Sunday, March 06, 2005

Republican puppetry

Perhaps this is a measure of my cynicism, about the present administration in particular, but I suspect their claim that Social Security is unfair to African-Americans is a far more calculated strategy than we’re giving them credit for.

Specifically, I believe that the Republicans have known all along, hollow protestations notwithstanding, that in fact African-Americans collect somewhat more than their (demographic) “share” of Social Security monies, not less as the Republicans are claiming (this is old data, after all).

The real intent of this line of attact is to draw the Democrats into responding that “oh no, that’s not true at all; African-Americans actually collect more, not less of the Social Security pie and here’s the data to prove it.” Because this is the hidden core of one of one of the Republicans’ sleazier arguments against continuing Social Security in its present form: they know that ours is still a racist society, and they know that there will be many whites who, when they hear these facts will bend at least a bit toward Bush’s destructive plan, but it would have been unseemly for the Republicans to simply and forthrightly lay them out there in the open and criticize such a thing as being unfair to whites....

I hope that I’ve worded this understandably, and I hope this makes sense: I believe the Democrats have played it exactly as the Republicans had hoped, in making their ugly case for them in a reverse sort of way, while letting the Republicans appear to be concerned about fairness toward African-Americans when exactly the opposite is true.

(I do think this might be more of a class thing than a race thing with the current regime, with African-Americans being unfortunate enough to have disproportionate numbers in the class that’s really under attack. But the Republicans also well understand their base, and know that among some of their base there is a strong racist streak that can be manipulated toward their end of ending Social Security.)

Say what you will, but the current regime excels in puppet-mastery, and here they are at their most elegant, if offensive. It’s always best to let your opponent argue your own case for you.

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