how to buy the new republican party
February 14, 2001 8:29 AM   Subscribe

how to buy the new republican party "The tax cuts will make the economy grow. As people do better, they start voting like Republicans--unless they have too much education and vote Democratic"
[this is the recently launched newyorker online]
posted by palegirl (25 comments total) makes you wonder what the republicans really intend with their education "reforms"
posted by palegirl at 8:33 AM on February 14, 2001

Noooo, no baiting here, nosirree.
posted by aaron at 8:39 AM on February 14, 2001

Noooo, no baiting here, nosirree.
posted by leo at 9:03 AM on February 14, 2001

it's actually a really interesting article about how the republicans will try to use the bush jr. presidency to swell their ranks and gain support. it's an interesting look at the political party as a product with no talk of its ideology.
posted by palegirl at 9:30 AM on February 14, 2001

No, no baiting here, nosirree.
posted by aaron at 9:50 AM on February 14, 2001

All this baiting talk made me expect a nice anti-GOP hatchet job. Unfortunately, it's remarkably even-handed. The "too much education" quote is by Bush campaign advisor Karl Rove.
posted by rcade at 10:09 AM on February 14, 2001

Cry-baby right wingers aside, I was struck by the job done on the site. Maybe it's been around for a while but this is the first I saw it. What I find interesting is how they tried to incorporate some of the distinctiveness -- bordering on quirkiness -- of the print edition into the web version. The idea seems a bit quaint but it makes sense. It's a good example and I'd say they've done a fine job.
posted by leo at 10:10 AM on February 14, 2001

That "too much education" quote is classic. Republicans want people just smart enough and informed enough to buy into their schemes and be easily coerced and maniupulated. Once they start thinking for themselves and see through the smokescreen...that's when you have "too much of a good thing". I love it. See foot, shoot same.
posted by ritualdevice at 10:24 AM on February 14, 2001

How is it that whenever the Left criticizes the Right's policies, we hear all this whining and bitching about "the politics of personal destruction" (or, here at MeFi, "baiting"). But when the Right spends US$100,000,000 to destroy destroy the President, based exclusively on non-Presidential acts, it's seen as the American Way?

I, for one, am sick of hearing how put-upon the GOP has been.
posted by jpoulos at 10:39 AM on February 14, 2001

"Personal" means personal. Criticizing "the Right" over policy differences is not that. Trying to politically nuke someone (such as any average cabinet nominee) because of policy differences, is. Apples and oranges.
posted by aaron at 10:46 AM on February 14, 2001

I, for one, am sick of hearing how put-upon the GOP has been.

I think conservatives are hard-wired to feel persecuted because of their marginal status in politics prior to Reagan's election. Making yourself the aggrieved victim is also an effective political gambit -- look at how many times John Ashcroft was portrayed as the victim of religious intolerance to deflect criticism of his Southern Partisan interview and his statement that Ronnie White had a "criminal bent."
posted by rcade at 10:55 AM on February 14, 2001

Well, Rove does have a point. They don't call it a Liberal Arts education for nothing. I am somewhat surprised at how liberal most of my profs. in the humanities are.
posted by gyc at 11:04 AM on February 14, 2001

I know nobody here is going to buy it, but I think Rove was referring to people who spend years at universities full-time getting masters degrees and PhDs. University academics tend to be very liberal, and many of the grad students live off government and/or school subsidies. The situation makes lots of people think Democratic.
posted by aaron at 11:12 AM on February 14, 2001

Republicans want people just smart enough and informed enough to buy into their schemes and be easily coerced and maniupulated.

Do you honestly believe this is exclusive to Republicans?
posted by harmful at 11:18 AM on February 14, 2001

People who have spent "too much" time in academia (leaving aside the question of how much is too much) often strike me as being less able, not more able, to think for themselves. If you hear the same pat answers every day for years, and never get to see evidence that would contradict them because you spend most of your time in the Hallowed Halls with people who also don't get outside their social circle much, you start to believe that the answers really are that easy.
posted by kindall at 11:24 AM on February 14, 2001

Republicans want people just smart enough and informed enough to buy into their schemes and be easily coerced and maniupulated [sic].

Do you honestly believe this is exclusive to Republicans?

Probably not, but I can think of more examples of Republicans pandering to the ignorance of citizens than Democrats.

Like the idea that average citizens will somehow even notice a cut in their taxes when it really means only a few dollars a paycheck. But wonder why their schools, roads etc can't be better.

Like "trickle down" or "voodoo" economics where if you keep cutting the taxes of the rich they will somehow be moved to spread that money into new jobs and pay and not simply squirrel it away until it is time to pass it on to their children and complain about estate taxes.

Like telling people that if more people were armed with guns that the streets would be safer for their children.

etc, etc, ad nauseam :)

But, yes, both major parties treat people like they are idiots. However, the fact that people let them is their own fault. If they want to listen to sound bites from the media spoon-fed to them by the parties themselves then they will get the President the Supreme Courts tells them they get.
posted by terrapin at 11:54 AM on February 14, 2001

you spend most of your time in the Hallowed Halls...

