Donald Trump is serious about smashing GOP orthodoxy

Source: WashPo

Author: Eugene Robinson

Emphasis Mine

President-elect Donald Trump’s victory tour was more than just an opportunity to strut and preen around the country like a peacock with a comb-over. It was a warning to Republican leaders in Congress that Trump intends to be in charge — and that there will be consequences if the party establishment does not fall in line.

The post-election rallies also served as venues for Trump to make grandiose promises, including some that will stick in his party’s craw.

Trump billed the series of campaign-style events as a way to thank the voters who elected him. It seems obvious that he is addicted to adulation, basks in the grandeur of his own celebrity and chafes at the prosaic labor of assembling an administration. This is a man who cannot be bothered to hear a daily intelligence briefing about threats to the nation, yet finds time to meet with Kanye West.

At the victory rallies, Trump continued his withering onslaught against the truth; he claimed, for example, to have won in a historic landslide, though Hillary Clinton received 2.8 million more votes. He renewed his attack against the news media, pointing at reporters and calling them “very dishonest people.” He offered a “thank you to the African American community” who “didn’t come out to vote” for Clinton.

Amid all the bombast and nonsense, however, there was a clear message for House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.): The next president expects them to follow, not lead.

Trump held the rallies in two solidly Republican states (Louisiana and Alabama), four traditional swing states (Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa and Florida) and three states he unexpectedly took from the Democrats (Pennsylvania, Wisconsin and Michigan). He reveled in illustrating that his electoral coalition was unique — and that his supporters were more loyal to him personally than to the party he conquered in a hostile takeover.

In Ryan’s home state, the crowd booed when Trump mentioned the speaker’s name. Trump protested, saying he has come to “appreciate” Ryan and comparing him to “a fine wine” that improves with time. But then, with a smile, he added: “Now, if he ever goes against me, I’m not going to say that, okay?”

During the campaign, Ryan was sharply critical of Trump before reluctantly falling in line. He attended the Dec. 8 rally — and got something of a dressing-down for having suggested, in a “60 Minutes” interview a few days earlier, that the border wall Trump promises to build might actually be a mere fence in some places.

We’re going to work on the wall, Paul,” Trump said, turning to Ryan. “We’re going to build the wall, okay? Believe me.”

There are Republicans in Congress who believe Trump is so naive in the ways of Washington that he can be led around by the nose — that he will basically sign whatever the GOP majorities in the House and Senate choose to pass. Many of those who share this view also were confident that Jeb Bush or Marco Rubio would be the party’s nominee. Do they really expect Trump to suddenly be transformed into an orthodox Republican? I don’t.

Trump promised the ridiculous border wall, and I believe he will expect Congress to let him build it. He also promised punishment, such as targeted tariffs, for companies that move jobs overseas. He promised a trillion-dollar program to improve the nation’s infrastructure. He promised massive, budget-busting tax cuts for corporations, the wealthy and the middle class. He promised not only to repeal the Affordable Care Act but also to simultaneously replace it, vowing that those with pre-existing conditions will still be able to get health insurance.

In foreign policy, Trump pledges even more radical departures from the Republican establishment. He has been vocal in his desire for a closer, more cooperative relationship with Russia — one reason, perhaps, why Russian President Vladimir Putin had his intelligence agents work so hard to get Trump elected, according to the CIA and the FBI. For secretary of state, Trump has chosen ExxonMobil chief executive Rex Tillerson, a man on whom Putin has bestowed the Russian Order of Friendship.

Trump promised during his victory tour to establish safe zones for civilians in Syria, which presumably would require working with Putin, who supports the continued rule of barbarous dictator Bashar al-Assad. Are you ready for that, Republicans? Have you seen the pictures from Aleppo?

The GOP establishment is soon going to have to choose between principle and political well-being. The latter almost always wins.

Read more from Eugene Robinson’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook. You can also join him Tuesdays at 1 p.m. for a live Q&A.

See:https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/donald-trump-is-serious-about-smashing-gop-orthodoxy/2016/12/19/a5ea18ac-c624-11e6-8bee-54e800ef2a63_story.html?utm_term=.9115dbf1dee8&wpisrc=nl_opinions&wpmm=1

Trump Panic on the Right: They’ve Created This Monster—and Some Are Getting More Desperate to Find a Way Out

Hugh Hewitt wants to derail Trump by changing convention rules—but few are brave enough to join his fight.

Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey / Flickr
Photo Credit: DonkeyHotey / Flickr

Source: AlterNet

Author: Heather Digby Parton/Salon

Emphasis Mine

It seems odd that after an overwhelming litany of crude, demagogic insults over the course of the last year, Republican leaders have suddenly recognized that Donald Trump is a racist whose reckless rhetoric is likely to destroy the Republican Party. Evidently, the “Mexicans are rapists” comments in his announcement speech a year ago didn’t ring any alarm bells. But better late than never. Party leaders Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan both decided they needed to denounce his blatant bigotry, although they made clear it wasn’t a deal breaker. Better an unfit, racist, authoritarian megalomaniac than a Democrat in the White House. You go to Hades with the devil you have, not the devil you wished you had.

There have been a few prominent Republicans who have publicly withdrawn their endorsementsSenator Mark Kirk said he could no longer support Trump because he doesn’t have the temperament to be commander in chief. This has also been obvious for the last 12 months, but again, it’s to his credit that he’s belatedly decided that it’s a disqualifying characteristic. He’s decided to write in the name of General David Petraeus, which he may want to re-think considering the news this week that Petraeus was not only found guilty of “mishandling” classified information by sharing it with his mistress, he also shared Top Secret information with reporters. It’s really tough finding a decent Republican to vote for these days.

Other GOP officials are in various stages of panic, and Trump tried to calm them with his stiff, unconvincing speech on Tuesday night without much success. But he was unrepentant and unimpressed. Before he gave the speech he let the New York Times know exactly what he thinks of his fellow Republicans:

“Politicians are so politically correct anymore, they can’t breathe,” Mr. Trump said in an interview Tuesday afternoon as fellow Republicans forcefully protested his ethnically charged criticism of a federal judge overseeing a lawsuit against the defunct Trump University.

“The people are tired of this political correctness when things are said that are totally fine,” he said during an interlude in a day of exceptional stress in the Trump campaign. “It is out of control. It is gridlock with their mouths.”

