A recurring theme here is that, while Republicans think Democrats are wrong in their public policy prescriptions, Democrats think Republicans are evil. The recent events of Charlottesville and their aftermath have helped move the rhetoric to a whole new level. Previously, if you advocated that less dependency on "free" government food or healthcare subsidies would be a good thing for the country and even for its poor citizens, you were merely "cruel" or "heartless." Now, any failure to get on board with each and every policy prescription of the extreme left, let alone any support for President Trump, brands you at the minimum as a "racist," if not a "neo-Nazi" or a "white supremacist."
The deep-thinking Michael Moore gave a good summary of the current talking points in a CNN interview a few days ago:
“If you vote for a racist, what are you then? Because it sure sounds like racism to me,” he told Lemon during the late-night interview, after Moore and Mark Ruffalo protested outside Trump Tower with the audience of his current Broadway show. “He’s absolutely a racist,” Moore added of Trump, saying later in the interview, “If you still support the racist, you are the racist.”
Maybe you thought that Trump's policy prescriptions were, on balance, better for the country than those of Hillary Clinton? Or maybe you thought that Trump would be a more competent steward of U.S. foreign policy? Sorry, but these possibilities are no longer allowed. You are evil -- racist evil!
Or consider the thoughts of Democratic intellect Russ Feingold (recent loser in an attempt to reclaim a Senate seat from Wisconsin) in the Guardian on August 19, "How the Republican Party quietly does the bidding of white supremacists":
Let us finally rip off the veneer that Trump’s affinity for white supremacy is distinct from the Republican agenda. It isn’t. . . . The lesson from Charlottesville is not how dangerous the neo-Nazis are. It is the unmasking of the Republican party leadership. . . . Where are the Republican leaders who are willing to call out the wink (and the direct endorsement) from President Trump to the white supremacists and acknowledge their own party’s record and stance on issues important to people of color as the real problem for our country?
John Davidson, in a column at the Federalist commenting on Feingold's piece, captures the concept well:
Finally, finally, someone on the Left just came out and said it. Being a Republican is apparently no different than being a white supremacist. Supporting a lower marginal tax rate puts you in the same company as the Ku Klux Klan. Therefore, punching a Nazi is the same as punching someone wearing a MAGA hat. . . . This is the logical endpoint of what social justice warriors have been arguing since before Charlottesville. Everyone who opposes their political agenda does so out of hatred and bigotry, and there’s little difference between the GOP establishment and fringe neo-Nazi groups.
OK, I understand the game, but what I can't understand is the lack of much attempt at push-back. Just breathe the word "racist," with or without any basis, and corporate America runs for the hills. CEOs abandon President Trump's business councils en masse. Formerly sane right-side pundits (e.g., Bill Kristol, Charles Krauthammer) compete to distance themselves from any element of the President's agenda.
Who is left to point out that it is the left-side handouts-for-all agenda that has proved a disaster for everyone who falls into its clutches, and most especially for black Americans? You literally can't find anything about that in any media source these days, "mainstream" or otherwise. OK, a little of it persists at a few think tanks. But mostly it is left to the lonely voice of the Manhattan Contrarian. A few obvious observations, made repeatedly here over the years:
- Fifty years of the "War on Poverty," and the poverty rate remains more or less exactly where it was when the "War" started. Except in Democrat strongholds, like New York, where "anti-poverty" programs are even more generous and pervasive, and therefore the poverty rate is up a full five points since the War on Poverty began, with no reason to believe it will ever go down -- at least until the "anti-poverty" programs are reduced or ended. So-called "anti-poverty" programs are specifically designed not to lower poverty and reduce dependency, but rather to perpetuate poverty and increase dependency. The poor are trapped in a lifetime of dependent poverty. The only beneficiaries of this system are the government functionaries who make a comfortable and secure career without ever accomplishing anything they are supposed to accomplish. The cost is about $1 trillion per year to accomplish nothing.
- The moral crusade of "healthcare for all" remains a disaster as an anti-poverty measure, and even worse as a public policy. By definition, no amount of free or subsidized healthcare will ever raise any poor person out of poverty. Not only have all attempts to demonstrate better health outcomes among those with free healthcare failed, it is obvious to anyone who looks that areas with pervasive Medicaid participation have dramatically worse health outcomes than areas with less Medicaid participation. The recent full implementation of Obamacare, expected by all on the left to bring improved health outcomes, has in fact brought noticeably worse health outcomes. Could it be because expanded Medicaid is paying for opioids for the vulnerable? That's a very reasonable hypothesis, although there are not yet enough data to prove it.
- And then there's subsidized "affordable" housing, often characterized here as "the worst possible public policy." Don't get me started.
The inheritors of the mantle of slavery, segregation, Jim Crow and the KKK -- that is, Democrats and progressives -- now purport to claim the moral high ground with a program of handouts designed to keep black America in dependency forever. How can any sane person concede the moral high ground to them? Sure, Donald Trump is an imperfect vessel for the other side. So?