Subscribe via RSS Feed

The Dirtiest Trick Since Robert Bork’s Stated Views Were Discussed in the Senate!

[ 60 ] January 23, 2013 |

Shorter Michael Gerson: “I am outraged that Barack Obama would suggest that Republicans support any of the consequences of the long-held policies of the Republican Party.”

see also. As for Gerson’s assertion that Obama is building a “strawman” when he notes that Republicans “believe that Medicare and Social Security “sap our initiative,” and they see this as “a nation of takers,”” I happen to have the 2012 vice presidential candidate of the Republican Party and its most influential policy voice right here:

Right now, according to the Tax Foundation, between 60 and 70 percent of Americans get more benefits from the government than they pay back in taxes. So, we’re getting towards a society where we have a net majority of takers versus makers.

Again, apologies for using the dirtiest trick in politics by quoting a Republican public official verbatim. Yet more here.

Share with Sociable

Comments (60)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. commie atheist says:

    The “perpetual war” thing must have really burned.

    The Bush administration is facing a future without one of its most influential backstage figures today after Michael Gerson, the evangelical Christian who coined the phrase “axis of evil” and wrote most of the president’s scripted words, announced his resignation.
    Mr Gerson was originally brought on board as a speechwriter, to craft memorable phrases for a president prone to verbal gaffes. But his sway with Mr Bush soon exceeded his job title, and he is widely seen as having been one of the key architects of the administration’s “freedom agenda”, providing a religious underpinning for the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq.

    • c u n d gulag says:

      You don’t get to go into Middle Eastern wars and occupations with the President you want, you get to go into Middle Eastern wars and occupations with the President you have.

      • RedSquareBear says:

        On the contrary. Rumsfeld (of whom, it hardly needs saying, I am no fan) was stating a pragmatic fact. This is sharply at odds with the disdain that the Rove and Gerson bunch held the “reality based community” in.

        Two different faces on Janus.

        • rea says:

          But you notice, it never occurred to Rumsfeld that if you don’t have the army you want to have to go to war, maybe you shouldn’t go to war?

          • NonyNony says:

            Let’s also add to the fact that Rumsfeld was trying to prove his idea that you could win a war on the cheap by dropping an overwhelming force on a country and not worrying about what you do after the fact.

            From a moral standpoint, Iraq was a horrible thing to do. But from a logistic standpoint if you’re going to do it, you do it right. Rumsfeld was essentially blaming the armed forces for his idea of shock and awe not working out the way he imagined it would. He was passing the buck – saying that it wasn’t his idea that was bad, it was that the armed forces that the US had were the problem.

            So no, he wasn’t stating a pragmatic fact. He was passing the buck. His ideology cannot fail, it can only be failed. And the US Army failed his ideology, so it gets the blame.

            • RhZ says:

              Ah, using pramatic facts as ass-covering excuses?

              Why, that’s quite resourceful of them. Lord knows they had no other uses for pragmatic facts.

              • Barry says:

                And as far as we can tell, Rumsfeld did zilch to help the situation, and much to make it worse.
                We did not fail in Iraq because of ‘the Army we had’, we failed because the leadership didn’t really give two rat’s @sses about actually winning the war.

            • Cody says:

              This is of course after he fired the General who told him it would take many more troops for this strategy to work.

              Ahhh, how I don’t miss the Bush Administration.

            • Kurzleg says:

              Rumsfeld was essentially blaming the armed forces for his idea of shock and awe not working out the way he imagined it would. He was passing the buck – saying that it wasn’t his idea that was bad, it was that the armed forces that the US had were the problem.

              I always had the impression that Rumsfeld was genuinely surprised that things turned out as they did. If anything, he (and Wolfowitz, and Cheney, and…) was a victim of his own magical thinking. I’ve never seen evidence that Rumsfeld had any doubts about the efficacy of his plan, and Shinseki’s ousting suggests that, at a minimum, they didn’t want anyone harshing their buzz.

              • ajay says:

                I always had the impression that Rumsfeld was genuinely surprised that things turned out as they did.

                Well, possibly, but I remember reading “On the Psychology of Military Incompetence” (well worth a look) which noticed that incompetent generals tend to take inexplicable actions that make defeat even more certain. And a lot of Rumsfeld’s behaviour seems to fit this.

