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The GOP’s Ongoing Bush Problem

George W Bush

Andrew Sullivan correctly notes:

When you have a party that hasn’t been able to repudiate the worst administration in modern times, and actually still attempt to hail it as some kind of achievement with respect to Iraq or Afghanistan or the debt, you cannot persuade anyone you have changed, or want to change.

One can argue if the George W. Bush administration was “the worst administration in modern times” but it is impossible to consider it a success (and getting bogged down in the appropriate adjectives and assessments misses the point in any event).

The bottom line remains that there has been no serious assessment of the Bush administration by the party and its candidates.  This is a problem I noted back during the campaign when I noted Mitt Romney’s lack of a response to “The Bush Question:”

I have long thought that this is the the question that a Republican nominee was going to have to answer going into this campaign cycle.  Obama was always going to be a vulnerable incumbent because of the state of the economy, however he was also always going to have the ability to correctly note that he inherited the worst economic downtown in almost a century from his predecessor.   I know that Romney supporters will note, correctly, that Bush is not running.  They can also rightly note that the president has to take responsibility for the the last four years.  However, that does not erase the Bush administration and its clear shortcomings which includes two wars and Medicare expansion funded by debt and tax cuts that did not produce economic growth.  These are not minor issues that can be ignored, especially since Romney’s basic plan is that tax cuts will create growth and that his views of foreign policy seem grounded in the notion that we must be strong and resolute (and apologize for nothing, because he is certain of the rightness of American actions and strength).

If one is going to be fair, one has to admit that tax cuts as the cornerstone of domestic policy and resolute strength as the basis of foreign policy sounds an awful lot like George W. Bush.

As such, Romney needs an answer to the question of how he isn’t Bush, and it should have been something that he had been discussing for months (instead of just pretending, for the most part, that the Bush administration did not exist).

Clearly, this is no longer Romney’s problem, but it remains the party’s problem.

Indeed, I was thinking of this yesterday (and before I read Sullivan’s post) when I saw Bob McDonnell, the Republican Governor of Virginia on Fox News yesterday.*  I only caught a bit of the interview as I was in a waiting room as the time, but I was struck by the fact that he was making an assertion about failed policies of the current administration and the need to employ Republican policies instead.  Now, I was not surprised he said this, as he is a Republican politician and the president is a Democrat. However, what was striking was that the basic policy outline of the GOP at the moment is drawn mostly from the Bush playlist:  cutting taxing and a strong national defense (if not a war with Iran) with vague handing waving about cutting the size of government (specifically the deficit and the debt) and letting the free market do its thing.

The problems for these claims are as follows:

1)  It pretend like the GDP growth rates and unemployment numbers are solely the result of the current administration’s policies.  One can try and argue that different policies would have resulted in better growth rates and higher employment, but it would be nice to hear the arguments, rather than just vague promises about tax cuts motivating job creators—especially when the last Republican president was able to cut taxes and left office with the country in the middle of an economic collapse.  Further, the current Democratic president signed off on the continuation of the exact same tax policies and yet the growth and unemployment rates are what they are.

Additionally:  we know that public sector employment has decline during the first Obama term, which is precisely the kind of government shrinkage the GOP says it wants.  This has, as been noted numerous times, helped contribute to the lousy unemployment rate.

2)  It pretends like the deficit and debt are new creations of the current administration.  This is one is especially problematic because it ignores a) the effect that major recessions tend to have on deficits (i.e., less revenue in and more spending going out), b) the overall historical trends (i.e., regardless of anything else, the current administration did not invent deficit-spending nor is the national debt a new issue), and c) the direct contribution of Bush era policies to the deficit (i.e., two wars, tax cuts, and Medicare Part D).

Republicans have not found a way to explain this or why what they propose would result in better results:

Source

The GOP needs to find an answer to the Bush question.  I would certainly like to hear such an answer because it would require facing up to reality, which I think would be good for the country as whole regardless of one’s partisan preferences.

(BTW:  if one’s response to this post is along the lines of “Oh, yeah, but Obama…!” then you don’t understand my point).

