Social Question

LostInParadise's avatar

What do you think will be the reaction to Obama's "social Darwinism" comment?

Asked by LostInParadise (29286points) April 3rd, 2012

The President characterized the Republican budget as social Darwinism If I were a Republican speech writer (it would take a real lot of money to even consider that), here is what I would do. I would seize on the Darwinism term and feign to be highly insulted to have anything to do with Darwin and evolution, being a firm believer in Intelligent Design. I would say that the President clearly does not know what he is talking about.

Now I will sit back and see if any pundits on the right take this tack.

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26 Answers

jerv's avatar

Haters gonna hate.

No matter what anybody says, at least some on the other side will over-inflate it.

wundayatta's avatar

Cut off any help and let those who are most able to—survive. I think Republicans will agree. They think there is too much government already and no one wants it, and especially no one wants to have higher taxes so that the poor can have handouts. Let them live in the gutters and survive on handouts and turn to criminality. Then we can build more and more prisons and spend even less money on handouts and more money to imprison people.

That is how Republicans (don’t) think. They believe that if people didn’t get public assistance, they’d find a (legal) way to support themselves. Perhaps they would. Or perhaps crime would go up. But Republicans have another solution for crime: mandatory gun ownership.

The Zimmerman law, I think they call it.

Blackberry's avatar

“I would seize on the Darwinism term and feign to be highly insulted to have anything to do with Darwin and evolution, being a firm believer in Intelligent Design.”

Social darwinism has nothing to do with the theory of evolution. What is the point of lying? Isn’t there enough of that in politics?

LostInParadise's avatar

@Blackberry , Keep in mind that these are the same folks who say that evolution can be dismissed because it is only a theory. I am not suggesting that this is what should be said, only that I would not be at all surprised if someone does make such a statement.

flutherother's avatar

I can’t imagine a Republican saying that, but it can’t be ruled out. I think they will ignore the phrase but the word ‘Darwin’ just might trigger a reaction. Secretly, all Republicans are Darwinians at heart, they believe in survival of the richest.

dappled_leaves's avatar

One or two Republicans will make a lame joke about it, the crowd will cheer half-heartedly, and it will impact no one very much.

Cruiser's avatar

To me it exposes a weakness and vulnerability I have not yet seen Obama exhibit. IMO it tips his hand that he feels threatened by the inefficiencies and lack of progress of his own administration and has to exalt ridiculous claims like the Republicans are bent on social Darwinism. I am still waiting for the buck to stop being passed around and that Mr. Obama not only accept responsibility to what has happened on his watch but put forth real plans….good or bad….at least real plans with details like the Republicans have.

This is the same empty rhetoric he is bantering about may have worked while campaigning against Bush, but this time around it is his a$$ that is on the line. Time to stop pointing fingers Mr. President and do something to fix the mess YOU simply made worse.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser A bad plan is often worse than no plan though. For instance, Rick Santorum plans to ban pornography, and believes that doing so will cause homosexuality to disappear within months. Just because he has a detailed plan to impose his morality, does that make it a good plan? I think not.

As for accepting responsibility, I would only agree if there weren’t this group that some people like to call “Congress”. Maybe you heard of them? Sure, the Executive branch hasn’t been perfect, but Congress has been worse. Unfortunately, it’s easier to blame one person instead of hundreds.

But I guess it just goes to show how divided this country is :/

Cruiser's avatar

@jerv It’s too bad you chose to use Santorum as an example in the point I see you are trying to make. It is easy to kick a clown when he is down but now it the time to get serious not only about your real opponent, but the candidate you choose to hitch your saddle to. ;)

Also I think it is time to cut congress some slack since they are only playing by the rules laid down by Citizens United decision to allow unlimited corporate funds thrown at both sides of the isle to write the narrative we all seem so easily swayed by. Until I see real solutions to the real problems you and I face….I will bite my tongue and wait for the main course to be served during the conventions coming our way.

jerv's avatar

@Cruiser The Republicans are inextricably linked to people like Santorum though, and that really doesn’t help their chances amongst people with brains… including intelligent Conservatives!

