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Tilting at Windmills

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July 16, 2008
By: Kevin Drum

GRAND NEW PARTY....Over at TPM they're spending the week discussing Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam's manifesto for the resurrection of the GOP, Grand New Party. It's a breezy, readable book that, I think admirably, manages to maintain a strong point of view without being dogmatic about it. I reviewed it for the current issue of the Monthly, and my reaction was mixed:

During the week I spent reading Ross Douthat and Reihan Salam's Grand New Party, I had half a dozen different reactions to it. First I was annoyed. Then intrigued. Then, at various times, impressed, curious, and taken aback. And finally a bit baffled. But that's a good thing, right? Better than being bored, certainly.

Let's start with "annoyed."

Yes, let's! But you'll have to read the review to see what annoyed me. Also to see what intrigued, impressed, and took me aback. Once we're through all that, however, we eventually get to their policy prescriptions at the end of the book, and this is where the "baffled" part comes in. R&R basically want Republicans to lighten up on the slogans and instead pursue policies that are really family friendly and pro-working class:

Among other things, they propose a massive overhaul of the tax code to encourage family building; subsidies (or pension credits) to parents who care for children at home; more spending on highways; a national health insurance plan very similar to the one most Democrats support today; job subsidies for entry-level jobs; summer enrichment programs for poor kids; more cops on the street; a new school funding formula; and a more progressive payroll tax.

The tax plan, they say, is revenue neutral, and the job subsidy program they cost out at $85 billion per year. The other programs they don't put a price tag on. But my very rough estimate pegs the whole thing at several hundred billion dollars per year. Put a gun to my head and I'd guess $500 billion. Like all good social program enthusiasts, they claim that these things will eventually pay for themselves either partly or wholly, but even a liberal like me, who's practically hardwired to believe that well-designed social programs can kinda sorta pay for themselves, finds that hard to swallow. No matter how you slice it, this is a very big agenda.

Now, obviously R&R have heard this criticism a thousand times already, but that doesn't make it any less true: the moneycons still control the Republican Party and I have a very hard time seeing them warm up to this agenda anytime soon. My $500 billion price tag on their agenda is obviously just a wild flyer (and, I confess, influenced by the fact that I don't really believe their natalist tax plan is revenue neutral), but no matter how you slice it they're proposing some awfully expensive social engineering — and one way or another that's going to mean a whopping big tax increase. Real-life politics is governed by interest groups, and which GOP interest group is anywhere close to big enough to push this through?

Still, that said, there's a raging debate in GOP circles these days between traditional small government conservatives and a younger crowd of frankly big government conservatives who think the Goldwater/Reagan legacy has run out of electoral steam. Grand New Party is the best and clearest manifesto yet for the latter. It may be, as I say, that at this point it's mostly "the political equivalent of raising the alert level to DEFCON 2," but if older Republicans don't pay attention to the warning, at least they can't say no one warned them.

Kevin Drum 1:29 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (60)

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Comments

Interesting review (I haven't read the book, but there are worse people to have do your thinking for you than Kevin Drum). This Douthat-Salam thesis kind of suggests that Huckabee-ism will supplant neoconservatism: a big government that goes around invading other countries isn't working out so well, so how about a big government that subsidizes socially conservative values? Could happen.

Posted by: y81 on July 16, 2008 at 2:11 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me, or shouldn't these guys just join the Democratic party? They propose: Infrastructure spending, national healthcare, Clintonian plans to put more cops on the street, summer enrichment programs for poor kids (uh, sorta similar to HeadStart, a longtime GOP favorite, heh?), etc

Those are all generally things we democrats support, and that the Republicans, due in part to their anti-tax jihadism, generally oppose. So, since we have a nice existing party for them to join, why are they hell-bent on transforming the GOP into the Democrats?

I guess we should take it as a piece of flattery, but really shouldn't these guys just cross the aisle (or maybe they're just pro-life to core & can't join Harry Reid and others in doing so?)

