SMOKINCHOICES (and other musings)

October 28, 2012

Right direction or “Big Lie”?

Romney throws tarp over conservatism

  E.J. DIONNE

The right wing has lost the election of 2012.

The evidence for this is overwhelming, yet it is the year’s best-kept secret.  Mitt Romney would not be throwing virtually all of his past positions overboard if he thought the nation were ready to endorse the full-throated conservatism he embraced to win the Republican nomination.

If conservatism were winning, does anyone doubt that Romney would be running as a conservative? Yet unlike Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, Romney is offering an echo, not a choice. His strategy at the end is to try to sneak into the White House on a chorus of me-too’s.

The right is going along because its partisans know Romney has no other option. This, too, is an acknowledgement of defeat, a recognition that the grand ideological experiment heralded by the rise of the tea party has gained no traction. It also means that conservatives don’t believe that Romney really believes the moderate mush he’s putting forward now. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the conservatives are forgiving Romney because they think he is lying, what should the rest of us think?

Almost all of the analysis of Romney’s highly public burning of the right’s catechism focuses on such tactical issues as whether his betrayal of principle will help him win over middle-of-the-road women and carry Ohio. What should engage us more is that a movement that won the 2010 elections with a bang is trying to triumph just two years later on the basis of a whimper.

It turns out that there was no profound ideological conversion of the country two years ago. We remain the same moderate and practical country we have long been. In 2010, voters were upset about the economy, Democrats were demobilized and President Barack Obama wasn’t yet ready to fight. All the conservatives have left now is economic unease. So they don’t care what Romney says. They are happy to march under a false flag if that is the price of capturing power.

The rout of the right’s ideology, particularly its neoconservative brand, was visible in Monday’s debate in which Romney praised one Obama foreign-policy initiative after another. He calmly abandoned much of what he had said during the previous 18 months.

Romney’s most revealing line: “We don’t want another Iraq.” Thus did he bury the great Bush-Cheney project. He renounced a war he had once supported with vehemence and enthusiasm.

Then there’s budget policy. If the Romney-Paul Ryan budget and tax ideas were so popular, why would the candidate and his sidekick be investing so much energy in hiding the most important details of their plans?

Romney knows that by substantial margins, the country favors raising taxes on the rich and opposes slashing many government programs, including Medicare and Social Security. Since Romney’s actual plan calls for cutting taxes on the rich, he has to disguise the fact. Where is the conviction?

The biggest sign that tea party thinking is dead is Romney’s straight-out deception about his past position on the rescue of the auto industry.

The bailout was the least popular policy Obama pursued — and, I’d argue, one of the most successful. It was Exhibit A for tea partyers who accused our moderately progressive president of being a socialist. In late 2008, one prominent Republican claimed that if the bailout the Detroit-based automakers sought went through, “you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.” The car companies, he said, would “seal their fate with a bailout check.” This would be the same Mitt Romney who tried to pretend on Monday that he never said what he said or thought what he thought. If the bailout is now good politics, and it is, then free-market fundamentalism has collapsed in a heap.

“Ideas have consequences” is one of the conservative movement’s most honored slogans. That the conservatives’ standard-bearer is now trying to escape the consequences of their ideas tells us all we need to know about who is winning the philosophical battle — and, because ideas do matter, who will win the election.

E.J. Dionne writes for the Washington Post Writers Group. ejdionne@washpost.com

(Jan’s comment: 

W H A T    I S

There is a resounding “truth” out there and it is this.  .  .  “the People get the kind of government they deserve.”    Hard as that may be to digest,  I’ve come to believe that it is true. 

A great and powerful nation such as this, based as it is on sound principles and hard-won (sacred) documents which have been wrung forth from the courage,  determination and sacrifice of our forefathers through the bowels of time to the present, have always come about by the need and pressure of the “people.”    True then at our beginnings and true now as we flounder in bewilderment. 

What must not be over-looked is our diversity.   Though we are one people, we are not alike either in experience, needs or aspiration. Indeed, how different we are.  There are many, far too many, who do not vote, never have and never will.  Often these are unhappy and  or disillusioned people who never had a stake in their own future, feeling pigeon-holed by others and held in want.  Many can not see that their lives are an out-picturing of their own inner selves – thoughts, feelings and naturally expressed in their actions, which then go on to perpetuate their  future which is generally the same.  A feeling of uselessness is also attached to voting – what good does it do? 

There are countless others whose lives have not shown them how precious voting is;  that it is both a right and a responsibility nor that participation is and can be a path to greater sense of self worth and satisfaction as an individual and a member of this great nation. 

There are also large patches of us who just don’t know enough about the political sphere to be able to understand what is going on. The teaching of either the workings of government and civic machinations are greatly lacking.  And of course, there are those who believe they do understand a thing or two and fall into the category of political junkies.  So, we sure ARE NOT ALL ALIKE. 