All of this has led to a new sense of urgency in the #NeverTrump camp, even though the pipe dream of knocking Trump off his recently acquired throne is as unlikely as ever. Joe Scarborough, formerly a huge Trump booster, was nearly hysterical on Wednesday, saying:

“Donald, guess what, I’m not going to support you until you get your act together. You’re acting like bush-league loser, you’re acting like a racist, you’re acting like a bigot … Until you … prove to me you’re not a bigot and you don’t take my party down in the ditch, you don’t have my endorsement.

It is in your hands on whether you are going to prove to the Republican Party and me personally that you’re not a bigot. Don’t use Hillary Clinton as an excuse, as your blank check to say racist things about [a judge] born in Indiana. No, Donald, you don’t get to play it that way.”

Radio and TV pundit Hugh Hewitt was one of the first right-wing media personalities to expose Trump’s gross lack of knowledge about world affairs when he asked him about the Iranian Quds force on his radio show and Trump clearly had no clue what he was talking about. Nonetheless, Hewitt promised to support Trump if he became the nominee and has stuck with him as he demonstrated his unfitness for office over and over again. But the racist attack on the federal judge has put him over the edge and he is now suggesting that the GOP must do something drastic: change the rules of the convention and give the nomination to someone else. He was so overwrought he exploded with crazed mixed metaphors on Wednesday saying, “it’s like ignoring stage-four cancer. You can’t do it, you gotta go attack it. And right now the Republican Party is facing—the plane is headed towards the mountain after the last 72 hours.”

Trump supporters were not amused…

But if they don’t ban Hewitt from the convention and take his suggestion seriously, which some people seem to be doing, who could possibly step inPaul Ryan, everybody’s favorite blue-eyed dream boat, has said he will not do it. And as noted, he doesn’t believe Trump’s racism—or any other of his pathological personality characteristics—are deal breakers in the first place, so he’s out. Jay Cost of the Weekly Standard wrote an open letter to Mitt Romney to run as an independent, but there’s little reason to think he’d go along with seizing the Republican nomination from Trump at the convention and even less reason to think the delegates would want him to. But there is one possibility that has the political world aflutter: the Great Whitebread Hope himself, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. There was a time when he was lauded as the most formidable Republican in the land, a Harley driving, union busting, tax cutting superman destined for the White House. Then he ran for president and showed himself to be a dud of epic proportions. He proved himself to be uninformed, boring and amateurish and ran through his millions in big donor money in record time. By the end of September he was gone, the first of the “Deep Bench” superstars to drop out. Apparently, he’s tanned, rested and ready to rumble. After months of tweeting his lunch orders and informing his followers he got a haircut, he’s back in the game:

And this comment to a Wisconsin radio station sent a frisson of anticipation through the Never Trumpers:

He’s not yet the nominee. Officially that won’t happen until the middle of July, and so for me that’s kind of the timeframe. In particular I want to make sure that he renounces what he says, at least in regards to this judge.

Or else what?

The problem with this scenario is that these elite Republicans are failing to take something very important into consideration: their voters. It’s certainly possible that they are in danger of losing some faction of the party over Trump’s repugnant behavior. But there is little reason to believe it’s a majority. This week, millions of them went to the polls and voted for him even though he had already won the nomination. Granted, he’s not the electoral juggernaut he pretends to be, but he is the legitimate winner of the Republican nomination and his voters will not take kindly to having their wishes ignored.

Moreover, the Republican rank and file doesn’t agree with the premise that Trump is out of bounds in the first place. This YouGov survey done after Trump made his bigoted comments about the judge show 81 percent of Democrats and 44 percent of independents believe they were racist. But only 22 percent of Republicans agree. In other words, 78 percent of GOP voters are just fine with Trump and seem to agree with his statement that “people are tired of this political correctness when things are said that are totally fine.”

Scott Walker’s ill-fated campaign fizzled so early in the primary process that he never faced the voters. His performances in the debates were rated dead last in every poll. The fact that Republicans are contemplating pulling him out of mothballs in the vain hope that he, of all people, will be able to vanquish Trump at the convention is so desperate you almost have to feel sorry for them. But then you remember that they created this monster and deserve what they’re getting. Let’s just hope they don’t somehow manage to take the rest of us down with them.

Heather Digby Parton, also known as “Digby,” is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

 

See: http://www.alternet.org/election-2016/trump-panic-right-republicans-try-change-convention-rules?akid=14335.123424.QjsjgV&rd=1&src=newsletter1058084&t=8

Is Southern Conservatism Just Plain Old Racism?

Source: Salon via AlterNet

Author: Paul Rosenberg

Emphasis Mine

 As events in Ferguson continue to dominate public political attention, it’s worthwhile to take a step back and take a long hard look at how we got here.  Why did the Democratic “Solid South” of old become such a stronghold of Republican strength?  Lyndon Johnson, one of the smartest Southern politicians ever, had no doubt in his mind — “There goes the South for a generation,” he reportedly said, after signing the Civil Rights Act in 1964.

But the South was already halfway out the door at the time. Missouri, with a fair amount of Southern culture in its veins, is nonetheless a border state, home to Harry Truman, whose enunciation of a civil rights agenda, followed by integration of the armed forces and strong civil rights platform in 1948, led to the walkout of the Dixiecrats, which cost him a dramatic 20 percent drop in the share of the Southern vote from where it had been in 1944. That launched a transitional era that is strangely lost to most who ponder such things today.

This lack of longer historical memory is part of what helps to support a popular brand of revisionism that claims the South turned Republican because the people there embraced “principled” “small-government” conservatism.  There are numerous problems with this explanation. First, if that’s why the South changed, then why didn’t the shift happen earlier? Second, if the change is explained by gradual economic development (as some such as Real Clear Politics senior analysis Sean Trende have argued), then why did Herbert Hoover do almost as well in 1928 as Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952? And why did the Democratic share of the Southern vote drop precipitously by 20 percent in 1948, as noted above, the year the Democrats put a civil rights plank in their platform, and the Dixiecrats walked out?

Third, what exactly is meant by “small-government conservatism”? And how does that square with the fact that Southern states almost universally get far more money from the federal government than they send in by way of taxes? And finally, how to explain the findings in a2005 paper by Nicholas Valentino and David Sears, which found that “whites residing in the old Confederacy continue to display more racial antagonism and ideological conservatism than non-Southern whites,” and that “Racial conservatism has become linked more closely to presidential voting and party identification over time in the white South”?

