Stephen Bahl (nedu) wrote,
Stephen Bahl

Re-post from the new blog (November 26th, 2009)

Stephen Bahl takes the GOP purity test

I found this thanks to Fesler linking to it on Facebook. The article mocks the proposed resolution and perhaps rightfully so. I don't know. I guess it doesn't matter to me how Republicans run their party. I'm not one of them. But some of my family are. And I agree with my family on some things and disagree with them on others. I think it's kind of nice to have the core tenets of Republicanism laid out for me to measure myself against. This in contrast to the other big party in the U.S. Half the time I don't even know if I agree with the Democrats or not. In fact, I've been noticing that it always seems to happen that just when I think I agree with the Democrats more than I disagree with them, I find some stance they generally have that completely repulses me. Whatever, this isn't about them. I'm going to take this test. Well, it's not really a test. But if it were...

(1) We support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits and lower taxes by opposing bills like Obama’s “stimulus” bill: Well now, this is rather sinister. No really. It is. They just said that the way they support smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits, and lower taxes is by opposing bills. Get that? They did not say that they support those things and that they oppose bills like Obama's "stimulus" bill. Opposing bills is purportedly the method used to accomplish support for those other things. It isn't just one method of many. It's the only one they list. As far as the stimulus goes, it's a big thing. Surely most people agree with parts of it and disagree with other parts of it. I could give them the benefit of the doubt and say that I oppose the stimulus (I hesitate to flat-out oppose it, but I'm sure there are plenty of things about it for me to dislike). Fine. Maybe I even oppose bills "like" the stimulus. But that is most certainly not a way to have smaller government, smaller national debt, lower deficits, and lower taxes. I think most Americans would love to have at least three out of those four things (smaller government being a bit of a tricky one semantically and it depends on how you look at it). But none of them can be achieved without sacrificing something else that might also be seen as desirable. For example, I'd certainly like a smaller national debt. I'm with them there. But how? How do we achieve this. Opposing bills isn't going to do a damn thing. This position is stupid, really. Does anyone actually think opposing bills is a way to get things done? I guess this means so far I'm 0 for 1.

(2) We support market-based health care reform and oppose Obama-style government run healthcare: This is a blatant straw-man. Firstly, "market-based health care reform" doesn't even mean anything. I get the impression that it's a euphemism for something, but I can't actually figure out what. Maybe I'm wrong. But Obama does not propose government-run healthcare. Do any Democratic leaders? I am not aware of any that do. There are certainly socialists who want government-run healthcare. Democrats though? Really, this comes across as "We are for [gibberish] and oppose [this thing we're saying our enemy wants even though our enemy has not actually called for it]." So basically, they're lying here. Well, I definitely don't agree with that. 0 for 2 apparently.

(3) We support market-based energy reforms by opposing cap and trade legislation: Seriously? Do we really need to analyze whether opposing legislation accomplishes reform? I really think I am not being pedantic about this. Simply assuming that they mean they do both things is unwarranted here. Every single one of these so far has stated that they support one thing by opposing another. That's not how things work! And what the hell is "market-based reform"? Am I missing something? Is that a thing? It seems almost paradoxical, especially when it comes to energy. How can the market be the basis for reform? I'm not seeing it. I hope I'm not completely missing something here, but for now I have to say I'm 0 for 3.

(4) We support workers’ right to secret ballot by opposing card check: Well, this one is a bit tricky. I don't know a whole lot about unionization, but even I know that there are some nuances to consider with any proposal. This position sounds sensible, but it all depends on the details of what they actually want to do. Although I don't think these eleven words give me enough information to know if I agree or disagree with Republicans on this, considering that I came down so hard on the previous two statements, I'll grant them this one for the sake of simplifying things, meaning I'm now 1 for 4.

(5) We support legal immigration and assimilation into American society by opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants: What the fuck? Again? Was this designed to piss me off? Explain to me just how "opposing amnesty for illegal immigrants" does a damn thing to support legal immigration and assimilation into American society? It doesn't. I find it insulting to the intelligence of the reader that whoever wrote this thinks people will seriously consider this a valid position. Do they mean something else? Are they that bad at writing? I hate this so much, I am giving myself -1 on it. I'm now 0 for 5. Actually, at this rate, we need all the help we can get, so I'll just ignore the negative and make it 1 for 5. Reluctantly, though.

(6) We support victory in Iraq and Afghanistan by supporting military-recommended troop surges: This is actually quite funny. It's incompatible with the first statement about supporting smaller government. Troop surges necessarily imply bigger government. Not sure how they plan to do this and lower taxes either. But maybe they have a way. I'm still against this. We're not the world's police and there's no "victory" to be won in Iraq or Afghanistan. I strongly disagree with them here. 1 for 6.

(7) We support containment of Iran and North Korea, particularly effective action to eliminate their nuclear weapons threat: Containment? Within what? Iran is bigger than Alaska. What are you going to put it in? This is impossible. Are they referring to the policy of containment? But that referred to containment of communism. It wasn't containment of countries. The thing supposedly being contained was communism itself. They wanted to halt the spread of it. That was the idea, anyway. Only the cold war is kind of over now. Has been for quite some time. Do they seriously not know this? I find it hard to believe that the entire Republican party is 20 years behind. I am quickly losing patience with this resolution. Well, still 1 for 7 maybe?

(8) We support retention of the Defense of Marriage Act: And I oppose it. Pretty straightforward. 1 for 8. Or -2 for 8 really, but let's be generous and say 1 for 8.

(9) We support protecting the lives of vulnerable persons by opposing health care rationing and denial of health care and government funding of abortion: Who's proposing health care rationing? I've never seen this. Well, I'm with you there. Denial of health care? Well of course that's bad. But opposing things no one is proposing is not a way of protecting anyone. And opposing government funding of abortion is the opposite of protecting vulnerable people because you're restricting the access to abortion of people who cannot afford to pay for it themselves. That's just a big "fuck you" to poor people. Disgusting. I'm now with you for -3 out of 9. I stopped feeling generous.

(10) We support the right to keep and bear arms by opposing government restrictions on gun ownership: Fair enough. I'll give you this one. Which brings the final total to -2 out of 10. Well, now I know just how much I agree with the GOP: -20%.
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