Tea Party Nihilism vs. OWS Romantic Participatory Democracy

Here's Hendrik Hertzberg, whose enduring contribution to American political discourse remains Jimmy Carter's malaise speech, writing in The New Yorker about the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street.

When the Tea Party marched on America, we learn after several paragraphs of throat-clearing and haw-haw-haws about politics being show biz for ugly people, the results were somewhat akin to Sherman marching on Georgia:

...obstructionism descended into nihilism. Absent the Tea Party, a routine debt-ceiling squabble would never have metastasized into a terrifying episode of hostage-taking. Nor would a lineup of Republican Presidential candidates have unanimously rejected a debate moderator’s hypothetical debt-reduction deal of ten dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in increased revenue.

That's rich cream, I tells you. Yes, it was a routine debt-ceiling squabble, despite the fact that the feds are spending roughly twice what they were spending 10 years ago and the "nihilistic" solution to the debt ceiling will add at least $7 trillion to the national debt over the coming decade. My god, how will we survive such austerity?

And note that the debate moderator's suggestion about a 10-to-1 ratio of cuts to tax increases is of necessity "hypothetical": Between Obama's awful budget proposal and Paul Ryan's GOP budget, neither includes any cuts to the levels of current spending. Rather, both envision budgets that are literally trillions of dollars bigger than they are today (and remember, today's budgets are about double what they were in 2001). That's nihilism, all right, but not in the way that Hertzberg thinks.

The Tea Party has been influential, yes: It's the only reason most of us now know there is a (hypothetical!) debt ceiling to what the government can borrow. But the conversation about out-of-control spending is barely getting started and so far, alas, the cuts just haven't happened at the federal level. It's not nihilistic to argue that cutting spending now is a good, meaningful choice, especially if you care about the future. In fact, that's pretty the opposite of nihilism.

What's Hertzberg's take on the cockeyed dreamers of the Occupy movement? They may just be a bunch of naive kids who don't understand politics and treated civil rights icon Rep. John Lewis (D-Ga.) with contempt, he says, but at least they've made a difference:

...the movement has achieved one obvious, and stunning, outward success. It has pierced the veil of silence that, for decades, has obscured the astounding growth of what can fairly be called plutocracy. Public opinion is beginning to realize that there are hard truths behind the Occupiers’ “99 per cent.”

The chief hard truth? That just like in the Roarin' Twenties, the rich get richer and the poor get... children. Or used fixed-gear bikes, or something. Or 10 years minimum to pay off student loans.

So what's the takeaway from the New Yorker's longtime observer? That when the Tea Party starts a conversation about debt-driven spending (for stuff like wars foreign and domestic, useless federal education mandates, and cheap drugs for old people irrespective of need), that's nihilism. But when Occupiers bitch and moan about student loans and restoring the Clinton tax rates on households pulling in $250,000 (despite the fact under Bush, top income-earners paid a higher share of total income taxes), that's a stunning, outward success.

Even better, folks like the OWS crowd. Really, really. Cue Sally Fields:

The pollsters tell us that Americans like O.W.S.’s essential message. They like the Occupiers, too—not as much as they like the message, but more than they like the Tea Party.

Read the whole thing. And then ask yourself why is it again that The New Yorker is known for smart, insightful writing.

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  • Bill3||

    You mean Tea Party REALISM versus OWS expensive anarchism.

    What's going on, Reason? Is George Soros paying your bill? Give me a break, why not do a story about the other 53%?

  • nobody||

    Did you read Matt's post? I don't get it, is this a joke?

  • ||

    It's a cry for help.

  • ||

    It's...too late...for him, JW. I'm sorry.

  • Ted S.||

    It's a cry for help.

    Fixed that for you. ;-)

  • Paul||

    You mean Tea Party REALISM versus OWS expensive anarchism.

    There's no anarchism in the OWS demand for more government, more authority, more regulation, more laws, more institutional oversight, more spending and more welfare for the middle class.

  • Zeb||

    Fuck off, Grego.

  • MWG||

    Grrreeeeggggoooo!

  • ||

    The 70's sure were...brown.

  • ||

    Very earthy. Reflecting the dirtiness of the era.

    Great movies, though.

  • Walther Mathau||

    My version of The Taking of Pelham 123 was certainly much better.

  • ||

    I loved you in Charley Varrick, Walter.

  • ||

    Great underrated movie. And the Bad News Bears and Plaza Suite.

    Walter was just a great actor.

  • Ska||

    When I saw Guide for the Married Man, I could hardly believe the dude was actually sort of young.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    Just caught The Laughing Policeman on HBO the other night. Goddamn but San Francisco was a filthy, hippie ridden city in the 70's. But yeah, Matthau was awesome.

  • Ted S.||

    You forgot about the blithe gay-bashing. I can't remember whether it's Matthau or his fellow cop on the beat who sees the bad guy go into a gay spot while they're trailing him and refers to him as a "closet fruiter".

