Obamacare

E.J. Dionne Discovers Strange Species That Apparently Doesn't Like Always-Expanding Government

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Washington Post columnist E.J. Dionne, who six months ago was accusing anti-Obamacare protesters of practicing "the politics of the jackboot," is now trying gamely to understand these Nazis Tea Partyers. Along the way he gives good insight into a certain liberal mindset:

The ferocity of its opposition to President Obama is mystifying to political progressives. Most of the left simply doesn't see him as especially liberal, let alone "socialist."

Obama, after all, is the man who saved the banks and the capital markets. Now the bankers are secure and most of them are still rich.

Obama is not especially liberal through these glasses

His health-care proposals stopped far short of the single-payer system that so many liberals have long sought, and his plan is the kind of thing moderate Republicans offered back when they were a significant force. Obama put absolutely no political muscle behind the progressives' backup idea: a public option that could have served as a beachhead for a single-payer system.

The president is also decidedly moderate on budget questions. His stimulus plan was, if anything, too small. […]

Why has this middle-of-the-road leader inspired such enthusiastic counter-organizing and called forth such venom?

With the question posed like that, one of Dionne's answers will not surprise you: "yes, parts of this movement do seem to be motivated by a new nativism and by racism." But then he pivots, with a sense of audible wonder, to these creatures who seem to genuinely disagree with economic interventionism:

For the anti-statists, opposing government power is a matter of principle. […]

One might have detected anti-statism sentiment *before* Obama was elected

The purest expression of this disposition has come from Rep. Ron Paul, the libertarian Republican from Texas. In 2008, Paul strenuously criticized President Bush's proposed bank bailout for "propping up a failed system so the agony lasts longer." Without a bailout, Paul conceded, "It would be a bad year. But, this way, it's going to be a bad decade."

Understanding the principled anti-government radicalism that animates this movement explains why its partisans see the conservative Bush as a sellout and the cautiously liberal Obama as a socialist.

Almost there, Dionne! Well not really, but I want to be encouraging.

In my experience, "anti-statists" didn't think Bush was a "sellout"; they never thought he was one of them to begin with. The Republican Party turned publicly and decisively against the 1994 Revolution's libertarian strains long before the 2000 election. As John McCain wrote in his memoir of the 2000 campaign,

You can't spell "anathema" without "men"

I welcomed a greater, if still limited, role for government in national problems, anathema to the "leave us alone" libertarian philosophy that dominated Republican debates in the 1990s. So did George W. Bush, I must add, who challenged libertarian orthodoxy with his appeal for a "compassionate conservatism." He based much of his more activist government philosophy in an expanded role for the federal government in education policy and in his support for contributions that small, faith-based organizations could make to the solution of social problems. I gave more attention to national service and to a bigger role for government as a restraining force on selfish interests that undermined national unity. But his positions did him much credit, as well they should have, and they do him much credit now as he uses his presidency to advance them.

The results were not only anathema to what Dionne calls "anti-government radicalism," they were an affront to the far less ambitious (and far more widespread) notion that maybe the government should limit its annual growth to the rate of inflation plus population-expansion. Instead, as Nick Gillespie wrote in his devastating obit for 43's presidency,

Turns out, increases in government spending matter

If increases in government spending matter, then Bush is worse than any president in recent history. During his first four years in office—a period during which his party controlled Congress—he added a whopping $345 billion (in constant dollars) to the federal budget. The only other presidential term that comes close? Bush's second term. As of November 2008, he had added at least an additional $287 billion on top of that (and the months since then will add significantly to the bill).

We're not talking about (shudder) closing down the Department of Education here. We're talking about maybe not increasing its budget by 80 percent in just five years. That really is how far we've allowed the goalposts to be moved. (And don't even get me started about states doubling their budgets between 2002-2007, a brazen feat of misgovernance that taxpayers are assumed to expect as a reasonable baseline from which to start weeping about "cruel" budget cuts.) Just about every government in the United States, on every level, has been going on an absolute spending bender for the last decade. Pointing this out is no act or example of "radicalism," it's Civics and Journalism 101. Or at least it oughtta be.

And yeah, some of us were saying this stuff before George W. Bush was safely term-limited. In case you've blacked that era out, here's what the leading lights of the pro-Republican commentariat were saying about government spending in the run-up to 2004 election:

How'd that work out for ya, Ramesh!

New York Times columnist David Brooks this August proclaimed Bush's presidency to be the "death of small-government conservatism." Conservative National Review writer Ramesh Ponnuru last week went so far as to call limited-government advocates "dumb" for being disappointed in Bush's big-government record.

"The dumb case against Bush regards him as having betrayed the historic Republican commitment to keep spending down from year to year," Ponnuru wrote. "This history stretches all the way back to January 1995, and all the way forward until the fall of 1996. … Much of the country likes increased federal spending just fine."

So no, Bush was no "sellout"; he was a mainstream Republican. That was the problem.

NEXT: More Vague GOP Health Care Ideas

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  1. Oh for those good old days when you could get angry over Bush increasing real spending by a “whopping $345 billion (in constant dollars)” BWAAA

    After Obama increased spending by $850 billion in one year and continued TARP (which is in the trillions), Gillespie’s outrage sounds downright comical.

    1. Ah yes, we can’t be mad at one guy without talking about the other. Ugghhhh. I hate you people.

      1. Perhaps if you could read with a little more subtlety, you wouldn’t be so angry all the time. It is not that Gillespie didn’t have a right to be angry over the Bush spending at the time. It is that the Obama spending is mindbogglingly large that it seems kind of funny to look back on the good old days when the outrage of the day was Bush’s $287 billion in extra spending.

        Do we need to start issuing cliff notes and programs?

        1. No you’re just one of the “but Obama does it tooooooooooo!” like a damn child. There are plenty of articles about Obama’s ridiculous spending; this doesn’t mean Bush shouldn’t be skewered for it, especially since he opened the floodgates.

          1. You either are smart enough to get the point or you are not. Let me give it to you again in smaller words so maybe you will understand.

            Bush spending bad and really big

            Obama spending even worse and many times as bad.

            Now here comes the hard part. So follow me. Obama’s spending is really really big. So big in fact, that we would be lucky to go back to Bush’s spending. So, that makes Gillespie’s outrage over Bush’s spending seem kind of funny now. You know screaming about $287 billion when we have trillions now.

            That it as clear as I can make it.

            1. No shit, John. This is not what we’re talking about. Welch wrote this piece and yes, he is talking about Bush’s spending, not Obama’s. I know this might be hard for you to comprehend, but we can talk about one president’s ridiculous spending without talking about the next’s multiplied-ridiculousness spending. It’s totally possible and I encourage you to try it sometime. Face it, Bush opened the flood gates to the shittiness that is Obama and Welch is calling him on it. No need to play the Team Red/Team Blue game as you always do.

              1. you really don’t get what the dude is saying? thats kind of sad. let us put it in terms of lewis black:

                “When fighting against someone who’s an asshole, you don’t win the argument by making yourself a bigger asshole–because it makes that asshole look like a mere rectum.”

                that is all the dude is saying. or if you prefer: getting upset about deficits under the Bush I looks silly in the face of Bush II deficits. happy now? you can now save face with your liberal friends and claim to have not sympathized with a republican’s joke.

          2. “No you’re just one of the “but Obama does it tooooooooooo!””

            Well I’m not. Bush sucked big on spending. Obama sucks big times 4. So that’s a sucks big total of 5. My preference would be a suck total of -10. Thank you for playing.

            1. Gobbler, did you write in the thread above? Then I’m not talking to you! Thank you for your time.

              1. I believe a Fuck You, Cunt is in order here.

                1. You’re going to make her cry

                  1. PMS,

                    I already am, hand me a tissue, won’t you?!?! ::sob::

                2. The thread was not directed to you and yet you said “Well I’m not”. Well not shit, but I am not interested in what you are or are not. This is about the game of “Obama sucks more/Bush did it too” that John and MNG are in love with. You have nothing to do with it, so kindly step the fuck out of it.

          3. Sorry, but that’s bollocks. Dionne’s supposed point is that limited government types are hypocrites or misguided b/c Bush increased the scope government. There may be plenty of other Articles about Obama’s spending, but they sure as hell weren’t written by Dionne, and he even complains that Obama hasn’t spent enough within this same article.

            As Matt pointed out, there were plenty of people nominally on the right who criticized Bush for spending from the get go, and I don’t recall W leaving office being hailed as a champion of fiscal conservatism, except perhaps by Dionne and his ilk who’d lambast him for not spending more.

            1. We’re not talking about Dionne. Try again, please.

                1. Again Gobbler, as difficult as this might be for you to understand, I am talking to John about the aforementioned Obama/Bush game. Not Dionne.

            2. Don’t blame me I voted for Keyes.

              1. Typical, vote for the black guy so you can continue on in your racist tirades.

                1. +1

                  Actually Kasich dropped out and Forbes was too much of a statist.

        2. John,

          This would be more credible if you hadn’t been a steadfast apologist for Bush’s sorry record even before Obama became President.

          Back then, you couldn’t get enough Bush.

          Had you, in fact, ever been outraged about Bush in the first place, you could then properly engage in gallows humor about how much worse Obama is now. But since you weren’t outraged about Bush, and did all you could to defend him, it’s offensive for you to try to joke about it now.

          1. In fact, I would say that the ENTIRE REASON people are mystified by the Tea Party movement is because of the existence of people like John.

