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Bill Kristol And Dennis Miller Think That Conservatives Should ‘Plant A Flag On The Phrase Progressive’

By Matt Corley  

"Bill Kristol And Dennis Miller Think That Conservatives Should ‘Plant A Flag On The Phrase Progressive’"

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Bill Kristol smiles on a Fox News setWhile interviewing Weekly Standard editor Bill Kristol on his radio show yesterday, Dennis Miller suggested that conservatives ought to consider commandeering the term “progressive” for their cause. “If I was Republicans right now or conservatives, whatever way you want to look at it — I would plant a flag on the phrase progressive,” said Miller.

Miller claimed that “liberals are trying to co-opt” the term, but they haven’t “completely commandeered it” yet, so conservatives should “start claiming progressivism on the right too.” Kristol agreed, citing Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin’s frequent use of the phrase, “progressing Alaska forward”:

KRISTOL: And I agree with you. What’s progressive about heaping tax burdens and energy costs burdens on working class and middle class people in a tough economic time? I mean, who’s really for progress? People make fun of Sarah Palin, her grammar’s not so good some times and she’s always talking about “progressing Alaska forward.” It’s not a verb I usually use, but maybe she’s on to something in the notion that conservatives should not give up the notion that they’re the progressive force now in American politics.

Listen here:

Kristol and Miller’s musing about co-opting progressivism for the conservative movement will likely shock right wingers like Glenn Beck, who have sought to demonize the term. “I’ve been saying now for awhile, and it really has clicked in my mind, um, that it is the progressive movement, it is the cancer that is inside both parties,” said Beck last month. Citing the lessons he learned from Jonah Goldberg’s book, Liberal Fascism, Beck is convinced that “progressivism” is the true insidious force threatening America:

BECK: We’ll come back with Jonah Goldberg. I want to make something real clear, though. It wasn’t just — don’t think that this is a Barack Obama or a Democrat-bashing thing. Because it’s not. Compassionate conservativism is the same thing. Progressivism is in both parties, and that is the cancer that you need to educate yourself on and know what it is so you can fight it and irradiate it. It is — and you can find the beginnings of it. A great place to start is a book, it’s just come out in paperback I think tomorrow, or maybe it was out last week. Jonah Goldberg’s book, Liberal Fascism.

But Miller, who raised the idea of re-branding conservatives as progressives, might not mind that his idea tramples on Beck’s paranoid shtick. Miller has mocked Beck as “a shaky cat” who “makes Howard Beale look like John Wayne.”

Transcript:

MILLER: Yes, if I was them, I’d start planting a flag — if I was Republicans right now or conservatives, whatever way you want to look at it — I would plant a flag on the phrase progressive. I think that the liberals are trying to co-opt that phrase because they want to get away from their past. And I think it’s still in play. I don’t think they’ve completely commandeered it. I would start claiming progressivism on the right too. I think Obama, he’s getting a big thumbs up, his issues not so much. What the gap right now in disparage between the, his approval rating and some of the ones for his issues.

KRISTOL: You know, its about ten points or so. But you know, what’s striking to me is people wish, obviously wish an American — Americans wish an American president well. He’s a new and popular president. He won the presidency with 53 percent of the vote. Even in the CBS/New York Times poll out today, which has always sort have been a better poll for Democrats than maybe some others, I think that Obama’s personal job approval is 56 percent. So, we’re now, he’s really, the honeymoon’s over. I mean, he’s back to basically the people who voted for him in November and I — you know maybe he’ll have a huge economic comeback. Maybe the Iranians will throw over their nuclear program. Maybe the world will fall at his feet. But if not, I’ve got to think his numbers continue down as those people take a close look, as you say, at these proposals. And I think it’s very important for the Republicans to define these proposals correctly. Health care, cap and trade, the huge tax increases. And I agree with you. What’s progressive about heaping tax burdens and energy costs burdens on working class and middle class people in a tough economic time? I mean, who’s really for progress? People make fun of Sarah Palin, her grammar’s not so good some times and she’s always talking about “progressing Alaska forward.” It’s not a verb I usually use, but maybe she’s on to something in the notion that conservatives should not give up the notion that they’re the progressive force now in American politics.

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