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Hullabaloo


Thursday, November 08, 2012

 
No, conservatives. A new sales pitch won't help you. We're determined to stop you.

by David Atkins

I have to admit: one of my favorite things to do after winning an election or political battle is to read the comments from the other side. This is a common tendency, I suppose, and not an admirable one. After an ugly war it's human nature to want to hear unhappiness from the side that has caused such worry and heartache.

But there's another reason beyond pure schadenfreude: the desire to see what happens when the bulbous enormity of the fraud explodes against the stone reality of the truth. It's one thing to watch a random conservative reaction to a Democratic win, but Dick Morris' is much more satisfying because it's much more deserved.

Hence my eagerness to devour articles from sources of egregious mendacity like the National Review, whose editors have decided to believe not that people saw through their lies, but to argue that they just didn't have a good enough PR department:

Most of the post-election discussion, we can predict, will dwell on the predictable demographic divides of sex, race, and age. Most of this conversation will be unproductive. Until conservatives devise a domestic agenda, and a way to sell it, that links small-government principles to attractive results, they are going to have a hard time improving their standing with women, Latinos, white men, or young people. And conservatives would be deeply unwise to count on the mere availability of charismatic young conservative officials to make up for that problem.
Sorry, National Review. That isn't going to happen.

Your "small government principles" involve voucherizing Medicare and Social Security, destroying alternative energy investment, wrecking and privatizing education, eliminating assistance to the unfortunate, and allowing private corporations to poison our air and water.

Your "small government principles" demand lowering taxes on the obscenely wealthy while raising them on the struggling poor and middle classes. They demand letting sick people go bankrupt and die in order to protect insurance industry profits. They demand allowing companies to ship profitable American jobs overseas in order to boost millionaire shareholder profits. And they demand eliminating the already outrageously low taxes on those capital gains so that none of it will go to help the people whose jobs those same shareholders just callously eliminated.

Your "small government principles" would force the American auto industry and so many others to go bankrupt and be sold to vulture capitalists for scrap.

Your "small government principles" insist that bigots should decide who gets to marry whom, that celibate pedophile-enabling priests should decide who gets to have basic contraception, that male-dominated corporate and government boards get to decide that Viagra is a miracle cure while Ortho Tri-cyclen is an immoral lifestyle drug, and that some man's whimsical gut feelings about the demands of an invisible being should decide whether his daughter should be forced to carry her rapist's child.

Your "small government principles" support the fiction that the wealthy necessarily earned every penny by skill rather than luck and without the benefit of society, and demand that any assistance to the less fortunate and to the common good be determined by their own inefficient charitable caprice, rather than the planned requirements of our democratic social order.

Your "small government principles" require that we pretend that climate change isn't happening, must not be caused by humans, and must be a lower priority than making sure that oil magnates can own ten yachts lest their incentive to "succeed" be lessened. They require this even as two American cities have drowned in the last eight years, and as your politicians mock the inexorable rise of the oceans.

Your "small government principles" stipulate that racism will disappear if we pretend it doesn't exist, and that women make less than men not because of sexism but because their equal work is somehow inherently less valuable on the free market.

No, conservatives. You can't slap a fresh coat of paint on that. There is no PR firm to help you win that argument. You may win it with a majority of older, entitled, mostly male white baby boomers and slightly fewer Gen Xers. The conservative folks who grew up in a pretty good economy, had the leftover benefits of a society built by their betters and their more liberal contemporaries, enjoyed the fruits of it and now fearfully wish to pull the ladder up behind them, believing they built their success themselves and seeking to deny even a small part of it to others.

But it doesn't work with women and minorities who have long labored under the chains of unequal treatment. And it doesn't work with most of us who have only known the dark, dismal shadows of Reaganomics and neoliberalism. It doesn't work with those of us who work hard and struggle just to stay afloat even as the American Dream recedes ever farther from view.

You should despair, conservatives. Not because of the damage to your brand, though there is that.

You should despair because at long last, there really are more of us than there are of you. Four years from now, there will be even more of us, and even fewer of you. You will win a few low-turnout midterms. You'll win a Presidency or two, though it won't get you far. But long-term, your gooses are cooked. In the long run, you can't win with just this:



We know who you are. We know what you want. We know what you're selling, and we know it's poison. And no matter what we may think of our standardbearers from time to time, we're nonetheless determined to stop you one way or another.


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