Nick Gillespie Reviews Thomas Frank's Pity The Billionaire, An Attack on the Tea Party, Free Markets, Libertarians, You Name It


I reviewed Thomas Frank's new book Pity the Billionaire for The Daily. Frank, best-known as the author of What's the Matter with Kansas?,  is aghast and frustrated at the rise of the Tea Party and other anti-spending groups in the wake of the financial crisis, which he sees as proof positive that "free-market theory has proven itself to be a philosophy of ruination and fraud."

A snippet from my review:

It's simply wrong to claim, as Frank does, that "the main political response to [the financial crisis of 2008] is a campaign to roll back regulation, to strip government employees of the right to collectively bargain, and to clamp down on federal spending."

Certainly the tea party, a handful of people in Congress (most of them with the last name Paul) and some policy wonks would welcome such moves. But far from being power brokers, such folks are little more than utopian dreamers, as likely to be attacked by their allies as by their enemies. The toughest fight that tea party favorite Rand Paul had in becoming the junior senator from Kentucky in 2010 came from House Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, who did everything he could to keep him from gaining office.

Lest we forget, the major response to the financial crisis in 2008 was the bailing out of Wall Street and the auto companies under a conservative Republican president and the implementation of an $800 billion stimulus plan promoted by a Democratic president.

That's not to mention a health-care reform package that was routinely described as "historic" and "transformational" at its passage. Ironically, such immediate, massive and — in the case of the stimulus — ineffective actions are in keeping with those of Herbert Hoover. After all, the stimulus failed to achieve any of the targets set by its proponents.

Whole thing here.

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  1. how can someone get two books published and all the attendant publicity, yet be so demonstrably stupid? The Tea Party folks in Congress had at least as much blowback from Repubs as from Dems. By the time the debt ceiling had been raised and the supercommittee was formed, the TP reps had been made out to be responsible for everything from starving grandma to gutting the military to hating chocolate, puppies, and Santa. Jeeeeezus..

  2. Kansas? What is the matter with Thomas Frank?

    1. Yeah, he thinks differently than nearly a whole state (not to mention other states like it) and he thinks there’s something wrong with them. Talk about arrogance!!

      1. Thomas Frank’s the epitome of urban SWPL managerialism–the philosophy that benevolent centralized urban authoritarianism should be applied in the broadest swath possible, and that it will be successful no matter the context or culture to which it is applied.

  3. Which song is he doing there? Once in a Lifetime?

    1. Are you implying that he’s a retarded David Byrne?

      1. Wait, what? I thought that Thomas Frank was Byrne’s manifestation of his searing critique of how mendacious, partisan and punditry is destroying the fabric of the nation. An alter-ego, will you.

        You know, like Tony Clifton.

        1. He’s a retarded Tony Clifton?

          1. I can work with that.

        2. He even has a big-shoulder suit. It has to be the “Stop Making Sense” version of “Girlfriend is Better.”


    2. It can only be Psycho Killer.

    3. Don’t Worry About the Government

      1. +1

        I see the states, across this big nation
        I see the laws made in Washington, D.C.
        I think of the ones I consider my favorites
        I think of the people that are working for me

        Some civil servants are just like my loved ones
        They work so hard and they try to be strong
        I’m a lucky guy to live in my building
        They own the buildings to help them along

        1. Woody Guthrie?

          1. Talking Heads – Don’t Worry About the Government

            From, I think, the album “More Songs About Buildings and Food”

  4. the major response to the financial crisis in 2008 was the bailing out of Wall Street and the auto companies under a conservative Republican president

    Obama bailed out the auto companies not bush.

    Obama also broke the law when he did it.

    1. I think Bush had earlier made GM a “loan” of tens of billions to finance the Volt. But I might be wrong about that. So many bailouts, it’s hard to keep it all straight.

      1. Yep – Not sure about the Volt but Bush threw them enough to stay afloat until Obama got in. I never understood why.

        1. Studebaker never got bailed out… neither did Packard, Kaiser-Frazer, Graham-Page, Pierce, Marmon, Hupmobile, Crosley, Auburn/Cord/Dueesenberg, American Motors, Franklin, Stutz…

          1. And Tucker got ass raped by the big three in collusion with the government.

            1. Forgot about Tucker. Man, I’d love to have one.

        2. Bush was a compassionate conservative.

  5. It takes a true retard to equate tens of thousands of new regulation to mean deregulation, and hundreds of billions of new spending to mean clamping down on spending.

    And it takes an even doopider dolt to believe it.

    1. Every time a regressive bleats “Its was because of deregulation!” I ask them which regulations were eliminated and how exactly did this reduction of rules bring about said claim?


      1. I know! I know! It’s because they’re either: 1) disingenuous, 2) full of shit, or 3) useful idiots for retards like Obama.

      2. Isn’t their standard line that we could have continued to pressure banks to make loans to flat-ass broke minorities while maintaining loan quality if we had not repealed Glass-Steagall during the Clinton years? Because that makes all the sense in the world. Our crack staff of financial regulators would have been all over subprime just like they stopped the obvious frauds of Enron and Madoff. Top Men, I tells ya.

        1. I never understood the Glass-Steagall meme. What did repealing the portion of Glass-Steagall that separate commercial and investment banks have to do with pure investment banks like Lehman and Bear Sterns going bankrupt? Not to mention Merrill would probably have gone bankrupt under the old Glass-Steagall provisions because BoA wouldn’t have been able to rescue them since BoA is largely a commercial bank. People need to find a better argument.

          1. People need to find a better argument.


            Like that?

            1. Don’t forget about the JOOOOOS!

          2. It was probably the subject of some stultifying documentary. That’s how they got fixated on the “CORPRASHUNS AREN’T PEOPLE !!1!” refrain.

          3. yes but all those to-be-retirees with cashes of assets stashed in government-sponsored, tax-deferred 401ks were screwed when the stock market crashed! Because if they didn’t invest in stocks, they would have lost it all to inflation!

