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June 17, 2003
System-wide Rollback

After much (well, a little) pondering on the current Republican agenda, that's the phrase I've picked to describe it. I haven't had coffee yet, so forgive any incoherence.

It's a combination of the Military Might Makes Right policies of the disastrous Reagan era in combination with old-fashioned social conservativism that liked women in the kitchen and minorities on the bottom of the socio-political heap. If you throw in a few heaping helpings of pre-environmental thinking and a shaker or two or condescending paternalism, you've got the leaders of the current Republican party.

Not, you know, consistently because even among that small group there are differences of opinion on which of these issues matter most, but overall this explains quite a lot of their thinking.

Their sincerity makes them even scarier, though. They're not consciously setting out to be evil, they're just too single-minded in pursuit of what they see as "truth" to be allowed to be in charge of anything more significant than a garage sale. (I have mentioned, have I not, that I don't want to be governed by extremists? I don't care which wing they hail from, I don't want them in charge.)

I'm not sure what drives them.

It's not that they don't care about democracy, it's just that they don't quite define it the way some of the rest of us do. It's not the religion thing, because I doubt the sincerity of most of these guys on that subject.


(Although, there are those who consider themselves "devout" who consider it part of their ordained mission on this planet to legislate the morality and behavior of others in the hopes of winning bonus points in the Get Into Heaven sweepstakes. I don't actually think that's what this group is about in the Middle East although they skate close to it sometimes.

I have very little use for organized religion. I've never quite understood the mentality that finds itself unable to think what it pleases unless it can insure that the rest of the world is thinking in lockstep with it.

I realize that this is a sweeping condemnation of religion and that there are millions of people on the planet who don't behave this way, but until they decide to stop letting the "leaders" of their religions commit what can only be described against sins against god and man in the names of their congregations, I'm dissing them all. I think that's fair.)


And yet, they (we're back to the Republican Party leaders now, okay?) are on a crusade, never think they aren't. It's a holy mission for largely unholy ends.

Okay, I'm totally off-track now, but this whole thing about religion puzzles me. Whoops! 800 words removed. (Everyone who is grateful to be spared, pay me by going over to moveon.org or your favorite activist site and taking action on something.) That one could have gotten me burned in effigy. Not that I care, but it's not today's topic.


They're in a giant hurry to achieve their goal of turning the world back to some mythical golden age when corporations were unfettered, the party leaders largely dictated the content of political discourse, and the federal government was more than balanced by the power of the individual states, so they're sacrificing the future to ram through as many of their agenda items as they can between now and 2004. (Although I don't think most of them actually believe they're going to be defeated in '04. Certainly Rove hasn't accepted that possibility and, make no mistake, he's the one that counts in this situation.)

Actually, sacrificing the future is largely what those currently in charge are after, although they naturally think of it in different terms.

They're trying to remake the political and economic landscape of this country by dismantling as much of the federal government as they can and, with luck, too much of it for any succeeding Democratic (or even rational) president and Congress to restore easily.

It's similar to old-fashioned "state's rights." Even now, as they slash the Federal budget and cut funding to states for mandated programs, they're forcing the states to raise their own taxes to pay for these things, trying to force states to be more autonomous. (It's a measure of how short-sighted they are that they're trying to use this method of "shrinking" government. As long as the core mandate remains in place, the states are merely replacing the feds and government isn't getting any smaller at all. Without the support of the voters to do what they're doing, these guys have no way to actually reduce government, so they're starting with trying to shift it into state and private hands. That's what their "outsourcing" of government functions is all about.)

It's rather a pity there's no room in their world view for imagining alternatives. You'd think that Afghanistan and Iraq would be teaching them something right about now as they see the difference between what they intended to have happen and what's actually happening over there, but apparently not.

As far as their plans for the USofA, I mean, I'm not an economist and I don't have an MBA or anything, but from where I sit, the flaws in their plans for us are pretty clear.

Removed – various definitions of clinical insanity

Okay, I'm all hot under the collar, but still. I'm staying focused here.

The key is to remember that evil people almost never know they're evil, okay? Everyone's the hero of their own life story and almost no one sane enough to be functional deliberately fosters ruin for those around them.

So, what is it these guys are doing, or think they're doing?

Not even Bush can be simple-minded enough, I think, to convince himself that corporations would, in fact, voluntarily cut back on pollution if not required so to do by law? Again, recent history should be ample proof of this if he looks at the fallout from his policies in Texas. (Or maybe it's that "free market" thing? We're all supposed to spend our spare time protesting and picketing and organizing boycotts until we can force corporations to behave, so laws won't be needed to do such things.)

Their foreign policy is harder to comprehend although I think it you looked at our invasion of a smaller, weaker country in a disturbed portion of the world, and contemplated how drastically that war has distracted our attention from a variety of important-to-everyday-citizens matters here at home, you might have part of the explanation.

(And, at the bottom, I think they just got a jones for going to war. They wanted to re-make the Middle East and, thought they heard destiny calling them. Unfortunately, as has been amply proven by now, they had no clue how to "remake" something. All they knew how to do was to unmake it. Nation-building, as many others have discussed more intelligently than I can, is simply not our strong suit. I'm not sure we've ever done it successfully, have we?)

My point (yes, we're getting there) is that it's not just in the Middle East this Administration is trying to do some nation-building. They're trying it here, as well.

If they can push through a few critical federal judicial nominees and tip the balance in the Supreme Court, starve the federal programs they don't approve of, of money to survive, and make sure the military lacks for nothing, they're on their way to creating their dream world. The Feds will exist to run the army, negotiate international treaties, and enforce the ability of our corporations to do business anywhere they want. Inside the country, as I see it, these guys view the federal government as acting like a referee between the states when needed.

The fact that this idiocy won't succeed because neither people nor events are going to follow the unwritten script hasn't occurred to these crazy people. The fact that leaving the poor states to get poorer in the same way these guys leave the lower class to get poorer while they service the rich and powerful will lead directly to economic and political catastrophe doesn't seem that obvious to them. (How can it not? It's obvious to me for criminy's sake.)

You can't turn back the clock, you can't go home again, pick your favorite cliché. It won't work.

The real danger lies in the problems they're going to create for us while they try.

Next I'll take on the Democrats, but right now I need coffee.

Posted by AnneZook at 09:00 AM