            “What are they so angry about? They weren’t crashing town halls when Bush was President, so we have to assume they’re just lying about being outraged by the growth of government!”

            Maybe if you hadn’t given Bush a get out of jail free card to expand government all he wanted, people would take the Tea Party seriously when it advocates stopping the growth of government NOW.

            It’s because people think that the Tea Party is YOU, John, that everyone thinks it’s full of shit.

          2. Fluffy,

            Maybe if you would ever have listened to what I was saying you would know that the only thing I ever defended Bush on was the war. I was against the medicare entitlement and I was appalled by the stealing of the 00-06 Republican Congress. In fact, the only reason I voted for Bush to be re-elected in 2004 was because John Kerry embraced the Michael Moore wing of the Democratic Party. Had the Dems ran a pro- war candidate, I would have gladly voted against Bush. But they didn’t so I voted for Bush,

            You are mystified by people like me because you never listen and your entire political perception is governed by the war in Iraq. It is ironic in that I am the one who went to the war, but people like you are the ones who were really damaged by it. Seriously, the political disagreements on the Right were so nasty over the Iraq war that people like you ceased to be able to understand that just because people defended Bush on the war that they somehow agreed with him on everything else.

            It is really kind of sad that things have come to this. But sadly, some people are still so angry and bitter about a war that is now over they can’t even accurately perceive or understand the past. You and many like you think that anyone who supported the war automatically must have agreed with Bush on everything.

          3. Fluffy,

            Maybe if you would ever have listened to what I was saying you would know that the only thing I ever defended Bush on was the war. I was against the medicare entitlement and I was appalled by the stealing of the 00-06 Republican Congress. In fact, the only reason I voted for Bush to be re-elected in 2004 was because John Kerry embraced the Michael Moore wing of the Democratic Party. Had the Dems ran a pro- war candidate, I would have gladly voted against Bush. But they didn’t so I voted for Bush,

            You are mystified by people like me because you never listen and your entire political perception is governed by the war in Iraq. It is ironic in that I am the one who went to the war, but people like you are the ones who were really damaged by it. Seriously, the political disagreements on the Right were so nasty over the Iraq war that people like you ceased to be able to understand that just because people defended Bush on the war that they somehow agreed with him on everything else.

            It is really kind of sad that things have come to this. But sadly, some people are still so angry and bitter about a war that is now over they can’t even accurately perceive or understand the past. You and many like you think that anyone who supported the war automatically must have agreed with Bush on everything.

  2. I wonder if being as stupid as Dionne (and his fellow travelers) is actually physically painful. I guess not since they’re not doubled over in agony all the time. How do you go through life being so fundamentally unable to understand how other people think?

    1. Simple, you never interact with them. Do you really understand how the typical bushman on the Kalahari thinks? Unless you have been there or are some kind of social anthropologist probably not. Dionne and people like him, have about as much contact with people who don’t buy into the conventional liberal wisdom as you do with Kalahari bushman. He is not dumb so much as that he is a narrow minded, ignorant hick. In short, he actually is everything he stereotypes the rest of of America as being.

      1. !click !click

      2. Well, I do. I saw The Gods Must be Crazy, you see.

        1. Which did not have nearly enough tits.

          1. is there really ever enough tits?

            1. Possibly

              Slightly, but pleasantly, NSFW.

              1. That ain’t right

      3. Why are you implying that Kalahari bushmen think any differently from the rest of us, huh? Are you some kind of racist?

    2. Ask zoltan. It looks like a good source for that info.

      1. Yes, because I can understand when someone is talking about Bush and someone is talking about Obama and their bad track records for spending, I’m stupid. Both suck, Obama’s spending sucks more, we’re talking about Bush right now and how his spending also sucked.

        You are a moron.

        1. Oh, sorry! I’ll let you get back to playing traffic cop with the thread.

          1. Oh sorry, JW, I’ll let you get back to being a pussy who can’t keep up with what’s going on! Shouldn’t be difficult for you, bub.

            1. Truly, you are intellectual giant, for which few are any match for. Do go on.

              1. There seems to be some kind of misunderstanding here. What few arguments that have been made between commenter’s have been miniscule at best. Why does it seem like you’re mad at each other?

              2. No shit, that’s why I’m arguing with MNG downthread.

        2. zoltan,

          Obama sucks more than Bush ! Nyah! Nyah!

          1. Traffic Cop Zoltan: SIV, I’m going to need you step out of the car. Also, spread your legs.
            *sparks taser*

    3. I wonder if being as stupid as Dionne (and his fellow travelers) is actually physically painful.

      I’m sure it causes severe headaches to anyone who ever tries to talk to the jackass.

      -jcr

  3. And one thing about Dionne and all of his ilk in the Washington pundit class. They don’t know understand or really like the vast majority of America. Dionne would probably be more qualified to comment on an obscure tribe in equatorial Guinea than he would about most of America. At least he might give the tribe the benefit of the doubt.

  4. At least he might give the tribe the benefit of the doubt.

    As long as they’re pro-single payer, anyway.

  5. Oh yeah.

    Fuck E.J. Dionne, yo.

    1. Must…resist…urge…to…punch…EJ’s…face….

      1. Oh, go for it! C’mon! You know you want to!

  6. The ferocity of its opposition to President Obama is mystifying to political progressives. Most of the left simply doesn’t see him as especially liberal, let alone “socialist[,”] enough.

    There. Fixed.

    1. Hah, seriously.

    2. This is a problem. Do they think he is less left than Clinton?

      Just because he hasn’t been able to implement things like single payer, does not mean he is opposed to socialist policies. And by socialist, I do mean things like bailing out the banks as well, which make Bush a socialist too.

      1. I’m pretty sure bailing out finance titans is not putting the means of production in the hands of the workers.

        1. There is more than one kind of socialism.

        2. It reeks of the same kind of entitlement mentality-
          “If we don’t bail out the banks, people will lose their jobs and homes.”

        3. By the way, in a theoretical libertarian-socialist system, is participation in the socialist economy voluntary or mandatory? Because, if it is voluntary, that is the same thing as a market based economy. If it is mandatory, then that implies the presence of some kind of state which would make it not libertarian.

          1. Libertarian “socialists” are a very, very confused bunch man… Do not engage, I repeat… Do not engage!

  7. How freaking creepy is the McCain passage? What a fucking collectivist. He and Obama should take lots of pictures holding hands.

    1. “I gave more attention to national service and to a bigger role for government as a restraining force on selfish interests that undermined national unity.”

      That is what spending thirty years in Washington will do to you. Seriously, other than a basic unity of Americans not killing one another, who the hell would want “national unity”?

    2. How freaking creepy is the McCain passage?”

      About as creepy as that photo of him hugging W.

      1. Yeah did that seem odd to anyone else. I think there might be something between those two.

        1. To be fair, Bush II does have a fresh, pine scent.

  8. “We’re not talking about (shudder) closing down the Department of Education here.”

    I am.

    1. Any politician who claims to be fiscally responsible and supports spending anything on the Department of Education other than the costs of shutting it down, is not serious.

  9. For the anti-statists, opposing government power is a matter of principle.

    And a matter of ethics, morality, logic, reason, not indulging in question-begging . . .

  10. Obama, after all, is the man who savedbailed out the banks and the capital markets. Now the bankers are secureunder his grasp and most of them are still rich thanks to the money Obama took from the rest of us

    Phew! This guy needs a new editor! Fixed it.

    1. I love that Dionne seems to think that this should be a point in Obama’s favor with the tea party crowd. Shows you how thoroughly he managed to misunderstand them.

  11. I’ll pay attention to Ramesh Ponnuru when he quits huffing helium before television appearances.

    1. Fucking timbreist.

      1. I prefer a pleasing baritone. Think Lou Rawls.

        1. I missed all of his political show appearances. It’s sad to have been born decades too late.

        2. You’ll never find….

          1. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz…

      2. Heeey noooow…it’s alright. Just lie back and…let me make loooove to you with my voice.

  12. I have certainly reconsidered some of my libertarian beliefs – and I am willing to concede that because the real world is a messy place, they often do not produce results that the theory suggests, because people are able to hide, obfuscate, and deflect the decisions they made, and do not want a fair and impartial allocation based on merit, a libertarian theory has quite a bit of naive idealism in it.
    HOWEVER, what is soooo annoying about the Dionnes is the total obliviousness to facts such as:
    1 single regulator for only 2 entities – fannie and freddie, that couldn’t regulate them effectively.
    The SEC, OFHEO, FHFA, HUD, Sarbanes-Oxley, and in general a never ending slew of laws and regulations that not only did not stop the financial crisis, but abetted, hid, and rationalized it (bonds have to be rated by only three rating agencies).
    Yet despite this overwhelming evidence of the failure of the regulatory process, a belief in more regulation!

    1. That’s what mystifies me. Where does our government, which has been an abject failure at ever social program it has tried, continue to get credibility? People continue to believe that there was just some sort of implementation or funding problem the last 20 times, but complete disaster is no reason to not try again. Is this some sort of mental block or an actual disease?

      1. Strangely, this exact question was addressed by 70s pop band, Ambrosia:

        Make a wish, baby.
        Well, and I will make it come true.
        Make a list, baby
        Of the things I’ll do for you.
        Ain’t no risk, now,
        In lettin’ my love rain down on you.
        So we could wash away the past,
        So that we may start anew.

