Monday, March 03, 2008

The Right and How They Got That Way

Now that I'm finally having time to do my "meandering" in the blog world, I have come across some great posts by other bloggers. In case someone hasn't already read these two posts, I thought I'd link them here, as both of them have very important things to say.

Alicia Morgan over at Last Left Turn Before Hooterville talks about why we should be proud to call ourselves Liberals, and also talks about how the Right systematically plotted to become the dominant force in America. Alicia says:

"And so the conservative movement began its climb up from the abyss. They knew that it would take many years and billions of dollars to build their machine. They put into place an interlocking series of organizations designed to produce a new generation of scholars, pundits, and intellectual leaders, supported by think tanks, scholarships, internships, and media outlets. Promising young college Republicans were nurtured and cultivated, and the path to prominence made smooth as they were escorted to high-profile jobs to establish them as leading lights and deep thinkers. The overriding idea was to denigrate liberalism in every way possible – the ‘liberal media’, liberal education, liberal values. This was not a natural ‘swing of the pendulum’ – it was bought and paid for."

Another great post can be found at Driftglass. DG points out that:

"No, the GOP is interested in power solely for the same reason they have been amassing it for thirty years: in order to liquidate the government of the United States, sell off its assets to their cronies at pennies-on-the-dollar, and turn the full, voracious fury of an Imperial Presidency and unregulated corporate America loose on the world."

He then goes on to quote, at length, chilling passages from George Orwell's "1984" that seem as if they are based on current events. Read the quotes and tell me that George W. Bush and his cronies are not using this book as a textbook! To quote Driftglass:

"Because for the GOP, "1984" is not cautionary, dystopia science fiction; it is an ideological playbook they cheerfully follow into Hell."

These posts remind us why this year's election is one of the most crucial of our era. The Democrats cannot afford to fail in November.

18 comments:

FranIAm said...

What great references to those blogs- and so right, we cannot lose!

Thanks Mauigirl!

Satan said...

I do have to say that while Terrorism is now being trumpted as the new ongoing external threat, it really has not been used anwhere near as effectively as Communism was used in the same Orwellian role during the Cold War era.

-- Satan

Randal Graves said...

satan is correct
but monolithic countries
an easier prop

Mauigirl said...

Fran - I am always so impressed by the great writing and thoughts that I find when I have the time to really explore the blogs and follow links from one to another. Both of these really made me think.

Satan, you're right, of course - good point. Communism was the other great example of this at work. And although everyone, even Democrats, bought into the anti-Communist rhetoric, once again the height of it was in the 50's with the Republican McCarthy and his politics of fear and suspicion.

Randal, great haiku!

enigma4ever said...

thank you for sharing your wonderful trip and the pancakes and things to read.....

TomCat said...

I couldn't have said it better, and would add that the GOP has sponsored more terrorism than all the fundamentalist Islamic groups combined.

Rhea said...

I am sure I will support whoever prevails in the Democratic race.

Candace said...

Thanks for posting these! Amen, Sister - we cannot afford to lose this one - and that's why there's such a record turnout this time. The sleeping giant has awakened. I have such hope that we will win, and that we can make it work, meaning that people will continue to stay involved, and start holding Congress's feet to the fire to do the important things we need done right now - not the crap like a marriage amendment. I have hope. But, I also fear the power of the establishment to derail things big time. Can you say October surprise? Assassination? Or any of a number of other things they could do to stop us. Today in Texas, the right-wing talk shows are telling people to go to the polls and vote for Hillary Clinton to derail Obama, and people are calling in to gleefully report that they've done just that.

Mauigirl said...

Enigma, thank YOU for all you're doing on behalf of Obama!

Tomcat, you are so right. Something they do not admit.

Rhea, I'm glad - we must all unite once the nominee is decided.

Candace, I share your fears. And I hope the right-wingers who are doing this are relatively few. The talk shows always seem to bring out the nutjobs. I have my fingers crossed that most people who vote in the Democratic primary are Democrats and not GOP wolves in sheep's clothing. We shall see.

Satan said...

Mauigirl - I agree that in area of domestic politics of fear and suspicion, the eating at the soul of the country, that the effect of Communism as the external threat peaked in the McCarthy era. For terrorism as the external threat, well, we've been living through the peak. (At least I hope the peak isn't yet to come!)

