Friday, June 29, 2012

SC Gov: Not only dumb, but inarticulate

The GOP's reliable stooges are lining up to take potshots at "Obamacare," after the Supreme Court's decision that the insurance mandate's penalty provision is a tax, and within the congress' legislative powers.

On the front line of the assault are luminaries of the right such as South Carolina's governor, Nikki Haley, who blathered as follows:
SC Gov: Health care ruling means huge tax increase - CBS News: "This decision concludes one thing and one thing only for me, and that is we need to have new leadership in Washington. We cannot continue to go down this path. We cannot continue to be dictated to on what kind of health care we need," the Republican governor said outside her office. "We've got a president who continues to want to put tax hikes on the American people."
If there's one thing that's even more irritating than politicians who pander to their constituents' stupidity, it's them showing how intellectually deficient they themselves are. Haley's attack on Obama is not only nonsensical, it's barely coherent -- full of malapropisms and empty catchphrases written in consultation with pollsters and their focus groups.

Whatever one thinks of "Obamacare," it is a program that only a GOP stalwart could love -- which is why it has its roots in Mitt Romney's Massachusetts and the Heritage Foundation. Haley's rhetoric, stripped of its flourish, is nothing but an attack on Obama. The program is defective because Obama is a demonic and threatening caricature of a human being.

It has always been the GOP's knock against Obama -- that's he's foreign, the other. A black man with a Muslim middle name who threatens the established order -- and whatever privileges residually accrue to white people.

What they don't acknowledge is that the law was written by the insurance, healthcare and pharmaceutical industries, and so is exactly the kind of legislative stew that the GOP is normally enchanted by, and works so hard to implement in public policy. There's nothing the GOP loves better than giving their big business patrons a fat handout via the federal government -- wealth transfer from the lowly taxpayers to the obscenely wealthy.

Take TARP as the standout example of this sort of political paddy-cake.

Perhaps most galling from a longer historical perspective is the appearance of South Carolina in the current controversy. One of the most economically distressed and culturally backwards states of the union, South Carolina has always been, it seems, on the forefront of opposition to the federal government. It's not accident that Fort Sumpter, where the civil war began, is located there. Decades before, these people were agitating over tariffs and the anti-federal sentiment has not diminished.

Over time, it's clearly shown how the reddest states on the political map are, in spite of the resentments, by far the greatest beneficiaries of federal largess. They love the handouts, but can't stand anyone telling them how to run their affairs. It would lend much credibility to their professed convictions if they were to return the money that comes their way from an institution they hate so profoundly.

But don't count on it.

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