Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Reality Has a Well-Known Liberal Bias

Time magazine's Michael Scherer has a new blog post up-- 'Dark Days Ahead: Why Republicans Need Xmas Vacation'-- of the now-ubiquitous 'the GOP is an outdated party without ideas that speak to modern realities' nature. It notes, correctly, that the current economic crisis is making it harder for the free-market cheerleaders to sell their wares. As Paul Krugman said to Bill Maher a few months ago, "There are no atheists in foxholes and there are no libertarians in financial crises."

He looks at the changing political landscape, and the different ways the two parties have responded to the crisis, and concludes, in what would make the GOP proud... Eh, fuck it, they should just try to market themselves better. He discusses a strategist who says that "Republicans... should claim the mantle of innovative government, not just small government." Yes, their style of governing has been very innovative.

But here to me was the more news-worthy part of his post-
With his own Rolodex under strain, House Majority Leader John Boehner has put out a public call for any economist who can give some rationale for opposing the Obama stimulus package. The response is so far less than impressive. At best, conservatives have retrenched to argue that the stimulus should focus more on tax cuts then spending. [BLUEDUCK'S NOTE: Tax cuts! Genius! Why didn't anyone think of that before!] There is a highly technical debate going on between economists about why spending on public works should provide more stimulation than tax cuts for business and the wealthy. (In the classic textbooks, at least, the spending argument beats the tax cut argument.) It does not help the conservatives that their principal academic reference point to argue for tax cuts is a controversial interpretation of a paper written by Christina Romer, the expert on depression economics who is helping to draft Obama's spend-heavy stimulus plan.

Yep, that's GOP leadership in a nutshell: "My blind ideology tells me I am against this. Now I just need to find someone, anyone, to tell me why."

He then notes that the likely response to this dangerous dose of reality will be for Republicans to "retrench to a guerrilla war, a tactical battle much like the one adopted by McCain at the end of the general election." And that worked out excellently for everyone.

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