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How Obama Changed the Right

Posted on Jun 20, 2010

By E.J. Dionne Jr.

Barack Obama’s campaign promise of change did not include a pledge to transform American conservatism. But one of his presidency’s major legacies may be a revolution on the American right in which older, more secular forms of politics displace religious activism.

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The reaction to Obama has also radicalized parts of the conservative movement, giving life to conspiracy theories long buried and strains of thinking similar to those espoused by the John Birch Society and other right-wing groups in the 1950s and ’60s.

Conservatism’s critics often see it as an undifferentiated mass animated by hostility to “big government,” by support for social traditionalism and by a deep animosity toward liberalism.

But conservatism is a diverse movement with many philosophical threads and tensions. Successful conservative politicians such as Ronald Reagan (and George W. Bush in his first term) kept the peace among economic, social and big-business conservatives while moderating the movement’s public rhetoric. In opposition, conservatives often manage to bury their differences. But conservatism has flown apart when its components have come into conflict or when extreme rhetoric has come to the fore.

The rise of the tea party movement is a throwback to an old form of libertarianism that sees most of the domestic policies that government has undertaken since the New Deal as unconstitutional. It typically perceives the most dangerous threats to freedom as the design of well-educated elitists out of touch with “American values.”


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In its extreme antipathy to the power of the federal government, this movement may prove to be threatening to the Republicans in what should otherwise be a good year for the party.

Republican Rep. Joe Barton’s apology last week to BP for Obama’s alleged “shakedown” of the company for $20 billion on behalf of those hurt by the Gulf oil spill was embarrassing precisely because it underscored how far the right’s mistrust of the federal government goes.

When faced with a choice between supporting a large British corporation or a federal government battling for compensation of the disaster’s victims, Barton sided with Big Oil.

Barton later withdrew his apology under pressure from Republican leaders, but many in the party and on the right echoed his views. The Republican Study Committee, made up of more than 115 House conservatives, had already called the escrow fund “Chicago-style shakedown politics,” while Judson Phillips, the leader of Tea Party Nation, labeled it “extortion.”

The language of the new anti-statists, like the language of the 1950s’ right, regularly harks back to the U.S. Constitution and the Founders in calling attention to perceived threats to liberty.

A group called Tea Party Patriots (many tea party groups include the word patriot in their names) describes itself as “a community committed to standing together, shoulder to shoulder, to protect our country and the Constitution upon which we were founded!” Tea Party Nation says it is “a user-driven group of like-minded people who desire our God given Individual Freedoms which were written out by the Founding Fathers.”

As the scrutiny of the movement has increased, its critics (most recently Chris Matthews in an MSNBC documentary and Jason Zengerle in The New Republic) have noticed how much of this is very old American stuff.

One of the important groups on the right in the mid-20th century took the name Americans for Constitutional Action. The group, as Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab reported in their sociological classic “The Politics of Unreason,” favored “progressive repeal of the socialistic laws now on our books.”

Attacks on a highly educated class that are a staple of conservative criticisms of Obama and his circle also have a long right-wing pedigree. “I can find you a lot more Harvard accents in Communist circles in America today than you can find me overalls,” declared Robert Welch, founder of the Birch Society, in 1966.

What’s remarkable is the extent to which the tea party movement has displaced the religious right as the dominant voice of conservative militancy. The religious conservatives have not disappeared, and Sarah Palin, a tea party hero, does share their views on abortion and gay marriage. But these issues have been overshadowed by the broader anti-government themes pushed by the New Old Right, and the “compassionate conservatism” that inspires parts of the Christian political movement has no place in the right’s current order of battle.

Thus has Obama brought back to life a venerable if disturbing style of conservative thinking. In the short run, the new movement’s energy threatens him. In the long run, its extremism may be his salvation.

E.J. Dionne’s e-mail address is ejdionne(at)
© 2010, Washington Post Writers Group

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By christian96, June 25, 2010 at 9:29 pm Link to this comment

CallMeRoy—-I liked “Hollyweird.”  If you don’t
mind I’ll use that in the future.

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By call me roy, June 25, 2010 at 7:42 pm Link to this comment

