Great article in the SF Chron today about the Republican party civil war that’s just getting under way. The only thing it’s missing is an identification of why exactly it is that their revolution is falling apart, which is that their governing philosophy never made any sense and still doesn’t. Libertarian-anarchist extremist and conservative movement darling Grover Norquist’s thoughts, charming as ever:
“I’m more radical than these idiots who are whining that we haven’t gotten there fast enough,” Norquist said. “I work every day trying to move the party and the government toward the more-freedom and lower-tax position. I know why things aren’t moving faster — because it’s difficult.”
(Emphasis added.) “More-feedom and lower-tax:” that is the essence of the problem. The American people simply do not agree with the relentless conservative obsession with the sole kind of freedom they care about, the freedom that comes from owning property. The vast majority of us like the freedom that comes from having education and opportunity available to everyone. We like the freedom that comes from security, whether it’s related to retirement or the availability of high paying jobs or (we wish!) health care. Those freedoms are utterly incompatible with a relentless program of tax cuts and attempts to starve “the beast.”
The Republicans have run into the problems they have not just because they’re corrupt, which at this point they have carried beyond anyone’s wildest imagining, but because it turns out that the people they represent really don’t mind the beast. They don’t think of it as a beast at all. The Republican revolution has failed because of the weakness of the underlying philosophy. The coming progressive revolution will no doubt find new and interesting ways to fail and falter, but it won’t be because of the underlying philosophy.
People like Tony Blankley, Gingrich’s former press secretary and now the editorial page director of the conservative Washington Times, are in denial:
“As much as I wish the Republican majority had controlled spending better, I don’t have the slightest doubt that if the Democrats were in, particularly if they had a Democratic president, the spending would increase and the deficit would increase. So you’re not going to gain anything.”
What, like under Clinton? Look at the numbers, Mr Blankley. As Phil stated unequivocally in last night’s debate: Bill Clinton showed us the way to run an economy and starving the “beast” has nothing to do with it. Lowering taxes and protecting the wealthy doesn’t give anyone more freedom, it just turns our economy into a kleptocracy. It’s time for this philosophy and its adherents to find new lines of work.