But there’s also another problem with the “it’s-not-race-it’s-principled-small-government-conservatism” explanation — namely that race and small government conservatism are inextricably linked. This is not to say that all small government conservatives are racists. But it is to say that racial attitudes and attitudes toward robust government activism are strongly linked, statistically; the more positive (or negative) your attitudes toward activist government are, the more positive (or negative) your attitudes toward blacks are likely to be, and vice versa as well. Negative racial attitudes manifest both in terms of opposition to black political power, and in blaming blacks for their subordinate status. If this sounds like a damned-if-you-do/damned-if-you-don’t sort of situation, you’re right. That’s exactly what it is.

As I explained in a recent article, the earliest statistical evidence of this relationship came from one of the classic studies of American public opinion:

The year after the March on Washington, pioneer pollsters Lloyd Free and Hadley Cantril conducted surveys that were the basis for their 1967 book,The Political Beliefs of Americans; a Study of Public Opinion.They found that those opposed to five forms of federal spending were three times as likely as those who supported the spending to think that blacks should have “less influence” in politics. Since blacks only had five representatives of Congress at the time—just over 1%, compared to 11% of the population—the notion that they had too much influence was ludicrous on its face—and clearly racist. Yet, that’s precisely what 60% of those ‘small government conservatives’—people like Rand Paul and the Tea Partiers—believed.

Free and Cantril used three different measure of political orientation, one based on self-identification, one based on ideology (laissez-faire, individualist=“conservative”), and one operational, based on the degree of support for social spending. This involved five questions, dealing with federal aid to education, Medicare, the Federal housing program, the urban renewal program, and the government’s responsibility to do away with poverty.  The “Ideological Spectrum” was based on agreement or disagreement with the following statements:

  • The federal government is interfering too much in state and local matters.
  • The government has gone too far in regulating business and interfering with the free enterprise system.
  • Social problems here in this country could be solved more effectively if the government would only keep its hands off and let people in local communities handle their own problems in their own ways.
  • Generally speaking, any able-bodied person who really wants to work in this country can find a job and earn a living.
  • We should rely more on individual initiative and ability and not so much on governmental welfare programs.

Free and Cantril found that while half of all respondents qualified as ideological conservatives, two-thirds qualified as operational liberals, a condition they referred to as “mildly schizoid, with people believing in one set of principles abstractly while acting according to another set of principles in their political behavior.”  It’s not that everyone held contradictory views, of course, but the contrast in dominant modes was certainly a mass phenomenon, not just an individual quirk.  More precisely, almost a quarter of the respondents, 23 percent, were both ideological conservatives and operational liberals.  What’s more, this percentage doubled in the handful of Deep South states that Goldwater carried that year.  This is a point well worth digesting: The vanguard states in terms of realigning from Democrat to Republican were the ones with a sharply higher number of people who were ideological “small government” conservatives in principle, but who supported social spending in practice.  It’s only natural that these are the sorts of people whose views were likely to change dramatically based on the situation, but who then turn around and explain themselves in terms of unchanging “principles.”  After all, this is what they were already doing in 1964.

But that’s not the main point I want to make here. Because so many ideological conservatives were operational liberals in practice, it’s not a helpful way to look at who the true believers really are. The true believers are the ones who actually opposed government spending in practice.  They are the ones who didn’t just say they supported conservative principles in the abstract; they applied those principles to their spending priorities as well.  Hence, if you want to know who the principled conservatives really are, you don’t look at the expression of principles in the ideological spectrum, but at the support for social spending in the operational spectrum.  And this is where you see the sharp differences I described in the passage quoted above: 60 percent of those who were completely operationally conservative thought that blacks had too much political power in 1964, compared to 20 percent of those who were completely operationally liberal.  It couldn’t be clearer: Small government conservatives are much more opposed to black political power than those who support big government.

But that’s just one piece of evidence from 50 years ago.  What if it’s just a relic of a bygone era?  That’s certainly a distinct possibility. Which is why I’ve also looked at decades of polling data from the General Social Survey, which began collecting data every year or two in 1973, and is cited by social scientists more often than any other source, except for the U.S. Census. The data I’m about to present is cumulative data, spanning decades, but the broad shape of the data has not changed dramatically over the years, although there have been nuanced changes.  Instead of the five spending questions Free and Cantril asked, I used a battery of seven items: Social Security, welfare, “solving problems of big cities,” “improving nation’s educational system,”

“improving and protecting nation’s health,” “improving the conditions of blacks,” and “improving and protecting environment.”  Two of these items can be expected to  be  directly influenced by attitudes toward blacks — welfare and “improving the conditions of blacks” — but since America’s welfare state does disproportionately benefit blacks in some ways, it would be unrealistic to exclude such questions. However, we’ll take a somewhat different look later, below.

There is no single GSS question that’s comparable to the question that Free and Cantril asked, but there are questions related to blacks’ ability to live their lives as they wish, which is arguably the most basic form of political power there is. Can blacks live and go wherever they want to? Or do they need the permission of whites?  There are at least three GSS questions that bear directly on this, and all tell a remarkably similar story: those who are less willing to let blacks live as they want to are also much more likely to be “small government conservatives,” while those who support black autonomy are much more supportive of big government.

The first question on this point (RacOpen) gave respondents the choice between two laws, one saying that homeowners can’t discriminate on who they sell to, the other saying that owners can decide, even if they do discriminate.  A second question (RacSeg) asked if white people have a right to keep blacks out of their neighborhoods if they want to, and blacks should respect that right. A third question (RacPush) asked if folks agreed or disagreed with the statement that blacks “shouldn’t push themselves where they’re not wanted.” All three questions revealed a similar pattern: Those who valued white feelings over black autonomy were roughly twice as likely to favor cutting social spending overall: 15.9  percent to 8.9 percent for RacOpen; 18.4 percent to 8.3 percent for RacSeg; and 17.6 percent to 7.3 percent for RacPush.  On the other hand, those who value black autonomy and would outlaw discrimination are about twice as likely to support increasing spending on six or seven items: 16.5 percent to 8.1 percent for RacOpen;

15.9 percent to 9.0 percent for RacSeg; and 16.4 percent to 9.1 percent for RacPush.

There was also one GSS question related to formal political power — but it was of limited usefulness. Even fairly early on, people were extremely reluctant to say they wouldn’t vote for a black president. Only around 10 percent would say that over the decades. So the samples are very unevenly split. But the basic pattern remains the same: 21.5 percent of those who wouldn’t vote for a black president are small government conservatives who would cut social spending program, compared to 11.2 percent of those who say they would vote for a black president.  Only 4.7 percent of those who wouldn’t vote for a black president would increase social spending on six or seven items, compared to 13.3 percent of those who say they would vote for a black president.

