Conservative Extremism versus Bipartisan Solutions

After three successive posts which show the insanity of the current conservative movement, via Memeorandum I came across yet another item which demonstrates my point. To the extremists who now dominate the far right consideration any ideas from others is a sign of treason to the movement. Robert Stacy McCain attacks David Brooks for his occasional lapses from their true belief.

Some on both sides of the ideological divide are upset that, as Ezra Klein put it, David Brooks has become the White House’s Favorite Columnist. I find it perfectly understandable that the White House would seek to obtain understanding of their positions, and hopefully favorable comments, from a conservative at a paper with the stature of  The New York Times. While at times Brooks does fall into repeating conservative talking points to bash Democrats, at other times he really does provide meaningful and open-minded analysis.

Robert Stacy McCain objects to Brooks’ recent column on Obama’s school reform policies. While I frequently make a point of including posts showing that not all conservatives and not all Republicans hold the extremist views of the conservatives I frequently criticize here, to McCain it is not possible for a liberal or Democrat to be up to anything besides evil. On school reform he writes, “To a Democrat, the policy object of school ‘reform’ is full employment and higher pay for members of the teachers’ unions.”

While perpaps true of some Democrats, McCain probably cannot conceive of the fact that for most Democratic voters the goal is improving education, not pleasing the teachers’ unions. To the degree higher pay is seen as desirable it is because of a reasonable belief that paying more can lead to attracting  higher quality teachers.

Most problems are not solved by either the far left or far right but require a consideration of views from all sides. This has been missing for several years as polarization has increased, especially with Republicans substituting simplistic talking points for any meaningful policy ideas. When they take the attitude that those looking for solutions are actually up to something evil there is no grounds for bipartisan cooperation. Of course bipartisan cooperation is not something which is desired by extremists and McCain makes this clear:

The Democratic Party is a conspiracy whereby liars advance the cause of evil with the assistance of fools. Republicans who “reach across the aisle” to cooperate in the implementation of the Democratic agenda are therefore agents of evil.

Fortunately bloggers such as McCain do not officially speak for the GOP, but unfortunately the extremism of this section of the conservative blogosphere is closely reflected by the Republican Party.

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8 Comments

  1. 1
    Eclectic Radical says:

    I have been reading all of this recent round of postings before commenting on the syndrome again, partly because I wanted to see if there was anything new to say before repeating myself. It doesn’t look like anything brilliant or profound is coming to me.

    I can only find myself wondering about some of the people on the extreme right. Not because of their ideologies, I feel I understand those and even see the philosophical truth in them, despite my disagreement as to how those philosophical truths function in the real world.

    I find myself wondering about their perceptions.

    They present themselves, in good Jeffersonian fashion, as if they were somehow the spokesman for the ‘ordinary’ or ‘typical’ American when in reality they are out on the radical fringe. They then present the, presently, essentially center-left-to-center-right Democratic Party (which occupies roughly the same political position, left to right, that Eisenhower occupied in 1952) as horrifyingly left wing. As someone whose views are ‘horrifyingly left wing’ from the perspective of some fellow readers here, and who is constantly frustrated by the pull to the right by Blue Dogs and ‘New Democrats’, I am completely baffled by such characterizations of party leadership I view as too conservative.

    I constantly wonder how many of these people truly believe their views entirely orthodox and main stream and truly view the moderate center that controls the establishment Democratic Party as horrifyingly left wing, and how many of them are deliberately misrepresenting the Democrats for political purposes. Sometimes I think I know, and sometimes I really can’t tell.

  2. 2
    nomoreGOP says:

    I often feel confused as to whether or not some of these people could honestly believe some of the absurd shit I hear them say… For their sakes, as well as our own, I actually hope they are just ethically inept and corrupt.

    With that said, I have come to my personal conclusion that the, what I like to call “post cold war, karl rove modern conservative, imaginative time-traveling to 1980, douche-bag movement” has both edges of the ignorance sword… While the tragedy of 9/11 allowed the party to gain some much needed traction, I think [and hope] that we are finally nearing the end of one of the most influential, history altering, greedy, un-christian group of career-politicians in this countries’ short history..

    While I think it is clearly obvious that the people in power have without a doubt, 100% purposely distorted the moderate liberals as left wing crazy “socialists,” “communists,” and even going as far as “paling around with terrorists” in a conscious effort to incite a mob-like following that tends to ask fewer questions and stay out of the way. This has been easily done by maintaining an effective level of public fear through various means [such as purposely leaking “scary” (made-up) stories about yellow-cake uranium, for one obvious example] that are then utilized to create this mob mentality that prefers emotion over logic and prioritizes ideals over equality [OMG we can’t let gays get married, we have no idea about the gay community, so scare the public (LIE,LIE,LIE) into thinking the bill is actually going to somehow brainwash our kids into being gay by forcing the public school teachers to teach gay marriage].

    On the other hand, I think it is less clear which of these “lower” mob-incited followers are just bat-shit crazy [by bat-shit crazy I mean overly religious, under(ly) educated, ignorant Caucasians] and which are political scammers, just looking to take advantage of anybody in order to further their own greedy agenda. Not to generalize too much, but I would say that in the last decade, it really does break down into these two pretty distinct groups or types of people that end up latched onto the GOP teat.

