Tuesday, January 06, 2009

How Do You Render a Conservative Speechless?...

...Ask them to justify the disparity between their angry rhetoric about greedy union workers and the auto bailout and their near-silence about the corporate/bank bailout that's turned into a trillion dollar free-for-all.

The divide-- in terms of $$$, transparency, demands for accountability, etc-- between the recent auto bailout and the larger Wall Street bailout has been a pet cause of mine (see this recent post in which Rachel Maddow shows you just how pissed off you should be). But also of interest to me is the divide between how conservatives discuss the two, because I believe it encapsulates what is so wrong with the modern GOP base. Remember how ballistic they went when Democrats tried to expand children's health insurance assistance in 2007? I do. Remember their big fight to rein in corporate excess before it consumed the global economy? Me either.

For instance, to get back on point, during the auto bailout discussion(s) last months, there was a lot of hand-wringing on Fox News, talk radio, Drudge Report, etc, about how awful these auto companies are (and hey, I'm not saying they're not) and how greedy and lazy union workers are. Stuff like that. Stories like this on the other hand? Notsomuch. Let the Moonbat Maddow worry about that stuff!

Failed billionaires > struggling auto workers? I intended to find out.

There's a political cartoon community on LiveJournal that I am a member of, and I'd seen lots of cartoons about the UAW and the Big Three in recent weeks, but none on the financial bailout. These cartoons had tons of comments and back and forth arguments, particularly from the defensive conservatives who posted them. I decided to respond, regarding auto workers in general, with this-
"Blue-collar work ain't glamorous. But it used to be the American dream (work hard, get a good contract, a raise, new house, etc). But now apparently the American dream is to work at Walmart and barely make ends meet.

And also like I said, now apparently we are a nation that subjects blue-collar workers to the level of scrutiny and condescension that failed CEOs, bankers, and executives only get in Nation magazine editorials. If Republicans want to know why they lost states like Ohio and Indiana, etc, this is it in a nutshell."

The responses I got? More rants about the unions. Nothing about the larger point(s) I was attempting to make. Which kind of proved my point in the end.

I decided to post a cartoon of my choosing, and see if I could finally get someone to address this. No such luck. I reposted the above quote to one prominent conservative member. No response. She later called BS on the idea that auto workers were being forced to take an unpaid vacation. When I posted the link to back that story up, she conceded and-- finally-- commented on the bank issue by stating, "my whole thing about this situation is--no, i don't agree with what the banks are doing with the bailout money. that's my money, dammit. they're using it to send all their employees to high-class resorts for a month. eff that... but what bothers me is they try to paint the auto industry as oh-the-poor-struggling-auto-industry. oh those poor union workers. but the thing is, when you produce an inferior product and no one wants to buy it...why should the government throw more money at you?" Translation: 'Yea yea, I'm super upset at this bank business... but how about those fucking unions, huh!??! Fuck 'em!'. Realizing I had received a comment that, again, proved my point, I responded back-
"I'm glad we can agree on that much then.

But notice that I had to keep nudging and nudging you before you even commented on that bailout... you know the one that is $683 billion more than the one that the auto companies are getting. The reason I posted this particular cartoon is because all the bailout-related posts here have been about the auto thing, completely ignoring the fact that their collapse-- while not discounting the failures of management and vision that lead to it-- was largely fueled by the larger economic collapse caused by the failures of Wall Street, etc. Wall Street got a $700B bailout with little scrutiny, little ridicule, and absolutely no strings attached. The auto industry got a $17B loan with tons of scrutiny, ridicule, and a whole lot of strings attached. Now that's not a comment or defense of the auto companies, just a simple noting of the obvious disparity there.

The point I made above still stands, and no one has really challenged that it is the case."

And I received no further reply.

I'll let this all speak for itself, though I'd be happy to get some feedback here.

[UPDATE: I have some more fun, continue to be proven right here, etc.]

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