March 26, 2007

Back where they belong

I've long argued, (just one example here.) against firm opposition by some Democrats, that the idea that the country was conservative and therefore Democrats better cow-tow to conservative policies and ideas was a crock.

I've suffered for many years watching as spineless Dems all cowered in fear of actually standing for core Democratic principles and wimped out on countless issues where they'd bend to the perceived conservative desire of the country.

But I've contended that not only do a firm majority of Americans support Democratic policy positions over Republican, but my larger point has been that support for Republicans among the squishy middle, the middle to lower class folks who suddenly decided it was cooler to be macho Republican, was a mile wide and an inch deep.

Just as they'd been stampeded and conned into identifying as conservatives or Republicans, these people could just as easily be turned back to their natural affilitation with Democratic policies and prinicples. (after all, they've been backing a party who actively worked against these people's own interests for decades)

There are many reasons these fine folks were conned into identifying as Republicans, among them the billion dollar conserative media noise machine, the effective campaign to label Dems as "wimpy" or somehow not like the oh-so-manly Republicans, and the con-job to convince people that Republicans were somehow better at defending the country than Dems. And chief among the reasons as well was the massive Rove-inspired campaign to spread fear, division, and hatred as hard and as often as possible.

The Republican noise machine encouraged these folks to blame any number of groups for every problem they had in life, and then associated all of them with the Democratic party.

It was an incredibly massive campaign in which the right wing literally built a parallel system of government and media alongside the legitimate ones, and they largely succeeded, to the point where rank propaganda is now considered "news", and conservative "think tanks" are responsible for most government policy.
Kevin Phillips, the noted conservative thinker, has published several revealing and important books delving into the dark side of the Bush dynasty, the corrosive anti-democratic influence of the so-called Christian right, and three books examining the enormous and widening gap between the super-wealthy and the other 99% of the country and the creation of this plutocracy in America, "Wealth and Democracy: A Political History of the American Rich", "The Politics of Rich and Poor: Wealth and the American Electorate in the Reagan Aftermath", and "Arrogant Capital: Washington, Wall Street, and the Frustration of American Politics".


Paraphrasing the title of Phillips' notable book which predicted the Republican majority all the way back in 1969, Paul Krugman writes, "The Emerging Republican Minority" in the New York Times.
But at this point 2004 looks like an aberration, an election won with fear-and-smear tactics that have passed their sell-by date. Republicans no longer have a perceived edge over Democrats on national security — and without that edge, they stand revealed as ideologues out of step with an increasingly liberal American public.

Right now the talk of the political chattering classes is a report from the Pew Research Center showing a precipitous decline in Republican support. In 2002 equal numbers of Americans identified themselves as Republicans and Democrats, but since then the Democrats have opened up a 15-point advantage.

Part of the Republican collapse surely reflects public disgust with the Bush administration. The gap between the parties will probably get even wider when — not if — more and worse tales of corruption and abuse of power emerge.

But polling data on the issues, from Pew and elsewhere, suggest that the G.O.P.’s problems lie as much with its ideology as with one man’s disastrous reign.

For the conservatives who run today’s Republican Party are devoted, above all, to the proposition that government is always the problem, never the solution. For a while the American people seemed to agree; but lately they’ve concluded that sometimes government is the solution, after all, and they’d like to see more of it.

Consider, for example, the question of whether the government should provide fewer services in order to cut spending, or provide more services even if this requires higher spending. According to the American National Election Studies, in 1994, the year the Republicans began their 12-year control of Congress, those who favored smaller government had the edge, by 36 to 27. By 2004, however, those in favor of bigger government had a 43-to-20 lead.

And public opinion seems to have taken a particularly strong turn in favor of universal health care. Gallup reports that 69 percent of the public believes that “it is the responsibility of the federal government to make sure all Americans have health care coverage,” up from 59 percent in 2000.

The main force driving this shift to the left is probably rising income inequality. According to Pew, there has recently been a sharp increase in the percentage of Americans who agree with the statement that “the rich get richer while the poor get poorer.” Interestingly, the big increase in disgruntlement over rising inequality has come among the relatively well off — those making more than $75,000 a year.

Indeed, even the relatively well off have good reason to feel left behind in today’s economy, because the big income gains have been going to a tiny, super-rich minority. It’s not surprising, under those circumstances, that most people favor a stronger safety net — which they might need — even at the expense of higher taxes, much of which could be paid by the ever-richer elite.

And in the case of health care, there’s also the fact that the traditional system of employer-based coverage is gradually disintegrating. It’s no wonder, then, that a bit of socialized medicine is looking good to most Americans.


The illusion that the majority of Americans were foresquare in support of all these often crazy movement Republican notions was just that. It was propped up by smoke and mirrors and held together with bailing wire and string, and would only last as long as Fox News and talk radio could keep it going.

Never let it be said that the American public aren't a frighteningly uninformed and easily swayed group, but even when it's years too late, they eventually do begin to "get it". And that's become apparent since the mid-term elections and the fact that we have made some steps towards a government which functions in the way it was designed to work.

9 Comments:

At 3/26/2007 10:26 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is the dumbest post you have ever made and counting all the stupid things you have said is not easy.

You don't even understand politics let alone have the skill to decipher what it means to be a Democrat or a Republican.

Sheeshhhh!

 
At 3/26/2007 11:33 AM, Blogger nicodemus said...

The problem is that Republicans have not been fiscally responsible like they were once-upon-a-time. We have runaway spending and the biggest expansion of the government since the New Deal.

The President has a line-item veto, so why not use it? My biggest problem with Bush is that he never vetoed any wasteful spending. And there are people in the GOP like Denny Hastert and Ted Stevens who spend money as if they had it to spend.