Regardless, it’s all a media circus anyways, so how about you and I hit up the concession stand then go watch the freak show?

ratboy's avatar

They won’t be able to make the connection between Darwin and evolution.

Jaxk's avatar

Interesting. The president submitted his budget and no one, let me repeat that, no one voted for it. The vote was 414 -0, not even the most adamant, brainless, cheerleader for Obama, Debbie Wasserman-Shutz, voted for it. Seems to me he has a bit of work to do before he admonishes others for thier budget.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I don’t know. Maybe it’s because I’ve seen politicians feint with something utterly batshit before and then “settle” for something that, while saner, is still kind of crazy.

Jaxk's avatar


This is the second year in a row where the president has gotten no one to vote for his budget. And of course, let’s not forget that the Democrats in the Senate haven’t even put anything forward for 3 years. It’s beginning to look like they just don’t want a budget regardless of who puts it forward or what’s in it. So they do what Democrats do. They try to ridicule anyone that tries to do their job.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk If I got cock-blocked and held for ransom often enough, I’d give up too :/

Jaxk's avatar


Remember that they didn’t pass a budget even when they had complete control of congress. To say it’s because the Republicans blocked it, is a bit lame. And remember that budget bills only require a simple majority, not 60 votes.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk Are you saying that it is perfectly acceptable to utterly ignore and trample over the minority party? Do you absolutely support “Tyranny by majority”? Realistically, there are limits to what can be done even with a veto-proof super-majority.
Besides, any budget that funds social programs, or that even thinks about doing anything with taxes aside from more cuts, will only anger Republicans, while any budget that doesn’t won’t get Democratic support, so there its no possible proposal that is worth bringing up unless your intent is to incite and provoke. Compromise is weakness, and non-extremism demonstrates a lack of commitment to the cause.
No, better to let the Republicans dig their own grave. So long as the economy is shaky, whoever controls the budget is a lightning rod for hatred and discontent. Seems like goods politics to me.

Jaxk's avatar


Tyranny by the majority is what we had for the first two years of the Obama administration. It sounds like you don’t want any attempt at finding some middle ground. There are few issues that Democrats and Republicans will agree on but there are a few. Unless Democrats can put something forward, we’ll never know what they are.

It would appear that Democrats won’t put a budget proposal forward because they know it would be ridiculous (much like Obama’s). And the last thing they want is for the CBO to score their budget.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I saw the GOP use enough parliamentary procedure tricks and such to counter their minority status that I cannot agree. And I do want to find some sort of middle ground, if for no reason other than half-hearted compromise beats stagnant inaction due to in-fighting; our taxes pay for them to govern, not to argue endlessly without doing anything or to put spiting each other above what is best for our nation and it’s citizens.

I think that the real reason they won’t put forth a budget is because, unlike the GOP, they are not united. Even with the schism between the Tea Party, Libertarians, and the old-school True Conservatives, the Republican party is more united than the Democrats ever were. And even on those issues where the Dems agree with both themselves and the Republicans, they rarely agree on the best course of action.

As for Obama’s latest budget proposal that got no support, ask yourself this; was it a real budget, or just a middle finger? Congress’ approval rating is pretty damn low, and I can easily imagine that actually trying to work with them for the last few years has Obama even more pissed at Congress than the average American, so I can see him (or any other President under those circumstances) doing something like that.

Jaxk's avatar


Compromise is not necessarily the best answer but there are a few things that we can agree on. I don’t think that even the Democrats think having the highest corporate tax rate in the world is a good thing. Also Republicans have support for closing some of the loopholes. I think we could make some headway on those issues but the Democrats have to come to the table.

The Democrats obviously want to spend a lot more money and they want to raise taxes. Doesn’t it seem appropriate for them to tell us exactly how much more they want to spend and how much more they want to raise taxes, not to mention how much they want to raise them and on who. I think the answer is that the revenue from increased taxes doesn’t even make a dent in the increased spending. And they don’t want anyone to know badly they will handle the debt. I’m just spitballing here but that’s my guess.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk I don’t recall saying that compromise was the best answer, merely better than what we currently have.

