To paraphrase former President Ronald Reagan, conservatism is not the solution to the problem; conservatism is the problem. In the recently published book, The Conservatives Have No Clothes: Why Right-Wing Ideas Keep Failing (Wiley & Sons), policy expert and journalist Greg Anrig indicts right-wing ideology and examines their legacy of insipid governance.
It’s a familiar tale of woe for liberals at this point. The conservative method over simplifies problems such as terrorism with misguided fear mongering about weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Domestically conservatives will distort the root causes of why inner city schools fail by demonizing the entire public school system or make false claims that Social Security is poised for imminent collapse. In terms of obtaining and holding onto power the conservative method of marketing distortion has been highly effective in most national elections since 1968.
The consequences for the country have been disastrous. Even when Democrats have prevailed, the radical trend of privatization was only slowed temporarily to the detriment of workers and consumers alike. From healthcare, to the gutting of FEMA and the misguided pursuit of empire have left Americans economically insecure and isolated in a dangerous world.
In a sober analysis, Anrig, the Vice President of Programs at the Century Foundation, a progressive think tank and regular contributor to the liberal blog tpmcafe.com, critiques the conservative record. Specifically, Anrig evaluates the degree that policies championed by conservatives have delivered on their promise to make America stronger and safer and our government smaller and more efficient.
E. J. Dionne, syndicated columnist for the Washington Post praised Anrig’s book and noted:
“Ending the conservative era requires organizing, yes, but also hard thinking and shrewd analysis. When progressives of the future look back at how they triumphed, one of the people they'll thank is Greg Anrig. Drawing inspiration from the work of the early neoconservatives who demolished public support for liberal programs, Anrig casts a sharp eye on conservative ideas and nostrums and shows that many of them simply don't work because they are rooted more in ideological dreams than in reality. Facts are stubborn things, Ronald Reagan once said, and Anrig makes good use of them in this important and engaging book."Anrig agreed to a podcast interview with me over the telephone about his book and issues such as education, Social Security, national security and the Democrats ineffectiveness at challenging the conservative paradigm. Please refer to the media player below. Our conversation is approximately forty minutes.
This interview can also be accessed at no cost via the Itunes Store by searching for the “Intrepid Liberal Journal.”