Guess what, Dorothy? Now we’re ALL back in Kansas!

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One of my favorite political theories is now going to be tested, big league.

For years, I’ve watched and listened to conservatives as they described all the wonderful, revolutionary things that they would do if ever given the type of unchecked power that they now possess.

For example:

  • “Entitlement reform,” meaning the privatization of Medicare and even Social Security that millions of Americans rely on for their lifelines.
  • “Tax reform,” in which they address the economic dissatisfaction of the middle class by slashing the tax burden on the fabulously wealthy, under the theory that jobs will blossom and the resulting growth will magically shrink the deficits.
  • “Devolving power back to the states,” so that Medicaid, food stamps and other popular programs that they don’t dare kill in Washington can be slowly and quietly strangled in state capitols.
  • “Deregulation,” in which Wall Street financiers and corporate executives are freed from oversight such as that imposed on them after the 2008 meltdown, in effect stripping consumers of what little protection that government once offered them.

All these policies are of course consistent with traditional GOP ideology. And if you don’t think about the details or their impact on actual living human beings, you can apparently convince yourself that such policies will be popular. You can even blind yourself to the common thread that runs through them, which is that these and many other policy proposals from the right are designed to benefit the economic and political elite while making the average citizen even more vulnerable to economic instability.

That is the core conservative argument, after all: Government has given its citizens too much protection from the purifying fires of capitalism.

My theory has always been that conservatives have been fooling themselves, that as these pretty little ideas start to translate from theory into practice, a couple of things will start to happen:  Their elitist nature becomes harder to disguise, and also, they don’t work. They don’t work at all. I think that outcome is probably more likely now than ever, because you can’t expect the challenges posed by a global economy utterly transformed by technology to be susceptible to the economic placebos popular a half century ago. Yet that’s exactly what the GOP believes.

In recent years, we’ve seen smaller-scale confirmation of my theory in places such as Louisiana and Kansas, where conservative revolutionaries came into power and implemented the full range of right-wing economic policies, and instead of success have reaped bitter failure. Now we’re about to witness what happens as that same process plays out on the national scale.

It’s just three days after Election Day, and you can already see it happening. While candidate Donald Trump promised throughout the campaign to “drain the swamp” of Washington lobbyists and take on the special interests, how has President-elect Trump begun the transition process?

By inviting in the swamp creatures themselves to redesign the place to their own liking. Already, special-interest lobbyists are being put in charge of hiring appointees and setting policies for the very federal agencies where their clients have the most at stake. In about every field in which you care to look, the anti-elitist, populist Trump campaign has produced an elitist feeding frenzy.  The lions are very much looking forward to being set loose on the lambs.

Given all that, the next few years are going to be fascinating high-stakes political drama, particularly given the fact that conservatives have convinced themselves that they have a mandate for major change.  The reality is that their victorious presidential candidate probably lost the popular vote, and Democratic candidates for the House and Senate got more votes than Republican candidates, but that fact will have no moderating influence whatsoever. With control of the House, Senate, White House and Supreme Court, they have no excuses for not acting.

In one sense I’m eager to watch this experiment play out; in another I dread its consequences on actual living human beings, including millions of those who have put these people into power and invested enormous faith in their competence and judgment.

I hope I’m proved wrong; I fear I won’t.

 

Reader Comments 0

1160 comments
stogiefogey
stogiefogey

Speaking of Oz, watching CNN's John King pushing and poking his election map Tuesday night, like he was trying to force a different outcome, was a bit like watching the Wizard frantically working the levers behind the curtain in Emerald City.

Then there was also the Wicked Witch connection.

quickdigits
quickdigits

People say Trump has no ideology....no plans for this country? We have never had a president as experienced as he is in making deals and making things happen! Take a look at his real estate! Amazing that One Person was able to create these marvelous structures and make money on them! Yes, he had failures, but who Hasn't failed at one time or another? What did Obama do before he became president? He was embedded in Chicago's black community and basically wasn't very effective.

The past few days of riots and protests have demonstrated to me one thing: these young liberal Democrats are resentful and jealous of Trump, because he represents everything They are Not: Successful, Rich and Powerful. It's almost as if these young people are Anti-American-Dream!

Walter_White
Walter_White

It amazes me how people vote against their own self-interest. Many of the blue-collar, non college educated Trump supporters will be hurt hardest by inevitable cuts to our social safety net programs. The wealthy will benefit by tax cuts that, time and time again, have not "trickled-down" as promised.

lclark2
lclark2

Thank you for this insightful article.  I could not agree with you more.  We should all click our red ruby slippers together and pray to leave Kansas!

Philo_Farnsworth
Philo_Farnsworth

Perusing the MSM a bit today -- ABCNBCCBSMSNBCCNNNYTWaPo...

Remember back in '08, when preezy-elect obama was doing his transition thing? Every move he made was BRILLIANT. Everyone he was considering for the cabinet were absolute geniuses of his/her fields. Praise was effusive.

Compare and contrast with treatment of Trump.

jerryeads
jerryeads

PT Barnum has always been right, and the last two below just show it again. Well, he was partly right. He had absolutely no clue just how many suckers there were. 

