Bush says, "Our agenda ought to be able to stand on its own two feet."
But that's the problem with the Conservative Agenda. It can't stand on it's own two feet. So they call their agenda that pollutes more, Clean Skies; they call their agenda to clear cuts old growth stands, Healthy Forests; they call their agenda that drives up the deficit, Tax Relief; Bush/Cheney lied about WMD's in Iraq to settle an old grudge and for Halliburton get more oil, and they call it Freedom. And now they are manufacturing a crisis to gut social security; but they can't call it what it is, privatization, so they invent some other poll-tested word to mask their agenda.
The Conservative Agenda could never stand on its own ideas, that's why the Bush campaign had to push a War on Terror, in order to divert peoples attention from the real agenda; that's why the Bush campaign creates social division over gays and abortion, in order to manipulate people into voting Republican, against their own economic interests.
Bush and the Republicans haven't tried the run on a Conservative agenda that says what it is since 1964; and they got so rejected, so crushed and humiliated, that they've been running on lies ever since.
And (as discussed in the update to the post below) they created the Great Wurlitzer, the Republican Noise Machine of foundations, pundits, commentators, "analysts", talk radio and Faux News, to create, manufacture, shape, publish, distribute, repeat and support those lies. Our problem is twofold:
We don't have an equivalent infrastructure (we had academia and control of the government, and so it seemed we didn't need one -- we were wrong);
Even if we did, we have much too much respect for truth and the realness of reality (as opposed to ideologically-determined fantasies of what reality ought to be) to ever win back power using a similar regimen of deception. Hence the emphasis not on lying, per se, but on framing our ideas in ways that can percolate through and under the barriers erected by the right's command (and warping) of the national political conversation, and on telling stories that express the liberal/progressive values (yes, values, since that's what humanism is all about) in ways that people can take in without automatically rejecting because they go against everything they've been told about the left.
So it's not enough just to build the infrastructure, we have to work just as hard on the message, since we don't have the advantage the opposition does of simply lying.
One advantage we do have: although the right controls the political discussion, most of the actual victories in the culture war have gone to our side -- which is the very reason why the right must lie to get their agenda through.
This is a very powerful factor that we shouldn't overlook, and should use to our advantage in re-framing the debate. Most people -- discounting those who are ideologically committed to the radical agenda of the fundamentalist right, and putting aside those particular wedge issues which have been used so effectively by them (i.e. abortion, gay marriage, etc.) -- are drawn to agree with progressive arguments in favor of diversity, personal freedom, equal opportunity and so on, and we need to use their basic decency as the hook for the stories we tell, and the policies that stand behind them.
Postscript: Digby has more on personal wingnut lying here and here.
Some people apparently can't get enough of losing elections. Not satisfied with losing some of them some of the time with one of the two major parties in this country (the only parties that really count for the foreseeable future), they want to switch parties and lose all the elections all the time.
I guess some people are more interested in wallowing in self-righteousness (or should that be "revelling" in self-righteousness?) than they are in regaining the power needed to roll back the damage done to our society in the past 30 years.
Update: Read this Josh Marshall post, important not only for its explicit subject (the endorsement of Simon Rosenberg for DNC Chairman) but for the underlying rationale, which nicely explains why bolting the Democratic Party right now, on the from rebound from Kerry's devastating loss, is a bad idea:
Back in July, at the convention, I sat down with Simon for a few minutes at an NDN event. And this was just after the Matt Bai article in the Times magazine had come out about the movement afoot to rebuild the Democratic party's infrastructure and so forth.
Spirits were high all around at that point in the campaign. And Simon's work had figured prominently in the piece so he was very jazzed with that along with everything else that was happening at that moment (check out the piece, if it's not clear what I'm talking about). And at one point he said that what this network of people were trying to do would take a good ten years to accomplish -- building new institutions, sustainable sources of funding, new party infrastructure, and so forth.
I entirely agreed, I said. But my great worry, I told him, was that if Kerry lost the whole thing could be snuffed out in the cradle. Even today the sort of things we're talking about have only been in motion for a year or two. And the truth is that that's just not nearly enough time. So my worry was that you had all these people joining these new groups and giving money and getting involved in online activism and throwing themselves into the political fray. And if Kerry lost there might be some collective sense of, Wow, we did everything imaginable, had a united party, a motivated base, gave money, went door to door, blah blah blah. And it didn't work. So it's hopeless. Or all this rebuilding infrastructure business just didn't pan out after all. Or, in some sense, what we thought was the beginning of something new was just a dead-end.
And, so, here we are. In case you haven't heard, Kerry lost. And so what was my worry -- and I'm sure one many others felt too -- becomes a concrete challenge. A year or two was never going to be enough time. It's a much longer process, one with rhythms deeper and more sustained than the every-other-year election cycle. I remain excited and optimistic about the Democratic party's future. I think that a decade and two decades from now we'll look back and see what happened here in the first few years of this century as a beginning point, the beginning of a process that bore fruit in powerful and consequential ways in subsequent years. ...
