Wednesday, March 30, 2011

The Great Divide

More studies on the difference between really real conservatives, and people who play conservatives on radio and television.

Our nation has truly entered a phase where a significant number of the people who think of themselves as "conservatives" are not actually conservative. The dilution of the term is what allows the Republicans and the Tea Party (and, in truth, the Democrats) to say whatever they like about politics without fear of being held accountable.



suspect device said...

On the contrary -- conservatism is what it is, not what it might have been in the past or what we might wish it to be. These people are indeed conservatives -- both through self-identification and adherence to ideology as viewed from outside.

Holding that they aren't "actual" conservatives releases the remaining old-line conservatives from any responsibility for the tea partiers, extremists, and eliminationists that have been drawn under the republican/conservative banner over the past thirty years. Sorry, fellas -- you invited them, you deal with them.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

Even as I recognize the power of popular culture to change the meanings of words without regards to reality, I will continue to fight for cohesion of language. It may be a losing fight, but it is one worth fighting.

If everything in our language is malleable based on the news cycle (like defining "terrorism"), then it becomes even easier to revise history and current events than it already is.

Many old-line conservatives that I know are horrified at the direction taken by the Tea Party, extremists, and eliminationists. Part of the reason I continually advise them to get involved in their local political organizations is that it will demonstrate quite directly to them how far off the rails their "side" has become under the cover of language.

alli said...

The Tea Party is the same old same old reactionary right-wing Republican Party. They're not new, they're just the updated-for-this-Democratic-administration version of the John Birch Society. The tea partiers are the same people who claimed Clinton killed Vince Foster. It's the same movement that inspired the Michigan militia and the Oklahoma City bombing. They're the same damn people.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

I'll have a better thought-out reply in a minute, because I don't think the Tea Party is so easily defined as much as the American Left would like it to be.

But until I get to that, I'm just going to leave this here.

alli said...

Richard Florida is a hack.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

You're right, we should completely ignore these numbers, and the reality that the GOP cleaned House in the 2010 elections both nationally and in most states.

Think its bad now, just WAIT until the GOP has had control of the House of Representatives for the next 5 election cycles because they get to draw the districts and become undefeatable.

Or maybe, just maybe, you'd want to consider why it is that so many people still consider themselves "conservative," even though there is an enormous disconnect (and a fair amount of discontent) over what that exactly means.

alli said...

Since when does correlation equal causation?

"just WAIT until the GOP has had control of the House of Representatives for the next 5 election cycles"

This is a prediction. This may or may not (I'd say not) happen.

I think a lot of people are calling themselves conservative because 1) they're being lied to by the media all damn day every day and being told that America is at a terrible precipice and fiscal disaster is imminent; 2) the shitty economy means that many people are becoming more "conservative" in their household budgeting; 3) the pervasive metaphor of government budgets as household budgets, combined with most people's economic literacy level (read: none), means they are translating what's going on in their personal life to what should be going on in Washington.

Democrats are not making their case for working people, they are not playing to the media cycle, they are not expanding economic literacy and in fact they are using shitty policies.

NOTHING in this argument has ANYTHING to do with my original point, which was that the Tea Party, originally purported by Fox News (same funders as the Tea Party movement itself) to be a "new, libertarian" movement, is the same reactionary Republican movement that does not care about jobs, the economy, or the deficit. They don't care about liberty. All they care about is a) more war and b) slut-shaming via banning contraception and abortion. It is the Same. Old. Song. And. Dance.

Cousin Pat from Georgia said...

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The short of it - you can write the Tea Party off for what it has become. It is, at this point, very close to what you describe. But what that is is very far from conservative or libertarian in substance.

That is also why its influence is waning. That's what happens when a previously loose coalition based mostly on savvy marketing anoints leaders and articulates unpopular or incoherent positions. The support base might be galvanized, but that base is much smaller.

The Tea Party had more power and influence among small-c conservatives and libertarians when it was still ambiguous enough of an idea to capitalize on misrepresented tax policy and unpopular economic conditions. Now that its true colors are coming to light, it is losing that influence.

But writing it off as you do ignores the very real concerns that drew people to it in the first place - those misrepresented tax policies and unpopular economic conditions have not been addressed by either major party in any substantive ways.

alli said...

We're totally talking past each other at this point.

alli said...

Also, what Digby said.