April 17, 2005

Radical Rightwingers Grabbing Power Any Way They Can

The radical rightwingers like to say they have a monopoly on ideas and that they are doing everything they can to protect the people from the perils of liberalism and an overreaching government. Yet, it is apparent that their philosophy of governance is not based on a coherent ideology, but is rather based on opportunistic arguments that have nothing to do with rational scholarship and everthing to do with grabbing power using any means possible.

Today there are two excellent pieces that displays evidence of my proposition.

One of the prime goals of the radicals in the Republican party has been to roll back the government's ability to "interfere" in the actions of private parties by making it illegal to regulate. Jeffrey Rosen's piece in the NY Times Magazine, The Unregulated Offensive, shows that many of the judicial nominees in the center of the storm of blowing up the filibuster are known to subscribe to the theories of a conservative judicial group which believes that any infringement on the right to property is unconstitutional. Promoting their idea of the Constitution in Exile, they say that regulations that reduce the value of a person's property must be paid for by the government. So if a mining company is prevented from mining on a claim they have, they can sue the government for the amount that they have lost. Other regulations such as minimum wage or overtime laws must also be removed as they interfere with the freedom of individuals to freely interact with one another. As Rosen says, the proponents of economic liberty understand that the regulations they wish to end are quite popular with Americans.

To Greve's dismay, much of the regulatory state is politically quite popular; even a Republican Congress, he acknowledged, seems unlikely to roll back most post-New Deal programs and regulations. ''Judicial activism will have to be deployed,'' he said. ''It's plain that the idea of judicial deference was a dead end for conservatives from the get-go.''

Unlike the conservatives of the past who decried the activism of the courts in the 60s & 70s, they are more than happy to use judicial activism to outlaw the government's ability to regulate.

Yet at the same time, the latest rightwing frenzy has been around the problem of judges refusing to do what congress bids or even worse, considering foreign sensibilities when deciding cases. To protect the "sovereignty" of the US and the supremacy of "the people's will", rightwing Republicans have put forward a bill called the Congressional Accountability for Judicial Activism Act of 2004 designed to remove the ability of the courts to dictate the constitutionality of a law. dKos' Categorically Imperative has an excellent rebuttal to the wingnuts who believe they are "interpreting" the constitution as the original founders did. It is members of this group who are the most passionate in their hatred of judicial oversight and are the ones who back the nuclear option most ardently.

Just as it is dismaying to realize that many on the right don't believe in empiricism, it is appalling to realize that some of the representatives being elected to protect and defend the constitution don't actually believe in the constitution. But they certainly are flexible in using whatever argument seems to be most appropriate for consolidating their one party rule.

Posted by Mary at April 17, 2005 04:53 PM | US Politics | Technorati links |

It is not at all clear that folks like Greve, Epstein or Barnett from the Rosen article are on the same team as delay and the other rwingers who are pushing things like the Congressional Accountabbla blah act.

The behaviour you justly deplore is pretty typical of the delay/social conservative/evangelical crowd who pay lip service to taking out secular (Iraq) or theocratic (Afg) dictatorships simply to obscure from the publics eye that their goal is to create the same thing with themselves on the podium. These folks pretty much always have a beam in their eye.

I don't think you will find such duplicity in the work of Barnett or Epstein though you may disagree with them (I'm not familiar with Greve beyond what's in the article).

Posted by: Steve at April 20, 2005 12:05 AM