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Member since: 2001
Number of posts: 27,750

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One of the go-to people about this is David Neiwert

He's a journalist who's been covering right-wing extremists since the 80s. He has a number of books, hundreds of articles and still more hundreds of blog posts.






Rebut of D'Sgracen D'Saster points to a earlier radical-right power grab

A Twitter thread by historian Kevin Gannon (Twitter handle: @TheTattooedProf) pulling apart a common conservative trope claiming Abraham Lincoln as their kind of conservative just because he used the word in a speech.

The unspooled thread is below, and look carefully at 11 and 12. Lincoln saw the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act and 1857 Dred Scott decision as laying the groundwork for pro-slavery radicals to roll back all anti-slavery laws across the nation. What immediately came to mind is the maneuvering by their modern counterparts to roll back whole swaths of law about civil rights, labor protection, environmental protection, safety nets, etc. and return us to the Gilded Age, where Robber Barons could step on anybody who got in their way local laws could put state power behind the whims of the local preachers.

In reply to convicted felon, Trump pardon-abuse beneficiary, and conservative wingnut propagandist D'Sgracen D'Saster (or something like that):


Unrolled Thread:

Kevin Gannon
2 hours ago, 22 tweets, 7 min read Read on Twitter

1/To no one's surprise, the reality behind this all-too-convenient "Lincoln was on MY side" quote is a bit more complicated. Let's take a look, shall we?

2/ The quote D'Souza extracts here is a favorite of Right-wingers today, because it seems to let them claim Lincoln ("the chief and real purpose...is eminently conservative" ) as their progenitor and mascot; hell, there's even a Founders reference! YAY.

3/ D'Souza and his ilk love this quote because it gets them some Lincoln street cred without having to acknowledge race or slavery. But the devil, as they say, is in the details. What's the context for this quote? SO GLAD YOU ASKED...

4/ This quote is from a speech Lincoln delivered in Columbus, Ohio, on Sept. 16, 1859. In it, Lincoln was trying to counter conservative and Democratic attacks on the Republicans as wild-eyed abolitionists and racial egalitarians. Here's the speech:

5/ Here's the extended passage from which the quote is extracted. A quick perusal of the surrounding text (I know, that's a lot to ask of D'Souza, but bear with me) shows us the issue is more complicated than the Lincoln-was-one-of-OUR-type-of-conservative folks have framed it.

6/In the beginning of the speech, Lincoln makes his purpose clear: to refute the charge that, during the previous year's Lincoln/Douglas debates, that he called for Black suffrage. This was a damaging accusation for someone seeking conservative white support (sound familiar?)

7/The first big chunk of the speech is AL painstakingly laying out evidence that, no, he is no wild-eyed abolitionist egalitarian, and that he was actually *against* Black suffrage. He quotes extensively from his own speeches in the 1858 debates in order to tell his audience:

8/ That's why Lincoln pounded the theme of "conservatism" so hard in this, & other, speeches. He was trying to position his party as the real heirs of the Founders, as opposed to the fire-eating proslavery Democrats-the *real* radicals. This was esp urgent after John Brown's raid

9/ That's why it's VERY telling that D'Souza has edited the quote as he did. Look at what's missing: "the original tone...of the original framers themselves." What's the ellipses for? "IN REGARD TO THIS ELEMENT OF SLAVERY". That seems...important?

10/ What Lincoln is doing here is arguing that proslavery Democrats-led by radical white southerners and assisted by northern allies-were embarked on nothing less than a subversion of the Constitution and the Republic by undoing the sectional balance between slavery and freedom.

11/Here's the passage right before the part D'Souza cherrypicks his quote. Lincoln posits that this subversion emerged with the 1854 Kansas-Nebraska Act, and found its most virulent expression with the 1857 Dred Scott decision and its attack on the Free states.

12/ This radical proslavery plot, Lincoln argues, would use the Dred Scott decision's logic to topple northern state sovereignty, and allow the "right of property in man" to become universal, making the northern & western Free states the next frontier for a universalized slavery.

13/ For Lincoln, the "chief purpose" of his party, then, was to stand as a conservative bulwark against this aggressive proslavery coup attempt. He noted that the Founders and subsequent generations had fashioned, out of compromise, a rough balance on the question.

