Saturday, July 1, 2017

Why Can't Self Satisfied Liberals Admit Republicans Care About People Too?

Damon Linker has a piece in The Week asking Why Can't Self Satisfied Liberals Admit That Conservatives Care About People Too? It would be a fair question save for the fact that for any self-satisfied liberal the question has already been answered: They can't admit that because it would interfere with their self-satisfaction, obvs. However, there might be a deeper question that deserves an answer: How could the DNC sell this?
Linker points out--correctly--that a good swath of conservative ideology is aimed at making things better for people. For example, if you believe that markets are the best tool we have for setting prices then you believe that price controls are bad and will stifle innovation, condemning people with yet-uncured diseases to suffer. If you believe that crime is not being properly deterred then you will favor tough-on-crime stances that will make life better for law abiding citizens. If you believe that the public school system is way too biased in favor of the theory of evolution, then you support vouchers which will funnel public dollars to a school that teaches Christian children to prepare for the End Times and decries the infernal Lie-Of-Darwin.

Every stance has winners and losers--why do Liberals, self-satisfied or otherwise, contend that the GOP doesn't care about people? In fact, who do those who, today, stand by agog in horror find themselves by turns horrified and demoralized by their fellows as Trump drags the office of the president and the country further and further into the gutter?

The Omnivore is going to answer Damon--and The Omnivore is only going to say things Damon Linker will agree with (this will be easier and safer than it sounds since Damon will probably never read this--and likely not respond to it if he does!).

Oh, You Were Finished? Well Then, Allow Me To Retort

Let's start with some of Linker's own quotes--since they are, shall we say, illuminating:
I admit that it does often feel that way these days, especially when it comes to the House and Senate bills to remake the nation's health-care system, since so much of the discussion has been conducted by Republicans in undeniable bad faith — with bills primarily designed to cut or eliminate taxes dishonestly described by leaders in Congress, as well as the president, as efforts to make health care more affordable. (The tax cuts ensure that health care would in fact become much less affordable for millions of people.)
Ah--The Omnivore can already hear you saying "If you like your doctor--." It the bill had been called the "You Can Keep Your Doctor Act" then you might be barking up the right tree. It wasn't--and you're not. The entire bill that Republicans are trying to pass in the "passive voice" is predicated on a tax-cut for the rich at the expense of the more vulnerable people the ACA protects. So, hey--this might be a reason.

But why stop there?

The fact is that most intelligent and informed people on the right do not oppose progressive policies because they're stingy bastards who don't give a damn about their fellow citizens. It's true that this may describe some Republicans. There are probably a non-trivial number, especially those unduly influenced by the odious ideas of Ayn Rand, who do come close to viewing the poor as parasitic moochers. But many, many others — the vast majority, in my experience — do not take this position.
Linker is right about that. However the point that he doesn't bring up is that House leadership under Paul Ryan--a disciple of Ayn Rand--crafted the House version of the bill in question. If you are going to judge an organization, one presumes that Linker would find the leadership to be at least fair game (if, perhaps, not a totalizing perspective).

Still, Linker knows all of this--and to be fair to him, not only did he call it out in his article--but he also brings up the Fight For 15. The Left wants to raise the minimum wage to 15 dollars an hour--a move that has at least arguably depressed hiring in Seattle. The Omnivore is no expert--but The Omnivore holds that it is very likely that, in fact, a massive raise (from maybe 8 to 15 per hour) would, in fact, not produce the results that the left wants. It might lead to inflation. It might lead to fewer jobs.

The Omnivore doesn't know--but it sure could--never mind that actual results are nuanced--so, who knows--maybe The Right is correct to keep wages low?

But Damon does not address the larger problem here: if people on minimum wage--an increasing number of adults--are, as he points out, struggling, what is the aid for them that the GOP is proposing? We don't raise the minimum wage--instead we . . . cut taxes for the wealthy to stimulate the economy and "lift all boats"?

The Omnivore boldly assert that Linker probably doesn't think trickle-down-economics is a very caring solution for the poor, struggling single mother on minimum wage. In fact, that solution is kind of Randian, now that you mention it.

But Why Stop There?

If the GOP is having a Crisis of Caring--if they're being unfairly perceived as not-caring about people--then might the cause of this completely unfair problem lie in something they're inadvertently doing to themselves?

In other words, is, maybe someone inside the party doin' them wrong? Maybe if they made some more trivial / perceptual changes their popularity might increase?

It could be so.

The Omnivore calls Linker's attention to the reason that the GOP is negotiating in "bad faith" over healthcare. Linker is a smart guy--and he knows that the top-brass want a massive tax-cut for the rich but don't really want to sign-on to that--which leads to some lyin'.

But Linker is, as The Omnivore said, a smart guy--so he also knows that the GOP, instead of trying to prop-up the ACA which actually is helping their voters (and Democrats as well) they are beholden to angry vows to repeal it--and replace it with . . . maybe nothing.

The reason they are so beholden to these vows to repeal Obamacare has nothing to do with the merits of the ACA  (which are popular) but with the fact that it was Obama's--and the GOP base hated Obama. To be sure there are some people who were hurt by O-Care. Absolutely. A goodly number of people did not in fact keep their doctors.

However, the general outcomes not only have been good for O-Care (as a whole) but they have also been in line with what a traditional conservative fix for health care would have looked like 10 years ago. That was one reason Obama did it--he though naively that if he built on the Heritage Foundation's idea that he could get some GOP support, seeing as it would, you know, help their voters.

He was foolish to think that--as Damon knows--because he's a smart guy--the GOP was diametrically opposed to all things Obama for reasons that, if we are being honest, don't have a lot to do with "giving a shit about people." As a result, no only did it pass with zero GOP support--but the destruction of it--without an alternative of any sort--has become a War Cry for the GOP.

The fact that they now, unexpectedly, even for them, have control of the whole system has led to schisms and inertia over the fact that what they are trying to do is not good for their base (or the Democrat's base) and they know it. Damon knows it. Everyone knows.

The DNC, it would seem, knows it too.

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