Trying to Prevent a Depression

5 Feb

After eight years’ worth of profligate spending and tax-cutting, which ultimately helped lead to the current disaster, Washington Republicans would have you believe that the stimulus is “FAIL” or “socialism” or a waste-ridden boondoggle. I’ve also been tickled with certain quarters blaming the whole thing on the 110th Congress. Let’s start with some reality-based factoids. Such as the Republican Party had the White House and Congress from 2001 – 2005, and then grew its majority in 2005.

“This is going to probably be the most productive two years of our Republican majority,” said Tom DeLay of Texas, the House majority leader. “It’s not just Social Security and tax reform, it’s tort reform, regulatory reform, restraining spending, redesigning the House, redesigning the government.”

Obviously, none of those things really happened. Instead, they helped to go to war, spent like drunken sailors, expanded the size and scope of the federal government, and ensured that the wealthiest had happy tax cuts and loopholes, while laying the cost of the spending and cuts on the middle class and future generations. That’s the Republican platform, after all.

The housing bubble burst and obliterated the credit markets like a tsunami, causing the rest of the economy to screech to a halt when banks wouldn’t extend credit anymore.

So now what the hell do you do? More tax cuts for the wealthy? The Republicans were all too happy to spend on infrastructure and other programs in Iraq with what Bush-the-populist liked to call “your money”, but now that we’re talking about the only real option available in the current crisis – Keynesian spending – they’re balking, picking nits at a minute percentage of the stimulus bill, claiming that certain items are “pork” or “waste”.

Andrew Sullivan commented,

Specifically, here’s a summary of what the GOP objects to in the stimulus package. If Obama conceded on all of it, the package’s cost would decline by a couple of percentage points. So why not give it to them? It would suggest that the rest isn’t wasteful, and that the GOP is still in its cut-the-pork unserious phase of its attempt to restore fiscal sanity.

I’m a big believer in bluff-calling, so that might be an excellent idea.

In Iraq the US spent and wasted insane amounts of money on, among other things, security and infrastructure. America’s infrastructure, meanwhile, is poor and in need of attention. In spite of the billions spent in Iraq, people in Baghdad still buy power from their neighborhood generator operator, as the national grid works sporadically.

But more importantly is the politicization of doing what most economists agree is the only way you halt or slow the downward depression spiral throughout the economy – something we can see and feel going on on a daily basis. Consider:

There’s essentially a “best practices” approach to dealing with financial calamity: you max out your monetary policy, which we’ve already done, and then you spend as much money as you possibly can without actually setting the stuff on fire (I’m exaggerating, but you get the point). That’s not Obama’s plan or Democrats’ plan, that’s the mainstream economic plan. Not everyone agrees with it, but not everyone agrees that you should take antibiotics if you’ve got pneumonia or that you should stop smoking if you’re coughing all the time.

There’s no guarantee it’ll work like a charm, and there’s no guarantee our economy will ever look like it did during the tech bubble of the late 90s or the housing bubble of the mid-aughts. It’s probably pretty unsustainable. But the point is that Obama has reached out in a meaningful way to Republicans and listened to their ideas. He hasn’t adopted them all, and there will be disagreements, but he did indeed live up to the spirit of bipartisanship that he ran on. If the Republicans meant to give him a spank, mission accomplished – but that’s hardly Obama’s failure. 3 or 4 nominees out of well over 25 turned out to have hitherto-unknown personal issues? Wow. What a massive failure. That’s all the Republicans have, though.

The Senate’s got the stimulus now, and they’ve added stuff to it to add tax credits and deductions for buying a new home and a new car. These are smart additions. Sure, they’re expensive, but if people aren’t spending money, someone has to, else we have a catastrophe.

The Republicans can bleat on and on about the failure of President Obama, who is obviously an objective failure just 13 days into a 4-year term, but the only failure I see so far is the Democrats’ (especially Congressional Democrats’) silence on the issue, letting Republicans direct the narrative for the last few days. That is now changing, not a moment too soon.

Obama has an op-ed in today’s WaPo, E.J. Dionne takes Republicans to task for playing ideology when the issue is rescuing the economy, and Rove, like many other Republicans I know, is rubbing his hands hoping that the stimulus fails because it would be good for Republicans, even thought it would devastate the “homeland”. They certainly have their priorities well in order. But that’s what you can expect from marginalized regional political fringe groups.

68 Responses to “Trying to Prevent a Depression”

  1. Roaring Republican February 5, 2009 at 7:41 am #

    Convenient that you:
    1) Forget to notice that Democrats voted for the War in Iraq and continued to fund it long after it was made clear there were no weapons of mass destruction.

