Thursday, March 30, 2006

Seven and the Ragged Fisking

[Welcome to part II of the mass fisk of alleged Republican stupidity! Part one is here, holding #1-7 of “things Republicans must believe.” Part three will arrive tomorrow.]

8. “If condoms are kept out of schools, adolescents won't have sex.”

Grossly simplified. The position is a bit subtler: schools are meant to teach children math, science, history, and language, leaving the teenagers’ proposed love affairs to the guidance of parents, clergy, and doctors. This, you’ll note, does not question whether condom usage is good or bad, only their elevation to “school necessity” on par with textbooks and teachers’ pay.

One could argue further that condoms mask consequences for sex and thus undermine learning how to handle adult privileges with responsibility; but again, that would be an argument between the kids and their parents, not kids and their teachers.

9. “A good way to fight terrorism is to belittle our long-time allies, but then demand their cooperation and money.”

Belittle? Such as: “Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible. If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe they could not have found a better way.”

Or: “France is doing everything it can, but the problem is that it is impossible to stop Bush from pursuing his logic of war to the end.”

Of course, those are quotes ABOUT the Coalition and George Bush from Jacques Chirac. But credit for the consistency – they aren’t on board with the war even when it flares up within their own borders.

10. “HMOs and insurance companies make huge profits and have the interest of the public at heart.”

Whether or not any company makes a profit is a matter of public disclosure and not political voting record. But of course they don’t have the interest of the public at heart. Like any other business, they have the interests of their sharholders at heart. That’s why there are proposed alternatives, such as letting individuals set aside pre-tax income for medical expenses, under their direct control and outside the reach of HMOs.

The Democratic alternative can best be described as “mass government takeover.” A cynic may look at that and think that politicians were simply envious of insurers’ profits and hoping to get their hands in the pie themselves. I’m not that bitter, but I don’t like the thought of an already-overlarge state apparatus, creating yet another department (with all of its bureaucratic overhead) to take control of people’s ability to pay for medical services. It doesn’t sit right with the notion of a well-informed and active citizenry; and more practically speaking, it doesn’t work. “Good money after bad” is never a sound plan. (And as you’ll see in #21, rampant government spending is a Bad Thing, a realization that comes late to the Left.)

11. “Providing health care to all Iraqis is sound policy. Providing health care to all Americans is socialism.”

I missed where we were ‘providing health care’ to Iraqis. We’re building hospitals and training doctors, and the most reliable sources of medical care are currently military doctors or civilian outfits attached to the military. But the main difference between part one and two of the above is that nobody expects us to provide health care to Iraq for the rest of our lives. And the second difference, not really much smaller, is that health care is readily available to all Americans, as well as to anyone else who happens to be sick. Every emergency room in the nation has notices in multiple languages: nobody can be turned away, even if they have no insurance provider and no means to pay.

This raises difference number three – the issue isn’t who gets care, but who pays for that care. Some people propose that the government ought to, and that is socialism – “A philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy; its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” (Winston Churchill)

12. “Global warming and tobacco's link to cancer are junk science, but creationism should be taught in schools.”

The global warming debate centers not so much on whether it’s happening, but on whether man is at fault or merely the witness of long geological cycles. Nobody seriously proposes or thinks that smoking isn’t linked to cancer. Some people merely state that the right to smoke, risks be damned, belongs to the citizen. You’d be hard-pressed to find a lot of consensus on creationism, either. Certain hard-core conservatives are
way, way down on intelligent design or the thought of having it in the schools. (I've got an eye cocked askance, myself - see point #8 above.)

13. “It is okay that the Bush family's Carlisle Group has done millions of business with the bin Laden family.”

It’s Carlyle, actually –
formed in 1987 by nobody named Bush, and never owned by anyone from the family. W was on the board for about two years, ending in 1992. His father served for five years, ending in 2003. Some others associated with the group: Clinton administration honchos Mack McLarty (White House Chief of Staff), William Kennard (then-FCC Chairman, now Managing Director of Media for Carlyle ), and Arthur Levitt (then-SEC Chairman, now a Carlyle Senior Advisor). Oh, yes, and George Soros.

The bin Laden family divested from Carlyle in late 2001, thus denying everyone, Republican or Democrat, the pleasure of their business.

14. “Saddam was a good guy when Reagan armed him and Rumsfeld reassured him he was our buddy, a bad guy when Bush's daddy made war on him, a good guy when Cheney did business with him, but then a bad guy again when Bush junior needed a prop for his re-election campaign as the war President.”

Once again, spectacularly incorrect. Saddam Hussein was NEVER a good guy. The US supported him against the Ayatollah, in a war which Henry Kissinger once famously hoped that both sides would lose. Under George H Bush the US cooperated in a joint operation against him, officially under the banner of the United Nations. Failure to remove him permanently was hailed by way too many people as an excellent sign of restraint, which was then used by Hussein against the interests and safety of the American people. (Again – bad guy, not good.)

The alternative to correcting this initial mistake, as openly stated by many on the Left, is that he should have been left there. That’s an excellent way to look good in the eyes of appeasers, but rather less helpful in actually doing anything about terrorism.

[This is too much fun, really. And just think, part III is just ‘round the corner… For those who came in halfway, here’s part I.]

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