Reagan and Social Conservatism: the construction of Red State Populism

Discussion in 'Politics' started by Londoner, May 12, 2012.

  1. Londoner

    Londoner Gold Member

    Jul 17, 2010
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    People don't get it. The Republican Party is not really socially conservative. They are merely taking advantage of social conservative voters.

    Many top "Conservatives" (like Chaney and Reagan) are to the Left of Obama on gay rights.

    The power structure of the GOP is weighted toward cold-eyed Libertarians whose fundamental mission is to create profit-friendly tax, labor, and regulatory policies.

    Most of them are classic Milton-Friedman-Liberals who want the government 100% out of moral issues. They use social issues ("baby killers", "the gay agenda", "Borders, Language, Culture") just like they used racial issues (i.e., Southern Strategy) to emerge from their postwar/New Deal exile - when they successfully deployed Civil-Rights-backlash to flip the solid South.

    To understand this brand of "Conservative", you need look no further than Ronald Reagan. He passed the country's most liberal abortion policy as Governor of California. He ran on family values, but he was a divorced man, estranged from his children. He ran on religion, but rarely set foot in church until he was president. He ran against liberal multiculturalism, but passed the largest amnesty bill in this country's history.

    Reagan used social issues to capture Red State America (the south, heartland, and rural America). He successfully converted the anti-corporate populism (used by the left to capture the poor) into values populism (used by the right to capture the poor). Values populism rotates around religion, patriotism, and tradition... and derives its primary energy from a middle America which felt alienated by the 60's-Left radical turn from traditional working class issues to social issues (centered around secularism, feminism, and racial politics).

    Remember the Reagan Democrats? They were northern catholic union workers from the midwest who no longer identified with the bra burning, black panther, anti-war left. As governor of California, Reagan sized upon the sixties social revolution with his liberal abortion policy. As president, he sized upon the backlash to those same policies. [Conservative voters who rely on Talk Radio and popular media know none of this. They tend to trust what the mainstream big government Washington press says about Reagan, namely that he was a social conservative. Why are these voters so easy to fool?]

    Reagan - who is really the manifestation of business capturing Washington - didn't get in bed with Pat Robertson because he wanted to. He did it opportunistically, just like any politician who sees an electoral opening, right or left. [Politics is about manipulating and triangulating and converting social energies into votes. Nixon was not only a Keynesian, but he created the EPA. He didn't support either of these things personally, but he seized upon the postwar consensus for bigger government. He was an opportunist like Clinton, who cut Welfare to seize the emerging consensus for small government]

    Reagan is no different. His personal views were far more liberal (socially), than his politics. Like Goldwater, he had no problem with homosexuality - he was not personally committed to Big Moral Government, but he needed religion/patriotism/family values to win elections so his party could re-take Washington. Read his first biography "Where's the Rest of Me?"; then look at his social policies as governor of California. He had no problem with socially liberal policies. He moved Right (socially) only as an opportunist. His wife was a notoriously anti-religious astrology buff. She supported Obama on stem cell research. Bush 43 was a cocaine sniffing, whisky pounding, socially liberal, northeastern preppy Yale elitist who transformed himself into a "salt of the earth", pious, simple spoken rancher from the plains of rural Texas. And it worked because Conservative voters get all their information from government, i.e., Movement Conservatism, which has constructed a hermeneutically enclosed think tank, talk radio, TV echo chamber (... which allows them to morph Bin Laden into Hussein, and turn Bod Dole's health care plan (adopted by Romney/Obama) into "death to grandma").

    Bush essentially cash cropped the heartland values-populism made possible by Reagan. Indeed, Karl Rove was a genius at manipulating social conservatives, who he spoke dismissively of behind the scenes. He sparked up gay rights issues on the eve of the 2004 election to mobilize rural voters, especially in Ohio. Rove chased people into the voting booth to reclaim traditional marriage, but they came out of that voting booth with trade liberalization, huge increases in war spending, and an unregulated derivatives market (which choked the global economy on criminally constructed CDO's). It was fucking brilliant - a page out of the Reagan days when people were scared into the voting booth by images of welfare queens and KGB agents hiding under the bed, only to come out with financial deregulation and the S&L crisis.

    Listen. Clinton's "I feel your pain" and Obama's "Hope and Change" was all bullshit. Both men served the neoliberal globalization agenda put in place by Reagan - which has shipped jobs to Asian sweatshops and destroyed the middle class consumer ... and, by so doing, lead to the unsustainable expansion of credit so that increasingly jobless families can survive. [It got so bad, that people tapped the last thing of value they had left: their homes. Now they have nothing and the depression we've been putting off since 1973 is finally here. Why do I say 1973? Because that's when postwar boom ended, and US manufacturing was increasingly sent to the 3rd world so that business could cut middle class labor out of the gains from economic growth]

    Social issues + politics = hoax. Problem is: the Republican voters on this board don't understand that Reagan's shift to social conservatism was a hoax. He had zero problem with gays and abortion - and he was the furthest thing in the world from a real Christian. He "stood down" on Aids because he needed Pat Robertson and red state America to win elections . . . so he could transfer all the country's assets upwards. Like most politicians, he didn't have a moral bone in his body - and like most politicians (Left and Right), he was an instrument of the money which put him power.

    Why do Conservatives trust Washington so much? Why did they trust Big Government conservatives like Reagan and Bush, who doubled the spending, debt, and federal workforce over their democratic predecessors? Why are the people who listen to talk radio and FOX News such easy marks? The Republican Party uses the "Gay issue" to manipulate stupid people. It's the Southern Strategy all over again. They're just trying to win elections so they can turn the state into a subsidy and bailout machine for concentrated wealth
    Last edited: May 12, 2012

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