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Conservatives finally found a fall guy for their big loss last Tuesday—the American people.

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If you want to explain why your party lost a presidential election, there are a number of places to look. You can blame your candidate and his campaign (which usually means, "If only they had listened to me!"). You can blame your party, and ask if it should examine its ideology or its rhetoric. You can blame the media. Or you can blame the voters. As the old political saw says, "The people have spoken—the bastards." And that is what one conservative after another has been saying over the last week.

They aren't saying that the voters are uninformed, or that they allowed themselves to be duped. Instead, Barack Obama's re-election is said to be a moral failing on the part of the American public. They got what they wanted, conservatives are saying. And what was it they wanted? Universal health coverage, higher taxes on the wealthy, strong environmental regulations, legal abortion? Nope. They wanted free stuff. Because that's just how those people are.

This was perhaps articulated most vividly by Bill O'Reilly, who on election nightlamented the fact that "the white establishment is no longer the majority" and said, "It's not a traditional America anymore, and there are 50 percent of the voting public who want stuff. They want things. And who is going to give them things? President Obama."

It didn't start on election day; this is a tune that Republicans have been playing for a couple of years now, and nearly everyone, from media figures to members of Congress to their presidential nominee himself, joined in with increasing frequency over the last few months. "You either get free stuff or you get freedom. You cannot have both," said Sarah Palin back in September. "Offering Americans a check is a more fruitful political strategy than offering them the opportunity to take control of and responsibility for their own lives,"wrote National Review's Kevin Williamson after the election. "You have two generations now who believe that the government owes them something," saidconservative columnist Cal Thomas. "If you're looking for free stuff you don't have to pay for, vote for the other guy," said Mitt Romney during the campaign. And of course, his infamous 47 percent video was all about those people who think they are "entitled" to government benefits.

The truth, of course, is that every single person in America gets benefits from the U.S. government. We get defended from invasion, we get roads to drive on, we get reasonably clean air to breathe, we get parks and schools and so much else. But that's not the "free stuff" conservatives are talking about. They're talking about the government giving you something directly as an individual, like money. But there's a problem here too: Lots and lots of Americans, including most of those whom Republicans deem morally worthy, get plenty of stuff from the government. I'm not even talking about bank bailouts, or corporations like General Electric rewriting the tax code so they pay nothing. I'm talking about individual people, the kind of people Republicans like, getting direct government aid.

There is nothing–nothing–that makes, say, Medicare superior to unemployment benefits, even though as far as conservatives are concerned, only receiving the latter makes you a "taker." If you're unemployed, you paid taxes, and now the government is helping you in your time of need. There is nothing that makes the mortgage interest deduction morally superior to food stamps, even though conservatives like one but not the other. The government has decided, wisely or not, that it wants to promote home ownership, so it pays for part of millions of homeowners' mortgage interest. The government has also decided that it's bad for our society if people starve, so if your income falls below the level where it will be difficult to afford food and also pay for the other necessities of life, it give you some help in buying food.

So what is it that, in conservatives' minds, distinguishes the "makers" from the "takers," particularly when, as political scientists Suzanne Mettler and John Sides report, "97 percent of Republicans and 98 percent of Democrats report that they have used at least one government social policy"? Think hard, and it'll come to you.

Even if Mitt Romney had not chosen Ayn Rand acolyte Paul Ryan to be his running mate, this election would still have seen the triumph of a Randian attitude on the right, in which every policy and everyone they don't like is attacked as a despicable parasite sucking off the labors of their economic betters. We had Romney's absurdly mendacious welfare ad ("You wouldn't have to work … they just send you your welfare check"). We had Newt Gingrich proclaiming that he'd love to explain to the NAACP "why the African American community should demand paychecks and not be satisfied with food stamps." We had the attack on Sandra Fluke for allegedly wanting "free contraception," or even asking for taxpayers to pay for it ("Ms. Fluke wants us to pick up her lifestyle expenses!" said Bill O'Reilly), when what she advocated was that the insurance coverage that women themselves pay for should cover contraception. We had conservatives fascinated by the idea that poor voters were being given free "Obama phones" (don't ask). To the right, if you were voting for Obama it could only be because you wanted to get something from the government you didn't deserve.

But if you want to find a real sense of entitlement, the place to look is among the country's wealthy, the people who turned over hundreds of millions of dollars to Karl Rove and Ed Gillespie in their failed attempt to drive Barack Obama from office. They may not have been able to propel one of their own to the White House, but despite all their resentment and complaining things have never been better for the country's economic Übermenschen. Not only do they hold more of the nation's wealth than at any time since the Gilded Age, the privileges of that wealth have never been greater. Their taxes have never been lower. The entire world offers special concierge services to shield them from the indignities and inconveniences of everyday life. And now, they have new freedoms in the political realm as well; where they might have had to hold their tongues in the past, thanks to Citizens United they are now free to strong-arm their employees to vote in the right way, complete with threats of layoffs should the voters be so vulgar as to elect a Democratic president.

Perhaps by the time 2016 arrives, the Republican party will find a message that resonates with voters more effectively than "You people make me sick." For now, though, that's what they're sticking with.

by on Nov. 12, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Replies (171-175):
by Ruby Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 6:55 PM
1 mom liked this

LOL!  A monarchy with God/Kings is not socialism.  They were not a "government" they were a bunch of people who thought they were Gods, murdered their friends, associates and family members, and married their brothers, sisters, and children to hang on to power.  It was hardly socialism,  there was a ruling class and an underclass, and a slave class.   Isn't one of the main aspects of socialism a Democracy?  And the other that there is no ruling class?