          4. We can never know about the memes to come,
            But we think about them, anyway.
            And I wonder if I’ve really conned you now,
            Or just needing even more facts to flay.

            Is making me f?te.
            Is keeping me hating.

          5. The Glass-Steagall meme is irrelevant anyway. Denninger likes to harp on it, but he also points out that the banks could be charged with violations of the Securities Act simply for misrepresenting the value of the MBSs they sold. You don’t need Glass-Steagall in place to do that, because the Securities Act has never been repealed.

            If the DoJ won’t even prosecute the banks for laws that are already in place and still applicable, who in their right mind believes they’d do so with other regulations?

      3. I find that they will change what deregulation means so they can blame it.
        For example the Gulf Oil Spill was a result of deregulation.
        What regulations were removed? Well, none. But they weren’t properly enforced, yeah. And the regulators were partying with the people they were regulating, so that’s like deregulation you know? And they made new regulations on advice from the industry. Yeah I know that new regulation is not deregulation, but it is. When regulations are not enforced then it’s deregulation. Yeah I know the regulations still exist, but it’s deregulation. Or they relaxed rules. Yeah the rules are still there so it’s not deregulation, except that it is.
        So there was all kinds of deregulation going on, except that it wasn’t really deregulation, but we’ll call it deregulation anyway because it sounds good.

        1. it’s a *culture* of deregulation, you idiot.

          1. Those penumbras emanating….I like it.

        2. We must talk to the same people because this is pretty much verbatim how any discussion I have regarding deregulation goes.

          Talking with walls is more productive then trying to elucidate reality for these people.

        3. Regulation forced them to explore in deeper water in the first place.

          The case against regulation.


      4. Glass steagall! Glass steagall!!

        Of course, the housing bubble started long before Glass Stegall.

        1. Jonathan Livingston Steagall, fer chrissakes!

          1. A Flock of Steagalls.

      5. Glass-Steagall!!!!!!!eleventy!!!!

        1. you went straight for the eleventy! What about the ones?! And the elevenssssss???!!!one

    2. Truth is irrelevant. All that matters is finding a boogeyman for your TEAM to hate. That focuses them and gets them feeling all TEAM-y.

      1. No. It prevents them from having to engage in any self reflection or examination of their views. If the other side is always in control, then your side is never responsible for any of the evils in the world.

        1. It can’t be both?

      2. Truth is irrelevant.

        This is why debate is becoming pointless. There are tons of lunatics like David Byrne Moron above who live in a fantasy land where facts aren’t allowed to enter.

        1. This is what happens when people are taught to ignore their mind and go with their feewings.

      3. Exactly. It’s all team politics, so you always have to work backwards. Progressives want more regulation and bigger government. Working backwards from there means that all our problems stem from less regulation and less government.

        1. But libertarians never do this? I catch myself doing it all the time. We all come at the world with some belief system so that we can organize events in our mind and build chains of causation that make sense to us. Unfortunately it is very difficult to design social science experiments that isolate the effect of a single variable, deregulation in this case. The best we can do is look at broad historical cases of similar societies, say East vs. West Germany and North vs. South Korea.

        2. the logic really is no more complex than:

          1. bad stuff is stopped by regulations
          2. bad stuff happened

          ergo, there needs to be more regulations

          1. It’s related to the Yes, Minister mindset so common on the left: “We need to do something, this is something, therefore we must do this.”

    3. To the liberal mind, regulations are like stimulus dollars. If they fail to produce the hoped-for results, it just means there weren’t enough of them.

      1. It’s all about the intentions.

    4. Frank was on NPR blaming everything on “the recent trend of deregulation”, and didn’t get challenged on it. Before I pledged to not waste another valuable second of my life doing so, I used to post this on the local newspaper’s forum whenever someone tried to use that.…..Regulation

      Economic regulation expanded rapidly during the Bush administration. President Bush is quoted as the biggest regulator since President Richard Nixon.[65] Bush administration increased the number of new pages in the Federal Registry, a proxy for economic regulation, from 64,438 new pages in 2001 to 78,090 in new pages in 2007, a record amount of regulation.[65] Economically significant regulations, defined as regulations which cost more than $100 million a year, increased by 70%.[65]
      Spending on regulation increased by 62% from $26.4 billion to $42.7 billion.[65]

      1. But, but, but Madcow and Olberf?hrer said Bush was the great de-regulator so it must be true!

      2. I heard that interview. Made me want to throw my radio out the window. Frank is disingenuous at best, a total hack at worst.

        1. If you radio is stuck on NPR (the only excuse I can think of to be listening to that tripe unless Click and Clack are on) you might as well toss it out the window and get a new one.

          1. I don’t listen to pop music anymore and I have to switch over from Rush/Hannity/Fucking Retard every once in a while.

            1. I was just being wise. I too end up on that station when I get sick of crappy music, inane commentary, and never ending commercials.

              1. You guys ever heard of CD players? Or digital music players? Satellite radio (XM 61 Bluegrass FTW!!)

                You an listen to whatever you want without having to settle for fucking NPR. I can’t remember the last time I heard radio that wasn’t XM Satellite Radio, and my life is better for it.

            2. Jason Lewis is non-interventionist and fairly libertarian. I can stomach him most days. He has his tangents.

      3. Look here all you Liberaltarians President Bush may have regulated the economy but it was necessary. After 9/11 he steered this country and the economy away from the brink of disaster. Regulation was part of the plan to insure a level playing field for all participants in the economy who were damaged by the terrorist attacks.

        1. That’s sarcasm, right?
          Please tell me that’s sarcasm.

          1. You’re “sarcasmic” so you tell me. That’s right though all Libertardians like “sarcasmic” and their hang ups about 9/11. The rest of the country set to work picking up the pieces after 9/11 and you guys are stuck on regulations. I’m sure you would be happy to see Wall Street collapse and the banks to collapse. The car companies and the airlines too.

            1. Which are we, stupid fuck? Liberaltarians, or Libertardians?

              Can’t keep your shit straight, go back to Freeperville. Or DU. Or both.