    2) Forget to notice that the root cause of the mortgage crisis was a policy of pushing financial institutions to lend to people who could not afford homes. This lead to further deregulation in order to create a system that would reward financials for taking greater risks for lending and was THEN followed by mass corruption. Who was pushing for such deregulation? Why the Democrats, specifically Barney Frank.

    When the credit card market collapses you will no doubt forget the role Joe Biden played in turning Delaware into a haven for lenders and working hard to get the industry everything it wanted.

    Yes Republicans made vast mistakes but they were not alone and the more you ignore the role Dems and liberal policies played in this mess the further you will get from solving it.

  2. Mike In WNY February 5, 2009 at 8:08 am #

    Your need to try to find a way to blame the current economic crisis mainly on Bush and Republicans only serves to perpetuate the myth that Keynesian economics is going to save us when in fact it is destroying us. It is nothing more than revisionist history designed to support the faulty plan of the anointed one.

    …it is a triumph of hope over experience to believe that more government spending will help the U.S. today.

    That is the conclusion of more than 200 economists, including Nobel laureates.

    The vast majority of economists who support the stimulus plan are dependent directly or indirectly on government funding for their salaries. Doing NOTHING to “help” the economy would be far more beneficial in the long run than ratching up government deficit spending while suppressing normal economic reactions that are actually the tonic that is needed to lead to a recovery.

  3. Russell February 5, 2009 at 8:11 am #

    Could you please point out exactly where in the Republican Platform it states that they want to lay “the cost of the spending and cuts on the middle class and future generations”?

    Increased government spending and tax-cuts is the normal recipe for stimulating the economy. Why do you seem to claim that do that makes the GOP responsible for bringing on a recession or possible depression? In fact, isn’t increased spending and tax-cuts precisely what the Obama stimulus plan is about?

    I’m glad you eventually got to the biggest factor contributing to today’s problems, the housing bubble bursting and the collapsing credit markets. That had nothing to do with tax-cuts or government spending.

    Oh, and what about Democrats that have voted against Obama’s plan, worked to change it, or are saying the same or similar things as Republicans?

  4. mike February 5, 2009 at 9:21 am #

    I am sorry to tell you all this, but as Bush kept his head in the sand not calling it a ressession for months, I believe that we are in a depression now. The only thing missing is the dust bowl, but dont worry the trickle down will get to you soon enough. Say hello to shared work layoffs, reg layoffs, plant closings they are all in your future. But the good news is there still are plenty of big meaty squirrels and I know some good recipes!!

  5. The Humanist February 5, 2009 at 9:30 am #

    Apparently, the concept of “owning your failure” is foreign to some around here.

    Let’s see what we’ve learned:

    – after the most horrific terrorist attack on US soil in our history (which, I will point out again, happened on a Republican president’s watch), the evil Democrats forced the Bush Cheney cabal to forge, manipulate and outright fabricate evidence to convince the nation and the world that Saddam Hussein posed an immediate, lethal threat to us. They also rushed through authorization for President Bush to invade Iraq, trampling over the wishes of congressional Republicans who pleaded for discussion and definite actions of diplomacy and negotiation before force was used. Then, the Democrats voted en masse to keep funding the war while Republicans voted against further funding, leading to accusations that Republicans were voting against the troops. Democrats were traveling to Iraq, declaring it safe and peaceful while donning flak jackets and being surrounded by entire battalions just to stroll through a market. Why, Joe Lieberman said it was safe!

    – Barney Frank was the greatest monster in history for opposing Republican efforts to put Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac out of business by transferring oversight of the two lenders away from Congress and HUD. By attempting to support the bargaining power of poor families and their ability to get affordable housing, Frank’s lust for evil led directly to our current mortgage crisis. Even in spite of Frank’s support for strong regulation of both lenders, leading Lawrence B. Lindsey, former chief economic adviser to then-President Bush, to state that Frank “is the only politician I know who has argued that we needed tighter rules that intentionally produce fewer homeowners and more renters.” We should applaud Republicans who controlled Congress for the better part of 12 years, like the high priest of deregulation, Phil Gramm, who wrote the Act that repealed the Glass Stegall Act (regulating the financial services industry) and pushed through the Commodity Futures Modernization Act of 2000, which kept derivatives transactions, including those involving credit default swaps, free of government regulation.

    – oh yeah, Joe Biden is also to blame because he has a lot of credit card companies in his home state.

