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David Brooks Gives Newt Gingrich the Kiss of Death

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Too clownish for David Brooks! Also, I'm either going to run this photo every day until we get to 500 donors, or I'm *not* going to run ever again until we get 500 donors. EITHER WAY, MONEY-MONEY-MONEY!

The National Greatness Progressive Conservative damns Newt, both intentionally and un:

Of all the major Republicans, the one who comes closest to my worldview is Newt Gingrich. Despite his erratically shifting views and odd phases, he continually returns to this core political refrain: He talks about using government in energetic but limited ways to increase growth, dynamism and social mobility.

As he said in 2007, "It's not a point of view libertarians would embrace, but I am more in the Alexander Hamilton-Teddy Roosevelt tradition of conservatism. I recognize that there are times when you need government to help spur private enterprise and economic development." […]

His 1984 book, "Window of Opportunity," is a broadside against what he calls the "laissez-faire" conservatism — the idea that government should just get out of the way so the market can flourish. As he wrote, "The opportunity society calls not for a laissez-faire society in which the economic world is a neutral jungle of purely random individual behavior, but for forceful government intervention on behalf of growth and opportunity."

But Brooks isn't backing him, because of unsuitable temperament, and because "Gingrich loves government more than I do." (Ouch!)

[H]e would severely damage conservatism and the Republican Party if nominated. He would severely damage the Hamilton-Theodore Roosevelt strain in American life.

Wow, that's the first convincing argument in favor of Gingrich I've heard….

Speaking of Alexander Hamilton, Walter Russell Mead had a pretty interesting piece the other day (with much discussion of Ron Paul) making the case that America has had too much Hamilton and not enough Jefferson for far too long. Sample:

That which killed him made him stronger

[T]he Hamiltonian-social democratic synthesis of the twentieth century is not adequate for the times in which we live.  Corporatism has bred the kind of cronyism and corruption Jeffersonians have always feared.  The alliance of the wealthy and the elite with strong state power is creating class divisions and class conflict.  The remoteness of the federal government from popular control (to be one of 300 million citizens is to have no effective control over the governing power) threatens to hollow out Americans' sense of self reliance and independence while keeping most people at a great remove from any real exercise of political power.

Some of the problems we face are due to essential defects in Hamiltonianism, against which a Jeffersonian revival is our only safety.  The unchecked Hamiltonian ascendancy of the twentieth century has led to a lopsided America.  A revival of the Jeffersonian element in American political thought and practice is essential to our national health.

Whole thing, worth a read, here.

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  1. Really, Brooks might’ve just handed Newt the nomination.

    Now if Newt could just get Frum, KP, and Gerson to attack him, he’d be a shoo-in.

  2. Brooks is a reasonable, thoughtful Republican who knows that government is not the all-terrible boogeyman some purport it to be. No wonder libertarians hate him.

      1. That’s lame, anon. If you’re going to call Tony names you have to do better than that.

        1. Fanny Bandit.

    1. But he’s attacking Newt from the right, i.e. “Gingrich loves government more than I do.”

    2. No, government is not the all-terrible bogeyman. It’s just mostly terrible.

  3. Talking about a Hamilton/Jefferson spectrum is about as timely as talking about the four humors that determine our bodily health. Our contemporary political and economic arrangements have little connection to the tidy mechanisms Alexander Hamilton set up for late 18th Century America.

    1. I have a friend that every time we discuss politics it ends up in a federalist (him) v anti-federalist (me) argument.

      We are both more comfortable in an 18th century framework.

    2. Our contemporary political and economic arrangements have little connection to the tidy mechanisms Alexander Hamilton set up for late 18th Century America.

      I disagree. The debates between fundamental views and the core principles upon which they are based – i.e., the proper scope of government power and role of federal versus state governments – has not changed.

      I’ll have to dig out a few key quotes, but in reading Ron Chernow’s biography of Washington, he heavily quotes Washington’s writings and those of his contemporaries, including Adams, Jefferson, Madison and Hamilton. Several of the quotes really struck me, because they easily could apply directly to the political debate ongoing today – including even the OWS crowd.

      1. Political tags ? such as royalist, communist, democrat, populist, fascist, liberal, conservative, and so forth ? are never basic criteria. The human race divides politically into those who want people to be controlled and those who have no such desire. The former are idealists acting from highest motives for the greatest good of the greatest number. The latter are surly curmudgeons, suspicious and lacking in altruism. But they are more comfortable neighbors than the other sort.

        Robert Heinlein

      2. Hamilton of course had no principles, only ambitions. He was power-hungry little shyster.

        -jcr

  4. ” a laissez-faire society in which the economic world is a neutral jungle of purely random individual behavior”

    So without government intervention all human behavior is random… Got it newt.

    How fucking oblivious are these people?

    1. … the economic world is a neutral jungle of purely random individual behavior…

      That is pretty fucking retarded. It is not random individual behavior. It is coordinated behavior on behalf of buyers and sellers for their mutual benefit. Random individual behavior in the market will be punished by the market. Example: Listing a used 2002 Toyota Corolla for $40,000. The individual seller acted randomly by not looking at the price signals, and instead set the price to be far out of line with other 2002 Corollas. Does Newt think the Corolla will sell for that price?

      How markets really work: A buyer for a 2002 Corolla likes the one offered for $40,000. Recognizing that the price is out of whack, offers the seller $6500. The buyer shows the seller the Kelley Blue Book value (sharing market information), and a deal is made. This market transaction didn’t need a third party (Newt’s brilliant mind) to dictate terms, or conditions. The random behavior was turned into an orderly sale between two people for their mutual benefit. I’m sure Newt, self-proclaimed as a smart guy, can understand this simple illustration.