McCain mentioned the 3 million dollars to research the DNA of bears in Montana. (I think that one was in the transportation bill)

So do we look to the Democrats for budget discipline? Hardly. The Democratic Congress padded the latest supplemental "emergency spending" for with earmarks for citrus growers and peanut storage. And I can't figure out what these agricultural subsidies have to do with the war.

If you asked the 99% of working people and taxpayers what they expect from government, I doubt if very many would say "Geez, I want the govt to research the DNA of bears". or "I want to build a bridge in Alaska to an island of 50 people".

The American people do want a national health care program. I am no knee-jerk liberal but I agree. I was for such a plan many years ago because it is the right thing to do. I have a friend who have accessed the Illinois model for his kids and it is surprisingly smooth and hassle-free. We should have had national health care 15 years ago. We came close. But what happened instead is the Clinton administration, i.e. Hillary, took single-payer health care OFF the table and instead came up with some watered down crap that bailed out the insurance companies and special interests could live with...until they defeated it, that is. So the Clinton Health Plan went down in flames, rightfully so. My point is that Hillary did not stand up for nationalized health care in the first place and derailed any hope for it.

The Republicans health care plans are laughable at best. They always talk about these tax-free "health care savings accounts". This idea is fine if you have a good job with plenty of money to put into these savings accounts. I had one last year. It worked okay for me. But what if someone is poor and they don't have a job where they can put money into their magical health care savings account? They are shit outta luck, that's what!

You are never gonna see a single mother or someone from the working poor say "I want a tax-free health savings account" . If you asked them what they want from a health plan they are going to say they want to be able to be afford to access it, or they want portable insurance so they can go from job to job without losing benefits. They are NOT going to say "My choice of physicians is most important". That was the argument the special interests successfully used to defeat the Clinton Plan. (Note: If choice is important to you, definately don't sign up for an HMO)

And what about the providers? These hospitals have state-of-the art technology . They are always building new medical suites and buildings that look like the Taj Mahal. The health care providers don't look to me like they have fallen on hard times. There's enough money in the system to provide health care for the uninsured and to open up access.

And we often hear these lies about doctors moving out of Illinois. Why then are the big hospitals expanding their palaces with new medical offices? If so many doctors are leaving, who then is practicing medicine in them? Why is the big bulletin board inside that shows pictures of all the doctors about to run out of space for pictures?
In the city where I live, one of the big hospitals is even getting into the real estate business, buying up blocks of seedy urban neighborhoods adjacent to it. Yes, that brings a benefit to the community, but it doesn't look like the health care industry has fallen on hard times.

All these damned war protestors and Bush bashers need to find a new cause and channel their energies into something positive and that is a renewed call for NATIONAL HEALTH CARE for the uninsured and underinsured American citizens! In doing so, the liberals can build bridges with mainstream middle-class Americans and if we are successful, we will all have something to show for it.

 
At 3/26/2007 2:47 PM, Anonymous qcexaminer said...

Are you saying that the majority of Americans support Democrat positions like this?

What is the "Democratic position" on anything?

 
At 3/26/2007 6:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Finally something I agree with!

 
At 3/27/2007 12:48 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

qcexaminer, the story in the link you post has nothing to do with Democrats, but rather changes in the way the CBO deals with earmarks, something, as you certainly know, the Republican congress and Senate of the last 6 years have blown away all records in amounts of rampant earmarks and pork barrel spending.

The piece even notes Dem frustrations with this issue. So why are you even trying to label this as somehow a "Democratic" problem?

The Democrats could be amazingly reckless and spend like drunken sailors and STILL not approach the level of pork that flowed like a torrent during the Republican control of all three branches of government.

And after all that, now that the Dems have a majority for a few months, you point so some relatively minor deal about how the CBO calculates or reports on earmarks and try to use that as a reason to criticize Democrats?

Funny you have to grasp at straws that flimsy.

I'm sure that pork spending will continue, but it damn sure won't be at the levels and obscene amounts that it was under Republican rule. You can bet on that.

 
At 3/27/2007 12:50 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 6:30.

Why should I care?

It's not my goal to please some anonymous poster who offers nothing but criticism. Should it be?

 
At 3/27/2007 1:37 AM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

Anon 10:26

I evidently know enough about politics to make you wish I didn't, and drive you to spend half your life trying to convince people that the truth is fiction.... all the while not offering a speck of political insight yourself.

Good luck. Your sputtering attacks are a constant reminder that I'm on the right track.

 
At 3/27/2007 3:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dope, is this why you shy away from every reasonable debate, call names, dismiss everything that did not originate with the NY Times...

If the Democrat position is so clearly correct, why can't you handle real debate, on real issues without censorship of posts?

 
At 3/27/2007 7:32 PM, Blogger The Inside Dope said...

A. I don't "censor" comments.
B. I don't avoid debate.
C. I didn't start this blog or run this blog for the purpose of engaging in endless and fruitless "debates" with you which go on and on without end and acomplish nothing other than giving you a chance to repeat your claims dozens of times without ever addressing the points or information I provide in response.

You are determined to get the last word, and would continue arguing an issue with no clear answer for literally years if I allowed it to continue.

I have no desire to do so with you or anyone else. That's not the purpose of the blog, and I'm not under some obligation to spend hours every day trying to reason and argue about issues that you insist I debate. I'll state my position and provide reasons and instances to back up my views. But when it gets to the point of endless repetition of the same arguments over and over, I fail to see any reason for continuing such a waste of time.

If some reader wants to get into that tar pit with you, they're more than welcome.

Otherwise, perhaps you should start up your own blog again and stop trying to decide what issues are to be discussed on mine.

 

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