I've said all along that it took 30 - 40 years to build the right-wing regime we now live under (depending on whether you date it from Goldwater's loss in 1964, when the defeated right started the process of re-grouping and building a new intellectual political structure to compete with the traditionally liberal academy, or somewhat later on, when they began to infiltrate the political process at the local level and built the foundations for the Reagan revolution), and it's likely to take a similiar amount of time for us to rebuild to the point where we can begin to reconstitute the liberal state they've been hell-bent on dismantling (and doing a good job of it, too).
Perhaps it won't take us 30 or 40 years, but it'll certainly be a period of time measured in the decades, even if we manage to win the next general election or regain some measure of power in Congress. That's assuming, of course, that we build on the foundations of the Democratic party that are already in place. If, however, we run off half-cocked like spoiled children because we lost a few very important elections, and try to start the whole process basically from scratch -- which is what bolting to the Greens essentially is -- then 30 - 40 years seems like a real minimum and a half-century more likely.
I can't speak for anyone else, but I'm 50 years old now, and I'd like to think that the Great Liberal Revival can happen in my lifetime, if we make the right decisions, don't panic, and stay the true course. I've my doubts that I'll live to reach 100, so I'd love for the whole thing to happen in an expedited manner. (Not to mention the fact that the sooner we regain power, the sooner we can start undoing the right's bad works.)
(Incidentally, I'd be happy with either Rosenberg or Dean in the Democratic driver's seat.)
There's no particular need for a close parsing of this, or for a complex analysis. This should pretty much be a no-brainer: the person who expressed these views should under no circumstances be Attorney General of the United States. No way.
Update: The No To Gonzales page. Call or write your Senator and urge them to vote against the Gonzalez nomination.
...for a Koufax Award for lefty bloggers in the "best new blog" category. I don't really expect to advance to the next round (finalists) because there are too many fine blogs to complete against, including Legal Fiction and American Street, among others.
(Long ago I noticed that the names of rock bands -- and other music groups once the Age of Rock had hit its peak and music moved on -- came in stylistic waves, and it may be that blog titles -- like rock band names, another manifestation of plebeian outreach -- will go through the same kinds of trends. Sounds like a good sociology thesis, or a least a paper for the MLA.)
Tonight, as I was working at my desk, I was also watching C-SPAN's re-broadcast of the "Post-Inaugural Comedy Show," and I noticed that they occasionally flashed a disclaimer saying that the program "contains material that some viewers may find objectionable." Since what I had seen up to then was pretty mild stuff, I assumed that I had missed something earlier in the show -- until I saw what they were worried about, when Grover Norquist came on stage to do some stand-up. Suitably forewarned by the concerned folks at C-SPAN, and certain that anything Norquist was going to say would be highly objectionable to me, I was able to use my handy mute button (after too many years of George W. Bush, I'm a veteran mute-button masher) to squelch whatever "comic" spew Norquist was planning on launching my way. (Too bad one can't squealch his massive influence in Washington just as easily.)
Update: David Corn had a couple of good lines -- one about Mel Gibson and Michael Moore collaborating on a film: Jesus Christ! Four More Years of George Bush?!. Ana Marie Cox too: Why is she called Wonkette? Because "CheapAndEasySlut.com" was taken -- it's her mother's site. Will Durst: Bush as the child of Reagan and Quayle; Bush was provided with faulty intelligence -- DNA is a bitch.
hostile to science
lacking in empathy
lacking in public spirit
out of control
Thanks to: Breeze, Chuck, Ivan Raikov, Kaiju, Kathy, Roger, Shirley, S.M. Dixon
i've got a little list...
Steven Abrams (Kansas BofE)
Howard Fieldstead Ahmanson
Roger Ailes (FNC)
Alan Bonsell (Dover BofE)
Bill Buckingham (Dover BofE)
George W. Bush
Bruce Chapman (DI)
The Coors Family
William A. Dembski
Leonard Downie (WaPo)
John Gibson (FNC)
Fred Hiatt (WaPo)
James F. Inhofe
Philip E. Johnson
by Joel Pelletier
(click on image for more info)
Stephen C. Meyer (DI)
Judith Miller (ex-NYT)
Sun Myung Moon
Elspeth Reeve (TNR)
Martin Peretz (TNR)
Richard Mellon Scaife
Susan Schmidt (WaPo)
John Solomon (WaPo)
Richard Thompson (TMLC)
Bob Woodward (WaPo)
All the fine sites I've
Be sure to visit them all!!
Arthur C. Clarke
Daniel C. Dennett
Philip K. Dick
Stephen Jay Gould
"The Harder They Come"
Ursula K. LeGuin
The Marx Brothers
Michael C. Penta
Michael Powell & Emeric Pressburger
"The Red Shoes"
"Singin' in the Rain"
Talking Heads/David Byrne
Hunter S. Thompson
"2001: A Space Odyssey"
If you read unfutz at least once a week, without fail, your teeth will be whiter and your love life more satisfying.
If you read it daily, I will come to your house, kiss you on the forehead, bathe your feet, and cook pancakes for you, with yummy syrup and everything.
(You might want to keep a watch on me, though, just to avoid the syrup ending up on your feet and the pancakes on your forehead.)
Finally, on a more mundane level, since I don't believe that anyone actually reads this stuff, I make this offer: I'll give five bucks to the first person who contacts me and asks for it -- and, believe me, right now five bucks might as well be five hundred, so this is no trivial offer.