Attitudes toward black political power are clearly an important component of racial ideology in America. But perhaps even more basic is the view of basic worthiness. Do blacks continue to be poorer than white Americans because of external barriers holding them back, or because of their own inner deficiencies?  A two-factor attitude measure found that those giving all internal answers — saying that blacks didn’t face discrimination, but simply lacked the will to succeed — were much more likely to be small government conservatives: 17.3 percent of them supported decreasing government spending programs, compared to just 4.5 percent of those who gave all external explanations. In contrast, those giving all internal explanations were far less likely (5.4 percent) to support increased spending on six or seven items than those giving all external explanations (22.4 percent).

Now, as I already noted, the questions I used included two that were likely to directly reflect attitudes toward blacks. But what would happen if those were replaced with quite neutral spending questions — questions about spending on mass transit, and “highways and bridges”?  I won’t go through the whole battery of questions this time; it’s enough to just look at the question of whether internal or external factors are  to blame for blacks’ lower economic status. With this new battery of seven spending questions, 8.2 percent of those blaming blacks would reduce spending, compared to just 2.9 percent blaming external conditions, a smaller proportion for both, but a relatively comparable ratio between them. There was more significant convergence on the other end of the scale, but the differences were still quite noticeable: 12.1 percent of those blaming blacks would increase spending on six or seven items, compared to 18.3 percent of those blaming external conditions.

Taken all together, this seems to clearly show that some of the opposition to government spending is directly tied to spending that targets blacks, but that some of it does not; it is simply correlated with negative assessments of black worthiness.  But how general is this finding?

I’m not prepared to give a comprehensive answer, but I can give you a bit of a surprise: When it comes to spending that would help combat the impacts of global warming, attitudes toward black worthiness turn out to be quite important.  I created a three-item spending scale related to global warming — one question we’ve already seen, “improving and protecting environment,” one concerning spending on science, and one specifically on developing alternative energy.  For this three-item scale, the differences are just as dramatic as for the first  seven-item scale. 17.5 percent of those who blame blacks would cut spending overall, compared to just 5.8 percent of those who blame external conditions.  And 30.7 percent of those who  blame external conditions would increase spending on all three items, compared to  just 16.3 percent of those who blame blacks. Thus, even when it comes to fighting global warming, one’s attitudes toward blacks are a strong indicator of how much of a “principled conservative” one is likely to be.  Some “principles,” eh?

All the evidence I’ve given so far comes from comparing attitudes within the U.S. as a whole.  But it turns out that this sort of correlation is virtually universal in a way; people in general are more willing to spend government money on people they perceive to be more like them.  Some striking data in this regard was presented in a 2001 paper from the Brookings Institution, “Why Doesn’t the United States Have a European-Style Welfare State?” by Alesina, Alberto, Edward L. Glaeser, and Bruce Sacerdote (Brookings Papers on Economic Activity 2, 2001: 187-277).  The online introduction explains:

European countries are much more generous to the poor relative to the U.S. level of generosity. Economic models suggest that redistribution is a function of the variance and skewness of the pre–tax income distribution, the volatility of income (perhaps because of trade shocks), the social costs of taxation and the expected income mobility of the median voter. None of these factors appear to explain the differences between the U.S. and Europe. Instead, the differences appear to be the result of racial heterogeneity in the U.S. and American political institutions. Racial animosity in the US makes redistribution to the poor, who are disproportionately black, unappealing to many voters. American political institutions limited the growth of a socialist party, and more generally limited the political power of the poor.

The paper itself is a sophisticated consideration of multiple factors and possible explanations, but I want to just focus on two charts the authors presented. Both involve comparisons between social spending and the presence of racial minorities. The first is a country-level comparison comparing social spending as a percentage of GDP with “racial fractionalization,” which the authors describe as “the probability of randomly drawing out of the country’s population two individuals that do not belong to the same racial group.” It showed a visible correlation between a larger presence of racial minorities and a lower level of social spending. The second chart is a state-level comparison between the size of welfare benefits and the percent black. It shows a similar correlation.

In the years since this paper was published, a broader literature has appeared. A 2011 survey of that literature “Ethnic Diversity, Public Spending, and Individual Support for the Welfare State” concluded that the evidence was “mixed,” though “many studies do show evidence of a negative association.” It also speculated that future research would probably reveal that “the relationship is most likely non-linear: ethnic diversity will matter most near a ‘tipping point’ at which ethnic minorities are perceived as posing a political or economic threat to the native majority.”  It also needs to be stressed that racial antipathy is just one factor to be considered. Just because one empathizes more readily with those one sees as coming from a similar racial or ethnic group does not necessarily mean one is hostile to other groups. Generally speaking, the more genuinely self-confident and happy people are with their place in the world, the more open they are to welcoming others. So in-group identification and out-group hostility are two related, but distinguishable phenomena.  But the GSS questions explored above should leave little doubt that racial antipathy is part of the mix supporting the politics of “small government” “principled” conservatism.

Let’s not forget a bit of history recounted by Taylor Branch last year, just before the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, which I referred to in my earlier article mentioned above. As Branch recalls, George Wallace led the way in disavowing racism, shifting hard to a brand of  “principled conservatism” that he pretty much invented as he went along. He did this within months of the march, which so thoroughly discredited his former segregationist stand:

By the end of 1963, with segregation losing its stable respectability, he [Wallace] dropped the word altogether from a fresh stump speech denouncing “big government” by “pointy-headed bureaucrats,” tyrannical judges, and “tax, tax, spend, spend” legislators. He spurned racial discourse, calling it favoritism, and insisted with aplomb that he had never denigrated any person or group in his fight for local control.

So, there’s nothing new in the claim that “principled conservatism” has nothing to do with race.  If you want to be a true believer, it’s the very first lie that you have to believe.

Paul H. Rosenberg is senior editor at Random Lengths News, a biweekly serving the Los Angeles harbor area. He runs the site Merge Left, a community of progressive thinkers free to submit their own content.

See; http://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/southern-conservatism-just-plain-old-racism?akid=12153.123424.6B9vC_&rd=1&src=newsletter1016414&t=12

Two Theories of Poverty

Source: Portside

Author: Matt Bruenig

Paul Ryan released his anti-poverty plan last week. In it, he proposes that a variety of federal means-tested welfare programs be turned into cash block grants to states, who would then be allowed to dole out the cash in exchange for recipients laying out a life contract for how they will increase their market incomes for a nosy case worker. As I explained on the day it came out, this is a bad idea, unnecessary, and seriously misunderstands the nature of American poverty.

