Roe V. Wade Through A Socioeconomic Lens

Roe V. Wade Through A Socioeconomic Lens

My raison d’être is documenting the intersection of geopolitics, macroeconomics and finance.

That finds expression in what you might call my elevator pitch, which touts a dedication to providing “the best” socioeconomic, market and political commentary “anywhere.”

Of course, it’s not possible to be an expert on everything, and even if it were, there are only 24 hours in a day. As I explained to a reader last year, I make a pound for pound claim about the breadth, depth and frequency of the coverage I provide. I couldn’t, for example, pen the definitive take on the war in Ukraine. For that, you turn to historians, diplomats and, well, Ukrainians. But what I can do is provide highly-informed, intelligent, daily takes on the conflict contextualized via macroeconomics and markets, thanks in no small part to my cross-disciplinary background.

The bottom line is simple enough: On any given day, I document what matters using just enough articles to constitute “exhaustive” coverage, but not so many articles that it’s impossible for readers to read them all.

It’s in that context that I grappled Tuesday with POLITICO’s bombshell SCOTUS scoop. In short, the outlet obtained an initial draft majority opinion written by Justice Alito which conveys the Court’s intention to strike down Roe v. Wade.

For me, SCOTUS coverage presents a unique challenge. In most cases, it’s not strictly (and almost never immediately) relevant to macroeconomics, markets or geopolitics. Additionally, it’s very difficult to add value given the scholarly and journalistic specialization required to possess anything approaching the kind of encyclopedic knowledge one needs to weigh in authoritatively. A decent LSAT score (which I managed once upon a time) is no help, I’m afraid.

All of that said, I’d be totally remiss — absolutely derelict — not to offer what little I feel qualified to offer vis-à-vis a prospective repudiation of Roe and Casey.

I probably know just enough to weigh in on the legal side, and barely enough to venture something darkly witty about Thomas, Kavanaugh and Coney Barrett. But I doubt any of that would be additive or constructive. Instead, I wanted to make a pair of related, straightforward, big-picture points. This will be brief, objective and, crucially, nonpartisan, even as I’ll critique others’ penchant for partisanship.

First…

Our collective tendency to view religion as a first principle has a poor historical track record. Our millennia-old quest to please the Divine has, at various intervals, led us to draw objectively false conclusions about everything from agriculture to disease to the solar system, and has, on countless occasions from ancient times through the present day, driven us to conflict. There’s a lot of good in religion, but unfortunately, it tends to bring out the bad in us. History is replete with examples of our species making objectively poor decisions on the basis of what we believed to be Divine dictates.

Given that, it’s entirely fair to suggest that religion shouldn’t be a reference point for policymaking of any kind. If our history suggested we were predisposed to channeling the many good things about religion when making decisions about how to order society and interact with each other, it’d be reasonable to make policy based on Scripture. Unfortunately, our track record is very bad in that regard. It’s not religion’s fault. It’s our fault.

Yes, it’s entirely plausible to suggest that religion is a viable lens through which to consider some issues. And maybe the questions raised by Roe and Casey are just such issues. But, again, we’ve proven ourselves incapable, over thousands of years, of reliably separating instances where being pious is helpful and instances where it’s not. There’s no evidence to suggest we’ve improved in that regard.

An advanced society can’t continue to advance if its ordering documents and principles are viewed as a rigid set of instructions to be interpreted literally by a panel of de facto clerics. Even if that approach occasionally produces the “right” outcome, it’ll prove incompatible with a dynamic society. On most issues, it’ll favor the minority, and the end result will be a loss of dynamism and everything that implies for the polity going forward.

Second…

American society (and Western democracies in general) have succumbed entirely to the so-called “culture wars.” We’re no longer capable of contextualizing issues (any issues) through any other lens. Everything is now a manifestation of a toxic “us versus them” politics, where no issue stands outside the fray.

