I am pro-choice, I support gay rights, but that does not mean I agree with liberal ideologies on ways to improve job creation.
I'm sure that's true, but nevertheless, if your ideologies on ways to improve job creation dovetail with the movement's ideologies, then criticisms of the movement and of the goals of its economic policies -- which goals are
its fundamental purpose -- are pretty much guaranteed to make you uncomfortable. And I'll be honest: I have a bit of trouble believing you if you tell me they don't make you uncomfortable: I watched you leap to the defense of Fox News, as thoroughly and completely indefensible an instrument of movement propaganda as could be imagined, at the end of the Trayvon Martin thread. That sort of thing really is a kind of a dead giveaway.
Don't mistake me. There are areas where conservatism of various stripes still has very worthwhile insights -- including the economic -- and things to teach. During the run-up to the Iraq War, for instance, I saw clearly how liberal ideology could be as easily manipulated to serve warmongering and war profiteering as "conservative" ideology could be, and though I differed with conservative fellow-travellers about the reasons, I respected that their reasons, however disagreeable I might find them, had led them to a sane conclusion. There are other areas where this applies, some of them social: many conservatives decline to just placidly accept a society with sky-high divorce and abortion rates, for instance, and though I agree with them for much different reasons than the ones they claim, the fact remains that I agree with them. In the economic arena, Obama's healthcare plan is a conservative
plan -- originally Mitt Romney's before he adopted the party-line hostility to it -- and I agree with it. Even within the movement, there are some figures who are worthier than others: I'd rate Chris Christie a relatively honest sort by comparison with his confederates; Nixon, for all that he was the ultimate godfather of dog-whistle politics and the progenitor of many a destructive trend in conservatism, also managed to midwife an entente with China that is the effective bedrock of the modern economy.
I also agree that the Democrats use social issues to mobilize the base... in favour of relatively conservative ideologies
. I don't
agree that the dynamics are the same as those of the Republicans, because they quite simply aren't. The Democrats feel free to pursue a fallacious "centrism" while taking their progressive wing for granted, because they know perfectly well that the progressive wing has no-one else to go to who isn't even worse. In the meantime, many of them also quietly profit from the prison-industrial complex, the firearms industry, the endlessly empowered security state, the gains of foreign adventurism. That's really the story of Obama's Presidency: his policies would have been well at home in Reagan's White House. They're only supposed to be the policies of the Socialist Enemy today because of partisan happenstance and right-wing movementarian extremism.
That said, there is only one
party that chooses to play games with the debt ceiling, to the point of downgrading their own country's credit rating, in order to further what it imagines to be its short-term political advantage. There is only one
party, and one movement, that seems to think demanding capitulation with their every demand constitutes "negotiation." The identity of that party is precisely why the Democrats have been able to fortify themselves with conservative defectors. The policies of that party, and that movement, are inextricable from the pursuit of the specific goal of empowering the already-wealthy at the expense of all other sectors of the economy.
For this reason, I think it takes a lot more in this day and age than trotting out the typical libertarian claim to being a "social liberal" but an "economic conservative" to command respect. And it should
take a lot more: most libertarian pieties that lay claims to being genuinely different from liberalism also happen to dovetail with the exact same economic policies that have brought us to this point.