Saturday, 28 May 2011

Newt Conservatism for 2012.

The Year of the Newt?

The sins of Newt Gingrich, who would remind us all that marriage is between one man and one woman, include: abandoning your wife riddled with cancer on her hospital bed to fuck the brains out of your next wife whom you later cheat on whilst moralising about the outrageous infidelities of President Clinton - which saved social security. The Newt has been "rehabilitated" in recent years, propelling himself forward on fiscal conservative rhetoric and the discovery of Catholicism. Ultimately this has led Newt to announce his new ambition to succeed Obama as President. Gingrich is the embodiment of the contradictions of American conservatism, strident populism against liberals and intellectuals whilst also a defender of liberalism for the rich. Market liberalism complete with the muscle to stamp on feminists and progressives everywhere. Newt conservatism is really free-markets for the poor and the vulnerable, 'Big Government' for the benefit of business and the mega-rich.

The recent scandal in the news about the $500,000 Newt Gingrich carries in debts to Tiffany's has given liberals room to challenge his "fiscal conservatism". Sadly the way Newt has run Georgia is overlooked, the huge amount of federal subsidies that are poured into Lockheed in Cobb County, Georgia are hardly a state secret. Incidentally Cobb County is almost the biggest recipient of federal subsidies in the US. It would seem criticism of Gingrich's maxed out credit cards is of high value in an age of personalised politics. Similarly the most damaging attacks on the Obama administration from the GOP have been made along personal lines, e.g. Obama is an illegal alien from Kenya and so on. It doesn't take a sophisticated analysis of any kind to support such vilification, merely a few quotes deprived of context, outright lies and crude historical analogies. The liberals will prefer to play the game of trying to stick the "hypocrite" label on the Newt, as if that is the only thing wrong with Newt Gingrich and his particular brand of conservatism.

Federal money on welfare, social security and health-care were fair game to be cut under these conservatives.  Just as in Arizona Jan Brewer and John McCain have cut funding for education and health-care, setting up "death panels" in the state of Arizona. At the same time Brewer has increased the funding for border security and pandering to racist fears with Arizona SB1070, a bill on illegal immigration that could have been drawn up by the American Nazi Party. Even if the Republican resurgence last November does lead to decreasing the size of the government it would only be the transference of power from the state sector to the private sector. In other words, greater power would be moved from bureaucrats and elected representatives in Washington to bureaucrats in corporate blocks of offices. All the while the richest citizens would be enriched even more through regressive tax-cuts, whilst the majority of the population has been hit hard by the recession and has yet to recover.

As part of the Republican resurgence in 2010, John Boehner has resurfaced and risen to Speaker of the House. We might think of Boehner as the sidekick to the Newt, though he could be summed up as just another brash hack for corporate interests. He actually went as far as personally handing out checks for the tobacco industry in Congress to sway an upcoming vote on tobacco subsidies. Boehner also represents the interests of Goldman Sachs, among lots of other companies, which might explain why he voted for the bailouts in 2008. The extent to which Boehner will act to cut public spending and shrink the deficit is highly questionable. Boehner has supported the Bush tax-cuts and the renewal of them by the Obama administration, effectively subsidising the wealthiest of Americans, providing a pretext for yet more cutting in the long term. This is the "starve the beast" mantra of the Republican machine, which would distinguish the Newt from a conservative like Barry Goldwater in that the aim is to increase debt in order to justify further cuts.

The Newt still adheres to the trickle-down theory and will initiate even more tax-cuts, especially for the rich, if he takes office in 2012. Apparently it wasn't enough that the richest 1% of Americans have seen taxes cut from 91% in the 50s down to 28% in the 80s, before they were raised to around 36% in the 1990s. Gingrich wants to eliminate the capital gains tax and abolish inheritance tax, as well as cuts to corporation tax and a shift to a flat tax of 15%. This would cost the Treasury billions, increase debt, hit the poor hardest and leave the fat cats even more bloated than before. Typically the language used by his PR team is vague, with references to a "balanced budget" with no clear laid out plans to make the cuts which will decrease the debt - e.g. defence spending. Instead we can read plenty of platitudes about helping Americans, keeping to national values and letting the fucking Muslims know how it is. Not to mention plenty of talk of 'reform' in regards to entitlements and health-care.

The American people are disillusioned by the hopeless state of the union and as a result the GOP has been able to mobilise a conservative base on family values and gun rights. As the low voter turn out converged with the interests of capital there has been a striking shift away from social democracy and the New Deal. In the mid-term elections of 2010 75% of the population made up 37% of the vote, these are the Americans who earn less than $50,000 a year and typically lean to the Democrats. Just compare this with the 26% of the vote which consisted of the 10% of Americans who make $100,000 a year and lean to the Republicans. Although it is true that a strong Democratic tendency does not necessarily mean that the US is a liberal or left-wing country, because the Democrats are a right-wing party and at best predominantly "moderate" conservative. In the simplistic worldview put forward by the media there is no room for the class dynamic of American elections.

New Gingrich is a part of the Republican tradition of right-wing populism which mobilises the South as a conservative Christian base against the bi-coastal liberal elites of the North. The way he has consistently ran on a platform of baiting the poor against one another, like the way he has called for poor children to be taken from their mothers and placed in orphanages. The way in which he has referred to Obama as a "food-stamp President" is a similar form of baiting, to utilise the racist imagery of black people as a bunch of free-loaders and dangerous criminals against the first administration led by an African-American. He has managed to rehabilitate himself since the sex scandal which scuppered his chances of running for President against the Democrats 10 years ago. His discovery of the Roman Catholic faith in 2009 was a major part of that rehabilitation. But it remains unclear whether such cynical gestures and self-serving spin will pay-off for him and there is still no clear forerunner for the Republican nomination right now.

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