Saturday, January 14, 2012

Thorazine is a Reasonably Effective Anti-Psychotic

A shrewd analysis from Paul Begala at the increasingly vital Newsweek, where Tina Brown's close focus on substance and rational analysis has revived a publication that was losing its relevance. Also, if you eat some of these mushrooms, bunnies are magic.

Start with the headline of Begala's piece: "The GOP's Suicidal Tendency." See, as the GOP moves to the right, it's destroying itself. That's why the midterm elections were so devastating for the Republicans, and Nancy Pelosi has consolidated her hold on power in the House. We've barely even begun reading, and already we are learning deep truths from an experienced political operator.

And now, Paul Begala will deliver a powerful history lesson:

"The story of the Republican Party in the last half century is a nearly unbroken march to the right. Nixon was more conservative than Eisenhower. Goldwater was more conservative than Nixon. Reagan was more conservative than Goldwater. Gingrich was more conservative than Reagan. And George W. Bush was more conservative than Newt."

So at the end of the Republican road, we get total, unrelenting contempt for the helper government and the sheltering reach of its protective regulation; as the brilliant Thomas Frank recently put it, the Bush 43 administration brought us “the golden years of libertarianism.” Medicare Part D, the Patriot Act, warrantless wiretapping, rising federal budgets and deficits, the metastasization of the Federal Register: libertarianism run amok. Didn't they believe in having any government at all?

This rise of an ever more powerful libertarian right is why our central government is shriveling, federal spending has plummeted to a parsimonious four trillion dollars a year, and just 46 million people get food stamps. It's like there's almost nothing left now, and the District of Columbia has become a dead zone of low incomes and minimal activity.

Stop in anywhere along the path of the long conservative march through the 20th century, and watch the movement to the right. Richard Nixon's wage and price controls, for example, are a prime example of laissez faire economics at its unfettered worst. And he created the Environmental Protection Agency. See the movement to the hardest right? It chills one to the very bone and stuff. And now imagine if Mitt Romney gets elected -- he'll shut down the federal government entirely, just like the way state government ceased to exist in Massachusetts when he was elected to govern that devastated commonwealth. All of this makes perfect sense if you have a head injury or were deprived of oxygen in the womb.

Of course, Paul Begala is not trying to speak accurately or honestly about anything, and that's not his job. His function on earth is to create narrative, to establish political stories that secure power for his faction in the oligarchy. But why would any magazine editor on earth be dumb enough to publish this toxic sludge?

The story of our time is the story of the rise of central power, hitched to the merging logic of corporate neoliberal and neoconservative factions that exist to serve themselves and their clients, without any deeper ideology than that. Paul Begala is selling a product, and Newsweek will give him the Glengarry leads if he gets them to sign on the line that is dotted. Coffee is for closers.

Shut the door in their faces. Just stop listening.

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