Lessons from conservatism’s ‘death’

In a couple weeks, America will mark an important anniversary: the day that this country was attacked by an arrogant, uncomprehending enemy. I speak, of course, of the September 1, 2009 publication of the book “The Death of Conservatism” by Sam Tanenhaus.

Still vaporous from the 2008 Transfiguration of Obama, Tanenhaus, the editor of The New York Times Book Review and the author of a biography of Whittaker Chambers, declared in 2008 that conservatism had expired.

Reading “The Death of Conservatism” today is every bit as funny as you’d expect. Doing so, I found myself playing a game — I would read a sentence, then mentally replace the terms “conservatism” or “right” with “liberal” or “left” and see which made more sense:

Conservatism is … glaringly disconnected from the realities now besetting America.

Even as the collapse of the nation’s financial system has driven a nation of 300 million to the brink of the deepest economic crisis since the Great Depression, conservatives remain strangely apart, trapped in the irrelevant causes of another day, deaf to the actual conversation unfolding across the land.

[Conservatives] continue to intone the stale phrases of movement politics.

For many years the Right, in its position of dominance, felt no need to think hard, least of all about itself.

Indeed, by changing a few words Tanenhaus could republish “The Death of Conservatism” as “The Death of Liberalism.” But his belly-flop points to a much deeper and more serious problem — the warped and dishonest liberal view of history. According to Tanenhaus, conservatism, as inspired by the likes of Edmund Burke, Michael Oakeshott and Whittaker Chambers, needs to return to the realism that its great leaders once demanded. It needs to acknowledge human progress and the fact that government can be an aid to human flourishing. Thus Whittaker Chambers’s advice to William F. Buckley and others to give up trying to overturn the New Deal and focus instead on battles that can be won. Conservatism, writes Tanenhaus, has been a battle between those who wanted to preserve basic American liberties and traditions yet could also adapt to important changes, and a “revanchist” wing that not only dug in but tried to overturn established advances in human progress. According to Tanenhaus, after the financial crisis and the election of Barack Obama as messiah, all that remained of the right was the revanchist wing. And you could hear its death rattles as the inaugural crowds wept and cheered at the coming of Obama.

The mistake Tanenhaus makes is common among liberals. He simply refuses to engage with any conservative ideas and refuses to admit that since the 1960s there has been any movement towards revanchist radicalism on the left. To Tanenhaus, there is a straight line from FDR to JFK to Barack Obama. The words “George McGovern” do not appear in “The Death of Conservatism.” There is very little talk about welfare reform. Tom Hayden and Jane Fonda are not mentioned. Tanenhaus notes with approval that William F. Buckley drove the Birchers and other nuts out of the conservative movement in 1966; he never considers that the Democratic Party had a similar problem on its hands that it never resolved (tonight’s special guest on “Countdown with Keith Olbermann”: Al Gore).


    The point is:  Is Conservatism dead?  No.  Even after the elections of 2008 and all the chest beating by the liberal pundits, Conservatism survived.  Just look to the Tea Party movement.  Now, is liberalism dead after 2010?  No again.  Both political philosophies are like the legendary “Phoenix” and will arise from the ashes of defeat eventually.

  • Anonymous

    There are really three different groups:
    (1) Tea Party conservatives believe in classical liberalism – small frugal limited government, free enterprise, low taxation and empowerment of the individual not the state to make the important choices in one’s life.
    (2) Democrats believe in progressive liberalism – large, expensive, expansive unlimited government, enterprise shackled by regulations and controlled by government and dependent on government patronage and subsidies, high taxation and empowerment of the state not the individual to make important choices in one’s life from what you can eat to the values taught to your children at school to when they pull the plug on you at the end of life.
    (3) Establishment Republicans/Compassionate conservatives – believe in large, expensive, unlimited government directed mainly at preserving our global empire, lower levels of regulation written with lobbyists to allow their crony capitalist buddies to forestall real competition, high taxation but not the incredibly high taxation favored by Democrats and empowerment of the state not the individual – essentially Democrat-lite plus being patriotic rather than blatantly Anti-American.

