August 27, 2012 by David K. Sutton
For Republicans, Duality is a State Of Mind, a Means To An End
Republicans exist in their own special place and time. A place that is loose with facts, stuffed with contradictory statements and topped off with hyperbolic rhetoric. Whatever will get the job done. Their soon-to-be nominee for president, Mitt Romney is the poster child of Republican duality. For Republicans this is simply a state of mind. The goal is to win the White House and take full control of U.S. government. Convictions are less important than ultimate power, and so Republicans willingly trample on their own statements and previous policy positions. It’s a means to an end.
John Ibbitson writes in the Global And Mail, “For Republicans, Canada is a convenient truth – As recently as 2010, this country was a socialist gulag where death panels decided who lived and who died. Today, we are a model of low taxes, balanced budgets and responsible energy development.” Ibbitson is referring to the extreme right-wing nonsense during the health care debate in the United States during the summer of 2009 and continuing well beyond passage of the Affordable Care Act in 2010. When it was convenient to use Canada as an example of the evils of “socialized medicine,” Republicans did so. Now it’s convenient to use Canada as a symbol economic success and fiscal restraint, and the Republican duality brain seamlessly integrates and constructs a new talking point.
What happened? Nothing, of course. The country hasn’t changed at all. What has changed are conservative talking points in the United States. Then, they needed Canada to be a model of failure. Now, they need Canada to be a model of success. It isn’t rational, but then we are talking about the Republican Party.
In 2008, Barack Obama’s plan to reform health care had Republican candidate John McCain warning of socialized medicine. “If you like that, go to Canada and go to England and see what kind of health-care system they have,” he warned.
Health care is also an issue this year. But the Republicans are focusing primarily on the troubled American economy. And in that narrative, Soviet Canuckistan, as American conservatives once liked to call us, is a huge success story. “How does a steel manufacturer in Pittsburgh compete with Canadians who are taxed at less than half the tax rate?” Mr. Ryan lamented last week.
It’s not just the politicians. Neil Cavuto, a commentator on Fox News, recently bemoaned that “the average Canadian household [is] now worth more than the average American household. … This is awful. Our neighbours to the north are showing us up.” Much of this is, of course, wild exaggeration. While Canadian federal corporate taxes are lower than in the United States, personal taxes south of the border are generally lower, especially for upper-income earners. There is also no federal sales tax.