Posted March 9, 2016on:
Good morning Widdershins.
Last night was another delegate-rich evening on the road toward celebrating the inauguration of “Madam President” – our gal is over halfway there. It’s all about the delegates – not vanity, not messaging, not settling some 1960s dorm argument. Just in case anyone dares overlook it, this is the first time in our history a woman with scary lady parts is the favored candidate to win a major party’s nomination – that my friends is the definition of progressive.
There are some things you never expect to say. For me, thanking Donald Trump is one of them. The Donald is a guy who was born in the 20th Century with good old-fashioned 18th Century values. Those values have laid bare the GOP’s Grand Old Con.
Professor Yoda Krugman explains it this way:
The Trump phenomenon threatens the con the G.O.P. establishment has been playing on its own base. I’m talking about the bait and switch in which white voters are induced to hate big government by dog whistles about Those People, but actual policies are all about rewarding the donor class.
What Donald Trump has done is tell the base that it doesn’t have to accept the whole package. He promises to make America white again — surely everyone knows that’s the real slogan, right? — while simultaneously promising to protect Social Security and Medicare, and hinting at (though not actually proposing) higher taxes on the rich. Outraged establishment Republicans splutter that he’s not a real conservative, but neither, it turns out, are many of their own voters.
Klandidate Trump has dared to utter heretofore unspeakable things like, “This country was lied into the Iraq War.” Amazingly, it appears a third of Republican voters agree with him. As surprising as it is to wild-eyed neocons, war-mongering interventionism isn’t the flavor of choice for these folks. These GOP voters would rather spend trillions, not on foreign adventurism, but on infrastructure and the jobs they provide.
Jonathan Chait summed it up in an excellent piece in The New York Magazine. His terse truth: The Republican Party isn’t racist, but it can’t win without racists. Chait explains the most repugnant of codependent relationships, that of the GOP and a host of race-baiting segregationists, by saying:
The Republican Party has, for decades, been organized around a stable hierarchy of priorities, the highest of which is to reduce taxes for the wealthiest Americans, i.e., “job creators,” and loosen regulation of business. Trump’s popularity suggests that maybe average Republicans aren’t maniacally obsessed with shrinking government after all.
What conservative intellectuals fail to acknowledge, in reality, William F. Buckley spent the civil-rights movement mocking Martin Luther King Jr. and defending white supremacy and spent the ’80s defending apartheid in South Africa. [Even the sainted Ronaldus Maximus vetoed anti-apartheid legislation and was overridden by a Republican Senate.]
Trump has also exposed another, equally deep insecurity among right-wing intellectuals: the fear that their movement appeals to rubes. The conservative movement’s tightening grip over the Republican Party has coincided with its elevation of leaders incapable of explaining their policies cogently like Ronald Reagan, George W. Bush, and Sarah Palin.
The secret fear lying beneath Rubio’s accurate depiction of Trump as a “con artist” is that Republican voters are easy marks. The Republican Party is constructed as a machine: Into one end are fed the atavistic fears of the white working class as grist, and out the other end pops The Wall Street Journal editorial-page agenda as the finished product.
A perfect example of the Republican “con game” is tax policy. Without mind-buckling precision, here’s the dime store window version. The Bush tax cuts cost $1.5 Trillion over ten years, but now account for, along with the unpaid for wars, over one-half of the national deficit. That is our benchmark for comparison.
With all the savings going into the pockets of the very richest Americans and corporations, here are the costs of the various Republican tax plans. Over ten years, Trump’s plan costs $9.5 Trillion or 6+ Dubyas. Cruz’s plan costs $8.6 Trillion over the same period or 5+ Dubyas. Rubio’s plan, the most frugal of the three, would only cost $6.8 Trillion over the next decade or over four times as much as the Dubya tax cuts.
Anyone who believes The Wall Street Journal’s “other end” poop is suffering from something much more pernicious than gullibility; this is not voodoo economics, this is anthrax-laced thermonuclear economics. It is devastating to our economy and our way of life. It is a devastation designed and delivered by those who just can’t quit the segregationist rubes who fear “Those Others,” who also just happen to be the very same ones who guarantee tax cuts to the wealthy.
Sorry, but it seems I’ve over-written about the GOP’s Grand Old Con. I have several other subjects I’ll add tomorrow, but until then, take this conversation in any direction you might like to discuss.
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