That Frothy Mixture of Statism and the Dems

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Lest you think that libertarian-bashing by the GOP makes the Dems a better bet, consider this Matthew Yglesias warning that the Republican Class of '94 was more dangerous than the anti-Christs currently in charge:

Part of that smarter, more substantive early-to-mid nineties vintage GOP was a much more robust commitment to paring back the federal government. That was more intellectually and morally honest than the racket Bush and DeLay are running, but also more objectively pernicious. They were going to shutter the Departments of Education and Energy (and, I think, another one, but it might have been Commerce which really does deserve to go) cut Medicare, reform AFDC in a much more punitive manner than was eventually achieved, etc., etc., etc. […]

[T]he bloated, corrupt Rightwingery Version 2.0 we have today is less harmful, though more disgusting, than the original item.

So, "disgusting" government corruption and bloat, and a unified government run by your political opponents, is the price you must pay for keeping the Department of Energy. Good to know.

NEXT: It Must Be The Robes

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  1. If you catch a member of the secular left in an honest mood [and sometimes that means pouring a bourbon or two down their throat] you can almost always get them to admit that they’d rather have the religious right in charge than cooperate with the secular right.

    They hate libertarians much, much more than they hate Santorum.

    Not that the secular right can say anything, since they’re certainly even more guilty. Not only would they rather have the religious right in charge than the secular left, most of them express this preference by maintaining their membership in the party of the religious right.

  2. Why does anyone take MY seriously? He’s smart, but he has all the judgment of a 24-year-old self-important over-educated twit who’s been told all his life how wonderful he is.

  3. Are you listening, Yglesias? Seems like more than one of us got tired of your high horse blathering.

  4. I’m trying to figure out how “unified government run by your opponents” has anything to do with the quote.

  5. Quote of the week Shelby.

  6. Man I hate it when my mom and my girlfriend post here.

  7. Actually this seems to fit rather nicely with many of the lefties reactions to the medical marijuana and Kelo cases. It seems pretty clear that what scares them more than any potential threats to things such as fundamental rights, the humane treatment of the sick, or the proverbial “little guy” is the downright terrifying prospect of a less powerful government. That’s why they can stomach the shit the GOP is shoveling now; they know that someday they’ll be back holding the shovel and they wouldn’t like to find themselves wanting for any shit of their own. So while they may think the GOP’s shit stinks (unlike their own of course), it’s certainly no threat to their most cherished value – government power.

  8. joe — MY is arguing that the current all-Republican government is “less harmful” than the Republican Congress when Democrat Bill Clinton was the president.

  9. No, he’s not. He doesn’t mention the president at any point in that quote. He’s comparing one Republican Congress to another Republican Congress, and doesn’t put them into the context of who held the White House at all.

    I’m going to go way out on a limb here and say that Mr. Yglesius would rather see a Democrat in the White House, regardless of what sort of Republican holds the Speakership.

  10. Yglesias is smart only in the sense that he’s a smart-ass. The prick is little more than a totalitarian wanna-be.

  11. What I appreciate about MY is that he doesn’t dissemble to score moderate points. During the election when everyone on the left was talking about how Kerry wouldn’t really act like a lefty, MY very consistently argued that he should pull out of the war, that he should seek to nationalize healthcare, that he should soak the rich, that he should increase redistribution of all forms, and so on. If you want to know what a lefty is thinking, MY is a good place to look. There is an honesty about it that I appreciate even though I disagree with almost everything he says.

  12. Color me ill-informed, but I’ve never heard of the guy before today.

    So, is his honesty a good thing, or just an indicator that he (and much of the current crop of democrats) are being driven insane on account of the GOP’s co-opting of their emotional language and pet issues?

  13. Quote Joe

    No, he’s not. He doesn’t mention the president at any point in that quote. He’s comparing one Republican Congress to another Republican Congress, and doesn’t put them into the context of who held the White House at all.

    Quote MY

    Part of that smarter, more substantive early-to-mid nineties vintage GOP was a much more robust commitment to paring back the federal government. That was more intellectually and morally honest than the racket Bush and DeLay are running, but also more objectively pernicious.

    Wow.. who knew it. Apparently Bush is both the President and a Congressman. Who’da thunk it.

    Drum and MY are talking about the GOP as a whole, not just Congress.

  14. Click on the link, Nathan. Read the whole post.

    I missed the reference to Bush, because it was tangential.

  15. Fluffy, I have to disagree. Speaking as a libertarianward-migrating leftist, I routinely entice my leftist buddies into libertarian thinking with randian social commentary. Nothing will bugeye a lefty faster than talking Santorum for Prez. To a leftist, libertarian arguments are seen as a sort of an acceptable truce “well, we get to smoke pot, but we cant progressively tax”.

  16. I did joe, and Kevin Drum’s original link. Do a quick search on the word “Congress.” You’ll find that it is contained in neither post. Its pretty damn apparent that both Drum and MY are talking about the GOP as a whole (at least at the federal level) and not just congress.

  17. For example:

    MY: …more substantive thinker than the gang that runs today’s Republican Party

    MY: Part of that smarter, more substantive early-to-mid nineties vintage GOP was a much more robust commitment to paring back the federal government.

