I know a lot of conservatives. Conservative with a small “c,” that is. They’re good people, who do not fit the stereotype that some on the left have tried to paint all members of the Republican Party, or people who call themselves conservatives with. They’re the ones who volunteer for and work on the ambulance and fire departments here, and would give you the shirt off their backs. They’re also quite willing to scrutinize the local government budgets and ask hard questions – but if it’s necessary, they’ll go ahead and say it. They’ll even vote for the tax increases to do so. While we don’t always agree on things, for the most part we all manage to get along and make things work.
Then there’s the national picture. The far right or “big C” Conservatives and the Tea Parties. They’re quite good at saying “No,” but not real big on practical solutions. Want them to chant some piece of dogma, or repeat it back to an adoring crowd? Yup, they’ll do it. Want a “what next?” from them, or question them about how they plan to balance something out? Silence.
Here’s a prime example of it: Senator Jon Kyl talking about tax cuts:
You do need to offset the cost of increased spending. And that’s what republicans object to. But you should never have to offset cost of a deliberate decision to reduce tax rates on Americans.
Excuse me? If you’re being fiscally responsible, yes you do! You have to come up with cost reductions to cover the decreased revenues. That’s the way it works. What Senator Kyl – and many of the others on the far right like him – are saying is that they don’t have a clue about which cuts they’d make. They may have some vague, sounds good bromide to trot out, but they’re never going to be specific, because then people might get upset that a program they like is going to go away. What they’re really saying is “we don’t want to pay for it.” They’re the equivalent of the person who “can’t possibly be out of money – they still have checks in their checkbook!”
Then there’s “ramp up the stupid” Michelle Bachmann. Every time this woman opens her mouth, something stupid falls out. Like with Orly Taitz, watching the crazy would be entertaining except for the problem that there are actually people who believe her. They really believe that “the administration” is going to “enslave” them. The conspiracy theories, talk of internment camps, etc. just point to an inability to realize that just because you lost an election it does not mean the end of the world. I loved the statements on one right-wing board about them being “the majority” – usually in conjunction with being “real Americans.” The “majority” is not them. Really. That’s what the election results showed. Just as I have called out some of the far left on the same thing, the far right has the same delusion.
Moving on, there’s the cluelessness when it comes to emergencies. I read a lot of mouthing off from Haley Barbour, the governor of Mississippi, about how the federal government was overreacting about the BP oil spill in the Gulf, and how it was really nothing. Right up until the oil hit his state’s shores. Then suddenly, he wanted federal help. Amazing how that works, isn’t it? I see a lot of that behavior. It’s not necessary to give the federal government the capability to handle emergencies, or for the federal government to intervene – unless it’s your emergency.
Having lived in Colorado for a while, this one caught my attention:
Glenn Gustafson can imagine a day when Colorado schools fall apart, prisons close and highways crumble. As chief financial officer for the Colorado Springs school system, Gustafson recently had to cut his budget by 6 percent. But those cuts are nothing compared to the hardship he says the school system would face if voters approve three tax-cutting ballot measures this November. He calls them the “evil triplets.
And similar reaction about them:
“It would really preclude the state from financing infrastructure projects, like prisons, academic buildings on college campuses, or the move that the medical school made out to Fitzsimons — none of that would be possible,” said Cary Kennedy, Colorado state treasurer.
Education, transportation and health care — the three legs that support the Colorado economy — would be hurt the most, he said.
“What that will leave us with is a state that, frankly, nobody in the world will have any interest in doing business with,” Clark said. “They [the ballot issues] are absolutely lethal.”
But they will have lower taxes! Just no roads, schools, or many of the other things that are paid for through bonds and taxes. It never fails to stun me that Conservatives never seem to grasp that they are paying for services and amenities with their taxes. Things like roads, bridges, prisons, schools, parks, and a host of other things are there because of taxes. They’re what make an area a desirable location for people and businesses.
What it keeps telling me is that they’re clueless. They have a narrow view of the world, and no idea about governing. Their attitude comes across as “I got mine, you’re out of luck.” When I’m in a vindictive mood, I think that it might be a good thing to let them have their way in one or two states – and force them to live with it. Imagine if President Obama had said to Governor Barbour “Alright, would you please sign this statement waiving all claims to federal help for the oil spill?” The odds are the governor wouldn’t have signed it, but if he had, to tell him to live up to it. They don’t want to pay for schools, roads, and so on? Alright, but you have to stop bitching about the condition of the schools, roads, and everything else. Live with it, because you got what you asked for. Don’t tell me that you didn’t think it would happen, because you were told. You didn’t want to hear it. There’s a difference.
Of course, that won’t happen either. The more reasonable portions of the electorate will hopefully step up and slap down the idiots. I take hope from this quote from Colorado:
For his part, Gustafson has been spending a lot of time talking to people about the three measures. “I’m a Republican. I’m very conservative,” he says. “I’m not in favor of taxes, but I am in favor of a fair amount of taxes to provide government services. I want prisoners locked up in jail, I want indigents to get health care and I want children to be educated and I want all our children to get a college education. And we’re taking away all those things because of a frustration that I don’t quite understand.”
Reasonable people get that. The far Right doesn’t. They may have frustration and anger, but little else, and eventually they’re going to get run over by the clue train.