The GOP's Misplaced Rage
August 18, 2009 12:22 PM   Subscribe

A conservative blogger talks about what the Republicans are really (should really be) mad about - Bush's terrible economic and fiscal legacy.
posted by glaucon (71 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite

 
A boy can dream.
posted by billysumday at 12:24 PM on August 18, 2009


Meh. Read the comments to learn about how conservatives will respond to the argument Bartlett is putting forward.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:27 PM on August 18, 2009


Actually some of the debate in the comments is pretty good. Lots of folks calling people out.
posted by Big_B at 12:33 PM on August 18, 2009


Metafilter: NOW YOU WANNA ARGUE THAT WITH ME, TODAY IS MY DAY OFF YOU'RE IN LUCK. I GOT ALL DAY FOR YOUR CRAP.
posted by anti social order at 12:34 PM on August 18, 2009 [17 favorites]


Read the comments to learn about how conservatives will respond to the argument Bartlett is putting forward.

"LA LA LA I CAN'T HEAR YOU LA LA SOCIALISM LA LA NIGGER UH I MEAN RADICAL LA LA LA"
posted by dersins at 12:34 PM on August 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


Okay, well.... that's one.
posted by rokusan at 12:35 PM on August 18, 2009


Yeah, this isn't going to really do much to erode the enormous bulwark of EVIL SOCIALISM that the Republicans have built up.
posted by Burhanistan at 12:35 PM on August 18, 2009


By "conservative blogger," do you mean "senior policy analyst under Ronald Reagan and Treasury official under George H.W. Bush?"

Read the comments to learn about how conservatives will respond to the argument Bartlett is putting forward.

Seems to mostly be variations on the ever-popular "LALALALALALALALAICAN'THEARYOULALALALALA."
posted by EarBucket at 12:38 PM on August 18, 2009


Burhanistan: "Yeah, this isn't going to really do much to erode the enormous bulwark of EVIL SOCIALISM that the Republicans have built up."

But it will do something to erode it.
posted by JHarris at 12:38 PM on August 18, 2009


(Looks like I owe dersins a Coke.)
posted by EarBucket at 12:39 PM on August 18, 2009


Okay, well.... that's one.

Perhaps two more?
At times, indeed, it reads like an indictment co-authored by Michael Moore and Paul Krugman.
-Christopher Buckley about Joe Scarborough

Sorry for two links to the Daily Beast. Can anybody find additional conservative authors / bloggers that aren't part of the Republican Tea Party campaign and give Obama some credit?
posted by glaucon at 12:41 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


This is great. Very clear explanation of why it is correct for someone believes in small government and fiscal responsibility to favor the Democrats as the lesser of two evils.
posted by Perplexity at 12:41 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


rokusan: "Okay, well.... that's one."

There's a hell of a lot more of them out there, actually.
The League
Daniel Larison
... eh, don't wanna take any more time at the moment. Maybe I should just do a "Conservatives you might not hate quite as much" post some day.
posted by cimbrog at 12:44 PM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


David Frum isn't too bad.
posted by EarBucket at 12:48 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


I was just thinking this morning: "I personally know some intelligent conservatives whose arguments are based on reality, but I can't think of any well-known intelligent conservatives. All I can think of are the talking heads on Fox."

Thanks for the pointers in this thread. Keep em coming.
posted by Plutor at 12:58 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


I am of two minds about this.

One is to mention how the more moderate conservatives might strongarm power in the Republican Party.

The other is to surmise that this might be a bit of a threat, population-wise, to far-more-rational liberalism.
posted by kldickson at 1:00 PM on August 18, 2009


Surely this...
posted by Pronoiac at 1:08 PM on August 18, 2009


He had me until he mentioned almost as a throwaway line at the end "the unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan." First, only one of those wars was unnecessary. (And typing that makes me feel dirty: "Hey, I only drowned one of the kittens.")

Second, you can't pillory Bush's economic record but barely mention the wars on his watch. I mean, pretty much every bad economic thing that happened in his administration was caused by that expense, right? To be completely fair, any president in that time period would have incurred the costs of at least the Afghanistan war, with all the poor economic outcomes that implies.

And finally, pointing out the economic failures of Bush by quoting facts and statistics -- I can't think of anything less relevant to the teabaggers. The public voice of Republicans right now is comic sans email sending, outright-lie facebook posting, town-meeting gun-toting, sobbing generalities no more responsive to facts than a three year old child.

