MAY 17, 2012 7:53PM

When “Moderate Republican” is the new “Socialist”

Rate: 8 Flag


Earlier today, my wife and I saw a TV ad that amazed both of us. We never thought the word moderate would come to mean socialist.

Provided to you courtesy of David Dew-Hurt Texas

Update (May 18, 2012):

Now, the Texas Conservative Funds claims that Dewhurst's oppenent, Ted Cruz, is also not conservative enough:


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This is very typical of the propaganda the John Birch Society spread about "liberal" Republicans like Rockefeller in the 1970s.
Dr. Bramhall: Thanks for the info. I guess history repeats itself.

Good to see even the tea party morons are bigger in Texas!
Safe_Bet's_Amy: Indeed. Right now, several Republicans are fighting with each other about who is the "most conservative."
"Moderate" is a dirty word now. And, of course, these nitwitz have no idea what "socialism" really is. And I'm afraid that hard times are just hardening attitudes.
Myriad: It's very interesting that "moderate" is now the dirty word (which seems to have replaced liberal). Increase taxes? You're a communist (in the mind of many that is)!
Anytime you see "Texas" in the same sentence or sign with "moderation;" RUN Forrest! RUN! For it isn't chocolates they're passing out, but nice little balls of dung all rolled up by their pet dung beetles.
I always wondered whatever happened to the moderate Republicans. Did they turn into Democrats? Independents? When I was growing up in Oregon, the Republican party largely consisted of moderates. Now they're gone. Today, a moderate Republican couldn't get elected as dogcatcher.
I would argue Republicans are far more moderate than our soon to be extinct ancestors. My first piece of evidence to support that statement is Mitt Romney. He was by far the most moderate in the Republican Primary field. If we were radicals as you suggest, Romney would not be your next president.

But the main argument to support my statement is the fact we not the bible-toting religious right-wingers you always claim us to be. During the 8 years of Bush, he appointed three Supreme Court justices and briefly had control of Congress, was any major social policy changed? Answer: None. Is your vendetta against Scot Walker related to his stance on social issues? Answer: No. I could continue.

Unfortunately, during those Bush years deficit spending rose dramatically (albeit not at the extraordinary levels under Obummer). I mean, what good is all that talk about fiscal responsibility if you aren’t actually fiscally responsible. Today’s Republicans are more moderate on social issues and true to their rhetoric on spending and Government intrusion.

The situation reminds me of France. France just elected a socialist leader. It’s about time. Sarkozy talked like he believed in capitalism but at the end of the day his spending, tax increases and Government expansion gave conservatives a bad name (ala Bush).
Boomer: Fortunately, it's not everywhere in Texas that "moderate" is a bad bad word. Nonetheless, people still elected Rick Perry two or three times.

Mishisma666: That's a good point. Up to a year or two ago, I always saw TV ads where the candidate showed how conservative he or she was by presenting their entire family at the end of the ad (to show their support of family values). Recently, the focused has changed from being conservative to being “very” or a “true” conservative, as shown here: I assume there are now “fake” conservatives.
The comment for Mish should be the following:

Mishisma666: That's a good point. Up to a year or two ago, I always saw TV ads where the candidate showed how conservative he or she was by presenting their entire family at the end of the ad (to show their support of family values). Recently, the focused has changed from being conservative to being “very” or a “True” conservative, as shown here: Vote James White, a tried and true conservative”. I assume there are now “fake” conservatives.
JF: I agree that not everyone is a bible-toting religious right-winger. I don’t see such statement above. I’m just reporting the fact that people inside the GOP are now going after candidates who are not conservative enough. When you have folks going after Orrin Hatch, who was considered very conservative 6 to 8 years ago, there is definitely something going on. Other people have discussed this issue in greater details:

The Next Tea Party targets

As for Romney, he won’t be the next president. He got in because there were no other viable candidates.

I’m not sure what’s going with the link above, but here it is again:
What do you expect in a state that first elected Bush the Least, and not content to have sunk that low, replaced him with Ric Perry>

As for the wordwreckers:

First they came for the communists
Then they came for the socialists
Then they came for the liberals
Then they came for the moderates
They they came for ... hell, who knows?

It would seem the Rabid Right, like the Shakers, is determined to self-destruct, or like Saturn devouring its children, cannibalize the Right until Rove or Norquist or whomever is the Last Man Standing.
Tom: I really like your list. Very nice!
The irony of your response to me is priceless. You submit a post describing the Republicans as radicals, then all your liberal friends’ monkey-pile on the concept, and then I point out the fact the Republicans nominated an extreme moderate for President. I suppose you’re free to think whatever you like, but if the Republicans had nominated Santorum how would you have described us?

Sure in some elections the RINOs are losing but generally speaking we are replacing Democrats with Republicans while incumbent Republicans are winning (barring a few select examples). Most importantly, we did the right thing and elected a fiscally conservative, socially moderate, business man for President. You liberals are just upset about losing in 2010 and prospect of losing big in 2012. I don’t blame you for trying to label us radicals when the facts clearly show that is not the case.
Johnny: Your comments are even more hilarious.