    If you really want to see a young Walter Matthau, get a copy of Bigger Than Life, in which Matthau plays a friend of James Mason, a teacher who gets addicted to the wonder drug... cortisone, and becomes a Jesus freak!

  • ||

    And very...polyester.

  • ||

    I think it has something to do with a change in film quality from technicolor to richer tones and eventually modern color during the 60s and 70s.

  • ||

    Actually, Hazel, no. Brown and other earth tones were the shit in the late 70's. How do I know this with certainty? My prom tux was "cocoa" in color.

  • Ted S.||

    I think dye-imbibition Technicolor went out in the mid-50s, as studios introduced their own color processes (Metrocolor and Warnercolor spring to mind).

  • k2000k||

    So trying to stop some of the ludcrious spending habits of the goverment is nihilistic? Gotta give it to them lefties, they are really good at emotionally charged rhetoric.

  • ||

    They're also fantastic at bringing utter, universal ruin to entire civilizations. Fuck them.

  • Mainer||

    They are pretty good at taking any word with bad connotations and accusing their opposition. How many people on the left hear "nihilistic" and know what it means beyond "bad".

  • ||

    Absent the Tea Party, a routine debt-ceiling squabble would never have metastasized into a terrifying episode of hostage-taking.

    Since when isn't pathological mendacity and disingenuousness not nihilistic?

    That seems to be only tool in the left's toolbox any longer.

  • ||

    The nihilism charge is pretty revealing. For them there is nothing but government. And anyone who doesn't believe in government solutions to everything is therefore a nihilist.

    I used to think it was them just being mendacious partisans when they said that. But I now thing they actually believe it. They really have no idea that there could be a sollution to any problem that doesn't involve central control and government. They have gone batshit insane.

  • ||

    And there are millions upon millions of people IN THIS COUNTRY that believe the same shit. We're so completely fucked.

  • ||

    It is Tony's world. We just swim in the sea of ignorance and hatred it creates. Sadly, we are all going to have to pay when the bill for dipshits like him and millions of others comes due.

  • cynical||

    Learn how to make a good headshot, don't let them bite you*, and stay away from shopping malls**.

    *Seriously, they've been living in very unsanitary conditions and eating truly nasty shit like organic tofu.

    **Especially Apple stores.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Though I get the connection (sort of), the absolute connection with Apple and liberalism itself is fucking stupid.

    It's as if only mindless liberal drones use Apple products, and that no one could even THINK of using them otherwise for perfectly legitimate reasons that have nothing to do with political considerations, but with the fact that, by and large, they are a tool and perform certain many tasks better than their counterparts in the market.

    I guess I'm just a liberal troll.

  • Charlie||

    Yes, this is something I've wondered about earlier. The left just stops thinking when it comes to looking at innovative approaches to solving problems. It's just a mindless chant of "regulation, regulation, regulation." Thinking past that wouldn't be cool, I guess, and wouldn't win them friends in their communities.

  • Tony||

    No bonus points for barking platitudes about cutting spending when you still want to keep defense, medicare, and social security exactly where they are. The TP is an incoherent rabble of talk radio sheep upset that a Democrat got to be president, the end.

  • ||

    It's especially hilarious that you don't even know what the fuck you're talking about EVEN MARGINALLY. Try harder, Barack.

  • Tony||

    How does it feel to be the a cog in Dick Armey's political operation?

    The nihilism is the fact that there is no coherent policy message, it's just power for the Republican party for its own sake, and to the extent they have policy goals, it's to further entrench their own power and increase the returns to their bankrollers.

    OWS self-organized. The Tea Party couldn't tell you which way is up without a slimy Republican hack telling them from behind a desk at FOX News.

  • ||

    Jesus Christ Tony. You have gotten so stupid that it is no longer possible to respond to you. I mean really, where to begin?

    Do you understand what a hate spewing moron you are? At some point you are going to get a little bit of self awareness and understand that you are all the things you project on your enemies.

  • Warty||

    He's not real. It's possible there was once a real Tony, but there's certainly no longer.

  • Dan T||

    Hey guys! What's new?!

  • Tony||

    Wow. Guess I must have hit a nerve since (a) you had to resort to calling me a hate spewing moron and (b) you completely forgot to mention that I am an intellectually repulsive cunt.

  • ||

    Tony you hate everyone who doesn't look and think exactly like you. You are the least tolerant person on earth.

  • Tony||

    I'm not so much a person as I am a gigantic pile of ignorance and DNC talking points (but I repeat myself).

  • Derper Tony||

    Derp.

  • Deeper Tony||

    .

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brainless,

    you completely forgot to mention that I am an intellectually repulsive cunt.


    And that your ass belongs to pimps in DC to be raped at their leisure - you implied as much.

  • Tony||

    I do hate the people who are through sheer ignorance or greed are perfectly willing to destroy my country, yes. But as a good liberal I can only consider you just another victim of them and their propaganda machine.

  • ||

    Do you think it's possible that you may be a victim of Democrats and their propaganda machine? This does not imply that Republicans are right.