This story shows the total agenda of vomit for the Barry Hussen Obama Administration. Congressmen Seek to Halt Deportation of Son of Hamas Founder Who Became Spy for Israel, Friday, June 25, 2010. Washington – Eight members of the House of Representatives have signed a letter to Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, urging her not to deport the son of the founder of the terrorist group Hamas. The son, Mosab Hassan Yousef, became a spy for the Israeli government in the late 1990s and reportedly stopped several terrorist attacks. In 2009, the United States rejected Yousef’s petition for asylum. Yousef, who converted from Islam to Christianity, would likely be in danger if forced to return to the West Bank, which is run by the Palestinian Authority and borders Israel, Jordan and the Dead Sea. The letter, circulated by Rep. Doug Lamborn (R-Colo.), tells Napolitano “to take in all the evidence” about the case.
“[W]e ask that full consideration be given to Mr. Yousef’s views and conduct in recent years, particularly his cooperation with Shin Bet [Israel Security Agency] at significant risk to his own safety and life,” the letter said. “We understand that Mr. Yousef’s Shin Bet handler will attest to Mr. Yousef’s courageous work to prevent acts of terror, as well as attest that Mr. Yousef harbors no loyalty to or affiliation with a foreign terrorist organization,” it added. The letter was co-signed by Republican Reps. Trent Franks of Arizona, Cynthia Lummis of Wyoming, Bill Posey of Florida, Kenny Marchant of Texas, Rob Bishop of Utah, John Kline of Minnesota and John Shadegg of Arizona. Yousef was honored Wednesday night on Capitol Hill as the keynote speaker at the “Rays of Light in the Darkness” dinner sponsored by the Endowment for Middle East Truth, a pro-Israel group. “I personally switched gods,” Yousef said during his remarks to the gathering. He later said he is frequently asked why he left Islam. His answer: “Because the god of Islam doesn’t like music, Jews, Christians or Muslims. The god of Islam is the biggest enemy of Muslims.” This, Yousef said, is because people become enslaved to radical Islamic beliefs that promote hate and violence. He expressed his concerns about the plight of his fellow Palestinians, but he said their culture must change for their condition to improve. “What would happen if Israel disappeared from the map?” he asked hypothetically. “Would we have peace in the Middle East? The Palestinians would kill each other.” Though he is not a signatory to the letter, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-Calif.) is concerned about Yousef’s situation. “He faces the risk of death and torture if he goes back to the West Bank,” “The argument that he has provided material assistance to Hamas is absurd in light of all the things he’s done to harm Hamas. Alan Keyes, a former ambassador and presidential candidate, said the administration’s motives are more clearly anti-Israel. “It seems to me we are living in a time when people who work for the U.S. government are sending all kinds of signals to suggest there is now a kind of free-fire zone against folks who are sympathetic to and supportive of Israel and the U.S. relationship with Israel and all that that represents,” Keyes said “I think the idea of the deportation sadly confirms all of that.”
Whatever the government’s intent, Sarah Stern, president of the Endowment for Middle East Truth, seemed to sum up the feelings of the attendees at the dinner when she said from the podium in her closing remarks, “He should get a Nobel Prize. He should certainly not be deported.”
My question to Barry Hussein is ” Do you have the same people working on this problem as who worked on the three Navy SEALs who faced assault charges for capturing one of the most wanted terrorists in Iraq problem? Who side are you on, Mr President? No, please Barry, don’t say anything. We all now know the truth.

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By call me roy, June 25, 2010 at 7:20 pm Link to this comment

I am not surprised to hear these stinking lies about our “Anointed One,” it should be apparent to anyone that this was coming down the pike. I do have a couple questions about future process steps concerning these developments? When the “Annointed One” decides to start bar-coding everyone, will we get to decide if the mark is on our hand or forehead? Allot of people will prefer the hand, (especially women of course), unless your a porn actress or something along those lines. Also, my girlfriend was wondering if the Administration will be getting fashion advice from Hollyweird or the New York City crowd? We are both agree that the Administration “Maoies” as the “Anointed One ” so lovingly calls them,will be getting uniforms similar to the SS uniforms in Germany in WW2. With big letters abreviating “Barack’s Socialists.” So shall we start calling them the BS?

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By garth, June 25, 2010 at 7:47 am Link to this comment

In literary history, the character, Obama, might be loosely based on three figures:  Captain Nemo, although invertedly—Obama seeks “justice” for the wealthy; Captain Ahab—Obama is urged on to conquer Russia by a madman in the sahdows, Zbigniew Brzezinski; and Captain Bligh—by Obama’s single-minded yet ineffectual attempts to further the goals of his political affiliations.  Mutiny is in the air.

Radio talk show host of the so-called Progressive media slant are now urging Obama to get tough.

Meanwhile in Toronto, the G20 meeting is surrounded by a wall and the police are armend with crowd control weapons like sound cannons.
(I hear the rambling trucks in my neighborhood and I wonder if we are being prepared for the noise machine that is coming.  Better deaf than dead, though, I suppose.  I say rally on!

The G20 is going to lay out the plans for the next 20 years of austerity for the masses.  We are going to pay off their gambling debts.

Back in the Consortium of the United States, they face the vote to supplement the war with an extra 33 billion dollars, all of which will be used to fatten wallets and kill hapless Afghans. 

But they voted nada for the unemployed in this country.

The Republicans and about 36 Democrats in the House said, “No,” to continuing the unemployment checks from going out and, therefore, keeping those retail shoppers who buy goods for survival out of the bread lines.  “Let them eat caque.”

As a woman caller to C-SPAN said this morning that she’s the only one she knows who’s talking about pulling out of Afghanistan and spending the Trillion dollars here in the U.S.  She said she felt like she was going crazy.

Me, too.

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By garth, June 24, 2010 at 1:05 pm Link to this comment

Nice bit of pseudo psychology. 

The problem has to be faced and met squarely.  No more Mr. Nice Guy and Mr. Bad Guy.

Grow up.

