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madfloridian Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-30-12 01:55 AM
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Grover Norquist, Glory Days? Soul of the New Machine.
In 2004 Mother Jones had an article about Grover Norquist titled The Soul of the New Machine. The article referred back to one by Michael Scherer in the 1990s.

I find myself wondering why and how someone like Michelle Rhee has gained so much power to influence education, and I have often wondered the same about Grover Norquist. How in the world did he get so many politicians to bow to his no tax pledge. Who was behind their power plays?

I guess the answer in both cases would be money and behind the scenes power brokers. And the lack of a strong opposition hasn't helped. Too much bipartisanship?

From Mother Jones 2004:

Grover Norquist: The Soul of the New Machine

"It's the most powerful, nihilistic movement in Washington today," says Ralph Nader, who recently attended one of Norquist's meetings to give his views on corporate welfare. "It is such a cold-blooded atmosphere it would sustain icicles."

The same spirit that chills Nader warms the heart of Norquist. When he founded his weekly Wednesday meeting in 1993, its numbers rarely brooked a dozen. "It was like a conservative version of Seinfeld," says an attendee of those early meetings, "with people double-dipping into the bagels and cream cheese." But conservatives, with Norquist as one of their pre-eminent strategists, have since overtaken the capital. Once a consigliere to Newt Gingrich, Norquist now has the ear of Karl Rove, the president's top political adviser, who has been known to stop in at the Wednesday meetings. In turn, Norquist plays the role of national ward boss, delivering the coalition that has rallied around the president's policy agenda."

Norquist's agenda reeks of rigid libertarianism, even the name of his group.

"Norquist calls it the "Leave-Us-Alone Coalition," a grouping of gun owners, the Christian right, homeschoolers, libertarians, and business leaders that he has almost single-handedly managed to unite. The common vision: an America in which the rich will be taxed at the same rates as the poor, where capital is freed from government constraints, where government services are turned over to the free market, where the minimum wage is repealed, unions are made irrelevant, and law-abiding citizens can pack handguns in every state and town. "My ideal citizen is the self-employed, homeschooling, IRA-owning guy with a concealed-carry permit," says Norquist. "Because that person doesn't need the goddamn government for anything."

The closing paragraph of the article is like snapshot of today's America. It's amazing how he succeeded in reaching so many of his goals.

"By the age of 12, he already knew that government was bad, that the Soviet Union must be eliminated, that public monopolies were worse than the private sector, that social freedom was more important than social fairness. He isn't about to change his mind now. "We are deadly serious," he declares. "We do intend to have a smaller and less intrusive government, and every time the government gets smaller there are fewer Democratic precinct workers in the world." It is, he says, a virtuous cycle. "We can create our own majorities. We've been doing that for the last 20 years. And I'm cheerful because my team is winning."

It's a full two pages to read, but it is well worth it to see what can happen in just over a decade of Democrats using the philosophy of the centrist think tanks like the DLC and the Third Way.

Bipartisanship with extremists has not worked, and it is a truly dangerous game to play.

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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-30-12 02:53 AM
Response to Original message
1. Breaking a vow is not that hard after the first time. Ask any serial adulterer.
Edited on Fri Nov-30-12 03:16 AM by No Elephants
Democratic voters have been learning that Democrats will not necessarily side against the plutocrats.

I think that, when neither party truly represents the 99%, more and more of the 99% will go with the Party that they trust to at least not raise their taxes.

But now, Republican voters are learning that they cannot necessarily trust Republicans on taxes. And, Romney was right on one thing: keeping taxes low is not much of an issue if you don't have a job or can't make enough at the three jobs you do you have.,

So, the line between the parties will get even more blurred.

Things may get really interesting.

Chinese curse: May you live in interesting times.

BTW, the Progressive Policy Institute is more active currently than the DLC.

As you probably know, PPI was established by Will Marshall, who with Al From, was the first employee of the DLC. (One of the reasons why I don't like using the word "progressive" to mean anything left of centrist. The Progressive Party was, after all, the moderate wing of the Republican Party.)

But, now, almost the entire Democratic Party has gone Third Way. Most Democratic voters are still clueless about that. Either that, or they are willing to settle for a Party that, for the most part, does not get batshit crazy over social issues.

But, until The Tea Party and Todd Akins gave Democrats a huge gift, Democrats were getting more and more quiet about social issues. Obama, for example, stammered most when asked about abortion and he would not handle gays in the military by executive order as Reagan had--and many of Obama's bundlers are gay.

Now, Republicans have decided that their far right religious and mostly white male base is not enough without more women and minorities. So Republican politicians are going to at least try to seem more inclusive and less batshit.

I guess that gets us back to the "interesting" question of how voters will tell the two parties apart as they continue to morph into each other.

I don't know if the Republican base, when denied, is as docilely loyal as the Democratic base when denied, though.

I'm thinking Libertarians may will be the unintended beneficiaries of all this morphing. I just hope the Bill Maher-type Libertarians greatly outnumber the Ron Paul-type libertarians.

But, I doubt it. I think Libertarians are basically Republicans who don't want to be taxed for anything, even defense.
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Enthusiast Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-30-12 07:59 AM
Response to Original message
2. Bipartisanship with extremists is not working!
But the Democrats, led by the President's example, continue to do it. The entire TV news spectrum portrays right wing extremists as a reasonable alternative. These are the extremists that brought us things like Florida's Stand Your Ground law.

Getting in bed with extremists is allowing the Democratic Administration to adopt a right wing education strategy where the ultimate goal is to dismantle public education. WTF? Obviously this most recent election illustrated that the American people do not want these extremists in power and they do not want Democrats to adopt extremist right wing positions. This is just a fact.
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No Elephants Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Nov-30-12 08:11 AM
Response to Reply #2
3. Bipartisanship with extremists is not working for the people, but works just fine for
Edited on Fri Nov-30-12 08:14 AM by No Elephants
plutocrats, both in and out of government.

And therein lies the rub.

The only people who truly want a change have no power, except to vote once every two to four years.

And both sides excercise that power to vote for what each side perceives to be the lesser of two evils. Therefore, nothing much changes. And, if it so much as threatened to change, well, there's always tampering with the vote.
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