    For years Establishment Republicans have been getting elected by Tea Party Conservatives who had no other choice. Now we  Tea Party Conservatives do have a choice. We carried the last Congressional election. We may or may not carry the next election. But given the fact that under Obama we have increased our debt as a percent of GDP by 15% then 9+% then 9+% and given the fact that this is absolutely unsustainable, that even a 100% tax on all 326,000 millionaires and billionaires would only yield $126B (about the deficit of April 2011) in the long run either the progressive liberals continue this path to continuing stagnation followed by stagflation and ruin or the American people kick them out and go for a genuine alternative. 

    I will bet on Americans to make the right choice once the issues are clear. This is like the LBJ-Goldwater period. Goldwater framed the issues. It took the disaster of LBJ and the Great Society and ultimately of Carter to finally make it clear so we elected the solution, Reagan. Personally though I think there is a pretty good chance that the 2012 election will be more like the 1980 election than the 1964 election.

    • Gridmark

      The problem with the Tea Party is that they are a one trick pony. Numerous things have to be done to govern the country. Not a word on jobs and rebuilding our infrastructure. Just tired of seeing our country neglected with ideology. 

      • Anonymous

        From another angle, realize that for well more than a century America sustained the highest rate of economic growth in history and created the most powerful nation in history – without a federal income tax or federal corporate tax or federal capital gains tax or alphabet soup of regulatory agencies. Government did some useful infrastructure things like sponsoring the construction of the Erie Canal but 99% of it was done by individuals pursuing their individual dreams and creating an incomparable nation in the process. Personally, while I do think that many modern Americans who have become dependent on the state and on living off wealth expropriated (unsurprising in a country with 50% pay no income taxes and 70% are paid more by government than they pay in) have lost the drive to treasure liberty and the opportunity to make their own way and run their own lives, I think far more have the same urge to liberty, to have pride in pulling their weight and competence in running their own lives. I find it quite interesting to see that states rated as high in Economic Freedom (using the Index of Economic Freedom), states like Texas, have massive immigration coming from states like New York that rank low in economic freedom. Or that when Califoria ranked high in economic freedom it was a magnet for internal immigration among Americans but when it converted to its current low level of economic freedom American natives emigrated in droves to economically free states. 
        Free people create jobs, wealth and functional societies. 

  • Gridmark


    There is plenty of blame to go around, and when a party comes to power after years of not having that power, they feel that they have to catch up with lost time and spend on their pet projects.

    Now, I saw the failure of Bush at least in 2004. Oh, the economy looked good on the surface, but many things were not adding up. Bush was handed an economy with low deficits. It was not perfect, but many things were manageable. And we do have to recognize that 9/11 was a jolt against our economy. And it was the right thing to go to Afghanistan and fight the war on terror. 

    The problem we run into is that Bush borrowed for tax cuts, he also borrowed for war, when he decided to abandon Afghanistan for Iraq. (Actually his administration thought the war would only cost 50 billion dollars, but the quagmire made it go up to a trillion dollars and when it is done, maybe 4 trillion dollars)

    What Bush did was a “guns and butter” economics and to a certain point Obama is doing the same thing. The last time we had a “guns and butter” economics was under LBJ (Vietnam and the Great Society) and that caused some 15 years of inflation. Nixon saw the inflation and tried to deal with it with “wage and price controls” and failed. Ford tried dealing with inflation with “Win” buttons and failed. Carter did not know what to do, but in his last year, he got Paul Volcker in at the Fed. Under Reagan, Volcker raised interest rates to their highest levels and beat inflation. And from there on, we had 25 years of non-inflationary growth with unemployment coming down. In Bush’s case, he decided to borrow the money for his tax cuts and for his war. And it really leads up to where we are at. That is not to say that social programs need to be cut. But the two parties are equally responsible for this mess. The “guns and butter” economics alone may cause the economy to falter for the next 20 years, just as much as the LBJ “guns and butter” caused 15 years of inflation.