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By garth, June 24, 2010 at 9:53 am Link to this comment

Keep in mind all you militaristic concretized thinkers: Anonymity is a form of cowardice.
We are headed to oblivion.  And right now, I say Glory Be.

All those Jews and Necromancers will be left to languish in the oil, the oil spilled by their greed in the Gulf, in Ecuardor, in West Africa, in Alaska, etc.

As a friend and an NYC AA member was warned about a murderer in their group, “You’ve got to love some people from afar.”

At this point, in comparison, I hope I am not considered an American when judgement day comes around.

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By garth, June 24, 2010 at 9:38 am Link to this comment

I was agreeing with BobZ when the power to my house went out.  Why is that?  I checked.  No on else in my neighborhood experienced the same power outage. MMMMMM

As a rebuttal, I asked my Afghan conspirator, Aziz, “Can we drop a bomb on Dallas?”

I love wedding parties.  I love olives and therefore I treasure olive trees.

Have you ever been to a wedding party, McChystal?

Oh yeah, didn’t Thad Allen look like Goebbels at the news conference yesterday with his pince nez?

If if weren’t for a smidgeon of good will left in this country, I’d say that Thad is just another nasty bastard.

I might prove to be right.

These people, like the Third Reich, are lame, lame, lame.  As follows:

Goering had only one ball.
Goebbels, he had two but they were very small.
Himmler had something sim’lar
and poor old Hitler had no balls at all.

These creeps who we’ve selected to rule over us might have big balls right now, but the big ball theory of masculinity always gives way to History.

Gather ye rosebuds while ye may.

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By garth, June 24, 2010 at 6:46 am Link to this comment

The more pertinent question would, “How did Obama change the Left-wing Democrats.”

I feel a lot have been disenfranchised have been left bewildered.

I hear the ones who are still saying, despite the fact that the raison d’etre for the Obama Presidency is as plain as the noses on their faces, that we must rally together and force the Junior Executive to pick up the Progressive cudgel and start behaving like some leader from the past, an FDR or a Johnson.  Obama is not even in the same league.

The ship is sinking and the sharks and other predators from the Repblican Right are waiting to wash over the deck and begin their steps to the final demise of the U.S. as a Democracy.

We just take much more.  The Democrats in office need to champion some Progressive causes, use their power of elected office to make a stink, rally the troops before it’s too late.

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By News Nag, June 23, 2010 at 10:13 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

The reason why outright racist-affiliated-and-aligned extremist Republicans have displaced the religious Republican extremists as the public face of the GOP is because of the President’s race; also, religious people (even the holy roller Republican misnamed moral majority) can’t be used to spearhead a quasi-violent movement against Barack Obama.  So that task was turned over to the corporate-funded and GOP leadership-directed self-pitying Tea Party pervs, whose anger and ignorance, combined with their penchant for violent hate-filled thought and language and their leaning toward violent means, are what the GOP ordered for their overtly violent pushback against a successful moderate African-American Democratic president.

And the violent extremist Republican face is more the true face of the GOP who represent the wealthy forces that run this country and who wouldn’t hesitate to shoot everybody down who threatened the singularity of their great wealth.

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By BobZ, June 23, 2010 at 7:36 pm Link to this comment

The Republican’s are getting boring. How many times do we need to hear their
same old tired song? My parents heard this crap when FDR was president and I
heard it when Eisenhower was president and the litany of b.s has continued
unabated for the last 60 years. We have come full circle now - the new
conservatives are as nasty as the ones who lived in Orange County and in Dallas in
the 1950’s and 1960’s.

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By garth, June 23, 2010 at 7:49 am Link to this comment

It’s comforting to see that E.J Dionne of Fall Rivre, (purposely misspelled) MA, perhaps, considers himself and intellectual.

E.J.‘s Pense (accent grave over the final e)
“One of the important groups on the right in the mid-20th century took the name Americans for Constitutional Action. The group, as Seymour Martin Lipset and Earl Raab reported in their sociological classic “The Politics of Unreason,” favored “progressive repeal of the socialistic laws now on our books.”

Attacks on a highly educated class that are a staple of conservative criticisms of Obama and his circle also have a long right-wing pedigree. “I can find you a lot more Harvard accents in Communist circles in America today than you can find me overalls,” declared Robert Welch, founder of the Birch Society, in 1966.”


Perfesser Dionne of Georgetown University would gladly identify ‘imself as a noted intellectual if the rowdy crowd showed up at ‘is door with pitch forks, a barrel ot tar, and burlap sack of feathers.

Monsieur Dionn appears on TV.  If only he could stop speaking with his mouth full and spitting on ‘himself, we might be able to hear his message.

The issue here, though, is from the old school fight song, “Keep the Ball Rolling”

It doesn’t matter if you are encouraging the confusion of Fascism and Communism with cartoonish characterizations, what they want to live on is the American style, Nincompoop Capitalism.  That’s why they keep this ridiculous argument afloat.  That is the ultimate goal. 
They don’t care how you vote nor who you vote for.  As they now say in the medical profession, “We have pill for that.”

