The Pandering Wars

Jonathan CohnJonathan Cohn wrote an excellent, punchy article today on the conservative meme that says that Obama won re-election because he promised “free stuff” to all those lowdown no goodnicks, Stuff White People Like.

Forget all of the racism, Cohn says. The conservatives just aren’t making any sense. (Imagine that!) As we all know, retired white people are one of the biggest constituencies of the Republican Party. And they get as much free stuff as anyone—more actually. And what was Romney biggest and clearest promise to this voting block: we’re not screwing you!

What Cohn does not discuss is all the “free stuff” that is given to the very wealthy. He does mention the fact that they usually pay less in taxes than the middle classes do. But it is much bigger than that. There is direct corporate welfare, for example. Even more important I think, there are the various ways that government allows corporations to take advantage of individuals. There are regulations that hardly punish corporate wrong doers—on those occasions they are even caught. And on and on.

Cohn ends with a great distillation of the pandering wars:

Put aside the actual policy merits of what Romney was proposing. Do you notice a difference between what Democrats and Republicans were promising their supporters? Subsidized health insurance, free contraception, food stamps, more open immigration policies—all of these are consistent with the Democratic Party worldview, which preaches tolerance, promotes gender equality, and envisions government as a guarantor of economic security. But protecting Medicare from changes? Putting money back into it? Republicans hate government health insurance programs and they hate spending money on them. Remind me, again—which side is pandering to its base? or should look into this. I’m sure they would say it was a toss-up.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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