Whither the "Pocketbook Conservatives"?


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Former GOP congressional bigwig Dick Armey, now the maximum leader at Freedom Works lays into his former party in the WSJ. His concern is for "pocketbook conservatives," fiscally prudent types who are "suspicious of big government promises and irresponsible spending," Armey writes:

The pocketbook conservative is up for grabs once again. Since 2002, federal spending has increased by 47%, earmarking abuse is rampant, and the new Medicare prescription-drug benefit has created $18.2 trillion in new unfunded liabilities on future taxpayers. And while GDP growth has been good and unemployment remains low, there are a number of American households who have seen their real income remain flat for the past five years. These families feel the brunt of the softening housing market, higher energy prices and rising health-care costs. They feel less secure about their retirement, knowing that they can no longer depend on empty government promises.

Whole thing here.

NEXT: Reason is, and ought only to be, the slave of the passions

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  1. I suspect, much like the South Park conservatives, that you could get all the pocketbook conservatives in one place and they wouldn’t fill a single megachurch. Small gubmint is dead.

  2. I suspect, based on anecdotal observations, that Brian is off in his estimates by an extremely large factor.

    However, I’d wager that the number of “Pocketbook” conservatives and “South Park” conservatives that ACTUALLY VOTE is probably close to Brian’s estimate.

    Small government IS dead.

  3. I’m up for grabs again? Politics definitely makes me feel like I need body armor.

  4. trillion? TRILLION?!

  5. Before I can make any insightful comments about this post, I need an explanation for the Tinky Winky picture.

  6. Well, that looks like a red pocketbook.

  7. “The pocketbook conservative is up for grabs once again.”

    Allow me to suggest to Mr. Armey that the word, “grabs,” should be replaced with the words, “having their genitalia probed.”
    Unfortunately that’s the only way to keep anyone awake (Reasonoids excepted, naturally) for the rest of his well-reasoned thoughts.

  8. Say it ain’t so, Brian. Say it ain’t so. But I fear it is.

  9. Before I can make any insightful comments about this post, I need an explanation for the Tinky Winky picture.
    was dick army one of those loons who tried to outlaw telatubies becoseu of they promoted alternaitive life styles???

    i don’t know so this is only a guess.

  10. One problem with the arguement is that the people who are most stalled out economically are those at the median income level, which is about $45,000 per household. Since people, particularly families, at that income level pay virtually no federal income taxes, it is hard for me to believe that they are whipped up over federal spending, etc.

  11. I think small government is dead because there is a very small number of people intelligent enough (or unrealistic enough) to support financially and vote for someone who promises to do less.

    The overwhelming majority of voters want the person who will use the government to do more. The only question is which candidate/party will do more for me vs. which will help out others at my expense.

    Given this climate no candidate with a hope of winning can promise “I will do less for you (and thus to you) than my opponent.”

  12. No longer depend on Government promises? Who in the hell ever thought they would keep a promise to begin with.

    Its pretty much a guarantee that if its promised they will do the complete opposite of whatever it was they promised.

    I believe we were promised Social Security reform last election. Lets see we now have Stronger Steroid testing in Baseball and more erosion of our rights in the name of terror. Not two months after the last election Frist was saying that SS reform was to sensitive and issue with such important elections in 2 years.

    Considering they have elections every 2 years someplace the only people that issue doesn’t seem to concern are the people wanting to be re-elected. With that logic nothing will ever be done about anything.

    Granted I don’t think the monkeys that fucked everything up to begin with have a clue how to fix it now but they will damn sure make everyone think they do, if its an election year anyway.

  13. A tangential but interesting article.


    In many of these countries, presidential campaigns have turned into social movements that have continued after the elections, with peasant marches in Ecuador and Bolivia, enormous rallies in urban Mexico, factory takeovers in Argentina, and mobilization in the slums of Venezuela, revved up by weekly presidential addresses. The battle cry that unites these movements is a call to end the so-called Washington Consensus, with its commitment to markets as the arbiters of economic activity. The new regimes are riding a wave of discontent directed against the market, but are they simply reverting to the past practices against which the Washington Consensus was a reaction? Or are they creating something new that might temper or replace market mechanisms? And if they are innovating, what are the new institutions and how are they likely to evolve?

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