Needless to say, the Roe debate is no exception. In fact, it’s the quintessential example of a divisive issue, and like all other such issues, it’ll be exploited by the same social media outlets whose algorithms perpetuate the breakdown of civil discourse by amplifying the most abrasive voices in the name of monetizable engagement.

In the corporate context, there are a few key points worth briefly noting. Corporations view the world through the bottom line and their obligation to shareholders. That means maximizing profits, which almost by definition means siding not with any court majority, but with the balance of public opinion. Because what is “the public” to a profit-maximizing corporation? It’s a collection of consumers.

In America, the Republican party has historically insisted corporations be left to their own devices to pursue profits, that corporations are “people” and that, as such, activities like campaign donations are tantamount to free speech. Over the past several years, though, the profit-maximization mandate meant corporate “persons” were compelled to exercise their right to free speech by supporting causes inconsistent with Republican values. That put the GOP in an awkward position: Defend corporations’ duty to maximize profits for shareholders by, for example, spending money on ad campaigns championing progressive causes, or defend conservative values?

Complicating things further, even acknowledging the existence of that quandary was to tacitly admit that a slim majority of the populace isn’t aligned with conservatives on many key issues. If they were, corporate America would be throwing money at advertising campaigns touting conservative values, because all that matters to the C-suite is staying on the right side of consumers.

Corporations are thus embedded in the culture wars on multiple fronts. Their advertising dollars pay the bills for America’s social media giants, so when Twitter (for example) amplifies the kind of shrill, divisive rhetoric that so many corporate executives publicly decry, remember it’s those same executives funding the cacophony. The louder that cacophony, the more fervent the culture wars, and the more difficult it becomes for Americans to contextualize reality through any other lens. That necessitates still more corporate initiatives aimed at staying on the “right” side of consumers which, in turn, perpetuates still more GOP vitriol towards their erstwhile partners in plutocracy.

The end result is a complete fraying of the social fabric, a total breakdown of intelligent debate and the disappearance of civic engagement, as citizens begin to view their daily lives as an extension of the culture wars: “I can’t invite the neighbors to dinner because what if they’re pro-this, or anti-that.”

If Americans (and Western democracies in general) don’t address the two points made above (and all of the attendant questions those points raise), society will regress and disintegrate.

For whatever it’s worth, that’s my contribution to the SCOTUS debate. At the least, I acknowledged the necessity of saying something, and endeavored to provide value while not straying from my raison d’être.


40 thoughts on “Roe V. Wade Through A Socioeconomic Lens

    1. Writing about a topic like this for public consumption in real-time, with all of the other news in the world bearing down simultaneously, and doing so in a way that adds value without unnecessarily rankling 48% of my readership isn’t easy, my friend. I penned this article in 42 minutes flat after detailing the rationale and ramifications of a rate hike in Australia, and between updating my JOLTS charts. What I do requires driving full-speed down the highway, weaving deftly in and out of lanes and never having an accident. I thread needles with my coverage and make existential points when I can. If readers want to backfill additional information and statistics, feel free. But I have to do my best and move to the next article posthaste, because for every five readers who want to read about Roe, two readers want JOLTS charts. Not delivering on any front isn’t an option. And thanks for the link. 🙂

      1. Thanks for sharing how you go about the everyday task of managing this site and producing such a wealth of material. I do not envy you, but I’ll bet it jolts you and super-charges you.

        Best regards, sir!
        Dave

  1. The background court politics are pretty interesting here. Kennedy wrote the majority opinion in Casey, which was the last abortion case which (mostly) upheld Roe. However, Kennedy changed his mind at the last minute — his initial vote after oral arguments was to overturn Roe. It would be poetic if his hand-picked successor (Kavanaugh) blew up that legacy by now overturning Roe. It also suggests that the leak may have been by one of the conservatives in an attempt to lock-in that early vote and prevent a last-hour defection as happened in Casey.

