Hmmmm…..

Does the United States have a party duopoly which governs a managed democratic political system? It does, and Ross Douthat of the New York Times recently provided ad hoc evidence supporting that judgment:

Paul Ryan is not a moderate, not a centrist, and certainly not a perfectly neutral non-ideological number-crunching budget wonk. He is a conservative whose fiscal blueprints and budgets are drawn up with conservative goals uppermost in mind. He’s a Reaganite pro-life hawkish supply-sider who wants limited government and the lowest possible tax burden. Out of all the running mates available, Mitt Romney chose one of the most explicitly ideological options.

But moderates — and maybe, just maybe, the occasional liberal as well — should appreciate Ryan all the same, because he’s almost single-handedly responsible for saving the Republican Party from some of its own worst impulses.

Failing political parties tend to develop toxic internal cultures, and the post-2008 Republican Party was no exception. Reeling from two consecutive electoral repudiations, Republicans looked poised to spend President Obama’s first term alternating between do-nothingism and delusion. They would demagogue every Democratic proposal, decline to offer any alternative on any issue, and seal themselves inside a fantasy world where tax cuts always pay for themselves and budgets can be balanced by cutting funding for NPR.

Some of this came to pass. But from the earliest days of the Obama presidency, Ryan was pushing his fellow Republicans toward a different course. When conservatives praise the Wisconsin congressman for his courage, this willingness to ask more of his own party is a big part of what they have in mind.

Briefly put, Paul Ryan might appeal to moderates, centrists and a few liberals because he is a serious man on a mission. His mission? To impose vicious and predatory, foolish and reactionary policies on a country that would be best served if it repudiated men like Ryan and, for that matter, Obama. Ryan adds gravitas to the GOP clown car, and for this he deserves praise.

Douthat is also a reactionary, and it should surprise no one that he wants the Republican Party to take the lead in the imposition of political and economic reaction on the United States. It is also noteworthy that Douthat does not call for the political defeat of the Democratic Party. Both parties must share the burdens in the movement of the United States to the right.

Quote of the day

Shamus Cooke reports that:

The U.S. heat wave is slowly shaking the foundations of American politics. It may take years for the deep rumble to evolve into an above ground, institution-shattering earthquake, but U.S. society has changed for good.

The heat wave has helped convince tens of millions of Americans that climate change is real, overpowering the fake science and right-wing media – funded by corporate cash – to convince Americans otherwise.

Republicans and Democrats alike also erect roadblocks to understanding climate change. By the politicians’ complete lack of action towards addressing the issue, the “climate change is fake” movement was strengthened, since Americans presumed that any sane government would be actively trying to address an issue that had the potential to destroy civilization.

But working people have finally made up their mind. A recent poll showed that70 percent of Americans now believe that climate change is real, up from 52 percent in 2010. And a growing number of people are recognizing that the warming of the planet is caused by human activity.

Business Week explains: “A record heat wave, drought and catastrophic wildfires are accomplishing what climate scientists could not: convincing a wide swath of Americans that global temperatures are rising.

It is sad that the elite in the United States could care a damn about global warming, ecological catastrophe and the socio-political causes which produces these outcomes. It is also sad because this unctuous and vain elite enjoys a secure existence with respect to the majority of America’s citizens. We have a managed democracy designed to undermine the ability common Americans ought to have and will need if they are to hold their leaders accountable. The commoners, of course, will suffer badly from the catastrophe. Members of America’s elite will also suffer although they will manage to live through the catastrophe in much better shape — for a while. Eventually, everyone will confront the vast burdens produced by America’s sloth and narcissism. That is an inescapable entailment of the impending global catastrophe. It will be a totalization which none could resist. Need I mention that this future is unlikely to be a moment in which one would want to live?

Scott Walker defeated his opponents in the Wisconsin recall election

His was a landslide victory. Walker’s victory affirmed the party-duopoly which governs the United States because both candidates were system politicians in good standing, both accepted managed democracy as legitimate. Democracy ‘won’: the system ‘worked.’

Walker’s victory is an unqualified disaster for the left, at least for any left committed to popular participation, democratic accountability and equality. It does not matter a jot that Walker had enormous financial resources to use in this election, pace those who claim otherwise (see, for instance, this and this). He did not buy votes. The election was not decided by the work of a Republican Party Sturmabteilung. What matters is Walker was a nationally known political reactionary and who had the backing of the reactionary faction of the nation’s economic elite and oligarchs, and who used these resources to muster the popular support he needed to defeat all of his opponents in what appears to have been a fairly contested election. Walker had to be defeated in order for the left in America to deliver on the promises generated by the Wisconsin Uprising and by the Occupy Movement. Anything less than a Walker defeat in this recall election meant a general and decisive defeat of the political left.

How important was this election? In my estimation, the Wisconsin recall election was so important that Walker’s latest victory may well stand alongside Reagan’s destruction of PATCO, the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, Bush v. Gore, passage of the Patriot Act, the 2004 electoral affirmation of the Bush regime and the Iraq Occupation as well as Barack Obama’s steadfast affirmation of the security-surveillance state as recent landmark moments in the dissolution of America’s democracy.