            2. See, this is how you troll. Bush apologia combined with “clever” libertarian puns; A in my book.

        2. The only people damaged by the terrorist attacks of 9-11 were the people in New York, the Pentagon, and the families of the victims.


      4. Yeah, the NPR interview was truly nauseating. You could tell he wanted to say “false consciousness” but knew that would give the game away.

  6. White suit, pink shirt, red striped tie…you might be able to pull that off if you’re a rapper or something, I guess.

    1. …or if you’re David Byrne. But retarded.

      1. Like I said, a rapper.

    2. I thought maybe he raided Tom Wolfe’s closets but only got the suit before the dogs were on him and he had to leave.

      1. raiding Barry Manilow’s (sp?) closet is much easier.

  7. Frank and people like him are pathetic individuals. Their entire self worth is tied up in believing in the “right things”. To some people believing in this or that policy is an intellectual exercise. Saying we should pursue “x” policy doesn’t say anything about your value as a person. But for people like Frank it does. His entire self image is tied to him being better than others because he believes in the right things.

    Well, the problem is what happens when those “right things” turn out not to be so right. That is what is happening here. Reality has repudiated Frank’s entire world view. And Frank isn’t a big enough person to admit that. That would require him to give up his smugness and sense of superiority. So instead he twists reality. The society is going broke and falling apart? It wasn’t because of the policies he supports. No. It was because we live in the golden age of libertarianism. In the end, it is all about making Frank feel better about himself.

    1. Exhibit A would be his statement that there is something “the matter” with a whole group of people because they happen to disagree with you politically about where their priorities lie.

      1. I hate pronouns and antecedents, so you suckas are just going to have to try to keep up.

      2. That book was a giant pile of smug and stupid. The fact that anyone took it seriously says very bad things about America.

        1. You read it, John? Why?

          1. Why would I waste my time? you don’t have to read a book to understand what it is about. That is what book reviews are for; to read stupid shit so you don’t have to.

          2. Read two and three quarter chapters before tossing it back in the bargain bin where I found it. Nothing I read contradicts John in any way.

    2. Well, that and he gets paid, probably pretty well, to spout said nonsense. It doesn’t help that a lot of the media takes him seriously (NPR gave him an interview/book plug the other day).

      1. That is what is so terribly disgusting. The man has nothing inside of his head but tropes that are painfully wrong, and yet, his point of view given the side he takes gets him interviews on national shows.

  8. I wouldn’t say something as brash as the world would be a better place if someone ran a truck over Thomas Frank. But I think he could be a viable candidate for deep space exploration.

  9. Every so often liberals need a book like this to come out. It is like a comforting security blanket, keeping them wrapped safe and warm in snuggly smugness that everyone who doesn’t agree with them is a victim of false consciousness. The fact that it is intellectually lazy and flat-out wrong on its face is both unsurprising and totally irrelevant. Look forward to That Liberal Friend of yours talking about this book at a party in your near future.

    1. Yup. These are hard times for liberals. They need to be told that none of this is their fault. So even though they ran the country with virtually no opposition for two years, it is the golden age of libertarianism. And all of the problems in the world are the result of people not listening to them.

      1. Right. The NDAA debacle isn’t their fault. The bailouts aren’t their fault. The drones wiping out wedding parties in *stan aren’t they’re fault. Ditto for the WoD and the national debt and the credit market collapse.

        They haven’t been voting for the same class of losers for the past 40 years. No, it was all BOOOOOOSH.

        1. Hey – In 1939 they were still blaming the Depression on evil Republicans.

        2. And the places where they have had the most influence, New York, California, Illinois, Detroit, are the places in the worst shape. Somehow Detroit is a wasteland because Houston doesn’t have any zoning laws.

        3. Remembering “What’s the Matter with Kansas?” came out way back in the thick of the Bush years made me realize liberals really never switched their game up. It will always be 2004 and the mean old conservatives will always be the villains in their poor, oppressed little hearts.

          1. As late as 2010 lefties were blaming the cruelty of the obstructionist Republicans for Obama’s inability to pass real healthcare reform, close Guantanamo, end the wars, etc.

            1. If only they were really the Party of No?. I could get behind that.

            2. Same people who spent eight years calling Bush our selected President, a war criminal and an ape and then say with a straight face that no President in history has faced as vicious an opposition as Obama has.

              1. “No President in history has faced as vicious an opposition as Obama has. Especially that ape Bushitler – he had it easy. And I blame Chimpy McHaliburton Cheney-Is-The-Devil-Incarnate Bush for that.”

                /tarded librull

    2. The last book That Liberal Friend brought up was, I am not kidding, Hot, Flat, and Crowded by Thomas Friedman.

      1. I once saw The World is Flat on an acquaintence’s bookshelf, along with a prominently displayed Atlas Shrugged. I wasn’t sure what to think.

        1. Someone’s keeping up on the enemy

  10. He is talking about the Tea Party hatred of new bank regulations that prevent a bank from risking its depositors money on shitty investments.

    If the taxpayers are on the hook via the FDIC why should banks get to bet on Greek bonds? You can argue that there should not be an FDIC but since there is the fact is this – commercial banks are federally guaranteed.

    A bank is a federally subsidized endeavor – that is the problem.

    1. But the taxpayers are only on the hook for savings accounts. They are not on the hook for mutual funds and stock holders and such. TARP was not the result of the government meeting its FDIC obligations. Fail!

      1. You don’t understand lack of liquidity and resultant bank runs.

        WaMu failed when over $5 billion was withdrawn in a matter of days.

        1. So what? We could have made good on the FDIC obligations for a lot less than TARP. TARP was about making sure billionaires didn’t have to become ordinary millionaires and nothing more. IT was Obama, Paulson, Geitner and the whole lot taking care of their own. And you fucking voted for it.

          1. TARP was Bush/Paulson, you idiot.

            1. And who voted for it in the Senate? Obama. And who continued it once in office? Obama.

              Face it shrike, you belong to the party of billionaires stealing from the tax payer to make up for their loses. You own it buddy.

