In Other Words: Deficits Defund Liberalism

This is a short post that serves as sequel to a post that I wrote in December discussing Thomas Frank’s theory in The Wrecking Crew that Conservatives purposefully drive up the deficit to make it impossible for Democratic administrations and congresses to ever enact any of their domestic agenda or priorities.

It was striking to read what was essentially a confirmation of this theory spelled out in a pillar of the Beltway’s echo chamber/painfully “centrist,” conservatively cautious, chronically wrong ‘conventional wisdom’ machine.  It appears in a column by, that rarest of species–a decent journalist, E.J. Dionne.  Dionne writes:

“By the end of the Clinton years, we had a handsome surplus. In came the second President Bush who, with Republicans in Congress, declared the surplus too big. It was one problem they worked very hard to solve. Two tax cuts and two wars later, we were plunged into deficits – again. And the economic downturn that started on Bush 43’s watch made everything worse, cutting revenue and requiring more deficit spending to get the economy moving.

Where were the moderate deficit hawks in all this? They have a very bad habit. When conservatives blow up our fiscal position with their tax cuts, the deficit hawks are silent – or, at best, mumble a few words of mild reproach to have something on the record – and let the budget wreckage happen. Quite a few in their ranks (yes, including some Democrats) actually supported the Bush tax cuts.

But when it’s the progressives’ turn in power, the deficit hawks become ferocious. They denounce liberals if they do not move immediately to address the shortfall left by conservatives. Thus, conservatives get to govern as they wish. Liberals are labeled as irresponsible unless they abandon their own agenda and devote their every moment in power to cutting the deficit.

It’s a game for chumps. The conservatives play it brilliantly.”

Read the whole thing.  But that lengthy excerpt from Dionne’s column is mainstream acknowledgment of an evil truth-about-conservatism-that-for-some-reason-dare-not-speak-its name in this age of false equivalence ably demonstrated by Frank in his book.    All non-culpable congressional Democrats should be shouting from the rooftops about this cynical, hypocritical “game for chumps” being played by all mod cons.

More lengthy, substantial stuff coming soon on Wisconsin and the dime-a-dozen new breed of brazen, militant, corporate conservative governors (Walker, Christie, Kasich and Scott) that are trying to destroy the remaining power of American workers for good.

Update: I’m not kidding when I say that language is one of my focuses here.  I took a walk earlier to get some sun and have a beer, when I happened to catch today’s Washington Post headline on the protests and strikes in Wisconsin, which read: Boldness Grows in Midwest.

Notice how one of our nation’s ‘leading’ newspapers framed these events.  It’s now “bold” to peacefully protest for your rights.  It’s “bold” to exercise your rights to peacefully assemble at the state’s capitol, no less, for a redress of grievances.  Notice the subliminal tone used by our corporate overlords and masters as they tell us not to get too “bold” as we thrash around for the crumbs of our Democracy.  Don’t get too “bold.”  Or what?  Will that make us terrorists?  Will the tanks come out like in all the dictatorships we support around the world?   It’s nauseating because we just spent a whole fucking year listening to all forms of mainstream media talking about the TEA PARTY “PATRIOTS,” even though it was proven time and again that most, if not all, of their events were fomented by huge corporate backed entities like Fox and Freedomworks.  But here is an authentic protest against real, not imagined, affronts to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness and all of a sudden protesting is “bold” and vaguely dangerous and menacing according to the Washington Post.  What has changed?  I wonder…

More soon.

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