    The lesson here is if you have a war, then you need to tax to pay for that war. And that will actually make the electorate think twice on what a president is doing.

    But, as I said, I saw the failure of his trickle down in 2004. Yeah, the economy looked good, but more and more of our manufacturing was going overseas. And sitting in the Midwest, it did not make any sense. While I heard the building boom in Nevada, Arizona, and Florida, I did not pay much attention to it. Evidently, the politicians decided to send our manufacturing jobs overseas and target housing for jobs. All during this time, all I saw was our jobs going overseas, our money going to Iraq, deficits and debt, and the neglect of our infrastructure. It made no sense. And of course, we felt like we were left out. And even to this day, we, middle class, is being left out. I have not heard anyone talk about us except Donald Trump. 

    Now, getting to deficits. Yes, they matter. But as I recall, Hannity and others said that they were okay as part of the GDP.  It is all laughable as they say what they want to say, and no one was talking about the plight of our jobs. 

    On the quantitative easy, it did not work, but tax cuts is not working either, and printing of money is not working either. Nothing is working as the housing bubble left too much housing on the market and there are no jobs. And as we shipped over 6 million jobs overseas and losing 1/3 of our manufacturing. They can stimulate all they want and they cannot get the country going again as we lost the jobs and all the stimulus is used up. There is nothing to stimulate. And that is what a depression is. There is no demand, there is nothing to get us out of this. The democrats are spending on useless programs like cash for clunkers and more extension of unemployment benefits and not working on long term issues. The republicans want more tax cuts in which we had the Bush tax cuts all these years and we still lost the jobs and did not have prosperity, the fed is printing money for low interest rates and a low dollar so that we can export more with 1/3 manufacturing, and states wants jobs and they go to casinos for jobs. Again, they are all wrong and they are making it all worse.

    You have to get away from failed ideologies and go back to our roots of the 1950’s and 1960’s and invest in our country. We have to create that upward movement for everyone, so that wealth can be created for everyone and not just for the wealthy. And again, we have to invest in our country, in our people, and in the future. But the problem is that we are broke. For years, we did not pay attention to globalization, for years we did not feel the need to invest in our country. And it is almost too late as politicians keep on bickering over stupid ideologies and they are leaving out the middle class.

    All the Tea Party did was create more havoc for the stock market as the right wing of our country is only interest in cutting the deficit and nothing more. Not a word on jobs. Well, you have to do many things and not one thing. And the Tea Party is just a one trick pony. The republicans only come out as a one trick pony. And I am tired of seeing segments of our economy completely ignored. 

    The right can talk about the constitution, free markets, and God and country, but people want jobs. Nothing else matters. It is always the economy. But ideology took over our country, and our country is being ruined. 

    But to reiterate when you hear economists saying we need to spend, it makes sense, even though it will create deficits, because you don’t want to fall into a depression. But I am afraid that they will spend in the wrong areas, as no one seems to know what to do. If you create austerity as the republicans want it, we will definitely fall into a depression. 

    But as I said before, it was the roaring 20’s under Bush and we face a depression today. We lost our jobs and we lost all stimulus. And now we see what Roosevelt was up against. 

