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We are all Republicans now.

8 December 2012

Summary:  America has a broken OODA loop. Dozens of posts here have documented it, but this past month provided ample more evidence. From both Left and Right. Today we look at the Right: their indifference to the real world, their eagerness to believe lies by their leaders, and steadfast adherence to failed strategies. On another day we’ll discuss the similar traits of the Left.  Led by these two groups, American’s crash on the rocks seems guaranteed.

GOP sunrise, from "Right Truth" website

GOP sunrise, from “Right Truth” website

Today’s question for readers: what brings so many Americans, tens of millions, to believe such things and to follow such leaders?  While Republicans might be the extreme example of this, it’s afflicted most of us to some degree.  In that sense we’re all Republicans.

Here are some examples from the past two weeks.  Dozens more could easily be listed. This is madness, on several levels — throwing away what took 160 years to build.

  1. Commentary Editor John Podhoretz has amnesia about his writings during the campaign, preventing him from learning lessons about it. Analysis by Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine, 21 November 2012
  2. The GOP’s death wish: seeing the world in terms of makers & takers. As William Baldwin does in “Do You Live In A Death Spiral State?“, Forbes, 25 November 2012
  3. James Kwak (Assoc Prof, U CT) explains how GOP propaganda grossly exaggerates US government liabilities: “Entitlements Scare Tactics“, The Baseline Scenario, 3 December 2012
  4. Why the GOP Won’t Admit Supply-Side Econ Has Failed“, Mark Thoma (Prof Econ, U OR), The Fiscal Times, 4 December 2012
  5. Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard has amnesia about his writings during the campaign, preventing him from learning lessons about it.
  6. Shorter Eric Canton: ‘The Rights of White Men to Sexually Assault Women of Color Shall Not Be Abridged!’“, Erik Loomis (Asst Prof History, U History), Lawyers Guns and Money, 7 December 2012
  7. The Intellectual Poverty of the Sovereigntist Argument Against the Disabilities Convention“, Erik Voeten (Assoc Prof Geopolitics, Georgetown U), The Monkey Cage, 7 December 2012 — David Kopel (research director of the Independence Institute) makes stuff up about the UN Disabilities Convention.
  8. Bobby Jindal {Gov of LA} Unclear on What Fiscal Cliff Is“, Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine, 6 December 2012 — But he writes a WSJ op-ed about it anyway.

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For a more detailed analysis of this problem

See the work of Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. Such as:

Other posts about the GOP

  1. The evolution of the Republican Party has shaped America during the past fifty years, 8 May 2010
  2. Conservatives oppose the new START treaty, as they opposed even the earlier version negotiated by Ronald Reagan, 24 July 2010
  3. Why do Rep Ryan and the Republicans want to gut America’s military defenses?, 14 April 2011
  4. A modern conservative dresses up Mr. Potter to suit our libertarian fashions, 17 November 2011
  5. Ron Paul’s exotic past tells us much about him, the GOP, libertarians – and about us, 27 December 2011
  6. The key to modern American politics:  the Right-Wing Id Unzipped, 15 February 2012
  7. Why Republicans Need Remedial Math: Their Budget Plans Explode the Deficit, 16 March 2012
  8. What every American must know about the Republican Party, 16 October 2012
  9. Let’s list the GOP’s problems. They’re all easily solvable, 12 November 2012
  10. The Republican Party is like America, and can quickly recover it strength, 14 November 2012

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25 Comments leave one →
  1. 8 December 2012 5:58 am

    Anyone who chooses to ride Amtrak or the Washington Metro has no business promoting William Baldwin’s species of mental rot. I mention these particular agencies because my understanding is that they’re both quite popular with right-wing think tankers and that Amtrak is quite popular with Forbes readers who live in its better-served areas.

    Being able to ride very comfortable trains between New York and Washington at double the speed of parallel highways instead of driving or taking a bus is a form of wealth; Amtrak, a federal service, operates said trains; QED, government creates wealth.

    I take advantage of that wealth whenever it fits my travel schedule.

    The think-tankers who promote the specious counterpoint are clearly lying for mercenary reasons. What scares me more is that their audience seems to include a lot of people who sincerely believe their lies despite directly benefiting from socialist intercity trains that beat Greyhound hands down.

