Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Putting the 'con' in conservative

I thought I was over being fascinated with the blindingly ignorant state that is today's conservative specifically, and conservatism in general. I was mistaken.

For Democrats, the 2012 presidential campaign has produced some delicious ironies. For starters, Mitt Romney's share of the final vote will come in at a memorable 47 percent, the same figure he used to disparage half the electorate as self-described "victims" bought off by "free stuff" and "gifts" from President Obama.
But for pure schadenfreude, nothing approaches the cosmic payback of the Republicans' self-delusion on Election Day. That is, while most polling analysts predicted a comfortable Electoral College triumph for Barack Obama on Nov. 6, by all indications Team Romney and the GOP brain trust truly believed their own cooked-up numbers. That's what makes their subsequent shock and awe at Romney's crushing defeat all the more fitting. Because after years of slandering President Obama and misleading voters with myths about taxes, debt, health care, Iraq and so much else, on Election Day Republicans duped only themselves.

What follows is a not-too-lengthy treatise on the self-delusion, also known as the 'bubble', that burst on the night of November 6, 2012. (Personally, I prefer Reality Derangement Syndrome, because it's quite obvious that they have not learned anything from their beating.)

Yes, we know all this, and we're also aware that the corporate media mostly ignored the story of the lies and the cons and the scams the GOP perpetrated on the nation as well as itself, but that's still a story all its own.

"I can't recall a campaign where I've seen more lying going on -- and it wasn't symmetric," said (Norman) Ornstein, a scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute who's been tracking Congress with Mann since 1978.
Democrats were hardly innocent, he said, "but it seemed pretty clear to me that the Republican campaign was just far more over the top."
Lies from Republicans generally and standard bearer Mitt Romney in particular weren't limited to the occasional TV ads, either; the party's most central campaign principles -- that federal spending doesn't create jobs, that reducing taxes on the rich could create jobs and lower the deficit -- willfully disregarded the truth.
"It's the great unreported big story of American politics," Ornstein said. "If voters are going to be able to hold accountable political figures, they've got to know what's going on ... And if the story that you're telling repeatedly is that they're all to blame -- they're all equally to blame -- then you're really doing a disservice to voters, and not doing what journalism is supposed to do."

So what's really new here? Why, it's the realization that the Republicans really are only in it for the money, even when the scam is being run on their own. That -- going all the way back to folks like Richard Viguerie and Ralph Reed and especially Pat Robertson -- the conservative movement has never actually been about running government but owning a profitable franchise based on fleecing the gullible. And the most gullible have in recent years trended toward the older, the poorly informed... in other words, the average Fox viewer.

You have to watch the following segment from Rachel Maddow to pull it all together.

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The only peoples' lives the conservative elite have ever wanted to help improve is their own, even -- perhaps especially -- at the expense of their political base. Disaster capitalism is practiced on their own kind, with efforts likely to intensify in the wake of their November shellacking. Even the industry that is cancer research is not immune to the maximization of profit for one's cronies.

The con jobs are prevalent and rapacious; the coming Texas legislative initiative to privatize public education -- coordinated by Dan Patrick and Michael Williams -- looks like child's play in comparison. Well, almost.

There will simply be no end to the greed and corruption of Republicans and conservatives using government for their own personal financial gain until enough people who vote for them begin to either wise up... or die off.

That, after all, is what's happening with the opponents of gay marriage and marijuana decriminalization, so there's hope for the future.

Update: Eye on Williamson with more, including some historical perspective on the phenomenon of conservative chain email fever dreams, running right up to the present day. Those bizarre conspiracy theories your uncle forwards you? A proud legacy that goes all the way back to the time when it was mostly dirty jokes that filled up your inbox.

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