The Right-Wing Agenda and The Liberal
February 16, 2005
By Bernard Weiner, The
The first article, which seems to have been delivered as a speech
to a small group of Rightist movers and shakers, was discovered
in a 2063 dig in the ruins of what was once the nation's capital,
Washington, D.C. On the top of this copy were the words "Confidential,
For Your Eyes Only."
This speech has not yet been verified, but its contents lend
documented credence to previously discovered artifacts and articles
concerning the history of the once-powerful right-wing movement
in the U.S.
Below that planning document is a progressive essay found during
another Washington dig the following year - an essay that may well
have helped pave the way for the liberal resurgence that followed
decades of right-wing rule.
We remind readers that neither of these documents, apparently
written in late-2004 or early-2005, has been authenticated - even
its authors are unknown. But they do seem to provide a valuable
glimpse into politics in America shortly before and following the
turn of the 21st Century.
- Prof. Mary Andrew, Harvard University, Department of Social
Anthropology (March, 2065)
We gather here today - leaders in industry, government and civic
life - to reaffirm our patriotic goals. Our love of country, and
belief in the wealth-producing virtues of American capitalism, demand
no less than our full commitment to roll back the insidious institutions
of socialist-type programs, lest they further pollute and destroy
I know that the chronology I'm about to lay out is well-known
to many of you, especially to us older conservatives. But many younger
members of our "vast right-wing conspiracy" don't know
enough of where they came from - and besides, it never hurts to
hear the good stories again. So here goes:
Liberals had been in control of most of America's public institutions
since the 1930s - the media, the courts, the Congress, academia,
and, with a few exceptions (the diluted liberalism of Eisenhower
and Nixon), the White House - and their proto-socialist philosophy
effectively was the dominant mode of thought of the country for
But there were countervailing forces in the wind. Many of us recognized
that it was high time to take back our nation - Bill Buckley was
there early on, laying the groundwork with National Review - and
so, finally, in response to the worldwide cancer of communism, in
1964 we were able to nominate, in Barry Goldwater, a true-blue conservative.
As it turned out, American voters were not yet ready for such
a frank and dynamic leader. He was seen by many as an "extremist."
It wasn't the voters' fault; we'd been able to take over the Republican
Party from within, but we hadn't done the requisite preparation
work in the general public to make such an electoral victory possible.
BUILDING THE CONSERVATIVE INFRASTRUCTURE
The next time, we determined, we would lay the foundations for
victory in such a way as to preclude the resurgence of liberalism
ever again. Only in this way could our conservative agenda be realized
to its fullest degree.
To accomplish this goal of total dominance, we recognized that
we had to create, from the ground up, a massive conservative infrastructure
that eventually would be unassailable. Yes, we realized that it
would cost us a lot of money, time and energy up front, but we knew
that we would come to see a huge economic and ideologic payoff down
It took us decades to prepare the ground, but our movement began
to take off big time in 1980, with the election of Ronald Reagan.
(As suggested previously, we can't really call Nixon a true conservative.)
The Reagan years helped prepare the way for the institutional
victories that followed in the '80s and '90s and early part of the
21st Century. The budding institutions we founded - most notably
much of the mass-media we now controlled, and our think-tank columnists
and speakers - aided considerably in critically weakening and effectively
destroying the centrist-liberal presidency of Clinton.
The Democrat party played right into our hands when it nominated
Gore - tainted by his too-close association with the disgraced Clinton
- to succeed his mentor. Still, it wasn't easy getting our candidate
- not the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree - into power and
keeping him there.
