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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.

http://prospect.org/article/land-free-stuff-home-brave

by on Nov. 12, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Replies (41-50):
Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Nov. 13, 2012 at 11:49 AM
Apparently 'billions' of Americans prove you wrong.

Quoting kailu1835:

Not really.  Take a look around.

Quoting AdrianneHill:

That's actually patently untrue.



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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Friday
by HRH of MJ on Nov. 13, 2012 at 11:53 AM
9 moms liked this


Quoting kailu1835:

Actually, it is true.  Just because you aren't getting free stuff doesn't mean that you can't want other people to have free stuff.  It's become pc to think that everyone is entitled to things they did not earn.

Quoting Friday:


Quoting kailu1835:

News flash... the reason Obama got elected was because people like their free stuff.  You can kiss our country goodbye.

Quoting nb34:

Actually that is not true. That is yet another myth that Republicans keep repeating, thinking if they keep repeating it, it becomes true. People who gave them a job? How about people who work for them so that they can reap those millions and millions of dollars in profit. Do they think they can make that much profit without the work those minimum wage people put into their companies. SMH. Fortunately pepole are smart enough to realize when they are being exploited and they speak up. They don't whine, they speak up with their vote! Get over it, you lost. The Right might think they can control everything with their money, but the great people of this country just proved them wrong. People are not putting up with this nonsense anymore.

Quoting kailu1835:

I don't see any republicans whining that the people who gave them a job should have to pay more in taxes and higher wages so they can afford that ipad they so desperately have to have

And you do realize that the vast majority of jobs in this country are not the top 10% right, they're small companies.

Quoting nb34:

Oh don't you worry, fortunately I am not employed by any big evil corporations, and I sure as hell won't be whining to you or anyone else for that matter. These days all the whining is coming from the conservatives anyways.


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.







That's no better than those who say anyone who opposed Obama is racist. Just another cheap way to discredit the opposition. I know a number of Obama voters and they are all gainfully employed or comfortably retired. I'm the only person I know on PA and I didn't vote for him.

I'm really tired of the insulting and ignorant generalizations coming from both sides. They are bullshit and just another way for the powers that be to keep us bickering while they ream us some more.


Oh for fucks sake. You are being ridiculous and unless you can prove that most Obama voters wanted free stuff, for themselves or others, then I call Bullshit. FYI a couple of YouTube vids don't equal proof.

It couldn't possibly be that Romney sucked out loud and wrote off half the country when he thought no one was listening, or that he changed positions as the wind blew, or that Obama voters have a different idea of how to fix things...they must be looking for handouts.

If you can't see how completely fucked up those comments, and frame of mind, are then you aren't the person I thought and are no better than those who cry racist all the time. Disappointing but seems to be the fad, even many reasonable righty's can't seem to admit their guy just plain stunk, it must be those nasty poor people wanting stuff.

smdh


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

candlegal
by Judy on Nov. 13, 2012 at 11:56 AM
1 mom liked this

This seems to be what many want, the collapse of the system.  We know it is what obama wants.

Quoting kailu1835:

The poor never created any jobs.  The wealthy leave, all that will be left will be the people depending on them to pay their way, and the entire system will collapse with noone to finance it.

Quoting stacymomof2:

I'm sick of the fuck you attitude they are giving ME.  What about that?

Let them freaking leave.  Open up the market for some real entrepeneurship.

They are leaving anyway, because they are mad that they can't pollute and pay slave wages.  Good riddance.  Meanwhile let them manufacture all they want somewhere else...we can just give tax breaks to those who stay, and tax goods they try to import.

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.




Friday
by HRH of MJ on Nov. 13, 2012 at 11:57 AM
2 moms liked this


Quoting Momniscient:

I think the Republican Party is going to wish they hadn't denigrated and alienated America.

I wish you were right but based on comments here, irl and from what seems to be the majority of Republicans they are going to go down in flames, insisting it's the greedy poor people's fault and the evil librul media. Oh and fraud, rampant fraud that can't be proven.

It's like how most Dems were able to admit Obama sucked in the 1st debate but most Reps insist their guys won all of the debates. They refuse to see the problem.