Well if it's really a case of "Hallowed Halls", how do you explain the constant traffic in and out of these places by people in business, industry, science, the media and even politics? I bet half the news you're going to hear today came out of some college, university, think tank or research institution. "Less able to think for themselves"? Thinking for yourself is what puts the "liberal" in liberal education. It has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with how you approach information -- be you politically liberal or conservative. If this wasn't part of your education, I'm sorry but you got short-changed.
posted by leo at 12:13 PM on February 14, 2001

for GYC: The Humanaities, as you rightfully point out, tend to be very liberal--the profs and the students taking majors therein. However, this is offset by the Schools of Business,k Science, Physical Education--these tend to be very conservative.
Next we come to the fact that those in the Liberal Arts tend to be writers, talkers and you get to hear or read more of their views.
But the important thing is this: Administrations of colleges are conservative, very much so, because they are accountable to boards of Trustees--usually guys and women with lots of money and busniesses they run and control.
This is the equivalent of the mistake often made when the media is called "liberal." It is not the indiviudal reporter etc but rather the owner, publisher, compnay management that controls and hires and fires--and they are conservative.
posted by Postroad at 12:28 PM on February 14, 2001

One word: Tenure.
posted by aaron at 1:39 PM on February 14, 2001

I'm a 30 year old returning student, work full-time, and attend classes at the local univeristy. My experience is that the professors and grad students are constantly challenging each other...and their students...rather than spouting the "same pat answers." No one gets ahead in academia by regurgitating hash that someone else has already published. In fact just he opposite is true. One is much more likely to see upstart graduate students taking contrarian positions to the "academic norm" rather than validating them in an attempt to garner attention.

As someone who considers himself pretty liberal, I was also surprised at how moderate to conservative many of my professors were. Perhaps the university I attend is not representative, but the student body seems to me to be very conservative as well. leo is right, while the humanities professors and students tend to be more liberal(moderately, in my experience) the business, science, and technology departments and student bodies (which receive the vast majority of the financial backing, support, and attention from the university) are overwhelmingly conservative.

Also, very few of the professors at my university hold tenure and very few of the graduate students that I know expect to have the option to obtain it. Universities would much prefer to hire younger, cheaper professors (many at part-time) and replace them with newer, younger, and still cheaper professors before senority and experience would demand they adjust their pay accordingly.
posted by edlark at 2:01 PM on February 14, 2001

The statistics regularly show that the most Republican-leaning portion of the electorate is those with bachelor's degrees, followed by those with high school diplomas / some college, and is least of all among those graduate degrees.

These statistics, however, are highly distorted by the fact that "graduate degrees" includes a very large contingent of people -- public school teachers and social workers / low-level government mangers -- who have non-competitive, trivially-easy-to-obtain 1-year teaching credentials and almost-as-trivially-easy MA's and MS's, often from programs with essentially open admissions, pass/fail classes and requring neither rigorous comprehensive examinations nor a truly graduate-caliber master's thesis.

I mean no disrespect whatever to these folks, who provide some very necessary public services. However, by every measure of academic achievement and aptitude, this cohort cannot be described as "more educated" than the bulk of BA-only holders. And they are, of course, an overwhelmingly Democratic contingency. (Which only makes sense for them, they're voting their self-interest.)

Among people with graduate degrees which demand some showing of competence prior to admission and which wring some blood, sweat and tears before handing over the sheepskin, like PhD's, law degrees, MD and other health doctorates (dental, optometry, vet med, etc.), MBAs, etc., there are a hell of a lot of Republicans. (I guess the liberal arts PhDs are heavily Democratic, but the engineers and the economists counterbalance them neatly).
posted by MattD at 9:09 PM on February 14, 2001

you say [teachers and social-workers] are "voting their self-interest" but most likely they're dems by ideology and their choice of profession reflects that same ideology.

and i don't appreciate your implication that TRULY intelligent people are republicans. personally, i know a lot of very intelligent, very rich democrats.
posted by palegirl at 6:39 AM on February 15, 2001

Since I just took an exam on the subject of the effects of the availability of funds in capital markets, I thought I would set forth the reasons Republicans (of which I am a member - full disclosure here) think that tax cuts will stimulate the economy.

Ahem. As taxes are cut, the federal government takes in less money from its citizens. The citizens put that money into checking accounts, savings accounts, and other investments. The banks and other financial institutions make a percentage of those funds (usually around 90%) available to businesses as loans.

This increases the supply of money on the market, which, assuming demand for money doesn't move, will reduce interests rates. If interests rates decline, then businesses will undertake more projects (due to the fact that the required rate of return those projects must have is reduced by the drop in interest rates). A larger number of business projects requires hiring more people and spending more throughout the economy, which pushes up wages and, incidentally, inflation, which must be kept in check.

This is all based on Loanable Funds Theory and is often used by the Fed Reserve to decrease interest rates. The Fed, though, just sells more T-bills. At least this way, citizens get a piece of the action from the get-go.

That's the lesson for today. Read chapters 3-86 for next class.
posted by CRS at 11:53 AM on February 15, 2001

CRS - Of course, this ignores the fact that for the last several years we've seen net increases in money supply, capital, labor, investment ... all after a significant tax increase. Tax cuts may in part operate as you've laid out, but they're obviously not the only way to achieve it, and the Reagan tax cuts did not prevent 2 or 3 recessions (depending on how you count).

One of the things about Greenspan's tenure has been a microfocus on interest rates as opposed to the money supply per se. As I recall it, previous Fed chairmen were more concerned with the money supply itself.
posted by dhartung at 2:06 PM on February 15, 2001

Exactly right, dhartung. Was it caused by the spread of technology and the resultant increases in productivity or because of some other effect? No one knows.

Greenspan has a phobia about inflation. Every time he sees signs of it, he wets his pants and stomps it. I can't say he's done a bad job, either. I tend to think he's more of a Monetarist, with a Keynesian bent toward market intervention.

I tend to like the tax-cut-means-growth theory because there's just something about not having to write that large of a check in April that really makes me happy. :-)
posted by CRS at 8:12 PM on February 15, 2001

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