*The clip can be found here and the part that I noted was towards the end of the interview (it is nothing earth-shattering, and was understandably simplistic given the forum and the time constraints.  Still, it is pretty representative of what I am talking about here.

Related Posts:

About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor and Chair of Political Science at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. He is the author of Voting Amid Violence: Electoral Democracy in Colombia and is currently working on a comparative study of the US to 29 other democracies. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging at PoliBlog since 2003. Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. john personna says:

    As I say in the other thread, modern American conservatism is for people who are bad at math.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 40 Thumb down 3

  2. anjin-san says:

    Republicans have to pretent GW does not exist. They have to pretend Romney does not exist. GHW Bush actually enjoys some respect, but he was a one term President.

    Yes, you have to climb into the wayback machine and go to 1980 to find the GOP putting forth a presidential candidate they can really be proud of. A third of a century. And the kicker is that the Reagan they point to is a fictional character, not the man who supported unions and assault weapons bans.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 46 Thumb down 3

  3. michael reynolds says:

    All three wings of the GOP — which, as we know, are Money, Bombs and Jesus — are thoroughly discredited. By that I don’t mean that their ideas were poorly implemented, but rather that the ideas themselves are revealed to be nonsense.

    Put it this way: The GOP has exactly as much intellectual heft and credibility today as the Soviet Communist Party has today. They got nothing right. They scored zero on the big test. The Democrats are only half right but we grade on a curve in this class, which makes the Dems geniuses.

    Bush was the perfect embodiment of all three wings. He was a rich, privileged oil man from Texas who cut taxes. He was a bomb first ask questions never kind of guy on foreign policy. He loved the baby Jesus. He was perfect.

    To call him a success is too laughable even for the GOP. To call him a failure is to admit that the things the GOP believes in are wrong. Completely wrong. In fact, beyond wrong into stupid.

    How are they going to admit that? The only way for them to admit that is to write it in a suicide note.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 63 Thumb down 4

  4. Moosebreath says:

    @anjin-san:

    ” GHW Bush actually enjoys some respect, but he was a one term President. not by modern Republicans.”

    FTFY.

    Good post, Steven, and one that needs to be read by every Republican. Unless Republicans can answer the question of how they differ from Bush the Younger, then their electoral fortunes are going to be tied to claiming that this time it’s different (and since Republican policy is that there’s no bad time for tax cuts or aggressive military posturing, that seems a stretch).

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 1

  5. Just Me says:

    I think you only have the Bush problem for a couple of more years.

    When Obamacare fully gets implemented and people get hours cut to part time, find out their insurance is now even more unaffordable, and then find out that they can’t afford the family insurance because the affordability only applies to the employed.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 55

  6. anjin-san says:

    @ Just Me

    Thanks for restating the conservative vision for America. Pray for things to go wrong.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 52 Thumb down 3

  7. anjin-san says:

    @ Moosebreath

    Good point.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  8. john personna says:

    @Just Me:

    Here’s the thing to think about … before the mandate the advice every responsible parent gave to every responsible child was … buy yourself some health insurance.

    If everyone had followed that advice, and been responsible, we’d have coverage much like the mandate.

    And yet we are told that everyone deciding (for prudence) brings lower costs, and everyone deciding (to avoid the mandate penalty) brings higher costs.

    How can that possibly work? In both cases we wanted everyone to be responsible and insure against their own health risks. Total system costs must be the same.

    (And I think they are the same. The underlying problem is the high rate of medical costs expansion, which would be true either way.)

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 19 Thumb down 2

  9. john personna says:

    BTW Steven, I think you’ve created a distorted image of GWB.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  10. @john personna: Indeed. I am nit sure what the deal is there (and I will fix it).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  11. @Just Me:

    then find out that they can’t afford the family insurance because the affordability only applies to the employed.

