Tuesday, January 19, 2010


I don't think Scott Brown is going to win by double digits, but otherwise I agree with this, from Andrew Sullivan:

I can see no alternative scenario but a huge - staggeringly huge - victory for the FNC/RNC machine tomorrow. They crafted a strategy of total oppositionism to anything Obama proposed a year ago. Remember they gave him zero votes on even the stimulus in his first weeks. They saw health insurance reform as Obama's Waterloo, and, thanks in part to the dithering Democrats, they beat him on that hill. They have successfully channeled all the rage at the massive debt and recession the president inherited on Obama after just one year. If they can do that already, against the massive evidence against them, they have the power to wield populism to destroy any attempt by government to address any actual problems.

Yup, true -- but I don't really agree with this:

This is a nihilist moment, built from a nihilist strategy in order to regain power ... to do nothing but wage war against enemies at home and abroad.

But the Republicans' opposition to action isn't pure nihilism. Yes, Republicans are doing little more than throwing sand in the gears, but to a large extent that's derived from a moronically adolescent but surprisingly sincere Ayn Rand-ish belief that The Market Knows All and nothing more needs to be done -- and bailouts and (very tepid) stimulus need to be undone. Immediately after they'd ceased being the pork-dispensing deficit spenders in charge, I think these guys really did start persuading themselves -- I think these guys really did start persuading themselves that any deficit spending or "big government" they'd been involved in was a Christ-was-I-drunk-last-night deviation from their true character. And they still believe this about themselves.

Beyond that, the primary motive of Republicans and teabaggers is revenge. Once they regain power, they'll at least try to govern -- in their fashion -- based on callow Rand-think and a thirst for vengeance.

Responding to Cenk Uygur and others who naively believe that it's possible for progressives to work with tea partiers, Betty Cracker hints at some of what Republicans would do in power:

Uygur rightly notes that the people funding these tea party outfits have no interest in regulating banks and putting the brakes on corporate influence -- quite the opposite, in fact.

Where Uygur errs is in thinking the rank and file teapartiers give a rat's ass about that. They don't; they are driven by the politics of personal resentment just as their fathers were during the Reagan era. To the extent they think about fat cats at all, it is to aspire to their ranks and frame them as Randian heroes against Big Gummint looters.

Exactly right. They don't want a teabag/GOP restoration to burn the country down -- or they don't think they do. They want a restoration so they can cut taxes even more than Bush did; so they can "drill, baby, drill!" and deny the existence of global warming; so they can reopen Guantanamo if Obama manages to close it and find some way to double it if he hasn't; and so on.

This may actually amount to nihilism, but it isn't meant to. It's government based on vengeance against liberals and Democrats and everybody libera;s and Democrats are seen as defending: nonwhites, gays, the poor, those in custody who are being denied due process ... the usual list. (ACORN! ACORN! ACORN!)

If -- as I fear -- we have a GOP House, Senate, and president by 2013, those people will come in not with a plan to deliberately destroy America, but with a full agenda (that will go a long way toward destroying America anyway): a Hooverite approach to any ongoing economic pain (tax cuts, especially for the rich, and no stimulus); climate-change denialism and the attempt to prolong an oil-centered U.S. energy policy for another generation; the reestablishment of torture and illegal detention as overt principles of foreign policy; "teach the controversy" denialism on evolution; plus the usual immigrant-bashing and opposition to abortion and gay rights. That's not nihilism, strictly speaking; it's government based on looking at liberals, or caricatures of liberals, and choosing everything we hate, or are believed to hate. No, it's not exactly the Randianism Republicans are professing now, when they're out of power. But both the Randianism and the revanchism are governing philosophies, of a sort. They're not nihilist. They're just dangerous as hell.

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