      Newt Gingrich is a carbuncle on the ass of America.

  5. will repeat again:

    Hamilton — America’s Founding Statist

    1. Will echo again:

      You be right.

  6. “The remoteness of the federal government from popular control (to be one of 300 million citizens is to have no effective control over the governing power) threatens to hollow out Americans’ sense of self reliance and independence while keeping most people at a great remove from any real exercise of political power”

    I have used this effectively with liberals to convince (if temporarily) them that power has to be devolved from DC back to state and local govt.
    Locally, liberals used write-in votes to elect a school board member and came close in several other races. This would rarely happen in a congressional race. It’s to our advantage as liberals, conservatives, and libertarians to take power away from the federal level.

    1. As have I, specifically those who argue that pot ought to be legalized, or that the federal government should have no say over state laws governing med pot.

      But try and stretch the same exact reasoning to something separate, and they’re all “BUT WE NEED A STRONG CENTRAL GOVERNMENT” again.

      Statists of all political flavors have the same problem: they want government for everyone else, not themselves.

  7. Okay, I’m making a pledge. Perhaps others will join me. $25 to Reason if the alt-text “Newt is short for Newcular Titties” is used in a Newt-related post.

    1. In lieu of the $25, how about a robust “atta boy”?

      1. Whatever you can afford to promote an important idea.

        1. I’m in.

    2. I’m in. Haven’t donated yet, but I will if they will put that alt-text onto the picture above.

      C’mon, Matt MONEY-MONEY-MONEY Welch. Do it!

      1. Yes, that’s true, that picture would work. Otherwise, we’ll need to be directly informed later on when the appropriate alt-text is used.

    3. I already gave $20, but I’ll throw in another $5 or $25, depending on how awsomely it’s pulled off.

    4. Will someone please explain the origin of this meme?

      Don’t get me wrong–I think it’s funny as fuck…but I kinda don’t get where it comes from.

      1. It’s nothing very exciting. Out of nowhere one day, I thought that Newt being short for Newton was bland and boring. So I thought, “What else could Newt be short for?” The “t” became “Titties” just because, and, in a moment of inspiration, “New” became “Newcular.”

        I think capitol l in that very thread sent a request to the campaign asking that he officially change his name (he could still go by Newt, but it would be short for Newcular Titties). I think I said I’d vote for Gingrich if he did that.

  8. Why couldn’t Hamilton and Burr had that duel a couple decades earlier. Sometime before 1787 preferably.

  9. I really don’t like Gingrich or Romney. Looks like I’ll be voting for Jack Daniels yet again.

  10. Whatever. Brooks is still in love with Obama’s pantleg.

    1. It’s so creasy! Sigh…

  11. Rather than Hamilton or Jefferson, I think we should really look to Madison. He was as principled as Jefferson but without the superiority complex and was somewhat grounded in reality.

    1. Didnt he have a bit of short man’s syndrome though?

      1. From what I’ve read, possibly so.

  12. America has had too much Hamilton and not enough Jefferson for far too long.

    I shit you not, I had this very thought just the other night.

    I’m reading Ron Chernow’s biography of George Washington (a very interesting read, if you like those sorts of things, which I do), and in the latter half of the book, after the American Revolution and ratification of the Constitution, there is a fair amount of discussion of the machinations of President Washington’s cabinet, including the bad blood and fueding between Jefferson and Hamilton.

    I found it very interesting, as Hamilton’s views seem to mirror modern-day Democrats, while Jefferson’s, to a degree, reflect modern Republicans (at the least the more “traditional” ones – not so much the hawkish, evangelical neo-cons).

  13. Aaron Burr: You the man!

    1. Awuh Buh

      And yes he was. Unfortunately Jefferson, who Reason apparently believes shat marble, behaved pretty tyrannically toward Burr in the aftermath.

  14. I agree!

    Newt would be a disaster.

    Romney is handsome and ready to serve.

  15. “The opportunity society calls not for a laissez-faire society in which the economic world is a neutral jungle of purely random individual behavior, but for forceful government intervention on behalf of growth and opportunity.

    This depression could be rightly called The Opportunity Society Depression. Whose policies were in action? Not libertarians.

  16. Madison doesn’t get name-dropped as often as he should. The parts of the Federalist that he wrote were mostly solid, and even if you disagree with his proposed means (i.e., the current Constitution), he seems sincerely in the camp of individual liberty, placing him within the broad liberal tradition. Hayek discusses this in “Why I am not a Conservative.” He did majorly fumble in approving the Second Bank, but I suppose everyone’s allowed a mistake on occasion. Madison’s federalism is all about a “republican remedy for the diseases most incident to republican government,” with his support for the national government being rooted in the idea of checking very-real abridgements of individual rights that state governments had undertaken before ratification. Most importantly, the Constitutional structure of government that he more than any other devised was so thoroughly infused with the most beautiful sort of gridlock! What a shame it is that our “great presidents” have offset that balance.

    No intention to slight Jefferson. The man could write–the Declaration is an absolute rhetorical masterpiece. Generally, TJ had the right idea. Some of his thinking was a bit sketchy (I, for one, would not enjoy life as his ideal yeoman farmer, and I think he emphasizes that lifestyle excessively and unnecessarily), but the general spirit of his philosophy is on point.

    Hamilton, meanwhile, was an embodiment of that peculiar beast, Old World Conservatism–complete with all the mercantilist warts derived of feudal intellectual heritage. Not to mention, a sickening level of personal ambition.

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