              1. McCain voted for it too. Clearly, it was a Republican moment of stupid too.

                1. It was a bipartisan moment of theft. And McCain gave away the election by stopping his campaign and voting for it.

          2. Why should banks be allowed to invest in Greek bonds with federally insured deposits?

            1. Why should they be able to make loans with federally insured deposits, then? Or Treasury bills? And so what’s the point of a banking system at all, then? You make a deposit, the bank sits on the cash and earns nothing, and everyone lives happier ever after, right?

              1. If banks are just warehouses for money, then they have no real purpose and are just useless make-work institutions. To a lot of people this probably sounds great!

                1. That is actually not a terrible Idea.

                  Perhaps if banks merely warehoused wealth, we wouldn’t have this problem.

                  1. Perhaps if banks merely warehoused wealth, we wouldn’t have this problem.

                    Perhaps–but if banks merely warehoused money, they wouldn’t be banks and the whole enterprise would be pointless anyway. Might as well have everyone buy a 200-lb safe so at least their savings would be close at hand and tough to steal.

            2. Ask that question again when Treasury bonds have the same value as Greek ones.

            3. Because, if you don’t like that they are doing that, take your fucking money out. You can always bury your cash in a jar and take it out, and thanks to the government’s stewardship of the currency, use it for retirement.

    2. If you put your money into a bank, wouldn’t it be a good idea to maybe read up on where that money goes? And if you don’t like what the bank does with your money, then you can close your account and put your money in a different bank?

      I know, hard work and all, but still. The FDIC does post all of this information on the internet.

  11. George Will with even worse hair.

    1. I didn’t even know you could buy combover toupees.

      1. And round wire rim glasses. Is there some kind of statistical correlation between near sightedness and being a leftist faux intellectual?

        1. Assuming those are real glasses. They could just be unlensed glass.

          1. True. He doesn’t have the well trimmed beard. So he has to have the glasses to show other douchebags that he is one of them.

    2. The awe-inspiring thing about hair like that is that it is intentional. He had to get up in the morning and brush it just so for it to do that. The fact that he never asked himself “why must it be this way? WHY?” says a lot about his logic skills.

      1. It could be some sort of gel failure. A free market gel failure. If the people’s committee had made the gel, it would be able to hold the hair in place.

        1. I blame the deregulation of the hair gel industry.

      2. And don’t forget the clothes and the glasses. It is like some kind of a signaling device to tell the world not to ever take him seriously.

        1. WTF man, why do you keep harping on the glasses? You even mention a beard up above.

          Granted, I would’t ever dress like that, but I have wire-rim glasses and a beard, and I’m no more a leftist faux-intellectual than Barry Goldwater was.

          1. You can wear whatever you like. But wow, you are really asking to attract the wrong kind of crown going out in public like that.

            1. I think you should reserve specific judgement until you’ve seen actual pictures. I highly doubt Gojira looks as bad as this Thomas Frank.

                1. Jesus Christ. Pictures like that make me want to shave my beard and never grow another one. Fucking hipsters ruin everything.

                  1. Hey…if that guy was bald and had Terminator sunglasses instead of those John Lennon-types, that would actually look a lot like me (when I was 35 lbs lighter).

                    1. You’re Jim Wendler, Jimbo? It makes sense.

                    2. I’m that guy only about 20 lbs lighter. And I assume he’s actually about to lift that weight; I would be able to get in the position that he’s in in the photo…but then nothing else would happen.

            2. Actually I only really have two left-looney friends, that I know of, and neither one of them are my friends directly (one is my wife’s friend, and the other is my buddy’s girlfriend).

              This is Texas man, and I don’t live in Austin. Though in response to your comment above, I do not own any cardigans, and my beard is wild and unkempt.

              1. The beard has to be well trimmed or trimmed stubble. The wild and unkept beard is just not nerdy enough.

                1. Actually John, I know you’re as much of a history nut as I am, so I’ve got a recommendation for you:

                  The Illusion of Victory: America in WWI.

                  It’s an absolutely scathing indictment of Wilson and progressive republicans in general, and details in brutal detail the lies, damned lies, and politics that got us involved in the first World War and the permanent (almost entirely bad) changes it wrought both here and overseas. It’s really gripping reading, but I would recommend taking blood-pressure medication before plunging in.

                  1. Thanks. Interesting book. The Imperial Germans were assholes. But they were not Nazis. That was one war that we really shouldn’t have cared about.

                2. Thank fucking god. My beard is totally unkempt. I shave it completely about 3-4 times a year, at which point I start from scratch. The only part that ever gets any trimming is my stache, and that’s ti keep it from getting crusty after drinking.

          2. This is proof that Jim is hot for skinny hippy chicks.

            1. “This is proof that Jim is hot for skinny hippy chicks.”

              1. Just admit it, man. I bet you even carry around a copy of The Motorcycle Diaries as bait.

                1. Full disclosure: I actually liked the movie, bullshit commie message aside.

          3. Yeah, what Godzilla said. I’m nearsighted and can’t be bothered to shave or get a hair cut. But I walk around with a button that reads “Shut Up Hippy” in case there is any confusion.

          4. Granted, I would’t ever dress like that, but I have wire-rim glasses and a beard, and I’m no more a leftist faux-intellectual than Barry Goldwater was.

            Real intellectuals wear horn-rims.

      3. Maybe that’s just the least awful looking hair arrangement he was able to discover for himself. Maybe there is some hideous defect in his forehead he is covering up. Maybe not everyone can have amazing warrior locks like I do.

        1. He could have left his hair and his clothes back in 1972, but that would require taking notice that Nixon isn’t President anymore, and that 99% of the crap he advocates has already been tried and failed.

      4. In his defense, there’s not a lot of dignified hair options for the balding pinhead. He’s far too skinny to get away with shaving it, and he’s clearly too prissy to let it go all crazy and mad-professory. About the only thing to do is cut it short, Patrick Stewart style, and practice speaking in a sexy baritone.