14/ Now, however, process was underway that would explode that balance, plunge the nation into "discord" and war. For Lincoln, the Republicans were the surest defense; they would restore "the original tone" of the Constitution & Founders by not abolishing, but limiting, slavery.

15/ Lincoln then spends much of the rest of the speech attacking the idea of "popular sovereignty" as nothing more than a 5th-column method of instilling slavery in the new territories, contrasting it with the 1787 NW Ordinance, where the "Founders" barred slavery in those lands.

16/THAT's the purpose of Lincoln's embrace of "conservatism" and positioning it as the Republicans' lodestar: not to abolish slavery and bring racial equality--heck no, Lincoln took pains to say--but to limit the spread of the slave system and its threat to free white labor.

17/ Without this "conservative" brake, the doomsday scenario was near, Lincoln warned: slavery would be universalized. Free whites would have to compete with slave labor. State sovereignty would be destroyed. Southerners would rule the republic like they did their plantations.

18/ So was Lincoln saying that he was a "Conservative" as today's Right-wing "intellectuals" (HA!) would define the term? Of course not. That's why D'Souza edited out the reference to slavery in his presentation of the quote. The full quote has far different implications!

19/ Lincoln asserted a "conservative principle" for his Republicans to challenge a minority faction dominating government policy, and to condemn that faction's trampling of state laws by its imposition of a radically un-egalitarian legal and legislative agenda on them...

20/ ...Lincoln's claim of conservatism was meant to fight that minority of proslavery politicians' attempt to use the iron fist of legislative procedure and parliamentary chicanery to chain the majority to policies a majority of them opposed. I WONDER WHY THIS SOUNDS FAMILIAR

21/ So the moral of the story is, as usual, D'Souza didn't do the reading, deceptively edited a quote that actually implies the opposite of what he thinks it does, and in the process, calls our attention to just how *un-Lincoln-like* today's "conservatives" really are.

Coda-@HC_Richardson dismantled this argument the least time D'Souza tried it, and you should check that thread out, too, if you're interested in this topic:

Oh, let's re-live that epic moment in dumbassery...

Reason and Emotion (WW2 propaganda film)

Make drinking game of "yeah, that applies to current events".

Be vewy, vewy quiet. I'm hunting for stock tips (Romney on Trump)


As promised, Image for the Twitter-incompatible:

Every NeverTrumper who gets air time or page space is a career political professional

Republican campaign consultants. Conservative media hosts. Republican speech writers. Conservative pundits.

They have all spent their careers in Republican messaging and conservative media. They've spent decades wooing, building, and feeding a base that has become Trump's base.

They scare-mongered and scandal-mongered and played to all the bigotries and pet peeves, and called it "playing hardball". They wanted to get conservative Republicans elected, and there was no part of that job that involved "dialing it back." They painted Democrats as supervillains: utterly-corrupt, moral degenerates out to destroy the nation and all that's good and holy to get their voters all hot-blooded and into the voting booth.

But the drawback is: When you paint the story that way, it's supposed to end with you bringing the bad guys to justice. They rot in jail, or better yet get hanged or fried. Blow up the Death Star. Drop the Ring into the fires of Mount Doom. The Enemy surrenders unconditionally and their symbols get blown up.

Your audience wants this:

But they never get it.

When you tell that story for decades, continually amping it up to keep the audience's blood at a rolling boil, you create an expectation that you can never really deliver on. You can justify decades of investigations and re-investigations and re-re-re-re-re-re-re-investigations, but that's not going turn up anything that will hold up in court. So you put yourself into the position of portraying the other side as unbearably evil and an active threat, and then don't do anything about it. The base still has their hot buttons pushed, still believes every word of it, they just start thinking you're ineffectual at best, or more likely are part of the problem.

Conservatives have purposely whipped up this extremist frenzy to give them the margin of victory. They've been punishing any Republican who didn't fall in line since the 70s when they started ousting Rockefeller Republicans. It started decades ago, but they've been on a precise trajectory to Trump since they hailed Rush Limbaugh as the "majority maker" of the 1994 election and Newt Gingrich accused Democrats of being "the enemy of normal Americans".

