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Sunday, November 21, 2010

The Conservative Cloward-Piven Strategy, Annotated

Did you hear, all that talk about being fiscally conservative really is just a Cloward-Piven strategy in reverse.  Rather than overwhelming the system with debt, entitlements, welfare by another name, and dependence upon government, conservatives are seeking to underwhelm the system.

With a usual flair for the dramatic, Steve Benen sums it ups, None Dare Call It Sabotage (my annotations in italics):
Consider a thought experiment. Imagine you actively disliked the United States, and wanted to deliberately undermine its economy. What kind of positions would you take to do the most damage?  [Let me guess ... still thinking ... I've got it ... Tea Party!] ....
Matt Yglesias had an item the other day that went largely unnoticed, but which I found pretty important.

... Which is just to say that specifically the White House needs to be prepared not just for rough political tactics from the opposition (what else is new?) but for a true worst case scenario of deliberate economic sabotage.  [Don't look here, or here, or here, or here, or here, just take his word for it.]
Budget expert Stan Collender has predicted that Republicans perceive "economic hardship as the path to election glory." [Hello-o, Stan Collender is the same person responsible for the Worst. Prediction. Ever., that Barack Obama would by now be called "The Deficit Slayer."]
Paul Krugman noted in his column yesterday that Republicans "want the economy to stay weak as long as there's a Democrat in the White House."  [Central Falls! Central Falls! Attica! Attica!]
As best as I can tell, none of this analysis -- all from prominent observers -- generated significant pushback. The notion of GOP officials deliberately damaging the economy didn't, for example, spark widespread outrage or calls for apologies from Matt or anyone else.  [Oh, please.  The lack of "push back" is not evidence that you are correct, there are only so many flies we can swat in a day.  I bet you think this annotation is about you, don't you, don't you?]
And that, in and of itself, strikes me as remarkable. We're talking about a major political party, which will control much of Congress next year, possibly undermining the strength of the country -- on purpose, in public, without apology or shame -- for no other reason than to give themselves a campaign advantage in 2012.  [Psst, do you really want to go there? ... The War Is Lost, The Surge Has Failed, Bush Lied Us Into War, Bush stole the election, Bush knew about 9/11 beforehand, blah, blah, blah.]
Maybe now would be a good time to pause and ask a straightforward question: are Americans O.K. with this? [The Revolt of The Kulaks Has Begun.]
The Boehner/McConnell GOP appears willing to gamble: if they can hold the country back, voters will just blame the president in the end. And that's quite possibly a safe assumption.  [Your "holding back" is our "Stop the Bleeding."]
If that's the case, though, then it's time for a very public, albeit uncomfortable, conversation. If a major, powerful political party is making a conscious decision about sabotage, the political world should probably take the time to consider whether this is acceptable, whether it meets the bare minimum standards for patriotism, and whether it's a healthy development in our system of government. ["Dissent is patriotic!" is so 2006.]
I have an idea.  It worked really well before.  Remember, use your toughest people for this.

You'll need them.

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  1. The Whigs, the Tories, and King George, it feels like 1773.

    Thinking about George & Barbara Bush the Sr's interview... taking shots at the Tea Party grassroots coalition and Sarah Palin.

    There is going to be one hell of a rumble during the next two years, methinks.

    We may see an end to the GOP Old Guard and their conclusion with the Socialists dividing up the property.

  2. The "Cloward-Piven" philosophy is fungible.

    Organized crime outfits like ACORN, et al frequently utilize Cloward-Piven strategy to pervert our fragile voting system.

    None dare call it sabotage, though.

  3. Yes, the Republicans are up to their old tricks. Mr. Benen, remember the awful Carter years? We've seen what these wiley Republicans are capable of.

    Remember President Reagan's never-ending finger pointing at that great scapegoat Jimmy Carter? Remember Reagan saying for the umpteenth time he was "cleaning up someone else's [Carter's] mess" when it was really the Republicans' mess?

    Remember that blame game? Remember the awful Gipper slurpee jokes?

    Yet another dual-loyalty charge from the left ... this time with Republicans more loyal to party than country. Doesn't the left have anything in their arsenal not completely ridiculous?

  4. Points for an original attempt by someone on the left to try to tap into the "Save-the-country" feel to the energetic tea party. It kind of hurts your cause when the facts are not on your side though.

    The logic of the left never extends much further than 'the bigger the government is, the healthier the economy is'. This is bass ackwards to me. It's not even feasible to support a massive government without a healthy economy. And then following a natural course, that same healthy massive government tears down that healthy economy (its wellspring) and in turn, declines itself.

    Us conservative types would be happy to have a weak and ineffectual (near bankrupt?) central government, as long as it adequately provided for a national defense and was strong in the areas of rule of law and property rights. You know, constitutional-style republic type deal.

    And no, Mr. Benen, we don't 'dislike the US'. We love the US. We just dislike you.