In both of his presidential races, Bush the Younger won only by
the slimmest of margins, and in several instances needed, how shall
we say, extra assistance from his friends. But now the liberals
are preparing a massive counter-attack to oust conservatives from
power. (Thank goodness we and our friends still have control over
the election process, with privatized, secret, unverifiable vote-counting
RETAKING THE PLEDGE
We therefore need to re-pledge our fealty, and a large portion
of our financial assets and energies, to the following goals:
1. Consolidating our control of the mass media.
2. Increasing our control of the Congress.
3. Making more inroads into controlling the Courts.
4. Keeping control of the White House.
5. Rolling back the socialist programs from the FDR and LBJ days.
6. Tightening up our education reforms.
7. Strengthening our electoral base.
8. Increasing our redistribution of wealth upwards.
9. Further weakening of, and ultimately destroying, the Democrat
Let's take those areas one by one:
1. The Mass Media. True, today we do control most of the
mass-media, especially those to which our base voters pay most attention:
radio talk shows, Fox Network, cable TV anchors and pundits, along
with our stealth mass-media: the fundamentalist churches and their
publications and word-of-mouth networks.
But, in addition to not having full and consistent control of
some of the larger-circulation newspapers (New York Times, Washington
Post, Boston Globe, Los Angeles Times, USA Today, et al.) - the
liberal bastions in the Blue states - we definitely do not exercise
adequate control of the one fully free press in the country: the
Internet. There are numerous liberal/socialist websites and bloggers
out there dedicated to our ruin.
It is necessary, therefore, to rein in the Internet. This can
be accomplished in a wide variety of ways - either doing what we
did earlier to the other media forms, buying them up and bringing
them into line, or declaring a kind of "national security"
martial law and take them over as "detrimental to the war effort."
And, since our "war on terrorism" is designed to be permanent,
our intervention will last forever. By and large, our friends run
the large servers (AOL, Comcast, Microsoft, etc.), so it shouldn't
be too difficult to accomplish this technically.
2. The Congress. Yes, we control both Houses, but the Democrat
party still holds way too many seats, thus having a platform for
attacking us - and even filibustering some of our judicial nominees
- and a launching pad for their national campaigns. After decades
of acting meekly in the minority, they are starting to get it into
their obstructionist heads that they need to act as a true Opposition.
To put it bluntly, the Democrat party must be marginalized to
the point of effective extinction. There is no way we can enable
our agenda quickly if we permit them to exist and hinder our every
initiative. In the same way we need permanent war to permit us to
enact our foreign and domestic agendas, we need to treat politics
as a permanent political campaign. Take lessons from Rove.
Go after our political enemies every day, as if we are running
against them in an electoral campaign. Whatever it takes needs to
be employed - endless and expensive TV ads, running solid and (if
possible) name and celebrity candidates against them in state after
state and district after district, threats, dirty tricks, smear
tactics, impeachment, recalls, extreme measures, whatever.
This is down and dirty smashmouth politics we're playing, which
we've demonstrated we're far better at during actual campaigns.
Permanent political war needs to be our motto. No more Mr. Nice
Guys. The stakes are too high. Go for the jugular and slice and
dice this opposition to bits.
3. The Courts. We've been able over the years to get our
supporters onto the various federal appeals courts, but there are
still way too many holdovers from liberal appointments. We've got
to do a better job in packing those courts with our kind of folks
whenever vacancies appear.
The Democrats in the Senate have filibustered our strongest nominees,
and threaten to do so again. Nuke 'em. Remove the filibuster as
one of their tools. True, by doing so, we'd give the liberals a
massive weapon against us if and when they ever got back into power.
But the idea here is that by taking the necessary action now, they
won't get back into power, ever.
Effective one-party rule is what we're after and once we accomplish
that, the hell with them. Short-term gain is always better than
long-term wishy-washiness. We can always deal with unpleasant situations
later, if we have to.
And, when those rare vacancies open up on the U.S. Supreme Court,
we ram our youngish candidates through, no quarter shown to those
who oppose us - unless we have good stealth nominees who we can
slip through without a real fight.
With our ideological supporters on the high court, we then will
have total control of legal system, even if various Appeals courts
are not fully in line, and thus can throw solid red meat to our
more activist base: abortion, religious power, laissez-faire capitalism,
free and unrestricted corporate use of the environment, etc.