Posted by: J on July 16, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I like Ross and Reihan, but what's the point of their even writing? The GOP will flounder around in the wilderness for the next five to fifteen years, or at least until some guy comes along who can effectively demonize liberals with a smile on his face. And then the GOP will be back in power, and they'll just adopt the same old tired domestic policies as before.

The only interesting debate on the other side is between the imperialists and the isolationists, and that's largely a foreign policy debate. Governance and domestic policy have never interested Republicans (outside of tax cutting imperatives), and that won't change.

Posted by: lampwick on July 16, 2008 at 2:29 PM | PERMALINK

Do they say how to get rid of the corruption which has become endemic in the Republican Party?

Posted by: Colin on July 16, 2008 at 2:38 PM | PERMALINK

You actually took a full week to read that?

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on July 16, 2008 at 2:42 PM | PERMALINK

THE INTERNET IS THE NEW THIRD POLITICAL PARTY AND THE BLOGOSPHERE ITS POLITBUREAU. Party politically at the speed of LIFE.

Posted by: Mike Meyer on July 16, 2008 at 2:49 PM | PERMALINK

Mike, get some sleep, dude.

Posted by: PureGuesswork on July 16, 2008 at 2:52 PM | PERMALINK

Watch out! Grand New Party or GNP could be a New Deal for aspiring millionaires. Grow the Grand New Party.

(If you can sell a pet rock, you can sell anything.)

Posted by: slanted tom on July 16, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me, or shouldn't these guys just join the Democratic party?

My thoughts exactly.

Not to mention, the GOP's raison d'être is to serve rich people and big corporations at the expense of everyone else. The only reason it makes common cause with the religious yahoos is that rich people aren't a voting majority.

Posted by: low-tech cyclist on July 16, 2008 at 2:56 PM | PERMALINK

Sounds like socialism to me.

Posted by: The Conservative Deflator on July 16, 2008 at 2:59 PM | PERMALINK

What J said, that's a more ambitious liberal agenda than the last two Democratic presidential nominees had. Here's hoping that Overton Window thing works and President Obama can cite this book as the Republican opening position.

Off topic a bit, since at least half a dozen GOP senators have cosponsored the Wyden-Bennett health care bill, why the hell hasn't John McCain (or President Bush for that matter) endorsed that in a big way?

If the Republicans can take at least partial credit for universal health care, it will be a huge step to repairing their brand. The fact that neither McCain nor Bush has endorsed Wyden-Bennett shows how far gone the GOP is-- they have a chance to do good and (more to the point) save their political skins and they just won't go against corporate interests. Idiots.

Posted by: beowulf on July 16, 2008 at 3:00 PM | PERMALINK

maybe they're just pro-life to core

Bingo.

Posted by: penalcolony on July 16, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

Alternatively, admit that Americans like big government and then, as a sort of consolation prize, at least retain the ability to wrest the direction of big government away from liberals.

It would be nice if the cons admited defeat in principle and switched to demanding efficient policy implementations. Unlikely, though.

Posted by: PeakVT on July 16, 2008 at 3:03 PM | PERMALINK

"Not to mention, the GOP's raison d'être is to serve rich people and big corporations at the expense of everyone else."

The Democratic Party is now the party of the rich and big corps and Republicans are the party of the self-employed and small business. I liked the book except their chapter on the health plan, which they got wrong and I commented on that in my review on Amazon. I got an e-mail from one of the authors asking about my comments and I steered them to some references on the French health plan, which I think is the model for us and is NOT the Democrat plan.

The Democrats are stuck on stupid in energy policy and it could cost them Congress this fall. The GOP is still an underdog given the climate but Schumer and Pelosi are doing their best to even things up.