    Like

  2. Thomas More permalink
    8 December 2012 6:03 am

    FM asks: “Today’s question for readers: what brings so many Americans, tens of millions, to believe such things and to follow such leaders?”

    Here’s the answer in a picture.

    Like

  3. 8 December 2012 5:33 pm

    Glad you re-Posted the “….we’ve lost our Past.” Missed it somehow before. Good one for certain. Thanks

    America is a very strange country; has no culture beyond remnants of a largely forgotten distant past and no history except the now.

    Breton

    Like

    • 8 December 2012 6:19 pm

      Does America have a “culture”? It’s a complex issue, as explained by Allen Bloom in their excerpt from Closing of the American Mind:

      But what is the relation between Kant’s use of the word culture and ours? It seems there are two different current uses that, while distinct, are linked. First, culture is almost identical to people or nation, as in French culture, German culture, Iranian culture, etc. Second, culture refers to art, music, literature, educational television, certain kinds of movies — in short, everything that is uplifting and edifying, as opposed to commerce.

      The link is that culture is what makes possible, on a high level, the rich social life that constitutes a people, their customs, styles, tastes, festivals, rituals, gods — all that binds individuals into a group with roots, a community in which they think and will generally, with the people a moral unity, and the individual united within himself. A culture is a work of art, of which the fine arts are the sublime expression.

      From this point of view, liberal democracies look like disorderly markets to which individuals bring their produce in the morning and from which they return in the evening to enjoy privately what they have purchased with the proceeds of their sales. In culture, on the other hand, the individuals are formed by the collectivity as are the members of the chorus of a Greek drama. A Charles de Gaulle or, for that matter, an Alexander Solzhenitsyn sees the United States as a mere aggregate of individuals, a dumping ground for the refuse from other places, devoted to consuming; in short, no culture.

      Culture as art is the peak expression of man’s creativity, his capacity to break out of nature’s narrow bonds, and hence out of the degrading interpretation of man in modem natural and political science. Culture founds the dignity of man. Culture as a form of community is the fabric of relations in which the self finds its diverse and elaborate expression. It is the house of the self, but also its product. It is profounder than the modem state, which deals only with man’s bodily needs and tends to degenerate into mere economy. Such a state is not a forum in which man can act without deforming himself. This is why in the better circles it always seems in poor taste to speak of love of country, while devotion to Western, or even American, culture is perfectly respectable. Culture restores “the unity in art and life” of the ancient polis.

      Like

  4. WTF permalink
    9 December 2012 1:42 am

    From a consciousness studies perspective (and from Marxist theory), culture (interiors/collectives) typically lags far behind changes in economics and technology (exteriors/systems). Where rapid techno-economic change happens, less value is placed on old forms of culture. Memory is brain energy dedicated to retention of old archetypes, and is a “waste” in the short run in cultures busy with attempting to make rapid adaptations to new archetypes.

    re: “We have trouble coping with our present because we’ve lost our past, 23 October 2010.”

    One of the main features of american culture is re-invention, so this should not be surprising.

    Also, while the above quote is true, in other ways, forgetting/unlearning is as valuable to adaptation as is retaining valuable old archetypes.

    American counterculture, and some aligned areas of academia, has actually been at the leading edge of integrating ancient truths with modern truths. The transpersonal psychology movement morphed into integral theory. (see other post*)

    In the Old World, history is physically present in people’s lives. The urban plan and architecture shape people’s daily existence and are literally artifacts of past efforts to more fully “humanize” life. Modern “strip mall” USA is both disconnected from such past artifacts and disconnected from the humanizing elements of life’s daily patterns. See Christopher Alexander’s incredible work on “Pattern Languages” and “The Nature of Order”.

    To even think about reconnecting with the humanizing and life-giving elements of culture causes americans pain and trauma on some levels (so nostalgia entertainment is one odd form of cultural product which gets sold to the masses by the elites).

    Americans are probably worse than many places (because of the specifics of american culture!), but not totally unique.

