Wednesday, September 05, 2007


At the Volokh Conspiracy, David Bernstein lists what appear to be his leading complaints about Congress, including,
General demagoguery, e.g., Democratic members anytime Medicare or Social Security reform comes up, and Republican members on federalizing criminal law, the War on Terror, flagburning, etc.
I have no problem with criticizing demagoguery, but to me I can't think of an issue where you can't find sins on both sides. By way of example, I don't know what Democratic Senator Debbie Stabenow has stated about her motivation to vote in favor of a constitional amendment against "desecrating the flag", but her vote is a matter of record.

To present a list like this, where demagoguery on "Medicare and Social Security" is attributed to the Democrats tells you more about the speaker than it does about actual demagoguery. The Republican Party opposed Social Security from its earliest days, describing it as socialism and even communism. The Republican party has attacked Medicare as "socialized medicine". Early fearmongering about Medicare came from none other than Ronald Reagan,
And if you don't do this and if I don't do it, one of these days you and I are going to spend our sunset years telling our children, and our children's children, what it once was like in America when men were free.
Back during Bush's attempt to privatize Social Security, you could hardly turn around without hearing a Republican complain that the failure to "reform" Social Security would result in fiscal ruin.

I suspect that the explanation is that, on a subconscious level, people tend not to recognize demagoguery when they agree with it. To get past that, people have to actually think about the issues... good luck, right?

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