    • Anonymous

      I agree that Bush blew it in failing to use his veto pen to reduce deficit spending. A great disappointment. That said, it is worth looking at the actual data:
      The key data are to look at the increase in debt as a percent of GDP comparing the Presidents AND the Congress:
      Clinton + Democrat Congress: Increase debt 1.07% of GDP/year
      Clinton + Republican Congress: Decrease debt by 1.53% of GDP/year
      Bush + Republican Congress: Increase debt 1.08%/year
      Bush + Democrat Congress: Increase debt 2.83% of GDP/year
      Obama + Democrat Congress: Increase debt 12.53% of GDP/year
      Source of data: http://www.usgovernmentspending.com/federal_debt_chart.html.
      Bottom line: Congress controls the level of deficit spending and in every case the Democrats spend like mad – BUT the spending synergy with Obama is unprecedented in human history

  • Anonymous

    The singular difference between Conservatives and Liberals, particularly those of the “progressive” ilk, is that Conservatives recognize the limits and consequences of liberty and this thing we call the American experiment; while progressives have stubbornly refused to accept that there is any finality to the things they perceive as “civil rights” and have assumed this avant-garde mentality of pushing things beyond reasonable limit. To them everything is OK and nothing is wrong… they’re so open to taking risks for the common good that they almost always fail to see the bridge out further ahead of the road. That strain of thinking has caused a loss of standards across the board for just about every issue, all in the name of “human progress”. Then when things don’t go as thought or to their liking they call for inane regulation and oversight to correct those ills, again for the common good. 

    I ,for one have had enough of their brand of progress. From what I can see so have the majority of the American people. Conservatism is certainly not dead but liberalism may soon be on life support, at least I hope so. We’re in a very dangerous time in the history of our Country. These morons are so brainwashed into believing they are the progenitors of freeom that they will not give up so easily. I fear for the coming election cycle and the ensuing years. It could get rough and I pray to God we all get through this OK.

    • Gridmark

      ****To them everything is OK and nothing is wrong…****

      I am in the middle and I could see everything you say about the left, just as much to the right.

      I wonder where the republican party was at when Bush said “stay the course” and we could see he was running the economy and two wars into the ground. What is it with tax cuts and then laissez-faire? Do you do that with your own property. If you have a leak in a roof, do you fix it or do you just let it go and get worse? In 2004, Bush came to my state and said “free trade is good” and we watched the factories close. And with his stay the course, everything was OK and nothing is wrong. The same with the wars as he abandoned (for five years) Afghanistan for Iraq. He ignored the quagmire for over three years and still stayed the course. What kind of deranged mind did Bush have? The only thing that explains it is that he was a right wing Christian social conservative, who envisioned his ideals and ignored the consequences. 

      Capitalism, while being the best form of an economic system, still is not perfect. And it has to be tweaked time to time. You talk of limits and consequences, and all that ignorance and arrogance on the right brings on more consequences and then people run to the left for answers and then you have foolish spending. 

      Yes, we are in a very dangerous time in our country. We have globalization in which you have some 2 billion cheap laborers and we had some 57,000 factories have closed in a decade. The middle class is continually being attacked or ignored as the tax cuts went to the rich and the middle class lost wages or jobs. And without jobs, we cannot get our country moving again. We saw the Bush tax cuts for years, but they did not solve problems. And as we see today, all that stimulus is gone. Those tax cuts don’t have the punch as we lost the jobs anyway. So what we saw was the same as what Roosevelt saw. A roaring 20’s under Bush and today a near depression.

      So when I hear the right preach about the constitution, free market principles, and God and country, it is just more ignorance and arrogance with their ideology and not seeing the things we see in middle America. ****And to them (the right) everything is OK and nothing is wrong.****

      • Anonymous

        You just proved my point, albeit unknowingly. The rules of a free market system allow for the things you perceive as inherently bad for a reason. They’re not… they’re just consequences of an ever changing market. Just as the seas ebb and flow, so does the market. A product is only as good as it is a viable commodity for consumers to trade or purchase. When the value of a product drops because it has become obsolete due to innovation and improvement, that product will cease to be produced or else its production is limited. Hence, factories close, jobs are lost. etc. It isn’t perfect, there we agree, but where one door closes another surely will open. Necessity is the mother of invention and the next big thing is sure to come. Jobs will still be there to be had. Factories will open.

