Let's Do the Republican Rhumba!
Come on everybody, to keep up with the conservatives you have to dance like a dervish
In the world of conservatives, down is up, wrong is right, and everything is black and white. Following along can be tricky. The dance moves don't come naturally to anyone who thinks rationally... or has any sense of rhythm. This kind of stuff only comes easily if you are born needing to be told what to believe, whether it be religion or politics. For the rest of you, if you need a visual example, think of sheep jumping over a puddle, one after another after another.
OK. Let's give it a try.
The Liberal Twist. We'll start off with an easy one. In this dance, you vilify the word "liberal" and all contemporary "liberals", while claiming liberal ideas and heroes of the past as your own. They have to do this, because they have so very few heroes of their own, except for Reagan. It sounds difficult, but really it's easy. Let's give it a whirl. Just quote the George Washington, Thomas Jefferson, Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt, Harry Truman, John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King Jr., but never mention that these were all LIBERAL heroes that conservatives fought against! Then celebrate the Declaration of Independence, the creation of public education, the abolition of slavery, the emancipation of women, the raising of the working and middle class, the passing of laws to improve workplace safety, Social Security, Civil Rights, Environmental laws, but you never mention that these were all LIBERAL ideas, that conservatives fought against! You pay lip service to such notions as freedom, liberty, equality, free speech, the pursuit of happiness... oh, and don't forget religious liberal values like love for one another, forgiveness and non-judgment... but then you run the opposite direction and actually promote prejudice, fear, conformity, division, inequality, disenfranchisement, suppression, and corporate domination over the individual. The only tricky part is to figure out just when it's safe to stop dissing the liberal hero and/or idea, and embrace the liberal way as the right way after all. It would seem that about 40 years is requi#BD0A0A for conservatives to see the light on any particular liberal thing or person of the past... while continuing to be entirely wrong about liberal heroes and ideas of the present. And you watch, in about 20 years, they'll forget about Reagan, too, as it dawns on America what a truly horrendous president he was, as well! There you go... now you're twisting!
Support-the-Troops Two-Step. This one is standard fare at any Republican gathering. In this move, you take a step forward and hold out your right arm like you are putting it around an Army sergeant. You never miss an opportunity to claim that you support the troops (and this is most effective when you have sent the troops to war). You also never miss the opportunity to have your photo taken with the troops. If there are no troops to have your photo taken with, you can utilize cardboard cutouts as stand-ins, or perhaps a boy scout. It's also advisable to have a minimum of 80 American flags flying, hanging, draped or otherwise prominently displayed behind you. And don't forget your American flag lapel pin. That is a requi#BD0A0A accessory for any conservative. This confirms, without doubt, that you are a patriot, as well as a conformist. Very important. OK, that part is easy; here's the tricky part. Now you step back, withdraw your arm and fold it behind your back with your fingers crossed. Despite your professed love and support of the troops, you never, ever vote to extend benefits for the troops or veterans. You vote to slash funds for the Veterans Adminstration, and close VA hospitals (except those in your district). You allow the troops to be misused, overused and abused by a clueless commander-in-chief, without a murmur of disagreement. You encourage the Pentagon to disallow such silly and pansy complaints such as "Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome." You don't even bother to travel across town to check out the horrendous conditions in the military hospital you have set up to receive the valiant war wounded. Basically the idea is to use the troops for all they are worth to get elected, and to extend the reach of corporate power and greed around the world, but you really, truly don't give a damn about them when they come back home. In fact, back at home they can be a real pain in the ass. What do these people have to complain about? While in the service, away from their families, watching their buddies get blown away, they were paid double minimum wage, got to play with cool military hardware, snack on delicious "Meals Ready to Eat," and have fun trying to avoid getting electrocuted by a no-bid Republican contractor's shoddy construction work building their showers. And when they came home they got a hero's welcome and the freedom to get a menial job... get divorced, have recurring nightmares, and/or sleep under a bridge. If any of the military ingrates get particularly unreasonable with you, like for instance demanding that you fulfill your promises, you might just go ahead and open fire on them, as Republican Herbert Hoover did. And you never even have trouble sleeping at night. But be careful, the inexperienced can throw their internal organs out of whack doing this move. It takes a little practice for those with an actual heart (admittedly rare in conservative circles).
