Monday, November 11, 2013

70 Years of Capitulating to the Far-Right Wingnuts

Rick Perlstein has been studying and writing about the history of American conservatives for decades. No one understands them better.  When he explains why they can't be negotiated with, you should listen.

This week he wrote in The Nation:

Every time the government acts to expand the prerogatives of citizenship and economic opportunity to formerly disenfranchised groups, a racism-soaked backlash ensues. Defeatism—or ideological accommodation—only makes it worse.
Ironically, liberals of previous generations understood this better than we do now, despite decades more experience watching how the right’s game is played. For a Partisan Review symposium in 1962, Harvard sociologist David Riesman advised that the Kennedy administration “can gain the leeway on the domestic front…only by combatting the radical right rather than seeking itself to move onto rightist ground—an illusory operation since the right can always go still further right and will.”

Well, we’re on rightist ground now. Listen to Norquist in a recent interview with The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein: “We won in 2011 and then again with the president making 85 percent of the Bush tax cuts permanent. We really did get caps and sequestration that limits government spending. If we just went home and put the government on autopilot, it would be a win. This Republican Congress has made a fundamental shift in the size of government equation.”


Scary times. At least we have a road map to navigate it. It’s the right’s own history, which doesn’t change much. They’re maximalists. They want it all. And the bigger our democracy deficit, the more they’ll be able to get.
If you haven't read Perlstein's Nixonland, do it now.

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