Ls&Qs&Cs: Regressive Agendas

Three posts today about versions of the Republican agenda.

Five days ago in the Feb. 17th post I mentioned again, via a link to a Vanity Fair piece, that the GOP seemed to have no agenda beyond attaining power (and demonizing, through projection, Democrats).

But this was Mitch McConnell speaking, and he can’t control what all other Republicans say. In particular, Rick Scott, a senator from Florida, did spell out his idea of a Republican agenda, a couple days ago.

Let’s start with:

Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin, 22 Feb 2022: Opinion: Rick Scott just laid out a Republican agenda. He has done his party no favors.

Let’s start with what is not in there: any proposal to bring down inflation (which Republicans have been hollering about for months); to increase wages or reduce income inequality; to prepare workers for the 21st-century economy; to provide relief from tariffs (which are essentially taxes); and to increase school performance on basic subjects.

Let alone, I’m guessing, climate change.

What it does include: Finishing the border wall and naming it after Trump; cutting the Federal workforce 25%; increasing income tax for the poor (!) but not for wealthy corporations…

Some items serve solely as an attack on minority groups. Consider this slam on transgender Americans: “Men are men, women are women, and unborn babies are babies. We believe in science.” This has nothing to do with any conceivable federal policy. It’s pure culture wars fodder for right-wing media.

It’s also the most simplistic, black and white interpretation of science. (But conservatives tend toward simplistic, black and white thinking.)

Taken as a whole, the agenda reveals that the GOP is not a political party with ideas to improve the lives of Americans. It’s a frightful expression of White grievance and contempt for the intelligence of voters.


On the same subject,

MSNBC, Steve Benen, 22 Feb 2022: Ignoring McConnell, NRSC’s Scott unveils post-election agenda, subtitled, “Rick Scott’s blueprint isn’t a serious approach to modern policymaking. It’s a robust collection of right-wing soundbites and bumper-sticker slogans.”

Just as notable is what isn’t mentioned in the senator’s plan: Scott offers nothing on health care, child care, ideas on how to curb inflation, or even an explanation as to how he would go about pursuing his ostensible, wildly unrealistic ideas.

To call the senator’s document a governing vision is far too generous. It’s a right-wing fantasy.


More broadly is this piece from WaPo’s Paul Waldman.

Washington Post, Paul Waldeman, 21 Feb 2022: Opinion: Republicans have found their goal: Turn back the clock to the 1950s

Whether we’re in good times or bad, crisis or quiescence, politicians of both parties always say we’re in a transformative moment, full of possibility for the future. But right now, only one party is really acting like it. Democrats are putting out fires, while Republicans are aggressively moving to create a new future, particularly at the state level.

And what is their vision? It looks like a return to the 1950s, a dramatic rollback of social progress to a supposedly simpler time, with traditional hierarchies restored and unsettling changes undone.

The essay goes on to discuss a recent debate in Michigan among three Republican candidates for state attorney general, in which all three were unfamiliar with the “landmark 1965 Supreme Court decision that struck down a state law outlawing contraception.” When it was explained to them, all three opposed the ruling, thinking that states *should* be able to outlaw contraception.

Comment at this point — I’ve never understood the conservative position to outlaw both abortion and contraception. Have they thought this through? Is their true goal to force women, especially poor minority women (because well-off families manage to acquire contraception, and even abortions, anyway, despite the laws), to have as many children as possible, which — again have they thought this through? — will keep poor minority families poor. Yes, I understand the Catholic position is to do everything to bring as many children in the world as possible, because life is sacred, and so on, but never mind their care or health after they’re born. But this is unsustainable, given humanity’s effect on the planet, and this position and these policies are irresponsible, even… given the potential effect on the human species as a whole… evil.

Back to the essay:

And it is deeply reactionary, creating the future by going back to the past. Much of the case Republicans make to voters these days is based on the idea that the modern world is alienating and infuriating, whether it’s people swearing on TV, America’s ever-increasing diversity, changing ideas about sexuality, or the fact that your kids listen to music you don’t like.

We’re now in a moment of opportunity for conservatives. The election of every Democratic president produces a right-wing backlash, and usually one tinged with racial resentment; the one we’re living through now might seem not much different from what we saw under Barack Obama or Bill Clinton.

Yet amid the current backlash, it’s hard to remember a time when the right was so utterly intoxicated with the possibilities for reaction. They themselves probably aren’t sure how far they should go in turning back the clock. But they haven’t found their limit yet.


Given that there are conservative/regressive thinkers in every society on the planet — it’s an aspect of human nature, one extreme end of the spectrum of human natures — it’s hard to think how humanity will solve global problems like climate change, let alone the current pandemic. We are doomed.

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