Hoo boy. You can really learn a lot about somebody by how they respond to disappointment.
Case in point: Former-Future-White-House-Digital-Media-Director Markos Moulitsas steps in it with this little ditty, titled Be happy for coal miners losing their health insurance. They’re getting exactly what they voted for:
But don’t feel sorry for the ones who enabled this nightmare by voting for the incoming Trump-Putin administration. For example, why should we weep for the retired coal miners who will now lose their health insurance thanks to the GOP majority—despite the best efforts of coal-state Democrats to change the outcome?
Yes, this will be a terrible outcome for a group of people who have really drawn a shitty lot in life. But how sorry should we be for this crowd? Coal country swung hard for Donald Trump, winning 70 to 80 percent of the vote in some of these counties…Don’t weep for these coal miners, now abandoned by their GOP patrons. They are getting exactly the government that they voted for.
Yes, he actually tells us we should be happy that people with black lung disease will lose health insurance. He doesn’t merely cite this as a predictable negative outcome – he celebrates a group of poor people in desperate need being harmed as a something to “be happy” about, an outcome to be desired, because many of them behaved in a manner that offends his beliefs about what poor people should do to help themselves – in this case, listen to those “coal state Democrats” and vote for Hillary Clinton. Over and over again, he hammers the point that this loss of health insurance – poor people losing the health insurance they are entitled to! – is something good and desirable, and chi be bothered by it. Not all of the voters in coal country voted for Trump, of course, but enough to kick in the logic of collective punishment. And note that he can’t even bring himself to adopt a “more in sorrow than in anger” tone, or shed some crocodile tears over the segment of the group that didn’t violate his rules for what poor people must do to earn his support.
This is the sort of logic one commonly finds among right-wing Republicans who respond to the suffering and need of poor black communities by citing those communities’ rates of drug use, criminality, or other behaviors that conservatives use to distinguish between the deserving poor (the ones who act the way the would-be-benefactor approves of, which allows him to feel good about himself when aiding them) and the undeserving poor (the ones who violate the wealthy and powerful’s norms, whose moral status renders them beneath compassion, and who need to “feel more keenly the lash of their poverty” in order to compel them to change their ways). There is a difference, of course – conservatives believe in individual action and virtue (such as hard work, honesty, and sobriety) as the condition for qualifying as “deserving poor,” while liberals like Markos believe in collective action and virtue (belonging to the proper political coalition) to qualify.
I don’t approve of people voting for Donald Trump. I also don’t approve of individuals engaging in violent crime or parasitic sloth. But if your position on things like the expansion of health care, economic support for the poor, or keeping faith with promises made to working people as part of bargained workplace benefits depends upon whether any given group of needy people behave the way you want them to, you aren’t any sort of liberal. And if you define a community in terms of the one field of behavior you use for the purpose of writing people out of the circle of humanity, you are doing so out of hostility towards that community.
The whole thing makes me question who else Markos and his crowd would throw over the side if they ceased to be helpful for their political ambitions.