John B. Judis' Wrongheaded Screed Against the Republicans: Is This the New TNR?
His main point is simply that “the conservative coalition of the 1930s is the Republican Party of today,” one that sees liberalism “as the product of communism or fascism that had been imported from Europe ... obsessed with strict fealty to an anachronistic reading of the Constitution”; investigated opponents to stop the administration’s program; and argued against government spending. If it was wrong then, says Judis, it must be wrong now. But today’s Republicans are even worse, because now, unlike the past, there are no moderate Republicans willing to work in a bipartisan fashion with Democrats on behalf of the American people.
Now, he claims, Republicans are trying to dismantle the entire New Deal edifice, not to stop overextended programs rejected by our countrymen, like ObamaCare. It is a pure and simple “counterrevolutionary party” that wants victory at any cost, even if it means destroying our entire government. He of course cites Newt Gingrich as a prime example -- ignoring the fact that the current new speaker of the House is not Gingrich, but John Boehner, who, as everyone knows, is acting in a very different fashion than Gingrich did in the Clinton years. Yes, he manages to write that Boehner and Mitch McConnell “are more cautious than Gingrich” -- hard to ignore that -- but says “they will be vigorously pushed to the right” by the Republican Congress and by other conservatives.
What you will not see anywhere in his article is an assessment of the current Democratic Party, and any awareness that one of the reasons the Republicans have made such major advances is that the Democratic Party has been pushed far to the left. In fact, the leadership of Pelosi and Reid and their supporters took pride in how so many Blue Dog Democrats lost in the mid-term election, because that gave the left wing of of their party more control! There is no discussion of the arrogant attempt of Reid to push through a new stimulus at the last moment, and of the mechanism by which the Democrats forced through an unpopular health care program by failing to consider any of the valid criticisms made of it by opponents.
Instead, he bemoans that there are no more “moderate pro-labor Republicans,” without mentioning that there are almost no more moderate centrist Democrats left who have any influence. I don’t recall Judis, for example, backing Joe Lieberman against Ned Lamont in the last Connecticut Senate race. And then Judis moans about think tanks -- they’re all extremist, like AEI and Heritage. I don’t notice Judis mentioning John Podesta’s Center for American Progress, which put out a recommendation that Obama rule by executive decree and bypass Congress, or the Old Left and still existing Institute for Policy Studies, whose staff has put out similar recommendations. As we all know, extremists are only on the right.
According to Judis, Republicans, conservative think tanks, and Fox News “speak the language of insurgency and insurrection.” A while ago, I blogged about Frances Fox Piven’s editorial in The Nation, in which she editorially calls for insurrection and violence. I guess that missed Judis’s reading list. Or is it ok when she does it, since Piven is a voice of the Left? As for AEI, its chief is a “right-wing propagandist.” Actually, he is an academic economist. Would Judis like to be described not as a journalist, but as a left-wing propagandist? Or a Marxist ideologue, since he revealed in early 2009 that he again considers himself a Marxist? (Shortly before Obama took office, Judis wrote, "A decade ago, I might have been embarrassed to admit that I was raised on Marx and Marxism, but I am convinced that the left is coming back." Ok -- I should have begun my article calling him a left-wing Marxist ideologue, not a “top-flight reporter.”)