George W. Bush and the five votes on the Supreme Court wrested Democracy from the Eagles grasp.

As Jimmy Durante used to close his show, “Good-night Mrs Calabash where ever you are.”

I don’t think you’ll have to worry about turning the lights out.  You are on your own.

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By christian96, June 23, 2010 at 5:27 am Link to this comment

Not One More—-I agree with most of what you say.
On the voting though I disagree.  A vote for Nader,
Green, or Daffy Duck is a wasted vote.  Just count
the numbers.  The Democrats are the lesser of two
evils and we are stuck with a two-headed beast, to
use Biblical terms.  I attended a Democratic meeting
about a week ago for our local candidate for congress.  She appears very sincere and willing to
help our country.  She ask for suggestions from the
audience.  The suggestions were paltry to say the
least.  If I wasn’t 70 years old I’d run for office. At least I’m intelligent and honest which are two
traits sorely missing in Washington.

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By Not One More!, June 22, 2010 at 11:15 pm Link to this comment

Why don’t we have a Department of Peace yet?

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By Not One More!, June 22, 2010 at 10:40 pm Link to this comment

I’m not against big corporations, I’m against bad corporations.

I’m not against big government. I’m against bad government.

I would support even a bigger government (though not a bigger military) so that regulations could be enforced against those entities (whether they be individuals or corporations) that go against the public trust, the public good, and basic human rights for all.

When someone’s first desire is to make as much money as possible, they don’t care about the damage that they are causing. Libertarians want less regulation so they can have more money. As far as Ron Paul goes, I think he may be more honest than the average democrat or republican, I just don’t agree with his positions.

We need transparency (what’s with the secret meetings and secret societies?). We need checks and balances. We need honesty. We need to have our elected officials protecting basic human rights for all, and not the corporate profits.And we need honest media.

Nothing will change until we force them to change. The first step is voting independent, Nader, Green. Even if you write in the Cat in the Hat, it would lower the percentage of votes that the winning party gets. This doesn’t happen if you don’t vote. What would happen if the ‘winning’ party only get 29% of the vote? Would that send a message?

Don’t throw away your vote by voting for either corporate party.

But some will even though they can’t really find any legitimate reason to support the democrats other than the fear of a republican. It is time for the democratic party to start fearing the progressives and the only way that will happen is if we don’t vote for them.

Of course, the corporate elite are happy with either a democratic or republican. And don’t mention those few democrats that seem to be wanting to do the right thing. If they had any real leadership and integrity they would risk voting for their conscience, even if it meant they wouldn’t get reelected.

All murderers are punished unless they kill in large numbers and to the sound of trumpets. - Voltaire

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By ofersince72, June 22, 2010 at 9:35 pm Link to this comment

No matter, the Dem criminals

The Democrats are going to get THUMPED in 2012,
and rightfully so.

And I will be one of many voting Green!!!against

The dems are getting thumped no matter how many
apologetic essays Hedges and Scheer write or how many
many racial accusations they throw.

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By SteveL, June 22, 2010 at 8:37 pm Link to this comment

Far too much time and energy is expanded trying to figure out the American “right”.  Simple they are sadistic freaks the get off on the suffering of lower half of the economic spectrum.  Lately this has expanded to the lower 7/8s of the spectrum.

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By FiftyGigs, June 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm Link to this comment

Libertarians have no more an answer than
conservatives do.

Both have made great hay (read: dollars) by inferring
that smaller is better. It’s not that our government
is the wrong ideology, or is French, or something
specific. Just ... big. If only it were small.

Ignored in their idyllic vision is the nagging issue
of business. Big Business.

With the current BP debacle, we’re not quite at the
point yet—but I think we can now see it coming—
when one day a company big enough will tell the USA
to go jump in a lake. Right now, the President can
make a demand, and BP jumps. What if they didn’t.
What if they pulled up anchor, sailed away, and said
“Screw you”.

Would conservatives and libertarians REALLY cheer?

It’s inevitable. If unlimited-sized business is
acceptable, but small government is mandatory, then
it’s inevitable that government will become an arm of

Yeah, yeah. It’s fashionable to say it is now,
because it’s safe to say it now, since everybody
knows it isn’t really true. Yet. But the undercutting
of government by conservatives, libertarians, and
even by liberals leaves a society where only business
rules, and we’re well down that path.

Right now, businesses are making efforts to lock in
the right to fire employees due to behavior outside
of work, off the clock, and away from the job.

Who’s to stop them?

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By garth, June 22, 2010 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

The crusty outlier I’m referring to was a fairly young by my standards when I checked his website a few months ago.

He said something to the effect that he was leaving a career in business and trying to exercise his writing skills on the Internet.

I and WOTS whose writing I enjoyed parted company when WOTS started making arguments like the acceptance of the US Government tale of conspiracy because it was in keeping with the idea of Occam’s Razor.

Please, pass the baton back to the WriterOnTheStorm who preceded you.

Even when you try, you’re too cute by half.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, June 22, 2010 at 12:50 pm Link to this comment


This crusty old outlier is sorry to have disappointed you, but remember, it is better
to have admired and lost than never to have admired at all.