Posted by: Mike K on July 16, 2008 at 3:14 PM | PERMALINK

Huckabee-ism is just southern paternalism. Those on the inside of a paternalistic society have quite a great deal of democracy, although it is prone to corruption, and risk-sharing, which the money-men do not like. Unlike the society of natural rights proposed by Thomas Jefferson, those outside of the nation, by nationality, religion, or because of transgression, have no rights. Paternalistic societies are governed by one sanctioned culture or religion. Individual choice in matters of social life leads to corruption and downfall.

Government by money-men destroys liberal democracy and herrenfolk paternalism equally. The philosophy they bring to government is not really a philosophy of government but a set of ideas about economics that do not include the citizenry. It is indeed an anti-republican understanding of how government should be run to maximize profit, and keep it secure, and nothing else. In effect it is mere administration for those that stand to profit and for no one else. Milton Friedman praised the administration of Hong Kong, wrongly as it turns out, because it was not plagued by the intrusive parliamentary system of old socialistic Britain. Imperialism is the perfect model of this government without a citizenry. It is not held to account and it is not required to act in the best interest of the citizens.

Posted by: bellumregio on July 16, 2008 at 3:19 PM | PERMALINK

"more spending on highways"? Private car usage is dropping like a rock, and on track to drop further and irreversibly. Public transit usage is increasing faster than anyone can add capacity. Thanks to the housing collapse, there's not a queue of brand-new Toll Brothers exurbs lobbying for new offramps. In what universe is "more spending on highways" a big economic priority?

I mean, if the goal is "construction jobs", do something useful with the money. Railways, for example.

Posted by: Ben M on July 16, 2008 at 3:31 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me, or shouldn't these guys just join the Democratic party? They propose: Infrastructure spending, national healthcare, Clintonian plans to put more cops on the street, summer enrichment programs for poor kids (uh, sorta similar to HeadStart, a longtime GOP favorite, heh?), etc . . . Those are all generally things we democrats support, . . . Posted by: J o

What so puzzling about this is that these are things that the majority of Americans have favored for years. Why there is a single hard right Rethug is a mystery.

Posted by: Jeff II on July 16, 2008 at 3:42 PM | PERMALINK

Those are all generally things we democrats support, and that the Republicans, due in part to their anti-tax jihadism, generally oppose. So, since we have a nice existing party for them to join, why are they hell-bent on transforming the GOP into the Democrats?

Because we're a bunch of damn dirty hippies?

Joking aside, in some ways I think that's what it actually boils down to. They believe in the things Democrats believe, but they've been so brainwashed by the mainstream media and the general political environment to think that Democrats = treasonous gay hippie Hollwyood feminist Judeoslamistfashionistas that, like a deeply repressed GOP congressman, they can't accept their true essential nature.

So they think like Democrats, they want what Democrats want, late at night when the kids and wife are asleep they log on to Democratic chat rooms to softly type out messages filled with feverish longing -- but they can't admit to themselves or to their families that they're actually Democrats. So this is their pathetic half-assed solution to their dilemma -- go through the Sisyphean struggle of trying to turn the Republicans into Democrats instead of just quitting the GOP and becoming outright Democrats instead.

Posted by: Stefan on July 16, 2008 at 3:44 PM | PERMALINK

I think what is really going on here is that 6 years of Republican control demonstrated that every one of their principles about the role of government turned out to be outright lies, and embarrasses the young conservatives to repeat them.

Posted by: Jay Ackroyd on July 16, 2008 at 3:47 PM | PERMALINK

"the moneycons still control the Republican Party and I have a very hard time seeing them warm up to this agenda"

What are "moneycons"? Are you saying that Republicans, either voters or donor/supporters, place any kind of priority on balanced budgets? I see no evidence of that. Fiscal responsibility is just some kind of empty virtue - used to beat on govt. programs that the "other" party proposes to spend on those "other" kinds of people.

As far as interest groups go - the real big money GOP supporters love government spending programs more than anyone, as it gives them a system to game, and profit personally.

