Back from vacation with a multipart series on the stupid things partisans of all stripes do. And we start with the proverbial party in power, the Republicans.
Always claiming to be fiscally conservative, Republicans regularly propose cutting or eliminating domestic programs which, relatively speaking cost very little, while exempting or proposing to increase spending on the military and foreign adventures. Whether you approve of food stamps, Medicaid, housing subsidies or transportation projects, at least these programs benefit individuals and communities that may be struggling. If you wanted people to think you were a heartless political party, beholden to large corporate interests, you could hardly do better than to target these programs FIRST, which is, inevitably, what Republicans do.
On the other hand, Republicans also sell their version of limited government as a panacea for all. They inevitably try to argue that some particular version of tax cuts and regulatory reform is going to fix all the problems those damned Democrats have created. There are ultimately no hard choices that have to be made. We will just clean up Washington, do away with waste and fraud, and get government to start subsidizing the right things. Then there will be peace and pizza for everyone. If you wanted to pretty much guarantee that spending would continue unabated, that deficits would continue to grow and that the difficult budget choices would never come up, you could hardly do better.
And then there is that whole problem of saying patently absurd things. Inevitably a Republican somewhere today made a blatantly racist or sexist remark about something. Some of this is because, frankly, the poor bastards are getting stuck with the reactionary fringe because they obviously aren’t going to be Democrats. But a political party that cared about more than just winning elections would weed these people out. Instead, it often looks like they are being courted. If you wanted to pretty much guarantee that your critics would accuse you of being culturally stuck in the 19th century, you could hardly do better.
Finally, Republicans are far too devoted to what I will call the National Religion. They are obsessed with flags and pledges and salutes and a kind of military protocol that makes a great many people uneasy. It isn’t so much that these symbols are bad but that they have come to take on a life of their own. The flag as a physical object is meaningless. What we need to be devoted to are the principles that the flag represents. Hell, that part of Republican folklore goes all the way back to Lincoln. In any case, if you wanted people to believe that you were an authoritarian political party with an unhealthy obsession with law and order and the military, you could hardly do better than the modern Republican party has done.
Well, I am sure my pinko commie friends enjoyed that particular rant but I wouldn’t get too comfortable because, next time around, we are going to be skewering the Democrats and the dumb things that they do. Until then, thanks for reading and have a great week!