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Even When Republicans Try To Be High-Minded, It’s All About Revenge

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There are a handful of Republican governors and members of Congress who actually, more or less, want to govern. Invariably, they’re people who have stalled in their careers, and who have made peace with the idea that they’ll never be president.

The rest of the party’s officeholders, even when they’re pretending to govern, mostly seek revenge. It’s not really governing at all — it’s bread and circuses for their angry base.

We’re familiar with Republicans whose goal is extra-spicy revenge: congressional figures like Jim Jordan who want to spend the next two years investigating Hunter Biden and Anthony Fauci (Jordan apparently hopes to be Speaker one day), and, of course, Ron DeSantis, who desperately wants to be president, and whose quest for revenge against the right’s enemies seems to occupy all his waking hours, the way searching for food occupies a shark’s.

Then there are ambitious Republicans who occasionally appear to be governing. But even then, they’re out for revenge.

This occurred to me when I was reading Ross Douthat’s latest “whither the conservative reform movement?” column. For years Douthat has persisted in hoping that conservatives who say they want to help ordinary people will change the nature of Republican Party (while also nudging citizens into traditional families and away from all that icky abortion and recreational sex). To his credit, Douthat doesn’t believe the party is any readier for policies that help ordinary citizens than it’s ever been in the past few decades — he knows the party mostly cares only about giving tax cuts to the rich. But he can dream.

He mentions a couple of policy initiatives:

The first, from Tom Cotton of Arkansas, promises to overhaul work force education and subsidize blue-collar trade work, offering a $9,000 voucher to encourage high school graduates to effectively apprentice in trade jobs, as opposed to enrolling in college. The second, from Marco Rubio of Florida, is an update of his past family-policy proposals, this time framed as a pro-life program and linked to the demise of Roe v. Wade: It proposes a bigger child tax credit and adoption tax credit, along with various programs aimed at supporting new mothers.

And how are these financed? Well, heaven forfend that they should be financed by higher taxes on the wealthy.

… for conservatives those choices are constrained by the right-wing anathema against raising taxes on the rich.

There are exceptions to this ban, and Cotton and Rubio make the most of them. You can tax the rich if they’re wealthy liberal institutions, and so Cotton funds his training voucher in part with a tax on the endowments of wealthy private colleges. You can tax the upper class by cutting off their tax breaks, and so Rubio funds some of his family policies by ending the state and local tax deduction, a policy that especially benefits higher‌ earners in bluer states.

Tax the oil companies? Never! Tax tech zillionaires, whom Republicans routinely say they despise as evil conservative-censoring monopolists? Nahhh. Tax Wall Streeters, who tend to hobnob with (and give generously to) East Coast Democratic politicians? Nope.

I’d go in those directions, because that’s where the money is. These people have amassed more and more while giving back less and less to society. But Cotton and Rubio are Republicans, so they place the tax burden on homeowners in a few blue states (who are all presumed to be limousine-liberal mansion-dwellers), and on those nasty Ivy Leaguers with their weirdo ideas about gender and race.

Even when Republicans are trying to be high-minded, it’s all about revenge.

Posted with permission from No More Mr. Nice Blog





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