Don’t Be Fooled

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Obama Administration

Digby explains why the emergence of David Brat does not signal a new left-right consensus on economic issues.

There is little doubt that all these years of economic torpor, high unemployment and rising poverty and debt have opened up some potential paths to bipartisan agreement on these issues around corporate welfare and big money influence in politics.

But a closer look at Brat’s rhetoric reveals a man who is not very populist beyond that one issue. He’s a typical libertarian (albeit with a theological twist). And so along with his commitment to end corporate welfare, one would presumably need to take the bitter with the sweet. He thinks it’s unfair that people pay less into Medicare and Social Security than they take out so these programs have to be slashed or eliminated. He believes that Obamacare should be scrapped along with employer-based insurance so that people will buy their own health policies, which will (he doesn’t say how) eliminate the problem of preexisting condition exclusions. He thinks education funding should be drastically cut. He believes that if the country is rich enough it will solve the climate crisis — because rich countries always solve their problems.

In other words, he’s a knee-jerk Ayn Randbot ideologue who thinks reality must bend to fit his ideology, rather than the other way around.

What has to be understood is that people like Brat are proposing authoritarianism dressed up to look like populism. It’s a weird position that acknowledges the little guy is getting screwed but insists the answer to this is to give more power to the big guy. The plan is to “empower” the people by taking away the one self-defense tool they possess, the government — which takes its power from the consent of the governed; of the people, by the people, for the people, etc. — and placing them at the mercy of an imaginary, godlike entity called the “free market,” a phrase that amounts to a euphemism for “plutocracy.” And the Brats of the world sell this nonsense by playing on people’s fears and resentments — of Spanish-speaking immigrants; of a imaginary boogieman called the “liberal elite,” which functions as a scapegoat for what the decidedly not-liberal plutocrats are up to. And, unfortunately, they’re getting away with it.

Let us not for a moment be fooled into thinking that Brat’s populist rhetoric signals a new birth of freedom for anybody but the 1 percent of the 1 percent.

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21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. moonbat  •  Jun 12, 2014 @10:11 am

    Matt Bai:

    I can tell you this: Cantor didn’t lose because his opponent, who was backed by radio hosts and tea party activists, articulated some brilliant distillation of conservative thought. Brat struck me, when we spoke, as affable and well intended but nowhere near fluent in the complexities of policy or government. “Really, who I am is a free-market guy” is how Brat described himself. Meaning, he went on, that “regardless of race, skin color, all those kinds of things, everyone should be treated equally.”

    Brat said the first things he would do when he got to Washington were to “vote for term limits” and “bring the 10th Amendment into play.” (That’s the one that sharply limits the role of the federal government, an amendment that hasn’t really been “in play” since Franklin Roosevelt.) At one point, he asked me, “Hey, is it true that taxes went up under the Ryan-Murray budget deal?” Which seemed like something maybe he should know.

    It’s telling that the first thing you encounter on the “What We Believe” page of Brat’s website, before you even scroll down to the Pablum about conservative ideals, is a huge picture of Ronald Reagan, circa 1986. As far as Brat’s concerned, that about covers it.

    Brat is some affable academic, worshipping at the altar of St Ronnie, who lives in a mental conservative utopia and doesn’t have the chops or the inclination to use government to better others. At best, he looks at people as “children of God”, and it’s such a terrible shame that their lives are so difficult. Can’t do anything about that. What’s frightening is that this about sums the attitude of millions on the Christian right, on a good day. Brat will likely get a lot of buy-in from these folks, who will make them feel good about being a$$hole conservatives.

    I’d like to hear more about Trammel, whether he’s just another bush-league player, whether he’s at all capable of dismembering Brat’s nonsense.

  2. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 12, 2014 @10:14 am

    “What has to be understood is that people like Brat are proposing authoritarianism dressed up to look like populism.”

    More commonly known, as “Fascism.”

    And we’re ONE major terrorist act, or another big economic downturn, away, from Theocratic Christian Fascism in this country.

    And, even if the Conservative Authoritarian who might win isn’t religious, s/he will be smart enough to use Christianity to get, and then hold, power.