    You just come across as a liberal version of a conservative- the Other Team is not just ideologically wrong, or misguided, but genuinely EVIL. Like, literally. Want to eat babies and destroy the country. Because that is exactly what your Red Team counterparts think of you. Your Team Leaders and Team Pundits get you guys all riled up until you can only view the world in one way: Republicans are evil, evil, evil and Democrats are the only ones who can stop them from BLOWING UP ERF OMFG OMFG. You know? Just think about it.

  • Tony||

    I know! And it frustrates me to no end. I absolutely detest having to support a single American political party out of existential concern for my country. But it's the only pragmatic answer I've found. No one has ever convincingly explained to me how to affect positive change more usefully. 3rd parties are not viable in our system. So we only get 2 choices. One of the choices has become increasingly radicalized to the point where they actually do represent an existential threat to the country--tack on climate and energy issues and they are actually a threat to the species itself. I don't like it one bit, but you surely have to admit that such a thing is possible. It wouldn't be the first time a radical right-wing political party took control of a major world power.

    I fully realize the appearance it has with respect to credibility. They are calling everything they can think of evil and an existential threat. But while they are scared of imaginary things (communism, etc.), the GOP is a real thing and a real threat and all you have to do is listen to what they say.

    They have perversely succeeded in radicalizing themselves in part by calling their opposition radical, even though they've only taken the Democratic party to the right along with them. But there is such a thing as too far to the right, and there hasn't been a radical right-wing political party yet that did any good for people.

  • Jeff||

    Fair enough. Just one question, Tony: does it bother you that you are so utterly divorced from reality?

  • ##||

    Wow. In other words, "I know the only thing that sucks worse than the smiling clowns I support is their frowning clown opposition but we're all Bozos on this bus so there's no point considering an acrobat or juggler instead." That's kind of like choosing to take the Titanic instead of the Lusitania. You know we're all going to drown but you'd rather run into an iceberg due to incompetence than be torpedoed because only a fool would take a tramp steamer. That very mindset is all that keeps a third party from being viable.

  • Sad||

    One of the choices has become increasingly radicalized to the point where they actually do represent an existential threat to the country--tack on climate and energy issues and they are actually a threat to the species itself.

    What's even more sad is that this statement could apply equally to both parties and you don't see it.

  • ||

    This sounds like good old conservative "The Dems are going to totally destroy the entire country and put us in atheist abortion camps and the Republicans are the only way to stop them so we will have to hold our noses and vote for (Insert Lackluster Republican Candidate)." This is what the parties do; through political antics, media outlets, and social reinforcement, 1) completely demonize the Opposing Party. Like Nazi demonize. They leave the voter in sobbing, hysterical fear of the Opposing Party. 2) Reinforce this hysteria around election time- 'dey gonna eat yo babies!'
    So like you say, the average voter thinks that he is really only left with one choice- his Team, which has set itself up as the only Saviour from a manufactured threat. (Not that Dems and Repubs don't have dangerous policies- they do, but not on the scale that it is imperative to vote for the lesser of two evils).

    I believe that my previous political ideology (Conservatism) was manufactured by Republican politicians, talk radio, and friends and family. It was carefully cultivated so that around election time I was frightened enough to vote for the lesser of two evils. I remember when Al Gore was going to destroy America. Had to stop him. And then Kerry, who was ten times as worse. Had to definitely stop him. Now Obama, who was the antichrist. Each election, the Opposing candidates are made out to be more evil and more radical than the last, and this has been going on for decades. It is like that on the left. Remember 2008, when John McCain, a man despised by many on the right and accepted by some on the left? Remember how he went from "someone the Democrats could work with" to A FUCKING EVIL NAZI? It's propaganda. That's all it is.

    I could be wrong. Have been before. But just examine your beliefs and see how much of it is actually true.

  • Tony||

    I get it, really. It's a weakness in my position. But they're just so stupid and batshit insane. I mean what do you expect after decades of getting elected by appealing to people's worst instincts? Democrats don't demonize Republicans (certainly not as they are demonized). They piss me off because they can barely figure out how to stop apologizing to Republicans for not being small-government enough.

    I can see why you are skeptical. It sounds absurd, but the times are absurd. Republicans are wrong on almost everything, and that's not as surprising as it sounds because they don't anchor their policy beliefs to any set of facts. The entire problem is that they've gone totally ideological. That does happen.

  • wareagle||

    Republicans are wrong on almost everything...because they don't anchor their policy beliefs to any set of facts. The entire problem is that they've gone totally ideological.
    -------------------------
    how, pray tell oh wise sage of the left, does this make them different from the left? Let's see; in a campaign speech last month, POTUS actually said - with a straight face - that Repubs were for dirtier air and water. They believe taxing a small portion of the population amounts to economic policy. And, the only things they have expanded are the unemployment rate and the size of govt. Nah, no ideology there.

