Friday, September 21, 2012

When Did Not Having Crazy Eyes Become the Standard of Moderation?

At a phone bank I was hosting the other day, one of our volunteers noted that she thought that Scott Brown (R-MA) was a “good guy” and that she probably would not be working as hard for Obama’s re-election if Huntsman were the GOP candidate.  This prompted my usual annoyance with the attribution of an aura of moderation to politicians who do nothing to warrant it—unless we say that not having crazy eyes and not saying “communist” every few words are the standards for moderation.

Huntsman, of course, does not have crazy eyes, and he was “moderate” enough to accept an appointment by the Obama administration as Ambassador to China.  But how does this really stack up with his issue statements in his failed bid for the 2012 GOP presidential ticket?


The video of Mitt Romney writing off 47% of the population as lazy good-for-nothings has caused a media flurry this past week.   The statistic, of course, refers to those who do not pay federal income taxes—a group that includes senior citizens on Social Security, servicemen in combat, college students, and the working poor.  Huntsman, like his friends in the Grand Old Party who want to “expand” the tax base, probably views these people as “lucky duckies” as the Wall Street Journal so crassly and condescendingly referred to them.  In his tax plan, he suggests eliminating ALL credits and deductions.  That means no more earned income tax credit and no more child tax credit, changes to the tax code that would make the working poor start paying taxes on the income that they barely make.  Huntsman’s tax reform would include this tax increase on low-income families in order to fund a massive tax reduction on high-earners (who would get to enjoy a 34% lower marginal tax rate).  In addition to eliminating the capital gains tax, Huntsman also wanted to reduce the corporate tax rate form 35% to 25%, claiming that the US has too high of a tax on businesses—a comical complaint when, for instance, 30 companies paid NO federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010 because of because of our extensive corporate welfare program. 


Although Huntsman may believe in global warming, his energy plan does not show any desire to address it.  The section on “Energy Security” on the Huntsman 2012 website does not include a single mention of renewable energy sources.  Sorry, wind and solar energy, we need to focus on tar sands and offshore drilling.  His plan, which emphasizes oil and gas, is the “drill, baby, drill” mantra from 2008 in policy reform.

Bye, Bye, Regulation
  • ·         Gutting the Department of Education
  • ·         Gutting the Environmental Protection Agency
  • ·         Gutting the National Labor Relations Board
  • ·         Repealing Dodd-Frank
  • ·         Repealing the Affordable Care Act, and
  • ·         “Aggressive” promotion of trade liberalization

Although his corporate school reform recommendations do, for the most part, represent the sad state of a growing bipartisan neoliberal consensus, the language in his Education section about “acknowledging hard truths” shrouds an elitist worldview with ambiguous language.  The section, for all practical purposes, says little more than “Poor people don’t need to go to college.”

Replacing populism with elitism does not a moderate make.

No comments:

Post a Comment