    For this sake of response, let me stipulate that this will be the case: how is it any different than the pre-Obamacare policy world?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 37 Thumb down 0

  12. Kolohe says:

    @michael reynolds:

    “All three wings of the GOP — which, as we know, are Money, Bombs and Jesus — are thoroughly discredited”

    Well, the other factor is if I were a man who cared about Money and Bombs (but as much about Jesus), I can get more competently run versions of Money and Bombs from the Democrats (some of which is still run by Republicans, anyway).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  13. Andre Kenji says:

    @anjin-san:

    GHW Bush actually enjoys some respect, but he was a one term President.

    Nope, Movement Conservatives hates GHW Bush because he passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. You know, he governed and curbed the deficit.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 0

  14. “I think you only have the Bush problem for a couple of more years.”

    I’d have to agree with Just Me on this. But for different reasons.

    The “Bush problem” is really more of a “GOP problem,” especially if they want to keep playing the same tune long after it’s gone out of style.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  15. michael reynolds says:

    @Kolohe:

    Quite true. The Democrats stole Bombs from the GOP then ran it better: Iraq vs. Libya.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 2

  16. Just Me says:

    Thanks for restating the conservative vision for America. Pray for things to go wrong.

    I assume you aren’t actually following much about the implementation of Obamacare.

    This isn’t praying for things to go wrong, these are problems that are currently happening and the knowns (the admin and IRS just decided that affordable applies only to the employee not the family coverage).

    That whole line about “If you like your healthcare, you get to keep it” is proving to be a farce.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 37

  17. Spartacus says:

    Steven wrote:

    This is a problem I noted back during the campaign when I noted Mitt Romney’s lack of a response to “The Bush Question . . .

    It’s not truly a Bush Question. Putting all of the blame on Bush is like blaming Mikhail Gorbachev for the collapse of the Soviet Union. They both just happened to be the then-current practitioners of ideologies that would inescapably produce failure. With respect to the U.S., we’re really talking about a Reagan Question. Blaming Bush for all of this is convenient for people like Sullivan who remain big fans of Reagan.

    Reagan is the one who exploded the debt, preached tax cuts were an unadulterated good, made functioning government the enemy and promoted social conservatism. Bush, of course, did all of this on steroids, but he merely accelerated the blow-up. He certainly didn’t create it.

    After 30+ years of faithfully following a failed religion, there’s no one left in the GOP who can come up with a single idea for meaningfully improving American lives that isn’t based on some form of lowering taxes and/or reducing regulation. They are what they are and they are completely powerless to change.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 42 Thumb down 0

  18. anjin-san says:

    @ Just Me

    Well, since you are not being a partisan, it should be an easy matter for you to point to some of the many comments you made decrying the 100% + increase in health care costs during the Bush years, and the vast compensation enjoyed by folks such as the CEO of Wellpoint as it happened.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 32 Thumb down 1

  19. PJ says:

    @anjin-san:

    Republicans have to pretent GW does not exist. They have to pretend Romney does not exist.

    In the internals of PPP’s poll about trusting TV News, there’s a question about who they voted for in last years election.
    51% answered Obama, 43% answered Romney, and 6% answered someone else/don’t remember.

    Romney voters picking amnesia….

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  20. @Just Me:

    “That whole line about “If you like your healthcare, you get to keep it” is proving to be a farce.”

    While that may be true, I think you’d be better served aiming your ire at the firms attempting this ploy rather than the ACA.

    Or just be patient. Firms that do that will have a difficult time attracting quality employees. Without quality employees, they will have a difficult time meeting success in the market. Without success, they will have a difficult time remaining in business.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  21. rudderpedals says:

    I agree with Just Me. The IRS standard will hurt access for families when the breadwinner can’t afford family coverage. Medicare for all would fix the problem right away.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  22. legion says:

    @Spartacus: It’s deeper than that. Does anyone think W Bush made it into office on his own strengths and abilities? Hells no. Do you think R Money made it all the way to the very brink of victory himself, even though his own son says he “never really wanted it”? Do you think McCain chose Sarah Palin as his own running mate? No on all counts.

