The composition/division fallacy has become a pervasive disease in the political world. If one Republican is a certain way, they all must be.
If one Tea Partier is one way, they all must be.
Television doesn’t do anyone any favors because they play off stereotypes to gives us characters we recognize. But, for instance, when HBO’s new show The Newsroom (a show I very much enjoy) has a what we might call a logical extension of this fallacy in a recent episode, it becomes insidious to productive debate – ironic given that the show is about creating news to foster intelligent political discussions.
As part of the story, the news team is attempting to cover the Arizona law on immigration passed in 2010 – the one the Supreme Court recently ruled unconstitutional.
Though an unfortunate and somewhat comical series of events, the show loses an interview with Governor Jan Brewer. On such short notice, the only people they could find to defend the law was a gun-toting former state patrol agent, a professor from Phoenix University online who is portrayed as being anti-Mexican, and the second runner-up in the Miss USA pageant from Oklahoma.
In other words, only the governor could possibly have articulated any kind of coherent argument for this law. It paints the Republicans in Arizona and around the country as ignorant, gun-clutching bigots.
It may seem like a subtle nuance to some, but to me, its indicative of the way many view the political realm.
Now, that being said, I’ve buried the lead.
The reason I’ve done so will become clear in a moment as I explain a recent piece from the Examiner online showing that the 17 Republican governors elected in 2010 have dropped unemployment significantly more effectively than their Democratic counterparts.
In fact, unemployment fell on average 1.35% in these red states while the national average was about a .9% decline. The Democratic governors elected saw their unemployment fall at about the national rate, making Republicans 50% more effective at turning around their economies than Democrats.
Three states, Michigan, Florida, and Nevada saw declines over 2%, more than double the national rate. When you consider the major metropolitan areas devastated by the recession and housing bubble bursting in those states, the work these governors and state legislatures have done has to be considered truly remarkable.
In fact, the national average would be even less impressive if not for a third of the states in the union pulling so much of the weight.
To put things a little differently: the Republicans at the state level, where most conservatives would argue the majority of governing ought to be taking place, have been successful at implementing conservative ideals which have had positive economic impacts.
Now, back to my original point. I’m not saying all Republicans are smart or good, but when you look at the numbers – liberals don’t like dealing with facts – they show significant progress moving forward.
I know lefties think they have a trademark on the word “progress,” but since we haven’t made any at the federal level with a Democratic-controlled government, I think we can safely say that isn’t true.
The key here is how these Republicans did it, not that they were simply Republican. George W. Bush is a prime example of why that doesn’t always follow.
Republicans in states like Indiana and Wisconsin, took control of spending and deficits. They put incentives in the hands of businesses and removed the impediments to fiscal responsibility in government. Conservatism at its archetype.
Many of these states are improving their business climates with tax incentives for expansion and when you’re working with balanced budgets, businesses have faith that the states are stable enough to re-invest once the subsidies either go away or run out.
Not all Republicans or conservatives are smart, but the ideas many of them stand for can and do work. There’s strong evidence that, despite a lagging economy, the criticisms of people like Mitt Romney and Scott Walker for their pro-business stances are actually hurtful, not helpful to the middle class and businesses.
The problem is getting people to believe it even when they can see it.