Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Compassionate Conservatism Redux

Former George W. Bush speech writer Michael Gerson once defined the phrase 'compassionate conservatism' as, "the theory that the government should encourage the effective provision of social services without providing the service itself." We all know by now how well that worked for the Bush administration.

Liberal commentator Joe Conason, noting Bush's policy of tax cuts, wrote in 2003 that "so far, being a 'compassionate conservative' appears to mean nothing very different from being a hardhearted, stingy, old-fashioned conservative." Similarly, former President Bill Clinton described the message of compassionate conservatism as: "I want to help you. I really do. But you know, I just can't" or similar variants.
The true definition of compassionate conservatism can be summed up as, "Yeah, that's a shame... wish I could help out but everyone should take care of themselves."

I've been in a self-imposed media blackout these last few days due to the September 11th anniversary 24 hour news cycle (I don't need to see that again) and decided not to watch last night's CNN Republican Primary debate because I saw all I needed to see during last week's debacle. Why would I want to subject myself to the motley crew that is the GOP nominees again? Unless they've changed their minds about climate change or evolution, or actually looked at the numbers to realize they're just flat out lying on the Recovery Act while hypocritically benefitting from it, there was no need for any more self-induced stress.

But then I heard (bad news travels fast) that a hypothetical question was asked of Ron Paul regarding a 30 year old man who chooses not to pay for health insurance, then suddenly needs it - what's to be done? And the audience yelled to "let him die." I couldn't believe it. So I had to see for myself.

More than anything else that has transpired in the world of American politics and the divisiveness we've gotten accustomed to this last decade or so, this truly breaks my heart. What has become of us as a society? Or I should rephrase, what has become of the Republican party as a societal faction of our population? This is the pro-life party? This is the party touting their Christianity? It's absolutely disgusting. And this comes on the heels of last week's audience strongly praising Rick Perry's execution record as Governor of Texas.

There are some criticizing the editing of this video because it cuts off Ron Paul's answer to the question. But the video isn't about Paul's answer, it's about the callousness of the audience. If you listen closely, Ron Paul says "no" when asked if society should let the hypothetical patient die before explaining about pre Medicare days and churches taking care of the sick, blah, blah, blah. Someone in the audience yells "YEAH!" at the thought of letting the patient die to hoots and hollers and it sounds like they're mostly in agreement. I'm sure if the dipshit audience member who yelled had a member of their family who was in that situation, he would think differently.

I also can't dismiss this as just two or three jackasses in the audience. They ALL applauded at the notion of letting the hypothetical patient fend for himself. It's not just two or three jackasses anymore. It's become mainstream GOP thinking. And if the nominees and the Republican leadership feel the need to kowtow to the Tea Party, then shame on them.

Just another example blowing apart the myth that both parties are the same.

1 comment:

JUDI M. said...

And these people are PROUD of the fact they act and think this way. It makes 'em "real american Patriots" as opposed us low-lie elitist commie socialist welfare-loving Libs.

Sad and scary.