Monday, October 20, 2008

Voters to Republicans: Our eyes have been opened

In talking to friends who formerly voted for Bush but now plan on voting for Obama, one theme continues to come through - Republican hypocrisy. People are finally connecting the dots and beginning to see that Republicans treat other Republicans differently, depending on income.

One recent example is McCain's claim that Obama's plan to cut taxes on the middle class and lower-income families is welfare. They felt that was a bunch of hooey and agreed with Obama's take:
"If John McCain wants to talk about redistributing wealth to those who don't need it and don't deserve it, let's talk about the $700,000 tax cut he wants to give Fortune 500 CEOs, who've been making out like bandits -- some of them literally. Let's talk about the $300 billion he wants to give to the same Wall Street banks that got us into this mess. Let's talk about the $4 billion he wants to give oil companies like Exxon-Mobil or the $200 billion he wants to give the biggest corporations in America. Let's talk about the 100 million middle-class Americans who John McCain doesn't want to give a single dime of tax relief. Don't tell me that CEOs and oil companies deserve a tax break before the men and women who are working overtime day after day and still can't pay the bills. That's not right, and that's not change.
Democrats and Republicans differ on giving people opportunities too. Democrats support expanding Pell Grants and the GI Bill, as well equal pay for equal work and affirmative action. Republicans believe people should succeed on their own merit without a helping hand. At least that's their talking point, but as Alberto Gonzalez, Monica Goodling, Harriet Myers, Brownie and all those no-bid contracts awarded to war contractors showed, who you know still trumps merit among Republicans.

In fact, while reading Lawyers, Guns and Money, I was surprised to find that Bill Kristol and right wing journalists benefit from the same connections. [emphasis added]
Right wing journalism/punditry is absurdly nepotistic, and not just in the sense that many of the major pundit/journalists are second generation. Everything depends on relationships; this is of course true in every community of this sort, but the importance of relationships is more pronounced in the world of conservative punditry than in liberal or mainstream. Every conservative writer of note has a portfolio of these relationships, which allows said writer to place articles, give talks, find jobs, get invited on junkets, and even find the best parties. [...] These relationships are the grease that makes the world of conservative journalism run; it's mildly absurd that a community whose ideological focus rests so firmly on conceptions of "merit" depends almost entirely on relationships, but nevertheless.
But surely Bill Kristol, the godfather of conservative journalists, earned his position entirely on his own merits, right? Not according to a comment left by Harry Hopkins at Lawyers, Guns and Money:
I remember back in the late '90s when Ira Katznelson, an eminent political scientist at Columbia, came to deliver a guest lecture to an economic philosophy class I was taking. [...] Anyhow, Prof. Katznelson described a lunch he had with Irving Kristol back either during the first Bush administration. The talk turned to William Kristol, then Dan Quayle's chief of staff, and how he got his start in politics. Irving recalled how he talked to his friend Harvey Mansfield at Harvard, who secured William a place there as both an undergrad and graduate student; how he talked to Pat Moynihan, then Nixon's domestic policy adviser, and got William an internship at The White House; how he talked to friends at the RNC and secured a job for William after he got his Harvard Ph.D.; and how he arranged with still more friends for William to teach at UPenn and the Kennedy School of Government. With that, Prof. Katznelson recalled, he then asked Irving what he thought of affirmative action. "I oppose it", Irving replied. "It subverts meritocracy."
That's affirmative action Republican-style and the voters are not amused. They're finally beginning to realize that the torchbearers for the Republican Party have defrauded them.

(Cross-posted at Blogging for MI.)


K. said...

What a great story! I can tell that I have to read LG&M. Any book named after a Warren Zevon song has to have something going for it.

K. said...

Oops, I did it again. OK, I'll start reading that blog. As for its name, what I said goes.

Lew Scannon said...

If Bill Kristol had to be hired on his own merits, he'd undoubtedly still be unemployed, or working somewhere far away from DC.

Kathy said...

K, I didn't think about it until you mentioned Warren Zevon, but a line from that song says "stuck between a rock and a hard place." That describes the current state of affairs for the Republicans, eh? They're nothing without the extremist base they've courted for years, yet the public is turned off by that extremism.

Lew, how true, and that's the case for people on both sides of the political spectrum, but the difference is conservative's hypocrisy. They decry a helping hand yet willingly take it when someone offers it to them.

K. said...

You got that right, Kathy. My definition of a conservative: A liberal whose ox hasn't been gored. In other words, they are against the gub'mint until they need its help.