4. The White House. Our history with Reagan and Bush the
Younger demonstrates the effectiveness of our strategy to place
lesser lights in the White House - non-intellectuals with simplistic
answers to complex problems - that we can control from behind the
scenes. We should continue this strategy, though we need to be aware
that some of our choices often place our agenda and political tactics
in jeopardy by their tendency to missspeak or stumble into telling
the truth now and again.
Dumb but not too dumb should be our watchwords. But there are
always are plenty of good candidates along those lines, so this
shouldn't be too much of a problem.
Other things to watch out for as we move forward in managing democracy:
- We might seriously want to consider doing away with presidential
debates. They can be dangerous; we can't always control the
- We need to resist with all our means any attempts to institute
nation-wide voting reforms, including, of course, any moves
to regulate the way votes are cast and counted. The current
privatized and GOP-controlled e-voting system works just fine
for us. And, of course, we need to permanently abolish exit-polling
and other modes of so-called independent verification. We don't
need them; they just confuse people.
- We must resist with all our might any attempt to have publicly-financed
election campaigns. The current system works well, even if our
opposition can raise as much money as we can. What we do need
to do is to build a gargantuan, unchallengeable pre-election
kitty - billions - well in advance, so that the opposition has
to spend all its time playing catch-up and having to go to the
same corporate sources as we do to get the big bucks, thus compromising
their independence and leftward-leaning tendencies.
5. Smashing social programs. We must continue dismantling
the various socialist programs from decades ago, starting with Social
Security, Medicare, Head Start, Medicaid, and so on. Many of these
programs are popular with the masses, so we can't always attack
them frontally. But we can starve them to death - blaming budget
cuts because of foreign wars in the name of "national security"
and "spreading freedom around the globe" - or devise innovative
alternative ways of ruining them, such as privatizing parts of them,
and finishing them off later.
6. Education reform. We need to abolish so-called "liberal
education" and curricula that emphasize critical thinking. Instead,
we need to emphasize vocational training over broad-based education,
and standardized testing over essay-writing. Public education can
be starved financially, with more support going to faith-based private
education. The end result of these reforms will be the raising of
generations of malleable young people trained not to pay any mind
to liberal strategems and theories.
7. Our electoral base. The fundamentalist movement is our
bread and butter, and we must make sure to keep those folks happy.
Bring them into the Administration, listen to their concerns, appoint
them to high posts. We can't afford to lose them; in several states,
they made the difference in getting us victories. But we need to
expand beyond this guaranteed base; we made inroads into the African-American
and Hispanic communities this time out, by hitting hard on gay marriage,
but we need to do more. Don't let the Democrat party bring them
back into the liberal fold. Bring their conservative leaders into
the fold and use them for leverage.
8. Economic redistribution. Those who own businesses and
offer major employment opportunities deserve our special support.
We must continue to redistribute wealth upwards, by providing even
more tax breaks to our friends in the corporate sector. The middle
class may be even more squeezed, but this may not be a negative
development for us, as they will be concentrating more on getting
by in their daily lives, not paying all that much attention to our
economic and political maneuverings.
9. Destroying the Democrats. If we follow the programs
outlined above, the Dems should go the way of the Whigs into the
dustbin of history. The key is: no mercy shown, no politics as usual,
no compromise. They're out of here, and the public will jump on
our bandwagon, even if they don't always agree with a particular
policy, because they know there is no alternative. And because they
know if they don't play ball with us, they won't get any of the
It will be argued by the opposition that our policies will harm
the struggling middle class, outsource more jobs overseas, and create
more poor people. But we can emphasize the virtues of self-reliance,
faith-based aid, and trickle-down economics. That's why, in concert
with slicing away at these social programs, our tax cuts must be
made permanent; this is a win-win: Our wealthy supporters (including
ourselves) will be happy; maybe some of that money will wind up
creating jobs for the less-fortunate.