              • njorl says:

                Rumsfeld was probably genuinely surprised that Bush insisted on an occupation after the war. Rumsfeld wanted to destroy Iraq’s ruling structure, and leave. That was never the administration’s plan, but Rumsfeld probably thought that when the difficulty of an occupation became apparent, the administration would come around. All along, Rumsfeld pushed for the minimum possible invasion force so as to make occupation as difficult as possible.

                • Warren Terra says:

                  Alternately, Rumsfeld and the Bushies seemed surprised that a robust Chalabist political infrastructure that had been lying in readiness, waiting for its moment, didn’t rise up to administer the place. Echoes of the Michael Caine movie The Billion Dollar Brain, right down to the Texas Oil connection.

                • RhZ says:

                  To sum up, the Bushies were constantly surprised at their own incompetence. But that never led to them re-evaluating their intelligence…

                • Kyle says:

                  The Bushiites employed the same toxic brew of impulsiveness, self-dealing, arrogant ideology and magical thinking that they brought to every other aspect of American governance. Thinking “What would a spoiled, angry five-year old do?” was a fairly good guide to predicting the Cheney/Bush approach to anything.

                  I imagine Bush wrecked Iraq because 9/11 left him itching to wreck something, and Cheney figured their crony Chalabi would step in and rule like a docile American vassal state, Halliburton would cash in big on the oil, easy peasy. And anyone who pointed out problems with this scenario was buzzkilling their fantasy and had to be destroyed.

    • arguingwithsignposts says:

      I thought it was David Frum who came up with Axis of Evil ™.

      Either way, Gerson is a sneering prick who should be writing for bathroom stalls and private diaries, not a national newspaper.

  2. STH says:

    This part was particularly good:

    But yes, today’s GOP and conservative movement is suffused with the conviction that there is a permanent, unchanging arrangement for governing the country that was enshrined (perhaps by Almighty God) in the Declaration of Independence (which is exactly why Obama felt constrained to reclaim that document yesterday!) and must now be implemented and preserved until the end of time via a “Cut, Cap and Balance” constitutional amendment. If this isn’t “absolutism,” then I don’t know what qualifies for the term.

    And Gerson is objecting to Obama saying Republicans “see this as a nation of takers”? I guess since he didn’t specify that only 47% of them are “takers” . . . .

    • ploeg says:

      Not correct, though: today’s GOP likes the Constitution, not the Declaration of Independence. The Declaration has a fundamental error in that it declares all men to be created equal. The Republicans see that all men are not created equal, and this fact is the cornerstone of the society that they are working toward.

      • BigHank53 says:

        Eh, they like the Declaration the same way they like the Bible: easy to mine for quotes to support your position…but not a legal document, so one can feel free to ignore all the bits that you don’t like.

  3. STH says:

    OT, but I saw this argument in favor of Prop 8 and thought of you guys:

    I tell my gay friends: imagine if the Supreme Court had ordered gay marriage this past June, at the end of its 2011-2012 term. November’s game-changing electoral victories would never have happened. Gay marriage advocates would be forever stereotyped as political losers who won by running to mommy . . . . Strange but true: a favorable Supreme Court intervention next year would make us weaker, not stronger.

    I guess nothing as trivial as equal rights is as important as respect from homophobic assholes.

    • commie atheist says:

      Rauch’s argument, apparently, is that desegregation took longer because of Brown v. Board of Education.

      The Supreme Court’s ruling in Brown v. Board of Education was only the beginning of the real struggle to end segregation and establish equality; the work of mobilizing the public’s conscience took place in the streets of Selma and the church pulpits and the halls of the Congress, culminating in the hard-won civil rights bills of the 1960s.

      Yup, that’s on the same level as saying that Roe actually set back the cause of abortion rights.

      • commie atheist says:

        Also, too:

        In 1948, California’s supreme court overturned the state’s ban on interracial marriage. It took the U.S. Supreme Court 19 years to affirm and nationalize that ruling, and by then the decision wasn’t controversial.

        It was so uncontroversial that it took until 1995 for interracial marriage to receive 50% approval.

        • Manju says:

          It was so uncontroversial that it took until 1995 for interracial marriage to receive 50% approval.