And if this Grand New Party proposed, as a central tenet, to continue to invade Muslim countries and kill Arabs by the tens of thousands, there'd be no problem finding money for the politicians. Along with support in the media.

As mentioned above, the Grand New Party would then be, essentially, the Democratic Party.

Posted by: flubber on July 16, 2008 at 3:49 PM | PERMALINK

They are pro-natalist and pro-life, but their pro-natalism is limited to two parent families. They have no use for "alternative" families, be they single parent families, gay couples, etc. That's why they have no truck for Democrats. However, the good news is, increasingly, younger voters will have no truck with them. They really are wandering around the wilderness, but they are honest enough to understand that.

Posted by: Barbara on July 16, 2008 at 3:56 PM | PERMALINK

So they think like Democrats, they want what Democrats want, late at night when the kids and wife are asleep they log on to Democratic chat rooms to softly type out messages filled with feverish longing -- but they can't admit to themselves or to their families that they're actually Democrats. Posted by: Stefan

What are you wearing right now?

Posted by: Jeff II on July 16, 2008 at 3:57 PM | PERMALINK

I disagree with the book's conclusions. I think the GOP should remain the Evil Party.

I think Moneycons are people whose priorities are low taxes, especially on the rich, and big support for businesses. The balanced budget charade was fun while it lasted, but the 1970s are over.

Posted by: reino on July 16, 2008 at 3:59 PM | PERMALINK

What are you wearing right now?

American flag lapel pin....

Posted by: Stefan on July 16, 2008 at 4:14 PM | PERMALINK

American flag lapel pin.... Posted by: Stefan

Ooooooh! I bet it's a really big lapel pin, isn't it?

Posted by: Jeff II on July 16, 2008 at 4:18 PM | PERMALINK

GOP do something for little people? Big tent?ect. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

Posted by: Pitchforks R Us on July 16, 2008 at 4:28 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II,
You do know that the really big lapel pins are made of tin foil, don't you.

Posted by: optical weenie on July 16, 2008 at 4:30 PM | PERMALINK

Jeff II, You do know that the really big lapel pins are made of tin foil, don't you. Posted by: optical weenie

Even those worn in Ft. Lee?

Posted by: Jeff II on July 16, 2008 at 4:35 PM | PERMALINK

Unless they have chapters devoted to preserving the rights of the GOP's financial backers to have unlimited feeding rights on the public dime, as well as guaranteed bedroom webcams to track snowflake children, I just don't see this vision ever gaining traction in the Bushco-Republican Party.

Posted by: Innocent Bystander on July 16, 2008 at 4:36 PM | PERMALINK

Ooooooh! I bet it's a really big lapel pin, isn't it?

Big enough to get the job done....

Posted by: Stefan on July 16, 2008 at 4:38 PM | PERMALINK

"younger crowd of frankly big government conservatives who think the Goldwater/Reagan legacy has run out of electoral steam."

Younger crowd? Are you kidding me? The people who feel this way are hardly the younger crowd. They're the one's in the White House. They're Michael Gerson. They're the "compassionate conservatives."

Douthat and Salam's agenda has already been tried. It's failed. Eight years of No Child Left Behnd and Prescription Drug Benefits should have proven this.

If you want see where the real debate is over this book, click on this link at Takimag.com:http://www.takimag.com/site/article/sams_club_socialism/.

Does anyone really think playing with the tax code is going to bring about a conservative intellecutal and cultural revival? Hardly. Sounds more like vote buying to me.

Posted by: Sean Scallon on July 16, 2008 at 4:42 PM | PERMALINK

Ben M: --"more spending on highways"? Private car usage is dropping like a rock, and on track to drop further and irreversibly. Public transit usage is increasing faster than anyone can add capacity. Thanks to the housing collapse, there's not a queue of brand-new Toll Brothers exurbs lobbying for new offramps. In what universe is "more spending on highways" a big economic priority?--

But fixing the old bridges would be good, though.