        1. It should be longer, so he can go for the Stargate Spader.

          1. Wow. I had the hugest crush on this very Spader when Stargate came out and I was a wee lass, and I just realized how similar my boyfriend looked when we first started dating.

            (As a balding pinhead himself, he decided his only dignified option was to keep it much shorter nowadays.)

      5. He’s got the look of the Southern liberal. A rare species south of the Carolina border, they are often hunted for their trophy value.

        1. I thought we kept them all on preserves called “colleges”.

      1. That is fucked up. I love it.

  12. And round wire rim glasses. Is there some kind of statistical correlation between near sightedness and being a leftist faux intellectual?

    1. Hey fuck you! ^_^

      1. Admit Gorjira, you have round glasses, a well trimmed beard and a large collection of cardigans.

        1. And cats, John. Krugman needs cats. They provide sustenance.

          1. My newest cats are named Frank and Friedman. tee hee hee

    2. No. I wear round wire rimmed glasses because I don’t want to see glasses frames and my eyes are round.

    3. Well that was highly uncalled for.

      But my glasses are rectangular, my beard is only slightly well groomed, and I don’t own any cardigans so I think I might be okay.

  13. I read shit from people like this and I have to wonder if they really believe what they write. I’d have more respect for them if I knew they were just con-artists trying to make a buck selling what the local yokels want to read.

  14. “The revival of the Right,” says Frank, “is as extraordinary as it would be if the public had demanded dozens of new nuclear plants in the days after the Three Mile Island disaster; if we had reacted to Watergate by making Richard Nixon a national hero.”

    This glosses right over the fact that Richard Nixon is a national hero. He aptly demonstrated exactly how much trust we ought to place in our elected officials.

    1. That quote might just be my favorite. It’s so perfectly absurd. You don’t just get to say “X is as extraordinary as Y” and then make Y whatever crazyass nonsense you want.

      1. You do if you give zero fucks about whether or not your reasoning is logically consistent.

        1. That is exactly correct.

          It’s all about fitting into the clique.

          Leave logic at the door and get ready to emote.

          We’re going to have fun and feel good about ourselves as we direct emotional tirades at those who are so beneath us that we would never tolerate or include them in our clique of tolerance, inclusiveness and equality.

          Go Team Blue!

    2. Nixon also ended the Apollo program because there was nothing up there but dry rocks and those revolting onion men.

  15. It’s simply wrong to claim, as Frank does, et c.

    Wait; are you suggesting Frank stoop to factual analysis?

  16. Most liberal dumbasses like him at least have the writing and obfuscatory skills to write their bullshit more convincingly. This guy can’t write for shit. What a worthless troglodyte.

  17. “You are entitled to your own opinions, but not your own facts” is rapidly becoming a warning signal for aggressive deployment of petitio principii.

    1. That is pretty much code now for “shut the fuck up while I make up my own facts.”

    2. Facts like “Bush’s deregulation caused the Great Recession” and “Without the Great Stimulus everyone would be unemployed”, right?

    3. That is an excellent handle. A tip of the monocle to you.

      1. Truly you are a most refined gentleman. Previously I was known by the nom de plume “Jons Schaffer’s Right Hand”, which was far too ungainly.

  18. You are all missing the point. I wrote books because I like to talk down to people. I don’t care at all what the readers have to say in response. Little people are kind of gross, as a matter of fact.

  19. if we had reacted to Watergate by making Richard Nixon a national hero.

    E P A!

    E P A!

    E P A!

    E P A!

    E P A!

    E P A!

    They should (and do) think Nixon was a hero.


  20. All this happened during what Frank calls “the golden years of libertarianism.” So I have problems understanding what he is talking about when he issues dicta such as “free-market theory has proven itself to be a philosophy of ruination and fraud.”

    The Bush years were the “Golden Years of Libertarianism”?!? Frank obviously has no clue what “libertarianism” means, or “golden.” He might even be a little shaky on the whole years concept.

    1. Reducing the top marginal rate to 35 from 39.6 was tantamount to anarchy, don’t you get it?

    2. He’s just trying to sell books to the OWS crowd. They can point and say “SEE! Somebody who bathes and wears nice clothes agrees with us!”

      1. Where did all the brave OWS protestors go? Did they solve all the problems they were protesting? Huh? Winter? Oh, yeah.

        1. Evidently they’re fucking like bunnies to keep warm.


          1. And here I thought liberal Western democracies didn’t force you to get married to your rapist.

            1. “”You can’t spell ‘revolution’ without ‘love,’?” said Michael Patterson, a 21-year-old protester who had a brief romantic involvement with another Occupier in the fall.”

              Too bad the Paul campaign is so soft on IP violations, they could sue this guy for all he’s got.

              1. miseans are anti-IP.

              2. Is “Michael Patterson” the alias that STEVE SMITH is using these days?

          2. Swapping scabies in public. How sweet.

        2. They must have seen the forecast.

          1. ECU, you me’d it up. Heir.

            1. Sumanum batch. Further testing reveals flawless functionality on chrome, and utter failure on internet exploder and firefox.

        3. They returned to their natural habitat:

        4. They’re still Occupying Lexington!!

    3. Let me translate for you:

      “the whatever whatever when someone we hate did whatever whatever”

      Now, what I would have preferred to hear was “episodes of The Wonder Years that featured Olivia d’Abo”.

      1. Olivia d’Abo was in Wonder Years? The lady who was the James Bond girl in that Dalton flick?

        1. Her cousin Maryam was in The Living Daylights. Olivia was in the second Conan movie. Get your hot chicks straight, you idiot.

          1. “Get your hot chicks straight”

            Both a little skinny for my tastes, but its interesting they are related.

            Hollywood is quite the incestous place.

            1. So you and John ARE the same person.

              1. Yeah but which one isn’t taking thier meds?

            2. Both a little skinny for my tastes, but its interesting they are related.

              Maryam I could see, but Olivia? She was straight-up yummy.