    We live in interesting – and perilous – times.

  3. moonbat  •  Jun 12, 2014 @12:22 pm

    Americans Increasingly See Opposing Party as ‘Threat’ to the Nation. “New Pew survey with huge sample shows growth of political polarization and depth of partisan animosity; Dems prefer walkable neighborhoods with ethnic diversity. GOP wants big houses, people of similar faith.”

  4. joanr16  •  Jun 12, 2014 @1:10 pm

    Here’s what amuses me. Brat’s smarmy religiosity is completely at odds with his Ayn Rand-worship… considering she was anti-religion and all.

    This morning on NPR, “Morning Edition” spoke to a handful of Randolph Macon students familiar with either Brat or Trammell (it sounds like nobody is especially close with both). There were a couple of perky female conservatives who praised Brat’s enthusiasm in his lectures. (Hey, Pinky the mouse used to get enthusiastic too, when discussing The Brain’s latest world-domination scheme.) Then NPR talked to a young man who is blind, who praised Trammell for all his hard work on behalf of the university’s disabled students. (Bleeding heart!)

    Hmm, which professor makes the better “Christian”? The goofy greed-praising crank, or the guy who helps blind students?

  5. Swami  •  Jun 12, 2014 @1:49 pm

    Here’s what amuses me. Brat’s smarmy religiosity is completely at odds with his Ayn Rand-worship…

    Yeah, Joan. I can’t understand that little complexity either. Today I saw a video of Brat speaking about his victory over Cantor. He recited about half of 1 Corinthians to describe his victory. He even held up a little placard quoting Luke 18:27 saying, What is impossible with man is possible with God. He then ended his victory speech by letting out a loud praise declaring his victory as being an endorsement from the Lord. Who knows?.. Maybe the Lord did send him in to stand in the breach that Michele Bachmann left open.
    There does seem to be an inconsistency in his messaging. I guess the only thing that can be deducted is that he’s over the edge in either direction.

  6. Buddhacrone  •  Jun 12, 2014 @1:50 pm

    Looking more and more as if we have fallen under the old Chinese curse— “May you live in interesting times.”
    😛

  7. moonbat  •  Jun 12, 2014 @2:11 pm

    Brat’s smarmy religiosity…

    I know the type. Another screwed up Catholic male (not all Catholic males are screwed up) whose head is so stuffed with contradictions, and yet he is smart enough to make a living. He can recite the bible all he wants, but it’s completely at odds with his other religion of greed and selfishness. He’s found a way to make peace will all of this, but he just comes across as someone so completely full of internal contradictions. You can see it in his face. Guys like this do indeed come across as Goofy and even impotent, but never underestimate their well-hidden viciousness. It’s all for God, y’know?

    Maybe I’m projecting, but I’ve seen this movie before.

  8. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 12, 2014 @2:21 pm

    “He can recite the bible all he wants, but it’s completely at odds with his other religion of greed and selfishness.”

    moonbat,
    Maybe in his Libertarian Bible, it says that Jesus gave “The Sermon on the A-mount.”

  9. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 12, 2014 @2:49 pm

    OH NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO’S!!!
    Ruby Dee passed away, at age 91.
    A great actress.
    A great activist.
    And a great human being.

    Sorry, but I wanted to interject someone who actually helped change the world for the better, on this post.

    Ok, now we can go back to talking about the people who are trying to make it worse…

  10. Swami  •  Jun 12, 2014 @3:07 pm

    Well, Louie Gohmert says that King Solomon was the wisest man who ever ever lived. And Jethro Bodine says that the computer ain’t never ever been wrong.

  11. joanr16  •  Jun 12, 2014 @3:08 pm

    He recited about half of 1 Corinthians to describe his victory. He even held up a little placard quoting Luke 18:27 saying, “What is impossible with man is possible with God.” He then ended his victory speech by letting out a loud praise declaring his victory as being an endorsement from the Lord.

    Holy crap. Howard Dean’s political career was derailed by one ill-timed whoop of legitimate excitement, and this nutbar Brat sounds like he’s drowning the front row in his spittle.