    The decision in Roe was also fundamentally grounded in conceptions of individual autonomy and privacy stretching back to earlier cases like Eisenstadt and Griswold. If the court overturns Roe, it also completely destabilizes any other cases decided on those grounds — most notably Lawrence and Obergefell, the cases which banned anti-sodomy laws and protected gay marriage. If Roe goes, those rights lose their entire justification, and so are a single challenge away from being overturned as well.

    All of that said, I don’t know that I completely agree with you about religion being the enemy, here (and i say that as an atheist). I think religion (and faith in general) is just a sort of convenient cognitive bias that helps us deal with the stress of an unknowable world. There’s a reason religious people generally live longer than the rest of us. Faith gives you the ability to just sort of cut-off the endless inquiry, and simply make peace with the world using a set of arbitrary answers for the unknowable. The non-religious attempt the same thing, we just call it mindfulness or meditation. I’m wary of calling science a panacea, as that implies there is some ultimate binary truth out there just waiting for us to discover, and that seems unlikely. If omniscience is not a realistic goal, then mistakes are just as likely with science as with faith. I don’t know that faith alone could have ever brought us to the brink of nuclear holocaust, for example.

    I think these present culture wars are ultimately a challenge of how society should balance peoples varying capacity for grappling with the unknowable. The resurgence of religious fundamentalism might be better conceptualized less as an error in judgement or a lack of education (etc), and more as a symptom of an increasing degree of societal anxiety. I mean, just look at how much your safety during the pandemic has depended upon keeping up with the latest scientific advice on the lethality of covid, the efficacy of masks in various environments, the type of mask, your demographic risk, the efficacy of airplane filtration systems, the safety of vaccines, the trustworthiness of the CDC, on and on. That’s a lot of stress, and not everyone has the desire to immerse themselves in it. Faith offers an alternative, and I think dismissing it as mere ignorance misses the point.

    1. “That’s a lot of stress, and not everyone has the desire to immerse themselves in it. Faith offers an alternative, and I think dismissing it as mere ignorance misses the point.”

      You just acknowledged the whole problem. Faith is not a viable alternative when it lead to wrong action. See Walt’s entire article above where he’s telling you it is not a good basis for action and has historically led to wrong actions and conclusions.
      And because people refuse to confront the major questions of life or even bother to sort through the best knowledge and information regarding a deadly viral pandemic, lots of wrong actions were / are pursued. Faith of the sort you refer to (blind faith) IS ignorance by definition.

      Sadly, lots of women will suffer

      Best advice I heard: if you don’t agree with abortion, don’t have one.

      In other news, on April 21 Texas, that bastion of conservative/christian/faith-based values, executed Carl Wayne Buntion, 78, by lethal injection. On the same day Tennessee, another bastion of conservative values, granted Oscar Franklin Smith, 72, a reprieve from his execution by lethal injection only because of an “oversight” in preparing his lethal injection.

      Irreconcilable differences based on “faith”

  2. 42 minutes?

    I’ve forwarded this to several friends who I wouldn’t want to discuss the issue with……to give them a different way to look at it.

    Again….thanks for the incredibly clear writing.

    Can’t express how much your Report has broadened my thinking on multiple subjects.

  3. “Boy, these conservatives are really something, aren’t they? They’re all in favor of the unborn. They will do anything for the unborn. But once you’re born, you’re on your own. Pro-life conservatives are obsessed with the fetus from conception to nine months. After that, they don’t want to know about you. They don’t want to hear from you. No nothing. No neonatal care, no day care, no head start, no school lunch, no food stamps, no welfare, no nothing. If you’re preborn, you’re fine; if you’re preschool, you’re fu**ed.” – George Carlin

  4. I always appreciate how you maintain your posture while balancing against different challenges of argument by keeping a sharp eye on who you are and the goals of your work. I much admire and appreciate your clarity. In the process you also provide a playground for shared conversation and opinion.