    In comparison to most of the world, which is old cultures, there is only about 300 years of american history to remember, and not much of has relevance to people (1/2 of it is about slave society, which people in the dominant culture want to forget). Although one can argue that paleo euro-american culture was derived from medieval cultures in europe that did not survive there (see Leonard Liggio on the origins of representative institutions in medieval reform movements within the church, etc., in the 500 years before 1492).

    I was talking to a latin professor in Spain about the origins of the catalan language last summer. It turns out that a lot of what is unique about catalan was originally from ancient “basque” dialects, not latin that evolved with culture. This shocked several family members who insisted that their incorrect understanding was better. Europeans may have a deeper grasp of history than most americans, but that does not mean that it isn’t heavily influenced by cultural bias. Same probably goes for lots of places.

    Like

  5. 9 December 2012 5:02 pm

    Fabius – You’ve swallowed completely the Left’s cartoon caricature of the Republican party — that it has somehow transformed itself into this radical alliance of the ignorant and the greedy. Your sources for your many rants on the Republican Party are now all Leftist hacks and homes of Leftist Hackery – Huffpo, Chait, Yglesias, The Guardian, etc. The excerpt from Forbes was the only one not distorting facts:

    “It’s easy to see how California got on our list. It has pampered a large army of civil servants while using every imaginable trick to chase private-sector jobs away, the latest being a quixotic scheme to reduce the globe’s atmospheric carbon.” Indeed, last year, 250 medium to large businesses — five per week — relocated from California to another state.

    “…Illinois is especially known for its dishonesty, whether among officeholders (future license plate motto: Land of Corruption) or in the habit of under-accounting for promises to government employees. The Rauh study counted $66 billion in the till to cover pension obligations of $233 billion.” This is a typical story from all over the country. Private sector pensions are decreasing and disappearing while the public sector pensions that they support are growing beyond reason.

    You used to have a balanced perspective (pre-2008, I think), but now in your writing, Democrats are pure as the driven snow and Republicans are stupid and evil. Your “Voting Republican” is childish and offensive to the 49% of the country who voted for Romney and other Republican candidates. Moreover, we get crickets on the Democrats, who have been completely taken over by their Left Wing. Nothing on the incompetence and corruption of the administration. Nothing on the imperial, $1.4 billion annual lifestyle of the President. Nothing on the causes of the U.S. becoming the Brokest Nation in History (hint: plenty of whining how revenues haven’t increased as fast as the Statists wanted, but nothing on the explosion of spending).

    I’m amazed that you continue to spout the vile propaganda from the same people that produce intelligence-insulting videos like “Tax the Rich, The Critique” by Lee Doran (attorney).
    .

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    This is a child’s view of the world, a child who listens to and swallows whole only Collectivist sources that confirm his simplistic world view. Grow up.

    Like

    • 9 December 2012 5:49 pm

      armsmerchant,

      If I correctly read your comment, it says two things.

      (1) I’ve changed my view of the GOP.

      Agreed. My reply is the same as Keynes” (alleged): “When my information changes, I alter my conclusions. What do you do, sir?”

      (2) That my description of the current state of the GOP is incorrect.

      Your rebuttal is nothing but saying you disagree. Furthermore you give the standard GOP rebuttal of saying you don’t like these people (authors of these articles), and so need not reply to anything they say. These days that’s a distinguishing characteristic of the right wing, and serves to keeping them trapped in their bubble. Future generations might see this as a gift from God (or gods, or goddesses) to the Left.

      That you admire Baldwin’s rant about makers & takers is evidence of this political death wish by the far right.

      (3) “I’m amazed that you continue to spout the vile propaganda from the same people that produce intelligence-insulting videos like {this by Lee Doran}.”

      Astonishingly, this is the only specific you cite as rebuttal. This is so lame as to constitute more evidence about the validity of my view. I cite 8 articles.

      • 4 with detailed analysis by academics
      • 3 fact-rich articles with analysis of specific statements by GOP leaders
      • 1 statement by a Republican

      Even a casual reader will notice problems with your rebuttal.

      1. Lee Doran is not in the list (who is Lee Doran?).
      2. These are all fact-based. There are no cartoons.
      3. You give no evidence that any of this is “vile propaganda”.

