Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Parallel Universe Expansion Kit

What is the sound of one hand, clapping?

That tree falling in the woods without anyone to hear it gets a little bit louder.

From the start, I've said that Ryan's plan was courageous. It was proved so yesterday--kamikazi courageous. It lays plain the true intentions of latter day radical conservatism: the gutting of the social safety net. Republicans will now have to run on this principle. We should all be grateful to Ryan for his intellectual honesty. The President should be especially grateful.

A lot of folks in the echo chamber of the left got really angry that people looked at Paul Ryan's plan and said the words "serious" or "courageous." They forget that such a plan has a chance to become law when it is seriously proposed by the majority party in the House of Representatives, and is the end result of a serious right-wing ownership of political dialouge in this nation for the past generation (mainly do to liberal and progressive incoherence, non-participation, and lack of focus).

The folks proposing the plan just won a national election in a landslide, control congressional partisan gerrymandering redistricting in the majority of the states, and have sold a lot of folks on their ideas through constant mass marketing. This stuff is about as serious as it gets.

But here's the catch: it is far easier to market vaugue ideas, theories, and common-sense-isms than it is to really flesh out the details of policy. "Protect Your Marriage From Gay People" and "Support the Troops With Lapel Pins" isn't policy.

That's why I've always said I prefer to discuss policy involving plans like Paul Ryan's. Disagree with it as much as you want - it presents an intellectually consistent argument; it is the tip of the iceberg of real Republican political wishes. It is this is our plan serious, and it presents something tangible to be discussed.

It is difficult to engage in fake arguments about imaginary things like the "Ground Zero Mosque," "Death Panels," and "Kenyan Anti-Colonial Islamic Atheist Birth Certifications."

But when it comes to discussing deficits and voucherizing Medicare, privatizing Social Security, and why all these tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans have yet to produce any economic expansion after 10 years, liberals and progressives may have some traction. Those are arguments that liberals and progressives won at least once already.


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