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Mon Apr 2, 2012, 09:03 AM

E.J. Dionne: "American conservatism is becoming something very different from what it once was" [View all]

http://www.nationalmemo.com/dionne-the-rights-stealthy-coup

The Right’s Stealthy Coup

April 2nd, 2012 1:15 am
E. J. Dionne

WASHINGTON — Right before our eyes, American conservatism is becoming something very different from what it once was. Yet this transformation is happening by stealth because moderates are too afraid to acknowledge what all their senses tell them.

Last week’s Supreme Court oral arguments on health care were the most dramatic example of how radical tea partyism has displaced mainstream conservative thinking. It’s not just that the law’s individual mandate was, until very recently, a conservative idea. Even conservative legal analysts were insisting it was impossible to imagine the court declaring the health care mandate unconstitutional, given its past decisions.

So imagine the shock when conservative justices repeatedly spouted views closely resembling the tweets and talking points issued by organizations of the sort funded by the Koch brothers. Don’t take it from me. Charles Fried, solicitor general for Ronald Reagan, told The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein that it was absurd for conservatives to pretend that the mandate created a market in health care. “The whole thing is just a canard that’s been invented by the tea party … ,” Fried said, “and I was astonished to hear it coming out of the mouths of the people on that bench.”

- snip -

Note how many deficit hawks regularly trash President Obama for not endorsing Simpson-Bowles while they continue to praise Ryan — even though Ryan voted to kill the initiative when he was a member of the commission. Here again is the double-standard that benefits conservatives, proving that, contrary to establishment opinion, Obama was absolutely right not to embrace the Simpson-Bowles framework. If he had, a moderately conservative proposal would suddenly have defined the “left wing” of the debate, just because Obama endorsed it.

This is nuts. Yet mainstream journalism and mainstream moderates play right along.

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Reply E.J. Dionne: "American conservatism is becoming something very different from what it once was" [View all]
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