Rank-and-File Conservatives Leave Me Speechless When It Comes to Healthcare

And as someone who has battled creationists, that’s really hard to do. But I don’t even know what to do with this (boldface mine):

Mr. Tripcony, the surveyor, said he underwent heart surgery not long ago without health insurance, “a bad blow.” He has been making payments against the cost. He had heard of the online marketplace for insurance that opened on Oct. 1 under the Affordable Care Act.

“I just don’t trust it,” said Mr. Tripcony, who has an equal distrust of President Obama. “I don’t like him, and I don’t feel comfortable with anything he’s got to do with.”

Mr. Tripcony said he had a better idea for a system to provide health care at a fair price. “I think it should be the same for everybody,” he said. “One big company, whether owned by the government or private.”

Informed that he had described the single-payer system that Mr. Obama abandoned when Republican critics called it socialized medicine, he said, “Yeah, I know, it’s crazy.”

[Mad Biologist jumps up and down, shouts, breaks things]

On the policy, this guy is farther to the left than some Democrats. Yet he just doesn’t like Obama. The politics of racial and cultural resentment really do seem to be working for Republicans. Maybe Thomas Frank was onto something…

In other words, the Republican Party has become a white nationalist party.

And the congregation responds: This is yet another reason why we can’t have nice things.

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9 Responses to Rank-and-File Conservatives Leave Me Speechless When It Comes to Healthcare

  1. 2aimai says:

    God I hate WordPress. It ate my very important blog comment that had never been made before with such careful consideration. OK, lets try again:

    This interview leaped out at me, too, and I meant to blog it too but you’ve basically said all that needs to be said. It tracks my own experience talking to working class white male voters and non voters here in MA–they tend to identify as Republican and/or Independent (Unenrolled) but are often non voters in reality since they figure “what’s the use.” In addition they reject the accusation that they are racist in their opposition to Obama because lots of them had fathers who were lifelong Democrats (pre-Reagan Democrats) but who were white ethnic Democrats and who were “really racist…you should hear the stuff my old man used to say” is a constant refrain from these guys.

    When you drill down to it and have a serious conversation with them about politics, policy, and law they are often quite a bit farther left than they realize–sometimes all the way left, actually. A woman was doing a “man on the street” interview a few years ago and although she identified as Republican she actually thought the state should simply pay for everyone’s heating oil, all the time, because it was a necessity. But they don’t often get to really talk about their ideas and they generally misunderstand or don’t have enough information on the actual structure of politics and policy, or the history of the battles they hear about on talk radio. A lot of their information on politics (major political figures, public debates, policy, law, and the economy) comes pre-digested and pre-explained for them by talk radio and as we know that gives it a normalized and unquestioned quality for people.

    They do not recognize the role that authoritarianism (slavish devotion to following a stronger personality or authority figure) plays in their lives or the role that race and racism plays in turning “the president” from an authority figure into a feared enemy. And you can’t make them because they are very well defended against knowing this about themselves, or taking responsibility for it. But it is one of the reasons I’m not as worried about the future of the country as other democrats. If we put up a working class white guy with a glad hand and a comfortable biography again–another Clinton–these guys will swing back and what was anathema under Obama will become perfectly acceptable to them once again. And in two generations they’ll all be dead anyway. We just need a bridge figure they can identify with because they are emotionally and intellectually unable to accept the leadership of someone not just like them physically or ethnically.

    • urban legend says:

      A lot of this is dead-on, but we may be making a mistake in thinking the ethnic or racial part of it is all-controlling. The disrespect for working-class whites who have seen their jobs disappear and their incomes plummet just oozes out of too many who think they are progressive or liberal. Obama could have had a better showing in all relevant elections, including 2010, if not for his devastating declaration (before a San Francisco gathering of wealthy contributors no less!) about small town whites “clinging to guns and religion.”

      That quote appearing to show where his real sense of identity lies, combined with his elegant personal style, the utter dominance of Ivy League graduates as Presidential appointees and kid-gloves treatment of multi-billionaire Wall Street scofflaws who further ruined so many lives of ordinary Americans, created a distance that a more genuinely down-to-earth African-American might not have experienced to the same degree, But you are totally right that until the Democratic Party re-discovers its populist roots and disavows control by the phony centrism of the DC elite, its success will continue to be marginal at best.

  2. Don A in Pennsyltucky says:

    To me, the more telling portion of that article was not the part about healthcare but that an obvious publicity photo could so easily be sold to Mr. Tripcony as the genuine article.

  3. 2aimai says:

    Yup. I was thinking about that too. Rove said “Politics is TV with the sound off” for some people, and these are the people he was thinking about. They are the very same people he and Bush tried to appeal to by putting boxes with Made In America behind Bush as he talked in plants that were going to be shut down.

    And these are the same people who in the very article voted for Congressman Graves although they knew he was a business deadbeat who defaulted on a 2.2 million dollar bank loan. They only dimly grasp that perhaps he is not a conquering, towering, galtian figure of extreme political and economic acumen.

  4. NewEnglandBob says:

    The ignorance and irrationality of a huge portion of Americans has no bounds. This is not a surprise.

  5. Similar experience with my (Fox-watching) mother on cap-and-trade. She understands that climate change is real, but whatever policy those environmentalists actually manage to implement must be a fraud. I told her that Al Gore would vote for a carbon tax but Sarah Palin wouldn’t; she wasn’t so sure.

  6. 2aimai says:

    I hate the “not so sure” dodge. Its often followed by the “you like to argue and I don’t like to argue” or “well, we’ll see, won’t we” as they retreat from a discussion they know they are losing.

  7. Nathanael says:

    This is why we shouldn’t have let the Confederate states back into the Union so easily. This is Georgia. This is pure, plain, racism. Of course, equally bad crap is being spread nationwide by hate radio and Faux News, but it hasn’t gotten as much traction as the old-school, established bigotry of the Confederacy.

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