The Watering Hole; Friday, November 1, 2013; “Conservatives” Quote Unquote

I remember it well: Dumbya’s first inauguration in January 2001. I was real lucky on that particular day, bein’ that I was in hospital intensive care recovering from cranial surgery and I slept through the whole damn inaugural ceremony. Never felt so good about brain surgery as I did that day.

The downside came over the next number of years, however, with year after year of one stupid medical problem after another, on and on and on. In short, there wasn’t a whole lot I could do except sit around and read, write, explore the WWW, etc., and in the process I collected more than a thousand pages of quotations on most any subject imaginable, but still fairly well focused on political stupidity. Following are a couple dozen quotes, by various people (some well known, others not so much) which, seem even more pertinent today than when I first encountered them.

American Conservatism’s Distinctive Qualities

“On the right, there’s an almost lethal refusal to consider the problems of suffering of others.”   ~Paul Krugman; October, 2007

    COMMENT:  “First of all, whenever I hear anything described as a heartless assault on our children, I tend to think it’s a good idea. I’m happy that the president’s willing to do something bad for the kids.”   ~William Kristol, editor of The Weekly Standard, commenting in advance of Bush’s veto of the children’s health care funding bill; October, 2007

        COMMENT:  “Last weekend  … Bill Kristol made some joke about how he wants Bush to veto SCHIP, because anything that hurts children is a good thing. Of course, it’s a joke, but the underlying premise of the joke is, only wimps actually care about the suffering of others.”   ~Paul Krugman; October, 2007

“[F]rom the Reagan ‘revolution’ on, the American conservative movement that first took power over a quarter of a century ago never meant to throttle the state, only the capacity of the state to deliver any services except ‘security’ to its citizenry.”   ~Tom Engelhardt,; September 4, 2007

“Conservatives are not necessarily stupid, but most stupid people are conservatives.”   ~John Stuart Mill

“Conservatism makes no poetry, breathes no prayer, has no invention; it is all memory.”   ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

“The modern conservative is engaged in one of man’s oldest exercises in moral philosophy: that is the search for a superior moral justification for selfishness.”   ~John Kenneth Galbraith

“Mr. Bush … is the true representative of what modern conservatism is all about. And it’s the movement, not just one man, that has failed.”   ~Paul Krugman, NYT; March 19, 2007

“The central conservative truth is that it is culture, not politics, that determines the success of a society. The central liberal truth is that politics can change a culture and save it from itself.” ~Patrick Moynihan

“The business of Progressives is to go on making mistakes. The business of Conservatives is to prevent mistakes from being corrected.”   ~G. K. Chesterton

“Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they’ve stolen.”   ~Mort Sahl

“Liberalism is trust of the people, tempered by prudence; conservatism, distrust of people, tempered by fear.”   ~William Gladstone

“A conservative is a man who believes that nothing should be done for the first time.”   ~Alfred E. Wiggam

“A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.”   ~Franklin Delano Roosevelt

“A conservative is one who admires radicals centuries after they’re dead.”   ~Leo C. Rosten

“A conservative is someone who makes no changes and consults his grandmother when in doubt.”   ~Woodrow Wilson

“A conservative is a man who sits and thinks, mostly sits.”   ~Woodrow Wilson

“With one foot planted firmly on the wrong side of American ideals, conservatives have forsaken their own beliefs, failed our Founding Fathers, and diminished America.”   ~Steven Sacco, July 1, 2006

“Let me be straight with you – I like George Bush.  I think he’s a man of principle, a man of faith. I think he’s got a backbone of steel and he’s a real, genuine, big-time leader … He’s a consequential figure for his time. We don’t see it right now.”  ~Sean Hannity, Fox News pundit

    COMMENT:  “Good God, if brains were lard conservatives would lack the means to grease a skillet. How reassuring to know the country is being run by people whose collective intellectual wattage couldn’t illuminate the inside of a refrigerator.”  ~David Podvin, essayist

“His [George W. Bush’s] brand of conservatism is the expression of a commodity-based oligarchy rooted in Texas, deeply hostile to the New Deal, dedicated to neglect of public services, seeking to maintain class and racially based hierarchies. Using the rhetoric of limited government and states’ rights these Texas conservatives claim control over government in order to consolidate power and wealth.”   ~Sidney Blumenthal; September 19, 2006

“What exactly is being conserved by policies of expansive militarism and environmental and imperialistic plundering? That is — other than conserving policies of expansive militarism and environmental and imperialistic plundering?”   ~Phil Rockstroh; October 12, 2006

“[L]et us never forget that the departing Congress has given Bush dictatorial powers, through the Patriot Act, the Military Commissions Act, and the John Warner Defense Authorization Act which allows the President to order the Armed Forces to quell civil ‘disturbances’ within the US. In addition, he has effectively repealed habeas corpus and at least four of the articles of the Bill of Rights. The Democratic Congress must act immediately to rescind these extraordinary powers.”   ~Ernest Partridge, The Crisis Papers; November 14, 2006

