Thursday, March 4, 2010

Gruesome Old Party

Politico broke a story yesterday about Republicans using fear mongering as a fundraising (and presumably an electoral) tactic. The GOP plans to caricature Pres. Obama and the Democrats as Socialists, turning deep seated American fears of Communism into a fundraising bonanza. This is not particularly surprising, the Republicans have been flogging this Obama=Socialist message for some months. It is, however, a bit shocking to be presented with clear evidence of the abiding cynicism of the Republican Party.

Clearly, the Republican Party has used fear as an electoral strategy for years—fear of communism, fear of terrorisms, fear of socialism, fear of an imagined Muslim other—but one always hopes that it is borne by a genuine belief in what they are saying. To see that, at least in this case, the GOP is consciously using what it must realize is nonsense to raise money is ghastly.

Ghastly, intellectually dishonest, and exploitative of Americans that are facing real problems. It also shows a tipping toward the tea party movements, the largely disorganized libertarian fringe groups that the Republican party is trying to harness versus going toward the center. It would seem the moneymen in the Republican party have determined that success comes not from widening the tent, but from wringing money from a small, largely misinformed group of Americans. Call it the Glenn Beck Guide to Electoral Success and Government Suicide.

My only hope is that this gets more ink, that the word gets out about what the GOP moneymen truly think of the constituents they hope to represent. I hope it also makes plain for the American people the emptiness Republican policy proposals, because there aren't any. They aren't targeting big ticket donors talking about how they plan to be pro-business, instead they're selling access ahead of time. They aren't telling small donors what they intend to do once they regain a majority. They're just telling people what to be afraid of and who to blame for it. If I could further rip off The American President, "that ladies and gentlmen is how you win an election."

That's how you win an election, but that's not how you govern and it should be shameful (and judging by comments issued on behalf of RNC Chair Steele, it is) for any political party to so methodically prey on the fear of the American people. Of course the realpolitik response from Republicans would probably be if it ain't broke, don't fix it. Beware of charlatans and fear for the republic.

5 comments:

Colin said...

Politico broke a story yesterday about Republicans using fear mongering as a fundraising (and presumably an electoral) tactic. The GOP plans to caricature Pres. Obama and the Democrats as Socialists, turning deep seated American fears of Communism into a fundraising bonanza.

Such clownishness is one reason I have encouraged people to donate money to individual candidates rather than give a nickel to the RNC.

Ghastly, intellectually dishonest, and exploitative of Americans that are facing real problems.

An apt description of the Democratic approach towards health care reform.

I hope it also makes plain for the American people the emptiness Republican policy proposals, because there aren't any.

This places you at odds with President Obama, who described Rep. Paul Ryan's "Roadmap for America's Future" a "serious proposal."

Jason said...

I agree with regard to individual candidates.

Please cite an instance of intellectual dishonesty with regard to the Democratic approach to health care reform.

Please tell me what's exploitative about providing health care to 15 million more Americans.

As a premptive action, I'll site here, here, and here where different Republicans mislead the American people and perpetuated "death panel" lies. That's ghastly.

Also, isn't health care a real problem facing the American people?

To your last point, again, an individual, not the party. But also don't expect me to provide lock step support to President Obama or the Democratic Party at large on every thing.

Colin said...

Please cite an instance of intellectual dishonesty with regard to the Democratic approach to health care reform.

Well, I guess there is low hanging fruit like Rep. Alan Grayson's statement that the Republican health care plan is for sick people to "die quickly."

But taking it to a higher level, how about the fact that Democrats brag about how health care is deficit reducing over 10 years only by using the accounting trick of having taxes begin immediately but benefits only starting 4 years later, thus producing 10 years of taxes and 6 years of benefits? That's dishonest accounting all in the name of producing an acceptable CBO score, because the health care plan doesn't go away after 10 years.

Please tell me what's exploitative about providing health care to 15 million more Americans.

Democrats are exploiting concerns about health care to demonize health insurance companies (the 88th most profitable industry in the US) and using various sob stories (e.g. a woman using her dead sister's dentures brought up at the health care summit) as somehow representative examples of health care today (if the examples are extreme and unrepresentative, why use them?). It's all part of a campaign to gin up support for expand support for more government intervention in health care (an entity which is batting around 0.0000 on improving health care in this country).

As a premptive action, I'll site here, here, and here where different Republicans mislead the American people and perpetuated "death panel" lies. That's ghastly.

Not one of those links involves a current GOP politician. If you're going to cite Limbaugh and Beck as representative of the GOP does that mean I can cite Olberman and Maddow as representative of Democrats?

Also, isn't health care a real problem facing the American people?

It absolutely is. But then again, socialism is a real problem (which have a destructive economic and political influences everywhere it is tried) and communism is the most murderous ideology ever devised (check out The Black Book of Communism). Terrorism is a real problem as well.

Now, if you want to say the GOP has exagerrated such threats, you might be on to something. (Heck, I myself have said the threat of terrorism is overblown: http://togetrichisglorious.blogspot.com/2008/12/terror-threat.html) And health care is a real problem deserving of a sober conversation. We haven't been given that, however.

To your last point, again, an individual, not the party. But also don't expect me to provide lock step support to President Obama or the Democratic Party at large on every thing.

First off, Ryan's proposal is a Republican proposal, unless you are only counting those which emanate from the RNC.

I'm glad that you don't march in lock-step with either Obama or the Democratic party. Does that mean then that you disagree with Obama's assessment of Ryan's proposal? If so, what do you find "empty" about Ryan's roadmap plan?

Jason said...

A current GOP politician on record reinforcing the idea of death panels.

You believe the Democratic health care proposal is a socialist plot?

Also, Medicare and Medicaid have done much to improve access to health care, while doing little to stifle innovation in health care. We've had Medicare for 45 years, and we still have the best health care (if you can afford it) in the world.

Colin said...

A current GOP politician on record reinforcing the idea of death panels.

Well, shame on Chuck Grassley. Coincidentally I recently remarked to someone that it is past time to put him out to pasture.

You believe the Democratic health care proposal is a socialist plot?

It is unquestionably a further step in moving the US towards the European social welfare model.

Also, Medicare and Medicaid have done much to improve access to health care, while doing little to stifle innovation in health care. We've had Medicare for 45 years, and we still have the best health care (if you can afford it) in the world.

Medicare is also unsustainable, with $34 trillion in unfunded liabilities over the next 75 years. I don't brag about buying things I can't afford, and neither should the government.

Furthermore, Medicare has been plagued with problems since its inception:

http://togetrichisglorious.blogspot.com/2010/03/sordid-history-of-medicare.html

Medicare has also helped promote the insurance-centric health care system we have, which has served to drive costs ever higher (no incentive for Medicare patients to compare costs when Uncle Sam is footing the bill).