In summary, if we do all that's outlined here - and remember that
what we say today is absolutely confidential; we can't risk our
agenda being aired in public - we can guarantee perpetual rule for
ourselves and our kind for decades and decades to come. God Bless
Look, friends, we've lost the last two general elections by a
hair (if we really lost, that is, in a fair and honest fashion);
our domestic programs are in tune with the public's desires; we
dominate a good many state legislatures and control a number of
major governorships. In short, we're not dead or dying, but, especially
after the 2004 campaign, when so many million new volunteers came
on board, vibrant and determined.
We made lots of mistakes, and we can do much better, but the important
thing is that many of us are more than willing to rock 'n roll for
But we're certainly aware that we face an opposition that doesn't
play by the understood rules of civil discourse; in a sense, they've
decided that the "Geneva Conventions" of contemporary
politics, so to speak, are quaint and obsolete. Their only objective
is to win and nothing stands in their way of victory - certainly
not truth and fair play. Smash-mouth politics and dirty tricks are
key methods of stealing their way to victory.
As a result of this aggressive approach, many of us liberals and
progressives - used to playing by the rules, used to using logic
and reason to combat our opponents - have been thrown back on our
heels. Recent, ruthless developments in American politics, introduced
by Rove-ian Republicans, reminds one of how the Nazis handled their
enemies in '30s Germany: with Big Lies, and threats of brutal retaliation.
And, sad to say, those techniques have worked just enough to deny
us victory and to get themselves installed, fraudulently or not,
into power. So many Americans, badly educated in politics and history,
and kept in a constant state of fright and confusion by the Bush
Administration - still milking the 9/11 attacks for political gain
- have permitted themselves to be swayed by the right-wing propaganda
machine into voting against their own self-interests.
BUSH FORCES PEELING AWAY
But, as the imperial foreign wars grind on, for no good reason
- with thousands more dying and being maimed - and as more and more
popular social programs are decimated or eliminated, a good many
Bush voters are finally coming to realize that maybe they made a
bad mistake in November of 2004.
They have come to agree with us that the Bush folks are greedy,
irrational, mean-spirited, power-hungry, selfish and ruthless -
in short, not the kind of political leaders who are interested in
helping out the common people and in protecting the long-term national
interests, but only in short-term gains and in aiding themselves
and their wealthiest supporters.
Given that many more sections of the population - including true
conservatives - are waking up to the realities of the Bush Administration,
a window of opportunity is available to us, if we're strong and
savvy enough to take advantage of it.
As often happens with arrogant leaders, they tend to believe that
they are untouchable and can do anything they want. Since nobody
has been able to stop them to date, they believe nobody ever will
be able to stop them. And so they overreach, behave abominably,
initiate policies that are self-destructive.
We are seeing that now in both foreign and domestic areas.
RUSHING TO WAR IN IRAQ
Their first war, in Afghanistan, was only partially successful.
It could have been totally successful, but the Bush Administration
wasn't terribly interested in that scenario. Bin Laden and his top
cadres were more useful to them politically if they were still out
there. So the U.S. arranged the installation of their guy, Karzai,
in power and quickly abandoned Afghanistan in order to move on to
their real target, Iraq. Of course, they had to tell a whole passel
of lies to get their war started, but start it they did, in a big
hurry before the U.N. inspectors reported that there were no WMD
Iraq is a thoroughgoing disaster, but once again, the neo-cons
in charge of U.S. foreign policy are eager to move on to the next
wars, against Iran and Syria - although they may wind up having
to deal militarily with North Korea at the same time.
The Bush Administration seems to feel they'll be able to install
a U.S.-friendly government in Baghdad, but the recent elections
may prove a disaster for U.S. aims, since Iran-friendly mullahs
and ayatollahs will be in charge, either out front or behind the
Bush always has said that if the Iraqi government requested that
the U.S. occupation should end and the troops depart, of course
that request would be honored - but that they didn't anticipate
such a likelihood would ever materialize. But it may - then what?
