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Reblogged:What Trump Didn't Say Is the Real Problem

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The left is in a frenzy, as usual, over one of the President's most recent tweets, this one attacking Democrat Elijah Cummings of Maryland over the poor conditions of west Baltimore. One of the better conservative responses to the brouhaha I have seen comes from Seth Barron of City Journal, who notes how predictable the Democrats' accusations of racism have been: "The operative rule in politics these days seems to be that any criticism of a non-white politician from anywhere to their right is, by definition, a racist attack."

Trump knows this, and I think that's part of his motivation: After being called a racist every time he opens his mouth long enough, that particular accusation will, he seems to believe, lose credibility with many of his potential voters. Just as predictably, many Republicans, tired of being written off or smeared as bigots, are defending Trump or at least his appraisal of the conditions in west Baltimore. (See the editorial at hand and another, which correctly ticks off similar ills in various cities run for decades by Democrats.)

Trump's defenders are only half-right (and dangerously so) as far as that goes. Take Barron:

baltimore.jpg
Image by Breanna Klemm, via Unsplash, license.
"You would think that you were in a Third World country," said a noted senator during a tour of Cummings' district in 2015. "There are hundreds of buildings that are uninhabitable." Was it Ted Cruz or Jeff Sessions who sneered, "Residents of Baltimore's poorest boroughs have lifespans shorter than people living under dictatorship in North Korea. That is a disgrace"? No, it was Democratic candidate for president Bernie Sanders, whose comments about Baltimore were not condemned as sickeningly racist, but contemplated as brave reflections on the failure of America to help its struggling communities.

...

Some have suggested that it's unfair for the president to blame Elijah Cummings for his district's woes, since congressmen don't control local issues like trash pickup or law enforcement. But Cummings is a Democratic powerbroker in Baltimore, which has been run by a succession of failed mayors -- one of whom stole gift cards meant for poor children, and another who "sold" thousands of copies of her unreadable book to the public hospital system. Local state's attorney Marilyn Mosby is credited with bungling the investigation into the death of Freddie Gray. Cummings is an integral part of a corrupt, dysfunctional political machine that is directly responsible for Baltimore's misery. [bold added]
So Trump and Sanders agree that west Baltimore is a travesty. Great.

Sadly, that may not be the end of where they agree: Note what Trump and his conservative defenders are not saying. There is no challenge to the welfare state, to the whole premise of the government running things. There is no mention of the idea that capitalism is a better way, let alone a case being made. Insofar as the political establishment of Baltimore is corrupt, and Cummings is a power broker there, he is responsible for its parlous state. But this doesn't mean -- as the "right" side of this dispute is practically inviting the audience to infer -- that a more competently-run/less corrupt welfare state would improve things. That's where Sanders is going, and deserves to be attacked for. But rather than challenge the whole premise of the government running everything, we're hearing, "We'd run things better," from the Republicans, while they try to play the Victim Card the Democrats keep handing them.

Trump may look bold in defying the race-baiting Democrats, but he is just as cynically (or meekly) accepting their altruist-collectivist premises about the purpose of government  as practically every other conservative before him.

With political "debate" like this, you'd think we were in a Third World country. And, unless this beings to change soon, we will be.

-- CAV

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