Thing is, we actually don’t have the highest corporate tax rates in the world, so right there we have already started off with hyperbole. Also, there are enough loopholes that the effective tax rate is far lower. But yes, the Dems need to come to the table, just as the Republicans need to be willing to negotiate on other issues.

As for your second paragraph, that ignores the spending cuts they want to make, and much of the Bush tax cuts is actually seen as an expense, especially since they were supposed to be temporary but every time it is suggested that we allow part of them to sunset, some unnamed party holds the country hostage and demands that either they all be cut (hurting the bottom 98%) or that we allow the financial hemorrhaging to continue by maintaining the status quo. Regardless, many Democrats see those tax cuts as an expense while Conservatives generally consider any taxation as tyrannical theft; until that difference in opinion is resolved, I don’t see any meaningful improvements in our obviously flawed tax system.

My guess is that neither side can handle the debt. Look at how much money Republicans want to spend (or leave on the table) by enacting and enforcing laws against things they have no right butting into while simultaneously letting the inmates run the asylum when it comes to anything regarding commerce and business. They aren’t any more responsible than the those who aren’t afraid to do some heavy spending but want to cut spending elsewhere and prefer to pay up front instead of billing the grandkids.

Jaxk's avatar


Japan lowered it’s corporate tax rate last Sunday. That leaves us with the highest rate. No hyperbole, just fact. The thing about loopholes is that some get them some don’t. This means that a company like GE that made billions but paid no tax is averaged with the oil companies that paid 41% to the government making the effective tax rate look small. GE is giggling while the oil companies are paying. So who do the Democrats go after….....drum roll please….The Oil Companies.

I think it’s time to start telling the country the truth and slow down on the campaign bullshit.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk That is news to me; I haven’t checked in a few months. But don’t you think that the fact that taxation could be so uneven illustrates how messed up the system really is? To my mind, playing with the tax rates is almost pointless because whatever numbers you plug in won’t make up for the systemic flaws.

Of course, the real reason they are going after oil companies is because oil companies base consumer prices on speculation instead of cost or current value, so there is a bit more to the story than that. After the last bubble burst, there is a little bit of resentment and such towards speculators. Maybe a little too much, but no moreso than Republicans have towards the poor.

But don’t forget that both sides have plenty of campaign bullshit. Sadly, your side of the fence includes people like Santorum and Palin that make Democrats seem rational, same, and intelligent by comparison.

I look forward to the day when the bullshit stops… but I don’t see it happening in my lifetime.

Jaxk's avatar


I barely know where to start with this. We began haggling about fixing the loopholes. That is the systemic problem and both sides agree. The disagreement comes with the rates on individual income taxes. Obama wants them to go up, Republicans don’t. So why don’t we act on the points of agreement? Because Obama won’t allow any change to the tax code unless there is an increase in the individual income tax rate.

As for the oil companies they don’t control the speculators. In fact the price of gas is totally based on cost of oil. The oil companies actually use the oil they buy, speculators don’t. Our energy policy is discouraging oil production which necessarily drives the price of crude up. Your hatred of the oil companies is misplaced and you’re making the problem worse not better.

The rest of your post is merely ‘I hate Republicans’. Now there’s a rational, sane, and intelligent argument.

jerv's avatar

@Jaxk True, oil companies don’t control speculators, but that is a bit of a straw man, especially since the relationship between the price of crude and the price of gas is not a directly causal one.

More importantly, when did I say that the Democrats were right to do so? Once again, you are misattributing opinions I don’t have to me. I thought you knew by now that I like to play Devil’s Advocate. Personally, I want to see all corporations taxed equally; it would actually reduce the tax burden on the small business owners that actually make most of the jobs in our economy, possibly allowing them to expand and hire more people, which both benefits them and lowers unemployment, which benefits us all.

As for accusing me of hating Republicans, the truth is that I really don’t like anyone; it’s just that certain Republicans (those that even normal Republicans sometimes view as crackpots) earn more of my derision than any other political figures.

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