Don’t Remind Us. We’re Trying to Forget!”

I would seem some con­ser­v­a­tives are all up in arms* over the com­mer­cial Chrysler aired dur­ing the Super Bowl halftime.

Karl Rove does not like it.

Rush Lim­baugh does not like it.

Why? One reason.

Oba­ma saved Detroit. If not for Oba­ma, there would be no Chrysler to air that ad. There would be no GM. And there is a good chance there would be no Ford.**

Oba­ma took con­trol and saved the domes­tic auto indus­try. At lit­tle or no cost to the tax­pay­er (or maybe a profit…final tal­ly is not yet in), Oba­ma saved the domes­tic auto indus­try. The Chrysler ad sub­tly ref­er­ences that fact.

While I watched the ad, I half won­dered if it would turn out to be a polit­i­cal ad, clear­ly pro Oba­ma (though I was expect­ing it to be a Chrysler ad since it is so in keep­ing with many of their ads of late).

Rom­ney says he would have allowed GM and Chrysler to fail. Oba­ma saved them.

This is not just bad news for con­ser­v­a­tives polit­i­cal­ly, it is bad news ide­o­log­i­cal­ly. Oba­ma accom­plished the “impos­si­ble.” Many con­ser­v­a­tives said it would be a dis­as­ter. “Social­ism!” was the cry. Gov­ern­ment can­not inter­vene and expect a good outcome.

But gov­ern­ment did inter­vene. Things did improve. Detroit was saved!

This com­mer­cial reminds us of that fact. Con­ser­v­a­tives want us to for­get it. Maybe more impor­tant­ly, con­ser­v­a­tives want to for­get it them­selves. Facts that con­tra­dict their world­view are intolerable.

Do you think Chrysler is enjoy­ing the noto­ri­ety of the ad? I’m sure they planned on it.

** If GM and Chrysler went under, many of their sup­pli­ers would have gone under, too. Many of those sup­pli­ers also made parts for Ford. Ford would have been in a world of hurt with no source for parts with which to build cars.

Hat tips to Ta-Nehisi Coates, who has a nice quick take on the ad, and Ann Alt­house.

Data Driven, or Not

When The Week­ly Stan­dard began pub­lish­ing back in 1995 they ini­tial­ly gave the sub­scrip­tions away for free. I received an offer for the free sub­scrip­tion and I glad­ly accept­ed. I assumed that they bought the mail­ing list from The New Repub­lic to which I was a long time subscriber.

My mem­o­ry is that the free sub­scrip­tion con­tin­ued for two years, but maybe it was only one. At any rate, there was a decent length of time where I was read­ing both The New Repub­lic and The Week­ly Stan­dard on a week­ly basis.

I was struck by one dif­fer­ence in par­tic­u­lar between the two mag­a­zines. Arti­cles in The New Repub­lic, even when labeled “opin­ion”, were almost always data dri­ven; arti­cles in The Week­ly Stan­dard were rarely data driven.

Over the years I have come to think that this may be one of the defin­ing dif­fer­ences between lib­er­als and con­ser­v­a­tives. Con­ser­v­a­tives stand on prin­ci­ple, con­se­quences be damned. Lib­er­als are inter­est­ed in results and are pre­pared to make changes when the results are unacceptable.

And yes, the above is not true for every con­ser­v­a­tive and liberal.

But it may well be true for Texas Gov­er­nor and can­di­date for pres­i­dent Rick Per­ry. This post at The New Repub­lic has a won­der­ful video of Per­ry try­ing to square his prin­ci­ples with reality.

Those Damn Socialists!

I am cur­rent­ly hav­ing to spend a few min­utes each day dri­ving my van which lacks an FM radio. The pick­ings on AM radio are rather slim, so I some­times end up lis­ten­ing to con­ser­v­a­tive talk radio (or “con­ver­sa­tion radio” as the host called it today). I have no idea whose pro­gram I was lis­ten­ing to today (but not Rush or Beck…does Beck still have a show?).

Any­ways, the guy was going on at great length about how the Oba­ma social­ists were set­ting things up in the Afford­able Care Act. He was key­ing in on the busi­ness man­date. Any busi­ness that has more than 50 employ­ees is going to have to include health insur­ance in the employ­ee ben­e­fit pack­age. If the busi­ness fails to do this, the fine will be $2,000 per employee.