Posted by: on July 16, 2008 at 4:47 PM | PERMALINK

Ben M: --"more spending on highways"? Private car usage is dropping like a rock, and on track to drop further and irreversibly. Public transit usage is increasing faster than anyone can add capacity. Thanks to the housing collapse, there's not a queue of brand-new Toll Brothers exurbs lobbying for new offramps. In what universe is "more spending on highways" a big economic priority?--

But fixing the old bridges would be good, though.

Posted by: Emma Anne on July 16, 2008 at 4:50 PM | PERMALINK

I really, really wish that "remember personal info" worked. First I submit my comment, which doesn't work because the name and email disappeared. Then I re-enter that stuff and resubmit my comment, and I get locked out because I tried to submit comments too close together.

I really hope my previous comment only went through once. Frankly, it wasn't that scintillating to be worth the trouble it took.

Posted by: Emma Anne on July 16, 2008 at 4:53 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me, or shouldn't these guys just join the Democratic party? They propose: Infrastructure spending, national healthcare, Clintonian plans to put more cops on the street, summer enrichment programs for poor kids (uh, sorta similar to HeadStart, a longtime GOP favorite, heh?), etc

Those are all generally things we democrats support, and that the Republicans, due in part to their anti-tax jihadism, generally oppose. So, since we have a nice existing party for them to join, why are they hell-bent on transforming the GOP into the Democrats?

I guess we should take it as a piece of flattery, but really shouldn't these guys just cross the aisle (or maybe they're just pro-life to core & can't join Harry Reid and others in doing so?)

Posted by: J on July 16, 2008 at 2:13 PM | PERMALINK

I wonder what things will be like when the Rethugs become like Dems and the Dems become Rethugs as a result of caving in to the neoconvicts like they usually do...role reversal with the same results?

Posted by: jackything on July 16, 2008 at 4:56 PM | PERMALINK

Public transit usage is increasing faster than anyone can add capacity. Posted by:

Tad bit of hyperbole there? I wasn't aware the the U.S. was undergoing some sort of mad mass transit build-up. Care to cite some examples?

Posted by: Jeff II on July 16, 2008 at 4:58 PM | PERMALINK

There are no shortcuts. The way for the GOP to change is to lose and lose big in 2008. Nobody will change their ways until they have no hope of success. The democrats have changed in the last few years in ways that amaze me. They have deemphasized abortion, gun control, race based solutions of all kinds.

Posted by: bluesmoke on July 16, 2008 at 5:09 PM | PERMALINK

Is it just me, or shouldn't these guys just join the Democratic party?

That was my reaction, as well.

Posted by: chasmrich on July 16, 2008 at 5:23 PM | PERMALINK

VOTE DIGBY FOR PRESIDENT---VOTE THE INTERNET. start with a CLEAN slate.

Posted by: Mike Meyer on July 16, 2008 at 6:05 PM | PERMALINK

Do we really need more pro-family tax cuts and incentives? Young, single people are already screwed by the tax code as is. Why do we need to do it more?

Posted by: Mo on July 16, 2008 at 6:15 PM | PERMALINK

The conservatives over at Taki Mag are pretty much trashing Douthat

Posted by: Jet on July 16, 2008 at 6:21 PM | PERMALINK

Will somebody take Mike Meyer's caps lock key from him and lock him up in a padded room?

Mo, indeed, I'm over 40, single, no kids, apartment liver. I am very scrod.

Posted by: SocraticGadfly on July 16, 2008 at 6:22 PM | PERMALINK

SocGad,
Does your apartment liver hurt? Or can you still drink like a fish.

Posted by: optical weenie on July 16, 2008 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

This is Democratic Policy, not Republican policy.

If people want democratic policies, doesn't it make more sense to vote for Democrats?

Posted by: POed Lib on July 16, 2008 at 6:44 PM | PERMALINK

It's amazing that a guy that spends so much time studying scat can get ever scrod, don't you think?