          The NORC data asks if one approves of laws against interracial marriage. With that one, you hit 50% in 1970.

          School segregation was at 50/50 by 1956 and 60-35 by 1963 (good-evil, respectively). Segregated Transportation : 79-21 in 1963 (good-evil, again). Accommodations: 73-27 in ’63.

          Krugman’s using the wrong metric. Whites may want to stick to their own and I’m quite sure many an Asian parent would disapprove of venturing out of the tribe…but thats not what civil rights laws are designed to eradicate.

          • Manju says:

            Source:

            “Racial Attitudes in America: Trends and Interpretations” by Howard Schuman, Charlotte Steeh, Lawrence Bobo

            If you google book search it, you can probably get to the charts that confirm the data above.

            • The Dark Avenger says:

              That doesn’t account for the fact that NV repealed their racial discrimination laws about 10 years after CA based on the Harry Bridges case Manju, when the majority of the NV population was still against interracial marriage.

              Keep trying to substitute numbers for policy debate, Manju, you’re a living example of Mill’s famous statement about conservatives.

              • DrDick says:

                Not to mention the Dunning-Kruger Effect.

              • Manju says:

                when the majority of the NV population was still against interracial marriage.

                cite for the marriage stat please.

                • The Dark Avenger says:

                  They were repealed in 1959, and Gallup polling on this subject was initially done in 1958:

                  Few whites approved of interracial marriage in 1958, but support gradually increased, reaching majority level in 1997 and then edging up to the current 75% approval rating, the highest point to date, though by a statistically insignificant two points compared with Gallup’s 2004 survey.

                  And, of course the way Sammy Davis Jr. was treated in Las Vegas before Sinatra stood up for his is a matter of record:

                  In his autobiography, Yes, I Can, Davis wrote of the stark contrast between how he was warmly greeted in showrooms while he faced segregation in the hotels where he played. Las Vegas Strip hotels did not allow African American customers and entertainers of the post-war era to reside in or patronize the hotel-casinos. Black performers entered and exited through kitchens, and sometimes were lucky to get a meal at the places where they performed. They stayed in boarding houses or motels in racially segregated West Las Vegas. Davis found the situation no better when he played the Skyroom at the Mapes Hotel in Reno.

                  Sometimes, people fight against the numbers and they win.

                  Bridges met Noriko Sawada during a fund-raiser for mine, mill, and smelter workers, and the two became a couple.[17] In 1958, the couple decided to marry in Reno, Nevada. At the county courthouse, the clerk refused the couple a marriage license because Sawada was the daughter of Japanese immigrants and Nevada had an 1846 statute banning marriage between any white person and “any person of the Ethiopian or black race, Malay or brown race, Mongolian or yellow race, or American Indian, or red race.” Bridges and Sawada asked the District Court to order the marriage license be issued. Judge Taylor Wines granted the order and the couple married December 10, 1958. This order prompted the Nevada legislature to repeal the state’s anti-miscegenation laws on March 17, 1959.[18] [19]

                  My parents were refused by a clerk in Reno, NV, in 1956, because my mother included Chinese in her response to a question about her racial background by said clerk. They drove to Carson City, where my mothers’ answer was the all-inclusive(and technically correct) self-designation as an American.

                • Manju says:

                  They were repealed in 1959, and Gallup polling on this subject was initially done in 1958:

                  OK, so you don’t have any data on NV. Gallup is national and does not ask about laws against interracial marriage.

                  Either way, marriage (and housing) were laggards compared to accommodations, school segregation, etc. so its likely NV voters opposed. But then again, the big question is how much the south bought down the national average. The bigger the North-South gap, the more likely NV approved. Thats why I asked for the data.

                  But you don’t have it. Other than your contempt for the facts (“substitute numbers”) i don’t have any problem with what your writing so I don’t think there is anything to debate.

                • The Dark Avenger says:

                  Gallup is national and does not ask about laws against interracial marriage.

                  4% of the population was against interracial marriage, in 1958, Manju, if you bothered to follow the link. Do you really think that Nevada would’ve polled differently than say, Montana or Utah or Idaho?

                  But you don’t have it. Other than your contempt for the facts (“substitute numbers”)

                  You’re the one with contempt for anything that can’t be reduced to numbers, Manju.

