The key to understanding this, I’d suggest, is that movement conservatism has become a closed, inward-looking universe in which you get points not by sounding reasonable to uncommitted outsiders — although there are a few designated pundits who play that role professionally — but by outdoing your fellow movement members in zeal.
It’s sort of reminiscent of Stalinists going after Trotskyites in the old days: the Trotskyites were left deviationists, and also saboteurs working for the Nazis. Didn’t propagandists feel silly saying all that? Not at all: in their universe, extremism in defense of the larger truth was no vice, and you literally couldn’t go too far.
Many members of the commentariat don’t want to face up to the fact that this is what American politics has become; they cling to the notion that there are gentlemanly elder statesmen on the right who would come to the fore if only Obama said the right words. But the fact is that nobody on that side of the political spectrum wants to or can make deals with the Islamic atheist anti-military warmonger in the White House.
Strap yourself in; this is not going to be fun.
Look at what has happened in just the past few weeks- Cain’s idiotic 9-9-9 plan seemed to catch on with the idiot right, so now everyone in the Republican field is tripping over themselves to come up with a flat tax plan that is flatter than everyone elses. And in the process, we get this kind of nonsense:
Rick Perry’s plan to scrap the graduated income tax and replace it with a 20-percent flat rate would call for deep cuts in federal programs and grant a major tax cut for the wealthy by eliminating estate and capital gains taxes while sharply lowering the rate the richest Americans pay on the bulk of their income, which is now set at 35 percent.
Mr. Perry, in a speech in South Carolina, said his proposal offers benefits to middle-class Americans by giving a $12,500 deduction for every member of a household while preserving exemptions for state and local taxes, mortgage interest and charitable contributions for anyone making less than $500,000. He also said anyone could file under the current code, where most middle-class taxpayers pay a 15 percent top rate, but with lower personal exemptions. He also pledged to lower the corporate tax rate to 20 percent.
“Taxes will be cut on all income groups in America,” said Mr. Perry, the governor of Texas, who promised that taxes could be filed on a postcard-sized form under his plan. “We need a tax policy that embraces the world for what it is, and not what some liberal ideologue wishes it could be.”
Where do we go from there? Who knows. Bachmann will probably release a plan so simple it can be filled out in half a postcard. And so on. And what of these mythical elder statesmen on the right? They are about to become extinct:
Remember, less than a year ago, one of the Republican Party’s elder statesmen said his party would be “beyond redemption” if Lugar faced a credible primary challenge. And yet, he we are, 11 months later, facing the very real likelihood that Congress’ last respectable conservative will be rejected by his own party for not being right-wing enough.
This is one of the reasons I get so frustrated with the pissing and moaning and the “Oh, Obama has let me down” bullshit from our progressive betters in the comments here and elsewhere. It’s like they just don’t understand that we all agree the Democrats aren’t perfect, that we realize the Democrats are pretty bad on a lot of issues, and we realize that in many cases they are just as beholden to corporate interests, and that we realize that Democrats do a lot of really stupid shit and are not serving their constituents well. We get all that. I understand that completely and agree with those sentiments. The fail is plainly visible. For every bright spot like Franken or Sanders or Sherrod Brown, there is a Nelson or Landrieu or McCaskill. But that doesn’t change the fact that THE OTHER FUCKING PARTY IS CRAZY. And I’m not saying that just to be hyperbolic. They are nucking futs. Lunatics. Insane.
So until we exist in a system other than a two party system, I’m with the imperfect losers, happily. At least many of them have their hearts and heads in the right place, and when your choice is them of the frothing nutters, it isn’t even a choice.