The Conservative Cloward-Piven Strategy, Annotated
posted at 11:41 am on November 21, 2010 by Legal Insurrection
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.”]
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.
Cross-posted with updates at Legal Insurrection Blog