Class Warfare Blog

April 21, 2013

Remember “Activist Courts and Judges”?

Those of you long enough in the tooth (as I am) remember a conservative outcry against “activist judges” and “activist courts.” This began, I believe with the Supreme Court lead by Earl Warren and the Civil Rights Movement, although it might have gone back farther. The argument was that laws should be made by Congress, not by the courts.

Interestingly, now that the courts have a distinctly conservative bent, there have been no more outcries against “activist courts.” And the Supreme Court has been making bizarre decisions rewriting what many thought were settled laws.

Consider Bush v. Gore, the case that gave the 2000 election to George W. Bush. The Supreme Court’s decision to intervene was in contradiction of many decades of settled law (including Supreme Court decisions to the effect) which stated that states had the right to run their own elections.

Then there was Citizens United v. FEC in which the Supreme Court went out of its way to take a case and then reframed it and came in with a decision that corporations had the same rights as people, again overturning many decades of settled law.

This kind of behavior is endemic. Conservatives are against big government, except when they are in power when they expand the government and incur more debt. Conservatives used to be against government interfering in our private lives, until they embraced the abortion issue to attract their base.

And they were against activist judges and courts, until they got control of the courts.

Can you spell hypocrisy, boys and girls?

November 28, 2012

Why the GOP is Purging Moderates

On Rachel Maddow’s show last night former Florida Governor Charlie Crist expressed confusion over why the GOP is purging moderates, like himself, from the party.

I am shocked that he doesn’t realize why this is so. I picked up a fact that pretty much tells the tale: “The Forbes 400, the wealthiest individuals in America, hit a new group record for wealth this year: $1.7 trillion. That’s more than five times the $300 billion total in 1992.” So, in 20 years, the wealth amassed by the roughly 400 wealthiest Americans quintupled, while the remaining 300,000,000 million of us are struggling dealing with the effects of the worse recession since the Great Depression, most of whom saw their accumulated wealth go down.

The rich in this country are now overwhelmingly corporate CEOs, people trained to create profit, at least for themselves, at all costs. These same people believe that it is their own sterling qualities that got them to the “top” of American society. They believe that their wealth means something, primarily that they are superior to others who couldn’t do what they have done. Mr. Mitt Romney is the perfect example.

Mr. Romney insisted in the recent political campaign that he was a self-made man, that he had earned his wealth, all of it. He apparently didn’t think that the posh education his family’s wealth afforded him was a boost up. He apparently didn’t think his father’s business contacts were a boost up. Nor did he think his father staking him a million dollars to go into business was a leg up. He did it all by himself.

The purging of the Republican Party of moderates stems from a confluence of a number of things. Shortly after the Obama election in 2008, if you will recall, the number of people willing to tell pollsters they identified themselves as Republicans was around 20%. It was actually more than that but part of the GOP was so mad at the party for letting someone of Mr. Obama’s ilk win that they were disgusted by it. But when the party was stripped down to its core like that, the hard core base of the GOP woke up and realized that they were then a majority of the GOP . . . finally they would be more than just pandered to. Which is when the corporate money struck. Corporate money fueled the birth of the Tea Party. The Tea Party was the lever corporate money could use to dominate the Republican Party and it was done.

The conservative Think Tanks didn’t see this coming, even though they had laid the groundwork for it. The Law of Unintended Consequences caught up to them. And The Citizens United Supreme Court decision sealed the deal and corporatist’s money became the tail wagging the dog.

The conservative Think Tanks no longer drive the Republican agenda. The GOP no longer drives the Republican agenda. The Koch brothers and their ilk do and their temperament is much like Mr. Romney’s. Of course, the Koch brothers inherited vast resources and then took advantage of circumstances to multiply what they inherited, but their attitude is like Romney’s and the other corporatists, staunchly and extremely libertarian.

The moderates in the GOP had to go because they weren’t like the new Masters of the GOP. And the levers of power were easily bought. Have you noticed how many politicians received primary challenges, challenges that didn’t occur in the past because they couldn’t raise enough money to sustain a viable campaign. The people controlling the purse strings wouldn’t back a loser. All of a sudden, these nonviable candidates had money and incumbents started to fall. The message was clear, if you weren’t conservative enough, you would be replaced. So politicians either morphed themselves into new more conservative forms or they were replaced. And from whom did they take their cues? From the hard core base and the corporatists with the money.

So, the GOP isn’t purging moderates, the purge is from the outside and the GOP is being reshaped by forces beyond its control.

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