Paul Krugman writes:
... when it comes to Americans down on their luck, conservatives become ... advocates of highly intrusive government. For example, House Republicans tried to introduce a provision into the farm bill that would have allowed states to mandate drug testing for food stamp recipients. (A commenter on my blog suggested mandatory drug tests for employees of too-big-to-fail financial institutions, which receive large implicit subsidies. Now that would really cause a panic.)Why doesn't someone on our side actually try to get that drug-tests-for-bankers proposal enacted into law? Why isn't this actually introduced as a bill or an amendment?
Republicans love to inject the politics of resentment into the legislative process. It isn't just demanding drug tests for poor receivers of benefits. It isn't just that Kansas bill that tells newly legalized gay couples that anyone in the state can legally refuse them service. It's this:
That was some spread Barack and Michelle Obama put out the other night for François Hollande....Yeah, that's right: You have the president of a country that's a major U.S. ally coming to a White House state dinner, a special event that's the approximate equivalent of Thanksgiving dinner for an ordinary person, and the White House isn't supposed to splurge on the calories a little bit, according to this bill.
Illinois Rep. Rodney Davis wants to know what example the White House is setting with a 2,500-calorie dinner (with 153 grams of fat to boot). Because that's a day's worth of calories the USDA recommends for an average man. And it's three times the calories the USDA allows American students in the school lunch program....
In response, Davis has introduced a bill requiring that all White House meals, from staff cafeterias to state dinners, follow the same USDA rules the government now imposes on the nation's schools....
Is the bill going to pass? No. But it's out there. It's being talked about on the right -- I quoted the New York Post editorial, but it's also a topic at Fox News and The Washington Times and the Daily Caller and so on and so on.
Where's our comparable Two-Minutes' Hate? Hey, Bernie Sanders, propose a drug-tests-for-bankers bill. Then ... well, where's our noise machine? Other elected liberals? MSNBC prime time? Stewart and Colbert? Blogs?
Angry venting on the right, broadcast through multiple media streams, builds tribal solidarity. The constant reinforcement of that tribal solidarity is a big part of why Republicans win so many non-presidential elections. We could use a little resentment, too.