                • Manju says:

                  4% of the population was against interracial marriage, in 1958,

                  That’s amazing. So, we’ve been going backwards then.

                  Everything everyone knew about civil rights is wrong.

                • The Dark Avenger says:

                  That should be 4% were in favor of interracial marriage in 1958.

                • Manju says:

                  That should be 4% were in favor of interracial marriage in 1958.

                  Anyway, the more relevant NORC data starts in ’63, and has 62% favoring laws against interracial marriage. 38% opposed.

      • I mean, yes, obviously, Brown by itself was insufficient. But it was also a crucial part of the process.

        • gmack says:

          Right. I think the quote above is precisely correct. The meaning of a law or a Supreme Court ruling is largely dependent on the aftermath and how various groups struggle over it. But this fact in no way implies that, say, civil rights activists would have been better off had there been no ruling about school segregation, or if the Court had ruled school segregation to be constitutional. To think this is, to put the matter as mildly as I can, is contrarian cleverness.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            Right. This starts to run into the biggest problem with The Hollow Hope. It’s true that Little Rock generated more attention and probably did more to shift public opinion than Brown itself, but of course Brown and Little Rock aren’t independent events.

            • gmack says:

              Indeed. If I may go a bit more off-topic, I think it’s useful to remind some political theorists that there are important questions that go beyond whether a formal law or court decision is legitimate, and that political battles don’t just end when a formal decision-making body makes its ruling, or when a legislature passes a law. However, this theoretical point, which is in my view absolutely true and too often forgotten among some political philosophers, far too often leads some to conclude that formal institutions/decision-making bodies are irrelevant or pernicious (in that they only function to re-entrench hierarchies, inequalities, or in that they sap “radically democratic energies” and whatnot. Sure, these bad things can happen, but when we push this argument too far, the consequence can be that we simply abandon activist engagement with these formal institutions).

    • Uncle Kvetch says:

      Strange but true: a favorable Supreme Court intervention next year would make us weaker, not stronger.

      What do you mean “we,” asshole?

  4. montag2 says:

    If you want respect, son, you’ll never get it by helping a dimbulb warmonger make his lies sound more convincing.

  5. rea says:

    See, some of those aren’t really long term policies of the Republican party. Those are policies they want to force the Democrats to adopt, so they can campaign aginst them. See, e.g., cutting Medicare and Social Security.

    • David Hunt says:

      I suspect there’s a tongue planted in your cheek there, but I’m going to state the obvious anyway. The cuts to Medicare & SS are both medium term policy goals and something that they want to force Democrats to do so that they can attack them for it. Long-term goal is to completely eliminate the programs.

      The GOP knows that attacks on those programs are extremely unpopular so the goal is to get the Dems to do their dirtywork for them. That way the GOP’s fingerprints aren’t on the murder weapon.

  6. Cody says:

    +1 to Gerson for publicly stating his opposition to the Republican platform.

    I suppose we can expect him to start denouncing Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan soon! I’ll be thinking of him next time Republicans talk about cutting SS, knowing Gerson has my back!

  7. bradP says:

    A few points:

    1. In the interview that Ryan quote came from, he spent more time talking about how helpful SS is, and how we wrong it would be to not provide the benefits people were promised, and how wrong it would be if current contributors were forced to take the 21% reduction in benefits that is set to occur by law in the future. If he is demonizing the recipients of SS, he is going about it strangely.

    2. With SS now rapidly emptying out the fund that was built up, it kinda does make its beneficiaries “takers”, even if by necessity.

    3. Gerson is apparently wrong about the strawman. The strawman is that conservatives want takers to be diers. Most conservatives argue that government spending is more inefficient than private spending, and therefore results in fewer opportunities for people to make it into that maker category.

    • Malaclypse says:

      In the interview that Ryan quote came from, he spent more time talking about how helpful SS is, and how we wrong it would be to not provide the benefits people were promised, and how wrong it would be if current contributors were forced to take the 21% reduction in benefits that is set to occur by law in the future

      And yet, strangely enough, the “budget” he proposed does actually and for true cut SS. But I guess we should listen to what he says in response to softball questions instead.