They come down to this: Hey, we nominated a left-leaning Obama-Lite by default and, before that, we had a moderate (or socialist) Republican as (a mediocre) President who was also very friendly to the liberal cause. This means that the GOP is not becoming more radicalized, but is in fact moving to the left and soon enough may cross the center line and join the Democratic Party.

In two simple lines, I basically highlighted the point that the Republican Party is moving further to the right. Again, I don’t see anywhere in these two lines where I refer “bible-toting religious right-wingers.”

Since you couldn’t understand two lines, perhaps these links will help you:

Political Scientist: Republicans Most Conservative They've Been In 100 Years

28% - Republicans: Fewer, More Conservative

Americans, Independents, Republicans are becoming more 'conservative'

Republicans more conservative now than decades past
This one is even funnier: Today’s Republicans are more moderate on social issues.

When the GOP is in power, they are more interested in social issues, especially those related to controlling the lives of people, than the economy:

Several States Forbid Abortion After 20 Weeks

States enact record wave of anti-abortion laws

9 New Laws in the GOP's War Against Women

Louisiana adds to this year's huge spike in anti-abortion legislation

Feel free to debate with yourself or others that the GOP party is not conservative, but is composed of secret operatives coming from the planet Kolob. You know, they orchestrated Mitt’s nomination by eliminating all the other bible-toting religious right-winger nominees.
"Conservative" has shifted meaning over the years as the Old Right became the New Right and stole the word. Now it means "ever-more obstinate, obtuse and obnoxious." The more willing to spew dogma and ignorance-motivated derision, the more "conservative" the person.
It's really radical incompetence, the words taken together and separately.

The "conservative" base had to settle for Romney, but it's obvious by the hack hicks they're nominating for Congress the base likes obnoxious idiots. However, this isn't a Great Leap Forward from the usual less obnoxious idiots they're been nominating for the last 20 years.

Overall, though, this neo-confederate surge in the GOP is the dying gasp of an old, white, angry and not-too-bright dinosaur demographic. Besides that old crusty relic thing, there's only so many times you can run the conservative con-job past people before too many catch on that it's nothing but a unending failure.

In spite of the many Fever types we see, America doesn't have enough idiots to sustain a viable Republican Party. After the double-digit Tea Partiers finish taking over the GOP, the backlash will be considerable.

I don't think Mitt is a moderate. If he was, he would show some balls to the radical idiot movement instead of talking like he's one of them.
Now I’m really confused, by bringing up abortion are you suggesting Republicans are extreme on social issues? If yes, please explain “Again, I don’t see anywhere in these two lines where I refer bible-toting religious right-wingers.”? By the way, I’m still looking for an answer to my Santorum question as well.

The Tea Party, barring a few wackos, stands for lower taxes and less Government. Even Paul’s twisted interpretation of history knows that the reason the tea was dumped over-board was because of taxation not abortion (or any social issue).

It’s unfortunate Democrats now translate fiscal responsibility into radical conservatism. One can be either a Democrat or a Republican and oppose spending our children’s future so the current generation can live high on the hog. To any high-spending Republican or Democrat tossed over-board by the Tea Party, my response is good riddance, not “you weren’t conservative enough”.
The tea was dumped overboard because of a lack of representation and a disgust with monopolies, not taxes.
The Tea Party was invented so the GOP could shift gears and start complaining about the debt they ran up during the Bush years--when the GOP defended the debt they were running up.

It's not radical conservatism, Fevie, it's radical ignorance and fiscal incompetence combined with blind and destructive economic idiocy and shrill opportunism. The Tea Party is nothing more than the base idiots who take the GOP's demagoguery and propaganda seriously, like you.
@Fever Blister
You dare to ask "if the Republicans had nominated Santorum how would you have described us?" Why, we would have called you nuts, with good reason.

It's one thing to argue against abortion, but any man who in the 21st Century rales against birth control and idiotically and hypocritically insists that sex is only for procreation -- despite the fact there are now 7 billion people on the planet -- belongs in the First Century not the 21st. Then again, Sick Rick would have just held some other equally idiotic position back then.

I'm still waiting for someone with the guts to ask Rick if he ever masturbated or if he and his wife still have sex even tho she's well-past child-bearing age. None of my business, you might say? True -- until Rick decided to make what goes on in someone's bedroom everybody's business.

But leaving Santorum aside, your continual defense of the indefensible renders you defenseless -- and exposes you as senseless. Rick exposed himself as America's Village Idiot; you continue to expose yourself as Open Salon's Village Idiot.
Paul: I agree with this statement: “The more willing to spew dogma and ignorance-motivated derision, the more "conservative" the person.” Mind you, this can also be applicable to people who label themselves as “moderate,” such as Johnny Fever above.

