Friday, March 23, 2012

Complaints and Compliments

Dave Weigel reports from Alabama and Mississippi's March primary, asking some of the Republican primary voters "why did Obama ever win in the first place?" The answers are for the most part conservative boilerplate; voter fraud, white guilt, naïveté of young voters, etc. I wanted to highlight one respondent's statements, because I think it revels some of the idiosyncrasies of the conservative mindset.

Kerry Anderson of Biloxi, Mississippi* laments that:
“[Obama] fooled the young people, mostly. He fooled the people looking for an easier way of life, and he made them belief life would be easier, the government would take care of things if he won. It bothers me that young people aren’t better-informed. We older people, we stay informed. I should say: I’m on Medicare, but I still work. I was on the election commission in the county this year.” (emphasis mine - JMG)

The criticism Ms. Anderson is trying to make here is quite clear, and is a part of the longstanding, implicit conservative allergy to government solutions to social problems - especially at the federal level. But the literal complaint; that if elected life wold be easier and that the government should step in to solve social problems, well, I have to agree that that was part of the logic of Obama's candidacy.

Take healthcare: Barack Obama campaigned on, and signed legislation enshrining, the idea that it should be easier to purchase health insurance, and that government would solve the issues of adverse selection and pre-existing conditions that has plagued the United States' heath insurance market since (arguably) the Truman administration. I understand Mrs. Anderson is articulating a complaint, but really it sounds like a compliment.

*For disclosure, I am a native of, and still have roots in, Biloxi and Gulfport, MS.

No comments:

Post a Comment