Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hoover Institution Busts the "America is center-right" Myth

Conservative Think Tank Admits America Is a Center-Left Nation

By David Sirota

Originally published November 17, 2008 on Alternet.org

The Hoover Institution is one of the major conservative think tanks in this country, so this op-ed in the Washington Post today is pretty incredible for its honesty:

Rich Lowry, the editor of National Review, in Outlook last week: The United States "is indeed, as conservatives have been insisting in recent days, a center-right country." On election night, former Bush guru Karl Rove opined on Fox News, "Barack Obama understands this is a center-right country, and he smartly and wisely ran a campaign that emphasized it." And it's not just conservative pundits and operatives singing this song. Take Newsweek editor Jon Meacham, who wrote an Oct. 27 cover essay entitled "America the Conservative," which argued that Obama will have to "govern a center-right nation" that "is more instinctively conservative than it is liberal."

The only problem: It isn't true. Or at least, not anymore.

Here's the stark reality: It is now harder for the Republican presidential candidate to get to 50.1 percent than for the Democrat. My Hoover Institution colleague David Brady and Douglas Rivers of the research firm YouGovPolimetrix have been analyzing data from online interviews with 12,000 people in both 2004 and 2008. It shows an overall shift to the Democrats of six percentage points. As they write in the forthcoming edition of Policy Review, "The decline of Republican strength occurs by having strong Republicans become weak Republicans, weak Republicans becoming independents, and independents leaning more Democratic or even becoming Democrats." This is a portrait of an electorate moving from center-right to center-left.

Read the whole admission here. It's dead-on.


David Sirota, I love you!

What are think tanks for?


"[T]hink tanks”... monitor and adjust governance norms and networks by using research, analysis, and advocacy to structure discourse about social problems and solutions among multiple elites and in the popular imagination.”

They exist for myth-making.

“America is center-right!” the Right began whining on November 5. And now we add, “The horrible noise you hear is not Friedman’s mythical free market crashing all around you.”

No matter what evidence accrues, the social Darwinian myth remains the same: Ayn Rand is god, Friedman can do no wrong, and the way forward is to redouble our efforts along the path to disaster.

Feudalism, not democratic republicanism, cries out with every move of BushRoveCheneyCo; the conversion of our Common Weal into private property in the context of a holy war.

In the 1950s, there was great concern at the State Department about the fact that Latin America, then as now… was moving to the left. There was concern about what they called the “pink economists,” the rise of developmentalism, import substitution, and, of course, socialism....

So, this plan was cooked up--it was between the head of USAID’s Chile office and the head of the University of Chicago’s Economics Department--to try to change the debate in Latin America, starting in Chile, because that’s where developmentalism had gained its deepest roots....

And so, the Chicago Boys were born. ...to engage in what Juan Gabriel Valdes, Chile’s foreign minister after the dictatorship finally ended, described as a project of deliberate ideological transfer, taking these extreme-right ideas… and transplanting them to Latin America. That was his phrase--that is his phrase.[End Klein]

“Feudalism in this sense is… based on the relation between lords and the peasants who worked their own land and that of the lord. The peasants owed labour service to the lords, who provided military protection and also had extensive police, judicial, and other rights over the peasants… Feudalism came to encompass all aspects of social organization and was characterized as a system that was both oppressive and hierarchical.” [Ency Brit Std Ed Chicago: 2008]

Friedmanism tortured Chile, and much of Latin America, for decades. Right now, the same disaster capitalists are looting the US Tresaury, and they’re using myths manufactured in think tanks, aka propaganda, to do it.

This is how we manufacture consent: by machining the human psyche with the products of right-wing think tanks. At this rate of busting their myths, we can make them inoperative [even as] they're [being] deployed.

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