    Tony, your side believes govt is the answer to everything, despite ample evidence that govt usually screws things up. Public education is but one glaring example. Just look at most policies put forth by govt and ask one question - do they increase your freedom or put more power in teh hands of govt?

  • ||

    "Democrats don't demonize Republicans."

    Yes they do. The problem here is that you agree with the rhetoric, so to you it isn't rhetoric, but the truth. Bush was a Nazi. That isn't rhetoric or demonization, because it's totally true because Bush did (insert Nazi action). Again, I'm not saying that the Republicans are right in any way (har har) but that the degree to which you oppose them comes from Democrat propaganda. Just as the average conservative's hysterical view of the Democrats comes from Republican propaganda.

  • Maxxx||

    One of the choices has become increasingly radicalized to the point where they actually do represent an existential threat to the country--tack on climate and energy issues and they are actually a threat to the species itself.

    Yes, the GOP is a conspiracy to drive homo sapiens to extinction.

    They will accomplish that by cutting taxes for the rich, until those bastards pay 100% of federal taxes and outlawing abortions because more babies always lead to extinction.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Keep justifying your vote for more war, Tony. Keep. It. Up.

    You'll fix EVERYTHING if you just keep electing people like Obama. I mean it's not like he's backtracked on virtually everything he ever stated during his campaign or anything.

    Go fuck a corncob, you partisan hack.

  • ||

    as a good liberal

    +10 for the oxymoron.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It's also about power in Team Blue for its own sake. Like they actually give a possum turd about The Poor.

  • ||

    "...it's just power for the Republican party for its own sake..."

    Yes, just like the Democratic Party. Or do you think otherwise? Wait- do you still think Your Team is different? That unlike the Republicans, the Democrats rilly, rilly care? True statesmen? Serving the people? *snicker*

    "OWS self-organized. The Tea Party couldn't tell you..."

    That wasn't true, at least in the beginning. But don't let it stop you. The OWS, noble young idealists trying to save our crumbling democracy. Tea Party? Roasting and eating Black babies.

  • Tony||

    No, not "just like" the Democratic party. It is hardly perfect, but it's not the same, and pretending that they are is to give them a pass. Only one major political party has been taken over by nihilistic antigovernment insanity, and only one perfectly marries its talking points with its plutocratic goals. The Dems have certainly been infected by the pay-for-play politics the other one invented, but we only get 2 choices in this country.

    I would criticize OWS for trying to be apolitical. I would ask where were they in 2010, and if they think demonstrations are effective while voting is pointless. I would call them idiots if they say yes.

  • Ray Pew||

    Only one major political party has been taken over by nihilistic antigovernment insanity, and only one perfectly marries its talking points with its plutocratic goals.

    This would be the Republican Party you are describing, correct? The "nihilistic, antigovernment" Party that wishes to get back into the reigns of government and expand it's scope and influence just like they have always done, right?

    There's nothing worse than an "anti-government/pro-government" Party.

  • ||

    Wow, it only took Tony (or this version of the Tony spoofer) 35 minutes to fall in line with John's "if its not a government solution - its nihlism" theory.

    Bravo John.

  • Tony||

    Psst: antigovernment talk is just that, talk. It's ALWAYS a smokescreen for someone's self-interest. Libertarianism is a joke. Since there are only two viable political parties in this country your purpose is useful idiots to one of them. Guess which one?

  • Ray Pew||

    Psst: antigovernment talk is just that, talk.

    Then this means you can't use this description, can you?

    It's ALWAYS a smokescreen for someone's self-interest.

    Wait?!?! Being anti-government and self-interest are not mutually exclusive concepts. This statement doesn't make sense.

  • ||

    "Only one major political party has been taken over by nihilistic antigovernment insanity..."

    All I see is a movement (a temporary one at that) among conservative voters which the Republican Party Establishment is attempting to cash in upon in order to get votes. Republican politicians will never actually act upon these concerns with hard legislation.

    And I could easily say of the Democrats: Only one major political party has been taken over by authoritarian socialist insanity.

    "...and only one perfectly marries its talking points with its plutocratic goals."

    One good thing about listening to Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity daily during the Bush years is that you get to listen to the liberal rhetoric- from politicians and pundits. And let me tell you, the left has perfectly married their talking points to their socialist goals. It's the same on both sides. Each one is just selling a different product (ideology) to consumers (voters), but they use the same methods. What is creepy is that both parties have actually manufactured their constituents ideology for them.

    "The Dems have certainly been infected by the pay-for-play politics the other one invented,"

    Oh come on. Evidence? I'll bet there are conservatives claiming the same thing about the Democratic Party. They invented murder!

    "but we only get 2 choices in this country."

    No. You should vote for who you think would make a good President, and there are more than 2 choices. It's only when you get suckered into the Republicratic Party game of We Have To Stop The Other Team At All Costs that you end up "having" to vote for the lesser of two weevils.

  • Tony||

    And I could easily say of the Democrats: Only one major political party has been taken over by authoritarian socialist insanity.

