The Choice Isn’t Right or Left, It’s Right or Wrong

From “The Case Against Romney:  At Heart, He’s a Delusional One-Percenter,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine:
The election offers Romney his moment of maximal leverage over his party’s right-wing base.  If he actually wanted to cut a budget deal along the lines of Bowles-Simpson, or replace Dodd-Frank with some other way of preventing the next financial crisis, or replace Obamacare with some other plan to cover the uninsured, there would be no better time to announce it than now, when he could sorely use some hard evidence of his moderation.  He has not done so — either because he does not want to or because he fears a revolt by the Republican base.  But if he fears such a revolt now, when his base has no recourse but to withhold support and reelect Obama, he will also fear it once in office, when conservatives could oppose him without making their worst political nightmare come true as a result.

And so the reality remains that a vote for Romney is a vote for his party — a party that, by almost universal acclimation utterly failed when last entrusted with governing. … But his party has, unbelievably, grown far more extreme in the years since Bush departed.

“Economists have coalesced around aggressive monetary easing in order to pump liquidity into a shocked market; Republicans have instead embraced the gold standard and warned incessantly of imminent inflation, undaunted by their total wrongness.  In the face of a consensus for short-term fiscal stimulus, they have turned back to ancient Austrian doctrines and urged immediate spending cuts.  In the face of rising global temperatures and a hardening scientific consensus on the role of carbon emissions, their energy plan is to dig up and burn every last molecule of coal and oil as rapidly as possible.  Confronted by skyrocketing income inequality, they insist on cutting the top tax rate and slashing — to levels of around half — programs like Medicaid, food stamps, and children’s health insurance.  They refuse to allow any tax increase to soften the depth of such cuts and the catastrophic social impact they would unleash.

“The last element may be the most instructive and revealing.  The most important intellectual pathology to afflict conservatism during the Obama era is its embrace of Ayn Rand’s moral philosophy of capitalism.  Rand considered the free market a perfect arbiter of a person’s worth; their market earnings reflect their contribution to society, and their right to keep those earnings was absolute.  Politics, as she saw it, was essentially a struggle of the market’s virtuous winners to protect their wealth from confiscation by the hordes of inferiors who could outnumber them.

“Paul Ryan, a figure who (unlike Romney) commands vast personal and ideological loyalty from the party, is also its most famous Randian.  … But the Randian toxin has spread throughout the party.  It’s the basis of Ryan’s frequently proclaimed belief that society is divided between ‘makers’ and ‘takers.’  It also informed Romney’s infamous diatribe against the lazy, freeloading 47 percenters.  It is a grotesque, cruel, and disqualifying ethical framework for governing.”  Emphasis added.

Mitt will disappear after the election, he won’t be the leader of the GOP.  For the foreseeable future, Ayn Rand will be. At the time of the Great Depression, the concern was that our republic could be destroyed by the left.  So we got the New Deal.  I worry that our republic could be destroyed by the right if we get Paul Ryan’s Road Map.

 

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