Posted by: thersites on July 16, 2008 at 6:47 PM | PERMALINK

This big-tent-big-government-great-nation Republican Party all a really neat academic idea ... and it dovetails well with the RESULTS the GOP has achieved over the last ten years. Namely, that is a massive expansion in the size, expense and intrusiveness of the government (at least into the private sphere of US citizens' lives).

But these ideas utterly countervail the actual governing philosophy and methods of the modern GOP. Where are the tax cuts?

So ... the GOP will need to become a lot less interested in breaking stuff and a lot more interested in governing (and making stuff work) before a unified philosophy like this can make sense.

Because until now, compassionate conservatism has only served as a marketing ploy and as a fig leaf for the party's excesses and dysfunctions.

-- Bokonon

Posted by: Bokonon on July 16, 2008 at 6:50 PM | PERMALINK

New? I think it was Bush I, with the "Compassionate Conservative" line...lets see...For the "working people" Mr. Bush, affectionately know as "Poppy", promised to apply the "heavy stream method" when it came to the ever popular trickle down economics of the day...And for the single parents, Poppy had "A thousand points of light" I can't remember what the lights were for, or how many he really had. Nevertheless, none of it flew in 92'. I don't know if these new republican strategists understand the image problem they need to deal with before they start planning the next GOP fuck-up.

PS: Mike's heart is in the right place...cap on my brother!

Posted by: benmerc on July 16, 2008 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

The Nazis also pretended to believe in a brand of socialism for a long time, until they finally pulled the rug out from under the workers. What they really turned out to be was anti-union, and for higher wages and poorer workers, as long as the nation could support Hitler's military adventures. What the workers got in return was a consummation of the anti-semitic doctrine they had become invested in, and a few token prizes like radios confiscated from captured Jews, conifscated Jewish apartments and businesses turned over to some of them, and a plan to get every German family a VW car (which never came to fruition because of the war).

Many Stormtroopers, including a few very promient old Nazis, had to be gotten rid of or intimidated by Hitler, because they made up a large portion of Stormtroopers who actually believed in a conservative form of socialism (real benefits and protection of workers and suppression of institutionalized religion combined with racism, authoritarianism, militarism and nationalism). Hitler wanted limited capitalism and cooperation of the upperclass instead of suppression of them and confiscation of their industries and fortunes, so to accomplish his made schemes of racial slavery and militarism, it was the working person who believed in true economic populism who had to be cut short.

The Republicans would probably do the same thing, and just talk about economic populist policies (or make a few scant, token enactments) until they regained the people's trust. But from then on it would be back to the old way of doing things.

Posted by: Swan on July 16, 2008 at 7:00 PM | PERMALINK

and for higher wages and poorer workers,

Sorry, this should have read "for lower wages."

Posted by: Swan on July 16, 2008 at 7:02 PM | PERMALINK

so to accomplish his made schemes of racial slavery and militarism,

And that should say "mad schemes."

Posted by: Swan on July 16, 2008 at 7:04 PM | PERMALINK

So many Swans, so little time...

Posted by: nurse ratched on July 16, 2008 at 7:12 PM | PERMALINK

I always thought it was ironic that the German Autobahn was built for high speed but everyone would get a VW.

Posted by: Jet on July 16, 2008 at 7:17 PM | PERMALINK

These are republicans speaking, their lips are moving, they are lying.

This is exactly the same game they have been playing for the last 28 years, pretend to be populist to get votes, renege on all populist campaign promises, use government to feed money to supporters.

At its core, the Repubs are about 1 thing: lower taxes for the rich. Period. Any rhetoric that enables this goal is OK. But lower taxes for the rich is the backbone.

The propositions from these guys cannot happen without spending a lot more money. We cannot tolerate another huge increase in the deficit and we cannot tolerate an increase in tax burden to the middle class, this means a tax increase for the rich.