        2. I see, a different woman, but related!


  21. What do you do with someone like Frank other than make fun of him? There is no point in trying to engage him intellectually. He lives in his own world and carefully guards his own set of facts. There is an old saying that an idiot will drag you down to their level and beat you with experience. And Franks seems to be the embodiment of that.

    The only way to counter such a buffoon is through laughter. Someone as smugly serious as Frank has only one real weakness, they have no sense of humor about themselves. Ridicule is like the open vent on the Death Star to these people.

    1. “There is no point in trying to engage him intellectually. He lives in his own world and carefully guards his own set of facts.”

      Are you talking about Frank or yourself? I gather you like both.

      1. Remember John is someone who has blatantly said that his beloved GOP is better on EVERY SINGLE ISSUE than the Dems. John constantly regurgitates “facts” from Fox, Drudge, etc., Later the basic fights might be shown to be wrong but that never stops him or slows him down. And it’s Frank who lives in his own world of facts where his side can do no wrong.

        Yeah, whatever.

        1. I guess I touched a nerve. And you are the person who literally will defend the Democratic Party after its DOJ sells guns to Mexican drug gangs for political gain. Project much? And yes the Dems are better than the Republicans on civil rights, provided that a Republican is President.

          1. Nice to change the subject John. You said those things, you do those things. For you to criticize Frank for the same kind of thing is freakin’ hilarious.

            1. I didn’t change the subject at all. I just pointed out an example of where you engage in exactly the same thing you accuse me of. And yes, Democrats are better on civil rights and the power of the executive provided a Republican is President.

              1. “I just pointed out an example of where you engage in exactly the same thing you accuse me of”

                Since the “thing” we are talking about is being an across the board partisan it’s pretty stupid to think you reversed that on me by naming one area where I defend Obama (of course it’s more like one area where I just don’t criticize at the level you do, but with Obama who could?).

                “yes, Democrats are better on civil rights and the power of the executive provided a Republican is President”

                Pedaling? That’s not what you said back when I asked. You said every single issue. THAT’S exactly what a partisan is John.

                1. I changed my mind. It is clear that if a Republican wins the Presidency, Democrats will rediscover their commitment to civil rights and the limits of executive power.

        2. YES, a brewing John/MNG bitch-fest. There hasn’t been a good one of these in a long time. PLEASE respond, John!

          1. The truth has a bad way of making people angry. And Frank is an embarrassment to liberals. So MNG will change the subject to point out how awful the other side is hoping everyone will forget how ridiculous Frank is.

            1. I don’t know much about Frank actually. If his thesis is that libertarians have ruined the world then I think Gillespie is right, they have not been in power to do so.

              But what hits a nerve I think is how you are kind of a mirror image of what you accuse Frank of.

              1. No it doesn’t.

                1. Wow, that’s the shortest answer I’ve ever seen from John. I think he’s all shook up.

        3. introspection fail.

      2. Why would you gather that? It is people like you and Frank and your intellectual fellow travelers like Rick Santorum that think it is your job to think for everyone else. Not me.

        1. John, you are really upset at Santorum’s succes in your party. Sorry, that’s your baby. Your eyes, your hair, muttering lines from Hannity.

          He’s all yours!

          1. I just think you should be happy. The majority of the country agree with you. I can’t imagine how the success of an authoritarian busy body wouldn’t make you happy. The truth is there really isn’t a lot of difference between you and either side running for President. So you will win either way.

            1. John, stop pandering to people here. They know you are not a libertarian, you’re a conservative. And they know Santorum is not some marginal, out of left feild part of conservatism.

              His success and acceptance by your party really has you worrie about your image here, doesn’t it?

              1. Never said I was a “libertarian”. But I am not a dogooder busy body either. And that is what liberals and SoCons both are. In the end, you and Santorum are in agreement on the scope and power of government and the ability and duty of government to run and shape society. You just differ somewhat on how it should be shaped. But that really boils down to the gays. Take that issue out and you are pretty close. I think you would be very happy with a Santorum Administration, since the Supreme Court would keep him from doing much about gays.

                1. “In the end, you and Santorum are in agreement on the scope and power of government and the ability and duty of government to run and shape society.”

                  Like I said before, saying we both are willing to violate the non-coercion policy (which you are too John) while we vehemently disagree on the goals leaves most of the important room between us.

                  1. Not really. The goals are pretty much the same, a peaceful just society. Have you listened to Santorum talk about the working man? He is a total Democratic populist. He just differs with you on cultural shit the President doesn’t control anyway.

                    1. “He just differs with you on cultural shit”

                      Yeah, all that important stuff.

                      “cultural shit the President doesn’t control anyway”

                      Yeah, because President’s don’t, say, appoint the justices that fashion privacy rights and what not.

                    2. The President doesn’t control what those justices will do once appointed. And even if the Supreme Court overruled the sainted Griswald, no state would ban contraception. The whole issue is nothing but a ruse to keep people like you from realizing how much you actually have in common with the SoCons.

                    3. The President doesn’t control what those justices will do once appointed. And even if the Supreme Court overruled the sainted Griswald, no state would ban contraception. The whole issue is nothing but a ruse to keep people like you from realizing how much you actually have in common with the SoCons.

                    4. “the sainted Griswald”
                      Griswold was one of the most important liberty promoting decisions to come out of the Court this century. Nice to know that just like your GOP brethern last night you can’t be counted on to affirm it.

                      “no state would ban contraception”

                      Wow, and he now mouths Mitt. We knew it was coming.

                    5. Let me help you John.

                      I can easily and readily say that the Dems and liberals are asshats when they crap on an important liberty right. For example, crap on them for not being outraged by Kelo and for not applauding Heller. Crap on them a thousand times, the GOP was immeasurably better in supporting both rights.

                      Now your turn. Your sorry party couldn’t even muster one person to stand up for the right to privacy last night.

                      Now, you say you are not a partisan. You know what you should do when faced with that, and it ain’t mouth Mitt Romney’s obsfucation from last night.

