About a month ago, I mentioned an Economist article that argued that Republicans beat Democrats because they’re the party of hope, and I said I needed to think about it before writing anything. OK, I’ve thought about it.

The Republican party is not the party of hope, but rather the party of ignorance and denial. So is the Democratic party, to a lesser extent. The Republican party’s message in 2004 was to tell us that those things that are not sustainable are sustainable, and the things that are sustainable are not sustainable. What’s the big reform the Republicans pushed? Social Security privatization. Well, the truth is that Social Security is pretty much fine. It’s sustainable. Republicans tell us it’s on the verge of collapse. On the other hand, they tell us that the occupation of Iraq is sustainable. It is not. They tell us that the current levels of deficit spending are sustainable. They are not. They tell us that cheap gas prices, increasing sprawl, and our current levels of carbon emissions are sustainable. They are not. Nor is Medicare, which the Republicans don’t seem to want to address.

How this gets conflated with hope is beyond me. The real message from Republicans is to the upwardly mobile suburb dwellers who drive their massive SUVs from their McMansions to their jobs and back every day that their lifestyle is justified and will be available to them, their children, and their children’s children. And furthermore that all those poor people out there don’t have their own McMansions and massive SUVs because they lack the character to go out and grab the brass ring. That’s not a hopeful message, but it certainly sells well to the massive crowd of people who enjoy their cocoon.