November 7, 2010

Conservatives and compassion

I actually kind of liked Bush's whole "compassionate conservatism," because I liked the idea. I wasn't ever convinced that he really meant it, but I liked the idea.

But I am increasingly convinced that most conservative policies are driven by self-interest. If it doesn't touch me, personally, then I don't want to pay for it. If the Iraq war doesn't effect me, then why should I care? If the Patriot Act doesn't actually change my life (because I have nothing to hide), then who cares? If we are torturing people who aren't like me, why should I care? And if tax increases won't actually help me personally, then why should I pay more?

And you see that in Texas after Tuesday's election with talk of withdrawing from Medicaid altogether. Some of them, at least, are talking about maintaining care, but just funding it at the local level, but I don't trust that at all. The complaint comes from the fact that more people are added to the Medicaid rolls. And conservatives don't think that healthcare is a right. You have to deserve and earn access to life-saving treatment. Just being human isn't enough. All that shit about our "Creator" endowing us with the right to life? Yeah, it doesn't mean for the poor. It means for the wealthy and the well-heeled.

I would love to hear otherwise, I really would. I hear a lot of conservatives saying that of course the poor should be taken care of, but not by the government. And I hear a lot of people saying that the Bible doesn't command the government to take care of poor people. And if we are talking about soup kitchens, and are talking about a non-depression era where the amount of poor is relatively manageable, then maybe. But if we are talking about access to life-saving, and incredibly expensive healthcare, then I have to say bullshit. Conservatives don't have an alternative. Local churches are not going to be able to fund home-care for the disabled, nor are they equipped to pay for a chronic disease. So, if that is true, the alternative is either the government or conservatives telling them to just go without.

If that is Christian, then Christ was incredibly callous and uncaring. And I don't believe that for an instant. But that is how the people most loudly proclaiming their faith act. Those who shout "Jesus" the loudest seem to have very little compassion for anyone other than themselves. How unimpressive that is.


leighton said...

I don't know Texas state politics very well, but this reads to me like an opening offer in a negotiation that they will eventually walk back to arrive at their actual goal. This seems to be one strategy that federal and Colorado Democrats do very poorly; they tend to open with a compromise offer, and after hard negotiations, the end result is something much closer to the Republican ideal than to something in the middle.

Huey said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Streak said...

So tired of stupidity, and Huey's comment was stupid and a waste of time. You want to comment, come on back and bring your brain this time.

Leighton, I hope you are right. I know you are about how the Democrats negotiate, but am not quite sure that the Republicans actually intend to negotiate. Especially those of the Tea Party.

steves said...

I don't know anything about medicaid in Texas, but I do believe that there is a tremendous amount of waste in medicaid and that it may be possible to have a state run system that is cheaper and covers more people. Granted, I only worked in the mental health wing of that system (and not in Texas), but I could think of plenty of ways to improve the system.

That being said, I am always skeptical of Texas motives.

Bob said...

My edited version:

And you see that in Texas after Tuesday's election with talk of withdrawing from the United States altogether.

One can dream.

Streak said...

My observation on the waste in Medicaid is this: according to that article, the federal government chips in somewhere around 60% of the cost of medicaid? If that is accurate, I find it hard to believe that there is 60% waste in the system, and so am pretty confident (even though these are assumptions) that the state of Texas will either a) end up spending more money to cover the poor, or b) cover fewer people or fewer issues.

Bob, I believe that Perry has floated the idea of secession before too. Only conservatives can do that and not be considered unpatriotic. Of course, only conservatives can suggest that they will take up arms against the country if they don't get their way at the balllot box. If liberals did that, we might end up in jail.

leighton said...

"Negotiation" and "strategy" may be terms that are too sober for what is actually going on. It may well be part of what Josh Marshall calls the bitch-slap theory of politics, where telling the federal government to go fuck itself is part of a macho display to set the tone for future legislative encounters, regardless of whatever the consensus of Texas Republicans will turn out to be. In which case it's not the semantics of the proposal that matters at all, so much as the pragmatics. If Democrats aren't seen as equally passionate and forceful, they lose face in voters' eyes. This is a game that Republicans have been winning for decades.

Bob said...

My edited version #2:

Of course, only conservatives can suggest that they will take up arms against the country if they don't get their way at the balllot box. If blacks did that, they might end up in jail.

steves said...

One idea is shifting some of the tax burden from the fed to the states and primarily running with state funds. I don't believe there is 60% waste, but I would guess there to be around 25%.

Bob said...


What is defined as "waste"?

steves said...

Duplication of service, mostly. The medicaid delivery service (at least within the mental health realm) is administratively top heavy.