Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Republicans need to man up
Tom Smith

Boy this is frustrating, as of course it is intended to be.  I listened to about 20 minutes of Rush's speech and skimmed the transcript and I don't see what the big deal is.  He didn't say anything that he hasn't said all along and that isn't (more or less) true, not that I saw anyway.  Republicans who want to start apologizing to the the Democrats or to the independents who voted for Obama are playing a sucker's game.  I never heard Rush say "I hope Obama fails" though if by that one means, I hope he fails to nationalize the health care industry, completely undermine the dollar, raise the national debt to unpaybackable levels, then shouldn't one hope that he fails to accomplish that?  I certainly do.

Republicans need to realize that they cannot share in Obama's current popularity, and he is very popular now.  Republicans should oppose what he is trying to do.  He is trying to take the country on a strongly leftward path.  Obama is a leftist.  He knows what he believes in.  Do Republicans?  Rush may not have the most appealing persona in the world.  He doesn't look like Brad Pitt.  He has a face made for radio.  He's a blowhard and an egomaniac as many media stars are.  But he is a very astute reader of political forces and ideas and he seems completely immune to various forms of liberal baloney.  He's not much of an economist, but his instincts are usually pretty good.  He knows enough to be against big government and high taxes, especially in a recession, which is more than you can say for some Nobel Memorial Prize winners.

Winston Churchill did not spend his time in the wilderness saying, "I want peace in our time too, I do, I do!  Oh please, please like me as much as you do Neville!"  Rush is not half the embarrassment that Republicans who are fearful of criticizing Obama are.  What a bunch of complete weenies.  That's why Rush was so ecstatically welcomed at CPAC -- he wasn't tucking his tail between his legs and saying boo hoo, how can we trim ourselves so kinda sorta independents will like us?

The left wing of the Democratic Party is in power now and it looks like they will pass their budget and their agenda for the next year or two or four.  There's every reason to think it will be a disaster for the country.  It's not looking so great so far and the disaster may arrive ahead of schedule.  I'd say there's a nontrivial chance the country will be irreparably harmed by our American mid-life crisis.  It's going to suck, big time.  All Republicans can do is be the party that says, this is a bad idea and we should return to what we really believe in.  We should wear the label the Party of No as a badge of honor.  No to higher taxes.  No to soaking the rich.  No to nationalizing health care.  No to abadoning Israel (just wait -- that's coming).  There will be a lot to say no to.  No to tyranny.  This whole country is founded on a No.

Obama's ideas are a mushy rehash of tired ideas from the 1930's and 1960's packaged for an era of twitter users.  We don't have to hope they will fail.  They can do that all on their own.  Conservatives as they are called in this country remain attached to ideas that date back to our founding, ideas of limited government, virtuous citizenship and the worthiness of commerce.  We don't have to wait for anybody because they already got here some 200 years ago.  We should say No to the revolution Obama wants to lead.  We can certainly hope that enough people wake up soon enough that the country is not ruined first.  But our job is not to find more sellable ideas.  There's nothing wrong with the ideas.

Anyway, Rush has a point.  He may be an ugly toad but he makes good points.  Liberals hate him because he has their number and in an age of appearances he makes a big easy target.   Conservatives should stop scurrying for cover and stand up for what they believe in, and Rush provides a good example of that. Nobody can call him a coward.  The whole point of having principles is to have something to stand by when the crowd is going a different way.  Americans are going to have to have something to turn to when they realize, as I think they will, eventually, what they have done and where they are heading.  If Obama does manage to ordain a social democratic paradise, well, heck, I guess we will all have been wrong.  Go figure.  But I'm not holding my breath for that.  What I expect instead is the most expensive economics lesson in the history of the world.


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Tom Smith


"This whole country is founded on a No." That's a bit harsh. Yes to slavery. Yes to taking the Indians' land.

Posted by: dearieme | Mar 4, 2009 4:05:10 AM

Oh no, here we go again with the obligatory WW2/Churchill/appeasement reference. Why are the Democrats always analogous to the Germans? And why is it always 1939? And not 1969? Or even 1949?

If this is an example of what even those conservatives with post-secondary education are thinking, the GOP (now the Party of Rush?) is destined to spend a long time in the wilderness. This kind of thinking is eerily similar to anyone who has ever studied intellectual history. It's the foundation of dogma - left/right/whatever.

"Conservatism never fails, only the leaders who implement it. So the solution to conservative failure must be...wait for it....MORE and ideologically PURER conservatism. This must be true, because, we have a monopoly on the TRUTH. Who needs empirical thought and actual facts when we have revealed wisdom?"

Posted by: sf | Mar 4, 2009 9:55:20 AM

On the contrary, I think we are at the beginning of an enormous empirical experiment, roughly, whether you can tax, spend and regulate your way out of a severe recession, or whether those steps will make it worse. It is similar to the empirical experiment of whether you can appease your way out of trouble with a leader such as Hitler. It's not a question of dogma to me at all. Churchill may not be a very novel example, but he is perfectly fitting one. Everything I know about economics, which is a fair bit, but a lot less than than the PhD's and Nobel Prize winners, some of whom support Obama and some of whom do not, makes me extremely skeptical that Obama's plan will work, either as proposed or as likely to be implemented. If some recognizable version of his plan gets put into effect, as seems likely, and we have a glorious recovery, as does not, I readily concede that my fundamental beliefs will be due for a rethink. I would welcome this in a way, because it would suggest that the world is not as tough a place as I now think it is, and prosperity is easier to come by than it seems to be it is. I don't think so, but who knows. But equally, I would expect Obama supporters who are intellectually honest, and I think that includes some of them, will have to rethink as well if this transformation is a big failure, as for example the Carter administration was. I am not too optimistic this will happen however, as part of my general view that the world is a tough place is my observation that people rarely admit they were wrong even when it is apparent that they were. So with Stalinism, it disappears only as Stalinists get old and die and even then more new converts seem to come along than you would expect. But, over all I have some confidence that if Obama's administration is as disastrous as I expect it to be, the majority of Americans will have enough, and look for other leadership. Sticking to one's beliefs is just a bet that that is the case.

Posted by: Tom Smith | Mar 4, 2009 10:26:55 AM

"What I expect instead is the most expensive economics lesson in the history of the world."


"Example is the school of mankind, and they will learn at no other."
Edmund Burke, Letter i. On a Regicide Peace. Vol. v. p. 331.

Posted by: Fat Man | Mar 4, 2009 6:13:38 PM