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Friday, October 10, 2008

Brooks: Republicans Wage Class Warfare... and Gain Nothing

Barack Obama and Joe Biden hear it when they talk about raising taxes on folks making over $250,000. I catch it from various commenters when I talk about increasing teacher pay or creating a universal single-payer not-for-profit health insurance system. "Class warfare!" the conservative stalwarts shout.

Now if I had more time, I'd suggest that the plutocracy has already declared war on the poor, the middle class, and our future generations who will have a $10-trillion (and climbing) debt to pay off.

But David Brooks, who has looked like he's been suffering from severe worldview indigestion since Barack and Joe (not mention Michelle, Hillary, and Barney Smith) hit all the right notes in Denver, does a much better job of pointing out the class warfare the dying Republican party has been waging. As he notes, the apotheosis of Sarah Palin is just the blood-red lipstick on the ugly politics of division and failed conquest by which the "Republicans" (I'm not sure they even deserve the name any more) have betrayed the founding intellectual ideals of the conservative movement (yes, conservatism was founded by intellectuals):

Palin is smart, politically skilled, courageous and likable. Her convention and debate performances were impressive. But no American politician plays the class-warfare card as constantly as Palin. Nobody so relentlessly divides the world between the “normal Joe Sixpack American” and the coastal elite.

She is another step in the Republican change of personality. Once conservatives admired Churchill and Lincoln above all — men from wildly different backgrounds who prepared for leadership through constant reading, historical understanding and sophisticated thinking. Now those attributes bow down before the common touch.

And so, politically, the G.O.P. is squeezed at both ends. The party is losing the working class by sins of omission — because it has not developed policies to address economic anxiety. It has lost the educated class by sins of commission — by telling members of that class to go away [David Brooks, "The Class War Before Palin," New York Times, 2008.10.09].

I feel for David Brooks. I don't think he recognizes his old party. He must feel the way I did four years ago when I started realizing the "Republicans" weren't who they said they were.

Barack says it best:

I think that folks are looking for something different. It's easy to rile up a crowd by stoking anger and division. But that's not what we need right now in the United States. The times are too serious. The challenges are too great. The American people aren't looking for someone who can divide this country—they're looking for someone who will lead it. We're in a serious crisis - now, more than ever, it is time to put country ahead of politics. Now, more than ever, it is time to bring change to Washington so that it works for the people of this country that we love [Senator Barack Obama, remarks as prepared for address in Chillicothe, Ohio, 2008.10.10].

Compare that to anything the GOP has put out in the last month, and ask yourself: who's really waging class warfare?

Brooks and Obama both see it, and they're sick of it. Obama is the man to put the United back in the United States of America.


  1. The Republican party is not dying, but it's mighty sick. It will recover because we have a fundamentally two-party system in this country.

    I don't see a one-party state evolving (erupting?) in the U.S. like it did in Russia, China, or Cuba -- although it looks to me as if the old capitalist paradigm might be self-destructing.

    I hope that my dear old G.O.P. goes back to its original ideals of fiscal conservativism. It could also do well to embrace certain principles of the Libertarians, most notably the idea that the U.S. should be "a republic, not an empire."

    I'm not giving up on the Republican party just yet.

    As for "class warfare"? You betcha we're having a class war! Who can blame the underclass for shooting back?

  2. And Obama et al constantly chanting Bush's tax cuts only benefitted the rich isn't class warfare? And his plans for taking from the "rich" (which includes me BTW and I am definitely NOT rich) and giving to the poor isn't class warfare? And giving tax money back to those who don't pay taxes isn't class warfare? Give me a break. That is what Obama's entire campaign is based on. Come, all you poor, victimized people, and elect me and I and the fed gov't will cure all your ills.

    I'm not saying Reps are always correct. I am saying don't blame the curent mess on only Reps. And don't you care blame Reps of playing class warfare when the mote is further in the Dems eye than the Reps!

  3. Well put Stan. I have no problem watching pennies for my lifetime and no expectation of great wealth. But the problem Anon 7:55, is Republican policies of late have been benefiting great wealth much more than "average" folks. Obama wants to put some balance back, as Stan's old Republican party would appreciate. There's a lot of freedom from having restraint and being fiscally conservative, but the greedy devils in the modern Republican party do not have traditional values.

  4. Oh, and there aren't any greedy folks in the Dem party? Give me a break. A few of them are Obams'a financial advisors actually.

  5. There are bad boys everywhere, but the Republican party has been highly influenced by the smallest minority out of self interest. No regulation? Bail em out? Golden parachutes? Please. What irritates me as much are middle or lower class Republicans unwilling to throw their bums out. There's unexplainable loyalty both ways for a two party system rather than acknowledging good decision making from wherever that comes. I don't understand why people identify so strongly with one party. Who can explain that? A tribal thing stuck in our head from prehistoric times?


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