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The Politics of Radicalized Religion, Oil, and Borrowed Money
June 28, 2008 12:25 PM   Subscribe

Bush had Karl Rove. But the original wiretapping President needed brains too. Introducing Kevin Phillips. He predicted the prolonged Republican dominance of Washington 1970-present and advised the Ford and Reagan presidencies. He predicted a more liberal 1990s and when the Bushies killed his party he became uttery disgusted. Recently he spoke about the influence of the christian right, our addiction to oil, and America's debt (public and private) at the University of California Santa Barbara.

Some Reviews of his work:
New York Times on Phillip's books 1969-2005
Salon Review of American Theocracy
Previously on Mefi in 06
and in 2004
posted by Parallax.Error (57 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Republicans turning away from Bush and towards Obama have a name, Obamacons:

"The Republican Party is a dead rotting carcass with a few decrepit old leaders stumbling around like zombies in a horror version of 'Weekend With Bernie,' handcuffed to a corpse."
posted by euphorb at 12:34 PM on June 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


> Obamacons:

I'm one of those. Several of the "rigidly liberal" Mr. Obama's actions give me great hope for a business-as-usual future.
posted by jfuller at 12:47 PM on June 28, 2008


This is pretty good stuff. Thanks for posting it.
posted by RussHy at 12:58 PM on June 28, 2008


Indeed, great post.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 1:04 PM on June 28, 2008


Dunt, dunt, dunt
Another one under the bus.........
posted by Mblue at 1:04 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I'm one of those. Several of the "rigidly liberal" Mr. Obama's actions give me great hope for a business-as-usual future.

As a general rule, whoever the Democrats run, no matter how centrist, will always turn out to be the most liberal member of congress.
posted by Pope Guilty at 1:10 PM on June 28, 2008 [5 favorites]


Recent intrvu
posted by hortense at 1:11 PM on June 28, 2008


McCain has had some 30 years in Congress. Obama scant few. Lincoln ONLY as much as Obama. Crises? experience counts? Lincoln no sooner sat down than an urgent note sent him about
the goings on at Fort Sumpter. Didn't even have time for an hour interview with Larry King.
posted by Postroad at 1:23 PM on June 28, 2008


I love the way conservatives are now turning on Bush as the betrayer of the cause when he's just following the same playsheet as his predicessors. It's like getting on the 5:15 train to Poughkeepsie then complaining when you end up in Poughkeepsie.
posted by Kid Charlemagne at 1:33 PM on June 28, 2008 [12 favorites]


I especially liked his comment on how the Democrats can't go for the jugular, instead they go for the capillaries.
posted by RussHy at 1:36 PM on June 28, 2008


It's like getting on the 5:15 train to Poughkeepsie then complaining when you end up in Poughkeepsie.

On the other hand, it's hard to blame anyone for complaining about being in Poughkeepsie regardless of the circumstances.
posted by enn at 1:41 PM on June 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


I love the way conservatives are now turning on Bush as the betrayer of the cause when he's just following the same playsheet as his predicessors. It's like getting on the 5:15 train to Poughkeepsie then complaining when you end up in Poughkeepsie.
Well, almost, but not quite.

It's really more like getting on the 5:15 train to Poughkeepsie, shouting at the top of your lungs that anyone who doesn't go to Poughkeepsie is a radical and traitorous terrorist who hates America and should be shot on sight without the benefit of quaint antiquated things like "trials", and then complaining when you end up in Poughkeepsie.
posted by Flunkie at 2:04 PM on June 28, 2008 [23 favorites]


"Vogue" is great
posted by Grimp0teuthis at 2:06 PM on June 28, 2008


I love the way conservatives are now turning on Bush as the betrayer of the cause when he's just following the same playsheet as his predicessors. It's like getting on the 5:15 train to Poughkeepsie then complaining when you end up in Poughkeepsie.

We would've ended up in Utica if the liberals hadn't wrecked everything!
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:08 PM on June 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


As a general rule, whoever the Democrats run, no matter how centrist, will always turn out to be the most liberal member of congress.