                    6. Take it up with someone who is supporting one of them. And you will be voting for Obama anyway. So spare me your concern over privacy. If it were that important to you, you wouldn’t be voting for Obama.

                    7. I’m voting for Johnson, why wouldn’t I?

                      As for you, it’s telling that, like your party’s candidates, you can’t stand up for the right of privacy when asked. Just like Mitt.

                      Two more months and you’ll start telling us how important it is to vote for the guy.

                    8. though if you are a lefty and you had to have a republican, would santorum really be that bad? Sure you would hate him for his opposite side of the cultrue war and all the associated issues. But hes going to not only protect your cherrished welfare state but actively expand it and just keep the seat warm until the next dem wins. It would be like if Obama spent his entire term cutting spending and deregulating. Even if he liberal on all the social and culture war stuff, could republicans really be that upset?

                    9. That # is exactly my point.

                    10. “Sure you would hate him for his opposite side of the cultrue war”

                      That’s like saying that you should support him because, sure he’s against a ton of things you think are critically important, but he agrees in a corporate tax cut.

                    11. But a ton of things he would have very little influence over. The things he did have influence over, he would do things you agreed with.

                    12. “he would do things you agreed with”

                      You’re like the guys above confusing me with you. Your the conservative, he’s the conservative, he’s your guy.

                      But I can see why you’d like to change the subject when you, like Mitt, cannot affirm the right to privacy as a good thing when asked and when you mouth Mitt’s very talking point on that.

                      Ladies and gentlemen, we are seeing the birth of Mitt Johmney.

                    13. MNG, I’m not saying that lefties would like santorum, i’m saying is that if you had to have a republican is he really going to be that bad? Most of the major stuff, generally the expansive welfare and regulatory states that dominate current politics, he’d continue. Would you prefer a republican who actively wants to repeal and pull back in those areas?

  22. I, as a matter of fact, have a pair of round lensed glasses quite similar to those (only with a black covering- not shiny) they go quite strikingly with my Yosemite Sam moustache.

    1. Fantastic. A defiant facial hair choice suits a threaded-comments-defying man.

  23. The Bush years were the “Golden Years of Libertarianism”?!?

    Just observe the wide swath of destruction and ruin; what else could have caused it?

    1. “what else could have caused it”

      That unfettered, laissez faire, totally-deregulated Free Market? that BOOOOOOSH et el unleashed on an unsuspecting Publick?

      Man, remember that?! Those times were SO good!

      *looks whistfully*

    2. It is silly to call the Bush years Libertopia. But part of the blame must go on the many, many GOPers who ran around throwing libertarian rhetoric around while doing unlibertarian things.

      1. *WE* knew they didn’t mean it. The rubes on the left are a bit too gullible, if that’s the case.

        1. A lot on the left are guillible to buy it, yes. But to some extent you have to watch out for your own trademark…

  24. John and MNG are at it again.

    I hope one of them brought the lube.

    1. Lube is for faggots.

      1. Like I said…

  25. if i hear one more moron progressive claim that the cause of the financial crises (given their misunderstanding that capital markets are SUPPOSED to have boom/bust cycles), i’m going to hurl. it’s not a bad thing, and god knows it makes for some phenomenal investment opps. dow sub 7.5k was a phenomenal investment opp, for instance.

    1. The boom/bust cycle happens because greedy investors mis-allocate capital during the boom which must be reallocated after the bust.

      If wise bureaucrats were in charge of allocating capital there would be no boom and bust because they are all-knowing and don’t make mistakes.

      Socialism works when the right people are in charge.

      Even Einstein said so, and since he was a really really good physicist he must be correct about economics and politics as well.

    2. dunphy, capital markets are supposed to have boom/bust cycles. Government intervention merely mashes small boom/busts into a big, systemic one, and often collectivises the bust (while privatising the boom).

      But boom/bust cycles are inherent to everything, because information is imperfect, and that’s just fine, as long as the damage is contained and the individuals who take losses, as much as possible, are the ones who put their own kinney on the line.

    3. You missed it. The other day I was defending a dead cop against what I consider to be an appalling lack of concern about his violent death, just because he’s a cop. Sure, he died in a raid, and I fully sympathize with the suspect in defending his home (I would also come out guns-a-blazin if somebody kicked in my door), but it sickened me that my first instinct was to cheer the outcome, and I tried to persuade others that his death is just as tragic and pointless as the death of a suspect, because all human life is equally valuable.

      That’s the closest you’ll ever catch me to defending the police, so I hope you can take it for what it’s worth.

    4. There is no misunderstanding that capital markets and all free markets are SUPPOSE to have boom/bust cycles.

      They DO. Many businesses boom. Many businesses bust. Many have boom/bust. It would NOT be capitalism if this didn’t happen.

      Us progressives are OK with this. With the exception of extreme LEFT Wingnuts and people that don’t understand economics, you won’t find many intellectual progressives that HATE Capitalism.

      What libertarians have to ask themselves is the following question:

      “If the banking system were to collapse and it would have an apocalyptic impact on the USA, should we, the tax payer, bail it out?”

      A. Yes (for the good of the country)

      B. No (for the good of Free Market Ideology)

      We already know the answer to this. The Answer would be:

      C. there is NO FREE MARKET in America…The government Intervenes too much so that question is invalid.

      The truth is that the question was asked. And many Americans (particularly libertarians and anarchist where OK with the apocalyptic results.

      It would have been pretty interesting to see BOTH the USSR and the US fail in a 20year span. The truth is, corruption would have been the REAL reason and not necessarily COMMUNISM or CAPITALISM.

      1. and a banking collapse would cause apocalyptic results how?

        1. Let’s ask the residents of Iceland. They didn’t bail out their banks, and they had a hell of a lot bigger banking problem than we did. How are they doing, I wonder?

          Why, just fine, as it happens:


          1. but, but US exceptionalism! Too big to fail!

    5. dow sub 7.5k was a phenomenal investment opp, for instance.


