There’s something else going on here besides stupidity, opportunism, nonsense and waste. I know, I know, it’s a lot to cram in, but bear with me. They are actually trying to work something here and it’s kind of interesting to me, in the way that the digestive processes of the dung beetle are interesting to me.

Think about the basic, unifying principle of Republicans in government. It’s that government sucks. It’s that we are paying them to do something that they hate and don’t want to do all that well. It’s that we’re supposed to be angry and disappointed with government, mad at it all the time, appalled by its shortcomings, and if we are, then we need to elect more of them so that they can fuck government’s shit up on our behalf.They’re not the problem, government is, it’sthe system. We need to burn it all down.

All their other demonizations flow from this basic point. Sure, liberals are the enemy, but only because they want to take your money and use it … for government. Gays and Mexicans are the enemy, too, but only because liberals want to take your money and use it for government to give them “special” rights, like your job and a marriage license with your wife’s name on it. Islamofascists are the enemy, too, mostly because they allow easy demonization of liberals, who we hate anyway for the aforementioned reasons.

So along comes a candidate who, like John Kerry and John Edwards before him, says government is about fixing shit and making your life less sucktastic, and the system isn’t the problem, it’s the screwups running it, and remember back before you thought everything had to suck in order to be cool? Wasn’t it nice to actually want to do stuff instead of sitting around bitching about how nothing works and involvement is stupid? We can do that again. We can not suck, and go to the moon, and take care of your grandparents, and manage to do it all whilesmiling. Good Lord, is it any wonder crowds of people follow that around?

Naturally we can’t have the argument that Republicans are in fact okay at government. It’s patently absurd, and it undermines the basic tactic they have for staying in power, which is to make the very act of voting repulsive, naive and dumb, defensible only to save you from the utter destruction of a gay welfare marriage. We can’t have the argument that this is about how you govern, because they lose that argument, every time. So we have to have the argument that any praise of government, any chance at doing stuff that works, isfascism.

It’s desperate and pathetic, but it’s not an attempt to defend McCain or even tear down Obama. It’s an attempt to continue the same fight we’ve been having, approximately, since the 1930s: We think government sucks, and if you agree, elect us to run it!


11 thoughts on “Fascism

  1. Local Repub here running for senator with a commercial that govt is broken and neither dem or repub have done enough to fix it. I had chaled it up as a tactic to gain credit as a repub while distancing himself from the last 8 years.

  2. Missing in all of this is “motive”. That missing piece is money. Republicans seem to all believe that the proper place for money is in the accounts of the most wealthy 1% of Americans, where it can be slowly dribbled out to their chosen few. Of course, rational people have to oppose this idea, so Republicans need to get elected to run things or the money flow might reverse.
    If you doubt this, note what happened to wealth distribution since Bush was elected, and note how the invasion of Iraq was so helpful in accelerating that change in distribution.
    The really odd thing is the number of poor Americans who are perfectly happy to let the most wealthy 1% have all of the remaining wealth of the country, as long as brown people, gay people, and people with funny names can be pushed down faster. This, of course, satisfies the God they worship.

  3. On RW extreme talk radio the current line they throw out is to come up with ANY government agency that does anything right. They list off the usual suspects. The DMV!
    Step two. And Barak wants to turn over our HEALTH CARE to the people running the DMV?!
    Step three. Proclaim that businesses is always better. Now since I think about the money part of this, I think about who pays for the advertising and who pays for the think tanks? Business and top 1% family money. And since they know that in order to convince government to spend money on business they only have to talk to (pay) a few people they are happy to have a population that is FOR smaller government in general but they still want the services, so they will go with business taking over government work. And when government PAYS someone to do the work the money will go back to business who will use it to lobby for more work and smaller government, but not CHEAPER government. It is a win, win, win.
    I think about shooting down some of these people’s arguments and one thing to do it to flip it, to demonstrate all the really crappy things that the businesses did and they didn’t ever have to pay the price. In many cases they “got away with it”. Also to point to some government that they HAVE to think is good, or they will destroy their “Government bad’ idea.
    So direct them to government that works. Firefighters. Or if they do the whole “local government is differnt” Suggest the Military. “Is the military a good use of the government money? Are the doing a bad job, screwing things up?” (and if they say that the military is screwing up then you know that they are being consistent to their “all government is bad” line. If they go with the military is great then that blows out their argument that all government sucks.
    Why firefighters.
    Everyone loves firefighters. Are they government? Yes. Is their work paid for by your taxes? Yes.
    Would you like THEM to go away. Would you like only the rich to get their homes protected? Remember a poor person’s house might start on fire and if it isn’t put out then the rich person’s house up the block might catch on fire from sparks so it IS in their self interest to protect the poor people’s house if for no other reason than it will spread to their mansions if it isn’t stopped.
    I read the post and I wanted to agree with the comment about pushing out books to deal with the policy goals of the Republicans. So very fraking true.
    Just saw one by Dick “Toe-sucker” Morris and some woman who created this whole deal about how the liberals want to bring back the fairness doctrine. Next thing you know they will take away Rush and Hannity! It will have 3 hours of DFHs to balance Rush!
    The push for a fairness doctrine is really not something I think people want to push for, but the right wing wants to fight against this strawman. It is a good strawman for them to use because then they can get unaware people on the left to support it. “I don’t like what he has to say but I’ll defend to the death his right to say it!” (Um, a paid platform is not the same as speaking in front of the federal building.)