        This is what liberals don’t get. Rather than staying out of the way and allowing the market place to flourish on its own according to its own rules, they have seen how they can influence elections by introducing so-called “standards” and regulations over industries under the guise of creating or saving jobs, or for environmental reasons; in some cases forcing products onto the consumers that they do not want or need. They are strangling innovation by not seeing the bridge out ahead of the road. And sometimes forcing the premature closing of those factories you claim to care so much for. And you have the audacity to shake the disddainful finger of ignorance and arrogance at Conservatives who have only strived to ensure the free market system and free trade is not overregulated to the point of non-production?! Please. Your arrogance and ignorance is shining through, Mr. Gridmark. You clearly do not understand what the free market system or free trade are all about. You have conflated Democrat talking points with the pros vs. cons of a free market system and made them some raison d’etre for regulation and oversight or to rail against Republicans or Conservatives with.

        • Gridmark

          No, let us take a look at this further. When you talk of free market, you have to include 2 billion cheap laborers who entered the market when communism fell. We produced goods when communism closed doors to those countries. Now, we have 2 billion more people who want jobs. And they will win as they have cheap labor, and free market wins by destroying the middle class. We have seen the tax cuts and all it did was ignore that the middle class was going to  lose jobs and wages. And let us add automation and more loss of jobs, lean principles and more loss of jobs, and mergers and consolidation and more loss of jobs. 

          You say the factories will reopen and I say, what widgets will be produced here and not some other country? No one has answered that one yet. And no one has said anything on what will replace 57,000 factories or 6 million jobs. The products that was once produced here are made in other countries.

          And that is where the ignorance and arrogance comes in. You live in you ideological world and you leave the middle class behind. 

          You talk about other opportunities. Yes, for years we had an upward movement. One company fails and another starts up again. But that is not the case today. Case in point, Apple, if they make new products, then they are made in China. We did not benefit. And it goes on with TV’s, microwaves, textiles, and anything else that is not bolted down. And even new jobs require less people. 

          What we did not do, was to invest in our country, in our people, and in the future. As we just sat around with tax cuts and lost the jobs. We are experiencing a new phenomenon of having 2 billion cheap laborers and globalization. And as everyone including Obama has embraced free trade, our jobs still keep going overseas. The severity of globalization cannot be underestimated. And we look at what everyone is doing, the democrats are spending in the wrong areas, the republicans want more tax cuts, the fed is printing money, and the states wants casinos for jobs. All hilarious as nothing is stimulating the economy. 

          It is interesting listening to the economists and pundits on all the programs. How they can be so wrong. 

          Guiliani said last night on Piers Morgan, that we have previously had tax cuts and we had recoveries. Not a word on globalization and the loss of jobs.

          Veronique De Rugy, economist from George Mason Univ., on C-span, saying that it was okay for us to lose jobs and that Wal Mart was hiring.

          William F. Cohen, that we will trade more with India. Well, why would they when the have China nearby with our jobs and making the products we used to make.

          David Keating, a right wing hack, saying we trade with out states and we can trade with anyone in the world, and people calling in saying he is wrong. Just another one in denial and wants to destroy the middle class.

          And others saying, after adjusting the failure of free trade, that we will export our high end products.

          I suspect the New World Order is winning. Yes, we all will be working for cheap labor. They are at the point now, that they have one. 

          And I almost forgot. The people at Foxconn in China who took our jobs, will be replaced by 1 million robots, putting them out on the streets as wages in China is getting too high. Comical and sad. So, what we will have is a high unemployment problem for the whole world. 

          You need to do the following in which we have not done for two or three decades and get away from failed ideology so that we can back up with what we lost.

          Invest in the country: Energy independence, infrastructure, high speed internet for all, a new air traffic control system that will save 12% on fuel, etc.

          Invest in the people: Mandatory vocational training for all as we have to deal with a globalization

          Invest in the futrue: Federal research grants to universities for new technologies so that they can come out to the private sector and create jobs. 