      Fuckin’A it was. And I will never forgive myself for merely dabbling in a few stocks in March ’09 as opposed to sinking every fucking dollar I had. It was so obvious that the valuations were pure hyesteria. Dozens of companies were trading for less than the cash on their balance sheets.

      1. I bought palladium, which was a better buy at the time. Cashed out with a 2x return, but too early (since I had to pay for being unemployed).

  26. So Gojira is that creepy dude in the Orbitz commercial with the well-trimmed beard and gay (NTTAWWT) see-thru white suit?

    + round glasses?

    OK then…

  27. Nick, you fixed the McConnell reference by now, I assume. (Senate, not House.)

  28. I went with the Lemmy Kilmister chop-stache to go with my Ray Bans over the holidays.

    I shaved when I had to go back to work, cause the only worse thing than shaving is not shaving (i.e. I generally hate having facial hair).

    But it looked cool enough that I might need to bring it back. The Lemmy look is a good one for me.

    1. I’m currently working on growing an Opie beard, but the Lemmy look is a good one too. I might have to do that at some point.

    2. Who would win in an arm-wrestling match – Almanian or God?

      1. God, but only because he cheats.

  29. to strip government employees of the right to collectively bargain

    A little OT but I still don’t get why government employees even need to “collectively bargain”. After all, their employer is the government and our progressive friends are always telling us that the government is the only fair institution in existence and as such the government should control all employer/employee relations. To put it another way, why should I trust the government with my occupation if its own employees can’t trust it?

    1. I am so stealing this.

  30. Why doesn’t anyone here like me? I’m calling you all the right names!

  31. And in other news the smug from Thomas Frank’s book combined with the smug from George Clooney’s oscar acceptance speech to form the perfect storm of self satisfaction.

    San Francisco has disappeared up its own asshole.

  32. I don’t know what’s so surprising. Were the Chamber of Commerce, the Republican party, and all the various power brokers on the right really expected to admit fault in the wake of the many, many disasters of the Bush administration including the financial crisis? They bought and paid for a vast propaganda network, what’s it good for if not convincing a sizable portion of the population that Bush never existed and everything wrong is the fault of poor black people and Barney Frank? Dogma never admits defeat, it simply alters reality.

    It doesn’t matter that the crisis was caused by deregulation and other massive transfers of power away from government to the financial sector. A crisis, any crisis, is the best environment for the neoliberal cause to thrive. People are too distracted to notice when you’re dismantling Medicare and giving the loot to Big Insurance, otherwise known as the Paul Ryan plan almost every Republican House member voted for.

    A debt crisis is the best environment imaginable. Why not invent one? The numbers are really big, and big numbers scare people, so it’s the easiest thing in the world to convince them that the only way to save the republic is to destroy the welfare state. Everyone who bashed Naomi Klein’s thesis ought to be embarrassed given her obvious prescience–you cannot look at Republican behavior over the last 3 years and conclude anything but that they’ve used a crisis as a means to enact their long-cherished agenda of destroying the welfare state and giving the loot to their corporate buddies.

    Nominal libertarians may not have held much in the way of public office, but they’ve been dutifully supplying the philosophical backbone to every tea party Republican idea proposed. The great thing for libertarians is that when it all goes to shit, there will still be a government around to blame. There are no hands cleaner than libertarian hands.

    1. It doesn’t matter that the crisis was caused by deregulation

      I see. So the repeal of Glass-Steagall is what caused the Federal-reserve inflated housing bubble. I’ll keep that in mind.

    2. Also, everyone who bought into Naomi Klein’s thesis ought to be embarassed – you cannot look at the left’s behavior over the last 6 years and conclude anything but that they’ve used the crises as a means to enact their long-cherished agenda of cementing and further empowering a top-down economic agenda, and giving the loot to their corporate buddies.

      1. Blah blah blah. If libertarians don’t have to claim credit for their contribution to Republican policy, liberals don’t have to claim credit for the Obama agenda.

        1. Fair deal. Unless, of course, you’ve actually supported Obama’s agenda.

    3. Well, since you didn’t bother making an argument I won’t bother to reply with one, but this:

      they’ve used a crisis as a means to enact their long-cherished agenda of destroying the welfare state and giving the loot to their corporate buddies.

      is obvious jive, right? In what way has that agenda been enacted?

      1. Apparently, “spending more money on entitlements” = “destroying the welfare state” in Tony’s world.

      2. I should say they’ve tried but not succeeded. We’ll see if the GOP takes over all branches, though they do seem to prefer to enact their schemes when there’s a Democrat around to blame.

        1. Hmm. The way you put it makes them sound like they’re not really all that keen on dismantling the welfare state after all – if they only really try when the Dems are in power.

          1. And Dems like to hatch THEIR schemes when they have all the power.

            But dumbshits are okay with either side getting away with it, for some reason.

    4. [::head bobbing furiously::]

    5. “A crisis, any crisis, is the best environment for the liberal or social conservative causes to thrive”

      FIFY’d. No charge.

  33. People are too distracted to notice when you’re dismantling Medicare and giving the loot to Big Insurance

    As opposed to dismantling giving the loot to Big Pharma, which is what Obamacare does.

  34. passed a record number of “economically significant” regulations costing the economy $100 million or more and, says economist Veronique de Rugy, spent more money issuing and enforcing federal regulations than any previous chief executive.

    Hate to pick a bone but some people reading this are going to think that those regulations cost businesses a total of 100 million instead of 100 million for each regulation.

    1. Pretty hard to see that as picking nits. The difference is *not* trivial.

  35. True. Due to the inter libertarian Treaty Between The Four Houses, I never go after Gillespie.

  36. they think the us is climbing out from the crisis.. many people who predicted the crisis don’t. the economic structure is not only unchanged, but arguably worse due to all the bailout entities which place burden. there hasn’t been any groundbreaking technology such as the invention of computer to so drastically boost new ways of doing business to lift this economy.

    but if you buy into this bullshit about how spending has helped based on a few months of small bounce in a 3 year decline, it’s easy to tell why the author is angry and attacking people who propose austerity.

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