      2. Doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results is insanity — paraphrased by Albert Einstein

        For some reason, many leftists I know (I live in Austin, which is unfortunately being overrun by Californians and UT grads) is that they actually think those programs work for the majority of people. It’s a sad logic fail.

        1. Just think of it as a game preserve for liberals.

          1. Well, most everyone here still likes their guns, unless they’re in the hands of cops.

    2. Re: Fresno dan,

      […]and I am willing to concede that because the real world is a messy place, they often [libertarian principles] do not produce results that the theory suggests, because people are able to hide, obfuscate, and deflect the decisions they made, and do not want a fair and impartial allocation based on merit

      Allocation is NOT based on merit, it is based on property rights (exchange of titles, contracts) and market price.

      a libertarian theory has quite a bit of naive idealism in it.

      Not ONE libertarian has said that libertarianism would work because people are angels. What libertarian philosophers argue is that, all other things being equal, the fact that people seek to maximize their utility preclude them from rent-seeking or thievery: You cannot maximize your utility if everyone else stops interacting with you for being a thief.

      1. Not ONE libertarian has said that libertarianism would work because people are angels. What libertarian philosophers argue is that, all other things being equal, the fact that people seek to maximize their utility preclude them from rent-seeking or thievery: You cannot maximize your utility if everyone else stops interacting with you for being a thief.

        Do you mean libertarianism works if every acts like a rational economics professor instead of an “angel”.

        Not holding my breath for that.

        1. You don’t need to hold your breath for it, it happens every single day… The problem for you, it would seem is that you’re confusing “rational” with “behaving like I would”.

          You see sir, everyone values different things… So when you behave in a manner that you believe will support your values and short/long-term goals, you will act a certain way… However, since I don’t share your goals or values, I will act a different way to achieve what I want in life.

          Everyone does this all day, every day. Sometimes it’s very simple (I walk to the fridge or go to the store when I’m hungry, for instance). Some is complicated (buying that “perfect” gift for the lady friend or wife because 6 months from now, on her birthday, she will love it and it will make her feel awesome which will, in turn, strengthen your relationship with a person who is of high value to you).

          But outside of totally insane cases, people are rarely actually “irrational” – by which I mean, people rarely act knowingly, or purposefully in contradiction to their actual values.

          People make mistakes in logic or have limited knowledge – sure… So? I might have limited knowledge of a product, or my future wants or needs, but at least I generally know what my goals are – so i’m in a position to correct course if things aren’t working right.

          A government official planning for 300,000,000 people is overwriting their values with his own and suffers from the same limited knowledge I have a billion times over.

          As for rent seeking – that’s also perfectly rational because it is, in the current environment, by far the easiest way to achieve many goals as a business owner or individual.

          Say I want to buy a house but can’t afford it… With that special $8,000 subsidy though… Man, I can handle that down payment! Hooray… So I buy the house. Maximized my value there… Just, at your expense, sucker.

  13. I gave more attention to national service and to a bigger role for government as a restraining force on selfish interests that undermined national unity.

    That sentence is packed with enough fail to render it incomprehensible. Every time I read it, fresh new facets of its idiocy are revealed. It’s the Oracle of Retard.

    1. It’s like you just know that sentence is going to hug you really, really hard.

    2. Oh, it’s comprehensible … and reprehensible.

      And makes me wonder if McCain would have been any better than Obama.

      Glad I didn’t sully my name by voting for either of them.

      1. Did you vote for Barr? My conscience still rests comfortably with that.

          1. Me three

            1. Yep, Babar.

        1. I still vomit a bit when I recall I also voted for Root as VP at the same time.

          1. Here’s a small white pill to help you out with that J.

          2. I voted for Bush in 88. Compared to that, voting for Root doesnt even make me queasy.

  14. It’s like you just know that sentence is going to hug you really, really hard.

    “I’m thinking you had a pet bunny, but not anymore.”

  15. Mr. Dionne looks like Alan Alda after drinking another bottle of Smug Douche.

    1. I snorted at this – thank you

  16. My girlfriend’s family views me as somekind of exotic creature for being (gasp) anti-government. My “radical” idea that not every human activity requires a county clerk’s or federal bureaucrat’s oversight gives them a tingle of danger. They tease me and call me an “anarchist” — I call them fascist bootheels.”

    Oh how we laugh.

    1. Boy, I really envy those family get-togethers…

    2. The saddest thing about the nanny state is the way it infantilizes its subjects.

      -jcr

  17. I do tire of liberals acting like they cannot fathom the opposition to the Obama agenda. For Pete’s sake read something outside of your ideological comfort zone (this applies to everyone of course). And the charges that the level of vehemence directed at Obama simply MUST have to do with racism are ignorant both historically (certainly they can remember the acrimony directed at Clinton and Bush) and philosophically (if you are against government programs Obama is indeed trying to enact several new large programs).

    1. Wow – you managed to use 84 words to say exactly NOTHING.

      1. That time of the month OM? I realize your mind set rarely rises above a Pavlovian level, but I imagine you agree with my statement above don’t you?

        1. I confess – I was teasing you, MNG. Your comment was thoughtfull and intelligent. I guess you enjoy your Luberty!

        2. “I have a terminal degree for each of you!”

      2. Cut MNG some slack–he did a pretty good impression of someone who not totally sucking Obama’s ass.

        1. Nor would I bow to his hat nailed to a pole. Yep, I am a rebel.

          1. What does that mean?

            1. Obama = Gessler.

      3. Actually, I thought that was fairly intelligent and sensible, my usual disagreements with MNG aside.

        1. As did I. MNG may be an unapologetic leftist, but he is not an idiot. Nor does he always tow the party lion.

          1. Yeah MNG is not Chony

            1. Agreed – MNG is not your run of the mill fruitcake.

        2. Oh, it was. I was just teasing him to get him started. And then the fun began!

  18. Mr. Dionne looks like Alan Alda after drinking another bottle of Smug Douche.

    And several thousand hot dogs. That’s a gut-cut jacket.

  19. The fact that lefties don’t see creeping government control of the banking sector, with more on the way, all under the rubric of “too big to fail” as a fundamentally social-collectivist change, says worlds about their lack of comprehension.

    1. No, dude, it’s all about capitalism and the hyper-deregulated totally unfettered free markets! That’s the ideology that gave us the bailouts!

  20. RC
    Yeah, I’m afraid I don’t lose too much sleep over “creeping government control of the banking sector.”

    Won’t somebody think of the poor banks!

    1. What about the poor bank customers? The poor bank investors? The poor bank employees (other than those being protected by their Washington cronies)?

      1. The poor bank customers who won’t be hit with as bad fees and such? Oh the inhumanity!

        1. No just inflation, not so bad.

          ::yawns, sips brandy::

        2. Less access to credit. Inflation. Fees in different forms. Reduced consumer protection because the regulators are more in bed with the industry than ever. Et cetera.

    2. It ain’t the effing bankers we’re worried about, MNG. It’s the bit about allowing the government that kind of control over our ability to get credit to buy things we want or need.

      1. Yeah, because before these proposals you, prolefeed, were so empowered and unfettered in your ability to get credit…

        1. Actually, we were.

          People who approached their finances with intelligence and good planning benefited a great deal from credit products that are now simply GONE as the result of regulation, such as 0% balance transfer credit card offers.

        2. I like how the basic premise behind what MNG is saying is that you should not object to any policy that does not affect you directly, and especially not the ones that will negatively impact the objects of today’s two-minute hate.

    3. No someone think of the poor taxpayers who will be robbed for generations so that AIG and by extension Goldman Sachs executives don’t have to face the horror of being ordinary millionaires.

      1. Both those executives had dreams! They wants to be extraordinary!!

    4. Why am I unsurprised that MNG is not worried by increasing government control of fundamental institutions in our economy? And that he fails to see the inevitable pernicious effects therefrom? Or even that it wires in future mega-bailouts?

  21. My dogs have a better chance of “understanding the principled anti-government radicalism” than EJ Dionne. For one thing, they have actual examples they can observe.

  22. “I call them fascist bootheels.””

    Just curious, do anarchists get to call minarchist “fascist bootheels?” Is that within the rules? The logic seems to be there. Anyone who believes in an iota more government than you can be a “fascist bootheel” (though “slaver” would be even better imho).

    1. Re: MNG,

      Just curious, do anarchists get to call minarchist “fascist bootheels?”

      What’s there to stop them? No, really – what’s there to stop anarchist from calling minarchists: “fascist bootheels”?

      1. It’s OK if you didn’t get it OM.

        1. Re: MNG,

          There’s nothing to “get”, MNG, because you are not arguing, merely asking a question. I am ALSO making a valid question: What’s there to STOP them from calling minarchists whatever?

          1. It’s OK if you still don’t get it OM.

            1. So you don’t know either? Figures.

              That’s what happens when you talk out of your own ass, MNG . . .

              1. OM, you’re a third rate thinker (which should make you stop and question the confidence in which you spout your nonsense).

                That post is obviously (to non-retards) making fun of the propensity of many libertarians to put everyone who believes in an iota more government than they do into the same hyperbolic category. The joke is that by that logic the minarchist is a “slaver” to the anarchist, it is supposed to show the absurdity of that type of thinking. Your childishly literalistic mind (common attribute of the right btw) latched onto the word “rule” and rode that horse like John Wayne (OMG, what rule is he talking about? Who’s enforcing the rule?).