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By Knut, June 22, 2010 at 10:42 am Link to this comment

Don’t kid yourself, Mr. Dionne.

Obama has done precious little for the legion of unemployed and underemployed which cross professional lines, from the blue collar to the white collar.

There is a media blackout on young, over-educated underemployed Americans.

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By garth, June 22, 2010 at 9:47 am Link to this comment

To WriterOnTheStorm

In your post you end with the folowing:
“Am I missing something here? I know what the conservative counter arguments are, and I find them unconvincing. I would like to hear a libertarian response… “

Do Libertarians respond to conservatives?  Are they the only voices in American politics? 

Is the conservative movement overwhelmed by Libertarian Theocracy: Do unto others, retire with your campaign war chests fully stocked and then appear on the Sunday talk shows as an insider.

But then again as Alan Simpson pointed out, the thirty or so million Social Security recipients are “lessers.”  I guesss that implies that we don’t deserve a say.

The Libertarians would undoubtedly reply to conservatives in the following tone, “Go ahead. Surge on.  Just let us piss against a tree and be wild and free.”

Dear WriterOnThe Storm,

I Googled your handle a few months ago to find out who you were.  I used to admire your writing.  Is your handle or is it one that is passed along to others? 

Maybe in this latest transition the WriterOntheStorm is a writer in a fog?  Lost, in other words.

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By garth, June 22, 2010 at 8:00 am Link to this comment

Obama changed the Right by kissing their asses.  I bet a lot of Democrats wish they were Republicans now.

Take for instance the Commission to reduce the country’s deficit which is co-chaired by Alan Simpson, ex-Senator from Wyoming, Cheney’s home state. 

The Republicans have long wanted to gut Social Security, but an attempt to form this commission by the Senate met with some disapproval.  Senator Whitehouse said in his testimony that a decision to cut any spending without a tax increase is a non-starter.

He also, I think it was he, shamed Senator Gregg and Sen Warner when they said the report will be issued after the upcoming election. 

So what does the President, Mr Moribund do?  He issues an Executive order to go ahead with the Commission.  They’ll issue their report in December.  Talk about you profiles in courage.  How about Profiles in Cowardice or Disgrace.

Alan Simpson told Judy Woodruff pf PBS that he was going to achieve his goals, namely cutting Social Security, maybe even gutting it, with humor.  I shit you not.

Yesterday, Monsieur Simpson, channeling Marie Antoinette, said in response to a question about the fate of Social Security that put to him on the street by a freelance interviewer,  “that this Government has always taken care of the ‘lesser’ people.”  That’s us.

Now I wonder who exactly are the “Morer” people?  Are they the “Haves” and “Have Mores” that George W. Bush referred to at a fundraiser in 2003?

But seriously folks, Alan Simpson better get a new joke writer.  His first attempt at impromptu humor backfired.  Badly.

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By christian96, June 22, 2010 at 6:03 am Link to this comment

E J Dionne mentions “out of touch with American
values.” What are American values?

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By noman, June 21, 2010 at 10:44 pm Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Dionne, after being instructed many times over, bleeds goofy (and 25-year-old) dogma about Conservative.. religious.. Reagan..radical..conspiracy..American Values….Jesus freaken Christ on a spit, I agree with BarbieQue above: this stupid regurgitated shit has to be cut off. Dionne is a nice, smart guy. He is not the regimented 1970’s Dem goofball regular as he portrays himself here. Take a note from Molly a few years back as she openly expanded her horizons; look to individuals showing leadership for your cues. Party is NO indicator. All that matter are consistency, intelligence and honest assessment of cause and effect. Simple things as continued Gulf drilling will destroy economies of So. USA, Mexico, Central America. The Obama/Hillary/Gates nuclear hdwe buildup will deplete any remaing decency our old hippies might have been hoping for. Remember simply, extremism against US and its joint partners is based simply, and ONLY, on our behavior.

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By ajanthony jordan, June 21, 2010 at 9:45 pm Link to this comment

I liked your blog. It was quite interesting to read it.

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By rollzone, June 21, 2010 at 7:32 pm Link to this comment

hello. i was so hoping Oboymamma would change something- his address. unfair taxation, misrepresentation, unstoppable spending, continued job closures, government growth, carbon scam, illegal immigration support, war mongering, do not let this give you a health care headache, government motors, student loans, crisis managing the oil gusher, Fannie and Freddy, inhospitable diplomacy abroad, Pakistan using American tax dollars to circumvent American policy with Iran, the enormous debt, the Federal Reserve nondisclosure, GoldenSacks, G20 wants to curtail spending, we do not have a budget -somebody evict him. i do not want to live through another 2 1/2 years of incompetence and lieyering. it’s a black thing.

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By MRawlings, June 21, 2010 at 7:11 pm Link to this comment

If only Obama had the integrity to do the right thing, when it matters.  Alas, John Hamilton is I fear, only too right, ““If you follow a path, eventually that path takes you to its destination.”

