Zombie Lincoln Thinks Health Care Is Slavery
At least, that’s the message from Rick Barber, a Tea Party-backed candidate for the Republican nomination in Alabama’s Democrat-controlled 2nd District. Here’s the video, for your viewing pleasure (via Ben Smith):
To go back to a point I made last week, it’s really important not to underestimate the extent of the far right’s ascendancy in the Republican Party. If this ad is any indication, we have a Republican candidate who sincerely believes that taxation to provide social services is the moral equivalent of chattel slavery and genocide. Judging from the careers of Rand Paul, Sharon Angle and Rick Barber, this is not some fringe view among Republicans, but one that’s verge of embrace by a significant portion of the GOP’s mainstream.
Writing at his blog, Ned Resnikoff makes a very smart point about why this trend is so worrying:
The public and its elected representatives don’t need to agree on everything—in fact, it’s better if we have substantive disagreements on a lot of things—but at the very least we should be able to agree that there’s no moral equivalence between the modest health care reform and, say, the Holocaust. Because, remember, the general consensus is that armed insurrection directed towards the goal of preventing or ending the Holocaust is morally permissible. And if a small but politically significant chunk of the electorate believes the same thing applies to incremental expansions of the welfare state, well, that’s a problem.
I am more or less on the same page. The more we shift away from a common consensus on the basics, the more difficult it becomes to govern, and the more likely it is that we’re unable to respond to the huge challenges ahead of us.