  5. There's no "pushback" because the same, tired overwrought hyperbole the left uses -- "everything's a crisis"-- means that people have just tuned out. That's why no one is even bothering to comment on such nonsense -- because that's what it is -- nonsense -- and not even worthy of acknowledgment.

    Yawn. When they actually starting saying something interesting, that isn't predictable, and that isn't part of the predetermined "talking points", then I'll pay attention.

  6. The current Democratic line is that they suffered in the recent elections merely because the economy is bad. They say this is beyond their control. They are victims.

    They deny that the public dislikes their policies. After all, the public is too stupid in their view to agree or disagree rationally to any policy. (smile)

    OK, Dems are out because of a bad economy. So, they say the satanic Republicans will hold on to power by deliberately ruining the economy !.

    The Dems admit ignorance and weakness. The economy is a mystery to them, an ocean on which their little ship is tossed. They regard the Pubs as economic masters, who can improve or destroy the economy at will.

    I can see why the Dems feel that way, considering the policy choices they make and the immediate damage of those policies to the economy.

    Karl Marx revealed that business owners are leeches on society, draining away the wealth that rightfully belongs to the workers. At least, for the workers who have jobs.


  7. Oh, and I forgot to Thank You, Prof J, for the very kind link. I am thrilled that you found my work somewhat interesting.

    I forgot to add to my last comment:
    Imputing malevolent intent is always the default position of the new Left. We need to continue ignoring them. When they want to meet us with constructive ideas using positive language, then we listen. Not before.

  8. I'm old enough to remember way back when it was considered wrong to question another's patriotism, and dissent was considered the highest form of patriotism. Ah, for the good old days (before 2008).

  9. That's why no one is even bothering to comment on such nonsense

    You'd think the people who coined the phrase "If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention" would be able to figure out why we're not outraged.

    Matt Yglesias had an item the other day that went largely unnoticed

    Yes, I remember it well. It was the same day Jennifer Love Hewitt didn't ask to move in with me.

  10. With all due respect, and with a true sense of curiosity, why does the Left, and more importantly the right, find Matt Yglesias compelling in any regard?

    I find his arguments mediocre at best, and his mind muddled. What exactly is the attraction?

  11. As I read Iglesia's comment,"Which is just to say that specifically the White House needs to be prepared not just for ... a true worst case scenario of deliberate economic sabotage." I thought "What is left they can sabotage that these current Democrats have not already done."

    Like when Schumer kicked off the presidential elections in 2008 by revealing the confidential information on IndyMac thereby creating the run on the bank and initiating the liquidity crisis of 2008. Is that what Iglesias is thinking the Republicans may do?
    Maybe he thinks they will find a way to take over Ford in violation of bankruptcy laws so that investors will hold off investing. They will have to be extremely inventive to find a means of sabotage that Obama's team has not already implemented.

  12. These people live on a different planet, one where sanity is sabotage, fair play is "raaaaacism" or some kind of phobia and personal responsibility is some kind of mental illness. It's time for a parting of the ways - we should divide up the country and have each side live the way it prefers. But they would likely disagree - the Leftist control freaks need someone to steal from in order to make their delusions work.

  13. "If that's the case, though, then it's time for a very public, albeit uncomfortable, conversation. If a major, powerful political party is making a conscious decision about sabotage, the political world should probably take the time to consider whether this is acceptable, whether it meets the bare minimum standards for patriotism, and whether it's a healthy development in our system of government."

    No one has been willing to look at a major party for promulgating such sedition for thirty plus years, why start now?
    But seriously, aside from the psychological transference, you can believe that the Democrats would use Cloward-Piven, but it makes absolutely zero sense to believe that the Republicans would.

  14. The sabotage model for conservatives is Atlas Shrugged.

    But, productive people like being productive, and they like the income this gives them, so calls for a producer's work action would have little effect.

    Still, the Democrats are doing their darndest to remove incentives to work and invest independently of government subsidy. If their policies are not repealed or they regain power, they just might arrange that work action through their policies.


  15. Let me make sure I understand this. This from the same people who made a fully concerted effort to legislate defeat in a war for their own political gain. The cost of giving the appearance of defeat at the hands of al Qaeda would have been an uncalculable disaster. That certainly didn't stop the left.

    At any rate, if the right really does want to commit economic sabotage, they need to just stand back and let Obama pass the rest of his agenda.

  16. As a 59 yo, I'm old enough to have lived through two attempts (one successful) by the Democratic Party to bring about US/allied defeat in time of war. The first resulted, as all involved knew it would, in genocide. Not the hyperbolic never ending genocide of liberal rhetoric, but a real slaughter of hundreds of thousands of helpless human beings. (Hollywood made a movie about it a couple of years ago so liberals could engage in what passes for profound intellectual discourse; that is, a good cry, group hug, then move on to something else.) Nice try liberals but this spin is not going to work any better than the daily changing lines of Sep and Oct.