In response to Ryan, many commentators pointed out that people do not need life contracts to go on to boost their market incomes because they already do that (myself, Weissman, Bouie). These writers point out that people move in and out of poverty a lot. Even though the poverty rate stays pretty steady year to year,poor people” are not the same people each year.

Although these rebuttals have been fairly modest in scope, they actually lay bare a fundamental difference in the way right-wingers and left-wingers understand poverty.

Theory One: Poverty Is Individual

The right-wing view is that poverty is an individual phenomenon. On this view, people are in poverty because they are lazy, uneducated, ignorant, or otherwise inferior in some manner. If this theory were true, it would follow that impoverished people are basically the same people every year. And if that were true, we could whip poverty by helping that particular 15% of the population to figure things out and climb out of poverty. Thus, a program of heavy paternalistic life contracts to help this discrete underclass get things together might conceivably end or dramatically reduce poverty.

Theory Two: Poverty Is Structural

The left-wing view is that poverty is a structural phenomenon. On this view, people are in poverty because they find themselves in holes in the economic system that deliver them inadequate income. Because individual lives are dynamic, people don’t sit in those holes forever. One year they are in a low-income hole, but the next year they’ve found a job or gotten a promotion, and aren’t anymore. But that hole that they were in last year doesn’t go away. Others inevitably find themselves in that hole because it is a persistent defect in the economic structure. It follows from this that impoverished people are not the same people every year. It follows further that the only way to reduce poverty is to alter the economic structure so as to reduce the number of low-income holes in it.

Which is true? Structural Poverty

To figure out which theory is true, the easiest thing to do is answer the question: are impoverished people the same people every year or different ones? The individual theory predicts that they are the same people (and further that they need paternalist intervention to get their act together). The structural theory predicts that they are different people (and further that we need to alter the economic structure to make things better).

As all of the commentators linked above mentioned, longitudinal surveys show that impoverished people are not the same people every year. The last SIPP (three-year longitudinal survey done by the Census) had around one-third of Americans finding themselves in episodic poverty at some point in the three years, but just 3.5% finding themselves in episodic poverty for all three years. The PSID data show that around 4 in 10 adults experience an entire year of poverty between age 25 and 60. If you count kids, the number of people who experience at least one year of poverty rockets even higher of course.

Also, it deserves pointing out that nearly 45 percent of adults use a means-tested welfare program in their life (this, presumably, is the number of adults who would need to prostrate themselves before social workers at some point in their life to spell out some ridiculous life contract under Ryan’s plan).

Getting Specific About Structural Holes

The revolving door of poverty is a slam dunk indicator that the structural theory of poverty is correct, but we can get even more specific by identifying where the structural holes are. There are many places to focus, but one very easy and indisputable one is age.

First, consider child poverty. Children have much higher poverty rates than adults and younger children have higher poverty rates than older children.

Why is this? Two reasons. First, families with children in them have to get more income each year to stay above the poverty line than families without them. But, the market does not distribute families more money just because they have more children. Consequently, the mere act of adding a child to a family makes it more likely that the family will be in poverty. Second, adults have children when they are young workers, but young workers also make the least income. This too makes it more likely a child will be in poverty than an adult purely because of the way the economy is structured.

Why do young children have higher poverty rates than older children? Because young children have young parents and old children have old parents. Old parents make more money than young parents because they are deeper into their income life cycle. That is why the graph above looks the way it does.

Second, consider adult poverty by age:

It’s common to describe 25-65 as prime working-age adults. But look at how much poverty falls over those working years. Nearly 20% of 25-year-olds are in poverty while less than 10% of 64-year olds are. Why? Young workers make less money than old workers. Young workers are often taking care of children as well, while older workers generally aren’t. This is structural. This is one of the very blatant structural reasons why you are going to see people swapping in and out poverty over their life course just like the longitudinal data show.

I could go on, but the point is clear. Poverty replicates itself in very predictable structural ways. Since the problem is structural, the solution must be structural as well. This is not nearly as difficult a task as it may seem. For instance, in the case of structural poverty problems afflicting children and young families, it is very easily dealt with by using a Child Allowance program, which is commonly used throughout Europe.

Posted by Portside on July 31, 2014

Emphasis Mine

See:https://portside.org/2014-07-31/two-theories-poverty

Europe’s Secret Success

Source: NY Times

Author: Paul Krugman

I’ll be spending the next couple of days at a forum sponsored by the European Central Bank whose de facto topic — whatever it may say on the program — will be the destructive monetary muddle caused by the Continent’s premature adoption of a single currency. What makes the story even sadder is that Europe’s financial and macroeconomic woes have overshadowed its remarkable, unheralded longer-term success in an area in which it used to lag: job creation.

What? You haven’t heard about that? Well, that’s not too surprising. European economies, France in particular, get very bad press in America. Our political discourse is dominated by reverse Robin-Hoodism — the belief that economic success depends on being nice to the rich, who won’t create jobs if they are heavily taxed, and nasty to ordinary workers, who won’t accept jobs unless they have no alternative. And according to this ideology, Europe — with its high taxes and generous welfare states — does everything wrong. So Europe’s economic system must be collapsing, and a lot of reporting simply states the postulated collapse as a fact.

The reality, however, is very different. Yes, Southern Europe is experiencing an economic crisis thanks to that money muddle. But Northern European nations, France included, have done far better than most Americans realize. In particular, here’s a startling, little-known fact: French adults in their prime working years (25 to 54) are substantially more likely to have jobs than their U.S. counterparts.

It wasn’t always that way. Back in the 1990s Europe really did have big problems with job creation; the phenomenon even received a catchy name, “Eurosclerosis.” And it seemed obvious what the problem was: Europe’s social safety net had, as Representative Paul Ryan likes to warn, become a “hammock” that undermined initiative and encouraged dependency.

But then a funny thing happened: Europe started doing much better, while America started doing much worse. France’s prime-age employment rate overtook America’s early in the Bush administration; at this point the gap in employment rates is bigger than it was in the late 1990s, this time in France’s favor. Other European nations with big welfare states, like Sweden and the Netherlands, do even better.