“Why is there such a strong family resemblance between the Reagan years and recent events? Mr. Reagan’s administration, like Mr. Bush’s, was run by movement conservatives – people who built their careers by serving the alliance of wealthy individuals, corporate interests and the religious right that took shape in the 1960s and 1970s. And both cronyism and abuse of power are part of the movement conservative package.”   ~Paul Krugman, NYTimes; March 19, 2007

So there you have it; an honest and time-honored summation of American political vapidity, stupidity, and . . . well, take your pick of suitable descriptors! And lest we forget, it’s tricky to define the consequences of rampant conservatism without the words of one very famous American thinker. So: here’s a rather immense ‘tidbit’ courtesy of a fellow named Mark Twain:

“But it was impossible to save the Great Republic. She was rotten to the heart. Lust of conquest had long ago done its work; trampling upon the helpless abroad had taught her, by a natural process, to endure with apathy the like at home; multitudes who had applauded the crushing of other people’s liberties, lived to suffer for their mistake in their own persons. The government was irrevocably in the hands of the prodigiously rich and their hangers-on; the suffrage was become a mere machine, which they used as they chose. There was no principle but commercialism, no patriotism but of the pocket.”   ~Mark Twain in Letters From the Earth

Final note: Twain perfectly summed up what flashed through my mind the day that Ronald Reagan was laid to rest:

“I didn’t attend the funeral, but I sent a nice letter saying I approved of it.”


56 thoughts on “The Watering Hole; Friday, November 1, 2013; “Conservatives” Quote Unquote

  1. Oh good, Marco Rubio is coming to my little town to stump for Kookinelli. This seems like a sign that Kooki is very worried, support of the R candidate here has always been a given in the past so no one ever felt the need to send a candidate or a high profile surrogate.

  2. hmmm….if all right-wing evangelical types are going to heaven, that would be hell for liberals. And hell, being deviod of ‘evangelcal christians’ would be heaven for liberals. Perhaps Heaven and Hell are the same thing, depending on your perspective?

  3. Okay, so there was a really good discussion going on MSNBC, and then some guy did something at LAX, and they cut away. Then they work out that it was a shooting, but they still don’t know anything, but they are determined to talk, talk, talk, talk, while not knowing ANYTHING.

    Can we go back to the news of the day, and then revisit this story when we know something? I really hate listening to people yammering on about not knowing anything.

  4. It being Halloween and all, strange things were afoot alright. I was overtaken by a gorilla unicycling along a downtown street….. later…. Doctor Who, bowtie and fez (at whom I yelled ‘Hey fezzes are cool’ from my car as I went by) and I supposed Mae West ambling along a lane by my home.

  5. LA Times: ‘1 TSA officer shot and killed at passenger screening checkpoint. Other TSA workers injured. Post coming.’

    The guy used a rifle. How do you get a rifle to the passenger checkpoint without someone noticing?

    • Here’s a picture of me when I way younger.
      • Every picture of you is younger.

      This comedian is funny, I like his delivery. Just read his bio – shame he died so young.

  6. Bullshit Alert:

    DC appeals court gives victory to religious zealots over Obamacare birth control mandate

    The D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals—the second most influential bench in the land behind the Supreme Court—ruled 2-1 in favor of business owners who are fighting the requirement that they provide their employees with health insurance that covers birth control.

    Requiring companies to cover their employees’ contraception, the court ruled, is unduly burdensome for business owners who oppose birth control on religious grounds, even if they are not purchasing the contraception directly.

    “The burden on religious exercise does not occur at the point of contraceptive purchase; instead, it occurs when a company’s owners fill the basket of goods and services that constitute a healthcare plan,” Judge Janice Rogers Brown wrote on behalf of the court. (highlight added)

    Brown is a George W. Bush appointee.

  7. LAX shooting: ‘Multiple’ TSA agents shot by gunman with rifle
    A Transportation Security Administration agent was shot and several other people were wounded when a gunman opened fire in a Los Angeles International Airport terminal Friday morning.

    Patrick Gannon, the LAX police chief, said the gunman entered Terminal 3 at 9:20 a.m., pulled an assault rifle out of his bag and began firing. He moved into the screening area and continued shooting, Gannon said. He got past the checkpoint and moved further into the terminal.

    Authorities tracked him down and shot him near a Burger King.

    Vernon Cardenas, 45, of West Hollywood said he was at the airport on his way to Philadelphia when the shooting occurred about 9:30 a.m.

    “Sitting down, all of a sudden, literally just out of the blue, you hear a rumble in the background, and a couple of seconds later people are running at me,” said Cardenas, who does casting for the Fox television show “MasterChef.” He described the scene as “mayhem,” with couples crying and parents who couldn’t find their children.

