Thursday, July 9, 2015

Jeb And "Moderate" Republicans

As I am sure you've heard, Jeb Bush pulled a Mitt Romney this week, accidentally letting his true thoughts out in public by saying that the solution to America's economic woes is to work more hours.  Considering that American workers put in many more hours than their peers in other affluent nations, such a statement would be a joke if some random moron on the street said it.  In this case, however, Jeb Bush is not only running for president, he is the son and brother of former presidents, born with a silver spoon in his mouth.  He is basically the last person that the majority of Americans want lecturing them on their work habits.

Mitt Romney's comments about the 47% of Americans who were "takers" (which he thought were private) did a lot to lose him the election in 2012.  What he said, as obnoxious as it sounded to most people, was actually a common talking point among conservatives well before he made it public.  Conservatives also think that regular working people need to be working more hours, but they won't come out and say it in those terms.  Instead they just let their policies do the talking: blocking family leave, trying to eliminate the weekend, undermining overtime pay, etc.  It takes someone as maladroit and gaffe-prone as Jeb Bush to make the intent of all of this much more visible.

Bush has also illustrated the problem with the "moderate Republican" brand.  Anymore a "moderate conservative" is someone who opposes gay marriage but doesn't spew hate about it, who is opposed to meaningful immigration reform but not xenophobic, but in economic matters supports policies that funnel more money into the hands of the wealthy and squeeze those at the bottom and the middle until their pips squeak.  The supposed "respectable" Republicans in the race for president (Jeb, Walker, Christie) are all servants of corporate America dedicated to slashing workers' rights and protections.  When it comes to economic and labor policy, there are no moderates in the Republican party, and the toffs to the manner born like Jeb and Mitt are too clumsy to hide their true intentions.  If anything, Bush's slip-up might open a door for Christie, a man with a true contempt for the working class who masks it behind a bloviating wall of fake populist bullshit.  In any case, the desire of the monied puppet masters behind the GOP not to have a repeat of 2012 just might seal Bush's doom.

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