The Big Con: Back to the Seventies (1)
January 30, 2009 - 4:44pm ET
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I've been working on a big post on the politics of government spending that has ballooned into something that will take a few more days to complete, so to tide you all over I offer three recent research finds from the bowels of the disco era on Big Con themes of longstanding interest. Enjoy!
Is Nixonland over? One pundit's opinion:
Reaganism has had it in California...[the] handwriting [is] on the wall for right-wing populism everywhere.
By right-wing populism I mean the backlash politics which emerged in reaction against Lyndon Johnson's Great Society. It made its appeal to ordinary people--those earning $45,000 to $65,000 annually, for whom I invented the term Middle America. The thrust of the appeal was distinctly egalitarian or anti-elitist. The implicat6ion has been that the patricians and intellectuals who planned the Great Society were leses attuned to the true needs of thecountry than hard-hats....
The Reagan approach was tested in many different votes on Tuesday.... The acceptability of liberal ideas [was] emphasized by the triumph of Proposition 13, providing for the use of gasoline taxes for public transit. Another test came int eh gubernatorial primary. On the Democratic side, the key figure was Edmund Brown Jr. He is the kind of limousine liberal right-wing populists love to put down. he comes from an illustrious family (his father is former Gov. Pat Brown), enjoyed an expensive education at Berkeley and Yale Law School, and has been identified with all kinds of liberal causes from peace in Vietnam to racial harmony.... On the Republican side teh winner was Houston Flournoy, a political scientist from Princeton who takes the progressive stance in politics. He swamped, by a 2 to 1 majority, Reagan's hand-picked Lieutenant Gov. Ed Reinecke....
Thus the rout of Reaganism in this state announces what seems to be a national possibility, the possibilty of closing the parenthesis on the era of backlash politics which has been so strong in the coutnry since Ronald Reagan rode out of the TV movies back in 1966.
The pundit was the Washington Post 's Joseph Kraft, writing on...June 4, 1974. I adjusted the column's actual income threshhold ($10,000-$15,000 annually) for inflation. Right-wing populism: good bye to all that!
Rumors of the death of the fear-based Republican politics of resentment are too often exaggerated. Whether the zero House Republican votes for the ooh! scary Obama economic recovery package, piggy-backing on the they're handing out rubbers to schoolchildren panic of last week signify a death-rattle or signs of new life remain to be seen. I believe that as of this writing the Republican National Committee is still voting on a chairman, and that the current front-runner, who just quit an all-white country club, recently boasted that his reaction to the civil rights movement during the Nixon years was what made him a Republican.
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