Friday, February 23, 2018

Conservatism In Exile -- Really?

This morning on Morning Joe, Joe and the gang were waxing nostalgic for the good old days of true blue conservatism. You know, like it was back when Reagan was in office.

I'm no spring chicken and I fully recall those days. I call "fake news!" What are Joe et al thinking about?

Look, I get that Trump and today's GOP would have anyone wanting to disassociate from anything even remotely resembling this rotten cast of characters. But let's keep it real.

As I've said repeatedly, Trump didn't just appear on the scene out of nowhere. He's not some invader from outer space who seduced one party into having him as their nominee.

Rather it's been a gradual evolution (actually devolution) of the Republican Party that has resulted in Trump as POTUS. Admit it! Don't rub your eyes in disbelief, trying to figure out how we got here. The lineage has been fairly straightforward. Reagan to Gingrich to GW/Cheney to Tea Party to Trump. Go ahead, wince, but that's more or less been the regression.

I have argued that today's GOP and Trump simply represent "conservatism" on steroids, to its extreme. And it's just very difficult for many to accept this ugly reality -- understandably.

Joe Scarborough never actually explains what he means by the conservatism he longs for, other than to just mention the name of Reagan and his supposed legacy (much of which has become folklore).

Let's revisit much of what occurred in the 1980s or during the heyday of "real" conservatism.

  • Reagan cut taxes and blew up the deficit. So has Trump and today's GOP. 
  • Reagan's tax cuts were skewed towards favoring the rich and wealthy. So are Trump's tax cuts. 
  • Republicans then were against government spending -- unless a Republican was POTUS, then it was OK. The same holds true with Trump and today's GOP.
  • Re spending, Reagan emphasized the military. Trump and today's GOP the same.
  • Reagan was big on rolling back regulations. Trump and today's GOP the same.
  • Reagan was not hugely pro-environment (see James Watt). Trump and today's GOP same, to say the least!
  • Conservatives then were very much pro-gun, pro-NRA, don't infringe on their rights to bear arms. Not true today?
  • And of course the anti-abortion holds true then and now....

What am I missing? What is Joe Scarborough recalling that I seemed to have either forgotten or misinterpreted? Seriously. Enough with this mushrooming group of "recovering" Republicans (Scarborough, Frum, Kristol, Will, etc.) who seemingly pretend that their party was once something wholly different than what we're observing today. Me thinks they doth protest too much. 

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