So, we can expect a major upset at the convention when the Dems nominate Dennis Kucinich? Sweet.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:18 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


I love the way conservatives are now turning on Bush as the betrayer of the cause when it is the conservative cause itself which has failed.
posted by three blind mice at 2:22 PM on June 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Social Psychology has terms for these behaviours. Casting Off Reflected Failure. The flip side is Basking in Reflected Glory. An example is when a sports team wins the whole city says "We won!" and when they lose the whole city says "They lost".
posted by srboisvert at 2:28 PM on June 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Actually, it's more like this:

First, painting "TIHS TRANE TOO UTIKA" sloppily over the "Poughkeepsie" sign and getting the train schedule printing shop to do the same for all the pamphlets. Then when everyone realizes they ended up in Poughkeepsie instead of Utica, saying "no one could have foreseen this".
posted by DU at 2:35 PM on June 28, 2008 [8 favorites]


It is hard for me to feel sympathy for Republicans who are now in bad shape and blaming Bush. I mean, the evidence that things were going to go badly was there even pre-9/11. Sorry dudes, you got what you paid for. If only you didn't drag the rest of us down with you.
posted by schroedinger at 2:38 PM on June 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


I think what is unique about Phillips is that he called out the Neoconservatives for taking over the Republican party and he did it from a position of strength within the party itself. Most importantly he realized that the House of Bush was a bad idea a long time before the rest of his Republican friends did. To his credit he risked losing all of his political influence by telling it like he saw it, instead of toeing the party line. This is the kind of intellectual honesty politics needs.
posted by Parallax.Error at 2:44 PM on June 28, 2008 [3 favorites]


Once again I am forced to defend my hometown. Take your Poughkeepsie bashing elsewhere, please. Maybe you'd rather end up in Coxsackie? No, I didn't think so. Poughkeepsie will kick your asses, haterz.
posted by spicynuts at 3:01 PM on June 28, 2008 [4 favorites]


First, painting "TIHS TRANE TOO UTIKA" sloppily over the "Poughkeepsie" sign and getting the train schedule printing shop to do the same for all the pamphlets.

Poughkeepsie was a September 10th destination. All the intelligence indicated that the train was headed to Utica. It had traveled to Utica once 10 years ago. Who knew that after such a long journey the train going to Poughkeepsie would actually end up in Poughkeepsie?
posted by three blind mice at 3:12 PM on June 28, 2008


Who helped the GOP to shape the Iraqi war years? Who helped vote for almost every arcane piece of democracy-damaging legislation that Bush introduced. Who helped put new bankruptcy laws into place? The Democrats.

I'm a Democrat, although not for much longer. We are getting exactly what Americans have voted for

And now that we're into almost $100 trillionin unfunded medicare and social security mandates, we're going to need to change.

There is nobody on the current stage that is going to lead us in the necessary direction.

The Democrats need a Kevin Phillips.
posted by MetaMan at 3:45 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


All the intelligence indicated that the train was headed to Utica.

This, despite the fact that the line is obviously not electrified past Croton-Harmon.
posted by oaf at 3:49 PM on June 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


(There was only enough diesel to make Poughkeepsie.)
posted by oaf at 3:50 PM on June 28, 2008


perhaps I should not continue this metaphor
posted by oaf at 3:51 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


So, we can expect a major upset at the convention when the Dems nominate Dennis Kucinich? Sweet.

OCTOBER SURPRISE!
posted by Krrrlson at 4:04 PM on June 28, 2008


So, is Willoughby after Poughkeepsie.... or did I miss my stop?
posted by Artichoke Dance Off!! at 4:06 PM on June 28, 2008


You people from New York have strange town names.
posted by Weebot at 4:11 PM on June 28, 2008


Metaman, agreed. There is a psychologist who has the right ideas to be the Democrat's brain for the 21st century but who will be its heart and soul?
posted by Parallax.Error at 4:19 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


American Theocracy is required reading.

Sincerely I can say that each page is nova dense with facts, and it will blow your mind.
posted by plexi at 4:32 PM on June 28, 2008


Obamacons

Sounds like a Afrocentric comic-book festival.
posted by jonmc at 4:45 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Huh? I'm voting for Obama. So's Handsome Dick Manitoba, because Bruce Springsteen said he should. He told me last time I was at his bar. What more endorsement do you need?
posted by jonmc at 4:57 PM on June 28, 2008


You're absolutely right. During the years of the Republican majority in Congress, it was the Democrats that got the laws passed.
posted by schroedinger at 4:58 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


You people from New York have strange town names.

I've been to Riverdale, Ramapo, Oniontown, Florida, Armonk, Elmira, Fishkill, Kerhonkson...
posted by Smart Dalek at 5:04 PM on June 28, 2008


Fishkill makes more sense when you realize that "kill" is the Dutch word for creek.

Oh.
My.
God.