Now, young French citizens are still a lot less likely to have jobs than their American counterparts — but a large part of that difference reflects the fact that France provides much more aid to students, so that they don’t have to work their way through school. Is that a bad thing? Also, the French take more vacations and retire earlier than we do, and you can argue that the incentives for early retirement in particular are too generous. But on the core issue of providing jobs for people who really should be working, at this point old Europe is beating us hands down despite social benefits and regulations that, according to free-market ideologues, should be hugely job-destroying.

 

Oh, and for those who believe that out-of-work Americans, coddled by government benefits, just aren’t trying to find jobs, we’ve just performed a cruel experiment using the worst victims of our job crisis as subjects. At the end of last year Congress refused to renew extended jobless benefits, cutting off millions of unemployed Americans. Did the long-term unemployed who were thereby placed in dire straits start finding jobs more rapidly than before? No — not at all. Somehow, it seems, the only thing we achieved by making the unemployed more desperate was deepening their desperation.

I’m sure that many people will simply refuse to believe what I’m saying about European strengths. After all, ever since the euro crisis broke out there has been a relentless campaign by American conservatives (and quite a few Europeans too) to portray it as a story of collapsing welfare states, brought low by misguided concerns about social justice. And they keep saying that even though some of the strongest economies in Europe, like Germany, have welfare states whose generosity exceeds the wildest dreams of U.S. liberals.

But macroeconomics, as I keep trying to tell people, isn’t a morality play, where virtue is always rewarded and vice always punished. On the contrary, severe financial crises and depressions can happen to economies that are fundamentally very strong, like the United States in 1929. The policy mistakes that created the euro crisis — mainly creating a unified currency without the kind of banking and fiscal union that a single currency demands — basically had nothing to do with the welfare state, one way or another.

The truth is that European-style welfare states have proved more resilient, more successful at job creation, than is allowed for in America’s prevailing economic philosophy.

 

Emphasis Mine

See:

10 Things I Learned About the World From Ayn Rand’s Insane ‘Atlas Shrugged’

If Rand were still alive she would probably say, “Thank you for smoking.”

Source: AlterNet

Author: Adam Lee

“Over the past year, I’ve been reading and reviewing Ayn Rand’s massive paean to capitalism [3], Atlas Shrugged. If you’re not familiar with the novel, it depicts a world where corporate CEOs and one-percenters are the selfless heroes upon which our society depends, and basically everyone else — journalists, legislators, government employees, the poor — are the villains trying to drag the rich down out of spite, when we should be kissing their rings in gratitude that they allow us to exist.

Rand’s protagonists are Dagny Taggart, heir to a transcontinental railroad empire, and Hank Rearden, the head of a steel company who’s invented a revolutionary new alloy which he’s modestly named Rearden Metal. Together, they battle against evil government bureaucrats and parasitic socialists to hold civilization together, while all the while powerful industrialists are mysteriously disappearing, leaving behind only the cryptic phrase “Who is John Galt?”

Atlas Shrugged is a work of fiction, but as far as many prominent conservatives are concerned, it’s sacred scripture. Alan Greenspan was a member of Rand’s inner circle, and opposed regulation of financial markets because he believed her dictum that the greed of businessmen was always the public’s best protection. Paul Ryan said that he required his campaign staffers to read the book, while Glenn Beck has announced grandiose plans to build his own real-life “Galt’s Gulch,” the hidden refuge where the book’s capitalist heroes go to watch civilization collapse without them.

Reading Atlas Shrugged is like entering into a strange mirror universe where everything we thought we knew about economics and morality is turned upside down. I’ve already learned some valuable lessons from it.

1. All evil people are unattractive; all good and trustworthy people are handsome.

The first and most important we learn from Atlas Shrugged is that you can tell good and bad people apart at a glance [4]. All the villains — the “looters,” in Rand’s terminology — are rotund, fleshy and sweaty, with receding hairlines, sagging jowls and floppy limbs, while her millionaire industrialist heroes are portraits of steely determination, with sharp chins and angular features like people in a Cubist painting. Nearly all of them are conspicuously Aryan. Here’s a typical example, the steel magnate Hank Rearden:

The glare cut a moment’s wedge across his eyes, which had the color and quality of pale blue ice — then across the black web of the metal column and the ash-blond strands of his hair — then across the belt of his trenchcoat and the pockets where he held his hands. His body was tall and gaunt; he had always been too tall for those around him. His face was cut by prominent cheekbones and by a few sharp lines; they were not the lines of age, he had always had them; this had made him look old at twenty, and young now, at forty-five.

2. The mark of a great businessman is that he sneers at the idea of public safety.

When we meet Dagny Taggart, Rand’s heroic railroad baron, she’s traveling on a cross-country train which gets stuck at a stoplight that may or may not be broken. When the crew frets that they should wait until they’re sure it’s safe, Dagny pulls rank and orders them to drive through the red light [5]. This, in Rand’s world, is the mark of a heroic and decisive capitalist, rather than the kind of person who in the real world would soon be the subject of headlines like “22 Dead in Train Collision Caused by Executive Who Didn’t Want to Be Late For Meeting.”

Dagny makes the decision to rebuild a critical line of the railroad using a new alloy, the aforementioned Rearden Metal, which has never been used in a major industrial project. You might think that before committing to build hundreds of miles of track through mountainous terrain, you’d want to have, say, pilot projects, or feasibility studies. But Dagny brushes those concerns aside; she just knows Rearden Metal is good because she feels it in her gut [5]: “When I see things,” she explains, “I see them.”

And once that line is rebuilt, Dagny’s plan for its maiden voyage involves driving the train at dangerously high speed through towns and populated areas [6]:

“The first train will… run non-stop to Wyatt Junction, Colorado, traveling at an average speed of one hundred miles per hour.” …

“But shouldn’t you cut the speed below normal rather than … Miss Taggart, don’t you have any consideration whatever for public opinion?”

“But I do. If it weren’t for public opinion, an average speed of sixty-five miles per hour would have been quite sufficient.”

The book points out that mayors and safety regulators have to be bribed or threatened to allow this, which is perfectly OK in Rand’s morality. When a reporter asks Dagny what protection people will have if the line is no good, she snaps: “Don’t ride on it.” (Ask the people of Lac-Megantic how much good that did them. [6])

3. Bad guys get their way through democracy; good guys get their way through violence.

The way the villains of Atlas Shrugged accomplish their evil plan is … voting for it. One of the major plot elements of part I is a law called the Equalization of Opportunity Bill [7], which forces large companies to break themselves up, similarly to the way AT&T was split into the Baby Bells [8]. It’s passed by a majority of Congress, and Rand never implies that there’s anything improper in the vote or that any dirty tricks were pulled. But because it forces her wealthy capitalist heroes to spin off some of their businesses, it’s self-evident that this is the worst thing in the world and could only have been conceived of by evil socialists who hate success.