    Regarding the overnight actions of Scotus, I would not be surprised if it was Breyer who instigated the early release of the vote for deciding this case. I’m guessing he’s being mischievous. I speculate he sees it as a more a politically influenced decision by the majority, so he is leaving a parting gift by “speaking” politically as well.

    Your analysis of corporate positioning around controversial, publicly debated issues is spot on. But I feel more confident about the numerous, possible outcomes and where they may eventually lead. To your point though, there is, indeed, a real chance of dissolution for American democracy. But would corporations abide? Wouldn’t the chaos of political dissolution be avoided because it undermines the success of capitalist corporations?

    The talking heads in the media this past weekend played tapes of republicans after the election and the Capitol riot. Our noble republican leaders were recorded speaking privately about how 45 was mistaken and misguided in trying to subvert democracy in December 2020 and January 2021. Then, after January 2020, when these same noble republicans thought about the politics of it all, their spines shriveled, and they turned their backs on truth and democracy. Their subsequent, recorded comments presented completely opposing positions after the fact. All of this is out in the open.

    Your observations are correct in regard to corporations and their dance with the Republican Party. And your points about the “complete fraying of the social fabric, a total breakdown of intelligent debate and the disappearance of civic engagement” would present a looming choice for the well-being of American corporate entities. But in my experience, corporations “see the light” and avoid these outcomes if they can, whatever some members of their executive teams may feel about the politics. If, overall, corporate activities are seen as “bad for business,” they will change their behavior. The goal is to preserve and grow the business. These forms of politics are antithetical to the corporate make-up.

    I don’t expect the abundance of corporate entities to persist in standing with Republicans as they stroll merrily down their path of disingenuous positioning and lies. There will be some. But we are watching in real time the grand old party of Abraham Lincoln, which is seriously undermining its own credibility, and is slowly destroying itself by embracing a thought vacuum, and possibly, nihilism.

    1. “… keeping a sharp eye on who you are and the goals of your work.”

      That’s really key. One thing I’ve learned over the past six years is that irrespective of what I think/know I can write or “should” say, the vast majority of my readership is here for a specific type of commentary. And while core readers are generally fine with (and often appreciate) deviations, 90% of daily visitors want predictability, not necessarily because they don’t like variety, but because everyone’s time is limited. And I try to respect that.

      When someone comes here at any given time of day, they know more or less what they’re going to get, what my cadence is going to be and they know they can trust it. That’s an extremely desirable (and rare) value proposition. There are a lot of sites where you know exactly what you’re going to get, but they’re not generally trustworthy. With trustworthy sites (or I guess I should say vetted news outlets), you can generally depend on the content to be fact-checked and reasonably well-written, but it’s impossible to navigate, even on well-designed sites.

      You could spend an hour on Bloomberg’s public website trying to figure out what to read, for example. I mean, you read the story in the top unit, and then maybe the tangential coverage of that same story, then you have to fight your way through a dizzying array of categories, ads and just generalized content for the sake of it. Then there’s something like The New Yorker, where you’re like, “Ok, all of this is probably worth reading, but even a short article will take me 30 minutes to get through, so which one do I choose? Because I only have time for one.”

      I try to provide readers with something that bridges all those gaps.

      1. Funny, isn’t it … how writing exercises the writer and gives back? Yes, there is the give and take: The writer’s works engage the audience. But the task also illuminates and engages the writer, triggering expected and unexpected connections – to ideas, memories, a life of experiences – and broadens the life’s footprint.

  5. Knowing God is the ultimate human arrogance. Knowing what a God would specifically want for others is arrogance in action.
    I realized at an early age the history of humankind.
    My God is better than your God said I should kill you and have your stuff.