      (4) Then we get the usual list of false statements, like most comments by conservatives.

      “Democrats are pure as the driven snow and Republicans are stupid and evil.”
      Delusionally false, almost the exact opposite of what I’ve said during the past four years. See the FM Reference Page Obama, his administration and policies.

      “we get crickets on the Democrats, who have been completely taken over by their Left Wing”
      Totally cracked. Obama’s key policies about economic and national security policy differ little from those of the Bush Administration (as so many conservatives have admitted, even applauded). The parties differ on aspects of social policy, since the 1% don’t care about laws regulating who screws who and the details that follow.

      “Nothing on the imperial, $1.4 billion annual lifestyle of the President.”
      This is a trend going back several generations. It took a big leap with Nixon, who loved the trappings. Blaming Obama for this is nuts.

      I could continue, but the futility of this oppresses me. This comment suggests that you live in your bubble, exclude all contrary data, and nothing I write will have the slightest effect. Why bother?

      The good news for America is that our Darwinian political process will either force the GOP to change, or destroy it by producing another alternative political organization to oppose the Democrats. It’s happened before in America, fortunately.

      Like

    • tiradefaction permalink
      9 December 2012 5:58 pm

      FYI, Lee Doran is a fairly well known right wing propagandist on youtube (a wannabe fox news anchor). He’s also well known for creating sock accounts and subscribing to himself (to inflate his subscription numbers) and for sending false DMCA’s to people who make videos critical of his own.

      Like

    • 9 December 2012 6:00 pm

      tiradefaction,

      Thanks for the background on Lee Doran.

      What did armsmerchant mean by “I’m amazed that you continue to spout the vile propaganda from the same people that produce intelligence-insulting videos like {Doran’s}”? He didn’t know that Doran is a right-wing guy? What is the relationship of Doran’s video to anything I cited?

      Like

    • stonesfrommars permalink
      9 December 2012 5:58 pm

      Forgot to add, his youtube moniker is “Howtheworldworks”

      Like

    • tiradefaction permalink
      9 December 2012 8:52 pm

      >He didn’t know that Doran is a right-wing guy?

      I don’t see how (s)he couldn’t. One minute of research of Lee Doran shows he considers himself a “libertarian conservative”, and almost all of his videos are right wing punditry (propaganda). If (s)he didn’t know that, they’re pretty dumb imo.

      >What is the relationship of Doran’s video to anything I cited?<

      Not sure, perhaps they were suggesting Doran had "rebutted" your lin that response to the CTF cartoon? Doran does that a lot, takes a popular political video on youtube, one which presents a contrary view to his own, and critiques it. Nothing wrong with that, too bad his critiques rarely have any connection to reality.

      Like

  6. armsmerchant permalink
    9 December 2012 6:17 pm

    This is rich. I’ve sent you multiple rebuttals with sources over the years, which you’ve discounted because of the authorship or source (I distinctly remember your dismissing a quote from Kudlow because of “his former cocaine habit”). Your Obama page is fairly balanced between criticism and condemnation–nothing like your hatchet jobs on the Republican Party. Meanwhile, your commenters commit the same offense that you critique me for, that is, dismissing the words from someone because of who he is or where he stands, not what he says.

    You’ve developed a blind spot concerning the Republican party. Every recent post I’ve read is nothing but criticism from leftist commenters or examples of buffoonish comments by this or that Republican. Yeah they’ve got their share of crazies, but Joe Biden’s moronic ejaculations just about balance the entire crop of them.

    You’ve turned from analyst to agitator in this particular area. Would that your critiques of the Republicans be as balanced as those on climate science. I guess one can dare to dream.

    Like

    • 9 December 2012 6:35 pm

      armsmerchant,

      You are just repeating yourself, saying that you don’t like what I’m saying. That’s not a rebuttal. You’ve not presented a single shred of evidence or logic supporting your claims.

      Also, before continuing — please explain your comment about that video by Lee Doran. Or respond to some of the other critiques I’ve made. This deafness to rebuttals is a characteristic of the far Right today, and probably a major factor in the evolution of their current madness.

