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David Sirota Headshot

The Eternal Delusions of the Right-Wing Mind

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Sean Paige has a funny - and telling - screed up defending Colorado Springs from, well, the basic facts. He accuses my recent column and the Denver Post's recent front-page story of "slurring" his city by reporting on the draconian budget cuts its anti-tax zealotry are now compelling.

I'm not quite sure how simply recounting cuts to police, firefighting, park services, road maintenance is a "slur," but then, I've learned not to try to make sense of the eternal delusions of a right-wing mind. What I can, however, do is point out some of the "tells" - the poker term for a bluffing player's giveaways:

- Paige says Colorado Springs attracts new residents and economic growth "by actually putting America's limited government ideals into practice." In this, he asks us to forget that one of the city's biggest employers is the defense industry - that is, an industry that has absolutely nothing to do with "limited government" and everything to do with the hugest of Huge Government. Whether you support this Huge Government or not - whether you think it is a good or bad thing - it's size and centrality to the Colorado Springs economy is undeniable, as is it's antithesis to the concept of "limited" or small government. You don't have to trust me, the guy who Paige calls a "statist" (do people even use that red-baiting McCarthy-esque word anymore?). You can look at the $700 billion annual defense budget, or you can look to people John McCain and Don Rumsfeld who have repeatedly noted just how bloated the government's defense budget really is (I wonder if Paige believes McCain and Rummy are "statists," too?).

- As evidence that Colorado Springs is a great place, Paige cites magazine fluff rankings, many from right-wing business publications like Forbes. Frankly, I never said Colorado Springs wasn't a good and decent place, and didn't have real potential, nor do I wish it ill will. Quit the opposite: I simply argued that its tax and spending decisions are tragically threatening some of the very social fabric that would help it fulfill its potential. Maybe he believes that a city that will now severely slash its basic security and firefighting forces and its road maintenance (to name just a few things) is a way to preserve a city's future - but my guess is many mainstream business people and voters would disagree.

- Hilariously, in puffing out his chest with fake outrage, Paige actually concedes the very fundamental point of my column and the Denver Post's article. "Voters could have helped the city out several months back, by approving a property tax increase," he writes. Yes, Paige correctly says voters could have helped their city out by doing that. And yet, he then says its a "slur" to say, um, exactly that. Odd...or, really, beyond odd. Insane.

So what to make of Paige's incoherence? I'd say it's a reflection of the incoherence of conservative ideology in general. The right will desperately paint the biggest of big government as "limited government," attempt to change the subject, and then - preposterously - argue that it's somehow a "slur" to argue something that the right quietly concedes. These are the eternal delusions of the right-wing mind - and as I said to start, it is a fool's errand to try to make sense of them.