Sleeping at night?

James Taranto, the once-entertaining political writer now too deep in the thrall of ODS (Obama Derangement Syndrome) to be taken seriously, had a couple of real beauties in yesterday’s Best of the Web column.

The first came while he was discussing the attacks by Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and others on Mitt Romney’s years at Bain, in which he and his investors profited handsomely by dismantling companies and laying off workers by the droves. Some conservatives are upset by these attacks from the right. Taranto said the attacks could help sharpen Romney (or, conversely, show that he couldn’t effectively respond to the attacks before he gets the nomination – leaving left unsaid which of the remaining residents of the Island of Misfit Candidates in the Republican primary might then rise to the occasion). But he also admitted distaste to conservatives making such attacks:

On the merits, we agree with all these criticisms. It’s shameful for Romney’s rivals–especially Gingrich, who should know better–to be engaging in this sort of class-warfare idiocy. As Charles Murray asked in an ironically nocturnal tweet: “How can a conservative attack Romney for Bain and sleep at night?”

Really? Is this truly the sad current state of conservative ideology? It becomes insomnia-inducing heresy to point out that some people exploit unrestrained capitalism in a way that isn’t good for anyone but themselves? Republican rhetoric for years has been calling people like the Bain-era Romney “job creators,” but Romney’s sole emphasis at Bain wasn’t creating jobs but maximizing investment returns, even if that meant destroying thousands of jobs and bankrupting once-productive companies. By declaring criticism of that practice off-limits for true conservatives – as Rush Limbaugh and others would do – or dismissing it as “class-warfare idiocy” merely makes it clear that today’s Republican Party is dangerously out-of-touch with the valid concerns of a majority of Americans who see the share of the nation’s wealth held by the top 1 percent skyrocketing while the American Dream slips further out of reach of a stagnating middle class. Republicans tell them the only answer to that is more tax cuts for the wealthiest (Romney would raise taxes on Americans earning less than $40,000 a year while giving the average millionaire a $145,000 tax cut).

The second Taranto line that struck me from yesterday’s column was this one, in response to a suggestion by Ron Klain that congressional Republicans might try cooperating with President Obama in 2012 if they want to save their political hides,a suggestion Klain admitted was unlikely to be followed: “You can say that again, Ron–especially since Obama, unlike Clinton, has shown no sign of cooperating with Republicans in Congress.”

Really? You can tell Taranto is fully enfolded in the epistemic closure gripping today’s Republican Party. If you only listen to the right-wing echo chamber, then you might be able to say that Obama has never tried to cooperate with Republicans in Congress, but out here in the real world, Obama has faced criticism from many corners for being too cooperative. Let’s briefly list the ways during the first three years of his term: He passed an extremely moderate health care reform act that depended largely on Republican ideas (which they now shrilly insist on unconstitutional); he offered a grand bargain on debt reduction that had a lower ration of tax increases to spending cut than any similar effort in modern American history, by far; he pushed a conservative, market-oriented approach to limiting greenhouse gases.

Republicans, on the other hand, are so committed to obstructionism that they opposed Obama’s efforts to prevent a tax increase. Only recently has Obama seemed to realize what most of us have seen since he took office: Republicans are more interested in defeating him than making any attempts to govern or improve the economy while he remains in office.

Sorry, James, but out here in the real world it just doesn’t fly to say that Obama is the one who has shown no signs of cooperation. When you say something that’s so obviously untrue, perhaps you’re the one who ought to have trouble sleeping at night.

One Response to Sleeping at night?

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