AIN'T GONNA HAPPEN.

Smoke and mirrors, just smoke and mirrors.

Posted by: says you on July 16, 2008 at 7:19 PM | PERMALINK

The autobahns were built for rapid troop movements and acts of violence against Germany's neighbors. But they were sold as a great public work ... for the benefit and peaceful enjoyment of the German people, of course. It was a beautiful bait and switch. A total fake-out.

Not that there are any similarities between this and the way in which the modern GOP brands and sells its policies to the American voting public, mind you.

Posted by: on July 16, 2008 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

They'll never join the Democratic Party. Economics makes for fine coffee-house talk, but it doesn't get people to the polls, since the public has figured out both parties believe more-or-less the same things about the economy. Guns and abortions, people, guns and abortions...

Posted by: dr sardonicus on July 16, 2008 at 8:05 PM | PERMALINK

The autobahns were built for rapid troop movements.../

...just like the US Interstate Highway System.

Posted by: AK Liberal on July 16, 2008 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

This is a bizarre book from what you say about it. Do the authors have any idea how to purge the Republican party of the Neocons, theocrats and plutocrats who now currently control it? Without purging these from the party there will no change in the party's goals and policies.

Posted by: beb on July 16, 2008 at 10:34 PM | PERMALINK

"One thing you gotta remember about WASPs, they love Animals, but they can't stand people."
- Gordon Gecho, "Wall Street" (paraphrased from memory)

P1: "You (WASPs) don't have the Mafia, no Catholic Church, what have you got...."
P2 (Matt Damon): "The United States of America, the rest of you are just visiting (hired help)."

- actually I don't remember what movie that's from.

The United States is based upon only one principle - free contract. In such a society bargaining power is everything.

The reason for the Republican party is to help the the rich get richer and the poor get poorer. It's all about concentrated wealth and power.

The problem with it is, it only serves the interest of a very few people. So some how you have to conjure up some kind of cock'n bull story to convince millions and millions of people to surrender their bargianing power at the ballot box to help billionares gain more bargaining power in economics and politics.

Presto: you have the Neocon 'n Big Media machine. Heard the masses into a religios corral, with the help of a wall of media. When someone like John Edwards comes along representing their interest, just ignore him.

But the whole apparatus was set up to fool people into surrendering their bargaining power. The mistake they made is they thought they had rigged the game so thoroughly in their favor that they didn't have to govern even remotely reasonably well to hold power. Unlike Lincoln, the first Republican president, the modern Republican actually does believe you can fool enough people, enough of the time, to voluntarily get them to agree to surrender themselve into squalor and poverty 100% of the time.

Posted by: Bub on July 16, 2008 at 11:39 PM | PERMALINK

Economics makes for fine coffee-house talk, but it doesn't get people to the polls, since the public has figured out both parties believe more-or-less the same things about the economy.

You're not really helping here. The country doesn't need anything much more radical than what the Democrats would do with the economy if conservative influences on them were stamped out. The reason the public doesn't know about differences between what Democrats might do and what Republicans prefer is that it doesn't get to them through the media well enough. Realistic information about the parties-- information like the fact that the Republicans are racist and are fighting for racism-- is ironically spread by word of mouth, since you can't get anyone to say it on television.

Posted by: Swan on July 17, 2008 at 2:20 AM | PERMALINK

None of that is possible without a steep cut in "defense" spending. We should set the hard goal of spending no more than the average percentage of GDP that all developed nations spend. It is uncalled for and totally unsustainable for us to spend more than ALL developed nations combined on "defense" (yeah right, defense).

Cut defense spending down to normal levels and that leave a LOT of money to pay off debt, cut the deficit, AND pay for required and necessary social programs and improvements.

It is what a civilized and free, democratic nation would do.

Posted by: Praedor Atrebates on July 17, 2008 at 9:29 AM | PERMALINK




 

 

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