So, nice article Mr. Bartlett. Democrats will happily join you in your quest to explain basic economics to a screaming toddler.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 1:09 PM on August 18, 2009 [6 favorites]


I am of two minds about this.
One is to mention how the more moderate conservatives might strongarm power in the Republican Party.
The other is to surmise that this might be a bit of a threat, population-wise, to far-more-rational liberalism.


Don't worry. While there is a large number of alternative conservative bloggers, I think they make up the majority of alternative conservatives. So having them take over the GOP isn't likely to happen, ever.
posted by cimbrog at 1:19 PM on August 18, 2009


This is the golden paragraph from the article, IMO:

In my opinion, conservative activists, who seem to believe that the louder they shout the more correct their beliefs must be, are less angry about Obama’s policies than they are about having lost the White House in 2008. They are primarily Republican Party hacks trying to overturn the election results, not representatives of a true grassroots revolt against liberal policies. If that were the case they would have been out demonstrating against the Medicare drug benefit, the Sarbanes-Oxley bill, and all the pork-barrel spending that Bush refused to veto.
posted by hippybear at 1:22 PM on August 18, 2009 [5 favorites]


Bartlett endorsed Obama; he's been a Non-Person to the GOP rank-and-file for some time.
posted by darth_tedious at 1:28 PM on August 18, 2009


So nice to see an honest republican assessment of the financial situation. Recent repub administrations are making it tough to understand exactly which values republicans are becoming associated with. Used to be fiscal responsibility and conservative foreign policy, but both those stands seem to have been turned on their heads in the last couple of decades, with liberals taking those roles up instead. Is "conservative" coming to mean "social conservative" which is code for "follow my religious / moral views or else"?
posted by polkadotninja at 1:28 PM on August 18, 2009


This guy is clearly a communist sympathizer, using all of those WORDS to try and confuse us.
posted by doctor_negative at 1:29 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


the more moderate conservatives might strongarm power in the Republican Party.

Unfortunately, the screaming lunatic fringe are the sorts to show up at presidential events packing assault rifles, so I don't see them being "strongarmed" any time soon.

Marginalized, certainly, especially as more and more moderates realize "Wow, they're called 'wingNUTS' for a reason," but strongarmed, probably not.
posted by dersins at 1:35 PM on August 18, 2009


any president in that time period would have incurred the costs of at least the Afghanistan war

Really? I mean, really? There were no other solutions to even be considered? When a country harbors a terrorist organization that attacks us, the ONLY possible answer is to obliterate the government of that country, set up a semi-puppet government, and fight an insurgency for the next few decades (while the terrorists we wanted flee to the next country over)?

There could never be a president who would consider a more diplomatic or targeted military approach? i would like it if "strong on national security" went back to meaning, "doing things that help our national security," rather than "guy who can deploy the most raw firepower, whether it helps or not."
posted by drjimmy11 at 1:42 PM on August 18, 2009 [13 favorites]


To be fair, there definitely were conservatives who were against the Medicare drug benefit, SOX, and all the Bush waste; in many cases they were told in no uncertain terms to shut up and toe the line.

It's the ability of the Republican party to whip 'errant' members into shape—which has lately been the subject of no little envy from Democrats, I'll note—which effectively suppressed dissent on any number of Really Bad Ideas that ought to have been positively toxic to fiscal conservatives.

While that ability may be an advantage to them on a tactical level, I think that in hindsight it will prove to have been a disaster on a strategic one. Like the promptness of trains in a fascist state, it comes at a high price and isn't something to envy.
posted by Kadin2048 at 1:46 PM on August 18, 2009 [2 favorites]


Unfortunately, the screaming lunatic fringe are the sorts to show up at presidential events packing assault rifles, so I don't see them being "strongarmed" any time soon.

If it's any consolation, that guy and others like probably had at least 5 snipers watching him through the scopes on their high-powered rifles at all times.

Strange world we live in where snipers can be a source of succor.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:47 PM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


that's probably the first thing i've read from Frum that wasn't completely stupid. i usually lump him in with goldberg, malkin and the others.
posted by klanawa at 1:50 PM on August 18, 2009


Finally -- this will be the argument that forces neoconservatives to admit that they're fucking idiots who ruined the world.
posted by Damn That Television at 1:52 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


that's probably the first thing i've read from Frum that wasn't completely stupid. i usually lump him in with goldberg, malkin and the others.

