Saturday, April 14, 2007

Bush's Ideological Presidency Exhausting Itself

The next two years could get ugly and it's not clear that the fever of right wing Republican gibberish has truly run its course. But any notion that the ultraconservatives have anything useful to offer the overwhelming majority of Americans is over, it's done, it's finis. Scandals, corruption, cronyism, corporate favoritism, incompetence and sheer strategic failure are among the many dismal hallmarks of the Bush presidency. If the Republicans have anything to offer, it can only begin by disowning George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, Tom DeLay, Newt Gingrich, Karl Rove and any number of others presently caught up in their dark, self-serving vision.

Here's a post from Mahablog that I highly recommend because it puts things in important historical perspective while highlighting a possible road to the future:
... Kuttner closes, “How many times does conservatism have to fail before we get a successor who reclaims American liberalism?”

That’s a good question. The last time conservatism failed utterly and spectacularly was at the end of the 1920s. Franklin Roosevelt won four presidential elections not only because conservative domestic policy enabled the stock market crash of 1929 and the Great Depression, but because right wingers of the 1920s and 1930s for the most part were isolationists who thought Hitler and Mussolini were reasonable guys we could do business with. The Great Depression and World War II provided overwhelming empirical evidence to the American people that the Right had been wrong.

Although moderate Republicans (e.g., Dwight Eisenhower) emerged from the FDR years with some appreciation for what he had accomplished, the more extreme Right nursed a seething, resentful rage against all things New Dealish. The Cold War gave them a means to rehabilitate themselves. By a campaign of “hysterical charges and bald-faced lies” the Right persuaded much of the country that Democrats were soft on communism and lax on national security. And in the 1960s through the 1980s the Dems’ association with civil rights, equal opportunity, and antipoverty programs caused a flood of white middle class Americans to switch their votes from Democratic to Republican.

In part through skillful manipulation of mass media the Right has been able to dominate our national political discourse since the late 1970s. In spite of the Right’s incessant whining about “liberal media,” Americans have had the right-wing perspective of just about everything pounded into their heads lo these many years, whereas real liberals and progressives (as opposed to moderate-to-conservative political hacks who play “liberals” on television) were all but banished from public view. Were this not the case, I think liberalism would have been reclaimed years ago. ...
There's much more but then I would have to post the whole article. Better yet, give it a read and give a look at Robert Kuttner's article.

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Anonymous S.W. Anderson said...

A key part of liberals' ongoing problem is that when, finally, a sufficiently driven, skillful and charismatic Democrat who could win two terms in the White House emerged, Bill Clinton was the man.

By any reasonable definition, Bill Clinton is the perfect pale imitation of a Roosevelt, Truman or Johnson. Clinton was, and remains, a prototypical DLC-type Democrat. In Congress that would be a very blue dog. In the White House, it's Republican-lite, more a natural heir to the leadership of Eisenhower than to any of the Democrats I just mentioned.

When on occasion in the Clinton years someone on the right would disparage Clinton as some kind of radical liberal, I would respond that they didn't know what a real liberal president was like, because they hadn't experienced one in their lifetime. These were individuals too young to recall the Johnson years, BTW.

The response varied between scornful dismissal to disbelief.

I think the bloggers you point to would agree with me on that, given the outtake you posted.

4:06 PM  

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