                Pathetic.

                1. Re: MNG,

                  That post is obviously (to non-retards) making fun of the propensity of many libertarians to put everyone who believes in an iota more government than they do into the same hyperbolic category.

                  Granted – what’s to stop them? It’s a simple question, MNG.

                  The third-rate thinker resides elsewhere . . .

                2. Just as a general rule of thumb, if you have to explain your joke it probably wasn’t funny in the first place.

            2. What T said. It wasn’t funny. Except to the third-rate thinkers.

            3. And I *did* get it, and you have a valid point. The problem is that you’re doing the equivalent right now by saying that Obama is to the right of the left – what’s to stop you from saying that?

    2. Is that within the rules?

      If by rules, you mean the First Amendment, sure it is.

      Though even a near anarcho-capitalist like me thinks we should distinguish between various levels of statist beliefs.

      1. It’s OK if you didn’t get it either prole.

        1. Maybe it just wasn’t funny.

    3. If you raed the exchanges I’ve had with libertymike, you’d know the answer is yes.

    4. Anyone who believes in an iota more government than you can be a “fascist bootheel” (though “slaver” would be even better imho).

      This would make more sense if there were, in fact, large numbers of people occupying positions on a spectrum of opinion where views about the proper role of government were measured out in “iotas”.

      But there aren’t. Generally, people fall into buckets. There aren’t a lot of people who believe in “one iota” of government more than me, for example. There are people who basically agree with me, and people who believe in a WHOLE LOT MORE government.

    5. This minarchist says FUCK OFF SLAVER.

  23. “The ferocity of its opposition to President Obama is mystifying to political progressives. Most of the left simply doesn’t see him as especially liberal, let alone “socialist. Obama, after all, is the man who saved the banks and the capital markets. Now the bankers are secure and most of them are still rich.”

    Is anyone else completely baffled by this line? Obama bailing out the banks makes him not “socialist”??? Makes him “capitalist”??? Does it makes any sense to anyone that the Obama bailouts are some sort of example of his capitalist/free market leanings? When people say capitalist aren’t they also referring to free markets as in “free market capitalism”? How does one conflate the transfer of wealth from some people to others by the government with capitalism?

    1. But dwcarkuff, when you say “saved” it’s like you’re helping the icky bankers without all that lovey-dovey government stuff. It’s totally capitalist and not socialist at all.

    2. Banking = capitalism to a lot of lefties. Automatic. If it involves a bank, it’s “capitalism”. Even when the gov’t does it.

      Saves a lot of messy thinking and stuff like that.

  24. That kind of stuff makes perfect sense to me. As a liberal I can tell you that pretty much every liberal thinks Obama is quite moderate. sometimes maddingly so.

    They see it the same way that its common for people to say “FDR saved capitalism.” The idea is that totally free markets will undercut themselves so badly and frequently that people will demand something very socialist, and that by propping up major market actors during times of seeming failure FDR/Obama has “saved capitalism.” That’s the idea.

    It looks like E.J. isn’t the only one ignorant of ideologies he doesn’t share…

    1. Re: MNG,

      As a liberal I can tell you that pretty much every liberal thinks Obama is quite moderate. sometimes maddingly so.

      You mean, he’s not being socialist enough for you?

      They see it the same way that its common for people to say “FDR saved capitalism.” The idea is that totally free markets will undercut themselves so badly and frequently that people will demand something very socialist, and that by propping up major market actors during times of seeming failure FDR/Obama has “saved capitalism.” That’s the idea.

      That idea should tell you readily that any person that espouses it is a fool. Would you agree?

      1. MNG — I understand the mindset. I have plenty of liberal or even socialist friends. I just don’t, you know, AGREE with such stupidity and doublethink.

        FDR / Obama “saving capitalism” = “we had to destroy the village to save it”

        1. Well, since libertarians go on and on about how “we never had REAL capitalism” that village never existed to be destroyed prole…

          It has to do with recognizing degrees, which is very, very hard with fanatics I agree. There are proposals much more “socialist” or whatever than Obama’s proposals. But you know fanatics think: every restriction on luberty is SLAVERY, so there are no degrees, yada yada etc.,

          1. I would say we have had lots of “real capitalism”. And that real capitalism has made us the wealthiest people in history. The fact that we have never had “pure capitalism” just means that we are not as rich as we could be. We don’t need pure capitalism to get rich. Just a lot of it. And the less we have the worse we are off in the long run. Socialism is a luxury afforded to us by the success of the capitalism we do have. No capitalism, no money to waste on dumb ass socialist policies.

            1. So John, would you be willing to say that there should be a correlation between our propserity and the level of “pure capitalism” we have, that is, the lower the governmental regulation the greater the prosperity should be? That’s at least in theory falsifiable-unlike the many here who blame any dent in propserity on the lack of “true capitalism”. But it doesn’t seem empirically true of course.

              1. See the standard of living of Columbia versus the standard in Venezuela. Venezuela should be much richer but isn’t thanks to socialism. See the US standard of living versus Sweden. Sweden should be richer. It is socialist paradise after all. Yet, Mississippi has a higher per capita income. Further, go to Europe sometime and get away from the tourist areas and meat some real Europeans. See how they live in real terms (how big of a car they have, how big their apartment is, how many things they own and so fourth) compared to Americans of similar status. You will find Americans live much better.

                Taken to its extreme, compare the standard of living in Capitalist Hong Kong to say very socialist and controlled Mexico. Seventy years ago, Mexico was a rock filled with penny-less refugees. It has no natural resources to speak of and is the most densely populated place on earth. It should be a third world nightmare. But, it did have capitalism. And that is what matters. Sadly, places like Mexico and Venezuela are inflicted with socialism and are much poorer for it.

                1. Not Mexico but Hong Kong was an overpopulated rock.

                2. I think you meant Hong Kong was a rock filled with penny-less refugees, right? Not Mexico which has natural resources. Just wanna be clear.

                3. I’d like to “meat” the Swedish bikini team. Just joking – I constantly misspell and leave out words and such, but when I saw “meat some real Europeans” it made me laugh thinking of how my friends and I used to make up porno movie titles. I wanted to make a movie and call it “Meat Saint Louis”.

                  1. Here’s a perfect example. I meant “Meat me in Saint Louis”.

              2. Compare north and south Korea, east and west Germany, China, Russia and India before and after their insane central-planning policies…

                -jcr

          2. Re: MNG,

            Well, since libertarians go on and on about how “we never had REAL capitalism”[…]

            No, that’s not true – libertarians have stated that we do not have a true free market. Capitalism is simply using your property to produce things, and that we have.

            But you know fanatics think: every restriction on luberty is SLAVERY, so there are no degrees, yada yada etc.,

            But it IS true: Any restriction imposed from above that precludes me from eating at Luby’s is an affront to my Luberty!

            1. I would think eating at Luby’s is an affront to your dignity and your taste buds.

              1. Re: T,

                I would think eating at Luby’s is an affront to your dignity and your taste buds.

                Oh, indeed! I just don’t want anybody telling me that I cannot have Luberty. Especially MNG.

            2. Dear God OM did not get the “luberty” thing.

              It’s like some sort of intellectual homor autism with this guy…

              1. Sourpuss!

          3. Not every restriction on liberty is slavery, just at the level you propose.

          4. Our economic system may never have been a purely free market, but there were times when there was more freedom present. There are also presently areas of the market that are relatively free. When the market is allowed to function on its own, it works just fine. Statist intervention seems to correlate with higher prices, scarcity, and less efficiency. It is blatantly obvious in the health industry, energy, and the various asset bubbles throughout history.

            1. But at least we have Luberty.

            2. This is a very good point – and one I try to make fairly regularly…

              No, the entire market isn’t remotely free – but some industries are more free than others, and some levels of markets are more free than others.

              The cool thing about markets is that they do an overwhelmingly good job… I think I’m paraphrasing Milton Friedman here but it’s a good thing that markets are so much better at providing for the needs of ordinary people than any kind of government schemes because the bias against them is so ridiculously immense.

              And before people jump on this and suggest that the bias is warranted… It’s not. It’s really just a representation of people being short-sighted. We’re sort of conditioned to believe that planning must be top-down and without that, nothing works right. But of course, that isn’t true and if people stop to think about it, they realize that. The bias is pretty much pure conditioning and fear of letting up the illusion of control.

              At any rate… There’s no reason to look at the totality of any market without considering the parts that make it up and both the parts which are free and the parts which *aren’t* free work exactly as expected… By me at least.

    2. They see it the same way that its common for people to say “FDR saved capitalism.” The idea is that totally free markets will undercut themselves so badly and frequently that people will demand something very socialist

      It’s a common viewpoint but one not remotely supported by the historical evidence. The nineteenth century had panics and crises, and so did the twentieth. The one question that we haven’t answered yet is whether deferring the costs of the panics with bailouts, bank deposit insurance, and amped up government borrowing is truly a long-term solution or simply a way of postponing the day of reckoning and turning it from a crisis into a calamity.

      1. Yes there were these periodic panics and crises. Every time more and more people said capitalism was “broke.” After the one in the late 1920’s several nations scuttled any pretense towards capitalism (Nazi Germany for example). People were calling for scuttling it here too, but FDR moderated such calls by appeasing people with certain programs.