Compare this to another of Rand’s protagonists, Dagny Taggart’s heroic ancestor Nathaniel Taggart. We’re told that he built a transcontinental railroad system almost single-handedly, which is why Dagny all but venerates him. We’re also told that he murdered a state legislator [9] who was going to pass a law that would have stopped him from completing his track, and threw a government official down three flights of stairs for offering him a loan. In the world of Atlas Shrugged, these are noble and heroic acts.

Then there’s another of Rand’s heroes, the oil baron Ellis Wyatt. When the government passes new regulations on rail shipping that will harm his business, Wyatt retaliates by spitefully blowing up his oil fields, much like Saddam Hussein’s retreating army did to Kuwait in the first Gulf War [10]. In real life, that act of sabotage smothered much of the Middle East beneath clouds of choking, toxic black smoke for months, poisoning the air and water. But as far as Rand sees it, no vengeance is too harsh for people who commit the terrible crime of interfering with the right of the rich to make more money.

4. The government has never invented anything or done any good for anyone.

In Rand’s world, all good things come from private industry. Everyone who works for the government or takes government money is either a bumbling incompetent or a leech who steals credit for the work of others. At one point, the villainous bureaucrats of the “State Science Institute” try to sabotage Rand’s hero Hank Rearden by spreading malicious rumors about his new alloy:

“If you consider that for thirteen years this Institute has had a department of metallurgical research, which has cost over twenty million dollars and has produced nothing but a new silver polish and a new anti-corrosive preparation, which, I believe, is not so good as the old ones — you can imagine what the public reaction will be if some private individual comes out with a product that revolutionizes the entire science of metallurgy and proves to be sensationally successful!”

Of course, in the real world, only minor trifles, like radar, space flight, nuclear power, GPS, computers, and the Internet were brought about by government research.

5. Violent jealousy and degradation are signs of true love.

Dagny’s first lover, the mining heir Francisco d’Anconia, treats her like a possession [11]: he drags her around by an arm, and once, when she makes a joke he doesn’t like, he slaps her so hard it bloodies her lip. The first time they have sex, he doesn’t ask for consent, but throws her down and does what he wants: “She knew that fear was useless, that he would do what he wished, that the decision was his.”

Later on, Dagny has an affair with Hank Rearden (who’s married to someone else at the time, but this is the sort of minor consideration that doesn’t hold back Randian supermen). The first time they sleep together, it leaves Dagny bruised and bloody, and the morning after, Hank rants at her that he holds her in contempt and thinks of her as no better than a whore [12]. Almost as soon as their relationship begins, he demands to know how many other men she’s slept with and who they were. When she won’t answer, he seizes her and twists her arm, trying to hurt her enough to force her to tell him.

Believe it or not, none of this is meant to make us judge these characters negatively, because in Rand’s world, violent jealousy is romantic and abuse is sexy. She believed that women were meant to be subservient to men [13] — in fact, she says that “the most feminine of all aspects” is “the look of being chained” [14] — and that a woman being the dominant partner in a relationship was “metaphysically inappropriate” and would warp and destroy her fragile lady-mind.

6. All natural resources are limitless.

If you pay close attention to Atlas Shrugged, you’ll learn that there will always be more land to homestead, more trees to cut, more coal to mine, more fossil fuels to drill [15]. There’s never a need for conservation, recycling, or that dreaded word, “sustainability.” All environmental laws, just like all safety regulations, are invented by government bureaucrats explicitly for the purpose of punishing and destroying successful businessmen.

One of the heroes of part I is the tycoon Ellis Wyatt, who’s invented an unspecified new technology that allows him to reopen oil wells thought to be tapped out, unlocking what Rand calls an “unlimited supply [16]” of oil. Obviously, accepting that natural resources are finite would force Rand’s followers to confront hard questions about equitable distribution, which is why she waves the problem away with a sweep of her hand.

This trend reaches its climax near the end of part I, when Dagny and Hank find, in the ruins of an abandoned factory, the prototype of a new kind of motor that runs on “atmospheric static electricity” and can produce limitless energy for free [17]. Rand sees nothing implausible about this, because in her philosophy, human ingenuity can overcome any problem, up to and including the laws of thermodynamics, if only the government would get out of the way and let them do it.

7. Pollution and advertisements are beautiful; pristine wilderness is ugly and useless.

Rand is enamored of fossil fuels, and at one point, she describes New York City as cradled in “sacred fires [18]” from the smokestacks and heavy industrial plants that surround it. It never seems to occur to her that soot and smog cause anything other than pretty sunsets, and no one in Atlas Shrugged gets asthma, much less lung cancer.

By contrast, Rand informs us that pristine natural habitat is worthless unless it’s plastered with ads [19], as we see in a scene where Hank and Dagny go on a road trip together:

Uncoiling from among the curves of Wisconsin’s hills, the highway was the only evidence of human labor, a precarious bridge stretched across a sea of brush, weeds and trees. The sea rolled softly, in sprays of yellow and orange, with a few red jets shooting up on the hillsides, with pools of remnant green in the hollows, under a pure blue sky.

… “What I’d like to see,” said Rearden, “is a billboard.”

8. Crime doesn’t exist, even in areas of extreme poverty.

In the world of Atlas Shrugged, the only kind of violence that anyone ever worries about is government thugs stealing the wealth of the heroic capitalists at gunpoint to redistribute it to the undeserving masses. There’s no burglary, no muggings, no bread riots, no street crime of any kind. This is true even though the world is spiraling down a vortex of poverty and economic depression. And even though the wealthy, productive elite are mysteriously disappearing one by one, none of Rand’s protagonists ever worry about their personal safety [20].

Apparently, in Rand’s view, poor people will peacefully sit and starve when they lose their jobs. And that’s a good thing for her, because accepting that crime exists might lead to dangerous, heretical ideas — like that maybe the government should pay for education and job training, because this might be cheaper and more beneficial in the long run than spending ever more money on police and prisons.

9. The only thing that matters in life is how good you are at making money.

In a scene from part I, the copper baron Francisco d’Anconia explains to Dagny why rich people are more valuable than poor people [21]:

“Dagny, there’s nothing of any importance in life — except how well you do your work. Nothing. Only that. Whatever else you are, will come from that. It’s the only measure of human value. All the codes of ethics they’ll try to ram down your throat are just so much paper money put out by swindlers to fleece people of their virtues. The code of competence is the only system of morality that’s on a gold standard.”

