The Government That the Right Needs to Hate Is Not the Government That Exists:
Up here in NYC, our cleverly lettered NPR station is WNYC. The Brian Lehrer Show, a local program that often features national guests who talk to locals, had on Karen Mills of the Small Business Administration, answering questions about, you guessed it, small businesses and Obama administration policies. One of the callers was Michael from Jamaica, Queens, and his concern was the rising cost of health insurance for his business of "less than 10 employees." Michael said that it went up at least 20% a year, and his insurance costs "would blow your mind." Lehrer asked Michael how his costs would be affected by the Affordable Care Act. Instead of answering that, Michael said, "I worry about other things with Obamacare. In that I worry about the quality of care more than I worry about our bottom line." He thought that insurance companies were just going to dick him over more with the ACA. Essentially, Michael parroted the same line that every conservative says who watches Fox "news" and has Limbaugh jacked directly into his brain stem.
Mills then, very politely, bitch slapped Michael out of his Hannitardation and set the record straight: "Actually, I want to make sure you do know about the Affordable Care Act...Small businesses pay 18% more for insurance than big businesses." She went on to explain how the ACA creates marketplaces where insurance companies bid for his business. And then she asked him if he had looked into the small business tax credit that's in the ACA. Michael had not. Mills informed Michael that he probably qualified for a big tax break.
One might hope that Michael would leave the conversation thinking perhaps he was wrong, that this "Obamacare" thingy might not be so bad. That maybe his business could be more profitable. More than likely, he'll just take the money and still hate Obama.
See, conservative politicians and their media mouthpieces have gathered around a cauldron in the middle of an oil patch and they've filled it with Kenyan dirt and pelican blood and Muslim eyeballs and a whisker from Karl Marx's beard. They've danced nude around the giant pot, with flames licking its sides from the fire beneath it, Grover Norquist and Andrew Breitbart and one Koch or another and Karl Rove and others, adding their own spit and semen to the potion. They madly chanted to gods and ghosts of their crazed conservative forefathers, Reagan and McCarthy and Goldwater and Thurmond, willing into existence a horror, a phantom Obama that fulfills all their rhetorical needs. Oh, no, it doesn't look like the real Barack Obama in any way, but that's not the point. Surely, the creature that emerged from the viscous liquid of the cauldron, contorted and grotesque, bears enough of a resemblance that those who merely glance at it will be convinced that it is the same as the real President.
We see it constantly, the hatefulness without cause, the fear without reason, and, as a New York Times article from this weekend shows, so very much of it is caused a shocking amount of self-loathing. The article looks at self-proclaimed government-hating conservatives who live in small towns near Minneapolis. And however much they hate the debt and the president, nearly all of them receive some sort of federal assistance. There's Ki Gulbranson, the shop owner who "is counting on a payment of several thousand dollars from the federal government, a subsidy for working families called the earned-income tax credit. He has signed up his three school-age children to eat free breakfast and lunch at federal expense. And Medicare paid for his mother, 88, to have hip surgery twice."
Gulbranson can't see giving any of this up, but he doesn't think the government should raise taxes. And he can't stand the idea of debt being passed down to the next generations. "I don’t demand that the government does this for me. I don’t feel like I need the government," he said. But neither does he turn it down.
Some conservatives see the social safety net as a calculated plot by liberals to make people dependent on the federal government, a way of controlling them. Of course, since the states where people receive more in government assistance than they pay in taxes vote Republican, that's pretty much demonstrably false.
Perhaps one day people like Gulbranson and Michael will understand that the Americans who harmed them and continue to harm them are the politicians they have supported. And that the people they have spurned are the ones who actually want them to survive and give them help to get by, if they need it. Either way, though, self-loathing, Obama-hating or not, you can bet they'll still keep the cash.