Also Ancient Egypt took 3000 years to "collapse."   Trying to argue that 3000 years of it was a "downfall" is actually really funny.  

Honestly look it up.  This is not just some stacymomof2 interpretation.  This is a matter of absolute, proven, undeniable fact.  Are you saying Cleopatra (at the very end of "ancient Egypt") was a socialist? Or any member of her family? (which was like the 28th dynasty or something, Egypt was already ancient by the 30 BCE)  You can't just redefine entire empires to make a point that doesn't make sense anyway!  I mean 3000 years is some pretty solid staying power, isn't it?  If you were to think that ancient Egypt was socialist it would seem that it would be an argument for a stable society, since our own country is not even 240 years old.  Tell you what...lets try socialism for the next 2,760 years.  If it then fails, I will agree with didn't work.  lmao

Quoting kailu1835:

Your response just outlined socialism.  Wealth and food controlled by the government and redistributed to the people.

Quoting stacymomof2:

LOL!  Ancient Egypt collasped because of a years long famine, invasion, and the monarchy not being able to control the individual leaders who in the past had contributed to a centralized state (the monarchy) which traditionally redistributed the wealth and food to the people.

You are funny!  Ancient Egyptian

Quoting kailu1835:

Ancient Egypt collapsed because of socialism.

Quoting MamiJaAyla:

btw, Kailu all those educational systems that people are always talking about look at Finland, look at this place look at that place... the majority are in SOCIALIST countries...

Not that I want that ... but no "Socialist " countries do NOT collapse... in fact several are in the top places to live in the world, the places with the happiest people, and sorry to say but NOT in the list of countries whose economy is toppling with the dominoe effect.

Things that make you go Hmmm

24 Countries, Including Socialist Nations, Top U.S. As Best Place to Be a Mother May 2012



So what does matter in determining the happiness or life satisfaction in a nation? Income of course matters to everyone, especially the poorest. As the Report shows, the richest countries are a lot happier than the poorest. The four happiest are all in Northern Europe (Denmark, Norway, Finland and the Netherlands) and the four least happy are in Sub-Saharan Africa. On a 0-10 scale, the average life evaluation score is 7.6 in the first four countries and only 3.4 in the last four. 

excerpt from Huffington post 03/30/2012 .  Info also reported in a variety of other newspapers such as Washington Post, Forbes, 24/7 Wall Street etc.

DenmarK - Denmark has socialist welfare reforms such as a free school system, free
medical care, income

same with the others which are democratic socialist countries... of countries with free market but socialist or with extensive "welfare" programs.

by Ruby Member on Nov. 15, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Oh my.. LOL

by on Nov. 15, 2012 at 7:32 PM
I know! Everybody I know works hard and we are happy! I don't need "hand outs "and I'm perfectly content.
She is the biggest whiner here! Poor baby.

Quoting onethentwins:

That's crap! Americans work really really hard. We have some of the least vacation days and longest work days in the world.

Quoting kailu1835:

lol Americans have very little work ethic compared to other countries.  We whine and complain about our jobs, don't want to do the dirty work, complain about the Mexican's taking jobs we don't want but then when given the  dopportunity flip our noses at them.  Poor people in other countries will work 15 hour days for pennies on the dollar so that their kids can eat, but we sit back on our asses and let other people do it for us.  Our work ethic leaves a LOT to be desired.

But all that aside, just how hard do you think you will be working when the jobs are all gone?

Quoting mehamil1:

Shouldn't use the word "all". You don't give the human spirit enough credit. Or the American work ethic enough credit. We Americans are obsessed with work to the point of insanity. I once had a class with a woman from Africa who was put to work as soon as she could walk by herself. Even she said that we Americans are too obsessed with work and not enough with life. 

Hyperbole, thy name is kailu. 

Quoting kailu1835:

And when you and billions of others in this country all lose their jobs as a direct result, don't come whining to me.

Quoting nb34:

Let them leave. As if they are creating real jobs. Give me a break. All they are doing is exploiting people, polluting our environment and complaining about paying taxes. As if they are doing anyone except their own pockets any favors. They are upset now because the American people have figured them out.

Quoting kailu1835:

Oh, are we back to hating the people who make this country run?  That's fine.  When they all leave because they're sick of the "fuck you" attitude people keep showing them, you all are going to wonder why we've gone back to being third world.

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by HRH of MJ on Nov. 15, 2012 at 9:01 PM

Quoting kailu1835:

Not very funny at all, actually, seeing as how iwas in the hospital all day yesterday with a sick little girl.  I just sat down with my friends iPad. I wish people wouldn't get irritated when others don't immediately respond.

Quoting Friday:

Quoting stacymomof2:

Oh, come on, you know that Monarchy (where the Kings and Queens were considered GODS no less) is the exact same thing as Socialism.

And if we want to get picky, it did last from about 3000 years BCE until Cleopatra and the Ptolemys which was right around the birth of Christ.  So, after 3000 years Ancient Egypt collapsed.  Because of socialism.  The God/King kind of socialism.  lol

Yah, funny how she never answered my question, or most of my other questions.

Sorry, your nasty attitude about Obama voters must have rubbed off.

Hope the little girl gets well fast.

Church of The Invisible Pink Unicorn (blessed be her holy hooves)

by Ruby Member on Nov. 16, 2012 at 1:41 PM

Thank you.  She's breathing without difficulty now, but she still has strider.  She got croup (again) and a really bad case of it :(   Thankfully it's a quick illness and should be gone by tomorrow.

Quoting Friday:

Hope the little girl gets well fast.

babiesbabybaby development

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