We've added over a million irrigation ditches in Iraq! Osama merely wanted to create recreational fishing opportunities for Americans! Forget 9-11, this changes everything.
posted by stet at 5:26 PM on June 28, 2008


I know a few Wall Street Republicans that like, and have given money to, Obama. One of them recently defined his changed point of view as a matter of "competency". I think in his case, Katrina pushed him over the edge. His world view being... To the degree that gov't has to be present in one's life, it should at least be good at its job. Things like Katrina and the political firings at the Justice Dept. deeply bother him.
posted by R. Mutt at 5:38 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


New Yorkers have strange place names? Let's look at NJ and PA: Jim Thorpe, PA; Metuchen, NJ, Intercourse, PA; Machesautauxen, NJ; Metuchen, NJ; Mulhockaway, NJ; the list goes on.
posted by spicynuts at 5:40 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Am I the only person who had some wicked times in Poughkeepsie?
posted by unSane at 5:42 PM on June 28, 2008


I know a guy who was born in fucking Turnip Hole, PA (evidence that it really exists). If you get out in the boondocks, the names in this state are preposterous.
posted by synaesthetichaze at 5:59 PM on June 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


I knew a guy whose name was Ivan Turnipseed.

unSane..you think you had some wicked times in Poughkeepsie, you should have meandered down to Wappingers Falls. Talk about a party town.
posted by spicynuts at 6:40 PM on June 28, 2008


I knew a guy whose name was Ivan Turnipseed.

Beats knowing a woman named Ivana Kutchapekarov.
posted by jonmc at 7:03 PM on June 28, 2008


Ivana Vodka.
posted by ericb at 7:40 PM on June 28, 2008


Jeez, ericb, my joke was Badenov.
posted by jonmc at 8:07 PM on June 28, 2008


This is pathetic.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:35 PM on June 28, 2008


-ish.
posted by R. Mutt at 8:36 PM on June 28, 2008


Nyet.
posted by jonmc at 8:36 PM on June 28, 2008


Who helped the GOP to shape the Iraqi war years? Who helped vote for almost every arcane piece of democracy-damaging legislation that Bush introduced. Who helped put new bankruptcy laws into place?

The Stonecutters?
posted by kirkaracha at 8:39 PM on June 28, 2008 [2 favorites]


Who helped the GOP to shape the Iraqi war years? Who helped vote for almost every arcane piece of democracy-damaging legislation that Bush introduced. Who helped put new bankruptcy laws into place?

There's also reports that they put the bomp in the bomp-she-bomp-she-bomp and possibly the ram in the rama-lama-ding-dong.

(you know, the original 'Rama Lama Ding Dong" contains the line 'I got a gal named Rama Lama Lama Lama Ding Dong.' Her drivers licsence must be enormous)
posted by jonmc at 8:43 PM on June 28, 2008 [1 favorite]


Who didn't filibuster or even attempt a challenge on anything the President labeled as necessary for the War on Terror?

The Damocrats. They dont have an instinct for the jugular, they have an instinct for the capillaries. Phillips says it at 24:30.
posted by Parallax.Error at 8:51 PM on June 28, 2008


Theocracy Watch
posted by telstar at 11:36 PM on June 28, 2008


So, McKinney then?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 3:47 AM on June 29, 2008


I don't know. In geopolitical terms, aren't the fundamentalist Christians pretty good for you? High birthrates, high propensity to serve in the armed forces? Demographics is destiny and all that. The Christians of the Roman Empire were nihilistic pacifists...

Their main threats, again in strictly geopolitical terms, are their restrictions on free speech and scientific progress, and their opposition to high levels of immigration - though the latter represents potential converts, which may sway them.
posted by alasdair at 5:36 AM on June 29, 2008


Hey this might be the youtube you're looking for.
posted by Agamenticus at 10:55 AM on June 29, 2008


If the fundamentalist Christians would pump out kids to go be marines and stay out of politics they would be model citizens. The trouble is when some of them (Falwell, Robertson, Hagee) abuse their fundamentalist followers' belief in an approaching apocolyptic endtime to bring them political power. Then smart politicians like Karl Rove only have to dupe the pastors on issues like abortion and boom, a huge percentage of the vote is in the pocket for any other issue they want.

My family tends toward fundamentalist christian, and from interacting with them I don't think that restricting free speech and scientific progress are issues they have a passion for. But they are issues that can be temporarily inflamed. If George Bush says that science (or free speech) is killing god then they'd do what they needed to save god. One week its important because there was an event to make it so, but as soon as it fades from Fox News it fades from their minds.

So with the video Agamenticus posted, explaining the family history of Bush back to 1900 according to Phillips, I think what we are seeing is the oil and military industrial complex using the fundamentalist Christians as pawns.
posted by Parallax.Error at 11:32 AM on June 29, 2008


What, no shout out to Kitty Kelly's The Family: The Real Story of the Bush Dynasty?
posted by jadepearl at 5:32 PM on June 29, 2008


I thought it was fantastic during the Q/A session towards the end of the video where he said the reaction to 9/11 was exaggerated.

Totally true, of course, but it takes balls to say this on public record.

Every time someone says "the reaction to 9/11 was exaggerated," Toby Keith dies a little.
posted by bilgepump at 8:13 PM on June 30, 2008


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