Notes from the conservative stagnation, Part 10: Grover Norquist

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"Notes from the conservative stagnation, Part 10: Grover Norquist"

My occasional series on the conservative movement stagnation continues with Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Government Elimination Tax Reform.

On Monday, the New York Times ran a long story, “Among Republicans, a Debate Over the Party’s Road Map Back to Power,” about the response of leading right-wing thinkers to the question “how can conservatives chart a path back to power after this month’s Republican defeats?”

Norquist offered a strong endorsement for continuing the GOP’s ostrich-like [dinosaur-like?] ignorance on climate change:

he suggested that some calls to update conservatism — by taking global warming more seriously, for instance — were essentially disguised calls to move the party to the left.

“They will be cheerfully ignored,” Mr. Norquist said.

Denial is bliss.

Note: Although this is Part 10, this is the first post actually labeled “Notes from the conservative stagnation.” Sadly, I suspect this may end up being the longest series Climate Progress ever runs.

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12 Responses to Notes from the conservative stagnation, Part 10: Grover Norquist

  1. Bob Wallace says:

    Interesting dilemma for the Republicans….

    Move further right. To make that work they probably would have to find more wedge issues to bring people to their camp. Communism, racism, women’s rights, lots of traditional issues aren’t working well any longer.

    Right now they’ve got only abortion and gay marriage. Can’t imagine what else is available. God hates people with red hair? People who hold their forks in their left hands are destroying our way of life?

    Or move left in order to capture some of the middle/centrists/independents and hope that they can get a net gain after some of the far right goes off on its own and forms a new party.

    Long term, I think they have to move to the center. They must track the general population as it changes. They should realize that by looking ahead at the upcoming days of a white minority. And by looking at how attitudes have changed over the years.

    But it might take another big election loss or two before they figure things out.

    I wish them “not well”….

  2. Brewster says:

    I know a few far right Republicans, and they are absolutely convinced that McCain lost because he was too moderate.

    They see the road back to power passing straight through the 19th century (the 19th century as seen through rose coloured glasses) and will not consider any other course.

  3. Wes Rolley says:

    The only proper setting for Grover Norquist is to join his one time room mate, Jack Abramoff. However, that isn’t going to happen and neither will sense descend on the Republican Party this year. Case in point was the re-designation of John Bonehead Boehner as House Minority Leader.

    Actually, their hope for a resurgence has to be rooted in a belief that the Bush Recession is so deep and the way out so long that Obama will be viewed as a failure. Economic issues are where they will succeed or fail.

  4. David Morton says:

    While the prevailing thread of the current Republican platform is slanted towards climate change denial, there is a pretty noticeable movement of Conservatives who not only accept climate change as a reality, but are actively trying to confront the problem. Some of us see the situation as being so dire that we’re willing to embrace various forms of carbon taxation — a huge step for any free market advocate.

    I can assure you that Grover Norquist doesn’t speak for the entire movement of conservative thought. And if the party leadership refuses to step up to the plate on this issue and others, we’ll continue to vote for Democratic leaders who will.

  5. Bob Wallace says:

    Well, David, you illustrate the problem that the Republican Party has. The fundie/creationist/denier/hater wing vs. the more moderate wing.

    And, like you say, if the Party goes right to denier-land, some of you will vote Democratic. And, obviously, if the Party goes left-center, others will bolt or refuse to vote.

  6. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The situation is somewhat analogous in Australia. The Rightwing media, the only type we have here,centred on Rupert Murdoch’s local flagship The Australian (aka The Fundament)a sort of Antipodean FoxNews, is ferociously denialist. The lumpen denialists bitterly resent that their claims to be ‘sceptics’ are treated with deserved derision, while they abuse climatologists as ‘alarmists’. As the scientific consensus hardens, our local denialists actually become more hysterical. It is no longer a matter of disagreement over science. The denialists decry the science as all lies, assert, insinuation having been left far behind, that anthropogenic climate change is all a conspiracy, of anti-capitalists, if not socialists and, shock, horror, Communists. Naturally the centre of the denialist circus is to be found in extreme Rightwing ideology, particularly Market Fundamentalist economists. Their pseudo-science, a true religion with True Believers impervious to reason if ever there was one, simply cannot encompass any reality that cannot be addressed by ‘market mechanisms’. Even as, or perhaps because of, their economic dream-world collapses around us, their ideological fervour grows the greater. The roots of this mania lie in some species of psychopathology, I am sure.

  7. Bob Wallace says:

    Interestingly “market mechanisms” are likely going to save our sorry butts.

    It’s going to be cheaper to conserve than to consume. The market is going to put additional value on goods and services that use less energy.

    It’s going to be cheaper to get our power from renewables than from sequestered carbon. Especially if carbon generation is required to include all the ancillary costs that they now duck.

    It’s going to be cheaper to drive electric/mostly electric cars than ones that use imported and increasingly expensive to extract petroleum.

    Right now the market is not working well. It’s not free enough, but “stuck” due to vested economic interests. Governments may have to kick things along a bit as we’re up against some serious time constraints.

    So let’s stick in some temporary carbon taxes or caps and spend some up front money to get the move to new energy sources and efficient transportation accelerated.

    Those “Market fundamentalists” should get behind those ideas. Too bad they’re caught up in a “If your side wins, my side looses” mentality.

    The deniers? Screw ‘em. They’re just a too tiny minority to get our attention. Down to ~10% in the US these days and falling.

    The trend for a long time is for the more moderates on their side to move to acceptance, people just aren’t joining their team….

  8. Brian D says:

    Apologies for the off-topic, but I figure I should raise this here.

    It’s no secret I’m not a conservative, but as I live in Canada’s clone of Texas, I’m constantly surrounded by them. Which is why I found this Slate piece on a ‘green Republican’ viewpoint so interesting. It separates green actions from their traditionally environmentalist leanings and rephrases them in terms the GOP would understand.

    It is, however, obviously aimed at an American audience, and the author thanks folk from both Heritage and Cato (which immediately calls to question hidden agendas). The question I ask is: From your more experienced eyes, how plausible is this suggestion? Setting aside that the current Repubs are in a Death Spiral Tantrum as noted above, that is.

  9. David B. Benson says:

    Brian D — A good start of a discussion of a new, sane policy.

    Something along those lines and I might even vote for a Republican or two.

    Might, I siad. :-)

  10. Wes Rolley says:

    Those who wonder about a ‘good Republican’ should read Jim DiPeso at Republicans for Environmental Protection http://www.repamerica.org/ I quote from a recent talk by DiPeso “Conservation is conservative. That ought to be a central part of the Republican Party’s vision for our country. That’s Republicans for Environmental Protection’s core message”

  11. Bob Wallace says:

    “Conservation is conservative.”

    Could be, but people interested in conservation are going to have to steal back the term conservative from the “Drill, baby, drill” wing of the Party.

    Right now the prevailing attitude of conservatives in the Republican Party seems to be “If AlGore’s for it, I’m agin’ it”.

  12. Brad says:

    My advice to the Republican party. (for Republican consumption only)
    McCain DID lose cuz he was not conservative enough!
    You need to move farther and farther to the right and purge your ranks of unpure moderates!
    Anyone to the left of the John Birch Society is moderate.
    Keep bashing immigrants, they are stealing your jobs. Forget their votes!
    Forget young voters, they are not reliable.
    Compromise, diversity, integrity…bad, bad, bad.
    Keep the party pure, only white Christian dominionists are welcome.