Monday, May 23, 2011

The Party of the Disney Dad

Atrios is a bit annoyed with the media:
It doesn't matter how responsible Republicans are for deficits or if their fake plans actually don't do anything except cut taxes for rich people, the press will always paint the GOP as "fiscally responsible" and "deficit hawks."
Right-wingers at times sneer that the Republican Party plays the role of "daddy" and the Democratic Party acts as "mommy", for example,
The mother is loving and caring and takes us back in and provides the safety net. The father is the disciplinarian - tough love. He makes us face up to hard realities, at least in many families. Well, the mommy party is the Democratic Party. The daddy party is the Republican Party. And I think if you look at the economy, you look at the housing, the mortgage crisis, a whole wide range of things, you will find that the parties fulfill these images.
And yes, many among the beltway media seem to (or explicitly) embrace that concept.

Perhaps it's less the idea of the "mommy" and "daddy" parties that's unfair, and more how the right wing attempts to spin that characterization. Perhaps you should view the Democrats as the caregiver party, attempting to keep the books balanced, everybody fed and clothed, and to clean up the messes dad leaves behind or to stretch the budget to cover his latest impulsive purchase or gambling spree, and should look at the Republican Party's pie-in-the-sky representations about budgets and spending, badmouthing mom for covering the household bills while promising lavish trips to Disney World, all the while knowing that if he ever did scrape together enough money to pay for such a trip he would instead be off playing liar's poker with his buddies from Wall Street.

No small part of the Republican Party's appeal to "middle America", the "working class", or whatever we're calling them this week arises from its representation that "You pay too much in taxes," its innuendo about how this amounts to a transfer of wealth to the undeserving poor, and the implicit promise that if elected they'll cut your taxes and raise your standard of living because you'll no longer have to pay 'welfare' for that leech down the street. Except that if you press for details you find out that the leech down the street is your grandmother, and that you're probably somebody else's "leech down the street" due to a government benefit, tax credit or tax deduction that your family receives. And the plan to boost the lot of the average worker by transferring wealth to the richest people in the country hasn't worked particularly well - modern Republican fiscal policy reduces to a dressed-up version of the bailout of the financial industry.

The Republican Party has also done a good job of avoiding any responsibility for its fiscal irresponsibility by characterizing its budget busting expenditures as "necessary" and vilifying the other party's spending priorities as spendthrift. Robert Samuelson seems to personify the beltway's acceptance of the Republican interpretation - if the Republicans want it, no matter the cost, we're talking "pocket change", but every other expenditure must be cut to the bone.

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