Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Beck-O’Donnell Feud Chronicles Startling Revelation: Two-Thirds of Beck’s Followers Are Socialists!

When a dopey but dangerous guttersnipe like Glenn Beck smears Lawrence O’Donnell — admittedly, Lawrence can well defend himself (tonight), it’s good for his ratings, and he opened himself up for it — I should say a word or two on his behalf.  Yes, I know, Lawrence loves being targeted by Beck, who called him “Larry,” MSNBC’s new “loverboy.” O’Donnell proudly mentioned the “millions of people who hate me,” so get out your popcorn for the continuing Beck-O’Donnell Chronicles tonight.

“Larry” needs no defense from me, but it’s the Christ-like thing to do (“Christian” has been given a Satanic meaning by the Right), and I would not pass up an opportunity to school the Teabaggers. Beck has whipped them into a “wake up! The ‘Event’ [NBC show on Mondays … this huckster grabs his material wherever he can find it] is near” frenzy. Without putting words in his mouth, I understand where Lawrence O’Donnell is coming from when he says he’s a socialist. He’s being honest. If they were honest, two-thirds of  Glenn Beck’s audience who rely on government pensions, Social Security, or Medicare would come to the same realization: they’re socialists too!

In a perfect world, this would be one of Oprah’s “lightbulb moments” in which people come to understand that when government and the people formally agree to advance the greater good it is not a bad thing nor inconsistent with our founding principles. We, the people are the government. And there is empirical proof of the benefits of Social Security lifting generations of seniors out of poverty into a dignified retirement, and Medicare providing government healthcare in their golden years. Ironically, the fact that Medicare (which the Republicans want to turn into an every person for him or herself voucher program) has enabled seniors to live longer and healthier probably gave Republicans their demographic winning margin at the polls. If you listen to Republicans carefully, they talk of slashing Medicare and Social Security for those under the age of 40 — the demographic that voted for Barack Obama. It’s ‘us against them’, ‘divide and conquer’, balkanize the electorate into little digestible chunks to give the white minority Republican/Tea Party an electoral majority.

The core mission of  Republicans is not, as one naïve Tea Partier said, to “stabilize the economy.” If it were, they’d listen to David Stockman, Ronald Reagan’s trickle-down guru who has since recanted and warned a few days ago that the GOP plan to extend tax cuts for the rich will “bankrupt the country.” There is no empirical evidence to show that giving the rich tax cuts creates jobs. None. It was done under George W. Bush with less job creation in eight nightmare years than in less than two under Barack Obama. Stockman’s point, conceded by all sane economists, is that extending the current tax cuts will create a four TRILLION dollar hole in our deficit.

The core mission of Republicans is to stage a frontal assault on FDR's New Deal and eliminate, once and for all, the policies and programs that created the Great American Middle Class. 

So much for the Tea Party sophistry regarding balanced budgets and spending cuts. Their argument is well, “it’s the people’s money.” Not quite. First of all, Democrats propose extending the current tax cuts for 95 percent of Americans, just not for the top 2 or 3 percent, who do not need it. That’s a conversation on prudent, constitutional tax policy that We, the 95 percent of Americans would like to have. And polls indicate we, the people support the Democratic position of not giving multimillionaires a deficit-busting gift. When I brought up this inconvenient truth to a Tea Partier, a good person whom I happen to like, she punted big-time. Yes, it’s a problem, a contradiction, for those of us who are conservatives and believe in smaller government, etc. Sorry, but that’s not good enough. It’s what’s called a rationalization. It’s dishonest.

So what if Lawrence O'Donnell says he's a socialist? Here's Media Matters:
... O'Donnell has explained that he is a "socialist" in the way that "we all are" because Social Security and Medicare are "socialist program[s]," not as an admission of being a "radical revolutionary," as Beck suggests. In a September 17, 2010, interview with The Hollywood Reporter (via Nexis), O'Donnell described himself as "A practical European socialist which, as it turns out, we all are, if you know that Social Security ... is a socialist program, and that Medicare is a socialist program and that all economies of the world are mixed with some capitalism and some socialism and they just vary in their degrees."
Paul Krugman noted:
Europe is often held up as a cautionary tale, a demonstration that if you try to make the economy less brutal, to take better care of your fellow citizens when they’re down on their luck, you end up killing economic progress. But what European experience actually demonstrates is the opposite: social justice and progress can go hand in hand.
And as Media Matters noted ominously, while Beck is distracted by an old video from the Communist Party USA, the real threat to America, with 4.4 million hits on YouTube is Maru the Cat! "We have to ask: Why is Glenn Beck ignoring this threat to all we hold dear?" Shocking video of the subversive adventures of Maru the Cat follows:

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