The host makes the point that any busi­ness (includ­ing ones that already offer health insur­ance) would look at the choice and choose to pay the fine. After all, it is much cheap­er! This will force all the employ­ees into the Social­ist Health Care that Oba­ma set up…and then “they” (the Social­ists) will have “them” and come elec­tion time the Democ­rats will say of the Repub­li­cans “They want to take away your health care!”

Where to begin. Well, in the first place, if a busi­ness is today offer­ing health care to its employ­ees, why would it sud­den­ly stop when there is a fine added to the costs of stop­ping? Why not just stop now? There is no fine today! Hmm­mm, could it be that there are rea­sons beyond gov­ern­ment man­dates why busi­ness­es sup­ply health insurance?

But some busi­ness­es will not offer insur­ance. Most of these are prob­a­bly not offer­ing insur­ance today. So none of the employ­ees will be forced into the Social­ist Health Care that is Oba­maCare. No, they will be buy­ing insur­ance from a pri­vate com­pa­ny just as they are doing today! Only they will get a sub­sidy if they do not make enough money.

And if the indi­vid­u­als do not buy a pol­i­cy? They will be fined:

Impose an annu­al penal­ty of $95, or up to 1% of income, whichev­er is greater, on indi­vid­u­als who do not secure insur­ance; this will rise to $695, or 2.5% of income, by 2016. This is an indi­vid­ual lim­it; fam­i­lies have a lim­it of $2,085.[44][45] Exemp­tions to the fine in cas­es of finan­cial hard­ship or reli­gious beliefs are permitted

and they will not have insur­ance. They will have to rely on char­i­ty and emer­gency rooms just like today! (at least, I think that’s what happens.)

But wait! What about the Social­ist Health Care that is Oba­maCare? Peo­ple have to buy pri­vate insur­ance with a sub­sidy if they qual­i­fy. Jeep­ers, how much more social­is­tic can you get?

Final­ly, there is the host’s point about how the Democ­rats will use the Health Care to retain/​gain pow­er. How DARE they try and use the poli­cies they favor to cur­ry favor with the vot­ers! This would be like a Repub­li­can say­ing he or she will cut your tax­es to retain/​gain power!

Remem­ber, “the Repub­li­cans want to take away your Health Care!”

This is an admis­sion that peo­ple will like the Afford­able Care Act once it is ful­ly imple­ment­ed in the same way Tea Partiers protest­ed with signs that read “Keep your gov­ern­ment hands off my Medicare!” Damn those Social­ists cre­at­ing Medicare! Oh wait! The Tea Partiers are vot­ing for Republicans!

Well, it was on the radio. It must be true.

Indoctrination Camps

Steve Benen at the Wash­ing­ton Month­ly has a post up about the Repub­li­cans who want to do away with pub­lic schools. He quotes Rick San­to­rum talk­ing about Mussolini’s Fas­cist Italy. His uncle

used to get up in a brown shirt and march and be told how to be a good lit­tle fascist.…I don’t know, maybe they called it ear­ly pre‑K or some­thing like that, that the gov­ern­ment spon­sored to get your chil­dren in there so they can indoc­tri­nate them.

The upshot here is that there are sev­er­al Repub­li­cans who are increas­ing­ly will­ing to talk about doing away with pub­lic schools alto­geth­er. This amounts to a will­ing­ness to do away with uni­ver­sal edu­ca­tion (since they would even­tu­al­ly want to cut the vouch­ers to less than what schools charge).

What’s fun­ny here is when have the schools not been about indoc­tri­na­tion as well as edu­ca­tion? When I was in school, we said the Pledge of Alle­giance (“under God”) every day. What is that if not indoctrination?

Con­ser­v­a­tives have lost the bat­tle over con­trol of the indoc­tri­na­tion mes­sage and their final last ditch effort is to do away with pub­lic edu­ca­tion alto­geth­er in hopes that the vast major­i­ty of pri­vate schools will indoc­tri­nate the way the Con­ser­v­a­tives want.

To recap: when the com­plaint is that the schools are indoc­tri­nat­ing, they mean the schools are indoc­tri­nat­ing the wrong thing.

When they want to do away with pub­lic schools, they want to do away with uni­ver­sal education.

Who Puts a Value on a Life?

I am not sure (but I think so) if it made it into Health Care Reform, but there is no deny­ing that many lib­er­als want what the right referred to as “death pan­els”. Of course, not death pan­els, but a method of deter­mi­nat­ing what treat­ments are not effec­tive, includ­ing treat­ments that give lit­tle val­ue for a high price.

