Thursday, April 28, 2005

Elevator Pitch

The Republican elevator pitch according to Matt Yglesias is "low taxes, traditional family values, and a strong military," This fits well with a point I’ve been wanting to make for a long time. There are three kinds of Republicans.

First, there are the Falwellian masses who vote on Republican because of the reasoning mocked here. They own the second verse in the triplet above, although I would hypothesize it came first in the original.

Then there are the libertarians who vote for Republicans because they have been hypnotized by Ayn Rand, Von Mises, Von Hayek, or Nozick. They like the first line.

Then there are the real Republicans, the people whose asses fill the seats of power (and most who are behind that seat), otherwise known as crony capitalists. These are the people who were the real motivating force behind the seemingly unnatural coalition of the other two groups (one chosen for its laughable gullibility, the other for its absurd coincidence of policy goals). They explain such odd events as the prescription drug benefit, the airline bail out, the farm bill, the invasion of Iraq, and the bankruptcy bill. The third line is for them.

The Democrat counter to this triplet: “low taxes, traditional family values, and a strong military,” is to turn the two support groups against each other from our perspective, and nullify the third. The appropriate counter triplet is then: “For family resources, not financial resources; For diversity of ideas, to encourage innovation; and against crony capitalism,” This, I believe, conforms to Matt’s conditions of being acceptable to the left and repulsive to the right at least as much as the original triplet.


Blogger Neil Sinhababu said...

I don't know how the third part of the triplet -- a strong military -- appeals to the "real Republicans." Personally, I regard it as a lot closer to the "family values" arm. From Karl Rove's strategic viewpoint, I'd say the Iraq War bore close resemblances to DeLay's Terri Schiavo stunt -- it was a big PR stunt to put a tin star on Bush's chest and distract people from a bad economy (the difference, of course, was that the Iraq War worked while DeLay's Schiavo move backfired.)

I don't entirely understand what "family resources, not financial resources" means -- families surely need financial resources. Lots of us like "diversity of ideas," but I don't know how much that resonates with the average swing voter.

The point against crony capitalism, however, is really important. I wonder if there's some attack on GOP corporate giveaways that can appeal to both the deficit reduction people and the populists.

12:53 PM  
Blogger TheJew said...

Thanks Neil, this is exactly what I needed.

Maybe you’re right that the Iraq invasion is too big to assign to any sub group. It would be like saying “the budget” is directed towards any one group, however the farm bill, prescription drug, and airline bailouts still fit. I guess the subset of Iraq that is no-bid contracts is specifically for the cronies.

Now I assumed it would be understood that the vague notions in my counter triplet are mirroring the ambiguity of the Republican triplet. To rephrase your argument against my ambiguities as arguments against their mirror image:

I don’t entirely understand what “low taxes, not high taxes” means—we surely need government, so we need some taxes. [In addition, a useful addendum would be to say that the first part could be shortened to “more family resources” (education, social services, but specifically: better work life balance), however I included the second half for illustrative purposes, apparently in futility.]. Lots of us like “family values,” but I don’t know how much that resonates with the average voter.

You see, before the right wing noise machine imbued these practically inherently meaningless phrases. “Low taxes” I mean, what exactly is low? Before Reagan, the top rate was 70%, and Kennedy was the last to cut taxes. I mean sure, we could cut taxes to zero and pay for government by inflation, but that would work about as well as denying all financial resources from families. Similarly, what the fuck are family values and what kind of evil sick twisted sociopath could be against them? Well, as you and I know, if you think gay people do not deserve to be treated as second class citizens, you are one of those sick sociopaths.

We can connect the idea of diversity of ideas (ideas like maybe women should be able to control their womb and gay people deserve equal rights) with encouraging innovation. Let me put it this way: there is a reason San Fransico and Seattle became the cradles of the internet and computing. “Family values”, basically the polar opposite of diversity of ideas, drives away innovators.

2:35 PM  

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