        Many people here were terrified we would have a 1917 like event. FDR and the New Deal undercut those calls with middle ground proposals. Capitalism survived. For his efforts he gets villified for “killing capitalism.”

        1. Actually they didn’t just _say_ capitalism was broke, they started breaking it themselves with various interventionist measures, in particular the creation of the Federal Reserve. When that yielded the worst economic crisis in the country’s history, they blamed, of course, what remained of capitalism, and not the new interventions.

          Again, we have yet to see whether what “survived” FDR was capitalism or an unstable public/private mix which just amounts to kicking the crisis can down the road a couple of decades.

        2. Besides that, to truly precipitate a 1917 event it probably would have been necessary for the economy to continue downward, but it was already recovering before he took office, having defaulted bad debts and liquidated unsound investments from the prior boom.

      2. The banks before the Fed had the same bad habit of issuing more currency than they could make good on. The effect of the Fed is to make those cycles bigger and longer.

        -jcr

    3. They see it the same way that its common for people to say “FDR saved capitalism.” The idea is that totally free markets will undercut themselves so badly and frequently that people will demand something very socialist, and that by propping up major market actors during times of seeming failure FDR/Obama has “saved capitalism.” That’s the idea.

      You could just as intelligibly say that Yeltsin and Gorbachev “saved socialism”.

      Since you can save something by turning it into its opposite.

      We’re all familiar with the argument, MNG. We just think it’s stupid. In addition to being a definitional nightmare.

  25. It’s just obvious that Obama is to the right of many on the left. I mean, take any issue, take health care. The actual left wanted single payer. How do you not know this?

    1. Good to know your speak for them all, MNG.

      1. It has nothing to do with me speaking for them. It has to do with, I don’t know, actually being familiar with what is called the left rather than thinking Hannity and Limbaugh have told one all one needs to know about that movement. It’s the same mistake Dionne makes regarding libertarians. Any person who can’t see that Obama is not pushing for what “the left” would push for is either ignorant of the left or Obama or both.

        1. So when Hannity and Limbaugh accused the left of being socialists because they all want single payer they were wrong?

          1. The left wants single payer. Obama wants something between that and some “market based solution.” On this and pretty much every issue Obama is to the right of the left. It’s just facts.

            1. So Obama would veto single payer if one passed Congress? Surely you are not stupid enough or think we are stupid enough to believe that.

              And all you can do is yell “single payer”. The only reason he didn’t advocate single payer is that he knew it would be dead on arrival even in the Pelosi Reid congress.

              Beyond that, name one economic policy he is truly centrist on? Like I said below, what short of nationalization of all private property would cause you to say he was liberal?

              1. Yes John there is no room between “nationalization of all private property” and Obama’s proposals…Jesus Christ!

                1. Then elucidate on that room. Name five things on economic policy that Obama could do that would make the Left happy? Five things he is not doing now but should be doing in the Left view. Leave terror policy out of it for the moment and just talk about economics. Unless and until you can name those things, you claim that Obama is a moderate is completely specious.

                  1. Jesus, that is so easy.

                    Let’s begin. Living wage movement. Ever heard of it?

                    1. Again, it is your opinion that Obama would veto living wage if it came to his desk? I don’t think so. Just because Congress won’t go for it, doesn’t mean Obama doesn’t want it. Further Obama has been along supporter of increasing the minimum wage which is the same thing as living wage.

                      Try again.

                    2. More progressive tax code (raising taxes more than he proposes on the wealthy).

                      Come on, do I really have to go on, this is easy. Just face it, you’re as ignorant of the left as Dionne is of the Tea Party or you are just as simplyfing as he is of ideological positions outside of his/your knowledge.

                  2. “Five things he is not doing now but should be doing in the Left view.”

                    Gotcha dude. Here it is in print, you wanted things he is NOT doing but SHOULD BE DOING IN THE LEFT VIEW.

                    And I name two. He’s certainly NOT doing them right now, is he? The Left would certainly like to see him doing them, wouldn’t they? And all you can come up with, like OM, is that you know what he “really, secretly” WOULD do if he thought he could. But even there you’re wrong, and it’s all there in plain English dude…

                    1. You’re wrong in the sense that what a person IS doing and what he “really, secretly” WOULD do if he thought he could are two distinct things.

                      You’re probably wrong about whether he “really, secretly” would do these things too, but, like most of your beliefs and assertions, it’s a pointless unfalsifiable one we should’nt waste time on.

                    2. You still haven’t given me my five. All you can come up with is living wage and taxes. On living wage, he is actively trying to raise the minimum wage. On taxes, he is actively trying to raise taxes on those making over $250K and has said he is “agnostic” about raising taxes on everyone else. Jesus how much do liberals actually want to raise taxes?

                      And even if I give you those two (which I don’t), you still have three to go. I know it is hard because liberals really don’t have any kind of coherent thoughts on economic policy beyond steal as much as possible for their interests. But surely there is something you can think of.

                    3. Single payer. Free school lunch program for all public school students (this has become big on the left lately). Larger stimulus (yes, most on the left called for much, much larger stimulus packages). Ending welfare reform.

                      All of these are well known to the left, to those to whom the left is well known. Again, you are as ignorant of the American left as Dionne is of Tea Partiers. Face it.

                    4. And this doesn’t even start with social policy where the left and Obama part (repealing DOMA, gun control, etc).

                      You’re living in a Hannity constructed world. How sad.

                    5. The four I just mentioned were advocated in major WaPo opinion pieces in the last two weeks btw.

                      You just are clueless about the left John. It’s a bogeyman that exists in your head and lives under your bed…

                    6. Free school lunches? You are fucking kidding? That is all the Left has? And spending more is matter of degree not actual disagreements over principle. And Gun Control is pretty much unconstitutional. So they might as well scream for a pony.

                      If that is the best you can do, the Left is amazingly pathetic. We are in the worst recession in 70 years and the big idea is to have free school lunches for everyone. You are joking right?

            2. So Hannity and Limbaugh are correct and familiar about what they tell people about the left, according to you.

            3. Re: MNG,

              The left wants single payer. Obama wants something between that and some “market based solution.” On this and pretty much every issue Obama is to the right of the left. It’s just facts.

              Well, a guy I knew wanted a prostitute to do some really kinky shit. The prostitute was not so willing so they compromised on a middle ground. That does not mean the woman stopped being a prostitute – she simply became a compromiser.

              Same with Obama . . .

              1. Wow, that analogy is both inapt and irrelevant at the same time!

                1. I honestly don’t understand what John thinks he’s arguing with you about, here.

                  OBVIOUSLY from the perspective of libertarians EVERYONE is a liberal. So in that sense, yes, Obama is a liberal. But in THAT sense, Bush was a liberal, too.

                  We need some way to distinguish among the various collectivist scum we oppose, guys, and that means we need to be prepared to draw what might appear to us to be petty distinctions among our adversaries.

                  Actual progressives bitch every day about Obama being a corporatist sellout. And you can’t just go by your guesses about what theoretical legislation he might sign if it magically appeared on his desk. It’s a matter of the positions he actively fights for.

                  1. “But in THAT sense, Bush was a liberal, too.”

                    Well Bush was a liberal in many ways. He was really much more like Johnson than he ever was like Reagan. Bush is a no kidding help the poor do gooder. There is nothing conservative about No Child Left Behind or the Prescription Drug benefit or nation building in Iraq for that matter. The fact that liberals hated him so much and loved Bill Clinton who signed welfare reform and NAFTA just shows that liberals are about power rather than ideals.

                    As far as the debate at hand, MNG says that Obama is not a liberal. I ask MNG what exactly should Obama be doing to make liberals happy. And his answer is raise taxes more, go for single payer, mandate a living wage, and give free school lunches for all. My response is that he is raising the hell out of taxes. Would have pushed for single payer if it had any chance of passing so he instead went for as close as he could get, and is actively trying to raise the minimum wage. That may not be everything, but it is pretty close. Domestically at least, it is hard to imagine anything that is remotely politically possible that would satisfy the left. Since the Left can never be satisfied, the fact that they are dissatisfied with Obama is really no evidence that Obama isn’t a very left wing President.

                    That is what I am arguing.

                  2. We need some way to distinguish among the various collectivist scum we oppose

                    Do we? Why?

                2. Re: MNG,

                  Wow, that analogy is both inapt and irrelevant at the same time!

                  Yet here you are saying Obama is not a socialist because he has not given you government paid healthcare. That only means he compromised, not that he stopped being a whore.

                  1. As I pointed out below, Reagan never did deliver to conservatives on his promises to close the Departments of Education and Energy. By MNG’s logic that makes him a liberal.

                    1. Re: John,

                      But that fact still would not stop MNG from calling Reagan a “conservative.”

                      It’s only when HIS guy fails that he becomes chauvinistic about his positions: “Well, he’s not a real socialist.”

                    2. Yeah,

                      Reagan was a conservative and did believe in small government. But he was President not king. Tip O’Neil and company won elections to.

            4. Obama wants single payer, its just not going to happen. Just because he can’t implement socialist policies, does not mean he is not a socialist.

        1. Oh goody, Gobby has joined us (fresh from his daily crying fit over his mother’s whorish ways I’m guessing). Let the intellectual conversation begin!

          1. Yes, let it begin, as you certainly haven’t started it.

    2. What has he done that is so right? TARP? Most Republicans and indeed every committed free market Republican I know is appalled by TARP. So, I don’t see how that is right in any meaningful sense of the word.