    You could say that, but it would be ridiculous. They're your average centrist technocratic party. The fallacy we must avoid here is assuming that the parties are always polar opposites. It's possible for one to go full retard while the other doesn't.

    And people who voted for who they thought would be the best (purest) president in 2000 gave us GW Bush, the worst of all presidents. I no longer see that as an option. I didn't say I like it.

  • ||

    "You could say that, but it would be ridiculous. They're your average centrist technocratic party."

    Exactly! This how you see the Republicans, though, who are also a centrist party.

    "The fallacy we must avoid here is assuming that the parties are always polar opposites. It's possible for one to go full retard while the other doesn't."

    And your party hasn't gone full retard, right? Your statement starts out on the spot and then dissolves into irony.

    Yes, the Republicans are bad. I don't want them in office. But I also see the Democrats in the same light, just for different reasons. But I do not believe that either party is so evil and destructive that if given the chance, they will ruin the country (I think both will, over time).

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Caring about the poor is the hook. Once people bite it, Team Blue starts crankin' on the reel.

    And that is the ONLY reason Team Blue uses the plight of the poor - as bait.

  • ||

    It's pure genius. If you oppose any of their policies, then you are automatically someone who hates poor people. Free shit, think about the kids, Bam! Political Gold!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    It's like discovering plutonium, all over again!

  • mad libertarian guy||

    More like idealists trying to get out of having to pay for their mistake of getting a $100k liberal arts degree that ain't worth shit in the jobs marketplace.

    There's a place, here in the US that has THOUSANDS of GOOD paying jobs. In fact, everyone in Zucotti park could likely get hired in less than a week. Of course it's in flyover country where icky conservatives hunt and go to Walmart, and the job is for a booming oil field that's thought to be the biggest ever found in North America (big enough to power our country and economy for decades), but the money is good and the jobs real.

    But those jobs are what they went to college for, so the stooges at the various Occupy protests think they are above those

  • mad libertarian guy||

    Linky for the jobs.

  • mad libertarian guy||

    A non SFed link to the jobs.

    Click on Boomtown.

  • Federal Dog||

    Do you really think Dick Armey powers some dire conspiracy against the nation?

    Really?

    QED, I guess, with respect to claims the left has gone full-out "batshit crazy."

  • Mr. FIFY||

    I went to ONE Tea Party rally, about a year and a half ago... and Armey *still* hasn't sent me a check.

    Then again, I never asked for a check from Dick Armey. But, still.

  • Tony||

    That's the beauty of it. You do the plutocrats' bidding and they don't even have to pay you!

  • Not an Economist||

    Well at least they try to hide it. You don't.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    So, I should get paid to do this?

    Cool. I'd take it.

    But wait! Shouldn't Team Occutard also take paychecks?

  • Maxxx||

    But wait! Shouldn't Team Occutard also take paychecks?

    They are.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Figures. Soros is just as evil as we know he is, if not more.

  • RoboCain||

    My porn star name is Dick Army.

  • Ray Pew||

    The nihilism is the fact that there is no coherent policy message..

    Compared to the very focused message of the OWS, right?

  • Paul||

    No bonus points for barking platitudes about cutting spending when you still want to keep defense, medicare, and social security exactly where they are.

    Welcome to Hit & Run, Tony. The place where we advocate cutting everything.

  • Sudden||

    Up to an including female circumcision.

  • ||

    "The TP is an incoherent rabble of talk radio sheep upset that a Democrat got to be president, the end."

    Well, it certainly wasn't the expansion of government, increased debt, and loss of civil liberties that upset them, because if it were, they would have been holding rallies under the Bush years. Which they didn't. But this isn't really true. They do care about limited government and fiscal responsibility- but only when the Blue Team is in the White House. Otherwise, they could care less.

    It's the same for liberals when it comes to our little wars and the Patriot Act. When Obama took over, those high blood pressure-inducing issues became not so important anymore.

    American Politics is like Spy vs Spy.

  • ||

    People started protesting before Bush left office. And maybe you missed it, but the Republicans got killed in the 2008 elections. So clearly they were pretty pissed off at the Republicans.

  • ||

    The only Republicans/Conservatives I remember that were protesting were the Ron Paul supporters. At that Tea Party thing.

  • ||

    You apparently didn't pay a lot of attention. The country about went into revolt over TARP and the conservative members of the House (and the liberal ones to their credit) voted against TARP.

    It was the centrist who gave us TARP.

  • ||

    Sure. In 2008. Where were Republican protesters prior during Bush's spending orgies? Answer: At home, not protestin' cause Their Team was in office and hell we gotta a war going on here and yeah that deficit is bad but it would be a whole lot worse under those goddamn Democrats.

  • Not an Economist||

    Son in otherwords if they didn't protest Bush earlier enough for your tastes then they can't protest at all.

  • ||

    My problem with the Tea Party is hypocrisy. Just as with liberals who protested against Iraq and the Patriot Act who have now, mysteriously, gone silent.

