. The government aims to raise 1 billion euros a year for the next three year from the sales.

Bloomberg – Greece

You should understand that this is “The Plan”

The plan was that by cutting the funding for government, government would have to cut back on what it does: regulating business, protecting regular people against powerful interests, building infrastructure, educating kids, taking care of the poor and elderly. With government (We, the People) out of the way businesses could be unleashed and really start to make money. And for those who could afford to pay, private companies would take over those other functions. That was called “privatization.”

Neo-Liberalism: The Plan

John Roberts


In “No More Mr. Nice Guy“, Jeffrey Toobin examines how Chief Justice John Roberts is “the Supreme Court’s stealth hard-liner” in a detailed and very readable 7,500-word essay in this week’s The New Yorker. The article is well worth reading.

Toobin traces Roberts’ career as a trustworthy conservative legal footsoldier from his law school years at Harvard to his clerkship to then-Associate Justice William Rehnquist to his years in and out of public service to his first four years at the head of the nation’s highest court. Throughout his essay, Toobin reminds the reader that Roberts, born on January 27, 1955, is the youngest person on the Court veering to the right as the rest of the nation, largely, drifts to the left.

While many on the left saw through Roberts’ personable nature to see that he was the purest product of the conservative movement, unfortunately not enough Senators did. The conventional wisdom on Roberts is that he is a moderate.

But, Roberts’ moderation is his public relations front. “The Chief Justice talks the talk of moderation while walking the walk of extreme conservatism,” according to Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law professor at Harvard.

A Blight On Humanity

Paul Krugman has a short but withering post about the fraud that was American conservatism. Riffing off a link to Crooked Timber, which has Richard Posner becoming the latest conservative to jump the movement’s ship, Krugman writes:

And yet – why, exactly, should we listen to people who by their own admission completely missed the story? I mean, anyone who actually listened to what Newt Gingrich and Dick Armey were saying in 1994, let alone what passed for thought in the Bush administration, should have realized long ago that if there ever was an intellectual basis for modern conservatism, it was long gone.

Why, indeed, would anyone pretend there is any shred of credibility in anyone who found the Gingrich and Bush eras credible? But Krugman gets to the real point in the next paragraph:

And the truth is that the Reaganauts were a pretty grotesque bunch too. Look for the golden age of conservative intellectualism in America, and you keep going back, and back, and back – and eventually you run up against William Buckley in the 1950s declaring that blacks weren’t advanced enough to vote, and that Franco was the savior of Spanish civilization.

They fought civil rights, and voting rights, and the creation of Social Security and Medicaid and Medicare. They fought the environmental movement. They fought science and education and basic human decency. They launched wars that shouldn’t have been launched, they supported terrorists and terrorist regimes all around the globe, and countless millions suffered and died for their greed, hypocrisy and plain old murderous evil. They were and are, in every way that matters, morally degenerate.

There was no golden era of the conservative movement. It held political power for many years, and if we are not vigilant, it could, yet again. Because there is literally nothing its dwindling band of deranged supporters won’t try, to regain power. But it’s time to stop acting as if it was a serious intellectual enterprise, or that its methods and ideals were even worth debating. It was sick. It was demented. It represented the very worst of humanity. It’s time to stop pretending that it was deserving of respect or legitimacy. It wasn’t. It was a blight on humanity, the human spirit, and the entire planet. It should be treated as such and remembered as such.

A Brief History of Conservatism: The Early Years

There is disagreement between historians and biblical scholars regarding who was the first conservative.  Some biblical scholars contend that the first conservative was Cain, because spying on Abel, murdering him, lying about it, ignoring God’s subpoena to testify, and stonewalling for as long as he could while posturing as a victim of unjust accusations are the earliest exhibitions of conservative behavior recorded in the Bible.  Consequently, they believe they have a solid basis upon which to conclude that Cain was the first conservative.  They also contend that Cain’s words, “Am I my brother’s keeper?” was the first conservative talking point, the first expression of conservative economic policy, and as far as can be determined through biblical scholarship, was the first veiled assertion that anything even remotely resembling concern and empathy for another man was a sure sign of latent homosexuality.            

“The Fall of Conservatism”

George Packer has an interesting analysis of the implosion of the GOP in this week’s New Yorker, which finally landed in my mailbox yesterday.  It’s rather long but well worth reading in full.  He begins in 1966, when Patrick Buchanan went to work for Nixon, and follows the rise of conservatism from that point to the present.  Some of this should sound very familiar, even to those of us who weren’t old enough to follow politics back then:

In order to seize the Presidency in 1968, Nixon had to live down his history of nasty politicking, and he ran that year as a uniter. But his Administration adopted an undercover strategy for building a Republican majority, working to create the impression that there were two Americas: the quiet, ordinary, patriotic, religious, law-abiding Many, and the noisy, élitist, amoral, disorderly, condescending Few.


On William F. Buckley, Jr.

William F. Buckley, Jr. died today. For those of you too young to ‘know’ Buckley, he was one of the Godfathers of the conservative movement. He helped lead us to Nixon, Reagan, and the Bushes.  

That “Liberal” Smear


…if by a liberal they mean someone who looks ahead and not behind, someone who welcomes new ideas without rigid reactions, someone who cares about the welfare of the people – their health, their housing, their schools, their jobs, their civil rights, their civil liberties..if that is what they mean by a “liberal” then I am proud to be a liberal.

          —    John F. Kennedy


In the conservative world, the word “liberal” is often used as a smear and an epithet in an attempt to denounce anyone who they dislike or who stands opposed to their ideas and idiot ideology. But now, after seven years of utter disaster at the hands of a conservative Administration — one that inherited a conservative Republican majority in Congress, only to lose it six years later — the nation and Conservatives have seen the disaster that their beliefs and policies lead to in terms of economic, political, military and social debacles, any one of which should give any sane citizen pause.

Conservatives, however, are not ones to reflect or reconsider failed positions or evidence that their flawed approach to government, to money, to military and political strategy and to social reform are simply bad policy.

Do liberals and conservatives think differently?

(cross posted from dailyKos)

OK, obviously we have very different opinions.  We’d like to think we’re smarter (whatever that means) but likely they think the same about themselves….. This isn’t about that.  This is about how the brains of conservatives and liberals work.  And it’s not based on ideology or opinion, but on scientific research

Act Surprised: Private Insurers Abuse Bush Medicare Drug Plan

Once again, privatization of what should be government’s responsibility proves that privatization is really about avoiding any responsibility.

The New York Times reports:

Tens of thousands of Medicare recipients have been victims of deceptive sales tactics and had claims improperly denied by private insurers that run the system’s huge new drug benefit program and offer other private insurance options encouraged by the Bush administration, a review of scores of federal audits has found.

Shocking, yes. Private insurers play parlor games with people’s lives, because their only concern is profit. This is about so much more than the mere outrage of these specific vultures preying on the vulnerable. This is, once again, the Conservative ideology revealed for what it is: greed, cruelty, and social blight.

The problems, described in 91 audit reports reviewed by The New York Times, include the improper termination of coverage for people with H.I.V. and AIDS, huge backlogs of claims and complaints, and a failure to answer telephone calls from consumers, doctors and drugstores.

Nothing to add, there. Except maybe a question: is improperly denying coverage to people with H.I.V and AIDS a crime against humanity? Are war crimes, alone, deserving of that appelation?

Since March, 11 companies have been fined by Medicare. Among them are three of the largest Medicare insurers- UnitedHealth, Humana and WellPoint.