Lambert of Corrente makes the point that Barack Obama’s speeches on reconciliation are dangerously naive, and I’d tend to agree.
He makes the point that much of the “flying wing-nut monkey” aspects of American conservatism have been the result of very people, primarily those got their money from dead ancestors as opposed to working for a living, have had a direct economic interest in the “flying wing-nut monkey” policies. It’s more than ideology, it is a deliberate and effective accumulation of both additional wealth and power.
If he is right, and my recent dust-up with the readers of The National Review over a comment about a writing gig for Ramesh Ponnuru*, whose career has largely been bankrolled by these interests, is evidence of the nature of the structures put in place by wealthy heirs for their own benefit.
To quote Lambert, who also got a nod from Krugman:
For these billionaires, the ROI of the Conservative Movement is absolutely spectacular. At the micro level, for example, if you want to create an aristocracy, then you want to eliminate any taxes on inherited wealth, despite what Warren Buffet or Bill Gates might say about the values entailed by that project. So, the Conservative Movement goes to work, develops and successfully propagates the term “death tax” — which they may even believe in, as if sincerity were the point — and voila! Whoever thought that “family values” would translate to “feudal values” and dynastic wealth? At the macro level, their ROI has been spectacular as well. Real wages have been flat for a generation; unions have been disempowered; the powers of corporations greatly increased; government has become an agent for the corporations, rather than a protector of the people; the safety net has been shredded; and so on and on and on.
Ponnuru is where he is because the right wing infrastructure recognizes him as an asset that offers a very good return on investment.‡
What the supporters of Obama maintain, at least the ones that I deal with in my Pinko Commie circles, is that this is largely a campaign tactic, and that he recognizes it as the reality of the situation, or to quote “Amadan” a poster on the (by invitation only) Stellar Parthenon BBS,
But let’s face it, Obama has to dance around in a tutu and fairy wings or he goes from “friendly magical Negro who just might be electable” to “Angry Scary Black Man.
Personally, I’m not inclined to believe this. Even if was the intent, behavior becomes internalized through habit. Eventually, you become what you are pretending to be.
*No, I’m not picking a fight, or implying a lack of intellect, but according to the NRO’s bio of him, he graduated summa cum laude from Princeton’s history department, Wiki says with a BA degree.
The BA is not the professional degree in History, the PhD. is, hence the jokes about history majors delivering pizzas, so normally the career path would involve an MA, JD (law degree), or PhD in something more specific.
As a result of his work on The Sentinel, a now-defunct conservative campus magazine at Princeton† and other venues, he was recognized, and recruited, as a writer/editor/fellow at various right wing institutions.
†I love “the Google” as a research tool.
‡I actually mean this as a compliment. Seriously.