I’m at a loss for words, so I need your help.
Not so long ago, Republican officeholders in our country were conservatives, a political philosophy that literally encompasses the notion of conservation. Those Republicans wanted to conserve important things–including our public infrastructure, the rule of law, public education, and even our environment. During the last 30 years, though, voters in the GOP’s primaries systematically culled these classic conservatives from office, replacing them with right-wing, laissez-faire ideologues. These new-breed Republicans largely rejected our country’s commitment to the common good, instead supporting privatization of government functions and tax favoritism for the corporate elite.
The media, however, made no linguistic adjustment to this fundamental change in philosophy, simply shifting the “conservative” label to the right-wingers. But if they can be called conservative, what the hell do we call the new new-breed Republicans who’re presently displacing those politicos who displaced the actual conservatives?
This year, the Republican primary races went from plain old right-wingism to right-wing crackpotism. In Nevada, Wisconsin, Colorado, Delaware, New York, Kentucky, and elsewhere, many GOP nominees to Congress and other offices are farther out than Pluto! “End Social Security,” they rant. “Stop punishing BP,” “Cut off unemployment benefits to jobless Americans,” “Keep the government’s hands off of our Medicare”…and on and on. I think that these people’s teabags are filled with weed.
Once again, however, the media merely labels them “conservatives.” Surely you can think of a better, more apt term. Send your suggestions to email@example.com. Best suggestion wins a free subscription to The Hightower Lowdown.
OtherWords commentaries are free to re-publish in print and online — all it takes is a simple attribution to OtherWords.org. To get a roundup of our work each Wednesday, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.