    All my friends from my previous life (as a Fundamentalist Christian NutWing Conservative) never once complained about Bush. Now they are all Tea Partiers, all frothy at the mouth about "big government" and "fiscal responsibility," and they only started this several months after Obama took office. Typical Brainless Party Voter shenanigans.

  • Raston Bot||

    It was the pants wetting centrist who gave us TARP.

    Sorry, OCD kicking in.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Not this shit again...

    Why didn't MoveOn exist BEFORE it existed?

    See? Just as stupid, Paul.

  • ||

    MoveOn has always existed. It has always protested the Korean War. It continues to protest the Patriot Act, having done so for one hundred years. It will always protest the Patriot Act.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Brainless,

    No bonus points for barking platitudes about cutting spending when you still want to keep defense, medicare, and social security exactly where they are.


    Liar.

  • Ska||

    And then ask yourself why is it again that The New Yorker is known for smart, insightful writing.

    Because they don't pay for Chip Bok?

  • ||

    LUCY IS CHIP BOK!

  • Ska||

    Damn, that's foul; what did she ever do to you?

  • ||

    It's the cartoons. No one knows what they mean, so they must be smart.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Bok has Ziggy bed sheets?

  • ||

    Family Circus.

  • Ska||

    When the funniest installment of your comic is a map showing characters walking around the house, yeah, you should know that your comic licks balls.

  • romulus augustus||

    I'm certain this Hertzberg dude wrote a very favorable review of "Atlas Shrugged" and its attack on crony capitalism, and has faithfully reported the Libertarian Party's attack on crony capitalism for forty years. What, he hasn't? But I'm sure he would have had the LP just been militant.

  • Warty||

  • ||

    I have asked this question before but it needs to be asked again. Why does every boomer faux liberal douche have a beard and round glasses? Did Rand corporation make these clowns in a factory back in the day?

  • ||

    Make that "faux intellectual douche"

  • ||

    The beard thing is leftover from the '60s and '70s.

    Back then, when these guys were formulating their world views, having a beard was like a generational identifier.

    That's why everybody from the Eagles and Charlie Daniels on down had beards. That's why the people who came of age in that era still do.

  • ||

    That is a good explination. Never thought of that.

  • ||

    Back in the 70s, he ate so much pussy, his beard looked like a glazed donut. Now, it just looks like a pussy.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    A pussy after being smeared with glazed donuts?

  • Homer Simpson||

    Mmmm... pussy donuts.

  • Ska||

    I LOLed. Kudos to you, sir.

  • ||

    Willie Nelson, smeared with a glazed donut.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Well, THAT killed the mood, rac. I'm gonna be erectionless for days after that mental picture.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    And you're welcome, Ska. Another of my free public services.

    And the Tonys of the world say we're not gregarious. Why, I'd give my last pair of spats, if the donatee were worthy enough.

  • Warty||

    That's a pretty decent beard, I must admit. Too bad it's wasted on a man who doesn't even perform feats of strength.

  • Paul||

    What, did you completely miss the feat of intellectual strength?

  • ||

    What feat of strength? Walking past Jimmah with a straight face?

  • T||

    That takes some doing, especially nowadays.

  • ||

    The 70's beard in the black and white shot reminds me a lot of my dad. Only he had more hair and the big dorky glasses in the 70's.

  • ||

    But the key here Dagny, is were the frames metal or plastic big and dorky? OR were they the Malcolm X plastic metal combo. And, most importantly, were they tinted with the sexy amber brown cascade?

  • ||

    Metal, and the kind of lenses that darken in the sun but they sometimes stay a weird in-between color when you go indoors, thereby making you look even dorkier? And that's pretty much been the man's look ever since. From what I can tell, it was, as John and Ken note, pretty much de rigueur. Of all the decades to formulate your personal "style" in, dad, why did you have to pick the 70's?

  • Warty||

    When I was little, my dad had a giant beard. And he was always cutting down trees and hoisting giant things over his head and stuff, so to this day I picture him as something like this.

  • chris||

    My dad had a Burt Reynolds mustache, so I win the coolest dad, and my dad can be your dad up argument.

  • ||

    I was watching the show American Pickers on History the other night. And they met this guy in Texas who was starting a motorcycle museum. Dude had the greatest beard of all time. It was the perfect long white Santa Clause beard.

  • juris imprudent||

    I had to shave my beard off because it was getting too white and too long. Kept having people ask me how I was enjoying retirement.

  • ||

    Nor would a lineup of Republican "Presidential candidates have unanimously rejected a debate moderator’s hypothetical debt-reduction deal of ten dollars in spending cuts for every dollar in increased revenue."

    The correct analogy for raising one dollar in taxes for every ten dollars in spending cuts--is the suggestion that for every ten steps we take forward, we should shoot ourselves in the foot once.

    Raising taxes is a stupid thing to do when we're trying to claw our way back to normal after a recession.

    Just because you're doing ten smart things isn't a good reason to also do something stupid.