"SHOCK & AWE" AS OBJECT LESSON
So two festering wars still going on, and maybe three more on
the way - all this in the face of high desertion rates in Iraq,
inability to meet recruitment quotas for new troops, forcing old
ones to stay on and return to duty, and a military draft necessity
that would be political poison. (Another huge terrorist attack in
the U.S. might provide enough political cover for re-instating the
Now the Bush Administration would prefer not to have to invade
Syria and Iran and North Korea. It's hoping that the example of
"Shock & Awe" bombing and regime change will do the trick,
and the leaders of those "Axis of Evil" countries will
bend the knee appropriately to U.S. demands.
But the lesson that many countries seem to be learning is that
the only defense that might work against the U.S. is to arm itself
quicly with nuclear weapons, thus re-creating the MAD (Mutually
Assured Destruction) scenario that kept the U.S. and U.S.S.R. from
annihilating each other during the Cold War.
The Bush Administration finally has come to realize that none
of their geopolitical moves in the Middle East will be effective
unless there is some major progress on the Israel/Palestine issue.
So it is engineering a cease-fire and more talks between the warring
BUYING TIME IN THE MIDDLE EAST
The Administration hopes that the Israel/Palestine pot will stop
boiling long enough to permit the U.S. a claim to a kind of victory
there, while it moves aggressively to alter the geopolitical realities
in the rest of the Middle East.
But one can guarantee that the slaughter will break out again
unless the U.S. is willing to force Israel to abandon virtually
all its settlements in the West Bank, to end its occupation, and
to somehow agree to give the Palestinians rule of part of Jerusalem,
perhaps under an International City mandate by the U.N. (Of course,
the Palestinians also must come through by agreeing to the right
of Israel to exist within secure borders, and to cease its terror
attacks on that country.)
There is no indication that the hardliners in Israel have any
desire or plans for abandoning the major West Bank settlements,
or in doing much more than giving the Palestinians a severely circumscribed,
geographically and economically non-viable state.
The Bush Administration is gambling that the Palestinians, worn
out and desirous of any kind of peace and state of their own, will
accept whatever compromised Palestine the Israelis offer. Perhaps
the present Palestinian Authority leadership will be tempted, but
the hardliners in Hamas and Islamic Jihad will ensure that such
offers will be rejected. And then it's back to the usual bloodbath
on both sides.
Taking all the above into account, it's clear that the neo-con
Bush Administration is vulnerable on its wars and its diplomacy,
despite Condoleezza Rice's fresh face.
BUNGLING ON SOCIAL SECURITY
But the Administration also is overreaching domestically, and
thus is highly vulnerable there as well.
Its incompetence in foreign and military policy - best expressed
in its never-ceasing bumbling in Iraq - is matched in its domestic
The best example of its overreaching arrogance in this regard
is its attempt to "reform" (read: decimate and ultimately
destroy through privatization) Social Security. The Administration
is having trouble selling this destructive, dangerous plan not only
to seniors and Democrats but to Republicans as well, who are hearing
from their constituents that this is a non-starter.
But rather than back off, Bush and Rove are determined to brazen
it through, hoping that their lies and distortions will do the trick,
just as they did in getting the country to approve of going to war
Here is our best chance to hand the Bush Administration a huge,
embarrassing defeat, and to build on that for other such battles
coming up on Medicare "reform" and judicial appointments
of extremist nominees.
Of course, it ain't gonna be easy; we still have to battle the
corporate-controlled mass media to get our message out, but the
times are right for making headway even in that difficult area.
With a revitalized Democratic National Committee, millions of
revved-up volunteers from the 2004 campaign, huge political warchests
from Internet-inspired donors, the beginnings of a liberal infrastructure
building, increasing resistance domestically (and worldwide) to
America's bullying approach abroad, and more and more moderate conservatives
peeling away from the extremist Bush Administration - with all these
developments, it is entirely possible that what we are part of right
now is the start of a liberal resurgence in this country that will
turn politics around in the near-future.
Keep on keepin' on. We will prevail.
Bernard Weiner, a playwright and poet and Ph.D. in government
& international relations, has taught at various universities, worked
as a writer/editor for the San Francisco Chronicle, and currently