Compassionate Conservatism Is Past Its Expiration Date

You can always get a better sense of a political party by watching its mid-level functionaries: they are both the true believers and less polished. Republican governor Scott Walker of Wisconsin is currently under investigation for activities during his 2010 campaign. Here’s a email that was uncovered (boldface mine):

Among the racist jokes and emails found in recently released documents connected to the criminal probe of Gov. Scott Walker’s 2010 campaign, one stood out: A “joke” about a woman trying to sign up her dogs for welfare, because “my Dogs are mixed in color, unemployed, lazy, can’t speak English and have no frigging clue who the r Daddys are. They expect me to feed them, provide them with housing and medical care, and feel guilty.” The punch line: “My Dogs get their first checks Friday.”

Walker’s deputy chief of staff Kelly Rindfleisch replied: “That is hilarious. And so true.”

The joke is bad enough on its own, but it’s also worth noting: Back when Walker was Milwaukee county executive, and Rindfleisch was a top aide, he managed the county’s welfare programs so abysmally that after lawsuits by local clients, the state was forced to take them over. “They didn’t just call people dogs, they treated them like dogs,” one Milwaukee elected official recalled angrily.

Underneath the public veneer of moral sanctimony is an unfathomable depth of cruelty and viciousness. There is no empathy, no trace of a common human bond. I don’t know how you reason with such people. While all politicians dissemble, to lie so brazenly about one’s intent is despicable.

We are governed by fools and sociopaths.

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