          And I leave you with this:

          1. What widgets can we make here and not some other country? I have no answer for this, but I find the severity of this that we need to recognize the problem.
          2. What products can we make that will fill in those 57,000 factories or 6 million jobs?
          3. What will 2 billion cheap laborers, automation, lean principles, and mergers and consolidation do to the middle class wages and jobs?
          4. What small business can be supported in communities where factories have closed?
          5. If you have tax cuts to spend into the economy, just how does that work when half the products are foreign made?
          6. We are told that we need to export more. So, how do we export more with 1/3 less manufacturing?

          • Anonymous

            Wow… convolute much? More conflation of loosely related subjects.

            Lok, you’re the one sounding ideological here. Marxist really. Your first mistake is presuming it is your responsibility to provide 2 billion people jobs and a living. It is not your sole responsibility nor is it the responsibility of any government. Only to provide a system that allows for individual freedom to succeed and/or fail in their effort. Each of those 2 billion people are individually responsible to put their God given talents to work to provide for self and family. Failure to do so is that person’s failure not yours or mine Who do you think you are to assume responsibility for those 2 billion? That’s the height of arrogance. You are not God, sir. Nor is any government an omnipotent power and they should not act as such.This isn’t to say I don’t care about those 2 billion people. I absolutely do, and I can tell by your misguided passion and rhetoric you do as well. But you do not benefit a starving person with the promise of a crust of bread. Instead provide them the means to provide sustenance for themselves and their families and stay out of the way of them being able to stand on their own. Who put you in charge of protecting people from the trials of life? You learn from living and sometimes that entails failing. You do no one any favors by taking away their capacity to succeed and/or fail. Again, not seeing the bridge out ahead of the road.

            Humanity has not been perfect but it did a heck of a lot better on it’s own before it became infected with the backwards ideologies of Rouseau, Marx, and progressives like George Bernard Shaw who convinced countless poor souls their efforts were being exploited. The labor movement has done seemingly irrevocable damage to the thought processes and psyche of people the globe over for nearly 200 years with false claims and promises. That was the true exploitation… to chain and shackle people into a self deceptive mindset of hopelessness and the perceived inability to change their situation. That’s why the message of Obama was so powerful to the unsuspecting proletariat. Free stuff always sounds great until you find out the strings attached. When people awaken from the opiate induced slumber that was thrust upon them they will see the real exploitation for the evil it truly is. That awakening enevitably leads people to a more conservative mindset and it will not be overcome because experience will always trump rhetoric for those who take heed to the lessons of life.

          • Gridmark

            I have tried to talk pragmatically. Whether we like it or not, 2 billion cheap laborers has been added to the free market. And that means that our middle class loses with jobs and wages, exactly what has been happening since Clinton signed the free trade agreements. You want to sit on an ideology and no matter what happens, as you say, “to them everything is OK and nothing is wrong.” Those are your words and you are living up to it. 

            There is nothing Marxist in anything I say. It is a matter of investing in our country to deal with the rest of the world instead of being an ostrich with his head in the ground. It is looking to the future instead of being stuck on ideologies and paradigms. 

            Every time I start these conversations with someone, in the back of my mind, I always know that I am dealing with a right wing nut. 

            The weather changes all the time and you don’t use the umbrella if it is not raining. And the same with tax cuts or any other ideologies, you have to deal with the problems instead of ignoring them and being arrogant about them. Your thinking is no different than that of Bush -it is tax cuts and then laissez-faire. And stay the course. And we all know what happened. 

            You have talked out of both sides of your mouth. You talk about free market principles and then you don’t want to recognize 2 billion cheap laborers. Well, in the process, we lost the jobs. But denial lives on in your camp. Yeah, democrats may be dumb, but republicans have proven they are a bunch of nuts. 