In the area of wasting enormous amounts of resources, lives, and confidence in government, I'd have to put the peak of the effects of Communism as the external threat later than the '50s, at the height of the Vietnam war. For terrorism - again, we've been living through the peak, or so I hope. This element does not match Orwell quite so well, really - in Orwell, the leaders always cynically knew that the external threat was a sham, but I do not believe that to be the case for either Communism or terrorism. (I'll leave you to decide whether it's because the threat was actually real, or merely because the leadership believed it was.)

I do contend, however, that Communism as an external threat had signficant positive benefits, because it drove the country to try to improve itself to compete. Again, not quite what Orwell envisioned. The external threat of Communism was used to justify a lot of investment in research and development, in education, in infrastructure. The external threat of terrorism has not had this effect. Which is why, cynically, I think terrorism is a piss-poor thing for the country to define itself against, because it does not drive the country to improve itself.

-- Satan

Mauigirl said...

Satan, very good points. I think you're right, the effects of the paranoia lag the peak. And I totally agree that Communism had a much more beneficial outcome, especially during the 60's. I wonder if part of that reason was that progressives like Kennedy and Johnson were in power at that time - they actually wanted to "win" the Cold War; whereas the current administration has no interest in "winning" the War on Terror - they are using it for their own ulterior purposes. I think in that way, the Orwell model is more fitting to the current situation than the Communist example. While the external threat is indeed real, the administration's actions to combat it are not effective and are really more for their own use. We are really no safer now than we were 7 years ago, but the executive branch of the government is now much more powerful and all our money is being poured into a war that had nothing to do with the attacks we suffered.

PunditMom said...

Great blogs!

Tom Harper said...

Great post. Very chilling and too true. In addition to the things you mention, there's been another prong in the Republicans' plan. Since the 1970s, they've been tirelessly getting thousands of stealth candidates elected to school boards and city and county governments all over the country. Wingnuts have infiltrated every branch of every local government.

We've got a lot of damage to undo.

Snave said...

I agree, this year it is crucial that America not elect Republicans for president or for Congress.

I wince whenever I hear anybody talk about voting third-party this year. I think the goal of voters should be to assure sure there is no continuation of neocon/Bush policies. The last 7+ years have been very tough on the USA. I think that voting third-party will not help in ending neocon control and perpetuation of neocon policies, and that it will give McCain a better chance to become our next president. I don't mind the thought of Obama in the White House, I don't much care for the thought of the Clintons back in the White House, and I loathe the thought of McCain living there...

Mauigirl said...

Tom, you're right, this insidious force has been at work for many years on all levels of government. It's time it came to an end.

Snave, I agree - I am supporting Obama but would certainly be voting for Clinton if she wins the nomination. To vote for a 3rd party candidate would be a vote for McCain and we cannot afford that this year. I remember back in 1980 John Anderson ran and got 11% of the vote, enough to get Reagan in office. My parents, die-hard liberals, didn't vote for Carter that year, they voted for Anderson. And got stuck with Reagan for 8 years. I'm sure they regretted their vote!

Dorothy said...

I don't disagree however, I continue to be concerned as the Democratic party better unite...or I suspect it will be divided and conquered...

Thanks for the links..

Dorothy from grammology
remember to call gram
www.grammology.com

Satan said...

Mauigirl,

I'm not so sure the administration is using terrorism or the Iraq war in a completely cynical way. I think they actually believe they're trying to win in both cases. (In constrast to the WMD case for invading Iraq, which I think was quite cynically trumped up.)

Re: Kennedy and Johnson - Reagan and Bush the Greater were also trying to win the Cold War. (Unlike, say, Carter, who I believe did not think it was winnable.) Of course, in their case, the Cold War actually ended, and Communism stopped being a viable external threat. So to the extent that the Cold War had positive effects, I'd guess we'd have to call that a major foreign policy disaster...

-- Satan

Mauigirl said...

Dorothy,
I agree - they need to unite the party, and soon, or it will be too late.

Satan, you may be right. It's hard to imagine them being sincere about much, but perhaps they are trying to win. And of course you're right, Reagan was quite the Cold Warrior as well as Bush I. I guess nothing is simple!