  6. Librul Murkin February 5, 2009 at 9:30 am #

    Roaring Republican – the point of the story is that Republicans are not voting for economic recovery as a solid bloc, despite the fact that their policies helped create the current crisis.

    If that’s not abrogation of their duties as representatives, I dunno what is.

    UR comment is not on point.

  7. Russell February 5, 2009 at 9:49 am #

    Democrats are not voting as a solid bloc, either, and for many of them, their hands are just as dirty.

  8. Steve February 5, 2009 at 10:05 am #

    The first 3 posters are exactly right. There is no doubt that the Bush administration made some huge mistakes. How about looking into the era of low interest rates and easy lending? Do you really think that the POTUS is a key contributor to federal monetary policy? Look to Alan Greenspan and his destructive policies. Interest rates were kept too low for too long and banks made lending too easy.

    Government spending as a means to stimulate the economy is laughable. Most of the money allocated to the stimulus plan won’t reach American pockets until 2010. By that time, they recession or depression will be nearly over by then and the money will only feed another bubble. The complaints with social spending outlined in the notoriously left leaning Andrew Sullivan’s column are completely justified. 400 million for prevention of STDs is ridiculous. If you actually read the legislation, the stimulus turns into a platform for Democratic social spending that they’ve been craving for years. This should be a true stimulus package, not a bill to fund social programs that are wastes of money and do not help the root of the cause.

  9. STEEL February 5, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    This is interesting

    During Regan the congress was Democratic and the Republicans took all the credit credit for economic successes in that era. They say tax cuts did the trick but ignore the fact that the government also grew at an unprecedented rate under this Republican president.

    During Bush the congress was Republican for all but 2 years yet the Republicans refuse to take credit for anything. This Republican president was also a spender. Bush made Reagan’s spending look like pocket change. The really funny part is when they start blaming Clinton for the current crisis as if they could not change anything that happened 8 to16 years ago. The only vetoes Bush ever handed down were during the short 2 year Democratic control of congress.

    Republicans need to start taking credit for the mess they made.

  10. Mike In WNY February 5, 2009 at 10:15 am #

    I ran across an appropriate description for Obama’s stimulus plan a few days ago – trickle up poverty. Sadly, that description is the most likely outcome.

  11. ike February 5, 2009 at 10:16 am #

    how exactly did tax cuts create any of this?

    I’m dying to know

  12. ike February 5, 2009 at 10:25 am #

    STEEL

    it doesn’t matter what “the republicans” do, the american people have already decided. Why don’t you and the Humanist give up on political point scoring and focus on the issues.

    It’s not about assigning blame or making your side look better. that war is over.

  13. Russell February 5, 2009 at 10:37 am #

    Why are many of you ignoring the fact that Obama is leaving the Bush tax-cuts in place? He originally campaigned against them, but softened his tone after the election and now he’s leaving them untouched. If this is somehow the root cause, or at least one of the causes, of our current situation, how do you justify Obama’s actions on these tax-cuts?

  14. mike February 5, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    Steve what about the 4th poster? and hey depressions can last many years, just ask hank. Plus that picture maybe from the 1930’s, but it looks like Denny’s on Monday when they gave away a free 2.99 breakfast.

  15. Roaring Republican February 5, 2009 at 10:51 am #

    I love the demonization. I am the first to admit Republican spending and some of their deregulation policies contributed to this mess but none of you libs will admit Clinton and Democrats in Congress played any role whatsoever. You bring up Alan Greenspan. Great, do you realize he was pushing policies toward Deregulation under Clinton? That Clinton signed the 96 Telecom deregulation Act which helped destroy competition in that industry and helped further the problems in the tech bubble?

    How about that Clinton was hanging out with the bigshots in the tech industry and pursuing an antitrust suit against Microsoft on their behalf while, maybe, he should have been looking into the fact that most of these companies were printing stock in the same way we are now printing money with no real products to back them up. Hence, tech burst.

    Oh and Frank was the great savior, of course. Go Lexis Congressional records and newspaper reports or look through C-SPAN. Frank was calling lenders who wouldn’t take on risky loans racists. That did us a lot of good.

    If BP and the rest of the Democrats won’t look internally as well as externally you won’t get very far.

  16. Ward February 5, 2009 at 11:23 am #

    “Seriously, Kyle –” If profligate spending is what got us into the current situation, how do you expect the goodie-bag “stimulus” package of a trillion dollars of (profligate) spending to get us out of it?

    Shorter Pundit (I read it so you don’t have to):
    Bush spending and tax cuts = R = Bad.
    Obama (bigger) spending and tax cuts = D = good.