  6. I believe this piece also could have been written in 1/2001 where a similar Supreme Court overruled (5-4) the state of Florida in deciding how to count and certify their votes…result … how the empire crumbles…

  7. Although I fully support a woman’s right to get an abortion, I am happy to see Roe v Wade overturned. It has been skewing American political discourse for decades. Being so-called pro-life, in particular, has been too strong of a selling point for right-wing politicians; too many people vote solely on whether someone is pro-life. Hopefully this will take some of the wind out of the pro-life sails. Yes, there will be a subset that tries to keep charging and change federal law now to outlaw abortion, but I don’t think it will have the same magnetism. And hopefully this will help shake a lot of people on the left out of their lethargy.

    Of course there will be unintended consequences. How many women are we going to see charged with manslaughter or murder after a miscarriage? That will tragic. But I think we will definitely be better off if Roe v Wade gets taken out of the political equation.

    1. Your last paragraph is devastating. Are you saying charging women with manslaughter or murder (or dead from a botched procedure) is an acceptable price to remove RvW? While the sperm-donors walk away?
      Please tell me that’s not your conclusion.

      If the men involved were also included in any manslaughter charges you would see an instant about-face on the issue of abortion

      1. While the sperm-donors walk away?

        It’s because of statements like this, among other things, that I would be happy to see Roe v Wade go away.

        Are you saying charging women with manslaughter or murder (or dead from a botched procedure) is an acceptable price to remove RvW?

        That question is in the same general catagory as asking someone of they still beat their wife.

        Because of Roe v Wade, people like Donald Trump stand a better chance of getting elected than they would without it. All they have to do is blow the pro-life dog whistle and people will vote for them regardless of all other considerations. That needs to end. That’s all.

    2. Calling them pro-life was a real branding coup, anti-choice is more accurate. And why can’t I get a tax deduction when life begins at conception?

      1. Calling them pro-life was a real branding coup . . .

        Democrats in general have been absolutely terrible at long-term strategic thinking. One reason the GOP has done so well and has arrived at this point was the Powell Memo, written by Lewis Powell in the summer of 1971. That little piece of brilliance was long-term strategic thinking at its best. And although he wrote it before Roe v Wade, Roe v Wade came along very soon after, and the anti-choice people were able fall in with the business community to use Powell’s prescriptions to their own end.

        Only two Democrats that I know of had the level of strategic insight of Lewis Powell: Howard Dean, with his 50 state strategy, and a cognitive linguist at UC Berkeley named George Lakoff. Lakoff clearly saw the impact of language on issues. One of his favorite examples was rebranding the estate tax the “death tax,” but I think he’d also agree that “pro-life” was another linguistic coup. In any case, the Democratic Party nabobs pooh-poohed both Dean and Lakoff, and the GOP has basically been give free reign on the language/branding issue.

  8. I just want to add my deep appreciation for your work Mr. H.
    Often it is just hearing my own sensibilities articulated so well that keep me sane.
    Thank you for that.

  9. Religion is a pretty poor excuse here to justify taking women’s rights away. I’d love for someone to provide me specifically where in either the old or new testament where God or Jesus specifically call out abortion, in plain terms that don’t require extrapolation, as a cardinal sin. What is called out as a cardinal sin is murder, in no uncertain terms “thou shall not kill” is made clear. However, the current party of Christianity doesn’t believe that very plainly stated text applies if say, you feel like your life is being threatened. No see if you feel “threatened” (whatever that means to the individual) then you are allowed to kill someone with a gun in self defense. This is so popular a belief that guns outnumber people in the United States and my news feed contains daily stories about someone being shot and killed around the country. This daily dose of gun related murder doesn’t even bother the people in power on the right. But if a woman’s life is being threatened by the pregnancy she has, well then it’s a huge problem if she does something to try to protect her life. God only cares about that kind of “murder” (if you can even call it that), apparently.

    Let’s be clear, the evangelicals don’t care about murder. They care about control. This decision is giving the government the power to infringe on women’s freedom, and it almost certainly will not stop there.

    Keep all of this in mind when you’re going to polls with voting for your party on your mind. If you party disagrees with your values by the actions they take against the words that they say, then you need to make sure your vote exhibits your distaste for those lies and actions.