The internal logic of the system, perpetuated by all the force of the Dominant Paradigm and Capitalism, will not and cannot be altered. It will run itself down like the massively complex ticking timebomb that it is.

Of course this ideological dance has deep historical roots…  We’ve been dancing to the tune of this same short-sighted world view for well over 300 years.  We humans are slow to change until change becomes unavoidable.

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By Not One More!, June 21, 2010 at 5:21 pm Link to this comment

E.J. Dionne, Jr. writes: “Republican Rep. Joe Barton’s apology last week to BP for Obama’s alleged “shakedown” of the company for $20 billion on behalf of those hurt by the Gulf oil spill was embarrassing precisely because it underscored how far the right’s mistrust of the federal government goes.”

This again is a continuation of trying to construct a misleading narrative that makes it seem that there is a great divide among the republicans and the democrats on the drilling issue. There hasn’t been a qualitative difference between the two parties in the last 30 years. 

The $20 billion dollar shakedown makes for good daytime television soap drama, but it doesn’t address the fundamental problem. How do you allow drilling in situations where you can’t address problems that might come up?(actually, now we have to say ‘do’ come up)  The excuse of not being able to fix the well because it is a mile down is the exact reason you don’t approve it.

‘Clean’ coal, GMO food, nuclear power are all going to be causes of the next industrial accident that will effect our environment and quality of life. That isn’t being addressed or corrected. Of course when it happens everyone will take their customary seat, but there will be no fundamental change in how our ‘economy’ makes money, or more precisely, how it creates wealth for the corporate elite.

Obama (and the democratic party leadership) is not concerned with peace, justice, transparency, and protecting human rights for all if it interferes with the quest for corporate profit.

And really, how did it start that a politician should be measured against the ‘republican’ standard and if they are better than that, they should feel satisfied. That is like saying whether you want to be killed by Genghis Khan or Pol Pot. 

“If you follow a path, eventually that path takes you to its destination.” John Hamilton


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By gerard, June 21, 2010 at 2:13 pm Link to this comment

Dionne says:  “What’s remarkable is the extent to which the tea party movement has displaced the religious right as the dominant voice of conservative militancy.”

I believe this may be a misreading of what is happening.  Rather, the media has chosen to play up the “voice of conservative militancy” (which I take to be anti-government, anti-entitlements, anti-regulatory rhetoric) and drop their emphasis on the reiigious extremism because commentators are less likely to be attacked as being “against religion;  therefore socialistic etc.”  To critize religion in the U.S. (no matter how crazed the faith) is to court being accused of atheism—and deeply unAmer
ican. Either stance if made to appear radical, can be used to inflame the ordinary bloke, but it is more covenient for media to emphasize rightwing anti-government stance as a way of rousing a rabble == which is what the press seems mainly interested in doing.

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By G.Anderson, June 21, 2010 at 1:07 pm Link to this comment

To bad while he was at it, he didn’t change the Democratic party as well, because it’s just as full of hypocrites as the Republican party.

The Republcans create the victims, and the Democrats exploit them, for generation after generation.

But both parites serve only one interest the plutocracy.

Maybe that’s why the Obama adminstration is getting rid of the ban on whaling.

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By WriterOnTheStorm, June 21, 2010 at 10:01 am Link to this comment

So, libs hate big business, and cons hate big government. Are these merely
countervailing forces necessary for political balance?  If not, who’s right? Are
government and business equally worthy of mistrust and animosity?

While one can question the motives of political leaders, the motive of business
leaders and their corporate organs is never in doubt: profit. And not just
making money, but maximizing all profit potential at any cost short of those
that jeopardize the survival of the business.

One must assume that at least part of the time, our political leaders act in the
interest of the people, even if it’s by pure chance. But business will, without
fail, put its interests above that of the people, unless legal barriers are put in

We should always question the practices of both gov’t and business. But the
reflex to favor business over gov’t strikes me as, take your pick:

1) bad math
2) morally anemic
3) just plain paranoid.

Am I missing something here? I know what the conservative counter arguments
are, and I find them unconvincing. I would like to hear a libertarian response…

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By Edward, June 21, 2010 at 9:51 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

Can anyone name for me a successful conservative policy initiative or a conservative philosophical idea that has been successful? Anyone? Are there any? I have been thinking about this for a couple of weeks and I cannot for the life of me come up with anything. Nothing! Zilch! Zero!

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By ofersince72, June 21, 2010 at 9:12 am Link to this comment

Freddy, I sure don’t blame you for not ever voting
for Obama again, and I do believe a vote for Paul
is better than one for Obama….I won’t do that.

A republican is a republican….....

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By Peetawonkus, June 21, 2010 at 8:40 am Link to this comment

Yes, these ARE old currents in American politics. They keep coming back under different names but it’s still the ideology of the Plantation South. The Republican Party IS the Confederacy. Like Invasion Of The Body Snatchers, they took over the Party of Lincoln. But what’s walking around inside that “body” is the ideology of John C. Calhoun, proud son of South Carolina and the “Karl Marx of the ruling class.” Substitute the word “corporation” for “plantation” and you find the same goals, language and rhetoric of the ol’ Dixie racists and states rights bunch. Ever wondered why the cornerstone of the modern Republican Party is the Old South? And guess what? It’s trying to rise again.