  17. Tool February 5, 2009 at 11:36 am #

    Bush spending & tax cuts mostly for the wealthiest 1% = dumb

    Obama spending & tax cuts for the middle class = the last trick left in the bag, so we hope it works

  18. Denizen February 5, 2009 at 11:53 am #

    Honestly, both parties are to blame for this mess. Corruption is bipartisan.

    There’s a lot of nasty stuff that went on during the Clinton administration which greatly contributed to the unregulated mess that would allow the housing and credit markets to become deadly monsters.

    Obama and many of the Dems have the right intention (whereas the Repubs are being purely reactionary by voting against) but still don’t get the cold hard economic realities behind our new depression. Obama fancies himself as an FDR figure who can have us spend our way out of this mess.

    The big difference is, back in the 30s the US still actually produced things and had lots of tangible assets and industrial infrastructure to fall back upon even when the money system failed. A majority of the people back then either lived on fertile land where they could produce their own food or lived in compact, walkable cities where the farmland was only a short drive outside of town.

    Today, we’re not so lucky. We’ve offshored so much of our physical economic might overseas and have built this virtual “information” economy based on the silly idea that we can all make a living doing eachother’s laundry. Most Americans now live in urban environments which require insane amounts of automobile driving to even procure a loaf of break, much less get thee to a place of employment.

    Mass poverty in the US circa 2009 is some scary shit to contemplate. When incomes disappear, navigation the suburban nation will become pretty damn troublesome. Heating a 3,000 sq. foot house won’t seem so thoughtless anymore. Where is our food going to come from when the businesses that run the 2,000 mile supply chains go under? So many Americans today are so helplessly dependent upon the complex techno-happy system for survival. So many think food magically appears at the warehouse-sized supermarket they shop at. So much economic, political, and cultural centralization over the years has washed away the hearty, self-sufficient spirit that used to define America.

    A REAL stimulus plan is needed to get us energy independent and back to running local economies, not this giant grab bag of pork-laden rubbish.

  19. The Humanist February 5, 2009 at 11:55 am #

    @Roaring Republican – OK….as a Democrat, I will state that the Democrats have not done a thorough enough job pointing out how badly Republicans have fucked up this country (and others). We need to do better. I mean, really….given how insane and out of touch with reality some of the Senate Republicans are, the Democrats should have a 65-70 seat majority.

  20. Roaring Republican February 5, 2009 at 12:15 pm #

    Good luck with that Humanist. Keep repeating the same action over and over again and expect different results.

  21. Mike Walsh February 5, 2009 at 12:18 pm #

    One night, after their father leaves for an overnight business trip, two young teenage boys come up with the idea to take the old man’s car out for a joyride.

    After a couple of hours of driving around carelessly and picking up friends and showing off, the car somehow ends up smashing into a tree.

    The irate father asks who was driving and whose idea it was. One boy says it wasn’t me. The other boy gets mad and says “it was his fault”. Both start arguing and blaming each other for several minutes.

    Finally, Dad, exasperated, says: “It doesn’t matter who was driving or who’s idea it was. You both were in the car. You’re both responsible. Now, What are you going to do about it?”

    One of the boy’s says softly: “Well, you can get it fixed and we’ll pay you back.”

    Dad lets that sink in for a moment and then replies: “How can you pay me back? You boys don’t have any money.”

  22. Jon Splett February 5, 2009 at 12:21 pm #

    The Democrats fucked up by enabling the Republicans for 8 years.

    The Republicans fucked up by pushing policies that got us here for 8 years.

    The voters continue to fuck up by allowing a two party system with two equally awful choices to run the country.

  23. Mike Walsh February 5, 2009 at 12:23 pm #

    @Denizen…you’re absolutely right….

  24. Mike Walsh February 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    Jon Splett is right, too….

  25. sean February 5, 2009 at 12:24 pm #

    Let’s face it, both Democrats and Republicans are to blame for this mess we’re in. Whether it was lack of forsight, corruption, greed, or any other of the numerous factors which ultimately led to our present situation, politicians and citizens alike should bear the blame. What needs to happen now? I don’t know, nor do I believe any one knows. We should all just try to do what is right, and lay aside political affiliations, and perhaps long- standing beliefs. Examine others’ points of view, explore all options and begin to make changes, no matter how small. This mess will not fix itself, nor will it be fixed solely by our government. We all need to take action, on both the local and national scale, and on issues big and small.

  26. Russell February 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    Tool, if that equals dumb, why is Obama keeping them in place?