      Obamacare? Since when is mandating everyone buy insurance and fining them and jailing them if they don’t “free market”?

      The stimulus? Most of that money went to prop up state and local government budgets to keep government bureaucrats at work. Again, I am not seeing that as moderate.

      Seriously, short of nationalizing all property and locking people up who dissent what the fuck could Obama have actually done that would cause the people on the left to either be satisfied or gasp think he might be out of control?

      You are right. Most liberals think Obama is a moderate. And that says everything about what crazy fucks they are and nothing about Obama or his actual actions in office.

    3. Re: MNG,

      It’s just obvious that Obama is to the right of many on the left.

      That’s what happens when politicians that seem pure in their principles get into power.

      I mean, take any issue, take health care. The actual left wanted single payer.

      I also did not receive everything I asked Santa for. That does not mean Santa stopped being jolly.

      1. Oh I see, you know what he “really, secretly” wants. All the ACTUAL positions and policies he’s pushing for he’s just trying to get some of what he “really, secretly” wants.

        WTF?

        1. MNG, who are you replying to?

            1. Regarding what? The retort makes no sense.

              Let me see:

              “That’s what happens when politicians that seem pure in their principles get into power.”

              “Oh I see, you know what he “really, secretly” wants. ”

              No, it does not fit.

              How about:

              “I also did not receive everything I asked Santa for. That does not mean Santa stopped being jolly.”

              “Oh I see, you know what he “really, secretly” wants.”

              Nope. Looks like a non sequitur. Help me out here, MNG.

              1. Your (tired, unfalsifiable) argument is that Obama can be criticized for positions which he hasn’t even taken or pushed for because you know he “really, secretly” would push for them, he just doens’t because he thinks they won’t pass. Otherwise your Santa remark is even more senseless than usual.

                1. Re: MNG,

                  Oh, I am not saying I *know* what Obama is thinking. I simply heard and read his rethoric and it sounded pretty socialist to me – in the same way Santa’s laughter tells me he is jolly, no matter how many presents I got for Christmas.

        2. There’s no secret, everyone knows Obama’s positions, more or less.

    4. Obama has said several times on camera that he wants a single payer system too. It’s the moderate democrats in Congress who killed that, you freaking dumbass.

    5. It’s just obvious that Obama is to the right of many on the left. I mean, take any issue, take health care. The actual left wanted single payer.

      So does Obama. It was the damn voters who put a stop to it, not Barack.

      1. He could have pushed for single payer. He didn’t. That right there made the left mad. If you had any clue about what goes on in the left you would know that.

        1. He could have pushed for single payer.

          Sure, if he had wanted to take another 20% off his approval rating, I guess.

    6. “The actual left”

      Is that like OJ’s “real killers”?

      1. Who killed OJ?

      2. +1

  26. The actual left wanted single payer.

    So the Democrats in Congress who killed single-payer aren’t members of the “actual left”? How do you classify them on the political spectrum?

    What you call the “actual left” I would characterize as the “far left”.

    1. Well see here, prolefeed, MNG says he’s familiar with the actual left as opposed to what Hannity and Limbaugh are familiar with.

      And MNG knows the actual left wants single payer.

      And Hannity and Limbaugh call the left socialist because they want a socialist single payer system.

      So–the left wants single payer?

    2. prole
      Er, you do realize that Democrat does not equal liberal, right? The Democratic party has always been fairly regionally defined.

      See, this is the lack of nuanced thought I’m talking about. If you learn about the world from O’Reilly then Democrat=liberal. That’s the kind os stupid statement that no one with an actual knowledge of actual politics in this nation would say.

      Hell Republicans, who are a more unified party, do not equal conservative (Olympia Snow, conservative?).

      1. So these Democrats are not “members of the actual left”? Because that’s what prolefeed is calling them, not liberal. You seem to be confused.

        Democrats and other people of this country who veer left and who do not want single-payer are not part of the actual left? Are they not liberal?

        Or are there, gasp, whole blocks of the “actual left” that don’t want a gargantuan government-run health care system? You don’t seem to know your own kind, MNG.

        1. You’re accidently stumbling onto my point here: left-right is a continuum along which people fall. Democrats fall all over this continuum and to a lesser degree so do Repblicans, as my joke (which flew like an F-16 over the right-leaning libertarians heads above) demonstrated the same is true for “libertarians.” Hence it is EASY to see why Obama is seen as “moderate” to many on the left. It’s just a fact that many of his positions and policies are to the right of what many prominent leftist advocate.

          1. I think this is largely correct. Liberals haven’t gotten anything they’ve wanted out of this president. Not single-payer, not public option, not bank reform, not civil rights reform.

            1. That just makes Obama a failure even by his own terms. It doesn’t make him a centrist. Reagan never did succeed in getting rid of the Departments of Education and Energy. But that doesn’t make him a liberal.

  27. Any person who can’t see that Obama is not pushing for what “the left” would push for is either ignorant of the left or Obama or both.

    Obama wants single-payer, and would surely sign such legislation if it got to his desk.

    It’s just that all those “non-leftist” Democrats, who realized this was even more politically suicidal than the radical and unworkable changes they favored, cut it out of the legislation.

  28. Unionized Rhode Island Teachers Refuse To Work 25 Minutes More Per Day, So Town Fires All Of Them

    http://www.businessinsider.com…..hem-2010-2

    1. Awesome!

      1. As a Labor Relations guy, that RI supt is my hero. Como estas, bitches? Ha!

    2. Someone posted this in the morning links thread, I think, freaking awesome!

  29. Yaaaaaaaaaaawn. Shit – I’ve wasted minutes of my life reading MNG’s tripe. More self-discipline next time…

    1. Sorry to put sand in your vagine Allie.

  30. Oh lord. Where you been, MNG? And how soon can you go back there?

  31. The energy crisis of 1973 was the impetus for President Carter to propose creation of the DOE and the enabling legislation was passed and signed into law on August 4, 1977. The DOE began operations on October 1, 1977.

    On its website, this department lists all its awards and achievements but the fact is that hundreds of billions later with a budget of $24.2 billion a year, 16,000 federal employees and approximately 10,000 contract employees, we are no closer to being independent of foreign oil. That’s how a bureaucracy operates ? it produces nothing except a mechanism to drain money from taxpayers. Now the banking, healthcare and auto industry are scheduled for the same ‘fix.” Heaven help us!

  32. If Scott Brown had lost, does anyone think al these morons would be at DEFCON 5 about the Tea Partiers? They would still be calling them powerless hillbillies.

  33. If increases in government spending matter, then Bush is worse than any president in recent history. During his first four years in office?a period during which his party controlled Congress?he added a whopping $345 billion (in constant dollars) to the federal budget.

    Bush cut taxes. In the grand scheme of things cutting taxes expands the liberty of the individual. There is an argument that expanding spending limits individual liberty but it is a far weaker argument.

    The liberty gained from Bush’s tax cuts far outstripped any liberty lost to his increased spending.

    I would prefer tax cuts AND spending cuts but gun to my head, have to choose only one, as a lover of liberty my choice would be tax cuts.

    1. The increased spending is worse for liberty because it has to be paid back, with interest.

      1. You are conflating the liberty of government with the liberty of an individual.

        You have every right to hold the liberty of government above or equal to the liberty of the individual….but do not confuse such a political stance as a libertarian one.

        1. The government is going to have to get that money from individuals, corning.

          Therefore, anyone who grows spending is increasing the burden on individuals. They might be deferring that burden to future individuals, but they’re growing it nonetheless. They’re just too cowardly to try to collect the burden they’re imposing directly and in real time.

          1. The government is going to have to get that money from individuals, corning.

            Why? They have never paid for it before. In fact the only poeple who have paid for it are those who do not know how to wedge against inflation.

            Therefore, anyone who grows spending is increasing the burden on individuals. They might be deferring that burden to future individuals, but they’re growing it nonetheless. They’re just too cowardly to try to collect the burden they’re imposing directly and in real time.

            No they don’t. Government can and has simply inflated the dollar so the debt owed is small and in fact the government has never payed it back anyway. Why would the future be any different?

            And don’t get into inflation as anti-liberty. Individuals have every opportunity in the universe to escape inflation.

            I agree spending should be curtailed but my argument and in fact your argument is not a libertarian argument but simply a sound financial argument. My anti-tax liberty argument is one of liberty not a way to protect your stock market and bond investments.

            1. “In fact the only poeple who have paid for it are those who do not know how to wedge against inflation.”

              I’m going to assume you meant “hedge” and go from there…

              Guess what man… That’s just about everyone on the planet.

              I have a a little money set aside to hedge against inflation, but I – like I would presume the vast majority of people in the US and on the planet – can’t really allocate very much money towards those kinds of ends because I simply don’t have it.

              It’s all great to say that I “know” how to hedge against inflation (I do), but if you don’t actually have the capital to implement such a hedge then it really doesn’t matter much, does it?

              As it stands, I work in an extremely competitive market (entertainment) where work is incredibly scarce (way to go California!) and wages are on a steady decline (witness the free market for talent/services in action baby!).

              As the price of goods goes up, and my wages are going down, exactly how am I not going to be footing the bill for all of this mess?

              Now, I am pretty good at what I do, and in the long run I’ll have figured out enough ways to make it work that I may be ok. But there are hundreds of millions, and possibly billions of people who are in a much worse position than I am and who’s living paycheck to paycheck will be stuck paying for all of this shit through inflation and higher future taxes.