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By Craig, June 21, 2010 at 7:13 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

“When faced with a choice between supporting a large
British corporation or a federal government battling
for compensation of the disaster’s victims, Barton
sided with Big Oil.”

No, this is a straw man and represents a false

We have something called “the rule of law” in this
country. When the president badgers anyone,
regardless of what that party might be guilty of, to
put $20 billion into a fund you should take pause.
Does this represent the rule of law?

Who is going to control this money? An “independent”
commission appointed by the President? Ha! What a
load of crap.

Yes, BP should pay, but the payment should be
extracted legally not through a presidential shake-

On the other hand the Congressman may have just been
shilling for big oil.

The federal government becomes more lawless each day.

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By Reverend Unruh, June 21, 2010 at 7:02 am Link to this comment
(Unregistered commenter)

E.J., call me.

The Tea party was, in fact, actually my idea. I still nurture it with fresh ideas -
when I feel like it.

Lately I’ve been holding back on them in order to expose that fact.

So what does the press conclude? That the Tea Party is leaderless, the press is
in complete denial about me.

I am an experienced girl scout leader in California who looked at the drug war
and figured out how to end ALL war. Really, E.J., call me, 925-330-9659. Call
back if you don’t reach me, I haven’t programmed my phone yet and I don’t
carry it around with me.

We can talk for a little while and then you can write in a much more informed
manner on this subject. I have been trying to reach my local paper for years,
they boycott true believers and leaders like me. I document that in AlterNet.

Recently I left my number about the Tea Party issue with Joan Walsh SF office in
an effort to get her to stop speaking in such ignorance about the Tea Party. Like
the other reporters before her, she would rather drop the subject entirely than
speak to me about it.

I don’t think she has mentioned it once since I called her office.

I wonder, why is that? What is up with you ‘reporters’ that you avoid the source?

I have the inside track on that as a fact as my husband of 30 years started out
as a reporter. Perhaps you can tell me why they avoid me so stringently, they
have to know the Tea Party was all my idea. Why do they/you hide that fact
from the public?

Are you afraid to give me credit for it?

Call me, lets talk Tea Party. I will let you in on some of my plans, like my plan
for the Rapture next May. I thought it was a perfectly brilliant solution to our
problem in the middle east.

Or is that something you reporters just don’t talk about?

Sincerely, Lauren Unruh

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By Fat Freddy, June 21, 2010 at 7:00 am Link to this comment

...they come up way short in some areas that
concern me.

Such as?

I have completely lost all faith in all Republicans and Democrats. However, I might consider voting for Ron Paul if he runs as a Republican for president. I can’t, in good conscience, vote for Obama again, and I see no one coming from the Republican Party except possibly Ron Paul or Gary Johnson (fmr. Gov., NM).

FYI, here’s a very good article I came across today.

The Gold Standard: Generator and Protector of Jobs, by Hugo Salinas Price

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By ofersince72, June 21, 2010 at 6:52 am Link to this comment

Been there, done that..

Freddy, I hope you do vote for anything other than
a democrat or republican…if libertarian is your
flavor, I am all for you,,,,and anyone that refuses to
vote for the two dominent parties that have been controlling policy for so long…
It is not my flavor, I am not saying so blindly, I have
read much libertarian thought, I am for many of their
policies….they come up way short in some areas that
concern me.

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By balkas, June 21, 2010 at 6:22 am Link to this comment

Presenting US as a much divided nation on some issues and avoiding to write ab their undying love for warfare and land robbery, exploitation, torture, assassinations and murder of aliens, is as american as aple pie.

But then all asocialistic lands use the exact same artifice: dwell on minor issues ab which there is a lot of confusion and avoid to posit the actual causes for major issues.

So, it is always the same: never let ur left hand know what the right hand is doing. tnx

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By ofersince72, June 21, 2010 at 5:46 am Link to this comment

Everytime that I go to a libertarian website, they are
endorsing one repulican or another for office…

No thank you,  the green party and Cynthia McKinney offer
most of the issues that Freddy listed, only I don’t have
to worry that it is just capturing dissatisfied voters
into a faux-populist movement run by shrewd business men
that want to do away with all government that would put
any legal restraints on them.

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By Fat Freddy, June 21, 2010 at 5:23 am Link to this comment

Inherit The Wind

That’s OK. Most “Libertarians” are not Libertarian either, and certainly not Objectivists.

Many Libertarians split from the cult of Ayn Rand after this article by Murray Rothbard in 1972 and his subsequent departure from Rand’s “inner circle”.

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By Fat Freddy, June 21, 2010 at 5:16 am Link to this comment

Seriously, there are some major differences between Tea Party people and Libertarians. The Libertarian Party has been a formal political party since 1971 (why 1971?). It is unfortunate that Tea Partiers have latched on to a handful of Libertarian positions and rejected many others. Some major differences between Libertarians and Tea Partiers:

1) Libertarians believe in a policy of open borders.

