Thursday, October 10, 2013

The Party Of Lincoln



Because of its location, this article won't get the attention it deserves. It's among the most compelling analyses of the strategies, goals, and failings of today's Republican party I've ever seen. Because of the information bubble in which they live, as I've written, the people who'd benefit from pondering it will never see it; and if they were to stumble upon it, they'd reject it out of hand, without making the effort to consider its points and to refute them, if it were possible, directly.


"Your purpose, then, plainly stated, is that you will destroy the Government, unless you be allowed to construe and enforce the Constitution as you please, on all points in dispute between you and us.You will rule or ruin in all events."
Abraham Lincoln, addressing the Southern people in his Cooper Union Address, February 27, 1860.

The Republican Party still likes to fancy itself "the Party of Lincoln", so Lincoln's words in his Cooper Union Address are a particularly apt rebuke, especially since they've been talking about shutting down the government since before the 2010 mid-term elections...

... budgets passed both houses of Congress months ago, but Republicans repeatedly refused to appoint conference committee members so that a compromise could be struck, which is the way that budgets are normally passed in the US. ...

We should note that both houses have agreed to the same discretionary spending level - $986bn annually. This gives House Republicans 90 percent of what they want, and severly hampers the pace of economic recovery. No one's even arguing over that. Obama's 2014 budget called for spending $1.15tn, compared to $966bn in the GOP House budget.

Blame game
He's aleady given away the store, yet Republicans continue to falsely accuse the president of refusing to compromise because he won't also agree to destroy - or at least undermine - his signature piece of legislation, Obamacare, just as it was about to go public. ...


There's much more in the article, including this statement of the obvious except to the oblivious:


...  the failure of American conservative thought, which is perennially engaged in defending the power of privileged classes and individuals, and demonising designated outgroups - women, minorities and immigrants ...

As long as the designated outgroups are isolated and powerless enough, this may seem like a successful political strategy, but as the outgroups grow larger and larger, its political viability has crumbled. Which is, why, for example, Republicans lost the national popular vote in the House of Representatives by almost two million votes, even though extreme gerrymandering kept them in power - but unable to govern...

And this calorie-rich food for thought:

... American conservatives may not know it, but the first modern welfare state was a conservative creation - by Otto von Bismarck  in Germany in the 1880s. Bismarck was responding to the electoral challenge of socialists, but he gained the support of industrialists who realised that universal health-care, disability insurance and old-age pensions would combine to provide the most productive workforce they could hope for...

I highly recommend reading the whole thing. You'll be among the few, I guess, who will.

[Image source]


Budget Goodness

My upcoming newspaper column: Reading their budget and health care solutions has changed my mind about Donald Trump and the people in c...