  27. STEEL February 5, 2009 at 12:56 pm #

    Ike,

    Interesting how the Republicans like to blame all problems on Democrats going back through Carter and beyond but don’t dare drag Bush or heaven forbid Regan into the mix. If we don’t take account of past mistakes we are doomed to repeat them. for instance show me one tax cut that spurred the economy that was not accompanied by a massive increase in spending. It does not exist. The Republican party does not really believe in small Government. In reality it has been the democrats fighting to retain our rights and keep government out of our lives

    I don’t by any means proclaim the infallibility of any politician on either side but the rush to blame Obama for this mess by the right is just so outrageous It has to be called out as the nonsense that it is

  28. mike February 5, 2009 at 1:02 pm #

    steel is spelled Raygun !!

  29. Jim Ostrowski February 5, 2009 at 1:34 pm #

    Both parties suck. Not sure why that is such a difficult concept to grasp. They both have the same basic corporate state philosophy and have had since about 1917.

    After 13 months in office, It was clear to me that Bush was another big government Republican, joining them all since and including Hoover.

    http://mises.org/article.aspx?Id=895&FS=Republicans+and+Big+Government

    The good news is that there is now widespread understanding that Hoover was a big government Republican whose policies led to the Depression.

  30. ike February 5, 2009 at 1:35 pm #

    Lower taxes aren’t good for growth?…that must be why there’s such a high correlation between economic/population growth and state tax burden across the 50 states!

  31. ike February 5, 2009 at 1:37 pm #

    “In reality it has been the democrats fighting to retain our rights and keep government out of our lives”

    You must be blind… They are both whores to different masters, neither of whom are interested in our rights or keeping government out of our lives.

  32. Russell February 5, 2009 at 2:44 pm #

    I haven’t seen much, if anything, on here from people on the right blaming Obama for any of this. I have seen plenty from them saying that it’s not all on the Republicans or W, many Democrats were just as involved in creating this mess.

  33. frieda February 5, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    Federal Government spending as a percentage of GDP 1980 – 2007 .

    http://perotcharts.com/2008/05/us-government-spending-as-a-percentage-of-gross-domestic-product-1980-2007/

  34. Roaring Republican February 5, 2009 at 3:06 pm #

    That is my point, there is no need to just blame Republicans when Democrats were holding the ball as well. I along with many conservatives disliked the way the Bush administration handled the economy. The bailout was Bush’s final terrible economic decision and having both Obama and McCain so ready to support it sickened me.

    There has been a disconnect between Elected Republicans and Republican voters on spending, just as there was a disconnect between Elected Democrats and Democratic voters leading up to the Iraq War.

  35. The Humanist February 5, 2009 at 3:09 pm #

    @Russell – ” haven’t seen much, if anything, on here from people on the right blaming Obama for any of this”

    You aren’t looking hard enough. Yesterday’s “11 days of Obama FAIL” was especially memorable.

  36. Russell February 5, 2009 at 3:19 pm #

    That was not blaming him for today’s problems. And even if it were, that’s one post so it would definitely still qualify as “haven’t seen much”.

  37. Russell February 5, 2009 at 3:23 pm #

    Ah yes, I just checked the “Obama FAIL” quote and it was obviously in reference to his nominees and their tax problems. Obama already admitted that was a mistake on his part. He took full responsibility for that FAIL so it’s not out of bounds to say that and had absolutely nothing to do with my statement you tried to refute. Nice try, but it’s just Humanist FAIL.

  38. STEEL February 5, 2009 at 3:48 pm #

    Saying that the big spending Republicans are disconnected from the Republican voting public is disingenuous. The voting public is voting them in. It should be noted that states that lean republican generally have been the recipients of the heaviest federal spending.

    Republicans have talked only about tax cuts as they pertain to 1% of the population.

    Republicans have not advocated for widespread tax cuts and have never advocated for reduced spending with any credibility.

    Republicans are interested in controlling who I marry

    Republicans support policy which allows for any person to be snatched off a street without presenting cause of without any means of defending one’s self

    Republicans advocate for torture

    Disclaimer (These statements are in general of course)

    We keep hearing about the true conservative agenda but the so call true conservatives have held the White House the last 8 years. I never heard Limbaugh or Hannity once criticize the Bush administration. So now all of a sudden they were not “true” conservatives.

  39. Ward February 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    You can keep track of the million-headed monster laughably called “Stimulus” here: http://stimuluswatch.org/
    Note – the items have been submitted, as is, with absolutely no sense of irony.