          • Anonymous

            That’s hilarious. The “weatherman” allusion was great. I love how in the same breath you claim nothing you’ve said was Marxist, yet you’re quoting some of the most eminent Marxists of the last 40 years. Or, was that just coincidence? I don’t think so. The dictatorship of the proletariate and useful idiots are abound.

            At the risk of sounding even loonier to you, you do realize there are only about 300 million people in the United States right? I toyed with your 2 billion laborers figure for the sake of conversation and you return with claims of practicality/pragmatism. Well, the U.S. share of those 2 billion is a drop in the bucket and if we can’t even do right by that small percentage of laborers; how in the heck can we do this for 2 billion the world over? Most of those laborers already live in “Democratic Socialist Republics” and where’s that gotten them? Poverty, that’s what. How is the U.S. following those failed examples practical? Purge the kool aid, bro. Those experiments have failed over and over again and still you think by employing the same lunacy other countries have we’re somehow going to pull ourselves and the rest of the world with us out of this pit of despair? If you’d been paying attention, the little bit of “change” that the President and his Comrades in Congress have been able to get away with the last two years are what have made things exponentially worse. The spoils of the class warfare they have conducted are truly for their keeping.

            You think I’m a nut? Dude, you exude left wing nuttiness. Redistribution of wealth and higher taxes do not and will not work. A recent article asked:

            “What would the United States gain if in fact the government did confiscate the wealth of the so-called rich and taxed at 100% all the income above $200,000.00 per household per year?

            Using the latest statistics from the IRS, in 2004 there were 2.7 million adults with a net worth above $1.5 million. If the government were to seize all the wealth above the $1.5 million threshold, Washington would realize a one-time windfall of $4.0 Trillion — and no one would again attempt to accumulate wealth. Assuming it was applied to the national debt (unlikely with the Left in charge as they would spend it) the national debt would only be reduced from$14.5 Trillion to $10.0 Trillion.”

            You also chide deregulation as laissez-faire but, it is over regulation that has, again, been a detriment to business; resulting in a higher unemployment rate. Deregulation has never meant no regulation whatsoever, only a return to common sense regs that won’t yeild undesireable consequences. Why is that so hard for the anti-corporate left to understand? The simplest solutions are often derided by you lot as if to insinuate that they are ignorant and base. If you guys would stop thinking of yourselves as smarter than everyone else, you might start to see that the issues we face together aren’t nearly as complex as you believe. Instead you regurgitate statistical noise in effort to paint yourselves as an expert and almost always end up confusing the solution with the problem.

          • Gridmark

            Yes, we are only 300 million people and that is the point. 2 billion cheap laborers means that our middle class loses jobs and wages. It is the enormous numbers against us. I was in Europe a couple months ago and watching BBC, they were talking about Croatia and how they were losing their ship building to China. And the list goes on and on. I have been watching since 2004 as Bush had his fake economy of tax cuts on borrowed money and then “stayed the course.” Yeah, we lost 6 million jobs over the decade. 

            What’s worse than a dumb democrat, is an arrogant party who thinks they know better in economics but destroys the middle class and the country. While the democrats are fumbling around and do not know what to do, the republicans have secretly destroyed the middle class. We saw the tax cuts and the laissez-faire. Yeah, “stay the course” and bring down the economy and two wars. 

            And just where was Limbaugh and Hannity and every other right winger when Cheney said “deficits don’t matter.” What a joke the republicans have become. They will blame, but will not look at themselves in the mirror. 

          • Anonymous

            Look, I’m not about to apologize for the ill advised statements of the former VP or pundits. Of course deficits matter! That’s the whole point… every major economy in the world is beholden to the deficits they have incurred by borrowing money to maintain the status quo; i.e. entitlements and an ever expanding government payroll. There is only so much money in the world and quantative easing hasn’t exactly worked as well as the economic intelligentsia theorized. Most money is useless and devoid of real value and there isn’t enough of it anywhere on the planet that can even begin to address the mess.