    MY: There’s something unusually aggravating about today’s Republicans because, basically, they don’t fight fair.

    MY: But by and large the GOP won’t give it to us.

    Drum: It’s hard to believe, but the leadership of the modern Republican party is now so insane that liberal Democrats can legitimately look back and say that, by comparison, Newt wasn’t really all that bad.

    Now, how do you glean that they are talking about a Republican controlled congress, just the Republican controlled congress, and nothing but the Republican controlled congress?

  18. Well, here’s my contribution to the “what is he comparing” argument:

    He seems to be comparing the actual policy impact of the Bush Presidency to the hypothetical policy impact of a Gingrich Congress getting all it wanted.

    In other words, he does in fact seem to be saying that having Bush in total control, making war when he wants, imposing his social agenda, etc., is bad, but still preferable to Newt Gingrich getting to take an axe to those parts of the Federal government he was willing to publically admit he didn’t like.

    That’s why it’s hard to see if he’s saying that Bush’s one-party government is better or worse than what we had in the past. It’s because he’s not comparing it to what we actually HAD in the past, but to what that previous Congress could theoretically have accomplished if they had more power / time / luck, etc.

  19. I think its a lot simpler than that. Its what did the national GOP want (or at least the dominant faction want) 13 years ago vs. what the national GOP (or at least the dominant faction) wants now. 13 years ago all the national GOP had was the congress, so that was the “face of the party” and Gingrich’s wing drove the agenda. Today, its Bush.

    joe’s just blowing steam because, like most times, he opens with a flippant remark, gets called on it, then twists and turns to try to defend it.

  20. Where do they get this particularly stupid brand of liberal anyway? Is there some factory that manufactures them somewhere? (give me Alexander Cockburn over these people any day!!)

    The department of education means federal control over education (as opposed to the long standing tradition of mostly state control over education). Federal control over education means that with certain people in power things like “no child left behind” are passed with provisions that military recruiters have access to student records. Is this what the left wants?

    The department of energy meanwhile may have been started with the veneer of fine intentions but it’s actually used to subsidize almost exclusively fossil fuels and nuclear power. It’s corporate welfare of a high order. Is this what the left wants?

    Gingrich would have been worse than Bush? Hmm … maybe I better ask an Iraqi …

  21. My favorite Matthew Yglesias piece, titled “Tax Everything!”

    http://yglesias.typepad.com/matthew/2005/04/tax_everything.html

    Enjoy. It’s hilarious.

    nmg

  22. To the right, freedom means freedom of rich people to do business unfettered by progressive taxes and regulation.

    To the left, freedom means freedom not to worry about working too hard to support yourself.

    My conception of freedom is a centrist one, between the listed political poles. I think all kinds of freedoms could hypothetically exist and that there must be constant freedom v. freedom tradeoffs. I don’t think the freedom tradeoffs proposed by the left or the right are good — always too skewed. I do think there is a hierarchy of freedoms, similar to Maslow’s hierarchy of human needs. I think the rightwing conception of freedom is analogous to self-actualization, standing at the top of the pyramid. I think the leftwing freedom conception is analogous to the bottom of the pyramid: food-water-shelter. I think the more interesting and important freedoms, at least in contemporary US / Canada, lie somewhere in the middle, but get ignored because they don’t get people’s ideological fires going.

    What makes me a libertarian (assuming I am)?

    I think the government collects and spends way too much money on all kinds of things: “defense,” social spending, science research, foreign aid, you name it. I think the tax structure should be much more progressive (rich people get more out of the DoD bcs they have more property to lose), but that the federal budget should be ten times less. This is how it was for most of US history, when *businesses* (read: rich people) bore most of the tax burden, but the burden wasn’t nearly so much a burden as now.

  23. Matt –

    “To a leftist, libertarian arguments are seen as a sort of an acceptable truce “well, we get to smoke pot, but we cant progressively tax”.”

    More like the libertarians are more likely to accept compromise. The religious right don’t care what the voters want, they demand that the politicians they support advance their religious agenda even at the cost of alienating their constituents. In contrast, Grover Norquist (not my favorite guy) tries to persuade everyone, liberals included, that his ideas are right. If the liberals lose against someone like Norquist, it’s because they failed to effectively counter his ideas with their own. If they lose against Dobson, it’s because Dobson’s followers prefer blind faith over reason.

  24. Reading MY usually ends up justifying to me why gays, drug decriminalization, small business and even secularism, all needs to be thrown under the wheels of the bus just to keep guys like him out of power.

  25. is the yglesias thing schtick, i.e. he enjoys being the proverbial tarbaby everyone can throw themselves upon?

  26. Leave it to the H&R crowd to see everything as a zero-sum game. By pointing out that the current theology-driven Congress is less interested in dismantling the federal government than the Gingrich Congress was, it must mean that Mr. Yglesias likes this Congress better, period. He just seems to be observing that along this one dimension — where he disagrees fundamentally with the libertarian position — this Congress is less engaged than the one that was elected in ’94.

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