Nah, Frum has been okay lately. Often fatuous, but he had a pretty big break with the hard right-wingers last year over the crazy, angry Palin rallies during the campaign. I don't agree with him on most policy issues, but he's at least trying to lower the temperature.
posted by EarBucket at 1:54 PM on August 18, 2009


I don't know how The Daily Beast leans, but there's a lot of vitriol in some of those comments
innovations,
how uncommon- a democrat with a day off on a thursday or my guess would be you have the day off everyday. Except, of course, when you get up off your couch and walk to the mail box to pick up your government check that working people (those who don't have thursdays off) have provided for you through taxation. Thanks for making the conservative point for us! People like you are the problem.
Nothing in the comment about the article, or even the comments left by "innovations," just a rant about welfare kings. And isn't the poster also commenting on a blog on a Thursday?
posted by filthy light thief at 1:59 PM on August 18, 2009


To be completely fair, any president in that time period would have incurred the costs of at least the Afghanistan war

Not nearly the extravagant costs that we have been burdened with. Or what drjimmy11 said.

This is great. Very clear explanation of why it is correct for someone believes in small government and fiscal responsibility to favor the Democrats as the lesser of two evils.

I agree completely: an intelligent analysis that was interesting to read.

However, I think most "real" supporters of small government and fiscal responsibility have been Democrats for more than a decade now.
posted by mrgrimm at 2:00 PM on August 18, 2009


... or not Republicans ... (sorry 3rd parties).
posted by mrgrimm at 2:00 PM on August 18, 2009


When a country harbors a terrorist organization that attacks us, the ONLY possible answer is to obliterate the government of that country, set up a semi-puppet government, and fight an insurgency for the next few decades (while the terrorists we wanted flee to the next country over)?

Of course. We could have -- should have! -- worked together with the Taliban to root out Al Queda. They would have been stellar partners in that effort. Although I wonder where they might have found the time, what with all the whipping women for not wearing the proper dress, or gassing girls found to be attending schools. Yes, our overthrow of the Taliban and installation of the puppet Karzai government is certainly one of history's greatest crimes.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:03 PM on August 18, 2009


And isn't the poster also commenting on a blog on a Thursday?

"Some of us have to work for a living, you lazy commie bastard" is the standard response to anyone who scores a point against a conservative in an online argument.
posted by fleetmouse at 2:07 PM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Anybody who was in the Reagan Administration who is (a) still alive; (b) not William Bennett or Ed Meese; and (c) still offering public opinions about anything has been by this date completely discredited and tarred as heretics by the right wing.

The same goes for everyone in the George Herbert Walker Bush Administration, including the ex-President himself, with the single exception of Dick Cheney.
posted by blucevalo at 2:13 PM on August 18, 2009


His point bears repeating again and again to ignorant conservatives:

When a fiscal conservative was elected you hated him. And his wife Hillary.

When a fiscal splurgemonkey got elected you loved him.
posted by MuffinMan at 2:13 PM on August 18, 2009 [15 favorites]


Of course. We could have -- should have! -- worked together with the Taliban to root out Al Queda. They would have been stellar partners in that effort. Although I wonder where they might have found the time, what with all the whipping women for not wearing the proper dress, or gassing girls found to be attending schools.
An Afghan bill allowing a husband to starve his wife if she refuses to have sex has been published in the official gazette and become law.
Perhaps you should become better aquainted with the reality-based universe.
posted by rodgerd at 2:17 PM on August 18, 2009


Bartlett's central thesis parallels a thought of my own this morning. For a political party who's social policies hinge on repression and shame, the Republicans have shown a serious lack of self-regard.

I mean, If I make a serious mistake - if I am provably wrong - I'm ashamed. I'll attempt to revise my fundamental assumptions and apoligise. At the very least, I'll shut up and try to listen more.

After the worst attack on the US mainland since the War of 1812; a foreign war that was obviously (even to its original supporters) predicated on lies, opportunism, wishful thinking and misdirection; a shambolic economy, and incompetently handled domestic disasters, one would hope that the Republican Party was at least abashed, more willing to reconsider its positions. Instead, the opposite seems to be happening: the Republicans are essentially ignoring the consequences and costs of the last eight years, wading in denial and mainlining the crazy.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 2:37 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


When you consider some of the conservative things he has written over the years this piece is truly amazing. Maybe, like Andrew Sullivan, he is another lapsed conservative. and what Perplexity said.
posted by caddis at 2:38 PM on August 18, 2009


rodgerd, from your reality-based universe please explain how the Karzai government is no improvement over the Taliban. For extra credit, include quotes from the 28% of the Afghan parliament now composed of women.

drjimmy11 implied strongly that we ought to have worked together with the Taliban to defeat Al Queda. My point is that that would have been ridiculous on both a moral and strategic level. You don't have to believe Karzai is Gandhi to believe the Taliban was not a credible partner in the war against Al Queda.