Sore-ass losers.


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

candlegal
by Judy on Nov. 13, 2012 at 11:58 AM

Are you talking about the democrats?

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.



Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:01 PM
It's a bit disappointing isn't it? I KNOW there are logical, intelligent and moderate folks in the Republican Party though.

Quoting Friday:


Quoting Momniscient:

I think the Republican Party is going to wish they hadn't denigrated and alienated America.

I wish you were right but based on comments here, irl and from what seems to be the majority of Republicans they are going to go down in flames, insisting it's the greedy poor people's fault and the evil librul media. Oh and fraud, rampant fraud that can't be proven.

It's like how most Dems were able to admit Obama sucked in the 1st debate but most Reps insist their guys won all of the debates. They refuse to see the problem.

Sore-ass losers.

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Momniscient
by Ruby Member on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:02 PM
2 moms liked this
Do you ever tire of making your 'side' look bad?

Quoting candlegal:

This seems to be what many want, the collapse of the system.  We know it is what obama wants.

Quoting kailu1835:

The poor never created any jobs.  The wealthy leave, all that will be left will be the people depending on them to pay their way, and the entire system will collapse with noone to finance it.

Quoting stacymomof2:

I'm sick of the fuck you attitude they are giving ME.  What about that?

Let them freaking leave.  Open up the market for some real entrepeneurship.

They are leaving anyway, because they are mad that they can't pollute and pay slave wages.  Good riddance.  Meanwhile let them manufacture all they want somewhere else...we can just give tax breaks to those who stay, and tax goods they try to import.

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.




Posted on the NEW CafeMom Mobile
Sisteract
by Whoopie on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:05 PM

Moderate Repubs have abandoned that party- They are now either Indies or Libertarians.

Quoting Momniscient:

It's a bit disappointing isn't it? I KNOW there are logical, intelligent and moderate folks in the Republican Party though.

Quoting Friday:


Quoting Momniscient:

I think the Republican Party is going to wish they hadn't denigrated and alienated America.

I wish you were right but based on comments here, irl and from what seems to be the majority of Republicans they are going to go down in flames, insisting it's the greedy poor people's fault and the evil librul media. Oh and fraud, rampant fraud that can't be proven.

It's like how most Dems were able to admit Obama sucked in the 1st debate but most Reps insist their guys won all of the debates. They refuse to see the problem.

Sore-ass losers.


radioheid
by Libertarian on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:10 PM
6 moms liked this
Instead of calling people lazy, why dont the wealthy offer those "takers" a job? It is that simple. Want to help the economy and get people off the government tit? Open a business *with full-time positions* and hire those "freeloaders". No one would have a single solitary problem with extending and even further reducing the Bush tax cuts if the rich would create businesses and hire people.
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lga1965
by on Nov. 13, 2012 at 12:11 PM
1 mom liked this
Hell no!
NOBODY wants "the collapse of the system ", silly woman.
The "work ethic " is very strong in my family and friends. In my state !!!
My daughters worked to save money for college at fast food on the night shift and part of closing was cleaning both men's and women's bathrooms.....they did it for years ...and went on to work in other part time jobs in college. All my kids and their friends have college degrees and work hard. I did too. DH too. (Well...he's my ex now but that is another story)
The bottom line is that making the assumption that nobody wants to work hard is wrong. And we don't want "free stuff ",whatever that means.
You need to be more optimistic! Give Americans more credit!


Quoting candlegal:

This seems to be what many want, the collapse of the system.  We know it is what obama wants.

Quoting kailu1835:

The poor never created any jobs.  The wealthy leave, all that will be left will be the people depending on them to pay their way, and the entire system will collapse with noone to finance it.

Quoting stacymomof2:

I'm sick of the fuck you attitude they are giving ME.  What about that?

Let them freaking leave.  Open up the market for some real entrepeneurship.

They are leaving anyway, because they are mad that they can't pollute and pay slave wages.  Good riddance.  Meanwhile let them manufacture all they want somewhere else...we can just give tax breaks to those who stay, and tax goods they try to import.

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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