              Many fewer people than you seem to think will be hosed on inflation.

  34. I’m still trying to figure out what everyone is so het up about with MNG. Obama is not a radical far-leftist; he’s a liberal. You can read what actual radical far-leftists think. Try counterpunch.org. He is not doing what they want. I don’t understand why you guys are rolling on the floor, frothing at the mouth.

    1. Libertarian philosophy can’t seem to recognize nuance or scale. It’s simply too inflexible and fragile, so centrist moves by the president are viewed as acts of utmost evil.

      1. Obama is left wing because his policies are left of the what the voting public wants.

        You cannot take the most extreme left wing view and then a less extreme left wing view and then call the middle between them “centrist”

        Right now, for all intensive purposes, centrist is 2 centimeters to the left of the middle of the republican party. To deny that is folly, and to think Obama is sitting at that political position is stupidity.

        1. The problem with your argument is your assumption that to be on “the left” is to be extreme, and to be on “the right” is to be near the center.

          1. Look at the poll numbers then get back to me.

            The center is not defined by some arbitrary unknown political meter floating around in your head. The center is the average of the sum of the political beliefs of the general voting public.

            The political center of the voting public is 2 centimeters to the left of the middle of the republican party. If you do not believe me then this November it will be fun watching you be proven dead wrong.

      2. Re: Trueofvoice,

        Libertarian philosophy can’t seem to recognizereconcile with nuance or scale unprincipled positions. It’s simply too inflexible and fragileprincipled to be pragmatic, so centrist moves by the president are viewed as acts of utmost evil political whoring.

        There. Fixed it. It’s on the house.

        1. so centrist moves by the president are viewed as acts of whoring.

          Pretty much the only real point to be found here.

          Obama is a socialist second and a politician first. His move to the right is proof that he is pragmatic and not proof that he is a centrist.

          It is not as if he started out where he is now on health care. I have seen plenty of videos of him calling for a single payer government run health care system before he won the presidency.

          Note: I do not think Obama is as pragmatic as Clinton was, and unlike Matt i think Obama will break if he bends to far away from his socialist ideology.
          Clinton was a polished politician. While Obama is a polished socialist politician.

    2. So everything is just fine and dandy with the Obama Administration! Nothing to see here, folks. Just a routine, American Adminstration going about the business of the American public. Why can’t you see that? Why do you have to be so negative all of the time? You are alive and breathing, aren’t you?

      1. Now you’re just being silly.

        1. No, it fits Dionne and probably you to a ‘T’. If you are wasting time quibbling about how Obama is viewed along an hypothetical political spectrum than you are blind to the abnormality of how the political culture has been shaped starting around two weeks before TARP. Noticed how the meme ‘too big to fail’ entered the common lexicon and spread like wild fire, yet never received even a minute of opposition debate inside the Washington beltway? Sure the first vote did not go their way, but it was more than a little funny how a Congressman for whom I once interned and once respected turned his vote around on a dime.
          I have no patience for you suckers who can’t see the forest for the trees.

  35. Wow, that mug shot of Ramesh Ponnuru is not so easy on the eyes. I never trust ugly people. Some may be the most sound minded individuals you would ever meet, and have come to terms with or really don’t give a shit about outward appearances. If you are one of those types, I apologize for my prejudice.

    But then you have the Ramesh Ponnurus of the world, who are clearly railing against the rest of us in an attempt to cause as much harm to the human race as possible. If I was born with that face I would be advocating nuclear war with Iran and budget policies that harm several generations down the road too. Or, I would be an emasculated whelp voicing my support for my sisters of ugly on Feministing if I were the left wing bent of ugly.

    Don’t Trust The Uglies.

  36. Where Obama falls on the left-right scale depends on who you’re asking and who you’re comparing him to.

    I prefer to compare people’s views to the range that exists in the modern democratic world.

    That means the Democratic party is on average a center-right party, and the GOP has become far right. The Dems have one socialist in Congress and a lot of blue dogs. The GOP has basically been taken over by nationalism and religious fundamentalism.

    Whatever Obama’s personal beliefs, he is taking a pragmatic approach in dealing with what is a center-right Congress, even though it’s majority Dem. As Obama himself put it, if you define everything he wants as evil socialism, it’s kinda hard to sell bipartisanship to constituents you’ve scared to death. That doesn’t stop his accusers of whining out of their other face about a lack of bipartisanship.

    1. Re: Tony,

      That means the Democratic party is on average a center-right party, and the GOP has become far right.

      I agree with you. Also, they are BOTH on the LOWER scale of liberty, right there where it says “Statism”.

      Which means: I don’t care if one is on the “right” or the other is on the “left”: both parties are populated by spineless thieves.

    2. I would agree. When we look at the political systems of the western world, I think it becomes clear that the U.S. is anomalous in just how far we have drifted to the right. Here, Hillary Clinton is a crazed Bolshevik; anywhere else, she’s considered a center-right politician. Too many of us refuse to question our preconceptions, adopting hyper-polarized positions and accusing anyone who disagrees of plotting to destroy the country.

      1. Re: Trueofvoice,

        When we look at the political systems of the western world, I think it becomes clear that the U.S. is anomalous in just how far we have drifted to the right.

        That would surprise me, seeing how meaningless these “left-right” terms have become. There can only be two types of people: Non-Statists, and Thieves with No Character.

        1. That’s because you have an unusually strict binary view of the world.

          1. Re: Tony,

            That’s because you have an unusually strict binary view of the world.

            You mean more or less unusual than labeling people “left” or “right”?

            1. We’ve been talking about a spectrum.

              You, however, consistently show a tendency to classify people as either statist thievers or freedom lovers, and you have a really bad habit of equating uncertainty with zero knowledge.

              1. Re: Tony,

                We’ve been talking about a spectrum.

                You obfuscate through the use of the term “spectrum”. There’s a difference.

                You, however, consistently show a tendency to classify people as either statist thievers or freedom lovers, and you have a really bad habit of equating uncertainty with zero knowledge.

                That last you will have to prove or explain, since it looks like innuendo. The first part is correct – if a person justifies the State, then he is justifing thievery, for that is what the State does.

    3. I prefer to compare people’s views to the range that exists in the modern democratic world.

      I would like to name this the tony fallacy. He confuses the status quo of past leftist victories and policies that linger with the political temperature of global democracies. The fact is the center of the 1930s to say the 1970s was far to the left of the popular center now. But yet we still have leftist programs which are so entrenched that they can’t be removed easily.

      The political center was between nazi germany/soviet union and the USA. Now it is between India and China.

    4. Where Obama falls on the left-right scale depends on who you’re asking and who you’re comparing him to.

      It’s also irrelevant, because the “left-right scale” is a shell game. The only scale that matters is the freedom-despotism scale.

      -jcr

  37. And on racism: Yes, the accusation has been leveled too often, but there has to be an explanation for why there are practically zero tea partiers of color, if it’s all just about ideas.

    1. So I guess racism explains the complete lack of colored people (your term not mine) at the yearly KOS convention?

      1. “Colored people” and “people of color” are not equivalent terms. But you probably don’t know that because you don’t see color and the only racism that exists is when minorities are racist against white people.

        But perhaps the same explanation can be found for why both tea parties and KOS conventions are predominantly white males: that’s the demographic, for whatever reason, that dominates the online community.

        Of course, you won’t find anyone carrying racist signs at KOS.

        1. No minorities at the KOS convention. The most liberal communities in America (Cambridge, San Fran, Berkley, Madison, Burlington) all have few if any minorities. But it is all about demographics. Yeah, the demographic that far left liberals are almost always white and upper middle class.

    2. but there has to be an explanation for why there are practically zero tea partiers of color

      Tony really is an idiot.

    3. there has to be an explanation for why there are practically zero tea partiers of color

      The explanation is that your claim is bullshit. I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt and presume that you actually believed it, more’s the pity.

      Try going to a tea party yourself, instead of just watching the media coverage that carefully edits out any footage that doesn’t fit the script.

      Remember Kenneth Gladney, that guy who got beaten up by SEIU goons for selling Gasden flags? He was black. The goons were yelling “nigger” at him while they were beating on him.

      -jcr

      1. Man, I’m really rather uncomfortable with this whole line of discussion as – quite uncynically – I don’t see it as remotely relevant.

        But for the record, I just ran audio for an LA based libertarian event and there were people of all different ethnicities there… I really don’t see the relevance though.

        For what it’s worth, Tony – minority racism against white people isn’t the “only” racism, by any means… It’s just fairly common and glossed over.

        Of course, I’m more than a little amused/dismayed by all kinds of non-traditional racisms. Koreans vs. Chinese vs. Vietnamese vs. Taiwanese vs. Japanese vs. Malay for instance… or black Africans vs. DARKER black Africans…

        It’s all bizarre as far as I’m concerned.

  38. Where Obama falls on the left-right scale depends on who you’re asking and who you’re comparing him to.

    It also depends on whether or not you’re dumb and binary enough to believe that political philosophies can be meaningfully mapped onto a single-line scale like that to begin with.

    1. Very true. Further there is always someone out there crazier and farther out than you. Just because Bill Ayers and Katrina Vaden Heuvel and all the other red diaper babies are disappointed in your Presidency does not make you a centrist.

      1. What would make him a “centrist”?

        Please, share.

