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Krugman: Conservatives Are Such Jokers

by Pamela Leavey

Sad but true… Paul Krugman nails the attitude of “today’s leading conservatives” who are “Reagan’s heirs.”

If you’re poor, if you don’t have health insurance, if you’re sick — well, they don’t think it’s a serious issue. In fact, they think it’s funny.

On Wednesday, President Bush vetoed legislation that would have expanded S-chip, the State Children’s Health Insurance Program, providing health insurance to an estimated 3.8 million children who would otherwise lack coverage.

In anticipation of the veto, William Kristol, the editor of The Weekly Standard, had this to say: “First of all, whenever I hear anything described as a heartless assault on our children, I tend to think it’s a good idea. I’m happy that the president’s willing to do something bad for the kids.” Heh-heh-heh.


Most conservatives are more careful than Mr. Kristol. They try to preserve the appearance that they really do care about those less fortunate than themselves. But the truth is that they aren’t bothered by the fact that almost nine million children in America lack health insurance. They don’t think it’s a problem.

“I mean, people have access to health care in America,” said Mr. Bush in July. “After all, you just go to an emergency room.”

And on the day of the veto, Mr. Bush dismissed the whole issue of uninsured children as a media myth. Referring to Medicaid spending — which fails to reach many children — he declared that “when they say, well, poor children aren’t being covered in America, if that’s what you’re hearing on your TV screens, I’m telling you there’s $35.5 billion worth of reasons not to believe that.”

Of course, there’s nothing funny about not having health care. It’s one of the most serious problems in America today. But the “the lack of empathy shown by Mr. Limbaugh, Mr. Kristol, and, yes, Mr. Bush is genuine, not feigned,” Krugman points out and I agree wholeheartedly.

Mark Crispin Miller, the author of “The Bush Dyslexicon,” once made a striking observation: all of the famous Bush malapropisms — “I know how hard it is for you to put food on your family,” and so on — have involved occasions when Mr. Bush was trying to sound caring and compassionate.

By contrast, Mr. Bush is articulate and even grammatical when he talks about punishing people; that’s when he’s speaking from the heart. The only animation Mr. Bush showed during the flooding of New Orleans was when he declared “zero tolerance of people breaking the law,” even those breaking into abandoned stores in search of the food and water they weren’t getting from his administration.

What’s happening, presumably, is that modern movement conservatism attracts a certain personality type. If you identify with the downtrodden, even a little, you don’t belong. If you think ridicule is an appropriate response to other peoples’ woes, you fit right in.

And Republican disillusionment with Mr. Bush does not appear to signal any change in that regard. On the contrary, the leading candidates for the Republican nomination have gone out of their way to condemn “socialism,” which is G.O.P.-speak for any attempt to help the less fortunate.

So once again, if you’re poor or you’re sick or you don’t have health insurance, remember this: these people think your problems are funny.

That’s the true sickness in America. The total lack of compassion and empathy that emanates from these sick minds that find humor in the human condition.

The N.Y. Times also notes the SPIN today that Bush is using to “justify his ideologically driven veto of a bill to expand the State Children’s Health Insurance Program.”

Mr. Bush stretched the truth considerably when he told an audience in Lancaster, Pa., that he has long been a strong supporter of the S-chip program. “I supported it as governor, and I support it as president of the United States,” he said. As governor of Texas, Mr. Bush fought — unsuccessfully — to restrict the state’s program to children with family incomes up to 150 percent of the poverty level, well below the 200 percent allowed by federal law. As president, he is again trying to shrink the program for the entire country. His proposed five-year budget does not provide enough to continue enrollments at current levels, let alone cover millions of the uninsured.

There is NO justification for this travesty.

3 Responses to “Krugman: Conservatives Are Such Jokers”

  1. Rich conservative mind set: For there to be someone on top, there has to be many on the bottom.

    Poor conservative mind set: I’m so goddamned special that I know that it’s only a matter of time that I’m on the top. Goodbye all you suckers on the bottom.

  2. “What’s happening, presumably, is that modern movement conservatism attracts a certain personality type. If you identify with the downtrodden, even a little, you don’t belong. If you think ridicule is an appropriate response to other peoples’ woes, you fit right in. . . .

    “. . . [I]f you’re poor or you’re sick or you don’t have health insurance, remember this: these people think your problems are funny.”

    So writes Paul Krugman in his October 5, 2007, column in _The New York Times_, “Conservatives Are Such Jokers.”

    But what he points out is not at all funny. It’s scary.

    What is scariest here is that as outrageous, illogical, and downright cruel the insanity spouted by mainstream “conservatism” in modern America is, millions of supposedly intelligent people actually believe it with a straight face and with all their hearts–or maybe calculating machines? As has been said often, conservative “thinking” knows the price of everything but the value of nothing. Many scholars have noted the connection between modern conservative “thinking” and support for fascism, racism, anti-intellectualism, and other forms of prejudice and tyranny.

    Remember that most if not all modern-day conservatives, were they living then, would have been on the side of King George III, just as virtually all of them now all but deify our own time’s “King”–or “Decider” or “Unitary Executive”–George III.

    Remember that they are the political and spiritual descendants of those who supported the “divine right” of kings, slavery, property qualifications for voting, the legalized treatment of women and children as chattel, the treatment of working people as all but slaves, and the like–and, now as then, have opposed virtually every form of human enlightenment and progress. This is evil.

    What decent, caring, thinking person would ever embrace or even flirt with the hate-driven, punitive “logic” that drives modern American–or Amerikan–conservatism and conservatives? What is it about such “conservatives” that makes them take such pathological, deranged glee in scapegoating and punishing those to whom fate deals a bad hand?

    What does a modern-day right-winger think and say when someone about whom he or she cares–or the right-winger himself or herself–loses a job or health insurance, ends up unemployed for more than a short time, or otherwise needs help?

    A very strong part of me believes that any right-winger who so constantly prates about how good it is for us to be subject to the dictates of the Right’s real deity, the untrammeled “free market” (free, that is, only for those with money and power), will no doubt benefit from getting a stiff dose of what that market can and all too often does to real human beings–people who have played by all the rules, done all the correct things, and yet have ended up shafted.

    Likewise, much in me believes that when progressives come to power, as they surely will, they should give the Right and its adherents as much consideration and mercy as they have shown us and others–little or none.

    Yes–let’s teach ‘em a lesson they will never forget or recover from. Just as they have done to us and to working people, the middle class, women and children, people of color, and so many others over these past 26 years and especially these last seven or so, let’s politically, socially, and economically degrade, humiliate, and cripple *them*, making sure they will never be able to pull their sick stunts of the last 30 years or so again.

    Revenge can be sweet–and right and good. Let’s show ‘em how it feels!

    Ultimately, as Krugman so well demonstrates in his current piece and so many of his other writings over the years, such conservatism itself is a dangerous, malignant disease that, for your and your loved ones’ good and mine, for the good of our nation and world, we must eradicate forever.

    Scott Enk

  3. Compete and prevail, yes.

    Eradicate? I’m not clear on how the cure becomes better than the disease.