  • ||

    Admit it, Ken -- you just hate Mexicans and black people! And you want to keep the working man down! If not, you'd clearly be in support of raising taxes on the rich!

  • ||

    Did somebody say something?

    Sorry, I was cleaning my monocle.

  • Simple Truth||

    If it weren't for the minimum wage laws, we could hire people to polish our monocles.

  • R||

    We could hire Polish people to polish our monocles.

  • Paul||

    On NPR this morning there was a professor who was concerned that the worst thing that could happen to the planet would be for black people in Africa to start living the way we do. But there's nothing in that which is racist.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Wow... there are some stoopid people at NPR.

  • Jeffersonian||

    But they're so quaint and authentic when they're bloated and ridden with malaria and dengue fever!

  • Paul||

    Cultural!

  • Mr. FIFY||

    People at NPR are riddled with disease?

    Cool. I might actually listen to them now.

  • ||

    But when Occupiers bitch and moan about student loans and restoring the Clinton tax rates on households pulling in $250,000 (despite the fact under Bush, top income-earners paid a higher share of total income taxes), that's a stunning, outward success.

    How about adjusting spending levels to the Clinton era as well? How about pre-Clinton spending levels. You never hear one whisper about that from these OWS'ers.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Team Blue only wants to cut military spending. Which is needed, but there are hundreds of billions that can be cut elsewhere as well.

    But that would Hurt The Poor, which is akin to saying "WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN???" - there's no way to get out of that trap without looking like an uncaring asshole.

  • T||

    I'm fine with looking like an uncaring asshole, because at least the policies I advocate don't create misery. They may not do much to ameliorate it, but they don't cause it. I figure that's more caring than active destruction.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Well, nothing Team Blue does actually helps the poor... it just keeps them poor, and thus weak in mind and spirit enough to vote Team Blue.

  • Jeffersonian||

    At the STL P-D site, I constantly offer that deal to lefties shrieking about the Bush tax cuts. I haven't gotten a single one to go along yet. Not even in the hypothetical have I.

  • Old Mexican||

    And then ask yourself why is it again that The New Yorker is known for smart, insightful writing.


    Known by whom? The likes of somebody like the sockpuppet? Yeah, quite an endorsement.

  • JD the elder||

    The New Yorker is known for smart, insightful writing by the kind of people who think the kind of thing the New Yorker writes is smart and insightful.* It exists largely as a kind of intellectual self-congratulation these days.

    Maybe I was just naive as a child, but it seems like once upon a time the NYer was not so overtly political. Then there were the Dark Ages when they got political, and then there were the Really Dark Ages when virtually every single issue opened with something about George W. Bush. Things have improved ever so slightly since 2008, but I doubt they'll ever really recover.

    * The sad thing is that the NYer really does have some damn good articles at times. There was a fascinating piece on premature babies recently, and on how the science of treating neonates has improved by leaps and bounds in the last 50 years. If only they could all be that good...

  • Zeb||

    If they were nihilists, why woudl they care how much the government spends?

  • Tony||

    Because they don't.

  • Walter Sobchek||

    Say what you will about the tenets of OWS Socialism dude, at least it's an ethos.

  • Mr. FIFY||

    But Team Blue says we can just spend fictional trillions of dollars, without regard to results! It's the act itself that counts!

  • Maxxx||

    "I want free shit, gimme, Gimme, GIMME!"

    is an ethos?

  • Colin||

    I love how someone can read The New Yorker and act surprised when they say something stupid.

    What, was there no op-eds in the Times this morning?

  • Charlie||

    Bummer, I always thought Nick Nolte kicked ass, but now I find out he wrote the Carter "malaise speech." Ack!

  • juris imprudent||

    Why no love for Nick's marvelous 3 for 3 on the alt-texts? Screw Pujols!

  • B.P.||

    That last picture looks like an Orleans album cover.

  • ##||

    You're right! That guy looks like John Hall. Then again, it might be John Hall. Apparently he left music to become an activist and served as a Democratic Representative in New York.

  • The Outlier||

    Occupiers have indicated that many reporters from the main stream media, Fox News and the Wall Street Journal in particular, are showing up with the story already written. In other words, instead of letting the facts dictate the story, the desired narrative is dictating what is being reported.

    One narrative certain factions of the mainstream media are pushing hard is the Tea Party versus Occupy Wall Street. The Tea Party is protesting big government whereas OWS is protesting big money. This is a deceptive paradigm perpetuated by BIG MEDIA which elegantly serves the 1% by pitting ordinary Americans against one another. Reporting the fact that the occupiers oppose big money’s influence on our political system, or the incestuous relationship between big money and big government, does not serve the expedient narrative, so it is left out of the story. http://outlierideas.com

  • sarah Molom||

    If you US didn't spend all their money on the war, they wouldn't have to raise the debt ceiling. They either have to raise the debt ceiling or cut spending costs or China might take over. If you don't know what the US debt ceiling is, this article gives an awesome explanation on it.

    http://explainlikeakid.blogspo.....-2000.html

  • Mr. FIFY||

    Did White Idiot choose yet another screen name to post some stupid fucking link?