  40. Mike In WNY February 5, 2009 at 4:05 pm #

    Both major parties are playing the voters for fools by encouraging the illogical argument that the “other” party is to blame. As long as voters keep buying into that mantra, both parties win by pushing and accomplishing the big-government, less freedom agenda.

  41. Russell February 5, 2009 at 4:08 pm #

    They were never “true” conservatives. Bush continually referred to himself as a “compassionate conservative”. That term rankled “true” conservatives because it implies conservatives lack compassion. It was also used as part of Bush’s justification for his high spending. Furthermore, we all know that the majority of high level members of the administration, especially those calling the shots or that had Bush’s ear, were neo-cons and they pursued a distinctly neo-con agenda. There is definitely a difference between neo-cons and conservatives. These distinctions were discussed more loudly leading up to and during Bush’s first term, but they clearly remained throughout.

  42. STEEL February 5, 2009 at 4:14 pm #

    Well from what I can tell there are no “True” conservatives left because Bush pretty much had a free ride from the right wing. Lets not forget he never saw a Republican bill that he did not sign into law and the right wing talk shows, supposedly the last bastion or the “true”conservative never had a bad word about Bush for his entire tenure.

    Oh wait -There is George Will, I like and respect him.

  43. Roaring Republican February 5, 2009 at 4:29 pm #

    Neocon = liberal conservative

    Liberals are the ones who want to go around the world liberating people, making them free from oppression, building their nations and handing them money. Liberals also want to spend, spend, spend.

    Neoconservatives formed out of academia and run counter to most of the objectives of the modern conservative.

    & if you tried listening to right-wing talk shows, reading right-wing blogs, publications etc. you would have seen that plenty of them questioned Bush repeatedly. Not on defense but on spending all the way.

  44. STEEL February 5, 2009 at 4:46 pm #

    Neocons =Liberals

    HAHAHAHAHAHAH the speed at which the right wing is running away form its guys is very funny.

    By the way Neocons were never interested in liberating anyone. That was the excuse they made up after they realized the mess they created

  45. The Humanist February 5, 2009 at 5:17 pm #

    @STEEL – just wait….this year, “neocons” are the black sheep in the conservative family. Next year, I expect “Rockefeller Republicans” to return to being the GOP’s whipping boy.

    It appears the circular firing squad is a bipartisan concept.

  46. Mike In WNY February 5, 2009 at 5:29 pm #

    Historically, the Democrats/Progressives have been the war party.

  47. Denizen February 5, 2009 at 5:45 pm #

    Neocon = secular statist authoritarian chickenhawk who panders to social conservatives

    Compassionate Conservative = religious nannystatist authoritarian who panders to social conservatives

  48. Byron February 6, 2009 at 7:50 am #

    Yeah there were all these Republicans who “questioned” Bush and “didn’t agree” with Bush – but when push came to shove they voted voted for him 93%-6%. Whatever.

  49. Roaring Republican February 6, 2009 at 9:13 am #

    Humanist neocons, most of which came out of the academic establishment of the late 70’s and 80’s, had hoped Iraq would be part one of a three part strategy to overturn Iraq, Iran & Syria and remake all three into Democracies.

    Look at what they believe

    1) Interventionism in world affairs
    2) A limited welfare state
    3) Interference in markets

    That is by no means what we conservatives want. Yes they were able to catch both elected Democrats and Republicans after 9/11 and get them to go along but you are now using what they believe as prejudice against all the people who make up the Republican Party.

    So then I can do the same with you right and say every decision made by President Clinton and the Democrats in Congress from 2001-2005 represents what you and BP believe and you cannot at all argue with me because how they voted represents your core philosophy.

    You must be for the Iraq War because the Democrats were for it. You must believe marriage is between a man and a woman because a Democrat signed it into law and other Democrats voted for it.

  50. STEEL February 6, 2009 at 10:47 am #

    I am looking and looking and I find no place where these so called conservatives ever criticized anything the Bush Administration did. I find nothing. Limbaugh and his ilk are all full of this TRUE conservative crap but they never had a bad word for Bush while he and his fellow criminals foisted their crap on the country.

    Who are these so called TRUE conservatives? ? ? ? ? ? Where are they? ? ? ? ? ?

  51. The Humanist February 6, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    @ Roaring Republican – re: Clinton – you forgot….BP and I can also take credit for the fucking $236 billion dollar surplus and peace and prosperity Bush 43 inherited and proceeded to squander.