    1. “… the evangelicals don’t care about murder. They care about control.” The people who came to America starting in the 1600s ostensibly (according to our national creation myth) to gain personal and religious freedom. What they really wanted was to gain control of others they couldn’t control before they came here. Religious freedom, bah. In a great many places it was an offense not to attend church, not of your choice, either, just the bosses’ church. Time in the stocks was a lucky punishment for violations. What about the freedom of the indigenous peoples? We systematically exterminated them and took their homes, their lands, their goods, and if we let them live, their freedom. What do the evangelicals think Jesus would have to say about that? Of course, they were heathens and it was ok. Not religious freedom though. And of course, we pretended Jesus must have thought it was also ok to import millions of people, uprooted from their homes, stuffed into the holds of ships for months, only to be bought and sold to owners who mercilessly used them to earn gelt. I don’t think so. We are not a Christian nation and we never were. We are a people than generally believes it is ok to do just about anything we please. Most of all, old white men want to return to the time when women, too, were chattels who could not vote, own property, hold office, or inherit from their husbands. My home state, MO, not only has already passed a law banning abortion for all its female citizens, but even plans to try to prosecute those who they catch getting an abortion in a place where it is still legal. I don’t where the freedom is, but it’s not around here. As soon as this milestone is repealed what’s next? I’m betting attempts will be made to seal the deal by trying to take back the vote for women.

      Religion is a social institution created thousands of years ago, originally as a way to help us understand the mysteries of life we couldn’t understand and reduce the uncertainty of life. The (perhaps) unintended consequence of this institution was to put a few individuals in charge of everybody else. That is why I can no longer support the institution of religion. To me, and to Jesus, Buddha, Confucius, the Greek philosophers, thinkers like Emmanuel Kant, Paul Tillich and others, all of this is about living an ethical life. At the center of all the world’s major religions and moral philosophies is the “Golden Rule,” treat others as you would wish to be treated. I am not sure that rule has ever been followed in our “great” republic … not with all those damn guns around.

      Thomas Jefferson was an avid reader of his Bible but he eventually came to believe that most of that book didn’t embody the moral philosophy of Jesus so he took a razor to his copy of the book and produced a revised version that has come to be called the Jefferson Bible. He called it “The Life and Morals of Jesus of Nazareth Extracted Textually from the Gospels” in various languages. After a bit he refined his book which is currently published by The Smithsonian Institution and is available on their commercial website. IMHO this book is the embodiment of the moral philosophy that was originally intended to represent Christianity in the form of Jesus’ moral philosophy, a set of beliefs that would never have supported slavery, genocide, war on others, killing of any kind under any circumstances (he would have everyone turn the other cheek, remember), disrespecting any human, segregation, etc. It has been my observation that Evangelical Christians, in fact, most so-called Christians don’t actually follow what Jesus said, but what the Jews he was rebelling against, said in the Old Testament. The word Jesus does not appear in that part of the Bible.

      H, you are right on, as usual, the founding fathers knew, and it is still true, the introduction of any religion into politics is anathema and they put that in the Constitution but right thinking (pun intended) leaders have ignored that idea, and still do, more than ever.

      1. Let’s not forget that the predominant races in the current United States until the late 19th century were not white. We create our own revisionist history to support our desperate need for whiteness to matter.

        Christianity is full of a flawed history involving stealing, murdering, and rape. However, if one were to just read the gospels and try to live by those writings, the bible isn’t a bad book. Of course it’s hard to keep the “flock” coming back to church and submitting their monetary donations if they live by the ethos that God loves everyone and Jesus died for your sins so you can go to heaven. Instead we need the fire and brimstone judgement of the old testament so we can feel the need to judge others and then attack them.

        Looking at the January 6th insurrection combined with the Supreme Court apparently overturning Roe topped with red states outlawing abortion the Handmaid’s Tale feels more like a preview of what’s to come than a dystopian novel.