As you mentioned in your second comment, the tea party’s initial creation is based on ignorance and economic idiocy (still is). The brother of a friend of mine, who’s been indoctrinated by the Ron Paul propaganda machine and considers himself a tea partier, is always railing against the government (he barely completed his high school diploma). He wants the government the out of everything, including health care. Despite the fact that his own mother was “saved” by Medicare when she showed up at the emergency (the hospital agreed to provide the surgery she needed, since the government paid almost all the bills), he’s still claiming that people on Medicare, Social Security, etc., are “brain washed” by the government (except for his mother of course). Let’s not forget that this guy has been receiving unemployment benefits a few times over the last 4 or 5 years (often after being fired due to incompetency)…

You have a very interesting take on Romney. He’s obviously more “conservative” than when he was governor of Massachusetts. However, is he really more conservative or just putting a front to get votes? Since he said that he would try to amend the Constitution to ban gay marriage (good luck with that), maybe he deserves to be classified as a “real” conservative (This is not a social issue according to Johnny). To me, he’s still an idiot no matter where he lies on the political spectrum.

Tom: Excellent answer! Nothing more to add.

BTW, on Real Time with Bill Maher last night, the guests and Bill actually discussed the ad described in my post above (maybe one of the producers saw my post ;-) ). They all agreed with the main thrust of the post.
Wow. Language and meaning seem more convoluted than ever within political circles, and political double-speak doesn't get any better than this.
Fascinating and sad all at once.
Poor Woman: Thank you.
Yeah, someone on MSNBC picked up on this and it's really extraordinary. Then again, it's to be expected for two reasons: (a) it's an easy confusion for someone to accidentally have and (b) if not a confusion (and that's likely here), it's easy to see why it confuses others if wording is picked cynically.

Consider being on a highway in Texas and wanting to go to New York. It hardly matters if you pick the road to Boston or Maine. It's all the same from a distance.

I often think of politics on a number line, though I noticed recently I put the GOP on the left and the Dems on the right, I think because the GOP seems so negative to me that it eclipses the left/right part. But recently the GOP has intensified its position, we'll say “moving farther from the origin,” to avoid left-right confusion. If you think these things linear (and one could question that), the path to the Dems is the same as the path to the deepest socialism, the only difference is where you stop. Like the driving analogy. In fact, the GOP moderates are in that direction, too. And it may well be that the distance (in absolute terms) to GOP moderateness or Obama moderateness (he is quite a centrist, almost bordering on a traditional Republican position a lot) could be the distance that used to be the distance from GOP moderateness to socialism. So it's easy to see what sustains the confusion, even as it's hard to forgive the surely-outright-lying done to indulge that confusion.
Kent: I'm glad to see that MSNBC looked into this as well.

Very interesting take on this issue. I agree with you that Barak Obama is a centrist (leaning towards the right). It's hard not to laugh when people refer to him as a leftist. As you implied in your comment, because he is a centrist, many Republicans need to move further to right to distance themselves from him to show how they are anti-socialist/communist/fascist (to most they’re all the same).
Kanuk, I'm not sure that's the causality. I think the GOP would be moving to the right regardless. It's how they're playing the game. If you haven't read Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, I recommend it. (Also available in audiobook, which is how I read these things.) I also found Kevin Phillips' American Theocracy to be quite instructive (and terribly depressing for how prophetic it's been). These books do not talk about reaction to individual candidate. They're about broader trends. I think it's true that candidates take advantage of whatever they can to create conversational distance, but I think the basic positioning is driven by other factors. For example, during the primary they were mostly only speaking within the party not outside, and they didn't have to do stupid things like attack birth control. That was settled between both parties and they needn't have perturbed Republican women. They're doing it not due to Obama. That even drives people toward Obama. It's more like The Scorpion and the Frog.
In fact, if anything, Obama moved closer to the Right to try to “reach out” on matters he thought he could get agreement on. His strategy seemed to be to overwhelm them with surprise that he was being so willing and to leave them stunned into agreeing. It didn't work. The Republicans just moved right anyway. I think it wasn't to get away from him on those occasions, but rather because they observed his strategy was to take position x/2 and they figured they should maximize the absolute value of x to pull him along with them. It appears he has caught on and is no longer doing this. I was sad he was doing this and wrote about it in my An Open Letter to the Capitulator-in-Chief. I'm happy he seems to be holding stronger now, and I hope that the recent endorsement of gay marriage is an example. It's also noteworthy that after he did that endorsement, which some said might lose him some black vote (they apparently polling more anti-gay marriage than the general population), we saw not ire from that community but stories about how a notable number in that community were reconsidering their position. Obama is learning as he's going, but I hope he'll come to understand the value of the bully pulpit and shift left. As Keith Olbermann advised quite a while back (paraphrasing from memory): If they're going to call you socialist anyway, no matter what you do, that should be very freeing. Just do your conscience and stop trying to triangulate uselessly. It was good advice even if the President did not at that point seem ready to take it.