Paul Breer has a blog post up this morning showing off some of the work of political science professor Keith Poole, showing that the current Congress is the most conservative Congress in the past 133 years. That's not just the House he studied, mind you. (But it is the House that's yanking the entire branch around.) Even with a Democratic Senate, House Republicans are such radical extremists that they've pulled the entire branch further to the right than it's been since before the late 1800s.
Keep that in mind, as Republicans will continue to make the same claim this fall that they've been making since the GOP got slaughtered in 2006 and 2008: their only mistakes in the past decade were not being conservative enough.
Really? This Congress is the most conservative since at least 1879. Yet its job approval rating is 11%, and has been as low as 8% in the past few months.
It's not hard to put two and two together, here.
Is there any more reasonable way to describe the modern American conservative view of the country than disturbingly delusional?
In many ways America already is the ideal conservative country. We've got unrestrained capitalism with so few common sense controls that high finance has been allowed to destroy the economy twice in the past century with only token reform efforts that were rolled back about 13 years ago. All attempts to reign it in during the Obama administration have failed at the hands of Wall Street-owned Republicans that watered down reform in the Senate and similarly corrupt individual Democrats bought off by the country's largest banks. We're at war in at least six Muslim countries, slaughtering women and children with drones (and are preparing to hand these weapons of war over to domestic law enforcement) while terrorist networks barely get scratched. Several GOP presidential candidates are making couched and in some cases open calls for the merger of Christianity and government while chasing imaginary Sharia incursions.
Most Americans no longer believe in the fact of anthropogenic global warming, or even evolution. The federal court system is learning to the right after George Bush stuffed them with ideologues and Republicans in the Senate routinely block even uncontroversial judicial nominees by President Obama, including a right-leaning Supreme Court that's established a reputation as the judicial wing of the RNC (goes well with Fox News, the RNC's PR firm), causing public confidence in the courts to plummet just as has happened with Congress. The mainstream media bends over backwards to accommodate conservative falsehoods (Obama made the economy worse, no wait it's getting better despite his polices; government takeover of health care), ignoring high profile conservative ethics and legal scandals while turning non-stories that make liberals look bad into weeks-long media events.
We're still debating whether or not President Obama is an American citizen and a Christian, retarded smears invented by retarded conservatives during the 2008 campaign to draw focus from John McCain's non-existent economic policies and his epic blunder in picking Sarah Palin as a running mate. The size of government is shrinking while tax cut-fueled deficits are exploding. The 1% are making a killing while everybody else is either just making it, or are dying in poverty. Corporations are on a path to have more legal and constitutional rights than human beings, whose civil liberties are being curtailed seemingly by the day. Abortion – a constitutional right, like it or not – is on the verge of being de facto banned in some red states as the 2010 GOP revolution ignores jobs and reignites the culture wars. Red states are taking in more federal dollars than they pay back in taxes, the true welfare states.
What's there not to love over the past 13 years, if you're a Republican? Even the health care reform law was a Republican idea that will vastly enrich private health insurance companies.
Is it any surprise, then, that the most conservative Congress in 133 years, during a period when conservatives have gotten essentially every single thing they've wanted for over a decade now, is one of the most – if not the most – hated in American history?
It shouldn't be. Yet what stands out in that huge mess is that if 2012 doesn't go well for the GOP, the message they'll take away from that is the same message they thought they got in 2006 and 2008: they weren't conservative enough.
The joke about the far right being America's version of the Taliban isn't going to be a joke for much longer.