Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell smelled an evil liberal conspiracy on Thursday, one designed to steal away his decades of tireless work to kneecap the federal government. The Democratic-majority House had passed a large emergency bill, designed to combat the coronavirus pandemic, and McConnell was absolutely certain Democrats, led by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, were trying to pull one over on him.
“Unfortunately, it appears at this hour that the speaker and House Democrats instead chose to produce an ideological wish list that was not tailored closely to the circumstances,” McConnell said. He accused Democrats of exploiting this situation, saying the bill addresses “various areas of policy that are barely related, if at all, to the issue before us.”
*** Highest recommendation. ***
“Right-wing ideology, often marketed as ‘rugged individualism’ but perhaps better understood as an aversion to the very concept of a common good, is one major reason why the U.S. government, hamstrung for decades by Republican power, isn’t better equipped to handle a crisis.
“This isn’t just a [t]rump problem. This is a widespread Republican problem. For decades, GOP strategy has been consistent: Whenever they get power, they slash regulations and gut spending, with the goal of making government less effective. This is a deliberate strategy to make the public broadly distrustful of government, and therefore increasingly open to shifting more and more power to the wealthy individuals who control the private sector.
…"This ideological commitment to an every-man-for-himself ideology, which is terrible in any circumstances, is exposed as particularly dreadful in the face of a pandemic. Disease is a reminder that humans are a herd species, wholly dependent on each other for survival, and that government must be a way to formally organize that joint survival pattern. It’s not some villain in a racism-inflected right-wing morality fable about the importance of ‘personal responsibility.’
“Simply put, we need our government to be able to protect us from disease. Republicans have spent years tearing it down, and even in a crisis are incapable of accepting that ‘small government’ is not always a good thing.
…”[I]t’s easy to see how decades of damage to our government are likely to make this epidemic worse. Republicans have been stingy about health care spending and have blocked Democratic efforts to increase access, especially when it comes to the Medicaid expansion under the Obama administration. The result is that we have fewer doctors and hospitals ready to handle what we know is coming, and we will probably have a lot of infected people who won’t get tested, either because they can’t afford it or don’t even know where to go for testing and treatment.“
For survival, now and for the challenges ahead, we need to take Republicons out of power.