Over at Washington Monthly's Political Animal, Kathleen Geier has a piece that should inform discussion of the "Grand Bargain" or any other proposals from the Right. "When conservatives talk about ideas, they euphemistically rely on abstractions — because it covers up the creepy reality"
In the give and take of ideas, Geier notes that Republicans like to use a lot of respectable-sounding abstractions to cover up a basic problem: the real world consequences of their policies suck (though she phrases it more politely.)
It’s notable that Paul Ryan holds exactly the same wingnutty position on abortion that Akin and Mourdock do: i.e., that abortion should be banned even in cases of rape and incest. The problem with Mourdock and Akin was that, unlike Beltway favorite Paul Ryan, they were unpolished rubes who hadn’t mastered the art of speaking wingnutspeak — i.e., communicating creepy conservative ideas in ways that don’t scare people. They learned, the hard way, that when you’re a conservative, it’s best to keep things at the level of grand, shining abstractions. That way, you sound noble and oh-so-morally-superior. But when you get down to brass tacks — to actual policies and specific examples — you may well find yourself in a world of trouble, defending policies that a pretty hefty chunk of the population is going to consider icky.emphasis added
Geier translates Small Government, Right to Life, States Rights, Family Values, Judicial Restraint, Free Markets, Right to Work, and Religious Freedom into what they really amount to in practice. For example:
“Small government” = No Social Security, Medicare, or unemployment benefits, or at the very least, radically reduced versions of same. It also means the rich and corporations paying little or no taxes, and ordinary people paying more. In other words, pretty much no social insurance or wealth redistribution, no matter how frightening the degree of economic instability or how obscene the level of economic inequality.It's a lesson we all should have learned a long time ago, one that too many in the Democratic establishment and the media have not learned. Republican language is intended to deceive - and it is what makes trying to engage them so frustrating. Adopt their framing on an issue, and you're automatically conceding them the real agenda behind it - you're reinforcing it.
Read Geier's whole commentary. It's not all that long and it's a good reminder of what we're dealing with. Republicans work for really horrible things on a systematic basis because they've learned how to use language to cloak it in a seeming moral high ground - and they fool themselves with it too. It's one reason they throw a hissy fit when called on it.
Don't be fooled.