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A Confederacy of Dunces

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The Wizard of Oz was revealed to be a little man with a big mouth. Well, with the release of the relatively conventional text of President Obama's speech to the nation's school children, we have had a similar revelation about the confederacy of dunces on the right who have tried to paint President Obama as a closet socialist bent on destroying the nation.

Talk about a tempest in a teacup. Instead of some leftist socialist attempt to brain wash the little children of our country, the president will urge them to study hard in school so that they can make something of themselves and maybe in the process make this a better country.

This is the sort of stuff you would have heard at any Chamber of Commerce or Rotary speech in the 1950's. By projecting their relentless political obsessions onto the president, the critics of this speech have made themselves look foolish.

The folks who seem to be the most discomfited by all this are those center and just right of center Republicans who are rightfully concerned about where the country has been headed and who were starting to believe in the right-wing hysteria machine's endless prophecies of doom.

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This is a defining moment for the Republican Party. The over-reaction to President Obam'as speech may finally stir moderate and traditional conservative Republicans to take back their party from the ultra-right. If not, look for many of those Republicans to join the growing numbers of unaffiliated voters, further marginalizing the Republican Party.

But don't hope for too much here. Anyone who thinks that the backlash from this debacle will help push a more expansive form of health care reform through the Congress is likely to be disappointed. What it might do is give some room for moderates of both parties to fashion a compromise that does a whole lot less that some would like but a whole lot more than many would have thought possible just a couple of weeks ago.

As for the Oz's of the extreme right, we have peeked behind the curtain and seen what they really are, fearful blustering bullies who fooled a lot of folks into believing them. Well, maybe the real lesson from all this is a reminder that you can't fool all of the people all of the time. That's a conservative value we can all live with.

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This essay first appeared in Every Man A Giant


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One day while digesting the latest piece of bad news about the economy, I thought about my grandchildren and wondered what they would be worrying about when they were adults. I decided that economic downturns come and go, but CLIMATE CHANGE is here (more...)

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