    You can apply revisionism to the period after 9/11 all you want, but the simple fact is that the Republican Party (and most Republicans) saw the terrorist attacks and the US response to them as a political bludgeon to put liberalism, progressivism and the Democratic party out of commission for good. Why else was Karl Rove drooling over the potential “permanent Republican majority”? Neocons were the darlings of the Republican party because they talked tough – plain and simple. The disastrous foreign policy of the past decade can be laid at their chicken-hawk feet.

    You’re also confusing liberal Democrats with lizard-brain Republicans who slavishly adhere to whatever their President or their Congressional leaders say because there’s an (R) next to their name. I had plenty of criticism for Clinton’s presidency (welfare reform, NAFTA, DOMA, etc) but that doesn’t mean I wanted to impeach the guy over a blowjob.

    As a liberal, I haven’t agreed with everything the congressional Democrats have done in the Bush years (especially the AUMF and Patriot Act votes), but we do have them to thank for saving Social Security…..remember Bush’s bright idea to privatize Social Security and put the money in the stock market?

    By the way, where are all the independent, moderate Republicans you’re speaking of? They’re certainly not on Capitol Hill. And they certainly weren’t elected as the chair of the RNC

  52. Roaring Republican February 6, 2009 at 11:39 am #

    Each side thinks the other follows in lock step with their leadership, the reality is they often don’t. & that surplus was also brought to you by a Republican Congress. But that “surplus” was also a projected surplus and it was a budget surplus, it by no means laid waste to our national debt .

    Also you are forgetting the economic impact of 9/11.

    The independents have been all over the Republican Party and they helped to destroy it. Mike Duncan was the one pushing John McCain and laying waste to our Party. McCain’s support of the bailout was his final and most useless act, the moderates right now as part of this “Gang of 14” or whatever it will be are giving us compromise on this spending stimulus nonsense.

  53. Russell February 6, 2009 at 11:42 am #

    STEEL, Limbaugh is not the beginning and end of all conservatism. And although folks on the left like to think he is, he is not the spokesman for the movement. He’s just an entertainer, not an actual conservative thinker. That said, though, there was plenty he criticized about Bush. I’ve never been a listener of his, but I do know he criticized the increased spending of Bush.

    True conservatives have little respect for Limbaugh and Coulter and their ilk.

    If you want to know who some true conservatives are that criticized Bush, look to George Will, as already stated on this thread, and the late William F. Buckley, Jr. Even though he’s no longer with us, his National Review was full of Bush criticism. That publication will give you a good start on listing true conservatives and what real conservative thought is.

  54. The Humanist February 6, 2009 at 12:48 pm #

    “(the) National Review was full of Bush criticism”

    This National Review?

    The article in question

  55. Russell February 6, 2009 at 12:54 pm #

    Yep, that’s right, Humanist, one cover and one article out of 8 years proves that they never said anything critical of Bush. Heck, if you want to play that game, you’d have to say that most Democrats in Congress supported Bush and never criticized him.

  56. The Humanist February 6, 2009 at 1:32 pm #

    Just one example to illustrate the National Review of the past 9 years was not the NR of William Buckley and reasonable conservatism, but rather that of Bush/Neocon water-carriers and cheerleaders like Jonah Goldberg and Rich Lowry. Doughy, smug, entitlement-minded chicken hawks who rubbed their thighs over Dear Leader Bush and his manly Presidency.

    I never said the National Review never said anything critical of Bush. However, your statement that “the National Review was full of Bush criticism” is delusional in its stab at revisionism.

  57. Russell February 6, 2009 at 1:48 pm #

    I was responding to STEEL who did say that he’s never seen any criticism of Bush from any conservative. Whether the National Review has some or a lot doesn’t matter much, but I know how you love to split hairs on anything I say. However, in your zeal to attack me, you actually backed me up. You have acknowledge not only that the National Review has had at least some criticism of Bush, but also that reasonable, or true, conservatism is not the same as the agenda pursued by Bush and differs from neo-conservatism. Thanks.

  58. The Humanist February 6, 2009 at 2:34 pm #

    @Russell – stop running away from the very definition of conservatism over the last decade…..the Decider, G.W. Bush and his merry cavalcade of chickenhawk neocons. True conservatism is not some etched-in-stone, unchanging monolith….it is defined by the movement conservative of the era. Just as Goldwater and Reagan defined their respective eras, this past decade for conservatives has, as its face, G.W. Bush. The criticism and rejection of the Bush Doctrine coming from the conservative side of the aisle? Barely a peep and certainly from no prominent conservative (George Will was still carrying Bush’s water up until his approval ratings started to resemble Nixon’s)

    You are the one splitting hairs over conservatives “never” criticizing Bush vs. “rarely” criticizing Bush. The point here is that “moderate” or “true” conservatives said very little (if anything) to criticize Dear Leader Bush and the clowns in Congress while they were busy wrecking the country.

