Monday, July 02, 2012

That Republican Vision Thing... Back Again


Friday's editorial by the Washington Post ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, is inconvenient for the Romney campaign. They've been frantically trying to split hairs over a key part of the GOP economic agenda-- outsourcing and offshoring-- and Pexton told them, elegantly, to go stuff it; no retraction for you liars.
One of the sectors that Bain invested in during the go-go 1990s, and not in a small way, was newly emerging companies that specialized in helping U.S. technology manufacturers outsource domestically, and move offshore, jobs that were not central to these manufacturers’ missions.

Microsoft is a good example. It wanted to focus on software development and not to be distracted by peripheral but necessary jobs such as assembling, packaging and testing its products, and setting up call centers to answer customer questions. At first, Microsoft outsourced these jobs to U.S. companies who put these back-office functions in rural, lower-wage areas of the United States. Later these outsourcing companies moved most of these jobs overseas.

The companies that Bain identified and invested in, while Romney was at the helm, and that were the subject of the disputed June 22 Post article, were these U.S. companies helping the Microsofts of the world to outsource and offshore. ...Bain knowingly and far-sightedly made strategic investments, with Romney at the helm, in these pioneering outsourcing firms in the late 1990s, which grew into some of the largest outsourcing and offshoring companies in the world. And Romney and Bain shared in their profits while he was chief executive and after he left.

This post isn't meant to be another tiresome list of Romney's lies or even of how incapable he is of telling the truth or even dealing with journalists. And it isn't really meant to be about Romney's Trade agenda or his economic policies, or his inability to cope with reality or even about Willard "Mitt" Romney per se at all. This is about the 2012 Republican Party and the party vision for a very much less equal America-- a dystopian America straight out of the GOP's bible, the adolescent novels of Ayn Rand.

Republicans took to the TV talking heads shows yesterday to do damage control on their big loss at the Supreme Court last week. While the many congressional candidates and incumbents are starting to jump overboard on healthcare reform, Boehner was whining on Face the Nation that Republican policy is to not legislate for covering people with pre-existing conditions, something even most Republican voters want as well as vast majorities of Democrats and independents. Miss McConnell played it safer by sticking to GOP-TV but even there, Chris Wallace was more than skeptical of GOP plans to get rid of all the provisions of the Affordable Care Act-- and without replacing them.
WALLACE: One of the keys to ObamaCare is that it will extend insurance access to 30 million people who are now uninsured. In your replacement, how would you provide universal coverage?

MCCONNELL: Well first let me say the first single thing we can do for the American system is get rid of ObamaCare. … The single biggest direction we can take in terms of improving health care is to get rid of this monstrosity. [...]

WALLACE: But you’re talking about repealing and replace, how would you provide universal coverage?

MCCONNELL: I’ll get to it in a minute. [...]

WALLACE: I just want to ask, what specifically are you going to do to provide universal coverage to the 30 million people who are uninsured?

MCCONNELL: That is not the issue. The question is, how can you go step by step to improve the American health care system. … We’re not going to turn the American health care system into a Western European system.

Not the issue? Really? Is that why lock-step right-wing zombies like Montana Congressman/Senate candidate Denny Rehberg and West Virginia reactionary David McKinely are campaigning against the Ryan budget based on it's goal of eliminating Medicare? Digby worries the GOP congressional leadership is dazed and confused that John Roberts' interpretation of corporate concerns was different enough from the GOP's that he would abandon them in their time of direst need. "They can't think straight," she wrote and said of Paul Ryan's appearance on ABC's This Week that he was "just talking straight-up gibberish." Digby is confident that eventually they'll all get their talking point straight. But it's what's behind their talking points that Obama has to keep focusing the American people-- at least as much as he can without damaging the tendency among conservative, corporate-friendly Democrats to follow many of the same lines. In his book The Fifteen Biggest Lies About The Economy, author Joshua Holland challenges the underlying assumptions of the GOP vision-- Romney's, Ryans, Miss McConnell's... the whole kit and kaboodle.
One thing practically everyone understands is that what have become known as “entitlements”--Social Security, Medicare, and other programs that provide a cushion of sorts for working families-- are quite popular.

This presents a challenge for conservatives: you just don’t get very far in U.S. politics on the promise of cutting grandma’s health benefits. It’s worth restating that although people respond positively to the idea of limited government in the abstract, when it comes to specifics, people love big government and most, if not all, of what it does.

They want a government that will educate their children, put out forest fires, pay for their million-dollar cancer treatments, make sure that big chemical companies aren’t poisoning their water, and keep them from having to eat cat food after busting their asses for fifty years in the U.S. workforce. They expect cheap student loans and meat inspections and smooth highways, and even the lowest of “low-information” voters know they’re not going to get that stuff from the private sector.

So the Corporate Right has had to frame the debate on different terms. They’ve come up with a Big Lie to do it, claiming that the United States is headed toward a gazillion-dollar deficit just around the corner, and the only way to stave off this looming budgepocalypse is to swallow the bitter medicine of “entitlement reform.”

It’s not that they oppose popular programs like the State Children’s Health Insurance Program-- perish the thought; they’re compassionate!-- it’s just, they claim, that they have the kind of clear vision that’s needed to make the hard choices necessary to “save” the Republic over the long haul.

Pandering to West Virginia voters, Republican McKinley said he doesn't want to do this on the backs on seniors. But that's exactly what his party-- from Romney, Cantor and Ryan right down to the dregs of the Michele Bachmanns, Joe Pittses, Steve Kings and Patrick McHenrys-- wants to do. Because when it comes to choosing between ordinary working Americans-- of any age-- and the kinds of billionaires who are doling out tens of millions of dollars to politicians like Boehner, Cantor and Romney... well there's never been much of a contest, has there?

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