“It probably seemed like a good idea at the time. Republican presidential hopefuls, who at least claimed to be outraged by last week’s CNBC debate, suddenly discovered the power of collective bargaining.”
It is never actually useful to make such declarations after the fact, but come on, who doesn’t see that quote and experience an internal sigh of relief akin to, “Yeah, so I’m not the only one who noticed”?
And you know how it goes. You cock your head, or raise an eyebrow, and when you look around nobody else seems to be reacting, so, you know, maybe you’ve got it wrong.
Whatever. Never mind.
The moral of the story, Steve Benen’s tale, inasmuch as we might risk using the word “moral” in any context remotely related to Republicans, is actually pretty straightforward, and thus pretty much what you might expect:
Putting aside for a moment whether the list had merit―it didn’t―the underlying point was that candidates believed they could leverage their power by acting together. After all, without them, there could be no debates―networks would be expected to meet the Republicans’ demands, fearing that the candidates simply wouldn’t show up unless they were satisfied ....
.... But revolts like these only work when compatriots link arms, and in this case, Donald Trump, Chris Christie, Carly Fiorina, John Kasich, and Ted Cruz―constituting a third of the Republican field―have each said they’re not endorsing the demands.
This is a really important point. Conservative policies often seem hostile toward the collective consideration in any collective endeavor. To wit, there is a reason so many of their policies require that some people be left out, excluded from the benefit. And this is always couched in a selfish appeal. And when the underlying motivation is a Machiavellian assertion of self, working and playing well with others is behavior only cultivated for calculated purpose. That is to say, if conservatives seem to face extraordinary inherent challenges when attempting or purporting to work together, yes, there is a reason for that.
Image note: Detail of Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal by Zach Weiner, 12 June 2015
Benen, Steve. “GOP debate rebellion starts to unravel”. msnbc. 4 November 2015.