It’s been funny, reading Republicans telling Democrats what they should do with the White House and expanding majorities in the House and Senate. The losers are trying to tell the winners what to do with their victory, all while eating their own. Republicans justify this by claiming that we all live in a conservative country, or as the recent zombie talking points have had it, a “center-right country.”

So, I went looking for this “center-right” country the Republicans keep talking about, and I found it. You can see a picture of it here.

Appalachia and the Ozarks? Looks like the Republicans will be counting on an “Axis of Cletus,” come 2012.

2006 and 2008 have shown that the all-important “center” of American politics is progressive. So I encourage the Republicans to keep thinking we’re a “center-right” country, so that they may remain irrelevant.

The rest of the country voted for the guy they were told was a “socialist.”

Words have meaning, and elections have consequences. The biggest turnout in American history has produced a verdict on the country’s direction: no to voodoo economics, no to the malign neglect of the middle class, and no to torture and war on a trust-fund baby’s whim. But these majorities have existed for years. All that was required for America’s progressive majority to govern was an end to anti-democratic practices that kept the minority in power.

Maybe Republicans meant that “real America” is a “center-white country”? Whites voted overwhelmingly for McCain, but this isn’t their country anymore. Not theirs alone.

When the Republicans can’t win on tribalism alone, Rovian politics are dead. That happened two years ago, and the Villagers still haven’t noticed. We have a progressive country, and now we have a progressive government. All that remains is to continue building a progressive media while the dinosaurs decay.

We’ve seen this “center-right” country the Republican are hiding in. We saw the Palin rallies. We heard what they said. The Republicans can call them “real America” and the pundits will say they’re the GOP’s base. But in any other country, they’d simply be known as “the scum of the Earth.” A retrograde, superstitious minority from the hinterlands, exploited by a parasite minority to siphon off a nation’s wealth, that’s the political formula for a third world country, not America. It’s not even “the Heartland.” It’s Pol Pot in a pickup.

This presidential campaign, and many down-ticket races, unfolded in a way familiar even to those of us who aren’t political junkies. It goes something like this: the Democrat talks about policy while the Republican tells dirty stories about the Democrat. The Republicans don’t dare talk about policy because they have no successes to report. They want to call America a “center-right” country based solely on the plurality of us who call ourselves “conservatives,” 32%, which is larger than the 23% who call themselves “liberals.” They have to hide behind ideological generalities because, when it comes to the government actually doing its job, the party that says government is always the problem and never the solution is AWOL and the rest of us are paying the price.

Americans want a return on their investment. They pay their taxes and obey the laws. They want to see something in return. They don’t understand why the most powerful nation on earth can’t provide its citizens with the best standard of living on earth. And they are not impressed with the right’s infantile notion that things will magically take care of themselves once government gets out of the way.

Americans want their government to start doing it’s goddamned job.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 58% think the government should be doing more.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 69% think the government should help care for those who can’t help themselves.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 47% think it’s the government’s job to help reduce income disparity in this country.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 84% think raising the minimum wage is a good idea.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 71% think corporate taxes are too low, and 66% think the wealthy pay too little in taxes.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 60% think spending is a better way to stimulate the economy than tax cuts, and 53% think the Bush tax cuts weren’t worth it.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 61% support embryonic stem cell research.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 56% oppose making abortions more difficult to obtain.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 89% think homosexuals should have equal rights in this country.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 60% think the federal government should more tightly restrict the kinds of guns you can own.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 65% think attacking social problems is a better solution to crime than more law enforcement.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 86% think it’s the government’s responsibility to develop alternative fuels for cars, and 84% believe we need tougher pollution laws, and 60% are willing to pay more taxes to make that happen.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 49% think the way to deal with illegal immigration is to punish those who hire illegals. Only 9% want a fence.

32% of Americans may call themselves “conservatives,” but 69% think it’s the government’s responsibility to ensure that everyone has healthcare, and 60% are willing to pay higher taxes to make that happen.

Maybe the Republicans’ preference for ideological labels instead actual policy explains why the Republicans can’t govern worth a tin shit?

Another thing Republicans keep saying is that the economic crisis, not Barack Obama, defeated John McCain. On this point, the Republicans are making two comical blunders. First, the economy was already very bad for most Americans. Referring to the economic crisis, the point where major markets and the big banks started feeling it, too, as the point where the economy went bad just shows how out of touch the Republican party is. The second comical failure lies with Republicans’ belief or pretense that the economic crisis was something separate from their party and candidate, like bad weather or something.

Make no mistake: the Republicans were brought down by their own bad economy, and McCain was shacked up with the man who helped it happen, Phil Graham. The election was a referendum on the economy, and the electorate could not miss the Republican disaster, writ large in every headline and most American’s financial troubles.

They had their chance and they blew it. Now they’re trying to be stowaways in the Democrats’ mandate. Not gonna happen.

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