Coming Soon: A New War Of Ideas

Forewarned is forearmed, as they say. So I welcome the comment of some GOoper staffer, as reported recently in US News.

"Come January, we’ll take her [Pelosi's] head off every day," said a top GOP aide involved in the planning. "It will be a pure war of ideas over the next two years."

Leading the battle with be incoming House Minority Leader John Boehner and his conservative team. Insiders say that the goal is to pick at Democratic initiatives as pro-tax, pro-spending, or unworkable.

"We are going to re-establish that we are the party of ideas, that they got elected in a fluke, and we’re going to make that known every day, every way," said the official.

As a threshold matter, one has to wonder where exactly the "party of ideas" has been for the last six years. Or maybe they’ve been doing exactly what their cheap labor ideology dictates. Didn’t they "lower taxes" — and create record breaking deficits? Haven’t they embraced free trade with a vengeance, further eroding our domestic manufacturing base? Haven’t they resisted any increase in the minimum wage? How about protection from consumer bankruptcy for institutional capital? Check, check, check, and check. Oh, and just in case you thought they were really serious about that "free trade" stuff, they also managed to protect big pharma from Canadian competition — once again, sticking it to American wage earners and retirees.

Come to think of it, this guy is already advancing another Republican "idea," such as it is. He’s clearly anti-science, as in, anti-empirical-evidence. The truth is we’ve been lowering taxes, holding down wages, opening our borders to cheap products made in third world Dickensian cesspools, and deregulating for 25 years now. And we have the stagnant wages, bankrupt government, and massive institutional debt to prove it. What we don’t have are improving American standards of living.

We’ve most generous over the past couple of decades giving those Republican "ideas" a try. We even gave Iraq the Grover-Norquist-bring-back-the-McKinley-era treatment. It was called "Year Zero," and it is one of the examples of how the post-invasion occupation in Iraq was bungled. Cut the size of government? They did it, to the tune of firing 500,000 Iraqi’s in a single stroke. Many of those folks are now shooting at us, oh and international capital is staying the hell out of Iraq.

The right wing kool-aid drinkers in charge there even bought concrete for a wall around the Green Zone from Uzbekistan, instead of using Iraqi cement plants. Those Iraqi plants were state owned, you see. What would McKinley think? Instead, they did what amounts to an anti-WPA. Where Roosevelt put unemployed Americans to work — to stave off domestic civil unrest, among other things — the "McKinley era" crowd threw people out of work in Iraq, and hey, got lots of civil unrest.

Somebody needs to take that GOoper aside and tell him, "we tried Republican ideas. They don’t work — in the 1890′s or now." Or better yet, don’t take him aside. Tell him loudly, vigorously, and regularly from the floor of both houses of congress. Oh yeah, I can’t wait for the "war of ideas" to start. I have advocated fighting just such a "war of ideas" for years.

The truth is that not only are there are plenty of Democratic ideas, they have worked quite well. Let me give you a list, just in case you’ve forgotten — and entirely too many people have forgotten. The eight hour work day, child labor laws, the minimum wage, the National Labor Relations Act, rural electrification, Social Security, FHA mortgages, the GI Bill, College grants and loans, interstate highways, Medicare, Head Start, Job Corps, the Environmental Protection Agency, and OSHA. All of these are Democratic "ideas." All are both popular and successful — and every single one of them was opposed by cheap labor conservatives like Grover Norquist.

Relearn this history, people. The Republican claim to having "ideas" is bullshit. In fact, they’ve opposed every decent idea that has been enacted over the past 75 years. They — and the rest of the country — need to be reminded of that. As for their "ideas," we did the McKinley era — back in the 1890′s. It didn’t work then, either.

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