Monday, May 25, 2015

GOP candidates flip-flop in the breeze -- all except Scott Walker, who just lies


With a Doonesbury bonus: The deep roots
of modern conservative policy-making

"None of the leading Republicans," says E. J. Dionne Jr., is willing to offer a more fundamental challenge to the party’s rightward lurch over the past decade."

"Unfortunately for the Republican Party and the country, [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker’s careful parsing of shape-shifting counts as one of the cerebral high points of the debate among the party’s 2016 presidential candidates."
-- E. J. Dionne Jr., in his Washington Post column
"The right's political correctness"

by Ken

In case you're coming late to Governor Walker's "shape-shifting," it's the lying scumbag's way of explaining that he's not a "flip-flopper," not he!, no way, no matter how often or how conveniently he may change his positions on any subject to suit alterations in the political temper of the moment. As E. J. Dionne Jr. explains the governor's position -- and I'm going to trust him, in part because I consider him a highly trustworthy observer and for the rest because I'm damned if I'm going to watch the vile sack of filth:
“A flip would be someone who voted on something and did something different,” the Wisconsin governor explained last week on Fox News. His altered views on immigration don’t count because he is not a legislator. “These are not votes,” he helpfully pointed out.

E.J., declaring this "sheer brilliance!," goes on to note a lucky -- for Governor Walker, that is -- coincidence:
Other than former Florida governor Jeb Bush, Walker’s major rivals at the moment are Senator Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), Senator Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) and Senator Rand Paul (R-Ky.). They have all cast lots of votes. So Walker can accuse them of flip-flopping while claiming blanket immunity for himself.
If the governor had an honest cell anywhere in his lying carcass, he could have offered the simpler and truer explanation that when he takes a position, only his all-consuming self-servingness comes into play, and never the truth, except possibly for his apparently inborn aversion to it. And as a right-winger, he has official sanction to lie, which he exercises at all opportunities except when he's cornered and can't come up with a suitable lie.

I assume E.J. doesn't feel it necessary to point out the obvious: that Governor Walker's new position on flip-flopping is utter bullshit, just like everything else he says. You either take a position or you don't, and while everyone is certainly entitled to change a position, and indeed should be encouraged to do so when they find their previous position unsatisfactory, you can't pretend that you haven't changed your position. Well, you can, but then you would be lying. Which is certainly nothing that would faze Governor Walker. It's where he lives.

At last week's Southern Republican Leadership Conference in Oklahoma City (which Howie wrote about earlier today), Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker makes sure that none of his rivals can tell more lies per microphone minute -- and the Right kinds of lies -- than he does.

The immediate issue for the governor is his flip-flop on immigration. And this leads E.J. to his mournful observation that his creative obfuscation "counts as one of the cerebral high points of the debate" among his party's 2016 presidential aspirants. "The shortage of philosophical adventure and the eagerness of GOP hopefuls to alter their positions to make them more conservative," says E.J., "a Republican primary electorate that has moved so far right that it brooks no deviation."

And so, E.J. notes, even Rand Paul, currently best known for his one-man stand against the Republicans' official position on the national-security state (they're all for it, in case you've forgotten), "even Paul has recast his foreign policy positions to make them sound more hawkish and thus more in keeping with prevailing Republican views."

The same is true, E.J., says of the band of self-styled "reform conservatives," who seem incapable of taking any even slightly unorthodox position without simultaneously declaring their unbroken fealty to the most rightward of right-wing "beliefs," or at least the beliefs of the moment.
With occasional exceptions, they have been far more interested in proving their faithfulness to today’s hard-line right than in declaring, as conservatives in so many other democracies have been willing to do, that sprawling market economies need a rather large dose of government. Conservatives, Levin says, are “eager to build on the longstanding institutions of our society to improve things.” Good idea. But somehow, the successes of decades-old governmental institutions in areas such as retirement security, health-care provision and environmental protection are rarely acknowledged.
"Where, for example," E.J. wonders,
is the candidate willing to acknowledge that, like it or not, there’s no way that anywhere close to all Americans will be able to get health insurance unless government plays a very large role? Where is the Republican who will admit that if the party had its way on further tax cuts, many programs Americans like would fall by the wayside?
And this is awkward, E.J. points out, because "many Republicans, especially reform conservatives, know that most Americans who criticize government in the abstract still welcome many of its activities."
Yet stating this obvious fact is now politically incorrect on the right. Conservatives who condemn political correctness in others need to start calling it out on their own side. Otherwise, Scott Walker’s artful redefinition of flip-flopping could become the 2016 Republican debate’s most creative intellectual contribution.
What E.J. is again too polite to point out is that these same right-wing pols have done much to create this situation by encouraging and exploiting the hardening of the Republican base's position -- precisely because it then makes that base so poliically exploitable.

Which doesn't create much of a problem as long as your only consideration is the personal gain you can derive from swearing loyalty to what the base wants to hear at any given moment. But if in a moment of weakness you want to consider what might be good for the country or for Americans generally, well, if you know what's good for you, you'll keep your trap shut.

The comfort lies in knowing that if at any moment there's a change in the voodoo bromides the organized American crazies want to hear, you can always change your position -- as long as you don't have a voting record to answer to, according to one newly enunciated lying-scumbag theory.


DOONESBURY     by G. B. Trudeau

[Click to enlarge.]

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