The further to the left or the right you move, the more your lens on life distorts.

Friday, June 28, 2019

Unutterable Truth

It's both easy and difficult to summarize the first round of Democrat "Debates." On the one hand, they were wholly predictable, strong on left-wing ideology, histrionics, and a few abstract ideas for their vision of the country. The candidates, virtually to a person, demanded bigger, more intrusive government, higher more punitive taxation, lots of "free" programs, and a large dose of demonization for Trump and the GOP (to be expected; it is politics, after all). On the other hand, the candidates did identify some of the problems we face as a nation (leaving out those that don't fit the prevailing narrative)—rising healthcare costs, crony capitalism, corporations that have far too much power, and others. Daniel McCarthy does a fairly good job of summarizing:
The fake ideology of the Democrats today, unfit for the realities of American life, is technocratic and politically correct. All of the Democrats on stage Thursday are adherents of this ideology, just as all the Republicans who lost to Trump in 2016 were adherents of fake Reaganism. The technocratic side of the Democrats can be seen in their plans—most of them vague—for efficient new programs to supplement or replace private health insurance. Obamacare and Medicare for All are the benchmarks for this: the former is based on a Mitt Romney Republican healthcare plan enacted in Massachusetts 13 years ago, while the core of Medicare for All is a program founded over a half-century ago, in 1966. Neither a refined Affordable Care Act nor Medicare for All has much political plausibility—they smell exactly like the Republicans’ decades-long, doomed dream of privatizing Social Security. Ideology demands that a problem have a solution, and the solution be technical and consistent with the ideology’s foundations. But the realities of politics—coalitions, opposition, consensus-building, and popular persuasion—are all ignored or taken for granted. Barack Obama got the Affordable Care Act through the House of Representatives by a margin of just seven votes, after the historic Democratic victories in the 2006 and 2008 elections. The chances for a more ambitious healthcare reform based on old models seem remote. Yet the Democrats last night made such plans a centerpiece.

The Democrats were as one in denouncing Donald Trump’s immigration policies and wanting to see illegal immigration decriminalized and an end to present detention policies. But again there was a profound disconnection between ideology and circumstance: failing to police the border is not really an option, certainly not as far as voters are concerned; but any serious attempt to deal with the present crisis will involve measures stiffer than those employed by Barack Obama (when the problem was less severe) and not altogether unlike those employed by Trump (which are in some cases simply magnifications of Obama policies). Democrats behave as if the border doesn’t matter and fraudulent claims of refugee status pose no difficulty not because voters share those beliefs but because ideology demands it. Ideology might as well be a script, and the ten candidates on stage last night were the actors. They improvise a little around the edges; they may play different parts. But there is nothing surprising or open to revision—or to the intrusion of reality—in any of what they say or do. The contrast with Trump could not be more striking. Everything he says and does is unscripted, inappropriate by the standards of well-disciplined thought. Yet he often expresses otherwise unutterable truths, especially about American foreign policy and trade relations.
It's the "unutterable truths" that attract so many to the bombastic Trump. A majority of Americans are sick to death of extreme political correctness, where it is forbidden to question left-wing orthodoxy in polite company. They're sick of claims that we're a really bad country, exemplified by Kim Strassel in this statement:
It’s a wonder Democratic presidential candidates can face the day. To listen to them debate, they live in an America saddled with historic wealth inequality, governed by rapacious monopolies, burdened with dirty air and water. This alternate America has human-rights violations and treats women as second-class citizens. Mitch McConnell is the Most Powerful Man on the Planet.
The Dems tell us that our economy is in shambles, despite the clear reality that unemployment is historically low, blue collar wages are rising, and minorities have the best job market participation in history. The tell us that climate change is the greatest existential threat we face, despite the obvious presence of many near term threats that get shunted aside. They tell us that we are systemically racist, despite the reality that opportunity for African Americans has never been more promising. They tell us that Trump is a white supremacist and promote proven canards to "prove" it. They actively and aggressively promoted a hoax that alleged Russian collusion, when the only "collusion" occurred between their 2016 candidate and a Russian disinformation operation. They allege obstruction of justice for a crime that never happened. They complain about the lack of civility on politics, but orchestrated one of the most vicious episodes in American political history—the attempted destruction of a Supreme Court nominee they didn't like.

Broad swathes of the electorate, outside the coastal cities and East/West enclaves look at all of this and recognize an unutterable truth—their behavior over the past 2.5 years indicates that they don't deserve to lead.