Wednesday, 29 June 2011

Keepin' It Civil

Look, I despise Michelle Bachmann as much as the next person with an IQ above what you can roll during Yahtzee!, but I hate when people go after the spouses of Democratic politicians, and that means Republican spouses are off-limits, too.
While Rep. Michele Bachmann has forcefully denounced the Medicaid program for swelling the "welfare rolls," the mental health clinic run by her husband has been collecting annual Medicaid payments totaling over $137,000 for the treatment of patients since 2005, according to new figures obtained by NBC News.
There are cases when a spouses' actions are relevant, of course: see Thomas, Clarence: mad wife.  But all you have here is a husband using federal money for purposes his wife disagrees with.  The degree to which the Bachmann's are prepared to compromise with each other regarding divergent political beliefs is entirely their own business, and everyone else can keep their damn mouths shut.


Brutal Snake said...

I disagree in this case. I don't think that we should care in the case of her husbands private life or personal political views but the interplay of marriage and money means that they are in some sense, a single economic unit. Obviously if she were running the business that would be rank hypocrisy, but what about when she directly profits from it (assuming she and her husband share some or all of their money)? It seems to me that this is also out of order, in a way that wouldn't be the case if say, any other of her relatives were running such a business.

BigHead said...

I don't think this is in any way hypocritical. If you disagree with a particular government initiative, it seems ridiculous to expect you to refuse to take advantage of it in your business dealings.

Presumably if she was in favour of Medicaid we'd be talking about how she's abandoning her conservative principles whenever she can personally profit. You just can't win.

SpaceSquid said...

@Brutal Snake

I disagree. Again, it comes down to the way a marriage works. If they've determined that having him work at this place and have money coming in to a joint account is preferable to either him leaving the job, or having to maintain separate finances so she never gets near any of the "tainted" money, then I'm genuinely OK with that.


I don't really have an issue with your argument with specific reference to Bachmann (absent me doing some more research, at least) but in general I think you're only partly right, or at least that you'd only be right in some cases. If Bachmann was profiting from an abortion clinic, it would be hypocrisy, because she has claimed she believes abortion is morally wrong.

I'm perfectly happy with an argument that goes "I don't think this money should be spent on X, but if enough people disagree and have spent the money, I'll happily take my share", but oftentimes in Republican circles the actual argument is "I think spending money on X is unconstitutional and anti-American".

In short, this sort of thing tends to raise objections of hypocrisy because of the GOPs own love with ludicrous, hyperbolic rhetoric.

Whether Bachmann has ever framed her objections to Medicaid in this way, I don't know (though I'd be faintly surprised if she had), and I'd need to see evidence that she did before I'd be comfortable with labelling her a hypocrite, even if I subscribed to Brutal Snake's "single economic unit" argument.

BigHead said...

Yeah, that all sounds reasonable.