            I can tell you’re an informed individual. I actually think this recent spate of communication between us here has uncovered some common gound. We both are concerned with the same issues but our ideas on how to address them are vastly different. I am less hands-on and it sounds like you’re more comfortable in the driver’s seat. That’s OK… but please be open enough to take some suggestions every now and then. I know my side hasn’t been the greatest at this either. However, please remember the Democrats enjoyed a majority in Congress the last two years of the Bush administration and they assumed the reigns of the economy then. They drove it starting back then and we saw what the increase in spending got us. Yes, Bush was weak spined then for going along with it. But lets be a bit more truthful about how we got here. It wasn’t Republican or Conservative principle that got us here but willful dismissal of those priciples for the sake of appearing non-partisan. Blame conservatives if it makes you feel better but the absolute fact is, Conservatism was abandoned in 2006 for the sake of ecumenical politics. The greatest lie the Democrats have ever told is that Conservtive policies don’t work.They absolutely do so long as they are adhered to with unwavering tenacity. The shame here is that because of the willy-nilly approach of the last administration we now have all these parrots on MSNBC and CNN claiming Conservatism does not work and point to the least Conservative Republican’s deeds as proof.

            Gotta love propaganda and the spin machine.

          • Gridmark

            Going to start a new thread at the top of this page.

          • Anonymous

            Actually I think of them as 2 billion more customers for my company’s products, products produced in the US

          • Gridmark

            I have tried to talk pragmatically. Whether we like it or not, 2 billion cheap laborers has been added to the free market. And that means that our middle class loses with jobs and wages, exactly what has been happening since Clinton signed the free trade agreements. You want to sit on an ideology and no matter what happens, as you say, “to them everything is OK and nothing is wrong.” Those are your words and you are living up to it. 

            There is nothing Marxist in anything I say. It is a matter of investing in our country to deal with the rest of the world instead of being an ostrich with his head in the ground. It is looking to the future instead of being stuck on ideologies and paradigms. 

            Every time I start these conversations with someone, in the back of my mind, I always know that I am dealing with a right wing nut. 

            The weather changes all the time and you don’t use the umbrella if it is not raining. And the same with tax cuts or any other ideologies, you have to deal with the problems instead of ignoring them and being arrogant about them. Your thinking is no different than that of Bush -it is tax cuts and then laissez-faire. And stay the course. And we all know what happened. 

            You have talked out of both sides of your mouth. You talk about free market principles and then you don’t want to recognize 2 billion cheap laborers. Well, in the process, we lost the jobs. But denial lives on in your camp. Yeah, democrats may be dumb, but republicans have proven they are a bunch of nuts. 

      • Anonymous

        re Bush and his deficits, the actual data are posted on a nearby comment (a few comments above). Let it suffice to say that in response to a severe dotcom collapse and aggravated by the 9/11 attack Bush allowed deficit spending averaging an increment of debt of 1.08% of GDP with a Republican Congress. When a Democrat Congress came in he basically let them have their way without vetos in exchange for war funding and the rate of deficit increased to 2.83% of GDP. Also importantly he did not fight hard enough against the Frank/Dodd driven expansion of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. 

        A flawed President. I think the underlying problem was that he grew up in a Democrat-lite noblesse oblige atmosphere of “compassionate conservatism” focused on support of the status quo and never really was a big C movement Conservative who understood the intellectual foundations of America, classical liberalism – small frugal limited government, free enterprise, low taxation and empowerment of the individual not the state to make the important decisions in life. 

    • Anonymous

      For Hex_Omega
      excellent comment.

  • riseabove

    I have struggled for more than two years now trying to articulate why the left has so vastly misunderstood the right and I still find it difficult to explain, but I know that just because somebody writes or speaks something, it doesn’t make it so. Regarding the NYT’s article, I’ve come to the conclusion that the trouble with paid writers, reporters and political pundits is that the words always seem to be shadowed by somebody else’s money.