You’ll note that this speech makes no exceptions for work whose product is actively harmful to others. If you burn coal that chokes neighboring cities in toxic smog, if you sell unhealthful food that increases obesity and diabetes, if you sell guns and fight every attempt to pass laws that would restrict who could buy them, if you paint houses with lead and insulate pipes in asbestos — relax, you’re off the hook! None of this matters in the slightest in Rand’s eyes. Are you good at your job? Do you make money from it? That’s the only thing anyone should ever care about.

10. Smoking is good for you.

Almost all of Rand’s heroes smoke, and not just for pleasure. In one minor scene, a cigarette vendor tells Dagny that smoking is heroic, even rationally obligatory [22]:

“I like cigarettes, Miss Taggart. I like to think of fire held in a man’s hand. Fire, a dangerous force, tamed at his fingertips … When a man thinks, there is a spot of fire alive in his mind — and it is proper that he should have the burning point of a cigarette as his one expression.”

It’s no coincidence that Atlas Shrugged expresses these views. Ayn Rand herself was a heavy smoker, and she often asserted that she was the most rational person alive; therefore, she believed, her preferences were the correct preferences which everyone else should emulate. Beginning from this premise, she worked backward to explain why everything she did was an inevitable consequence of her philosophy. As part of this, she decided that she smoked tobacco not because she’d become addicted to it, but because it’s right for rational people to smoke while they think.

In case you were wondering, Rand did indeed contract lung cancer later in life, and had an operation to remove one lung. But even though she eventually came to accept the danger of smoking, she never communicated this to her followers or recanted her earlier support of it. As in other things, her attitude was that people deserve whatever they get.

 

Emphasis Mine

See:

Wingnuts are gullible! How GOP’s bubble of ignorance keeps leading to humiliation

Why does the right keep falling for false stories about poverty and social programs? Hint: An ideological fixation

Source: Salon.com

Author: Brian Buetler

“Looking back on the events of last week, I’m struck by how lucky Rep. Paul Ryan, R-Wis., was to be awarded the uncoveted early-Thursday speaking slot at CPAC Thursday morning.

Because though kicking things off at a three-day event like CPAC means speaking to smaller audiences and fewer cameras, it also means that there are three days of intensifying stagecraft ahead of you to distract attention from whatever errors you might make.

And Paul Ryan made a doozy of an error. It attracted plenty of coverage anyhow, but probably would’ve attracted more if it hadn’t happened before all the jousting began. In case you missed it, Ryan recounted a story he heard secondhand about a poor child who felt bad about being on a subsidized school lunch program while other kids brought their lunches to school in brown bags, to serve the argument that parents who can’t afford to bag their children’s lunches for them don’t care about their kids as much as better-off parents do.

The view he expressed is strange enough. Being an impoverished parent isn’t actually coterminous with being a “poor” parent, in the normative sense of the word. And even though children on school lunch programs are surely stigmatized by their peers in some communities, the solution is to combat the stigma, not to moot it by just letting those kids go hungry.

But as you’ve probably heard by now, the story he told never happened. He recapitulated the erroneous testimony of a fellow social spending scold without vetting her story, which she had taken from some pro-social spending literature and tortured beyond recognition.

For someone like Ryan who often treats politics as a contest of character, that’s a pretty epic blunder. He’s since apologized for not checking his facts, which undoes some of the damage. But that mainly just changes the frame of the story. In addition to making an incredibly questionable moral argument, he also exposed the depths of his most politically problematic ideological fixation. Either he doesn’t care about truth, or his faith in the ubiquity of poverty traps and dependency and so on is so strong that he sees no reason to doubt any corroborative anecdotes, no matter how apocryphal.

This is a familiar epistemic problem, but I’m bringing it up now because it has metastasized into a national campaign strategy.

If you’re sure your ideas are correct and confident your solutions are the right ones you’ve already erected a significant barrier to self-examination. And when admitting error carries enormous financial, personal and ideological risk, it feels easier not to check. You’re shocked when your candidate loses, because none of your friends voted for the other guy. And you just pass along stories they tell you about the soul-crushing nature of welfare, or the horrors of the Affordable Care Act, without bothering to apply a smell test.

Combine that instinct with a well-heeled, amoral campaign apparatus and you get a bunch of Americans for Prosperity ads that wither under scrutiny.

For instance: “A Dexter cancer patient featured in a conservative group’s TV ad campaign denouncing her new health care coverage as ‘unaffordable’ will save more than $1,000 this year under the plan, The Detroit News has learned.”

(They’re referring to Julie Boonstra, whose story we’ve examined multiple times, and have confirmed what I and others long suspected.)

That’s not to diminish the annoyance and uncertainty she felt when her old plan was eliminated, but to say that the premise of her complaint about her new plan is wrong. AFP probably doesn’t care; it’s just as likely that they never bothered to check. Here’s what Boonstra had to say.

When advised of the details of her Blues’ plan, Boonstra said the idea that it would be cheaper “can’t be true.”

“I personally do not believe that,” Boonstra said.

Of possible relevance to her incredulity: “Boonstra is the ex-wife of Mark Boonstra, the former Washtenaw County GOP chairman whom Gov. Rick Snyder appointed to the Michigan Court of Appeals in 2012.”

Back East, AFP found similar ACA victims. “Two New Hampshire women featured in a major television advertising buy critical of Democratic Reps. Carol Shea-Porter and Ann Kuster’s support for the Affordable Care Act are state Republican activists.”

Again, I don’t think the collapse of these stories suggests that nobody is genuinely worse off because of Obamacare. Slate’s Dave Weigel found some that seem to fit the bill in Florida just last week! But there aren’t as many as Republicans would have you believe, and inconveniently they are unlikely to be older people with preexisting conditions, because the law is designed to make sure people like that aren’t left behind. Conservatives aren’t venturing very far outside of the movement to find them, though. Because on the right, a story about a child who feels unloved due to his family’s poverty must be true, in the same way that a story about Obamacare hurting a cancer patient can’t possibly be false.”

Brian Beutler

Brian Beutler is Salon’s political writer. Email him at bbeutler@salon.com and follow him on Twitter at @brianbeutler.

Emphasis Mine

See: http://www.salon.com/2014/03/11/gops_sick_welfare_obsession_how_a_bubble_of_ignorance_keeps_leading_it_astray/