In the Arena

This Is Getting Good

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Jim Bunning is doing all of us a favor. As this comment from the Number 2 Senate Republican, Jon Kyl of Arizona, makes clear, the Republicans are turning toward a form of reactionary radicalism that is well to the right not only of traditional conservatism, but also of post-Victorian concepts of government and–not to put too fine a point on it–of common decency as well:

Sen. Jon Kyl of Arizona, the Republican whip, argued that unemployment benefits dissuade people from job-hunting “because people are being paid even though they’re not working.” Unemployment insurance “doesn’t create new jobs. In fact, if anything, continuing to pay people unemployment compensation is a disincentive for them to seek new work,”

The idea that those who have lost their jobs in this Wall Street/mortgage-scam recession are simply deadbeats, choosing to stay on unemployment rather than look for work, seems more appropriate to Scrooge’s London than the 21st century. But Kyl has spoken his version of the truth, and we should be grateful for that: this is what the Republican Party is now all about. The America they–and the Tea Partiers–want would have no Medicare or Medicaid or Social Security (just ask the rising Republican star, Paul Ryan, who would privatize them all), no social safety net, no environmental or workplace regulations, no highway or infrastructure building. It would more Hume than Adam Smith, who would be considered a socialist by current Rush/Beck standards. This is what they are selling and, according to CNN, what 56% of the American people are currently buying–the idea that the federal government is a threat to their freedom. This is not conservative government, but the absence of government.

And so, again: Let’s call the roll. Let’s see how many allies Jim Bunning and Jon Kyl have. Let’s find out their names and remember them. This is so important that we should stop all other business: Let them filibuster…and spend hours telling us exactly what else they would abolish.