2) Libertarians seek an immediate end to both Gulf Wars.

3) Libertarians seek an immediate closing of Gitmo, and reinstatement of Habeas Corpus. We believe all political prisoners (terror suspects) have a right to due process in open, public court.

4) Libertarians oppose torture and “enhanced interrogation”.

5) Libertarians oppose all subsidies to all corporations and foreign countries.

6) Libertarians oppose all state sanctioned marriage, but if there is to be state sanctioned marriage, it should include gay marriage.

7) Libertarians support freedom of religion, and have no desire to force people to love Jesus Christ. Many Libertarians are atheist/agnostic.

8) Libertarians oppose the War on Drugs, the War on Terror, and all other “wars” against the American people.

9) Libertarians do not support Sarah Palin or Michele Bachman, and generally despise Glen Beck, Shaun Hannity, Bill O, Ann Coulter and Rush Limbaugh.

While Libertarians generally support the right of individuals to conduct business free from government intervention, we strongly oppose the current financial system, and the current economic policies. We believe the federal budget deficit to be a symptom of the failed monetary policies of the past and present.

Libertarians do not strictly vote for Republican candidates. The Libertarian Reason Magazine (, polled it’s staff members just prior to the 2008 election, and asked them who they were planning on voting for, and who they voted for in 2000 and 2004. As you can see, there are many Obamas, Kerrys, and even a few Ralph Naders. And, of course, many votes for the Libertarian Party candidates. If you remember, Bob Barr narrowly beat Mike Gravel in the Libertarian “primary” election in 2008. Who did I vote for? I voted for Obama, Kerry, and abstained in 2000.

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By ofersince72, June 21, 2010 at 5:05 am Link to this comment

BarbieQue writes

  “More words of division from a professional divider.”

I couldn’t agree with her more.  We have already been

through months of this with, E.J. , Scheer, Robinson and
Hedges.  I am sure they will be pointing fingers all the
way thru the 2012 elections trying to point out differences in the two parties that don’t exist.

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By Inherit The Wind, June 21, 2010 at 4:11 am Link to this comment

That’s OK. Most “Libertarians” are not Libertarian either, and certainly not Objectivists.

At a time when, if there was NO Federal action, the Gulf states would be TOTALLY at the mercy of BP, it’s amazing that the so-called “conservatives” are out to protect BP.

Yet, hypocritically, the reps and sens from Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi and now Florida WANT the Feds to do more.

That’s because it’s THEIR shores and THEIR constituents’ livelihoods that are at risk.

Like the general who said “There are not Atheists in fox-holes”, there are no anti-Federal intervention types in a natural (or, in this case man-made) disaster!

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By Fat Freddy, June 21, 2010 at 3:47 am Link to this comment

Tea Baggers  are not Libertarians.

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By ardee, June 21, 2010 at 2:50 am Link to this comment

I miss real conservatives, I wonder where they have gone?

I do not find today’s right wing ranters to be espousing conservative politics as it once was. Instead there is an oleo of extremist views and calls for an ending to many programs that real conservatives might have very well supported. Further, one could always relish a debate with these folks, rationality and good judgment being a hallmark thereof.

No, today we find so-called conservative leadership making naked appeals to the worst in us all, ignoring what is necessary, what is moral, what is even legal in their attempts to stir testosterone rather than excite brain cells.

The worst thing about this “new conservatism” is the way it has resulted in the rightward swing of the Democratic Party in response to a GOP gone so far right I expect them to come full circle and become communists ( sarcasm alert). In today’s political arena we have a choice of right or righter while the middle and left remains devoid of major espousers ( is that a word?).....

Speaking of the void on the left, California just passed Prop.14 ,which my little group opposed vigorously to no avail, alas. This assures, at least here in California, that the middle and left will remain a desert, devoid of support.

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By eir, June 21, 2010 at 2:17 am Link to this comment

If you’re against the corporate / oligarchical con game you’re expected to, if not participate in, then at least respect, then you must be some kind of dangerous nut that needs some special considerations.

One of those considerations would be the “kill switch” bill sponsored by Leiberman (I), Collins (R), and Carper (D) that allows the government to effectively kill internet communication as part of national security.  Tri-partisan and therefore, completely reasonable. 

Thanks for the manners lessons.  Sure it will help keep all kinds of people fully employed, and up to date with their mortgage payments.

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By BarbieQue, June 21, 2010 at 12:40 am Link to this comment

More words of division from a professional divider.

The Comments at Truthdig are (usually) so much more real and informative than the writings of the regurgitated regulars.

This from above says it all:
“...As the scrutiny of the movement has increased, its critics (most recently Chris Matthews in an MSNBC documentary…”

Quoting the Chris Matthews that said:
“Does [Fred Thompson] have sex appeal? I’m looking at this guy and I’m trying to find out the new order of things, and what works for women and what doesn’t. Does this guy have some sort of thing going for him that I should notice? . . .”


These beltway bozos have been in their bubble so long they wouldn’t know reality if it smacked them in the face

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