In fact, they’re rushing to jam the thing through before Doug Jones can be certified, in a stunning act of hypocrisy from the same people who demanded that Obamacare wait until Scott Brown was seated and held up a Supreme Court seat for a year.
.. the Pundit’s Fallacy: “belief that what a politician needs to do to improve his or her political standing is do what the pundit wants substantively.” I.e., “Obama can win the midterms by endorsing Bowles-Simpson,” which the vast majority of voters never heard of.
.. Today’s Republicans are apparatchiks, who have spent their whole lives inside an intellectual bubble in which cutting taxes on corporations and the rich is always objective #1.
.. Their party used to know that it won elections despite its economic program, not because of it – that the whole game was to win by playing on
- social issues,
- national security, and above all on
- racial antagonism,
then use the win to push fundamentally unpopular economic policies.
.. the GOP may also be engaged in the fallacy of points on the board thinking – I’m taking the phrase from Rahm Emanuel, who believed that Obama could gain electoral capital simply by racking up legislative victories.
The idea is that voters are impressed by your record of wins, or conversely that they’ll turn away if you don’t win enough.
“Trumpian populism remains a tantalizing promise for people who are interested in it.”
Olsen expected the tax plan to include some of Trump’s populist campaign promises — that the rich would pay more, the forgotten working class would pay less, and special interest loopholes like the carried-interest provision for hedge-fund managers would be gone.
But the tax bill ended up instead being traditionally Republican in its focus on cutting taxes for the well-to-do but barely touching the working class and not helping the middle class to a significant degree.
.. “That’s not what Trump promised,” Olsen said. “And it’s not what Trump’s voters thought they were getting.”
Whatever happened to Ivanka Trump’s child care tax credit?
One of the biggest disappointments for conservatives who believed that Trump could have offered a new, more reform-minded populist economics was the failure of the expanded child care tax credit offered by Republican Sens. Mike Lee and Marco Rubio.
It was an actual populist idea, geared to the working class, because it was refundable against payroll taxes. But not only did Republican leaders oppose it, they made sure it failed by requiring it to get 60 votes, unlike other amendments.
.. The tax bill might not be the kind of populist piece of legislation Trump promised during the campaign, but it does have a lot in it to make conservatives happy. Obamacare is unraveled; there are more tax breaks for people who home-school their kids or send them to religious schools;
.. Maybe the most important thing Trump offers his supporters isn’t economic policy or any policy at all — it’s his racially charged Twitter feed and the cultural grievances it directs at immigrants, Muslims and millionaire black athletes.
Sure, Trump’s followers like the idea of having fewer tax brackets, said conservative Ben Domenech, publisher of TheFederalist.com, but, “What gets them riled up and active is the embrace of the culture-war issues — that Trump has shown himself perfectly happy to fight in a way that Republicans in a lot of other positions have been unwilling to traditionally.”
His tax bill is much more tilted to the wealthy than the tax bills of Ronald Reagan or George W. Bush. And his white-identity politics is much more raw and more central to his persona.
It’s as if the Chamber of Commerce, Wall Street and the wealthy get the policy, while Trump’s blue-collar base gets the Twitter feed.
For such critics, the only possible explanation for evangelicals’ continuing faith in Trump is some combination of ignorance and hypocrisy... These voters — and almost all of them voted — see Trump’s flaws but perceive him as a fellow sinner willing to fight the forces of the establishment on their behalf... The barrage of negative press hardly rattled him or most of his colleagues, who see the mainstream media as anything but friendly to their opinions and their faith... “He has to fight all of them,” said the preacher, referring to the Democrats and the media.Another minister told me he appreciates that Trump has no hesitation taking on “the reprobate left” that considers the president “an enemy of their established power system.”
.. Part of the decision by many evangelicals to support Trump for president was attributable to long-standing differences with liberal candidates over social issues. Evangelicals tend to share conservative positions on abortion, gun rights, border security and the fight against “radical Islamic terrorism,” as they usually make sure to phrase it. But more than anything, Trump’s specific pledges to the religious right got their attention.
.. So far, they think Trump has kept those promises. He has followed up with invitations to the White House, sought input on court appointments, stood firmly with Israel and signed an executive order expanding religious freedom in regard to political speech... when Trump refuses to fully adopt the conclusion that climate change is due to man-made influences, he demonstrates an affinity with evangelical Christians who do not blindly accept every scientific theory... They also know they are considered by many to be superstitious or ignorant for adhering to their beliefs... Probably half the people in churches across the country defined as “evangelicals” were converted from lives that were even more unprincipled than the life Trump has led. Some experienced divorces, others used foul language, and many were addicted to drugs or alcohol... In most cases, no immediate miracle happened with regard to their behavior at the moment of their confessions of faith or their emergence from the baptismal waters. The only miracle they were promised was the application of the grace of Jesus Christ, which, under New Testament doctrine, washed away their sins.
Broadly, the Republican Party is concerned about governance. That is why, for example, repealing and replacing Obamacare is taking so long. The Republican leadership in Washington seems genuinely concerned about passing something that works.
.. The Democratic Party is often called the “party of government.” But aside from representing public sector unions, Democrats do not care about governing — at least, not anymore. To them, power is the means to achieve a kind of secular salvation: a placid world where all are equal, all needs are met, and all are validated — something like John Lennon’s “Imagine.”
Many Democrats accept that the methods they use to achieve their utopia may be harsh, even violent. The ends justify the means.
.. The two parties are not clashing: they are talking past each other, and only seem to be arguing.
.. In extremis, that means taking up arms. For most Democrats, “resistance” means denying Trump’s legitimacy and denouncing the heresy of his supporters.
.. Democrats think Republicans are the religious nuts, because of the party’s stance on social issues. But even the Bible prescribes family values for reasons that are, at least in part, practical. “Honor your father and your mother,” the Bible says (Exodus 20:12), “in order that your days be lengthened on the land that the Lord, your God, is giving you” (emphasis added, obviously).
.. Republicans believe that faith and traditional values help individuals live more fulfilling lives in an orderly society. Democrats substitute the government for God
.. They have their own internal divisions, between
- leftists who want the state to do everything and
- those who simply want to tear it down along with every other institution.
But both reject America’s founding idea of God-given individual liberty.