The fact that the Koch brothers are planning to pony up $88 million for next year's elections tells me just one thing: the conservative movement's paranoia about the consequences of the Obama presidency are incredibly out of whack with the actual accomplishments of the Obama administration. This is a big problem if you're serious about promoting conservative governance when all your potential allies are blabbing about how Obama is actually Karl Marx in a time machine.
It's the first day of CPAC, so let's take stock of the conservative movement's success in taking over the Republican party for the good of the nation: The newly empowered Republican House majority is riven with factionalism and can't get anything done; by one measure, the GOP is less popular than Democrats on the generic congressional ballot; the GOP's personal propaganda network behaves like...a propaganda network; and Republicans issue
Here's another depressing entry in America's continuing descent into intellectual stupor, with 15 to 20 percent of high school biology teachers giving lectures on "creationism" instead of the foundations of modern biology. Look, this isn't hard. Teachers can acknowledge the "controversy" from the outset, and explain that this is a science class, not theology. It would actually be a great opportunity to explain the difference between scientific and philosophical inquiry. And while we're on the subject, I would fully endorse a philosophy of religion course for high school students. "Winning the future" requires, you know, mastering the past.
I think you could safely assess, on the basis of this New York Timesarticle, that House candidates who ran against earmarks actually had no idea that their constituents expect federal dollars to fund projects in their districts. If, as they say, all politics are local -- and I certainly think that is the case with House races -- this could be the Achilles heel of the next congressional cycle. A more savvy politician will realize that the public is schizophrenic and will make the case against "waste" while quietly acquiring federal funding to help get re-elected.
Last week, Conor Friedersdorf observed of the conservative noise machine, "It is hard to think of anyone who disrespects and takes advantage of conservatives more than they do." Now, I'm not a conservative, but I happen to think this is a very big problem. When Rush Limbaughdismisses as crazy the idea that Ronald Reagan raised taxes, this isn't just deception or propaganda. Limbaugh's listeners trust him. They believe him. And how does he reward this loyalty? By treating them like fools. I don't know how to solve this problem, and a mea culpa ("Sorry we had to exploit you for your money and your votes for the past couple of decades") is probably off the table.