Trust-Us-to-Share-the-Wealth Waltz. Here's a classic. This one was enormously popular with conservatives back in the early 1900s, until they ran us straight into the Panic of 1907. It was all the rage again in the 1920s, until they ran us right into the Depression. Then it went out of favor for a good long time while the country made tremendous strides raising up the middle class and working folk with liberal economic plans. It's made a big come-back since Ronald Reagan and his "trickle-down" theory, which asks for deregulation and very low (or no) taxes on the ultra rich and corporations because these benevolent folks will trickle down a share of the wealth to the rest of us. It sounds great, especially the low taxes part, but it's never worked in human history. With Reagan, then Bush the Bland, then moderate Republican Bill Clinton, then Bush the Terrible stoking the trickle down train, the conservative economic religion ran us smack into the current Great Recession in 2008. Small matter to conservatives. Like zombies they just pop back from the dead and start blaming any liberal in sight. For this dance, you have to memorize a few key chants. You'll shout these out at every turn during the waltz. Here we go. Repeat after me: "Free Market". "Free Trade". "Right to Work". "Unions Bad". "Corporations Good". "Regulations Bad". "Profits Good". "Extreme Profits, Very Good". "Voodoo Economics". Oops, forget that last one. Now, here we go. Take your right foot, and rotate it down on the floor like you're squishing an ant. Except think of that ant as all those pesky workers out there wanting raises. Then take your left foot and swish away the dirt on the floor... that's the old, inefficient job you're going to flick over to a third world country to save loads of cash. You're the CEO, or the COO, or the CTO or the CFO, or whatever (make up your own title), making a million dollars a year (still "middle class" according to John McCain), and your company is making billions of dollars a year; the last thing you want is any grief from the peon section. Who do these people think they are anyway, stockholders? Well, maybe they are, but they aren't major stockholders, and that makes all the difference. If they were major stockholders they would clearly understand that the welfare of the company and its upper level executives is the most important thing in the entire country, if not the universe, far more important than the jobs of anyone lower than a company vice-president. So the rabble simply must come to appreciate how wonderful it is when their jobs are sent overseas to someone who will do it for about 1/50th of their salary... and see the beauty of dismantling the factory that has been in a community for a 100 years, and shipping it off to a small nation with a name no one can pronounce... and the elegance of being able to shirk your tax responsibilities by moving your corporate headquarters to a post office box in Bermuda... while, at the same time, reaping millions in corporate welfare from compliant and very friendly conservative politicians. Someday the whiners may understand how important it is for corporations to do whatever they want to do, wherever they want, whenever they want, without any oversight or regulation, so that they may grow stronger and dominate and control our lives even more than they do today. That is very important. That is at the very heart of corporate conservatism... the most powerful form of conservatism alive today, and since the 1880s. People around the world must realize and recognize, and indeed, revere the benevolence and beauty of corporations, and to submit to their far superior wisdom and way of constructing reality that serves to help all of humanity by providing everything that everyone needs to live, and a whole lot more. Here's another chant for the jig: "keep consuming now... keep consuming now... keep consuming now". It's probably best if you go into something of a trance for this one. Just close your eyes and believe. The conservatives are never wrong. Except always.
Tax-Cut Shuffle. Ah, another chestnut. This one's very basic, and pretty much everyone's favorite, at least the first part. Everyone hates taxes. It's a sure winner. You've probably shaken your booty to this one for years. Here we go... all together now... one-two-three... "Read My Lips... No New Taxes!!!!!" Yeah! Crowd goes wild. "Down with Tax and Spend Liberals!!!!!" Yeah! Crowd goes wild. "It's Your Money, Not the Government's!!!!!" Yeah! Crowd goes wild. So far, so good. Now here's the "shuffle" part. Here we go... all together now... one-two-three... "Let's pass the largest tax increase in American history" (which Reagan did, then Bush Sr. did), or "Let's not 'tax and spend', let's 'charge and spend'" (running up the c#BD0A0Ait cards of our children and grand-children like George W. Bush), or "Let's shuffle federal taxes to the states, counties and cities", or "Let's cut out schools, teachers, roads, bridges, infrastructure, police, fire-fighters, social programs, health clinics, workplace safety, environmental protections, product safety, scientific research". Crowd goes... What? Come on, everyone, get with the program. Oh, you like the first verse, but not the second. You people just don't have the rhythm.
Invent Your Own "Facts" Fandango. This one goes way back, at least to the days of Socrates, probably back into prehistory when conservatives were arguing against the development of the wheel (it would be the end of their traditional culture). In America this conservative dance has a lengthy legacy, most prominently during the argument over whether to abolish slavery when conservatives were slipping and sliding all over the hall in order to dance around some very, very, very inconvenient facts. The conservatives often find themselves arguing complete loser ideas (alas, as discussed previously, it takes them 40 years to figure that out), so truth, actually reality, is their nemesis. Of course, the best way to defeat your opponent's facts are to invent your own facts, though they aren't really "facts" because they are "fabrications", but you hope many people won't notice. Science, in particular, just drives conservatives nuts. Always has, always will. Think about what they did to Galileo and Copernicus. Some things never change. Today they can't burn anyone at the stake or even put any scientists under house arrest (though Bush and Cheney probably thought of giving it a try), but it doesn't stop them from sticking their collective heads deep in the sand when it comes to issues such as Global Warming, evolution, stem cell research, endange#BD0A0A species and habitat protection, not to mention their economic philosophies which have been proven to be contrary to actual fact for, oh, about 5000 years. Anyway, try it yourself with you friends. Let your friend say, "the sun sets in the west", and then you do the Conservative Invent Your Own "Facts" Fandango, and argue "No, it most certainly does not. It sets in the northeast, everyone knows that." It may take a little practice. Liberals are very clumsy at this one. They keep being pulled back to the actual facts like moths to a flame. The notion is that if you keep saying it often enough, millions of people will accept it as absolute fact. Keep trying. You'll get it. Attend a Republican convention for tips and tricks.
