Sigh. I just love Stirling’s writing…. and the depth of understanding. He sees what I see, but says it all so much more eloquently.
The right-wing suburban vote hasn’t broken quite yet, but it’s starting to break, and will continue to break. My little Poway, right-wing suburbia central, now has a Poway Democratic Club. Our little high school has a high school Dem club for the first time ever.
Oh yeah, suburbia is breaking, quickly. I know far too many people who bet their retirement on housing prices rising endlessly. They are more than pissed off right now.
And the retribution against the super rich is gonna be interesting, real soon now.
The reason for the old state of affairs is that the right wing was seen as the source of ideas and solutions, and as well the home of the determined, decisive people – the cool considerate men – of whose like we would not see again. In command, the future planned – the music of fife and drum caused moderates, lemming like, to fall into line.
Iraq, the housing bust and the poor job market have broken this. Compare Bush’s two elections with Eisenhower’s two, Nixon’s second, Reagan’s two and Bush pére – a series of landslide elections which the Republicans won by a combined electoral count of 2860 to 353. The coalition for the Republicans was rooted in the suburban vote – the people who wanted constancy over growth, because that allowed them to borrow long and wait for the rising timed of home prices to carry them forward. This plus social security, pensions and a few investments meant that they had affluence in the present, and a prospect for “golden years” of retirement.
This suburban vote saw coming down on a problem with hobnail boots as the right thing to do – it is how they dealt with, or wished they could deal with, their teenagers. It was how they were dealt with at work. The liberal solution of “give more to people, and you will get more back from them” seemed to break down in dealing with crime, inflation and youth rebellion. More importantly, it threatened to upset the apple cart of housing. Low inflation wasn’t just something they wanted in itself – but because low inflation means low interest rates, and that monetizes more of the value of a house for the owner.
Hence, permissiveness, spending, growth – were all out. It was a zero sum game, and everyone thought they were going to be above average.
The triumvirate of failures – war, stagnation and housing bust – hammer each component of the memology of the right wing.
These three pillars of the Republican memology have gone from being resolute, entrepreneurial and bourgeois – to being violent, greedy and stupid.