Saturday, May 15, 2010

You Say You Want A Revolution? Conservatives Haven't Changed Since Colonial Days


Blanche Lincoln & Samuel Seabury, conservatives with ideas antithetical to American values

When reviewing-- at great length and over the course of several months-- Mike Lux's spectacular book, The Progressive Revolution: How The Best In America Came To Be, we often pointed out how conservatives were inevitably on the wrong side of history, starting with their opposition to the Declaration of Independence, to the American Revolution itself-- and did they ever hate the tea partiers-- and, of course, to the Constitution which granted suffrage to non-landowners and to "common" people. At the time of the American Revolution, almost half a million conservatives remained loyal to the British crown and many fought on the side of the Brits against the founding of a new independent republic. That was about 20% of the population at the time. After the war, over 60,000 white conservatives-- including many of the wealthiest landowners like the DeLancy, DePester Walton and Cruger families of the Hudson Valley and the Penn, Allen, Chew, and Shippen families of Pennsylvania-- left America for Britain or other British territories, like Canada and the Bahamas. Many of the richest southern conservatives took their slaves and fled to the West Indies. In his spectacular book, Conservatism in Early American History, Leonard Woods Larabee identified the traits that predicted anti-American attitudes among conservatives. It's still worth looking at those traits today when examining anti-American attitudes among today's conservatives. Needless to say, the top traits were greed and selfishness, the root motivators among most conservatives down through the ages.

In his book Threshold Thom Hartmann emphasizes that "[d]uring the Revolutionary War, virtually every person of great wealth left the United States... As the Constitution was being framed, one of the biggest issues was the debate over the best ways to keep in check the power of wealth." Unfortunately, corporate shills like Alexander Hamilton (think of him as the representative of Wall Street, a kind of combination of John McCain, Chuck Schumer and Joe Lieberman), Tench Coxe and Samuel Seabury and reactionary southerners-- yep; back then too-- worked hard, and effectively, to thwart that strain of revolutionary thought. Which is why, for example, we wound up with a Senate (modeled on the House of Lords), with slavery, with no voting rights for women and no guarantees of the individual liberties that were later addressed-- also to the hysterical opposition of conservatives-- by the Bill of Rights.

Today this same strain of conservatism completely dominates one political party, the Republicans, and had immense power inside the Democratic party (though the corporately-financed DLC and Blue Dog Caucus). Yesterday Bill Halter debated one of the most conservative-- and, as though it were a corollary, corrupt-- members of the Senate, Blanche Lincoln. He argued for giving the middle class a hand. She advocated for low estate tax rates for the few dozen families in Arkansas-- all her political contributors-- with estates worth over $10,000,000.

Tuesday Arkansas voters will decide between the middle class-oriented Halter and the sleazy corporate shill Lincoln. It should surprise no one that the Democratic Party Establishment, stinking in nearly as much corruption as the Republiucan Party Establishment, backs Lincoln. Wherever there's a contested primary Tuesday, the DCCC, the DSCC and the Democratic insider establishment is backing the more conservative candidate and the one most likely to suck up to Big Money corporate interests. In the U.K. last week, voters gave no party a mandate. The "winners," The Conservatives, walked off with an unimpressive 36% of the vote. 64% of the electorate rejected them. But the Labour Party, like the U.S. Democratic Party, has, in many cases, become too putrid and too beholden to corporate interests to bother with.

Aside from Arkansas, there are a number of crucial races pitting conservatives against non-conservatives. Pennsylvania Democrats will decide between a Republican calling himself a Democrat for convenience sake, Arlen Specter, and an actual Democrat, Joe Sestak. And in Kentucky, Democrats get to choose between Dan Mongiardo, an anti-Choice, anti-gay, anti-healthcare conservative tool, and Attorney General Jack Conway, who, like Halter, stands for solidly middle class values and aspirations. All three races are too close to call, although momentum is clearly against the three conservatives. You know which ones Blue America is backing, right?

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At 7:17 AM, Blogger Jack Jodell said...

What an outstanding post! I loved how you pointed out the common theme of conservatives all throughout the ages: their greed and selfishness. This was a very illuminating post and I thank you for it. I will reprint it in my own blog this week, with all due credit, of course.

I knew there was a reason I hadn't cared much for Alexander Hamilton all these years! :-)


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