The point is that the two parties don’t just live in different moral universes, they also live in different intellectual universes, with Republicans in particular having a stable of supposed experts who reliably endorse whatever they propose.Democracy is not an elegant way to govern, but as Churchill pointed out it is better than all the rest. The Republicans want to rule by fiat and by fooling the public. The good news is that "in the long run" that won't work. In a democracy, the people eventually catch on to what is really going on and "throw the rascals out". It is looking more and more to me that the right wing crazies in the US have pushed things to that point. They are going to get massacred in the 2012 elections because they have shown their "true nature", an anti-democratic, anti-people, rule-for-the-rich by shrinking government and giving tax cuts to the rich to the point where they pay far less than somebody working for minimum wage.
So when pundits call on the parties to sit down together and talk, the obvious question is, what are they supposed to talk about? Where’s the common ground?
Eventually, of course, America must choose between these differing visions. And we have a way of doing that. It’s called democracy.
Now, Republicans claim that last year’s midterms gave them a mandate for the vision embodied in their budget. But last year the G.O.P. ran against what it called the “massive Medicare cuts” contained in the health reform law. How, then, can the election have provided a mandate for a plan that not only would preserve all of those cuts, but would go on, over time, to dismantle Medicare completely?
For what it’s worth, polls suggest that the public’s priorities are nothing like those embodied in the Republican budget. Large majorities support higher, not lower, taxes on the wealthy. Large majorities — including a majority of Republicans — also oppose major changes to Medicare. Of course, the poll that matters is the one on Election Day. But that’s all the more reason to make the 2012 election a clear choice between visions.
Which brings me to those calls for a bipartisan solution. Sorry to be cynical, but right now “bipartisan” is usually code for assembling some conservative Democrats and ultraconservative Republicans — all of them with close ties to the wealthy, and many who are wealthy themselves — and having them proclaim that low taxes on high incomes and drastic cuts in social insurance are the only possible solution.
This would be a corrupt, undemocratic way to make decisions about the shape of our society even if those involved really were wise men with a deep grasp of the issues. It’s much worse when many of those at the table are the sort of people who solicit and believe the kind of policy analyses that the Heritage Foundation supplies.
So let’s not be civil. Instead, let’s have a frank discussion of our differences. In particular, if Democrats believe that Republicans are talking cruel nonsense, they should say so — and take their case to the voters.
Monday, April 18, 2011
The Right Wing Play Book
Here is a bit from a post by Paul Krugman on his NY Times blog that lays bare the strategy of the right in America to completely unravel the social fabric to deliver the "victory" that the Republican right is demanding: