P.J. O’Rourke said “The Republicans are the party that says government doesn’t work and then they get elected and prove it.” While I tend to agree with that statement, it’s a rather benign take on the conservative attitude towards government.
I just read an excerpt of Thomas Frank’s new book, “The Wrecking Crew: How Conservatives Rule” and I feel like crawling inside a whiskey bottle. Make that a ripple bottle.
The conservative assault on America is no crime of passion, according to Frank. It was premeditated. Of course this is not a new idea to anyone familiar with Grover Norquist’s desire to shrink government down to the size where it can be drowned in a bathtub.
Frank puts the destruction in a fresh perspective. It isn’t merely the result of an antipathy towards “big” government – it is the byproduct of conservative greed. Since conservatives don’t believe in good government, it follows that their only reason for wielding power is self-enrichment.
“Fantastic misgovernment of the kind we have seen is not an accident, nor is it the work of a few bad individuals. It is the consequence of triumph by a particular philosophy of government, by a movement that understands the liberal state as a perversion and considers the market the ideal nexus of human society. This movement is friendly to industry not just by force of campaign contributions but by conviction; it believes in entrepreneurship not merely in commerce but in politics; and the inevitable results of its ascendance are, first, the capture of the state by business and, second, all that follows: incompetence, graft, and all the other wretched flotsam that we’ve come to expect from Washington.”
The catastrophic subversion of our government has reached has finally reached it’s zenith under George W. Bush. Why on earth any sane citizen would vote to perpetuate the hollowing out of our institutions by casting a vote for a Republican baffles me, quite honestly.
This massive public ignorance can only be due to the constant flow of disinformation from the corporate-controlled media, which conservatives have cleverly tricked millions into believing has a liberal bias. Combine that with the politics of fear and smear and you have a formula for electoral success.
The problem with that strategy is that it can’t keep working indefinitely. I hope that it fails before the Republicans can complete their reversal of the New Deal. Eventually the public has to realize that it’s been duped. Actually, there are some encouraging signs. When Bush tried to unravel Social Security via privatization there was massive resistance to the plan – proof, I suppose that all is not lost.