    Brian Adamick, 43, said he was boarding a Spirit Airlines flight to Chicago at Gate 32 when a commotion erupted.

    He said people were running through the terminal, away from a security area. Adamick said he went through an emergency exit downstairs onto the tarmac with several other passengers.

    “While I was on the tarmac, I heard two gunshots from the same area where the people had been running and screaming,” he said.

    A few minutes after he got outside, he said buses showed up to help evacuate passengers. He said he saw a wounded TSA agent board one of the buses. The man’s ankle was bloody: “it looked like it was straight out of the movies,” Adamick said.

    The man told him, “I got shot, I’m fine.” He told passengers not to worry about him and that he had been shot before, Adamick said.,0,4682951.story#axzz2jQefQbJa

    • How nice for the dead and wounded that Bush did away with the assault weapon ban. I mean, IT’S OUR RIGHT DAMMIT! To own the means of mass murder, mass shootings, and to USE IT whenever some darkie president from Kenya tries to TAKE OUR GUNS!

      Never before thought I was born, raised, and living in a totally fucked up country surrounded by nutcases. But here I am (or, perhaps I should say, instead, Ich bin hier!).

      I’m reminded of some words I ran across back in 2005 on The Smirking Chimp blog, words written by Mark Drolette, a political satirist/commentator in Sacramento, California. He wrote (and summed up my notions pretty damn accurately):

      “I no longer feel any allegiance to America — not this one. The America I grew up in, was in love with, felt a part of, was proud to be from, got all misty-eyed for, felt a bone-deep obligation to, is dead, dead, dead, and, because the ruling cannibals voraciously consuming her corpse will never relinquish power (barring an exceedingly unlikely armed revolt), has forever left the now-foundationless building.

      “This America? I would no more lift a finger trying to defend the rotten ‘government’ that controls this benighted place than I would lend a helping hand to someone who disembowels babies or burns animals alive. Because if I did the former, I’d also be doing the latter. (That’s not to say I wouldn’t pick up a gun if we were actually invaded by another characteristically warmongering nation, like, say, Canada, but it’d be hella tough deciding who to first put in the crosshairs.) …

      “I have always naturally, deeply loved what America has stood for and meant. But I can no longer stand what it has become.”

      How sad.

      • Here’s the thing – that’s exactly what the RWNJs in the Tea Party say. They say the America they knew is dead. Of course, the America they knew didn’t let black people vote and didn’t let women make their own reproduction choices. I’m happy the America they knew is dead. But that’s the America they want to bring back.

        • Yep, that nails it. I guess the part I’ll never be able to understand or comprehend is that implicit RW formula that DEMANDS no empathy, no caring for others, the (almost literal) worship of greed and gluttony.

          There was a TV ad back in the sixties, I think during LBJ’s “War on Poverty” project. I can remember only part of it; a B/W film of poverty-stricken ordinary people, with the the very somber voice-over that said, “The poor will always be with us. But why the hungry?”

          Not all ears were deaf back then, and a lot of help came forward for those who really needed it. Today? LAZY GODDAMN BUMS!! THEY COULD GET A GODDAMN JOB! Today, I hear epithets such as that every time I open my ears to any sort of current political conversation. I have to wonder, given the historical pattern: is it cyclical? . . . that trend toward venomous hatred and fear, and greed? Or are we finally there, at that point where the human species’ darkside is about to prevail?

          Joe McCarthy must be smiling, way down there under those six feet of booze-laden dirt.

          Just as Rand-Paul-Ryan-Cruz-et al. are smiling today as they work diligently to orchestrate the demise of ‘we the people’ in favor of Big Oil, Kochs, Insurance, Wall Street, Bankers, Corporate “Peoplehoodism” . . . all together aka money, aka power. AKA sick.

          • I wrote a song called “Feed” that was supposed to be sarcastic. The chorus is:

            If we feed the starving
            To the Hungry and the poor
            There won’t be any starving and
            The poor won’t be hungry no more

            Much to my dismay; it seems like the rightwhiners got wind of it and said; “Yeah. I think we should try that” except that they even managed to screw that up and came away with “let’s eat the poor”.

  8. Day After

    Skeletons, spirits and haunts.
    Skeletons, spirits and hauts.
    It’s a halloween sale:
    A nickel a pail
    For skeletons, spirits and haunts.

    Skeletons, spirits and haunts,
    More than a most anyone wants.
    Will you pay for a shock,
    ‘Cause we’re quite overstocked
    On skeletons, spirits and haunts.

    Shel Sivlerstein

  9. Minor dilemma: I have very nice neighbors who bring me bowls of deliciousness: pancit.
    I wash and return said bowl with sugar-free candy (one is diabetic) – they have asked that I not wash the bowl – that is their culture (Filipina). My retort: I was brought up to never return an empty bowl…

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