      With SS now rapidly emptying out the fund that was built up, it kinda does make its beneficiaries “takers”, even if by necessity.

      Brad, when you go to the doctor’s office, are you a “taker,” or are you using the insurance you paid for? You do realize that the Fund is designed to empty out, right?

      • DrDick says:

        There you go again with your facts and logic. You know how those male Libertarians’ heads hirt. It is also a dastardly example of exactly what this post is about, the crime of holding a conservative (especially a Libertarian!) accountable for their own words and actions (see, Paul, Ron or Rand).

    • sibusisodan says:

      Not going to talk about (1), but re: (2) – no, just no.

      ‘Taker’ != recipient, in this sense, as far as I can tell. ‘Taker’ implies somebody who has given nothing in return. This is not the case for the recipients of SS.

      By the same token, ‘maker’ is used to denote somebody who produces without having first received in same sense. Because the ‘makers’ are beholden to nobody, apparently.

      Neither term has a real referent, only imaginary ones.

      • DrDick says:

        More to the point, SS is NOT running out of money and to the extent that funds are declining, it is a function of the shift in income to the top 1%, where it is not taxed owing to the income cap on payroll taxes. Secondly, SS is a federally administered pension plan, already paid for by the recipients. That Republicans (and Libertarians like Brad), want to do what the corporations do and steal those pension funds to pay for tax cuts to the rich is irrelevant to the solvency of the program itself.

    • TT says:

      So we should pay attention only to what politicians say and not what they do? Paul Ryan waxes endlessly to mainstream media outlets about the need to help the poor and the vulnerable, but his budgets differ somewhat from his rhetoric.

    • brewmn says:

      Anyone not interpreting Ryan’s comments in the light most favorable to him might also point out that at least one reason he goes out of his way to reassure current and near-term recipients of SS that they will continue to receive their benefits is because they are the same people who comprise his most reliable base of political support.

      Of course, that would also require making Ryan explain why SS is a perfectly good program for those who were born before, say, 1956, and an unsustainable monstrosity for those born afterwards. I’m guessing that is a circle Paulie would rather not square.

    • Scott Lemieux says:

      The strawman is that conservatives want takers to be diers.

      The problem here is caring about what conservatives “want.” People who don’t have health insurance are more likely to die unnecessarily, and the market simply does not provide health care for a lot of people. That a lot of conservatives would prefer that 2) didn’t lead to 1) is beside the point, leaving aside the fact that there are few assertions more lacking in empirical support than the idea that private health insurance is more efficient than public insurance.

      • DrDick says:

        The real problem is that conservatives (especially Libertarians) simply do not care about anybody else, with the possible exception of the people who give them money.

    • herr doktor bimler says:

      government spending is more inefficient than private spending

      How so? The money somehow gets spent less?

      • DrDick says:

        And oddly enough, governments spend more on direct services and less on administration and the like than the private sector.

      • Cheap Wino says:

        This is one of the most pernicious lies to permeate our culture thanks to right-wing media. I wish more people, or at least people with more sway, other the Krugman would repeatedly and forcefully point this out.

      • Kyle says:

        Having worked in both kinds of organizations, my anecdotal experience is that this statement is, to use the scientific term, “complete BS”.

        Funny how lies that put more money in the pockets of corporations are so widely propagated and perpetuated by the corporate media.

  8. Uncle Kvetch says:

    If he is demonizing the recipients of SS, he is going about it strangely.

    I’ll concede the point, brad. He’s not demonizing the recipients of SS; he’s lying through his teeth. Better?

    • rea says:

      Yeah, the plan is to threaten to shut down the federal government unless Obama and the Democrats cut Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid, and then campaign against the Democrats in ’14 and ’16 on the basis that they cut those programs. This is what they did in ’10. This is why they call for reduced spending, but demand that Obama be the one to propose budget cuts.

  9. herr doktor bimler says:

    between 60 and 70 percent of Americans get more benefits from the government than they pay back in taxes

    Shirley this is a natural outcome of a skewed income distribution.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Surely EVERY American who is not in prison or living on the streets gets more back from government than s/he pays in taxes. Government provides the basic services that make civilization, domestic tranquility and a productive economy possible.

    That’s why the US is better off than, say, Somalia.

    Has Hobbes been entirely forgotten?

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.