Later On

A blog written for those whose interests more or less match mine.

“Republicans are mean.”

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I usually say that Republicans (in general—I’m sure there are exceptions, though why those empathetic exceptions would want to belong to the GOP is beyond me) are mean-spirited, which express (for me) the crabbed, hostile, angry, miserly aspect of the Republican part. Someone once was wondering at some policy promulgated by the GOP, surprised at how much it would hurt the poor in the course of fulfilling the legislation. I explained to her that what you observe the Republican party doing—and this has predictive value as well as explanatory value—is perfectly consistent with what they would do if they actively hated the poor. They go out of their way to hurt the poor. States paid millions to avoid expanding Medicaid (which the Federal government would pay for, not the state) because expe anding Medicaid would help the poor and the thrust of GOP policy is in the opposite direction. So mean-spirited refers to exactly what the words mean: smallness of soul. Small in love, small in empathy, small in sympathy, small in mercy, small in justice, small in ethics, small in morality, small in respect for norms, the common good, women, minorities, arts, nature, the environment, science—well, just about everything. And why? Because they don’t respect themselves. How could they? Looking at Mitch McConnell and how he handled the Senate’s healthcare bill. Mitch complained that the Democratic effort that gave us Obama care was secretive and rushed and forced on them, but in fact the drafting of the Affordable Care Act was a nine-month effort (building on earlier efforts, and in fact incorporating the conservative Heritage Foundation’s recommended approach, which the GOP stopped liking as soon as the Democrats supported it—the GOP is also small in convictions, consistency, fairness, and integrity. Not only that but there were many hearings, from all the stakeholders: patients and the public, doctors and nurses, hospitals and medical departments, insurance companies and pharmaceutical companies—all who would be affected had representatives at the hearings. And the bill was open to amendments, and amendments were made by the GOP. (Democrats don’t have the strong-nuclear-force tribal loyalty of the GOP, so if a Democrat thinks a policy is good, they don’t much care who wrote it: they judge the policy on content and effects. Contrast the Republicans: 22% supported airstrikes in Syria when Obama proposed that and 86% supported the very same thing when Trump did it. Democrats? No real change: 37% support for one, 38% support for the other. For Democrats, it didn’t make any difference who the president was. Democrats judged the idea on its merits, not its source. With the GOP, it’s the exact opposite, and we saw much evidence of that over the past 8 years. The GOP is very much an “Us” vs. “Them” operation. Democrats are not, which is why they readily incorporate into the party those the GOP views as “Other” in a big way: minorities, the poor, LGBTQ people, immigrants, those with disabilities and those who require services of the community: medical attention, physical care, protection, curing. Democrats and Republicans have very different attitudes toward the mentally ill, for example. You’ll note that the police (overwhelmingly politically conservative, and quite conservative at that) regularly shoot mentally ill people, which seems to be the actual police idea of how you treat the mentally ill. They cannot fathom any other approach. And the police seem to show much the same attitude to African Americans. John Crawford, shopping for a BB gun in a store that sells BB guns, shot dead—and I feel sure with no notice or effort to determine what is going on. Tamir Rice is another: shot dead within 2 seconds of the stop of the patrol car. The video of Philandro Castile’s shooting makes the clear that the officer (later fired by the police department) simply panicked and lost his mind. For no reason: Castile’s voice is calm, he’s explaining the situation, and then the officer goes nuts.

What’s odd is that the NRA, staunch defender of Second Amendment rights, has been totally silent on this. I think the NRA views Second Amendment rights as a whites-only sort of thing.

I got carried away. Kevin Drum posts:

Here’s a story for you. My mother grew up in a Republican family.1 When Herbert Hoover was on the radio, everyone listened. But later she became a Democrat. What happened?

Well, she went off to college. But not some bleeding heart lefty bastion. She went to USC, which was even more Republican in 1950 than it is now. She didn’t get indoctrinated by a bunch of fuzzy liberal professors.

So what caused the switch? I asked her once, and she said that during her college years she came to the conclusion that Republicans were just mean. So she became a Democrat.

This struck me because I’ve long used the exact same word in the privacy of my own thoughts. I can write a sophisticated critique of conservative ideology as well as the next guy, but the truth is that it mostly boils down to a gut feel that Republicans are mean. I’ve never said this out loud because it sounds so kindergarten-y, but there it is. I think Republicans are mean, just like my mother did.

But now our time has come. Donald Trump started it, with his contention that Paul Ryan’s health care bill was “mean.” Today, Barack Obama picked up the ball, writing on Facebook about the “fundamental meanness at the core of this legislation.” And then Chuck Schumer weighed in with a big red poster calling the Senate health care bill “meaner.”

So that’s that. It’s now OK to . . .

Continue reading.

Written by LeisureGuy

22 June 2017 at 9:13 pm

Posted in GOP

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