    The problem the GOP is trying to run away from is that it’s still run, behind the scenes, by the same group of Rand-worshipping billionaires. They can’t disclaim the past because they’re still working towards making it the future. The best they can do is put up candidates who are willing to blatantly lie about their plans until they get elected and _then_ put out their agendas (see Florida and Wisconsin).

    This problem won’t go away until the Old Douchebags Alliance (my new term for the GOP) finally dies out.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  23. David M says:

    @Just Me:

    I assume you aren’t actually following much about the implementation of Obamacare.

    This isn’t praying for things to go wrong, these are problems that are currently happening and the knowns (the admin and IRS just decided that affordable applies only to the employee not the family coverage).

    You’re fundamentally misreading the problem. Obamacare certainly isn’t set in stone, the IRS issued that ruling based on what the law says. Even you have to admit that neither Obama or the Democrats are the reason that law isn’t being fixed. The GOP wants to sabotage the law and hope they can create problems for the implementation and blame them on the Dems. People being uninsured or dying are not things the GOP cares about.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 0

  24. Septimius says:

    especially when the last Republican president was able to cut taxes and left office with the country in the middle of an economic collapse.

    And the hacks just keep on coming. I know it’s difficult for the left to understand, but the fact is that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (which most Democrats voted for, btw) and the Bush tax cuts had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the economic collapse. Had there been no tax cuts, and no wars, there still would have been a housing bubble and trillions in bad debt when that bubble burst. Trying to argue that Republican tax policy created the economic crisis is false and really is beneath a political scientist who prides himself on dealing with data and facts.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 39

  25. Sejanus says:

    @anjin-san: “Republicans have to pretent GW does not exist. They have to pretend Romney does not exist. GHW Bush actually enjoys some respect, but he was a one term President.”

    Since I was interested in knowing the propaganda of the different candidates who contested last year’s GOP presidential primary, I was on the the mailing list of Winning Our Future (the pro-Gingrich Super-PAC). I remember getting an email from them in which they attacked Romney by saying he’s like GHW, so I don’t think he gets too much respect from the Tea Party crowds.

    When I think about it, the Super PAC basically admitted in that email that other than Reagan they have unfavorable views of all Republican presidents in the last 60 years. GHW is a RINO by their standards, so is Ford, GWB is that relative nobody wants to acknowledge and the same goes to Nixon, and no Republican seems to get really excited about Eisenhower. That leaves Reagan (or at least the imagined version of him most conservatives have in their mind) as the only president Republicans nowadays view favorably.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  26. Mikey says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Money, Bombs and Jesus

    Is that the new incarnation of Earth, Wind, and Fire?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  27. john personna says:

    @Septimius:

    The tax cuts and wars and deficit spending and medicare expansion did however mean that government was heavily leveraged and in “stimulus mode” before the housing crash and etc.

    That definitely limited the possible response.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 21 Thumb down 0

  28. Gromitt Gunn says:

    @Septimius: Oh, so we’ve done a full 180 and conservatives are back to arguing that deficits don’t matter? /updates the playbook

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 24 Thumb down 1

  29. john personna says:

    @Septimius:

    Oh, and by the way, most people do fault the Bush-Greenspan low interest rates (and yes low oversight) with fueling that housing boom.

    Slash the cost of borrowing, cut enforcement, what could go wrong?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 23 Thumb down 1

  30. Scott O says:

    @Septimius:

    I know it’s difficult for the left to understand, but the fact is that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (which most Democrats voted for, btw) and the Bush tax cuts had nothing, absolutely nothing, to do with the economic collapse.

    Do you have an example of anyone claiming that the tax cuts and wars caused the collapse? I do think they left us in a much worse position to deal with the collapse.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  31. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    Here’s the thing to think about … before the mandate the advice every responsible parent gave to every responsible child was … buy yourself some health insurance.

    If everyone had followed that advice, and been responsible, we’d have coverage much like the mandate.

    That´s why I think that Obamacare was a horrible policy. Forcing everyone to buy insurance is no substitute for a general healthcare policy and to create an effective safety net to everyone.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  32. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    I think you chose the unicorn there.

