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Hullabaloo


Wednesday, May 07, 2014

 
Dividing and Conquering

by David Atkins

I was going to do my own substantial piece on Tillis and his "divide and conquer" remarks, but Greg Sargent's is superb and needs little addition:

Control of the Senate, the prognosticators tell us, could come down to North Carolina. If GOP establishment favorite Thom Tillis clears 40 percent today and avoids a runoff – as seems likely — we’ll be hearing a great deal about how Republicans vanquished destructive elements within the party and emerged with the strongest and most “moderate” opponent against vulnerable Dem Senator Kay Hagan.

So it’s worth pointing out that Tillis comes with vulnerabilities of his own. For one thing, whatever his relative moderation when compared with his primary opponents, he appears to be a diehard 47 percenter.
On Hardball last night, Chris Matthews featured video of Tillis — previously captured by a local North Carolina group — in which Tillis’ 47 percenter-ism was on full display.

In it, Tillis said we have to “divide and conquer” those on public assistance, by getting those who really need it — the sick — to turn on and look down at those who “choose to get into a condition that makes them dependent on the government.” Speaking of that latter category, Tillis added: “At some point, you’re on your own. We may end up taking care of those babies, but we’re not going to take care of you.”


...


Indeed, the 47 percenter-ism on display in this video didn’t occur in a vacuum. Tillis not only opposed the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, which would have expanded coverage to 500,000 people he would represent; he also boasted in an ad that he was personally responsible for stopping that outcome “cold.” Tillis and North Carolina Republicans also dramatically slashed unemployment benefits, which, in the words of one national observer, turned help for the jobless into a ”thinner safety net than it has been in decades.”

Tillis has heaped contempt on those protesting such policies, arguing: “What I see from the folks who are opposing our agenda is whining coming from losers.”

As Ed Kilgore has noted, the real hallmark of 47 percenter-ism is a gut-based appeal that separates the deserving from the undeserving poor, a dichotomy that reveals “the politics of selfishness and self-righteousness that is at the emotional heart of conservative politics at present.”
This sort of thing represents the worst that conservatism has to offer, which is honesty about what the real beliefs of its base and machinations of its politicians. Fortunately for us, conservatives have such epistemic closure today that they're increasingly comfortable projecting their moral ugliness right out into the open.


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