So many dislodged wingnuts, so little time to fête them. Can’t thank everyone who helped tear the wheels off the conservative movement and elect Barack Obama and Joe Biden, but a few of the major mechanics compel recognition.
Paul Weyrich, the über-religionist and founder of the Heritage Foundation, for spending a lifetime trying to replace our democracy with a theocracy, for linking conservatism inescapably with homophobia, anti-semitism, and sexism, and for red-baiting a docile media into becoming a fearsome adversary.
Grover Norquist, for recruiting George W. Bush and enabling him to become the Typhoid Mary of conservatisim, and for keeping up the bray for smaller government even as American families came desperately to need a bigger one.
Newt Gingrich, for kicking off the first hubcap by ostentatiously overplaying his hand, turning the soft underbelly of free market philosophy up to the sunlight, and destroying the myths that all ideas are good ideas and conservatives are more family oriented than liberals.
Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity and their widemouth colleagues on right-wing radio for raising the profile of conservative dogma so high everyone could take a look for themselves and decide, “Hey, that really sounds stupid.”
Karl Rove and George W. Bush for releasing the fullness of crackpot conservative thinking, namely that if markets are free, you really don’t have to work hard or produce anything of value in order to become rich, that if there are no traffic laws everyone will voluntarily obey the speed limit, and if there are no policemen people will be less inclined to burgle and mangle one another.
Using Bush as a clueless conduit, Rove piled up the biggest budget and trade deficits in our history, transferred so much wealth to the wealthy that Gordon Gekko began to look like a philanthropist, and spread the American model of capitalism so widely that the world now stands undivided before the abyss of economic collapse.
Weyrich, Norquist, Gingrich, Limbaugh, Hannity, Rove and Bush. Names that will live in infamy for siezing control of our government and putting to work all of the greedy schemes conservatives once dared talk about only in the confines of their steam rooms and cigar bars. Those ideas failed. So miserably that the moneyed class they were intended to serve now survives at the pleasure of the government they fortuitously weren’t able to reduce to nothingness.
Conservatism and the American model of capitalism are now roadkill. Frighteningly, it remains to the imagination what will replace them.
[Editor’s note: This article originally appeared here, at www.rayabernathy.com.]