Saturday, October 11, 2008

Partisan Hackery

I've long believed Bob Herbert to be an unthinking partisan hack. I say unthinking because his articles are straight liberal talking points. One could say he is a committed, consistent liberal, but dogmatic ideological purity, whether liberal, conservative, or libertarian is not something to be celebrated.

There is a lot of blame to go around, but blaming the Republicans only is just stupid. This particular passage annoyed me:
Voters in the George W. Bush era gave the Republican Party nearly complete control of the federal government. Now the financial markets are in turmoil, top government and corporate leaders are on the verge of panic and scholars are dusting off treatises that analyzed the causes of the Great Depression.


Alternatively, one could argue that the Democrats have controlled congress since 2006 and their complete inability to do anything has resulted in the situation we have currently. I mean, this thing didn't start until the Democrats controlled congress. Ergo, the Democrats must be to blame.

Obviously, this logic is simplistic and fallacious. Yet, so are arguments about how the Republicans are solely to blame.

I don’t for a moment think that the Democratic Party has been free of egregious problems. But there are two things I find remarkable about the G.O.P., and especially its more conservative wing, which is now about all there is.

The first is how wrong conservative Republicans have been on so many profoundly important matters for so many years. The second is how the G.O.P. has nevertheless been able to persuade so many voters of modest means that its wrongheaded, favor-the-rich, country-be-damned approach was not only good for working Americans, but was the patriotic way to go.

In a moment of unusual candor, Reagan’s own chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, Martin Feldstein, gave three reasons for the growth of the deficit: the president’s tax cuts, the increased defense spending and the interest on the expanding national debt.


Personally, I find the keep cutting taxes because deficits don't matter to be the opposite of conservatism. What the Bush administration has been is economic populist and authoritarian, not conservative as far as I am concerned. Even so, I don't hear anybody saying that the profligacy of the federal government is the reason for this turmoil.

So, I am not sure that Herbert makes his original point:
For the nitwits who vote for the man or woman they’d most like to have over for dinner, or hang out at a barbecue with, I suggest you take a look at how well your 401(k) is doing, or how easy it will be to meet the mortgage this month, or whether the college fund you’ve been trying to build for your kids is as robust as you’d like it to be.


He could have followed up that paragraph with a call for Washington, both sides of the aisle, to act like grown-ups. Bush needs to get his head out of his ass, but Pelosi needs to grow up and stop trying to score political points with speeches before a vote that could decide the fate of our economy. Likewise, House republicans need to grow up and not claim a petty speech by the other side is the reason they voted against the bill.

Both parties are filled with fucking morons and self-aggrandizing assholes. I can understand how the schadenfreude of financial capitalism collapsing appeals to progressives, and they think the necessity of a bailout justifies their belief that more government intervention in the economy over the long-term is better. But that's wrong.

Nobody fulls understands the crisis. If anything started it, it was homeowners taking out risky mortgages, for which both parties are to blame if politicians, rather than the homeowners themselves, are to blame at all.

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