Sunday, July 09, 2017

Are Republicans "Victims"?


It sounds like a stretch, Republicans as victims of their health care reform aspirations. That, however, is the Brookings Institute's Isabel Sawhill's take.


But are Senate Republicans evil people? Do they lack a moral compass? I don’t think so. I think they are simply victims of a once-successful but now discredited economic ideology. That ideology says tax cuts for the rich will create jobs for the middle class. It says cutting benefits, including health benefits, for the poor will cause them to work harder and behave more responsibly. Granted there is a grain of truth in these propositions but they have now become a cartoon of their once-legitimate, Chicago-school ancestors.

Republicans have become trapped in their own rhetoric, crafted during years of being in opposition. As Ross Douthat noted in a recent New York Times column, drawing on new analysis in a report by Lee Drutman, that rhetoric is now well to the right of the beliefs held by the broader Republican electorate. Republican leaders have failed to recognize the fact that the economic views of those who voted Republican in 2016 “lean only slightly to the right.” Republicans could have used the Trump election to effect a political realignment—one that would have combined a more moderate set of economic policies than the Republican elite currently supports with a more moderate set of cultural positions than those espoused by leading Democrats.

Sawhill goes on to list a number of possible solutions that would seem to most Canadians and Europeans still way too rightwing but might suit Americans just fine.

What I take from her essay is that our political caste, not just America's, has fallen into a trap created by a flawed and now failed ideology.  Instead of seeking alternatives their response is more of the same only sometimes doubled down.

It's easy to mock the Americans but there hasn't been an original visionary idea of another path out of Ottawa in many years, decades.





10 comments:

bill said...

a blog I read by charles Hugh smith was all about how the only solution for America is to create new political parties in yesterdays entry. history has shown over and over that change only occurs when new political movements emerge and for better or worse change history. the latest book I am reading is called the nordic theory of everything and the author points out that after only fifty years even Scandinavia is showing signs of rust and paint pealing on arguably the best political system the world has produced. maybe it is time to stop hoping the existing parties in the world will change and start talking about what we will need going forward. Funny but the only thing I remember from two years of sociology in high school was this- the only thing in life you can depend on for sure is-CHANGE.

The Mound of Sound said...

Interesting, Bill. John Ralston Saul makes a similar observation in his 2005 book, "The Collapse of Globalism." He shows how economic models, political ideologies and religions are all faith-based. They're all belief constructs which is why they have impermanence sometimes measured in just a couple of generations. Yet we are nothing if not fond of our orthodoxies which explains why we cling to self-defeating even self-destructive behaviours. We do it because it's what we've always done and we employ coping mechanisms, including cognitive dissonance when necessary, to grease the wheels.

Gyor said...

Guy Caron and the other NDP leadership contenders are providing a new vision for Canada, it's an interesting race.

Gyor said...

Guy Caron and the other NDP leadership contenders are providing a new vision for Canada, it's an interesting race.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Dis, Macron built a new party- correct?

And, I know your stance on neo-liberalism, although I name it differently. But, do you believe our Liberal government is akin to President Reagan's boat-floating swindle?
(I use loaded terms on purpose.)

The Mound of Sound said...

No, LALI, Reagan was naive and very shallow. Our Liberal government has the benefit of 30-years of the neoliberal experiment. 30 years to see how neoliberalism diminishes the nation state through the surrender of elements of national sovereignty such as the inability to protect critical components of the economy or implement environmental and labour protections. 30 years of experience that explain why the IMF and the World Bank have rejected the neoliberal order as destructive of societies. When the International Monetary Fund says, "we were wrong, this is a load of crap" and your government's response is to double down on that same load of crap, what do you make of it?

liberalandlovingit! said...

I don't make much of what any of the pols have done or will do. I, uh, don't really care. It's all crap and it's only gonna get crappier. I do appreciate your words, because I love learning about our history, science, art- even future conjecture...I have compassion and empathy for us people, being one. I always hope for the best and prepare for the worst- with laughter and prayers. Lotsa laughter. I'm just an observer and a 'helper' here.
That is all I am.

The Mound of Sound said...

The problem with your outlook, LALI, is that you yield to these enormous challenges. It's akin to how so many of us capitulate to climate change. We resign ourselves to something we imagine we can't fix. Fair enough, we can't. What we can do, however, is make the future much worse than it need be by giving up. That's what keeps me going. I want to see if by changing my behaviour and perhaps that of a few others, I might manage to make life a little less difficult for my grandkids and theirs. That goal that won't be realized in my lifetime is what makes it worthwhile to keep up the fight.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Sorry to disappear, my daughter came (from Steeltown) for a visit. Those kids are some funny today. Were we that funny?

So, yesterday I was somewhere on the scale between sad and nihilistic. I take a short-term view on the miniscule time we have here. Compared to the time the universe has existed. I see a Higher Court, if you will, than the kangaroo shite we've developed...ah well, we try eh? I do agree with your reply to me and if you are saying 'changing hearts and minds' I daily practice that. One person at a time it always was- but it's not statistically safe outdoors alone, for women. Even at midday on a bus or on a bike path. Whatever. The keyboard has a larger reach so here it will be.

Principles before personalities is my application to dilemmas. The choices I make now are always between imperfect or evil. We will keep up the fight and teach our youngers by example, to do the same.

Top of the day to you.

liberalandlovingit! said...

Gyor? I don't know much about Mr. Caron, but I wish them all well, and hope Charlie wins!