That's it for me, flail away.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:39 PM on August 18, 2009


drjimmy11 implied strongly that we ought to have worked together with the Taliban to defeat Al Queda.

Not to derail even further, but I think you misread drjimmy11 completely. Read his comment again:

Really? I mean, really? There were no other solutions to even be considered? When a country harbors a terrorist organization that attacks us, the ONLY possible answer is to obliterate the government of that country, set up a semi-puppet government, and fight an insurgency for the next few decades (while the terrorists we wanted flee to the next country over)?

There could never be a president who would consider a more diplomatic or targeted military approach? i would like it if "strong on national security" went back to meaning, "doing things that help our national security," rather than "guy who can deploy the most raw firepower, whether it helps or not."


To me, "a more diplomatic or targeted military approach" (or "doing things that help our national security") does not imply working with the Taliban. You seem to have a chip on your shoulder about this issue...
posted by mrgrimm at 2:53 PM on August 18, 2009


one would hope that the Republican Party was at least abashed, more willing to reconsider its positions.

The political strategy of the Republican Party for most of the past 40 years has based on displaying exactly the opposite of anything resembling abashment, let alone reconsideration of anything, including history. That is not going to change because they've lost power for a couple of years.
posted by blucevalo at 2:57 PM on August 18, 2009


Afghanistan was not a necessary war. I'm tired of that line, and disappointed in Obama for promulgating it. Bullshit. I favor getting the hell out of there now. All we do is make things worse.

(Posted from 35,000 feet, over Cuba, just because I can.)
posted by fourcheesemac at 3:59 PM on August 18, 2009


Metafilter: wading in denial and mainlining the crazy.
posted by Artw at 4:42 PM on August 18, 2009


Very clear explanation of why it is correct for someone believes in small government and fiscal responsibility to favor the Democrats as the lesser of two evils.

That's because the Democrats circa 2009 are the Republicans circa 1960. Think about it. We are debating whether a "public option" to health insurance that is required to be self-funding is too socialist.

Sure, the hens probably prefer a fox to a wolf guarding the henhouse, but they might like some real protection at some point too.
posted by DU at 5:17 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


We are debating whether a "public option" to health insurance that is required to be self-funding is too socialist.

Are the people who benefit from a public option the only ones who are funding the option? No. So, it's not self-funding. Enter the argument that it's socialist. Now, I'm not arguing that it is socialist. But a reasonable argument could be made that it is. The joke is that you're using the language of self-funding. It's BS.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:37 PM on August 18, 2009


Enter the argument that it's socialist. Now, I'm not arguing that it is socialist. But a reasonable argument could be made that it is.

Please check a dictionary for a definition of "socialism". Thank you.
posted by hippybear at 5:52 PM on August 18, 2009


You know when David fucking Frum sounds reasonable compared to his contemporaries things are seriously askew.
posted by edgeways at 5:53 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


socialism: a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.
posted by SeizeTheDay at 5:55 PM on August 18, 2009


and I'm still waiting to hear who exactly is that mythical fiscal conservative Republican President. Hasn't been one in my lifetime and I suspect a bit longer than that.
posted by edgeways at 5:56 PM on August 18, 2009


socialism: a theory or system of social organization that advocates the vesting of the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, of capital, land, etc., in the community as a whole.

"And" != "or".

Just, y'know, fyi.
posted by dersins at 5:57 PM on August 18, 2009


Ownership being wrested? No. Means of production being wrested? No.

Taxation for services rendered != socialism
posted by hippybear at 5:59 PM on August 18, 2009 [3 favorites]


Are the people who benefit from a public option the only ones who are funding the option? No. So, it's not self-funding.

From a top diary over at dkos:

....Brian Baird (D-WA|3rd CD), is also now publicly supporting the Public Option plan, with the caveat that the plan be self-supporting and not federally subsidized.

Emphasis mine.
posted by DU at 6:01 PM on August 18, 2009


Well, duh. Bush sucked just about as much as Obama sucks. Not to mention the mindless spending spree of the liberal congress.
posted by CountSpatula at 6:10 PM on August 18, 2009


That's just one definition, subject to interpretation. It's funny how people can be strict constructionists when trying to defend themselves from the accusation of socialism. The idea of socialism, like the idea of capitalism, is a set of ideas that can blend. All I'm saying is that the accusation isn't completely unbelievable.