Every NeverTrumper who gets air time or page space helped make this happen. Yet we're supposed to pay attention to people who devoted their professional lives to political vandalism and willful blindness. Unless their excuse is that they're just f***ing idiots.

Republicans call everything they don't like 'socialism' -- #5

It drags the conversation in their direction, so win-win, for them.

A reminder: I'm posting something on this every day, because it needs to be pushed back every day.
Don't quibble over fine points and definitions, go right at them and their bullshit.

Repeat it they way they repeated "tax and spend" and "soft on crime". They weren't true, but repetition made those themes stick in peoples' minds.

Any time a Republican cries "socialism", I want this phrase to be what pops into peoples' heads.

Republicans call everything they don't like 'socialism' -- #4

Whatever you think of AOC, reallocating her office's staff budget so that the lowest-rung people are able to have an income they can live on without being trust-fund babies is not "socialism and communism on display."

But the pResident's most trusted advisors call it that anyway.


(video clip from Fox & Friends)
Aaron Rupar


.@PeteHegseth on @AOC paying her staffers a living wage: "Its actually socialism and communism on display.

(Poor Pete clearly has no idea what those terms mean.)

Republicans call everything they don't like 'socialism' -- #3

I'm not a socialist, but I get called one anyway -- by Republicans. The same is true for nearly all of you.

They call everything that puts checks and balances on the power and abuses of wealth 'socialism'. But checks and balances are not 'socialist', they're as American as apple pie.

They do it to cause a stampede, to get people running the way the want. The boy who cried wolf, the elephant who cried 'socialism'.

Don't get bogged down splitting hairs over definitions. No matter what we do they're going to call us that. Don't hem and haw and duck and weave. Deny their very premise.

Face it head on and swat it down. Every day, all the time.

Or they'll just keep doing it.

Republicans call everything they don't like 'socialism' -- #2

Needs to be said every day. Need a bumper sticker argument? Here it is.

I'm resigned to the fact that most Americans don't "do" nuance about the word "socialism." I'm not out to educate people about what it is and isn't or what varieties of it there are. I'm not one, but I get called that by Republicans. I'm normally up for interesting debates, but this one is pointless. It's debating a brick wall, and the only thing to do is pry the bricks apart.

I'm just out to remind people that if you believe what Republicans today say counts as 'socialism' then we spent at least half of the 20th century as a 'socialist' nation. That's nuts, and it needs to be said over and over again.

The Movement Conservatism that became the Republicans' ruling ideology always hated social programs, but had particular venom for ones that worked. After all, successful ones argued for more, which to them was an abomination.

To them, it was all 'socialism' and 'communism'.

It hasn't changed much. If anything it's gotten worse as they've come closer to grabbing all the marbles: doing away with the last remnants of the New Deal and packing the courts with operatives who will make conservatively correct rulings.

They'll rail against "European socialism" as if they were talking about Warsaw Pact police states and not the same industrialized democracies that constitute the Free World that we used to be 'leader' of.

They invoked 'socialism' when Obama proposed a small increase in income taxes for people way up on the income scale. Taxes were higher for 6 of Reagan's 8 years, with a top rate of 50%, but somehow a change from 35% to 39.6% for taxable income above $400,000 counted as raising the red flag of revolution.

They can't win with their policies, so they scare. That's why the cultivated the base they did.

Anything that helps ordinary people is called 'socialist', conjuring the spectre of an alien ideology from a foreign land.

But checks and balances on the power of money and wealth aren't socialism. They are just that, checks and balances, and are as American as apple pie.

I don't have a cable news network. I don't have a radio show. I don't have Wingnut Welfare funding. But observing those over the years drove in the power of repetition.

So repeat:
They call everything they don't like 'socialism'
They call everything they don't like 'socialism'
They call everything they don't like 'socialism'

They call everything they don't like 'socialism'

and nobody, but nobody, is exempt from being accused of being a weak-kneed backslider. Everything they don't like is 'socialism'.

1976 book, from Reagan's bid to get Republican nomination instead of Ford
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