The Perpetual Conservative Hissyfit: “If Liberals Are For It, I’m Against It!”

Obama's message to conservativesI’ve lived in the South all of my life, as some of you who follow my page already know. Over the last few decades, I’ve resided in Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, Florida and now Louisiana.

Apart from the couple of years where I lived in the relatively liberal city of Orlando, the rest of that time has been spent in the reddest of red districts. Needless to say, after having been raised as an extremely religious conservative Republican and after all of these years here in the Bible Belt, it’s safe to say I’m quite familiar with the right-wing mindset that is now becoming more and more mainstream in the GOP.

During that time and through my constant, daily contact with conservatives in real life, I’ve found that many of them are relying on what seems to be an ideology of cutting off their nose to spite their face. Yeah, I know this is old news to a lot of you, but let me explain further.

Way back in 1932, the famous comedian Groucho Marx appeared in a movie called “Horse Feathers.” In this film his character, Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff, has a scene called “I’m Against It,” which perfectly encapsulates the current mentality of many self-described conservatives these days. You can watch the video clip here.

Just like Professor Quincy Adams Wagstaff, the average Republican voter seems to be suffering from a serious case of “I’m Against It,” solely because President Obama proposed it or because they’ve been told that the idea is part of a liberal plot to destroy America – even if the idea is something that goes along with conservative principles.

Don’t believe me? Just look at the conservative rallying cry of “states’ rights” that they bring up every time the President signs something they don’t like or the Supreme Court issues a ruling that sets them off on temper tantrums that I usually only see from little kids after they’ve been told to turn off the TV and go to bed. Republicans responded with bitter outrage when the Affordable Care Act was passed and then seemed to have a collective coronary when the Supreme Court upheld the individual mandate portion of it which remains their greatest gripe with the law, despite the fact that the individual mandate was a proposal from the Heritage Foundation back in the 1990s in response to “HillaryCare.”

Want another example? How about the fact that Nebraska and Oklahoma are suing Colorado over legal marijuana? Where’s all the states’ rights champions on the right coming to the defense of Colorado and their decision to stop throwing people in jail over a damn plant and make tax dollars off it instead? Or how about all of the “traditional marriage” advocates who are beside themselves that states have decided that adults can make civil contracts with each other, regardless of whether they have opposite reproductive organs or not?

Need more? Many Americans, conservatives included, are currently outraged that a guy murdered two NYPD officers in cold blood over the weekend. Yet if you mention the fact that he was a violent felon with an apparent history of mental illness and that he should have never been able to get his hands on a gun, suddenly they become very quiet. Or how about the fact that the majority of officers killed in the line of duty were in the South, a region with notoriously loose gun laws – and that the majority of the alleged offenders were also white? Despite crime statistics and data to the contrary, you’ll see articles like this one from The National Review that blame a culture of hatred toward law enforcement for incidents like the one in Brooklyn – except when it’s a bunch of anti-government white guys pointing guns at federal agents, then suddenly they’re just “taking a stand against government overreach.” Oh yeah, don’t even get me started on the conservative hatred for unions, but they sure love the police unions and the NYPD, especially after 9/11.

Want to watch a great example of what I’m talking about? Simply mention that you think it would be a good idea for all semi-auto gun sales to be done through a licensed dealer who would perform a background check, and suddenly you’re part of the great liberal conspiracy to take away their guns. In case you’re wondering, I’m also a gun owner who is seriously considering buying an AR next year when I get my tax return – through a licensed dealer, of course.

Just the other day, I listened to a somewhat drunk oilfield worker who used nearly every racial epithet when talking about President Obama. He was convinced that the delay on the Keystone XL pipeline was somehow part of a plan by the president to punish Louisiana conservatives, even though that pipeline would not run through the state. When I explained the fact that the pipeline would not be of any long-term help to the Louisiana industry, and it would actually probably hurt them, he refused to listen to reason and still wanted the pipeline, because President Obama was against it. Just last year, they freaked out because Michelle Obama suggested that drinking water was a good thing and conservatives also had a meltdown over her partnering with Subway to promote a better diet. I’m only half joking when I say that if President Obama said that drinking bleach was a bad idea, there would be at least a few that would appear on a YouTube video with a jug of Clorox. “You can’t tell me what to do Obama, you’re not my real dad!”

