Posted November 3, 2016on:
Intelligence is recognizing learning when it is offered. Wisdom is the art of heeding the lesson and applying it. This campaign has offered us an orange crate of opportunities for wisdom, but none better than the wheezing catcalls from the Republican Cloakroom to deny a President Hillary Clinton any nominee for the Supreme Court for the duration of her term.
With Scalia’s seat getting colder by the day, it seems as if the Republicans have conferred with noted judicial philosopher Dick Van Patten and declared, “Eight is enough.” The despotic thinking goes something like this – the notorious RBG is old, let’s allow the actuarial tables to work and then we are down to seven.
The perfidy of their position is that no justice can be seated that isn’t a Republican justice. There is no longer any pretense about their attempted subversion of two of the three branches of government.
It isn’t about the rule of law or justice or even any semblance of fairness. It is about power. It’s the Maginot Line protecting the interests of the moneyed benefactors of their party. The Court gave Republicans a President in 2000, manufactured a personal right to weaponry in the Second Amendment, made it more difficult for poor women to gain reproductive health care, and loosed the dogs of obscene campaign spending in Citizen United.
The learning is simple and Trump has proved it in this campaign: If you are immune to shame, there is no end to what you can do. Being shameless allows you to ignore precedent, formality, and normal conventions. Such cheeky impudence allows for the unorthodox to become the new orthodoxy.
Professor Krugman explained the paucity of ideas and the intellectual bankruptcy of the Right like this:
The moral of the story is that appeasing the modern American right is a losing proposition. Nothing you do convince them that you’re being fair, because fairness has nothing to do with it. The right long ago ran out of good ideas that can be sold on their own merits, so the goal now is to remove merit from the picture.
In short, never mind whether it’s right, as long as it’s politically useful.
With a court locked at 4-4, just last session cases concerning the rights of public-sector unions, access to birth control under the Affordable Care Act, and President Obama’s executive action on undocumented immigrants were left unsettled and unresolved. The last case alone left millions of families in the lurch.
Such concerns are of no consequence if you are shameless.
What is even more sobering is this: Republicans would not allow their teenage daughters to be alone in the Oval Office with the man they are supporting to fill the office.
The shamelessness of the marauding, MAGA hat-wearing Macaque has laid bare the truth about movement conservatism. While tax cuts, deregulation, climate denial, and abortion are all boxes to be checked, what ingratiated the Macaque to the party base were his unparalleled racism, sexism, and nationalistic tribalism. Those are the genetic markers of the base at the primary ballot box.
In a Jonathan Chait New York Magazine article, a study by political scientist Matt Grossman is cited. Grossman asked voters this question: Whether or not generations of slavery and discrimination have made it harder for African-Americans to rise. People who support Clinton acknowledge that black people face structural disadvantages. Self-reporting conservative voters simpatico with the Macaque deny slavery and discrimination make it harder for African-Americans. Here’s a graph – take a look:
In our post-factual world, when two groups see a truism so diametrically different, it isn’t because both sides are hallucinating. It’s one side. Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann are two scholars from different sides of the political fence who have studied this issue. They call it “asymmetric polarization”. As they put it, “Let’s just say it: The Republicans are the Problem.”
Their theory is a simple one: Extremism is what you get when polemicists are paid to incite rage with few facts and are only held to account for increasing clicks or rating’s share. This is their money quote:
The Republican Party has become an insurgent outlier in American politics — ideologically extreme; contemptuous of the inherited social and economic policy regime; scornful of compromise; unmoved by conventional understanding of facts, evidence and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.
As scholars who had worked for more than four decades with lawmakers on both sides of the aisle, we faced a ton of scorn from sitting Republican lawmakers and outside observers for making this argument — and denial from most of the mainstream media. For reporters, professional norms and concerns about accusations of partisan bias dictated that the parties be treated equally, whatever the underlying reality. The safe haven of false equivalence led the press to ignore one of the most consequential developments in contemporary American politics: the radicalization of the Republican Party.
This is the takeaway for me. Hillary’s election next Tuesday will take this Republican radicalization to Cat-5 status. “Hillary hate” will be the glue that holds a splintered and fragile Republican Party together. Hillary’s hardest work begins the day after her inauguration.
We dare not let the disgracefulness of Republican Trumpism be apologized away by the press through lazy false equivalency. But we do owe the Orangeloupe a debt of gratitude for making this radicalism so painfully obvious. There is no shame in that.
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