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Your host, PM 'Papa' Carpenter


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June 15, 2005


Getting regressives organized is like trying to herd sheep. Getting progressives organized is like trying to herd cats. (Thanx to Molly Ivins for the latter simile.) Meow.

Would someone who succeeded in herding cats be "Chariman Meow"?---KC

"CHAIRMAN Meow", dammit!---KC

With the decline of communal life in favor of soulless, transient, suburbia and communal/fraternal organizations in the public sphere about the only place you will find a captive audience with like beliefs is in Church. There's the organizational key that has been behind repugs success.

Yet, despite their big "investment" most of the youth vote is liberal and young people are orders of magnitude more tolerant than their parents. We are seeing the last gasp of the white man's exclusive club. Wishful thinking don't make it so and the fact is, the entire world is becoming progressive. These right wing extremists are still just a fringe minority, despite their "organization" "money" and for now, "power."

Excellent analysis, and not at all elementary so long as the central message isn't being heeded. This is the sort of message that tends to get torn to shreds when progressives begin discussing discipline, perhaps because the right has so thoroughly inhabited and owned the term "discipline".

I'd like to invite you to stop by to see some similar ideas I've been floating about organization, and I'd welcome the opportunity to continue a dialogue here about the points you've made.

Marblex is correct that the hard right is a minority. As Michael Lind, among others, has pointed out, much of the reason that they exercise disproportionate power is that they have managed to control the low-population states--Gene Lyons called them "states with more cows than people"--which, thanks to the every-state-has-two-senators rule, exercise disproportionate power through the Senate and the Electoral College. These states tend to be more ethnically and religiously homogeneous than the USA as a whole. A change to a parliamentary system, if that could be done, would redress much of this problem.---KC

Mr. Carpenter does an excellent job of analyzing the success of the right-wing, but I would add a couple of embellishments:

The right clearly set in place a very broad-based effort to control the political dialogue in this country after Goldwater's humiliating defeat in 1964, but the real impetus (that began in 1973, as Mr. Carpenter mentions in passing) was Watergate and the efforts of former Treasury Secretary William Simon, Richard Mellon-Scaife and the Olin family to fund these right-wing 'think tanks" (ha-ha) and to engage in "perception management". The Repubs were deathly afraid of another Watergate happening again and worked hard in acquiring media outlets (e.g. the Washington Times, FOX News, Limbaugh's EIB radio network) to manage the public's perception of the world. They realized that perception is reality and that propaganda, used properly, could sway large number of voters to vote against their own best interests. Robert Parry does an excellent job of analyzing this in his book, 'Secrecy and Privilege", in which he eviscerates the Bush family, which has benefitted enormously from this 'perception management'. How else can one rationally explain the election of 2000, where an alcoholic, cocaine-addled, neer-do-well, with the lengthiest criminal record of anyone who has ever been president, is viewed as a moral paragon by many people, while his opponent, an upstanding, distinguished public servant with no real warts on his record is viewed as a liar, a cheater and incompetent??? Truly amazing perception management.

Anyway, thanks again Mr. Carpenter for an insightful analysis of how we got where we are (God help us all....).

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