As a writer who identifies as a progressive, I do recognize a lot of hypocrisy and inconsistent arguments from the left as well – so don’t think y’all are off the hook either. But as someone who spent the first two decades of his life as a conservative, the blatant hypocrisy and “whatever Obama says, I’m against it” behavior from the right is both staggering, and sadly effective when you realize how many people continue to vote against their self-interests.

I got out. I grew up, but there are far too many people across this country who will act out of defiance and not rational thought. Then again, Lyndon Johnson perfectly predicted the future of right-wing media and politics when he said, “If you can convince the lowest white man he’s better than the best colored man, he won’t notice you’re picking his pocket. Hell, give him somebody to look down on, and he’ll empty his pockets for you.”


Facebook comments

  • jhr459

    Dear Mr. Schweitz-I am curious as to just when you decided to come in from the rain and join the party? Don’t get me wrong or take this the wrong way – I am thrilled whenever conservatives see the light, but it is a rare occurrence and I was wondering what happened to cause you to change. As you are no doubt aware of the facts, but most people become a bit more conservative as they age, so I am curious. I too, am from the South, but was raised in a liberal Democratic home and am what is known as a yellow dog Democrat (mostly true, actually). At any rate, thank you for coming to see what has been perfectly clear all my life.

    • Gary Smith

      I don’t know about Manny, but my own conversion from young Southern (Arkansas/Oklahoma/Texas) conservative raised by a family of conservatives began when I enlisted in the Army in 1983.

      After a lifetime of being around almost exclusively white folks (there were like 12 black people in my 300-person graduating class), I was suddenly thrust into a much, much more diverse environment. And lo and behold, experience showed me that most of the things I’d been taught about non-white people were just flat out lies.

      When I left the Army, I was much less sure of my worldview than when I went in (a good thing), and I began to think more critically and question things — looking for evidence for and against — rather than simply accepting them at face value as I had before.

      It took a few years, but I’ve been squarely in the progressive/liberal camp since the early 90s. I cast my first non-Republican vote for Bill Clinton in 1992.

    • Mr. Brown

      I wonder how long it will take him to go back to being a conservative when he realizes none of the things he’s complaining about have anything to do with conservatism.

  • Jim Bean

    ” Yet if you mention the fact that he was a violent felon with an apparent history of mental illness and that he should have never been able to get his hands on a gun, suddenly they become very quiet.”

    Conversely, if you mention that Garner was a career criminals who was killed while resisting arrest Liberals will tell you his criminal past is irrelevant to the issue at hand.

    • Eugene Berkovich

      Mr. Garner was not a violent criminal. he was no more likely to present mortal danger to any cops than you or me. And he was unarmed.

      Do you see the difference now?

      • Jim Bean

        No, because it isn’t a difference in that respect. All evidence suggests assaults were part of his prior criminal history. However, I don’t think a history of assault played any role in this.

        He was resisting arrest and any time you do that, law enforcement will use force. In this case, the force was inappropriate and he died. From my perspective, an indictment for involuntary manslaughter seems applicable.

        However, the grand jury – 40% of which were non-white – saw it differently. From my perspective OJ was guilty too but I can accept the principle on which our judicial system is based. (Better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent convicted – Blackstone’s Formula)

      • Gary Smith

        In this case, the force was inappropriate and he died. From my perspective, an indictment for involuntary manslaughter seems applicable.

        I can accept the principle on which our judicial system is based. (Better that ten guilty men go free than one innocent convicted – Blackstone’s Formula)

        Those are the most reasonable things I’ve ever heard you say.

    • Pipercat

      False equivalency Jim. A gun was not involved in the Garner case, there was no execution of multiple victims and the intent (by police) in Garner’s case wasn’t deliberate.

      This falls under disinformation, i.e. making the irrelevant, relevant.

      • Jim Bean

        Garner’s violent history/Brinsley’s violent history. That is the equivalency and it isn’t false and it is relevant when trying to build an argument to accuse Brinsley and excuse Garner.

      • Pipercat

        No sir, irrelevant. The cases involved, and the only things germane, are totally different. The flaw is this notion of excusing Garner. Garner’s death was preventable and unintended; the two officer’s executions shows premeditation.

    • SLP

      Eric Garner was not breaking the law when the police descended on him that day. He broke up a fight which is why the police were called to the scene in the first place. They started harassing him immediately and jumped him for no reason. Why would an officer put someone in a chokehold because of something that occurred in the past, not the present, knock him down then allow four others to jump on him, ignore his pleas that he could not breathe, then REFUSE him medical assistance? How do you justify that?

