Thursday, March 21, 2013


Yesterday, Charlie Pierce took note of a new Gallup poll that shows solid support for government proposals to create jobs:
That's 77 percent of the respondents who want some sort of WPA 2.0 to make sure the bridges don't fall down while we're driving to work. That's 75 percent who want a federal jobs creation program. These two numbers include, respectively, 63 percent and 56 percent of Republican respondents.
Of course, none of this can happen, nor can other policy changes that have overwhelming public support:
It is helpful to look at these numbers in comparison to what's going on as regards sensible gun control. There are 60 percent of Americans who would back an assault-weapons ban similar to the one that Harry Reid threw over the side yesterday. As for background checks on all gun purchases, as proposed by the president, that scores 91 percent.... Does sensible gun control have a chance of passing? Even the background checks are 50-50.
How do Republicans get away with this? Pierce has a theory:
You would think that, in a democratic republic, a party dedicated to frustrating the expressed will of a huge majority of the people would find itself in deep political peril. But there's no indication that either the public, or the political elites, see this current state of affairs as anything beyond ordinary politics and business as usual. Who's up? Who's down? Will Joe Manchin have a tough re-election fight? When you divorce politics from policy as thoroughly as we have done in this country -- whether this has occurred through a feckless courtier media, or through a political class insulated by the power of money, or by the steady, parallel drumbeats of empty centrism and government-as-the-problem, or by all of those combined -- then you ask for exactly what we have today -- a nation of paralyzed, impotent majorities, speaking a language that the political elites no longer choose to learn. We have majorities that can be safely ignored.
Ahhh, but right-wingers haven't divorced politics from policy. That's obvious if you pay any attention whatsoever to conservative media. Right-wingers aren't obsessed with who's-up-who's-down to the exclusion of all else. Right-wingers don't look at every bad situation and think, "Both sides do it." When bad things occur, Fox and talk radio tell their shared audience that one side "does it." Fox and talk radio get their audience riled up about policy all the time. Right-wingers have highly developed views on guns and immigration and taxes and gay marriage and Iran and just about any other issue you can name.

And right-wingers passionately back their tribe -- they may tell pollsters they're profoundly disappointed in the GOP, but it's only because they think the GOP isn't conservative enough. They always want it to win.

There are the twin problems that allow Republicans to get away with obstructionism on issues on which their positions have laughably little support: the people in the crazy GOP base are actively, incessantly focused on seeing to it that their specific policy provisions prevail, and most of America isn't; and they really care about victory for their tribe, whereas most of the rest of us, even a hell of a lot of people who regard themselves as more or less liberal, will shrug and vote for Chris Christie or Rudy Giuliani or Susan Collins if these folks toss us a moderate bone or two, or keep Scott Walker in office because using a recall election to dump a guy who's kicking labor in the teeth with custom-made steel-toed Koch boots just isn't nice.

If as many liberals (and, hell, even moderates) were as politicized and focused as conservatives are, we'd respond to this obstructionism by pushing back -- hard. But we're not at DefCon 1. They are.

1 comment:

Victor said...

More like DeathbyCon 2.

Modern Conservatism is a a parasite.

It is such a successful parasite, that is killing the "body politic," which is the host to this parasite.

Let me add, that our MSM is also parasitic - and that it, too, is killing us.

"The Fourth Estate" was meant to attack parasites.

Instead, it either can't tell the parasite from the body, doesn't care, is paid NOT to care, or else says, "Well, sure the parasite is trying to kill the body, but the body is also trying to kill the parasite - so, see - sides do it!"