Monday, October 27, 2008

Holding Action

That's what the various conservatives and Village denizens are engaged in right now: a holding action. They know that the Republicans are in deep trouble. As digby said:
The right is working overtime to frame a Democratic win as a repudiation of Bushism --- which it is. But there can be no doubt that it is also a repudiation of Reaganism. They have been evoking his name like a sacred talisman, making the case that they would adhere to St Ronnie's policies without deviation. If the Republicans lose, it's not because the American people want Reaganism again. If that's what they wanted, they had a bunch of Republicans who said over and over again that they would deliver it to them.

It's pretty clear the American people are tired of conservatism, whether it's Bush conservatism or Reagan conservatism, and that scares the villagers. They are inherent conservatives, guardians of the status quo and protectors of the wealthy elites, even as they style themselves as jes plain folks down at the beauty parlor.
Bolding's mine.

Yeah, America is clearly getting tired of conservative misrule; they've been forced to endure it for far too long in one way or another, and it's been ridiculously unsuccessful on all counts. It didn't improve America's social fabric. It didn't make America safer. It didn't improve America's economy. It didn't balance America's governmental budget. It didn't help with poverty, and certainly didn't help the middle class. It didn't even help Wall Street. Conservatism is a failed ideology, and they know it.

But it's their bread and butter; both the conservatives and their media sycophants. So they have to defend it. And as Sirota shows, defend it they will:

The Village freakout continues, this time in the form of Peter Wehner's op-ed in the Washington Post today. With most Republican candidates explicitly running on a platform promising a revival of Reagan conservatism and berating the supposed "socialism" of Democrats, this former Bush hack writes that "it is a mistake to assume that significant GOP losses, should they occur, are a referendum on conservatism."

It's hard to overstate how absurd this is. Let me repeat: In the stretch run of this campaign, the Republican Party has decided to make this an ideological contest between Reagan conservatism and supposed wild-eyed liberalism/socialism - and now, sensing a potentially huge loss, conservatives are now arguing that despite their decision to make this an ideological contest, "an Obama victory would be a partisan, rather than an ideological, win."

Obviously, the Right understands what's really going on in America - and is working to reinterpret that reality.

Having doubled-down on Reaganism, they know that a loss under these circumstances would be not just a momentary electoral set back, but a huge repudiation of conservative ideology, and a huge mandate for progressivism. And so conservatives are already trying to revise history to pretend these last few months of the campaign never happened.

Of course, the very weakness of the "facts" they cite exposes their desperation. For example, Wehner cites public opinion data showing that the word "conservative" remains more popular than the word "liberal." Yet, he omits the fact that when you go beyond the semantics, the same public opinion data he cites shows that Americans are very progressive on most major economic issues.

But substance is secondary to spin on the Right - and likely in the media. As Digby notes, we're already seeing the media Villagers insisting the same thing Wehner is insisting: Namely, that no matter how well conservatives have framed this election as a choice between conservatism and progressivism, and no matter how big a progressive victory that election may bring, America nonetheless remains to the right of Ronald Reagan. In effect, the Right is making the "nah nah nah can't hear you!" argument, claiming that that no matter what America says about its own politics and ideology on election day, the country is an ultra-conservative bastion.

It's a willfully dishonest argument - but one with a motive: To preserve the status quo.

They have a lot at stake in the status quo; they're about the only people it benefits. And I believe that the people who dictate their opinions—either directly, or by hiring and firing those with the most convenient opinions—are still holding out in the hope that this is going to be temporary and that their control over the public discourse remains.

They do still have an advantage, as the word "liberal" still carries a lot of baggage with it.

But, now, so does "conservative". And it's very, very awkward.

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