Dude, DU, self-supporting how? Where is the money coming from? Self-supporting means any insurance money I pay into the system is used to pay out my claims in the future. Is that actually the case?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:13 PM on August 18, 2009


Dude, DU, self-supporting how? Where is the money coming from? Self-supporting means any insurance money I pay into the system is used to pay out my claims in the future. Is that actually the case?

I report, you decide.

But this discussion proves my point. Socialist or not, it's not at all radical, leftwing.
posted by DU at 6:18 PM on August 18, 2009


I think it's actually harmful to this particular discussion to be misusing words which are fraught with boogeyman meaning in the minds of the American populace. The "this word will mean what I want it to mean for the purposes of this discussion" attitude only puts up barriers to true communication. Worst of all, using this word, "socialism", in this manner is acquiescing to the vocabulary of the opponents of the reform, which allows them to define the terms of the argument before those in favor of it even have left the starting gate.

Find a better way to describe it. It isn't "socialism" no matter how you slice it.
posted by hippybear at 6:21 PM on August 18, 2009


What the fuck does that mean? You don't know the answer, but you'll go ahead and spout talking points to "win"?
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:22 PM on August 18, 2009


(comment was for DU)
posted by SeizeTheDay at 6:22 PM on August 18, 2009


Maybe I should just do a "Conservatives you might not hate quite as much" post some day.

Please, seriously. MetaFilter is about not having to wade through the ocean of shit out there to get to the (relatively few) actual good things on the Internet. The above definitely qualifies, and I think it would be appreciated.
posted by rokusan at 6:26 PM on August 18, 2009


Bush's terrible economic and fiscal legacy.

Any conservative who blames Bush's terrible economic and fiscal legacy while conveniently forgetting Reagan's and Bush's economic and fiscal legacy is still lying to you.
posted by eriko at 6:42 PM on August 18, 2009 [1 favorite]


You know when David fucking Frum sounds reasonable compared to his contemporaries things are seriously askew.

I've felt the same way reading books by Francis Fukuyama and Fareed Zakaria, who were considered very neoconservative not too long ago but sound moderate today compared to the Glenn Becks and Sarah Palins out there.
posted by bobo123 at 6:51 PM on August 18, 2009


It's surprising to see people on MeFi who don't go with MeFi's politics. This place is goes mildly dailykos when politics is discussed. I'll also admit that when it comes to a number of issues I'm part of the pack.

A survey of good conservative US bloggers and publications on the web would be well worth it.
posted by sien at 7:03 PM on August 18, 2009


I have no idea what that guy is going to vote for, I can only tell you what he said. If you think his stated plan is insufficiently socialist, I agree. But my original point remains: We are debating how socialist a self-funded plan is.
posted by DU at 7:17 PM on August 18, 2009


We are debating how socialist a self-funded plan is.
posted by hippybear at 7:45 PM on August 18, 2009


We are debating how socialist a self-funded plan is.]

If the structure of the plan is similar to VA system, then I'd say it is very socialist.

If it is similar to, say, Group Health Cooperative, which we have here in eastern WA, it seems more like the Health Maintenance Organizations as they were originally proposed back in the early 80s, which I don't think were very socialist at all.
posted by hippybear at 7:47 PM on August 18, 2009


There could never be a president who would consider a more diplomatic or targeted military approach? i would like it if "strong on national security" went back to meaning, "doing things that help our national security," rather than "guy who can deploy the most raw firepower, whether it helps or not."

The only terrorist Clinton's administration was unable to bring to justice during his term was Osama Bin Laden. That's not a condemnation, that's really goddamn bad-ass, considering his successor's record in the same area. Clinton didn't need to start Vietnam Parts Two and Three to do it, either.
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:09 PM on August 18, 2009


His point bears repeating again and again to ignorant conservatives:

It really doesn't matter. I've frequently observed that a Republican tactic is to run against Congress ... even when they control it.

Today, on my local rag's comments, a guy told us all to yell at our Democratic "representatives" about NAFTA (because some jobs went to Mexico). Well, both the Democratic Senators in our state voted against it. Facts? Who needs 'em.
posted by dhartung at 9:00 PM on August 18, 2009


Second, you can't pillory Bush's economic record but barely mention the wars on his watch. I mean, pretty much every bad economic thing that happened in his administration was caused by that expense, right?

Wrong, actually.
As appalling as you might find both wars, they have nothing to do with the current economic crisis.
posted by atrazine at 10:56 PM on August 18, 2009


Well this certainly is some intelligent reasoning that the people screaming about Hitler at town hall meetings are likely to listen to.
posted by Legomancer at 6:16 AM on August 19, 2009


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