Our species does tend to cluster into groups (ethnic,  family,  religiosity and so on).    And seldom spoken of or even noticed,  is the millions of unassociated and therefore, lonely or isolated people. .  .  .  often found in retirement compounds or nursing homes.  But all of these diverse people have needs and wants and voices – tho, too many have been muted for a variety of reasons.   Yet as stated,  we are all equal. .  .  .  perplexing, isn’t it?

O B A M A   or   R O M N E Y ?

So our great diversity of population must choose between these two.    Many will have listened to the speeches and debates and those 1000’s of ads bombarding us every few minutes, not to mention the emails and phone calls.  Each camp knocks the other.   It’s gotta come down to what do we know and who can we believe?

WHAT DO WE KNOW?      

We  know we have all lived through terrible,  tough times.   Many have lost far too much.  Jobs were impossible and still difficult.  Costs of food and everything has gone up, while incomes have declined.  And mostly, there is no choice in the “employment arena” as there always has been.  We are told, many of the jobs we counted on are never coming back.    And the single greatest reason all this is our reality now is because of that rising tide lifting all boats thing.  Said more plainly so that all can get the point – our jobs have been shipped overseas.  An observer may conclude that wages of $15 to $30 hourly rate of pay which have been lost to Americans, is now being paid in China, India and etc.,  for generally a dollar or less and  is not raising those workers boats very far, but instead,  the corporate profits have had that old windfall.  Clear records, documented, will substantiate this as the corporate bottom lines have never in history been as great and rising as they have been over this past decade or so and looks good to go forever. . . .

No one can afford helpful, healing medicine; our choices are few and resources limited.  The status of what we can reasonably expect with regard to insurance to cover medical costs continues to be up for grabs.  There is no “feel good ” anywhere on this score.   Some of the issues our president won for us were useful and needed, but such a small part of the whole mess of medicine, what it is, who does it and the lack of freedom we have in all our personal decision making details.  It’s a mess, but at the very least, Obama has tried to accomplish “good” for the people.  He was fought on every conceivable thing from the Right-Wing-Teapartyers controlling the house. The GOP blocked every issue and then lambasted Obama for getting nothing done.  It seems evident their only accomplishment for receiving a tax-funded salary (plus all the perks) was to block and defeat Obama.   Criminal is what it is.

No one in history has been better placed or oriented to the need to protect  people’s “rights.”      President Obama has been hugely motivated in this direction and has clearly demonstrated his concerns – clearly.   Supreme court choices,  DADT,   Lily Ledbetter,    the educational process with Arnie Duncan leading the way,    women’s rights, family planning, defending Roe v Wade     

Meanwhile, for  the past 1 1/2 years Gov Romney has been speaking of doing away with Roe V Wade, family planning and diminishing women’s rights to choose for own body and life..  Americans do not wish to return to the strictures and ignorance of the past, but instead, wish to progress – FORWARD to better and brighter futures for all of us.     Romney’s concerns for the common man come to us by courtesy of his own words in the May 2012 video documenting his thoughts eternally for all to hear.This was a donor festivity in which Romney was discussing his thinking on the 47% or so of Americans who were “takers” and bearing a sense of victim-hood and believing that government owed them everything.   His callous indifference was to some of us – stunning, incomprehensible.                                                        

W H O     C A N     W E     B E L I E V E  ?

I donno,  that has to be a personal decision. 

For me,  a president who keeps his word, does what he says he is going to do and speaks clearly, without deception rates very highly with me.    This totally blocked president has done amazingly well with a blocked congress.  Can one just imagine how well it COULD go if we had a cooperating one?   Obama has ALWAYS shown willingness for dialog and arbitration and compromise.   Romney, like congress has shown themselves to be “resolute” and unbending.   Their slash and burn tactics have been destructive to our economy.  A great many serious -minded economists agree that pumping UP the economy was the right thing to do.  That Obama’s plans lead to growth and stimulation, while the cutting of programs and services to our country’s people is foolishness.

Obama has been right.  What he has done has helped.  He is a known quantity.  Romney is not that.  He is truly – multiple choice, depending on who he happens to be speaking to.   I’ve said it before – he seems to have no core of beliefs.  Ergo, he is untrustworthy.  His interests clearly are to run a business to make money, no matter what it costs others.  Romney signed the Grover Norquist pledge regarding taxes and is in basic agreement with the GOP concept of shrinking and crippling government while giving free reign to the free market with it’s demands of more freedoms from regulation.    But our president has pledged only to uphold our Constitution and all the rights implemented within it and to protect our people, which he has done.

Such an easy one (to me)   Jan)

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