      • Jim Bean

        No evidence has ever been presented (to my knowledge) that the police did not have probable cause to take him into custody, and that makes the all your other points moot.

        If you begin again with that in mind, perhaps we can have a coherent debate.

      • SLP

        No evidence was presented that he was selling the cigarettes, was there? Only the cops suspicion. I’m glad you added “to my knowledge” because you don’t know, do you? It’s all moot when you believe what you want to believe and don’t give a shit if a guy dies even if it was for selling a single cigarette.

      • Jim Bean

        If you do a root cause analysis of Garners death, the root cause turns out to be ridiculous cigarette taxes in New York. (A root cause analysis does not care whether you like the result. The result is what it is.

      • SLP

        Oh right. Taxes=death

  • Bill Hicks

    Interesting article but only serves to point out the obvious. It’s a gang mentality in the country now. People on both sides determine their opinion of an idea based on where that idea came from. Check out Kentucky, they loathe Obamacare but love Kynect. It’s the same thing. The difference is though, the right is winning. They tapped into something that would make Goldwater roll over in his grave, the religious right. They have convinced those that blindly follow, they are working for their ideals. It’s false and there is no evidence the right has done anything for the poor, Southern Christian. But those people will continue to vote for the Right out of fear of freedoms for others not like them. Where this article hits it on the head is the “cut off your nose to spite your face” comment. I see it every single day.

  • Eg Kbbs

    May I add that there was a conservative rallying cry against wasting resources with frivolous lawsuits. (Was especially strong here in MO as we’re a state with laws slightly more accepting to class action lawsuits).

    So the result of the conservative actions have been what ? Can I say an endless line of frivolous lawsuits ?

  • OyCuffookHumid

    You morons are protesting on behalf of thugs, druggies, gangstas, hoodie wearing punks. You fookin libtards. God Bless George Zimmerman, Officer Wilson, NYPD and all police world wide. Merry Christmas to all

    • Starchild Zeromancer

      This just about sums it up better than I ever could. Racism and conservatives go hand in hand

      • Regressed10Chins

        It sums up that you are a libtard. Merry Christmas you filthy animal

      • Regressed is another Avatar of Oy. He has over 40 of them by now, not to mention the three Moderator ones which didn’t work because their fakery was impossible to disguise.

  • jshankle

    While I enjoyed the article and agree with it to a point. As a progressive I think I must be careful to not fall into the same trap. It’s not often, but every once in a while I’ll see something in the paper from a conservative writer and my first instinct is to go against his/her viewpoint without even so much as investigating that point of view. I think that is a mistake.

  • mbradsh2

    As a Kennedy Democrat all my life I came in from the rain to become a Conservative. I am female, racially and ethnically mixed, grew up abroad, and lived in many countries including 2 years in West Africa. Socialism doesn’t work. I am against Obama’s Policies, not the man, because they are radical and far left. I liked Clinton because he learned to compromise with his Republican Majority Congress. Obama is a Narcissist that digs his heals in when the country, who voted him in twice, voted against his Policies in the midterms. He lied and broke his promises and that is why the nation is up in arms. He is worse than Carter. An appeaser who will bring WWIII upon us because he let the dictators and tyrants of the world get away with invasions, nuclear capabilities, trample on national sovereignty rights, etc. His Foreign Policy is a disaster. His policies align well with the ‘New World Order’ where oligarchs, who think they know what is best for humanity, get to dictate how wealth is redistributed, which global agendas will prevail, etc.
    I was actually happy that this nation was able to vote in a Black President. As a woman, I would like to see a female President, but help us if Hilary is the one to break that Glass Ceiling.

  • Mr. Brown

    That’s quite the straw man you’ve created. The left never opposes anything chiefly because a Republican is involved. National Security, for example. Remember when the Clintons talked about WMD in Iraq? Remember when drone strikes were evil under the last President? Or GTMO? Or invading Iraq? Or wiretaps? This article must be written by someone with no working memory or anything more than 6 years ago.

  • Monty Simmons

    This author was never a conservative and if he went from conservative to liberal then the author is ignorant. No truly intelligent person can paying attention would look at the results of liberals and their policies and claim to be liberal. Openly evil people could not do a better job at destroying everything they claim to champion better than liberals do (either knowingly or via ignorance).