Wednesday, September 27, 2006


I don't think my last post adequately explained what I was trying to say, which is this: Republicans don't want to solve problems, they want to exacerbate and/or create problems that they can then complain about and pretend to try to do something about in order to fool the public into supporting them.

Thomas Frank spoke about this very thing in "What's The Matter With Kansas." He pointed out that Republicans are always complaining about the "culture" and abortion and what not. Yet they never outlaw abortion, media continue to get more sleazy, and so forth. And that situation works in their favor--it gives them issues to run on. If there were no abortion and no sleazy movies, the only thing they'd have to run on is making the rich richer, which is always their ultimate goal, and not one
that the majority of Americans would knowingly sign on to.

It's the same way with terrorism--if the Republicans ever did actually put an end to terrorism, it would be great, but then they'd have nothing to frighten the public with. The Republicans need problems (of which terrorism is only one of many) like fire needs oxygen.

Conversely, Ralph Nader made a point similar to this about the success of liberalism in the 20th century in his book "The Good Fight." He pointed out that the more liberalism succeeds, the less people appreciate it and the more they take it for granted. Labor concessions are a good example of this phenomenon--as workers have won more and more rights, people have just come to take a living wage and workplace safety for granted and their perceived need for the liberal ideology fades.

So it makes perfect, yet frightening, sense that Republicans would vow to stay in Iraq at least until Bush leaves office despite the now-undisputed fact that the Iraq war is creating more terrorists. Republicans NEED terrorists. They need them to be able to enact their agenda on all fronts--economic, cultural, social, etc.--their policies of helping the rich and increasing corporate power would never sell on their merits. People have to be frightened into supporting people who would enact such policies. And even then, people would not think of themselves as supporting those kinds of policies, they'd think of themselves as supporting leaders who pledge to ensure safety.

Issues like terrorism are not even seen as problems by Republicans--they are seen as money-making opportunities. That's why you'll never see a Republican Congress enact universal health care, despite being told this week, again, that the American people want that. Why would they ever consent to universal health care when the current system does so much to enrich their supporters--pharmaceutical and insurance companies and so forth?

The Republicans have recently refused--again--to raise the minimum wage. Why would they ever raise the minimum wage when its current level ensures that their corporate supporters can keep their labor costs as low as possible? And that the large population of desperate, cash-strapped people the current minimum wage ensures makes those people overly reliant on credit cards, payday loans and such--the issuers of which are also Republican supporters?

The difference between liberals and conservatives is that liberals seek to solve the kind of problems that will basically put them out of business, whereas conservatives want to create and/or exacerbate problems that will keep them in business forever. Or to use an automotive analogy, liberals want to create a vehicle that will never break down so you never have to go to their shop for repairs or buy another one while conservatives want to build a car that will wear out and malfunction in every possible way so that you have no choice but to buy another one or keep bringing it to their mechanics.

So the declassification of the NIE reveals to us once again that Republicans don't fix things, they break them ON PURPOSE so they can maintain or increase their power and wealth. There's really no other reason that they would knowingly mess things up so badly. It breaks down to a simple formula: bad times for you equals high times for Republicans.

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