Be interesting to see what jobs/foreign competition/terrorism/immigration/crime look like in a year or two. Trump did a superb job of shafting the little guys in his businesses every chance he got, yet he convinced them he's their savior during the campaign. Wonder when the colors show themselves whether they'll be able to use their heads for something besides anterior orifice plugs. 

mgunter
mgunter

Bla bla bla...... more Bookman BS. Are you still crying yourself to sleep

td1234
td1234

"Even better than expected. We pulled back from the brink last night. Now let's get to work to Make America Great Again! And may God bless us all.

Thank you to hundreds of volunteers and staff in GA, FL, NC, PA, OH, IA and other states who distributed millions of voter guides and helped ensure victory for conservative candidates and issues.

And to our liberal friends out there (yes, we have some) join together with us. A strong, prosperous, and faithful America benefits everyone, here at home and around the world."


Faith and Freedom coalition. 

bills68
bills68

I knew you wouldn't jump Jaaaaay- now your knees can' shake and jerk for the next eight years while you ply your pitiful trade!

Peachs
Peachs

I hear Trump is just a stage name. 

MLBrown
MLBrown

Bookman, you and Krugman continue to spout bogus opinions as facts and have continually missed what the conservative focus is, what the motives are, and how many and how smart the people are who agree with these positions.  It's a wonder either of you actually get paid to write what you write.  Should be on the comic page. 

Peachs
Peachs

@MLBrown my neighbor told me Ms. Trump was not Russian it was just a liberal conspiracy against Trump. Even Krugman is not calling her Russian. 

Peachs
Peachs

@Kamchak @MLBrown lot of confusion out there, they say Trump actually went to Ivana's house when he arrived home from the party.  

Peachs
Peachs

We are buying steel from China for bridges to nowhere as we speak.  50 cents on the dollar, savings we can put in the bank. 

Peachs
Peachs

Trump and O laughed for 90 minutes...


Now I see why!

Paul42
Paul42

Since the start of the dozens of repeal PPACA votes taken in the House, Democrats have said "there are problems, offer legislation to fix them, do not just keep taking repeal votes.

Looks like Trump got the message.

Well, so did Ryan - remember his latest foray and the discussion we had - Jay did a column on it - demonstrating why it's still not comprehensive?

td1234
td1234

So 13% of black men voted for Trump and they had a couple more on CNN this afternoon saying they are ready to become Republicans. 


Only 4% of black women voted for Trump showing that they are the dumbest demographic group in the country. 

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

There's not going to be a wall and 2nd amendment is already protected. Lie much?

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser Oh there will be a wall and the Congressman from TX said this morning that it is already the law and has already been funded. Obama just did not follow the law and build it. 

td1234
td1234

@StraightNoChaser Build a wall, cut taxes, cut regulations, protect the 2nd amendment and appoint conservatives justices to the SCOTUS. 


If that is a liberal agenda then I will take it any day of the week. LOL

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

That was out the night of the election, word is he has offered her a position in his administration. LOL

Mr_Snarky
Mr_Snarky

@td1234 They must be the ones that enjoy being stopped and frisked.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Election is over td now let's talk about Trump's liberal agenda that's shaping up. LOL

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Johnny, Nate Silver or not you and td's scary butts were ghost around here until you found out that Trump was winning on Tuesday. I'm still here win or lose but you and td were all caught up in your feelings. LOL

td1234
td1234

@Peachs Trump is a populist not a liberal. 


Trump just placed the ardent conservative VP Pence as chairman of the transition committee and that means the more conservatives will be placed in government positions. Trump has said Pence will be the COO and in charge of his legislative agenda. What does that mean?  

Peachs
Peachs

The real reason Trump didn't pay taxes is p grabbing is tax deductible. 

Peachs
Peachs

what is more liberal that grabbing stuff like that?

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

SNC, have you notified Nate you aren't speaking to him?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

How does it feel to be used? Dummy he got you guys by just putting an R behind his name. ACA is here to stay. LOL

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@StraightNoChaser your feeble attempt to incite hate and discontent is noted.

You did not answer the question.

What happened to Nate?

What happened to the that Blue Wall you were so full of bluster about?

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

They were used, td was posting yesterday how he could not wait until Obamacare was repealed.

Paul42
Paul42

@JohnnyReb

JR, if you'd have read his articles, you'd know he repeatedly wrote about the possibility for a Trump path and gave frequent updates the last week.

Remember how I posted when the Cubs were down  that if someone wanted to play the odds they should watch what happened in the World Series?  

You shouldn't attack someone if you're not familiar with what he said vs your interpretation of what others said he said.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

Trump, repeatedly said on the campaign trail that he would "repeal and replace" the ACA. It does not matter too me because I make good money and already have health insurance. LOL

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@StraightNoChaser were you good at dodge ball in school?

Show some intelligence.

Repeal and Replace does not mean nothing of ACA would survive.

The biggest change will be how it is funded.

And you can expect most of it to come from the states, not the federal.

JohnnyReb
JohnnyReb

@Paul42 @JohnnyReb You're laughable, Paul.

I'm not attacking Nate.

I'm having fun with SNC who crowed and crowed and crowed about Nate and the Blue Wall.

But, regardless of your defense of Nate, he kept Hillary winning until it was obvious not.

StraightNoChaser
StraightNoChaser

I know that repeal means to get rid of it and every thing about it or contained in it. Next week he will be saying that he likes other parts of it. He's a democrat.

Paul42
Paul42

@JohnnyReb

As I asked, you never read any of his analyses on his website, did you?