Pur Autre Vie

I'm not wrong, I'm just an asshole

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Coronation Day; The Republicans' 1066 Problem

A few thoughts for those most pitiable of creatures, my readers.

First, here is a song that Buck Mulligan sings in Ulysses in a Cockney accent:
O, won't we have a merry time 
Drinking whisky, beer and wine,
On coronation,
Coronation day?
O, won't we have a merry time
On coronation day?
Presumably it is a traditional song. Anyway it occurs to me that this may provide the inspiration and the tune for the classic song sung in the north of England along the lines of:
We're going to have a party 
We're going to have a party
When Maggie Thatcher dies.
When Maggie Thatcher dies!
When Maggie Thatcher dies!
Perhaps the connection is not so direct. I wish I could find the tune of the coronation song.

Separately, I read a book about the Norman invasion of England (1066: The Year of the Conquest, by David Howarth). The basic deal is that William had assembled an army by promising a lot of people that he would give them land in England once he had conquered it. And that's exactly what he did. It worked. But of course it required the dispossession of the existing English, that was an unavoidable consequence of the way William had "paid" for his army. According to Howarth, William couldn't enjoy his kingdom because his people (the English) despised him, which perhaps they wouldn't have done if he had left their political structure intact (except for, you know, the kingship). But again, that was baked into the cake. He could have England, but it was essentially impossible for him to have it while enjoying any level of popularity with the English.

And this is the situation the Republicans find themselves in. Their dishonest and destructive tactics can win them office, but once in power they do not have a mandate to enact their shitty policies. I am using the term "mandate" in a very pragmatic sense—the popular support that helps carry through a controversial piece of legislation. The problem is that the Republican Party's agenda probably can't even command the support of a majority of Republican voters. Compounding this, the agenda is contrary to the party's stated platform. For instance, Trump promised that everyone would have health insurance and that the coverage would be better than ObamaCare. Fair enough, that's obviously a popular proposal, but it makes it virtually impossible to rally the public around the idea of savage cuts to health insurance. Now of course the Republicans could have run on that platform, but then they wouldn't have won. Like William, they could never have their cake and eat it too, and they made their deal to get what they could. (And of course they got a lot, legislation isn't everything. Control of the courts and the executive will let them do a lot of what they want.)

But when it comes to healthcare legislation, the Republicans have a distinct 1066 problem (or, if you like, a 1067 problem). Another kind of funny example is Trump's attempt to get money to build a wall on the border with Mexico. Because of his idiotic promise to make Mexico pay for the wall, Congress feels no pressure to allocate funds. ("I was under the distinct impression that Mexico was going to pay for it.") Of course that's just a small part of the politics of this issue, but it's an example of rhetoric that undermines the mandate to enact the policy. (In this case, the damage to Trump's mandate was entirely self-inflicted and gratuitous.)


Anonymous Anonymous said...

The key difference was that William was a king by divine right and was acting as an instrument of god. Despite a number political and strategic mistakes, things were assured to turn out all right for Britain in the long run. The same can't be said for the republican party.

8:26 AM  

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