        1. He would be a centrist if he had written his own stimulus package rather than letting Pelosi and Reid do it. He would have built a bi-partisan package that included real tax relief like a tax holiday along with infrastructure spending that would have please liberals. But he would have told the liberals no to propping up state and local government budgets.

          He would be a centrist if he would have included interstate insurance competition and real tort reform along with an expansion of MSAs in Obamacare.

          He would be a centrist if the spending in the stimulus would a have been a one time emergency spending rather than a permanent raise to the domestic spending baseline.

          He would be a centrist if he would have repealed the awful bankruptcy reform bill as a price for continuing TARP.

          He would be a centrist if he would spend any political capital and make any effort towards new free trade agreements and more open international markets.

          He would be a centrist if he would shelve Cap and Trade and EPA regulation of CO2 until the economy turned around.

          Those things would go a long way.

          1. In other words, he’d be a centrist if he became a Republican. Hey John, maybe you’re the radical, ever think of that?

            He would be a centrist if he had written his own stimulus package rather than letting Pelosi and Reid do it.

            So not only does he have to become a Republican, but he has to abolish the separation of powers too?

            1. Tony. You are so stupid. He could have taken the lead and drafted the stimulus with a bi-partisan group in Congress.

              Further, there is nothing “Republican or conservative” about spending stimulus money on infrastructure programs. Moreover, being a “centrist” means actually taking ideas from the other side and using them. That is why it is “center” and not “left”.

              1. If that’s your definition of centrist then Obama is a centrist. The healthcare bills already have most of what Republicans want. The problem is the Republicans exaggerating everything he does. The healthcare bills do not approach anything like a “government takeover of healthcare.” They are centrist bills by any definition, and Obama has been steadfast in his refusal to cheer lead for more liberal reforms.

                He’s bent over backward to accommodate Republicans. The Senate bill was delayed interminably to try to get GOP support, which now most everyone views as a big fast waste of time.

                It’s not Obama or the Dems who are being exclusionary. It’s the party that calls everything they do a radical socialist plot that is hindering bipartisanship. As I said, that doesn’t stop them whining about it, but Frank Luntz is a genius.

                1. No. The didn’t bend over backwards for anything. If they had included Tort Reform they might have had a shot of getting a Republican vote or two.

                  But more importantly, they didn’t get any Republican votes because Obamacare is a terrible program that few in the country want. If the thing were popular, Republicans would have had to vote for it. But since most people hate it, Republicans have no downside to objecting to it.

                  The entire concept of doing health care reform during the worst recession in 70 years, shows how amazingly out of touch liberals are. It was never about the country or what anyone wanted or needed. It was always about “historic” and giving liberals their wet dream of health care reform.

                  Further, take healthcare out of it. If Obama had been totally left on healthcare but pushed for something not left, like real tax cuts or free trade, he might be able to call himself a centrist. But he is willing to do none of those things. And will thus end up a failure as a President.

                2. Re: Tony,

                  They are centrist bills by any definition, and Obama has been steadfast in his refusal to cheer lead for more liberal reforms.

                  Well, that only means he compromised. Like I said to MNG, that does not mean he stops being a whore just because he’s not willing to do the really kinky stuff.

                  It’s the party that calls everything they do a radical socialist plot that is hindering bipartisanship.

                  That’s an interesting notion – why would one need “bipartisanship” when you control both houses and the executive? It should have been a slam dunk for the Pharaoh.

              2. The health care bill includes interstate competition. The stimulus included nearly $350 billion in tax cuts. The president has agreed to no new middle-class tax hikes. These are all things the right has championed.

                1. The President campaigned on not taxing anyone making $250K a year. He now says he is willing to do just that. And the tax cuts that were included in the stimulus bill were just disguised giveaways to Dem constituencies, bullshit theft programs like “green energy” and other such nonsense. Nothing that would actually do anything to help the economy.

                  1. ARRA included tax credits for businesses hiring new employees, expanded time for small businesses to carry operating losses, new homebuyer credit, tax credits for college, and a reduction in the AMT.

                    1. Re: Trueofvoice,

                      ARRA included tax credits for businesses hiring new employees, expanded time for small businesses to carry operating losses, new homebuyer credit, tax credits for college, and a reduction in the AMT.

                      Most of this is meaningless from an economics standpoint. The idea of giving a credit for new hires (which amount to $5,000.00 per new hire) indicates that the people who proposed it have NO idea of the economics of hiring: you do not hire a person because you get a bonus, you hire him because you expect him or her to bring in more productivity than the cost of the hire, which extends all through the period the person is working. The New Homebuyer credit is a boondoggle meant to prop up house prices under the hypothesis that what the market needs is more people getting into debt. The same with the “tax credits” for college. All of this is nothing more than fluff coming from Economics ignoramuses.

                    2. Oh, and when I say “Economics Ignoramuses”, I invariably mean “Socialists”, of any ilk.

                    3. New homebuyer credit: here we go again.

                      Tax credit games actually piss me off more than if they would just tax everything evenly.

        2. And how about ending TARP altogether? That is something both real liberals and free market conservatives actually agree on.

  39. The anti-Obama craziness isn’t that different from the anti-Clinton craziness. The problem with Obama isn’t that he’s half black. The problem is that he’s a Democrat.

    1. That’s true, but there certainly is a different tone to the anti-Obama craziness. Nobody questioned Clinton’s citizenship.

      1. Re: Tony,

        That’s true, but there certainly is a different tone to the anti-Obama craziness. Nobody questioned Clinton’s citizenship.

        Well, now you got me thinking – should Clinton’s citizenship be questioned?

        I mean, he is a guy cursed with a face of a gringo and a heavy Ar-kan-sah accent . . . Hmmm, I smell some funny business here!

      2. No Tony. They never questioned Clinton’s citizenship. They just said his wife murdered Vince Foster and he was involved with drug dealers in Mena Arkansas.

        If anything, people are being very easy on Obama compared to how they were with Clinton or any other President for that matter.

        1. It’s only the beginning of his second year. The accusations have been pretty wild to date.

          1. Re: Tony,

            It’s only the beginning of his second year.

            Yes – judging by the first, the prospect of what a second year will look like is pretty scary.

    2. The anti-Obama craziness isn’t that different from the anti-Clinton craziness. The problem with Obama isn’t that he’s half black. The problem is that he’s a Democrat victim of The Peter Principle.

      FIFY

  40. Clinton was accused of being a serial killer, among other things. If anything, the crazies are going easy on Obama. It’s the honeymoon period.

    1. Clinton was accused of being a serial killer, among other things.

      Well, he was accused of being a serial sex harasser . . .

      Oh, that one turned out to be true.

  41. I’m baffled that you people are arguing over where the location of the center as if “centrism” was necessarily good in and of itself.

    1. The President by necessity must be somewhat centrist. One of the things that the failure of the Obama Presidency shows is that a President just can’t tell the 40+% of the country that didn’t vote for him to fuck off “I won”. He can’t use even a large Congressional majority to shove unpopular programs down the country’s throat. You do have to at least try to work with the other side. The successful Presidents have all done so. The narrow minded ideological ones haven’t and have generally failed.

      1. Obama has been adamant about including ideological foes in the discussion, more so than any other politician I can think of.

        The problem is his ideological foes are absolute in their opposition to anything he does. Not out of principle, of course, but because they want him to fail.

        1. No Tony, they are just pleasing their constituencies who hate his policies. All of this policies, the stimulus, cap and trade, Obamacare, poll about as well as child pornography.

          If Obama had any popular ideas, he would get what he wanted.

          1. Healthcare reform in general was very popular at one time. The specifics elements of it are still. I’m sure Republicans screeching about “government takeover of healthcare” and “death panels” has nothing to do with the decline in popularity.

            If the policies weren’t popular then he wouldn’t have been elected, since they are the policies he campaigned on. What’s driven poll numbers down is process. Obama hasn’t gotten what he wants from Congress because Congress insists on being a bought-and-paid-for pork machine who can’t so much as name a post office without consulting K Street. This is what is pissing a lot of people off. Believe it or not, most people in this country don’t think like you do, no matter what whichever rightwing talking head tells you (I know, you have never heard of any of them).

            1. Re: Tony,

              If the policies weren’t popular then he wouldn’t have been elected, since they are the policies he campaigned on.

              He wasn’t elected because of those policies, he was elected because the people were angry at Bush. In the US, people mostly vote against someone, not so much for someone, with the exception of ideologues.

            2. If the policies weren’t popular then he wouldn’t have been elected, since they are the policies he campaigned on

              He won the nomination because he’s not Hillary Clinton. He won the election because the Republicans knew that whoever they nominated this time was going to end up on a milk carton next to Walter Mondale, so they picked an expendable candidate to run against him.

              -jcr

              1. Hey now… Let’s not forget how pretty he is!

                By politician standards, Obama is HOTT… And he reads other people’s speeches well. Those two things alone were almost enough for me to call an Obama presidential victory as early as October 2006. True story.

        2. Obama has been adamant about including ideological foes in the discussion,

          Bullshit. He’s tossed a few bones to the other wing of the Ruling Party. They’re all owned by the same people.

          -jcr

  42. Kindly ignore the extra “where” in my previous post.

  43. I gave more attention to national service and to a bigger role for government as a restraining force on selfish interests that undermined national unity.

    If this is McCain the Republican, I’d really hate to see McCain the Communist.

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