    “Joe the douche-plumber” epitomizes the worst of the two current-era Republicans in my opinion. It seems to me that anyone that is lame enough to openly represent themselves in this “average, every-day American” light, while knowing fully that everything they are saying is a lie, should be politically shunned by which ever party they are openly supporting. But instead what happens? The republican Party puts this guy on a pedestal. They make up more lies about how “he really does represent the average, every-day American.” NO HE DOESN’T. PERIOD. And anyone that thinks he does is sorely mistaken. But that’s just it. The party is so out of touch, they actually believe themselves..

    And then we have an entire section of the population that is literally stuck in a pre-technology [Limbaugh has how many millions of listeners each week on the RADIO], pre-intellectual [three words: George Walker Bush] time where their beliefs, however racist and/or ridiculous they might be, are still widely accepted throughout their small “real American” communities. Just as in their religious views, anything and everything that is considered different or not exactly how they think it should be, automatically gets classified as “evil” and therefore doesn’t deserve a second thought. This thought process is so unbelievably counter productive it is downright pathetic…

    The problem with all of this observation is that I have yet to see a single way to get any of these nut-jobs to be a little more open-minded. As soon as any of them show a glimmer of hope [Michael Steele mentions the sane and logical response to abortion by actually acknowledging that the choice should be left to the woman and what happens? He is put back in his place by one of my personal favorite douchers Ken Blackwell, former Ohio Secretary of State, who says ““Chairman Steele needs to reread the Bible, the U.S. Constitution and the 2008 GOP Platform,” He then needs to get to work or get out of the way.”] If that statement doesn’t scare you, I don’t know what will…

  3. 3
    Ron Chusid says:

    With regards to getting people to being more open-minded, there are two different groups. There are the run of the mill people who have voted Republican in the past. Some still vote Republican out of inertia, but growing numbers are questioning the direction the party is moving in.

    For the hard core, there are strong defense mechanisms against change. Wavering even slightly from their true beliefs gets them labeled RINOs or worse. They either give up their heresy or they are ostracized.

    Convincing them with facts is virtually impossible as they deny any source of objective information. They ignore the findings of scientists on evolution, cosmology, geology, and climate change if it conflicts with their religious or ideological views. They see only partisan sources as being objective news and see any objective news sources as left wing bias.

    They are so far to the right that ideas which would be center-right anywhere else in the world are written off as far left.  Their acceptable universe of political thought has become so tiny that even Barry Goldwater rejected them and considered himself a liberal in his later years. I have my doubts whether even Ronald Reagan could stomach how far right the conservative movement and Republican Party have moved.

  4. 4
    Robert L. www.neolibertarian.com says:

    [Comment deleted as comment grossly mischaracterizes what is written in the post and is irrelevant to what is actually written.]

  5. 5
    Ron Chusid says:

    Robert,

    You need to read the actual post before commenting. This is a response to a post by a conservative blogger named McCain and has nothing to do with John McCain.

    I am referring specifically to his segment of the conservative movement–not commenting on all conservatives. I have made this distinction very clear in multiple posts here.

  6. 6
    nomoreGOP says:

    but Ron? why must you force Robert to actually READ?? he obviously already has all of his evidence and proof of ANY ARGUMENT in his head.. so why actually relate that to your blog? Come on..  This is the new way of debating.. did you miss all of the debates this year? Critical thinking is out.. Memorizing talking points is in!

  7. 7
    Ron Chusid says:

    nomoreGOP,

    I do find quite often that conservatives post comments in which they seem to be searching out one key word and then post their talking points without giving any sign of reading the actual post. Their talking points are also commonly based upon their misconceptions about what they think liberals think as opposed to what I actually think.

    In this case the commenter 1) attributed a viewpoint to me which was almost the exact opposite of what I am arguing here and 2) saw the McCain name and assumed I was talking about John McCain. He clearly did not  read the actual post in full,  read the post I was linking to, or read the related posts I referred to. While I don’t expect every casual blog reader to do all this, someone who has the nerve to respond with an attack such as he did should do so. It only makes sense to understand what someone is saying before launching an attack.

    I’m afraid that arguing that Senator John McCain supported some bipartisan measures is not a sensible response to my criticism of the far right (which includes many people who attack John McCain as a heretic to their cause).

  8. 8
    Eclectic Radical says:

    Particularly when John McCain recanted nearly all those bipartisan positions of his past when he became the Republican candidate for president, either by choice (due to the perceived necessity of doing so in order to win) or because he was genuinely forced to do so in return for any support of any kind from the Republican base. This is similar to Mitt Romney’s rebirth as a conservative ideologue when he ran for president, after having been best described as a ‘Diet Liberal’ during his period as governor of Massachusetts, and having actually run for Senate (against Ted Kennedy, he lost, obviously) from the LEFT of the Democratic incumbent.

    I have to agree with Ron’s description of the hard core GOP base of today, reluctantly. I can only keep writing and hope I can convince some of the people NOT entirely closed off to other options with facts.

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