When you've gotten this lame, who needs legs?

Expanded from the 1-5-2003 Daily Sparks (Nev.) Tribune

As talk show legend Travus T. Hipp might say, the Democrats are commencin' to get started to thinking about having a meeting to sit down and plan a conference to begin forecasting how to get back to the future.

On New Year's Day, the New York Times printed a long piece about Democrats flailing about for answers to their self-inflicted propaganda dysfunctions. I have very little sympathy for Donkeyite complaints about the media success of the extreme right. I give their case about as much credibility as I do the mewling and puking of wingnuts when they bitch about the "liberal" media.

The chief propagandist of the right, Lush Rambo, can't even define "liberal" or "conservative." Years ago, he was asked to do so by a listener and failed the test miserably. It really doesn't matter to him or his ilk. They've redefined "liberal" to mean "filthy-pinko-commie-traitor" and "conservative" to mean "God-fearing defender of all that's American."

Every great advance this country has undertaken has been by definition liberal because the term simply means open to change. Conservative means you favor maintaining the status quo. Next time you call some self-anointed conservative saint on a talk show, pop the definition question and see if the host melts down or not.

The current Nutso Right mantra serves the agenda of the corporately wealthy. They keep the lower classes fighting each other rather than looking upward to see who's causing their problems.

Society is built on a tripod of business, labor and government. When it's in balance, the nation stands strong. When it's out of whack, life is whack and people get whacked.

Since the 1947 passage of the Taft-Hartley Act, organized labor has been on a downhill slide. When the Reaganauts came to power, they thus concentrated their fire on "big government." Dubya's administration seems intent on finishing what Reagan started — starving the government of funds so that it implodes and leaves corporations to run wild.

After the funeral of a labor leader a few years back, some Lush Rambo freak challenged me to name any big government program which had worked. I gave the lunkhead three: Social Security, Head Start and World War II. He walked away before I could name more, like the interstate freeway system. Three of the four are inarguably liberal. Research Exclusive
State of Nevada study blames chronic fiscal problems on wholesale creation of low-wage casino jobs.

More corporate welfare horror stories: White Paper on Nevada's unfair and regressive tax structure. 1-20-2003 Web Extra

The Silence of the Sacred Cows
Sparks Tribune 1-19-2003

Gambling industry offers only token taxes and cosmetic participation
1-20-2003 Web Extra

State of the State: Next to Nothing
Las Vegas CityLife 1-30-2003

Humongous property tax hike glossed over by Gov. Dudley Do-Right
Sparks Tribune 1-26-2003

The need for zero-based taxing
Sparks Tribune 12-13-98

Logrolling, air raids and dirty deeds done dirt cheap
Sparks Tribune 2-2-2003

Legislative Opening Day Web Special: Dudley Do-Right, Joe Neal, living room elephants & chopped liver
2-3-2003 Web Extra

Because of Ronald Reagan's "New Federalism," Nevada now finds herself in the same dire financial straits as most other states. Reagan began the water-torture of devolving federal programs onto the states and then slowly undercutting their funding.

States used to be models of fiscal rectitude. Now they're all going broke. Dubya can plead "don't come to me, I'm broke too," thanks to his cutting taxes mostly for the rich.

On top of all that, Bush wants to fund and fight a two or three-front war. As economist Pierre A. Rinfret advised so long ago, "Peace is bullish. War is bearish."

Political success is built on positioning your side as doing the Lord's work and the other guys as threats to life, liberty, property and virginity, not necessarily in that order. The Republican Party was eviscerated by Watergate. The corpse was then infested by vampires. The resurrected result became so onerous that even Barry Goldwater criticized it in his later years. Many moderate Republicans, including Nevadans, switched to non-partisan or other parties. The GOP of fiscal prudence and individual rights has been subsumed by the likes of Jesse Helms, Pat Robertson, Newt Gingrich, Phil Gramm, Tom DeLay, Jerry Falwell and Trent Lott.

All of this was done with the almost complete cooperation of the Democrats who began to lose elections not by fault but through default. Last November was merely the latest example.

It took the Donkey Kongs years to figure out from whence came all those toxic, unfounded rumors about their candidates: religious radio stations.

The modern GOP took a cue from the tobacco companies and hired good-looking women as the face of their organization. The careers of Laura Ingraham, Peggy Noonan and a cadre of waspy, asp-tongued blondes were thus assured.

The essence of prejudice, tarring everyone with the same brush, should always be denounced as lacking credibility. Thus, the idea that big media are "liberal" should fall on its face. But it hasn't because the corporately fueled right-wing media machine has ensured that the right questions never get asked.

The loyal opposition simply stopped opposing. Bill Clinton's 1996 re-election strategy was to run as a Republican. The two major parties are now either far-right or not-so-far-right, take your pick. As Michael Moore recently said, the top ten percent have two political parties, so why can't the rest of us have just one for ourselves?

Even acting lamely against an ethically lame but vicious opponent, the Democrats have managed to hang on. Now, they are looking at forming think tanks, cable TV and talk radio networks. The latter is something Hillary was supposed to be doing in 1995 after the Year of the Newt. Never happened.

According to the Times, the most feasible path lies with talk radio and the Democrats are searching for talent. Lush Rambo has said there are no liberal shows because there's no audience for them. Bull.

Back in my talk radio days, I knocked him off in this market rather easily. On TV recently, Limbaugh said he lives his philosophy. That's the primary prerequisite for success, but laughable coming from him. He got started as a conservative with a joke. He went on the air with an extreme lampoon of the late Morton Downey, Jr. He was overwhelmed that so many believed the tongue-in-cheek act that he became a born-again neo-conservative on the spot.

Be well. Raise hell. | U-News | C.O.P. | Sen. Joe Neal
Guinn Watch | Deciding Factors


Copyright © 2003 Andrew Barbano

Andrew Barbano is a 34-year Nevadan, a member Communications Workers of America Local 9413 and editor of and He hosts Deciding Factors on several Nevada television stations. Barbwire by Barbano has originated in the Daily Sparks (Nev.)Tribune since 1988.

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