      “I distinctly remember your dismissing a quote from Kudlow because of ‘his former cocaine habit’”

      The search functions of neither Google nor WordPress remembers this (ie, I’ve searched for “Kudlow” and found nothing like your quote). I don’t remember it, either.

      Like

    • 9 December 2012 8:14 pm

      armsmerchant has forwarded the email where I comment about this article by Kudlow.

      Here’s what armsmerchant said: “I distinctly remember your dismissing a quote from Kudlow because of ‘his former cocaine habit’”

      Here’s the email, in full. It gives four points of rebuttal to Kudlow’s comment. Kudlow’s coke habit is historical context, referring to how Kudlow reinvented himself as a right-wing loon since bombing out of his previous career.

      Truly idiotic. Kudlow has written little of sense since getting over his coke habit. A low-grade shill for stocks and right-wing ideology.

      1. Commodity prices are rising in all currencies. Even currencies in closed economies.
      2. The price increases can largely be explained by supply and demand.
      3. As with food. Low prices lead to underinvestment and low inventories. Rising global income (the past decade was perhaps the best since the investion of agriculture) leads to increased demand (esp near the $4-6000/year sweet spot). The combo leaves the world vulnerable to a supply shock. Like global bad weather.
      4. The Fed is not God or even god, lacking a tiny fraction of the influence attributed to it by people like Kudlow.

      Like

  7. armsmerchant permalink
    9 December 2012 6:22 pm

    BTW, my broken link (which Fabius reassembled) was in criticism of the California Teacher’s Federation, who produced a childish video narrated by Ed Asner. Doran critiqued it, but I didn’t make it clear that I was criticizing the CTF video, not Doran.

    Like

    • 9 December 2012 6:43 pm

      So you post a video by Lee Doran about a video (not linked) by the California Teacher’s Federation. Thank you for the explanation, but it raises two more questions.

      (1) Why should we accept Doran’s cartoon as evidence that the CTF video is bad? That’s seems quite daft. I didn’t accept cartoons as evidence when I was 8 years old; I still don’t. {Note: this use of cartoons as explanation has become popular on the Right, as in the series about economics that Zero Hedge promotes. IMO it’s a sign of serious intellectual dysfunction.)

      (2) What does Dolan’s cartoon about a CTF video have to do with my post? I don’t see the connection.

      Like

  8. 9 December 2012 8:03 pm

    For a more detailed analysis of this problem see the work of Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein. Such as:

    Like

  9. armsmerchant permalink
    10 December 2012 1:47 am

    FM Note: Despite what armsmerchant says, this is just a fantasy. Despite the quote marks, this is just nonsense he’s made up.

    [translated]
    Me: “You might want to broaden the sources that you quote.”

    Fabius: “No, I think quotes only from HuffPo, the Guardian, and and liberals who write for the Washington Post are perfectly reasonable and centrist. These are facts that don’t depend on the source.”

    Me: “These aren’t ‘facts,’ they’re opinions.They’re no more factual than the CTF video, as demonstrated by the critique. And the picture that you posted smearing Republicans as bigots and greedy plutocrats was insulting.”

    Fabius: “Why, but that’s what Republican Voters are. The 49% of Americans who voted Republican in the last election are bigots and plutocrats.”

    Like

    • 10 December 2012 2:04 am

      armsmerchant,

      I feel sorry for you. You are obviously educated and intelligent, yet your comments are filled with falsehoods, misrepresentations, and general nonsense. You have not responded to the various errors you’ve made, which make any analysis of this quite futile. This last comment is especially sad, a mixture of all three. People do these pretend dialogs, taking both sides so that they “win”, when they have nothing useful to say.

      Your comment is the sort of self-delusion that has led the GOP into its current hole. It appears that you’re part of the crew that still digs. That’s sad for the GOP, but good for the Democrats.

      Like

  10. 13 December 2012 7:03 pm

    I’m afraid that I’ll have to agree that the site seems a bit biased against Republicans at the moment. This site has only recently come to my attention and thus I admit I am not familiar with each and every article.

    That being said, it seems to me that there is a disconnect between the accusation and the defense. The problem is that many conservatives are, in fact, a people in search of a party and yet seem to be attacked based on whatever premise is fashionable at the moment. The Republican Party certainly does have its problems, but certainly no greater than those we find in the Democratic Party. On the other hand, when the dissidents rise up in an attempt to reform the party they are maligned and ridiculed by the very same obnoxious detractors who previously suggested that the Republican Party needed reformation.