    True always: IOKIYAR. Goes double: IOKIYATPI (Tea Party Idiot).

  12. Swami  •  Jun 12, 2014 @4:01 pm

    http://www.newyorker.com/online/blogs/newsdesk/2014/06/david-brat-the-elizabeth-warren-of-the-right.html

    Here’s something to read.. I can’t embrace the analogy, but if you stretch your reasoning like warm taffy at a taffy pull you can arrive at that conclusion.
    I think Brat kinda misconstrued the message from the business community where they said they were primarily seeking stability. They weren’t trying to put a damper on the Tea Party shenanigans. They were specifically concerned about the Tea Party nonsense involving raising the debt limit and the shut down of the government. In essence they were telling the Baggers that they had gone too far with their antics.

  13. Bonnie  •  Jun 12, 2014 @5:26 pm

    Regarding endorsements from God, who does God favor when Notre Dame plays Boston College? If there was any President who had God on his side, it was Jimmy Carter. Didn’t help Jimmy win a second term. I think the group that is defined by the term, “Christian right” needs to find a different descriptor because they are all so far from being Christ-like. The last time I was at a taffy pull, I was in high school. Do they still have them? The period when the United States was at its best was when most every American attended really good public schools. Since people like the rightwing nutters have been allowed to destroy a great public school system with vouchers, etc., because they want to keep Americans stupid and/or brainwashed, they are succeeding, which is too sad. Just some odds and ends of thoughts on the ridiculous political culture of the 2000s.

  14. Swami  •  Jun 12, 2014 @6:41 pm

    How does that old expression go? The left is right, the right is wrong, and never the twain shall meet? Or something like that!

  15. moonbat  •  Jun 12, 2014 @8:26 pm

    I think the group that is defined by the term, “Christian right” needs to find a different descriptor because they are all so far from being Christ-like.

    There’s different levels of (spiritual) maturity. Others have written books about this, which are pretty far distant from my memory at this point.

    My very simplified measure of this is: to what extent, breadth and depth, does your love fill the entire universe?

    If you can only extend yourself to your immediate family, or to your immediate tribe or country, that’s good but not very far.

  16. Swami  •  Jun 12, 2014 @9:40 pm

    moonbat …I think of Bergdahl and how the fine Christians like Sarah Palin are denouncing him and wishing him dead because he might have decided to exercise his freedom of religion or became disillusioned with what America is doing in Afghanistan. Sarah Palin is the perfect example of what I would call an ambassador for Christ. Her love abounds.

    Bonnie…Speaking of taffy pulls.. Have you heard the story of the young priest who drank a little too much communion wine before the morning announcement at church. He was supposed to announce that there would be a taffy pull at St. Peter’s on the following Sunday, but due to his excess intake of communion wine he announced that there was going to be a peter pull at St. Taffy’s on the following Sunday.

  17. Craig  •  Jun 13, 2014 @2:43 am

    David Brat isn’t just a Ayn Randbot, he’s a Kochian. He’s exactly the kind of candidate the Koch brothers want.

  18. Bill Bush  •  Jun 13, 2014 @7:10 am

    I’m wondering how long till we see Saint Sarah of the Great White North having a Holy Ghost session behind a microphone with Brat. If she can worm her way into some church money on top of her winger-bagger money, she’ll be rolling large.

  19. c u n d gulag  •  Jun 13, 2014 @9:44 am

    Bill,
    Soon!
    Sarah “The Whore of Babblin’-on” Palin, can smell a great grift a continent away!

  20. uncledad  •  Jun 13, 2014 @11:25 am

    “It’s a weird position that acknowledges the little guy is getting screwed but insists the answer to this is to give more power to the big guy”

    Excellent analysis, that about sums it up perfectly. Same old tired corporate welfare pimp dressed up in a brand new “populist” suit! Unfortunately he will be the new hero for the dimwitted baggers, CRUZ-BRAT 2016, a Canadian born Cuban and an Ivory tower college professor, just what the baggers love, right?

  21. Bonnie  •  Jun 14, 2014 @2:44 am

    Funny joke, Swami!



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