Finally... the rare and elusive occasion where a Fox News host calls other conservatives on their "factual" B.S.
Liberal-Media Minuet. Here's a slow one. With this one you just scowl, shake your head slowly, and kind of sway back and forth in a clunky sort of way. This one works well as a transition from the Invent Your Own "Facts" Fandango, because it bolsters your fabricated facts, which are never given their just due in the "liberal media". That there really is hardly any such thing as the "liberal media bias" is yet another fabricated "fact," but that's nothing that can't be overcome with yet more fabrications. In actuality, the "media" is overwhelmingly conservative. Almost all large newspapers, and television and radio channels are owned by conservative corporations. Disney, Time-Warner, General Electric, Clear Channel, Viacom, Bertlesmann are very conservative companies, all about only one thing.... profit! They don't want to be taxed, and they don't want to be regulated... so conservatives are their best friends! Talk radio is absolutely dominated... like the Nazi Panzers vs. the Blind Toddlers of Warsaw... by conservative spin-meisters such as Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and Bill O'Reilly. Then there is "News Corporation", the tarantula-like media monster of Australian uber conservative Rupert Murdoch, who proclaims, "Our reach is unmatched around the world. We're reaching people from the moment they wake up until they fall asleep." The liberal side has nothing remotely similar to this conservative juggernaut. News Corp. is the home of Fox News, with the absurd but classic-conservative double-speak moniker "Fair and Balanced", when it really is the least fair and balanced "news" channel in American history! Murdoch also now owns The Wall Street Journal. Now be careful, knowing this, it's hard to keep scowling and head-shaking and not break into a guffaw. This coalition of conservative media exercises strict control over what political positions are allowed to be disseminated across their pages or airwaves. The corporate media is very skittish of offending the large portion of their audience that they perceive as conservative, and independent surveys have consistently shown a very skewed bias toward conservative positions. Many front-page stories critical of American conservative leadership or big business, that readers and viewers in other nations receive, never see the light of day in the American corporate media. Indeed, the corporate media entirely failed us in the run-up to the Iraq War, and on many other issues of corruption and incompetency in the Bush administration, kow-towing to a flag-waving ideology (that supported their own best self-interest), and steadfastly refusing to ask the tough questions and dig deep into the claims of an extreme president, particularly when Bush and his policies were still popular. The Founding Fathers counted on the media to be the junkyard watch dog for the people in holding politicians accountable for their actions. Largely because of a complacent conservative media, it looks as if Cheney-Bush and their bunch of corporate pirates will get away with the abuses and damage they have wrought upon the United States of America. So, by "liberal media," conservatives are really speaking of a few independent newspapers, a handful of liberal magazines and a paltry few radio voices. Oh, yes... that liberal media! While practicing your scowl and head-shake, Go Here to see for yourself which conservative corporations own which media.
Experience Jitterbug. This is a fast one, try to keep up. Its resurrected every once in awhile, including by the John McCain campaign. In this move, you excoriate your polical opponent for having so little "experience" and who is not "ready to lead", when he (or she) actually has MORE experience than many of the candidates that your party has proffered over the years. Then your candidate (with all the experience), selects a running mate with little or no experience, and suddenly "experience" is not so needed, at least in a running mate (who is just a heart-beat away), but still is for their main guy (or gal), but not so much for your guy (or gal). Except, that if your running mate has a particular kind of experience, such as "executive" experience, then that becomes extremely important... in a running mate, but not in your main guy (or gal) who has no "executive" experience. Or maybe it's "private sector" experience that their guy (or gal) has, but your guy (or gal) doesn't, in which case it's "government" experience that counts, unless it doesn't for one reason or another. The main thing to remember is whatever kind of experience or qualifications their candidate has is not good enough, but this doesn't hold true for your candidate, even though they have the same or less experience or qualifications. So that's why it's so very important to have this kind of experience, or not. Whew... that's a fun one, eh?
OK, that's all the dances we have time for today... but we'll be back with more soon. Meanwhile, Happy Republican Rhumba-ing!
(Chant along everybody... Hooked on a Feeling'.... High on Believin'... in Free Trade....
Free Market... No New Taxes... More Profits for my Buddies... I Am Not A Crook...)