    In other words, unlike the Democratic Party, there is a very real difference between the leadership and the constituency. The complaint here, it seems to me, is that both sides are being painted with the same broad brush.

    I do agree that one cannot take “both sides” and that the views of the right and the left are incompatible. I will say this, I am still confused as to why it is that I am labeled a conservative based on the fact that I acknowledge and support the notion that 2 plus 2 equals 4..

    Thanks, and I certainly don’t mean to butt in, but this seems to be a case of talking past each other rather than seriously considering the points each side is attempting to make..

    Like

    • 13 December 2012 7:24 pm

      constructive conservative,

      Can you cite any evidence to support your accusation of bias? I assume you mean something more substantial than that you don’t like what’s being said.

      We’ve gone through this many times, and that’s all that previous comments have amounted to. Except when they’ve doubled down, defending the GOPs propaganda with a stream of additional falsehoods.

      BTW, if your point is that the coverage is one-sided — please account for the long history of criticism of Obama and his policies (from Jan 2008) and his administration, plus the even stronger criticism of the Left’s primary hobbyhorse — doomster propaganda about anthropogenic global warming.

      Like

    • 13 December 2012 7:29 pm

      contructiveconservative,

      “this, I am still confused as to why it is that I am labeled a conservative based on the fact that I acknowledge and support the notion that 2 plus 2 equals 4″

      Can you explain that statement? Who is labeling you based on such a thing? A supporting quote or citation is needed, as your statement makes no sense so far as I can see.

      Like

    • 13 December 2012 8:00 pm

      Thank you for your responses. Let me give you but one example…Read what you wrote under the following label:

      (1) Epistemic closure on the Right

      On what basis do you agree with the claims and suggestions made by Mr. Sanchez?

      Further, I doubt you will deny that you see the “problems” of the Republican Party being primarily a result of the base being too far right rather than the leadership being too far left. I’m not really sure why you would feel the need for me to provide evidence supporting my claim that you take a fairly strong stand in support of that position.

      In terms of my 2 + 2 = 4 analogy, I admit that it draws on experiences prior to my participation in this discussion. The point being conservatives are not conservatives based on some theoretical ideology, but are labeled as such for agreeing on the sum of the two aforementioned numbers being 4.

      Liberals, on the other hand, argue that there is no such thing as the “right” answer and thus suggest that, depending on one’s perspective, the answer can be 3 or 5 and most disingenuously, cannot be 4.

      Like

    • 13 December 2012 8:17 pm

      contructive conservative,

      Color me confused. I don’t see the relationship between this comment and your original one claiming “bias”. Not only don’t I see any evidence of bias, this doesn’t even seem relevant to that charge.

      (1) “Further, I doubt you will deny that you see the “problems” of the Republican Party being primarily a result of the base being too far right rather than the leadership being too far left.”

      That doesn’t make any sense to me, let alone appear relevant to the charge of bias — or anything written here. Can you explain, and provide some supporting evidence. By that I mean, as I requested before, a quote or citation — not more assertions.

      (2) “I’m not really sure why you would feel the need for me to provide evidence supporting my claim that you take a fairly strong stand in support of that position.”

      My question was about your claim of bias, not whatever you mean here by “that position” — which doesn’t look like anything I’ve said.

      (3) “In terms of my 2 + 2 = 4 analogy, I admit that it draws on experiences prior to my participation in this discussion. The point being conservatives are not conservatives based on some theoretical ideology, but are labeled as such for agreeing on the sum of the two aforementioned numbers being 4.”

      That makes no sense to me. As I asked before, please provide some quotation or citation support your assertion that people label conservatives on the basis of … whatever you’re attempting to say here.

      Furthermore, I use Left and Right in a purely operational sense (which is why I prefer them to conservative and liberal, although for variety I use those terms also) — as groups defined by their relative position on a linear political spectrum. It’s an over-simplification, but of the sort necessary in articles about policy issues of a thousand words or so.

      Like

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