Political Animal


November 28, 2012 4:04 PM Different Cliff-Dwellers

By Ed Kilgore

There are, as you probably know, quite a few progressives who don’t particularly fear the so-called “fiscal cliff,” mainly because they don’t think the most contentious issue, an increase on the top marginal tax rates to the levels of the Clinton administration, will much harm the economy at all.

But it’s worth noting that some conservatives who don’t particularly fear the so-called “fiscal cliff” actually do think it would be instantly and massively damaging to the economy, and actually hope for that so long as Democrats get blamed. As is often the case, Pat Buchanan is the chief spokesman for Calamity Enthusiasts:

If you believe higher tax rates or tax revenues would be like poisoning an already weak economy, why would you collaborate in administering that poison? Why not just say no?
Having lost the presidency and seats in both houses, Republicans should not partner with a president with whom they disagree on principle.
They should act as the loyal opposition in a parliamentary system whose duty it is to oppose, to offer an alternative agenda and to wait upon the success or failure of the government, as Labor is doing in Britain and the conservatives are doing in France.

Minorities in Britain and France, of course, do not have the power to block majorities from governing. And any conservative posture that includes blocking debt limit increases is not “waiting upon the success or failure” of the governing party’s policies; they are trying actively to bring on ruin.

But there is something mildly refreshing about conservative super-patriots coming right out and admitting a preference for party over country, and political leverage over prosperity.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.


  • c u n d gulag on November 28, 2012 4:14 PM:

    I've been saying this for over a decade about Republicans:
    Party over country!

    Tax increased on those making $250,000, WILL make and impact.
    On those over $1 Million - little.
    Those earning more - the impact is less.
    The latter two groups sock their money away. Those making less than $250K, spend it.

    Once the shock hits the bottom 2%, THEN let the negotiaitions begin.

  • paul on November 28, 2012 4:21 PM:

    Well, if they're going to act as the "Loyal Opposition" that means they shouldn't actually prevent any of the government's bills from being passed.

    Oh, wait.

  • wheresthebeef on November 28, 2012 4:27 PM:

    Disloyal opposition is more like it.

  • Josef K on November 28, 2012 4:32 PM:

    But there is something mildly refreshing about conservative super-patriots coming right out and admitting a preference for party over country, and political leverage over prosperity.

    Isn't it a contradiction to call them "patriots" when they're actively and openly undermining both a democratically-elected government and the nation's economy? In that case, do these clods have any actual right to call themselves "Americans"?

  • Celui on November 28, 2012 4:42 PM:

    It seems to me that this 'fiscal cliff' parlance refers almost exclusively to the so-called 'cliff' over which the middle class (and lower class) will be forced to jump, if it does indeed exist as some looming disaster. The Republicans continue to pander to their wealthy base, as if they and only they are capable of righting a smoldering international economic downturn. And, will the 'job creators' step up? You really do know better. It still remains a 'blame Obama' mentality for the GOP, and these ideologues will continue to play this card at every turn . It's clear to me that the economic future of this country is perceived to rest not on the concept of fair taxation for mutual gain, but rather on the the punitive, maligned ideology that the 'takers' are taking from the 'makers.' Well, the makers are taking from the rest of us, every time they shout for tax breaks for business (there are already too many of these), every time they demonize those of us who have little but know how to make do with the resources we have, and every time they shout about the 'injustices' of a public healthcare law--just in order to make political hay. 'Fiscal Cliff' is the product of the refusal of the GOP to deal fairly with the economic issues brought about by the economic downturns authored by such 'makers' as the financial industry, corporate employers who utilize only 'best-cost production methods', and--remember, these business models are only 'games' which have real-life implications for the middle class. Yes--I'm not buying the 'fiscal cliff' stuff. Push 'em over the edge.

  • T2 on November 28, 2012 4:53 PM:

    I hope the blowhard Buchanan doesn't think he just came up with the idea of opposing any and all of Obama's proposals. But with his ego, he probably does.
    Note to Pat B: STFU

  • phillygirl on November 28, 2012 8:14 PM:

    Good lord, Pat Buchanan is still alive?

  • Altoid on November 28, 2012 10:23 PM:

    What is it with Buchanan and parliamentary systems? Ours is specifically intended and designed not to be parliamentary. And does this mean he's throwing out federalism, that other conservative foundation? Wow.

    So what Buchanan really wants is a straight-out majoritarian system. That must be so we can become the kind of parliamentary despotism that's developed in Britain and Canada since the 70s. What a great vision for someone who claims to speak for a free people.