  4. As usual, spot on. So basic isn’t it? And that whole thing of “leave it to us. You go on ahead and go shopping and then, I know, grab some dinner and catch a movie! Make an evening of it! I’ll stay here and straighten up the house for you and watch the kids. Don’t worry about a thing…” that creepy family do when visiting and you know you can’t explicitly say “actually I would be unable to enjoy myself because I’m afraid to come home to a charred foundation and body bags” because it would be rude.

  5. Yeah, like, how john maccain talks about fixing the economy by cutting government spending, and is never asked how. Does privatizing social security ring a bell?

  6. Yep, let corporate America run it as they always have our best interest at heart. Good examples are Exxon with the Valdez spill and the airlines with security prior to 9/11…just sayin..

  7. And the people who would question you A, those people do so because they believe they can be the people with the power, and when they get there they WILL BE RESPECTED, deserve it or not.
    I think you’re right on. It’s not about the common good, it’s about power.

  8. It’s not about the common good, it’s about power.
    Of course not. For modern Republicans, only one of those things isn’t mythical, and it isn’t “the common good.”
    I would begin to worry even more when the drive towards civic participation doesn’t just get shut down, but the protofascists in charge start trying to channel their followers’ behaviour into actually suppressing civil participation by any means necessary. As in, “If you see someone trying to vote, give them a hard time. If you know someone who’s going to vote for a Democrat, give them a hard time,” especially where “give them a hard time” is a dogwhistle code word for violence.
    Then again, I firmly believe this is the new golden age of a kinder, gentler fascism, one that doesn’t exactly need street thugs; it just needs a vast prison-industrial complex, a huge engine of state-sponsored violence (military and executions), and an enormous surveillance and information-harvesting operation. The two countries which have most of this infrastructure most completely in place right now are the US and China. Me, I’m still trying to figure out in what way China hasnot flipped around the bent end of the political spectrum and become a protofascist state. (Ignore for a moment that they were originally a left-totalitarian state and look at how they’re actually operatingnow. They really might as well have borrowed everything they know about harnessing capitalism to the state from Nazi Germany.)

  9. I am constantly reminded by all the things I see in our political discourse of one maxim I learned a long, long time ago: people will do things out of perceived self-interest that are ultimately destructive of that same self-interest.
    Taxes are a case in point. People think taxes are great as long as they don’t have to pay them. So they continually vote for the guy who says he’ll cut their taxes, without considering that if *everybody* gets their taxes cut, there won’t be enough tax revenue to pay for all the services they demand.
    That’s why the “government is bad” meme works–government is bad when it’s wasting the money I don’t want to give it in the first place. As long as I can convince myself that the government is wasteful, I can continue to justify my voting for tax cuts.
    What amazes me is how easily people fall for the something for nothing argument. I can understand the voting for the guy who’ll cut taxes, but voting for the guy who promises to cut taxes and give you the moon (sometimes literally) at the same time? WTF?
    But then I think about all the people who believed that adjustable rate mortgages were going to be great, and it’s not so hard to understand. This is a society that thrives on the something-for-nothing dream.
    That is why Republicans are still around.

  10. It’s even simpler than that.
    Taxes are something the other guy ought to pay.
    Doesn’t matter if you’re a Dem or a Republican on that issue. Taxes shouldn’t come out of your pocket.
    Of course, taxes pay for things you use.
    Water treatment plants, for example.
    Sewer lines.
    Paved roads.
    Fire departments.
    Police departments.
    Inspectors at nuclear plants.
    The airport, and the FAA so some bozo doesn’t drive his experimental homebuilt through your barn loft and get away scot-free.
    (Note to self: see if the guy who drove his B-25 into the Empire State Building 63 years ago today was a plaintiff in the suit that created the Federal Tort regulations, or if the survivors on the 78th and 79th floors, and the families of those killed in the crash, actually did sue the US government and the US Army.)
    What nobody wants to admit to is this: there are some jobs that need a government to do them, because the jobs are big, and clumsy, and intricately detailed.
    There are some industries that need the government to regulate them, because the industries’ output isn’t just their products — it’s the waste stream, and the potential for injury to workers. Agriculture in California is a good example; this year they’ve had 14 farm workers die of heat exposure there. It’s not August yet. Agriculture in the rest of the country is a better example, because nobody knows if it’s tomatoes or peppers that carry salmonella this year, just like nobody really knows how the e. coli got in the spinach last summer.
    Construction needs to be inspected, else buildings don’t work like they should, or fall down in bad weather. People die when that happens.
    Drivers need to be regulated, because if every bozo who could afford a jalopy got on the road at the same time … wait. Darwin might actually be on our side, there. Especially if you could pinpoint the bozos driving while on cellphones from a safe distance. Maybe the solution is to mount machine guns on the front of jalopies, and torpedo tubes on the back.
    But you get the idea. Without rules and enforcement thereof, nobody’s really safe. Sometimes, it takes a whole government to be a big enough bully to overcome all the other bullies (unions used to be able to do this, but then America the Butthat Nation elected Ronnie Raygun president, and he set out to destroy the unions. It’s one of his biggest achievements in office: he slew the evil PATCO, and the courts he loaded with pro-money-interest judges stomped the rights of workers flat on the strength of that victory over the evil that is union representation).
    Thirty years later we’ve got Interstate bridges falling into the Mississippi from being worn out, and there’s no money in the Highway Fund.
    But by God we’re voting to cut taxes, you betcha!!!!

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