  59. Russell February 6, 2009 at 2:48 pm #

    Bush, just like his father, was not a conservative so he did not define the conservative movement. There’s a reason there exists a different term known as neo-con. It’s because it’s different. The Bush Administration was made up of neo-cons and everyone knows it. There’s also a reason Bush termed himself a “compassionate conservative”. It’s because he wasn’t a conservative. Just because a person is a Republican does not mean he is a conservative. Again, there is a reason we have different terms.

    Are you joking? There’s no difference between never and rarely? I still hold it is was more than rarely, but regardless, it’s not splitting hairs to say there’s a difference between never and rarely.

  60. The Humanist February 6, 2009 at 3:00 pm #

    Bush called himself a “compassionate conservative” because he was a supreme buillshit artist, just like 75% of the Republican party. Witness the parade of Senate Republican clowns sent on cable news to attack the stimulus bill.

    Republican ? conservative? That may be true by literal definition but you can stack the number of liberal/moderate Republicans of any import or consequence in the last decade on the head of a pin. Because, after all, as a “true” Republican, Terri Schiavo died for your sins.

  61. The Humanist February 6, 2009 at 3:01 pm #

    1st sentence, second paragraph:

    Republican does not equal conservative?

  62. Jim Ostrowski February 6, 2009 at 5:32 pm #

    Can I sum this up?

    Those who say that the Republican Party is evil, corrupt and responsible for the economic crisis are correct.

    Those who say that the Democratic Party is evil, corrupt and responsible for the economic crisis are correct.

    The non-existence of a viable third party in American does not affect the truths stated above.

  63. STEEL February 6, 2009 at 6:34 pm #

    Well anyway, there are very few of these so called TRUE conservatives around. So far it includes George Will and one dead guy.

    The right wing once in a while complained about some minor Bush folly but on the important issues the right was in lock step with Bush and his band of criminals.

    By the way, Limbaugh and Hannity and that ilk consider themselves to be in the TRUE conservative club and they have been some of the biggest Bush boosters.

  64. Jim Ostrowski February 7, 2009 at 9:06 am #

    Steel, you’re right about conservatives supporting Bush. They are backtracking now, but the libertarians, particularly the Paleos, never supported him and were on his case from the start.

    Conservatism is a failed attempt to present a coherent response to Progressivism’s century-old war on old liberalism, libertarian laissez-faire. Conservatism has failed. No conservative regime ever made government smaller (not counting Harding’s post war draw down).

    This is why conservatism fails. You start out with laissez-faire, in theory and in actual practice what American roughly was, minus slavery, before 1917. Progressives claim they can improve on laissez-faire by giving “smart” guys government guns to bark orders at people. Conservatives chafe at that but they themselves believe in the use of progressive force on many issues. So, they cannot muster a coherent theoretical critique of liberalism and in practice, they logroll away liberty for those big government programs they favor such as the war on drugs or the war on “terror.” That’s exactly what Bush I and Bush II did, BTW.
    The only real opponent of new liberalism’s current march off the cliff to complete socialism is libertarianism.

    Conservatives are the split-personalities of politics. They need to see a shrink and get in touch with their inner souls and then either join the liberals and support the freedom of governments or join the libertarians’ age-old fight for the natural right to liberty.

  65. Joe February 9, 2009 at 11:28 am #

    How is that BuffaloPundit can claim that when hundred of billions of tax dollars were spent during the Bush years that that was bad for the economy, yet when spending hundreds of billions of dollars now in a single year is good for the economy???

    May I humbly suggest that taking huge amounts of money from productive businesses and giving it to politicians to spend as they like is actually Not good for the economy?

    Could it be that the benefiting from government economists who support Keynes bizarre ideas are wrong?

    By this same Keynes logic, Buffalo should help itself by taxing millions more from local businesses and having the city government spend it. Is There a single person who doesn’t work for the city that thinks that’s a good idea?

    Read Murray Rothbard’s ‘Great Depression’ book and you will see that what the government did then, is very similar to what the government is doing now. Governments always see more power and control for themselves as the solution to every problem regardless of the actual consequences, and this next great depression is no different. The government brought it on, and the government’s absurd spending bill will make it worse.

    btw-printing more money to pay for the bill is taxation through inflation.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

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  3. Political Class Dismissed » Blog Archive » Conservatism has failed - February 7, 2009

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