Are Democrats “the party that thinks Americans themselves are stupid?”

Republicans have long argued that government intervenes too heavily in the economy, centralizing decision-making and hurting those who create jobs and generate wealth for the entire nation. While this argument has the benefit of being true, it has the disadvantage of being aimed at a relatively small number of people. It allows Democrats to claim, for instance, that the GOP is the “party of big business” — as if there’s something inherently wrong with big businesses — without alienating a very large segment of the population.

The GOP has been less successful at making the equally true argument that government’s economic interventions are bad for individuals, too. As we approach the 2016 elections, a number of likely presidential candidates on the Republican side are trying to find the right way to make that argument. One of them is Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal, who has previously chided his fellow Republicans for acting like “the stupid party.” In a new op-ed at CNN.com, Jindal argues Democrats’ policies on everything from Obamacare mandates to blocking school-choice measures render them “the party that thinks Americans themselves are stupid”:

“In a speech in Boston at the peak of the controversy surrounding insurance cancellations, [President Obama] repeatedly derided canceled plans as ‘substandard … cut-rate plans that don’t offer real financial protection.’ And he didn’t just insult the plans themselves, he insulted the people who purchased them: ‘A lot of people thought they were buying coverage, and it turned out to be not so good.’

“In other words, if you like your current plan, you’re delusional — or a dimwit.

“The President soon backtracked, and unilaterally waived portions of the bill he signed into law, allowing some individuals to keep their plans, temporarily. But while the President expressed regret for having engaged in what Politifact dubbed the ‘Lie of the Year,’ he has not once apologized for the arrogant and patronizing attitude underpinning the entire controversy — one in which the President believes that he and his bureaucrats know better than everyday Americans.”

You know: the kind of dimwittedness that leaves 50-year-old men to believe they can get by with a policy that doesn’t offer maternity coverage.

The same attitude, Jindal writes, is obvious in the reactions in his home state to his efforts to increase educational freedom there:

“In 2012, the executive director of a state teachers’ union claimed that school scholarship programs wouldn’t work, because low-income parents could not make decisions about their children’s education, saying they ‘have no clue.’

“These comments perfectly illustrate the left’s double standards. Both President Barack Obama and Eric Holder — the attorney general who filed suit to impede our scholarship program but lied to Congress about it last month — choose to educate their children at elite Washington schools costing more than $35,000 per year.

“But if Americans of more modest financial means — whose annual income may be dwarfed by the tuition fees President Obama easily pays for his daughters — want their children to escape failing schools, or buy the health plan they want, the left exclaims: ‘Oh no, we can’t let you do that.’ “

This, despite the great success choice programs have shown for students in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. For an example of it here in Georgia, see the recent intraparty villification of Democratic state Rep. Alisha Thomas Morgan, now running for her party’s nomination as state schools superintendent, for supporting school-choice programs that have greatly benefitted minority children.

The unpopularity of Obamacare, and popularity of school choice among Democrats’ traditional supporters, offer good opportunities for Republicans to hammer home the dangers of centralized planning for individuals as well as businesses.

Read more at The Atlanta Journal-Constitution


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