Con­ser­v­a­tives con­tin­ue to insist that the first Health Care Reform that should be passed is mal­prac­tice reform includ­ing lim­its on jury awards. Pre­sum­ably, such lim­its would include cas­es where death was the result.

Who wants to put a dol­lar val­ue on a life?

I Can’t Stand It

There is a very old Peanuts strip that I am remind­ed of late­ly. In the strip, Lucy is walk­ing with Linus and explain­ing to him the ori­gin of tele­phone poles. She says some­thing along the lines of “The tele­phone pole is actu­al­ly a tree spe­cial­ly devel­oped by the phone com­pa­ny to grow with­out branches.”

Char­lie Brown over hears this lec­ture, drops his head against one of the phone poles and says “I can’t stand it.”

Pres­i­dent Oba­ma plans to deliv­er an address to the nation’s school chil­dren that “will chal­lenge stu­dents to work hard, set edu­ca­tion­al goals, and take respon­si­bil­i­ty for their learn­ing.”

Con­ser­v­a­tives are up in arms that the Pres­i­dent wants to indoc­tri­nate the nation’s school chil­dren with his “social­ist agenda.”

So work­ing hard, set­ting edu­ca­tion­al goals, and tak­ing respon­si­bil­i­ty now con­sti­tutes a social­ist agenda?

I can’t stand it.

Justice Confirmation Hearings

I had a chance to actu­al­ly watch a lot of Tues­day’s hear­ings for con­fir­ma­tion of Sotomay­or. The hear­ings should prob­a­bly be called pos­tur­ing hear­ings. It does seem that much of what is said by the sen­a­tors has as much or more to do with shap­ing their own image as it does with try­ing to learn about the nominee.

The Repub­li­cans, under­stand­ing that Sotomay­or’s con­fir­ma­tion is a for­gone con­clu­sion, have their only hope of pre­vent­ing her con­fir­ma­tion by catch­ing her in an error. They return to the same sub­jects over and over wait­ing for Sotomay­or to make a mis­take. Sotomay­or has han­dled all the ques­tions with aplomb.

Sotomay­or was cor­rect to walk away from her “wise Lati­na woman” com­ment, but she walked too far away. It is not true that a wise Lati­na woman will make a bet­ter deci­sion than a white male. It is true that a wise Lati­na woman might make a dif­fer­ent deci­sion that is just as good as the white males. And it some­how nev­er gets men­tioned that for 180 years all of the Supreme Court Jus­tices were white males and in the next forty years all but four Jus­tices have been white males.

To watch the hear­ings is to enter a fan­ta­sy world where white males are the stan­dard for objec­tiv­i­ty. Where white males are nev­er influ­enced by their life expe­ri­ence as a white male. But, of course, a Lati­na woman is going to always be influ­enced by her life expe­ri­ence as a Lati­na woman (even though she has a lengthy record of not favor­ing minorites).

The truth is that any jus­tice is going to be influ­enced by his or her life expe­ri­ence. That’s the way it is, the way it has always been, and the way it will always be.

It is also the way it should be.

It is also that case that every judge should be able to empathize with the peo­ple who will be affect­ed by deci­sions. This repeat­ed mantra of “fideli­ty to the law” is not mean­ing­less. Fideli­ty to the law should be the guid­ing prin­ci­ple, but the law is not com­plete. If it were, there would be no need for judges. Con­ser­v­a­tives are hap­py to have empa­thet­ic judges, just as long as the judge is a con­ser­v­a­tive. Google “Ali­to empathy”.

Final­ly, an “activist judge” is a judge with whom the speak­er does not agree.

Con­fir­ma­tion hear­ings should turn on one ques­tion only: Is the nom­i­nee qual­i­fied to sit on the Supreme Court. This is deter­mined by ask­ing the nom­i­nee about var­i­ous issues that the Court has dealt with and like­ly will deal with. If the nom­i­nee can intel­li­gent­ly dis­cuss the sub­tleties of the var­i­ous issues, then the nom­i­nee is qualified.

Sotomay­or is clear­ly qualified.

I’m from the government…

Over many years I’ve heard con­ser­v­a­tives mock lib­er­als with the line about beware the per­son who says “I’m from the gov­ern­ment, I’m here to help.”

But in recent for­eign affairs it would seem that this is exact­ly what the con­ser­v­a­tives want the Pres­i­dent to say to the Iranians.

Not that any­one thinks there would actu­al­ly be any help.