  • Proofer||

    that's pretty the opposite of nihilism.


    I never knew that.

  • sounds real good||

    Hm. What percent of people who take student loans actually pay them off in ten years? I'm guessing it's a minority. Right off the bat they offer a variety of graduated payment plans, consolidation loans, deferrment possibilities and most people probably go for one or another of those options.

  • sounds real good||

    Hm. What percent of people who take student loans actually pay them off in ten years? I'm guessing it's a minority. Right off the bat they offer a variety of graduated payment plans, consolidation loans, deferrment possibilities and most people probably go for one or another of those options.

  • cynical||

    The first alt-text made me laugh out loud, so thanks for that, Nick.

  • Guest||

    Isn't this laissez-faire approach exactly what we tried from 1979 to
    2007, when inequality shot through the roof, according to the CBO?

    NO! What we had is government interference into free markets and when government interferes it distorts the market and bubbles are created and popped. Take Fannie and Freddie with all their just sign here and own a home loans for instance. It created a boom as homes were in demand and put a lot of people to work building them but it was a bubble bound to pop because it was created by government forcing banks out of time tested loan standards the community organizers like Obama called racist. You know its racist for a bank to require good credit, 10-15% down and ability to pay loan with one week's pay etc...

    Many people want to blame Wall St and the removal of Glass-Steagall but the fact is if that never happened there is still a banking crisis because of sub primes loans banks were forced to come up with by government that were based on the economy.

    And another thing to consider is that if all those loans that were packed and sold were time tested loan standards before the government interfered then the Glass-Steagall thing wouldn't have mattered much because they would have been responsible loans where mortgages were paid regardless of slowing economy.

    Pols like to have it both ways. For example Democrats are demonizing banks for not making small business loans yet require banks to have more cash on hand before making them. Dodd/Frank did that and did not address the F&F problem. Another example of government interfering into free markets is the Durbin Tax banks are now charging for debit card use. Example: Walmart and banks willfully agreed that Walmart will pay pennies per purchases using debit cards so banks didn't charge you the customer to cover their processing cost. The Durbin Tax removed that and now banks have to charge you $5.00 a month for your debit card whether you use it or not to cover the cost while Dick Durbin demonizes banks for charging that fee he forced them into charging.

    Pols love to have both ways and its the same thing with the 70,000+ pages of tax code where pols are demonizing companies they tax for raising the cost of their product or service after pols raise their cost through higher taxes. Pols know those cost are always passed onto the consumer but its a win/win for them because they can then demonize the companies.

    Herman Cain's 9-9-9 plan gets rid of all those hidden taxes and loopholes within the 70,000+ pages of tax code lobbyist lobby them to change etc... and when implemented 9-9-9 will result in an economic boom with cheaper products because companies will evaluate their bottom line with the money they save and lower cost trying to steal consumers from their competition. Competition is always good for the consumer and this is exactly why big corps lobby for taxes and loopholes that'll hurt their small business counterparts and exactly the reason we need a Main St President not a Wall St POTUS like Obama has been or Romney will be.

    Basically at the root of the problem with the mortgage crisis is this noble but misguided idea that everyone deserves to own a home. Its not true! You deserve to ow a home when you can meet the free market standards for getting a loan. To pretend as pols do that banks want to loose money on their loans and need a bailout is nonsensical.

  • ||

    my co-worker's mother-in-law makes $73 every hour on the computer. She has been laid off for 5 months but last month her income was $7532 just working on the computer for a few hours. Read this site CashHard.co m

  • TallDave||

    "It has pierced the veil of silence that, for decades, has obscured"

    Yes, because before now no one ever complained about income differentials in a million articles (many in the New Yorker), or instituted a progressive tax system, or developed a massive welfare system.

    The bizarre fantasy narrative leftists have concocted for themselves is "stunning," all right.

  • ||

    He was "terrified" during the debt ceiling thing? OMG! What an idiot.

  • ||

    You should change the name of the magazine from "reason" to "Dumbass."

    As Obama and many, many other rational people have pointed out (including no less than paul Krugman) the first priority is to stop the economic disaster we are in and increase employment. This means we have to increase the federal deficit in the shorter term.

    But, Krugman and others have also pointed out that WE SHOUKD reduce the longer term fiscal budget deficits when we get over the current economic crisis.

    Only true dumbasses would argue we need to slash spending now. As is happening in Great britain and everywhere else this DUMBASS apprach has been tried (including Greece) the exact opposite of the intention occurs. Government deficits do not shrink, they go UP! That's because slashing government spending in the midst of a major economic downturn is deflationary, slams the brakes on the economy, and throws tons of people out of work. This, in turn, causes gvt. revenues to decline and deficits to go up.

    So, again, change the name of this magazine from "Reason" to "Dumbasses." You are not using reason or logic. You are being ideological dumbasses.

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