    2. I am absolutely pro choice and am so frustrated with the federal government’s ability to “do the right thing” and pass a law allowing abortion. If RvW has always been on shaky ground, the elected representatives have had 50 years to straighten out that problem- which has not been done.

      If the Federal government is unwilling to “do the right thing”, then the states should all step up and allow it. Each state can determine the parameters- similar to gun laws. I would hope that all states would be pro-choice, but it would be up to the voters of each state.

      The rate of abortions has steadily declined since 1980’s, mostly due to alternative forms of birth control, but I looked at a map last night showing the states that have significant restrictions on abortions, including the 13 states expected to no longer allow abortions if RvW is overturned- and I would not want to be a relatively poor, young female-who wants an abortion- living in the southeast part of our country- because one would have to travel across several states to get to a state that allows abortions. I guess they could also fly to Canada. Either alternative is going to cost some money that they probably don’t have.

      Having said all of this, the list of issues our country needs to deal with is quite long and I do not have confidence that this issue will move to the top of that priority list to get fixed- due to a number of reasons- even though polls show that over 70% of Americans are in favor of allowing abortions up to the point in time when a fetus is viable outside the womb (without spending millions to keep it alive).

  10. ” It has been my observation that Evangelical Christians, in fact, most so-called Christians don’t actually follow what Jesus said, but what the Jews he was rebelling against, said in the Old Testament. The word Jesus does not appear in that part of the Bible.”

    Great point, sir.

    From another reader of the Jefferson Bible.

    1. Abandoning logic and analyzing the situation with an AI algorithm, it appears to me that there’s a very good chance the GQP knows that Roe V. Wade will not be overturned. But by giving the evangelicals a taste of victory they can avoid disenchantment and use the narrow defeat for motivation to vote GQP one more time to get one more judge on the court. This is still the party of Karl Rove the great manipulator that bugged his own campaign office and William Barr who previewed Special Counsel Mueller’s report with his own alternative facts.

      1. Love the GQP characterization. It’s excellent. First time I have ever seen it. I tried to wipe it away, thinking it was a spot of dust (on my computer screen) at the bottom of the O. Thank you very kindly, Nellie, for tickling my funny bone on a Friday afternoon!

  11. One can’t lose (or win) in a discussion that has implications for both politics and religion. But it enables a voluminous conversation. Lots of comments and replies and replies to replies above. Looks like this may be a record for engagement in response to a single post.

    Since Newt Gingrich’s time and the installation of the “Freedom Caucus” in Congress, we have all suffered by consensus-limiting, diminishing channels of communication between the two parties in our two-party system. Republicans see how American politics is changing with shifting populations, the changing skin color of the populace, women’s rights, and educational advancement, among other things. Rather than confront it and respond to it, they (seem to) fail to perceive how their party positions and rhetoric can constructively integrate in the evolving culture. They prefer to grasp for power and run, promoting outlandish arguments against convention itself (not just democrats), apparently frightened about the prospect of losing power.

    In the process they present an ironically radical posture in an historically conservative country, moving toward the fringe, and making themselves less than desirable choices for office. They seem to believe that they can tell voters how to think. And they seem to believe they can direct the evolution of the culture.

    I miss the thoughtful and constructive members of the Republican Party (e.g., I saw an article this morning in Politico that recalled Orin Hatch, who cosponsored the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990). In my humble opinion, many of today’s republicans suffer from limited imagination, a failure to perceive how their party positions and rhetoric can constructively integrate in the evolving culture. The actions of the republicans, in essence, suggest that they do not, by and large, understand their own value to the country, and neither do they believe in their own party.

    There remain some thinkers in the party, remnants of what was before. Liz Cheney and Adam Kinzinger are two examples. Not only do they think clearly and express themselves clearly, but they also believe in themselves, and they believe in the positions that they support. The likes of Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Ben Sasse, and Mitt Romney should grow such a spine and sense of conviction, whatever causes they wish to support.

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