    In practice, and indeed as you may recall from OTB threads of that era, we only actually had the choice of a quasi-market system with extensive rationing by price, or the insurance mandate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  33. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna: I think that Obama should have proposed the Brazilian Solution: an Universal healthcare that has it´s natural limitations on one side and generous tax credits for healthcare expenses. And I think that the whole ““If you like your healthcare, you get to keep it” as political cowardice.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  34. john personna says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Well then, we’d still have our old system.

    You have no idea how crazed and incited the rural parts of this country were by the whole “death panels” thing.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  35. @Andre Kenji:

    I think that Obama should have proposed the Brazilian Solution:

    It’s true. These reforms barely passed and were barely upheld by the Supreme Court. Modeling anything on a foreign system or including the word “universal” would have not helped.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 16 Thumb down 0

  36. Coop says:

    The GOP’s Bush problem is, in other words, the GOP’s debt problem. They derive their political support from a constituency that requires them to cut taxes, spend a lot of money on old people, and a lot of money on defense. It’s virtually impossible to reduce the debt this way unless there is some sort of magical growth from the tax cuts.

    I fail to see how the GOPs debt problem isn’t just the flip side of the coin of the Democrats’ debt problem. The main driver of the debt in the future will come from increasing medical costs and an aging population. Democrats are willing to spend more on healthcare, more on social security, more on medicare and medicaid, more on energy, and more on education. While they do propose raising taxes, they haven’t shown the willingness or ability to raise taxes high enough to actually pay for such policies.

    One party’s proposed solution to debt reduction is to cut spending to a degree that has shown to be politically unfeasible, and another party’s proposed solution is to raise taxes to a degree that has shown to be politically unfeasible. It just comes down to picking your poison.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  37. jukeboxgrad says:

    andre:

    Nope, Movement Conservatives hates GHW Bush because he passed the Omnibus Budget Reconciliation Act of 1990. You know, he governed and curbed the deficit.

    I agree with your general point, but it’s an overstatement to say he curbed the deficit. It took Clinton to do that.

    In the period 1947-2009, there were 17 years when the deficit exceeded 3% of GDP. All those deficits were produced by R presidents. Reagan, Bush and Bush were in power for 20 years, and 15 of those 20 years are on this list (the other 2 years were Gerald Ford).

    Bush I produced 4 deficits, in the range 3.9-4.7%. Even Bush II never produced a deficit greater than 3.5% until his last year, when he went out with a bang (10.1%).

    For the noted period, Bush I is the only president who produced a deficit exceeding 3% of GDP for every single year of his presidency. Bush II also did it 4 times, but it took him 8 years to do it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  38. jukeboxgrad says:

    septimius:

    the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq (which most Democrats voted for, btw)

    Wrong. Most Ds in the House voted against the Iraq war.

    Had there been no tax cuts, and no wars, there still would have been a housing bubble and trillions in bad debt when that bubble burst.

    I don’t think the bubble would have been as bad. Where do you think the money came from to inflate that bubble? The Bush tax cuts created a huge supply of rich money looking for a place to go. And Bush had an idea for where it should go. He said this:

    One of the programs is designed to help deserving families with bad credit histories to qualify for home ownership loans. You don’t have to have a lousy home for first time homebuyers. You put your mind to it, the low income homebuyer can have just as nice a house as anybody else.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 1

  39. jukeboxgrad says:

    steven:

    there has been no serious assessment of the Bush administration by the party and its candidates

    Correct. And there is no interest in making any such assessment because today’s GOP is the same GOP that supported Bush every step of the way. This is why Bush is still quite relevant.

    The GOP is still being led by the same people who helped Bush do everything he did. Ryan is considered a leading deficit hawk even though he supported Bush every single time GWB wrote a huge check that was unfunded. The R leaders in Congress today are all people who voted for Medicare Part D, even though it “added $15.5 trillion (in present value terms) to our nation’s indebtedness” (link). This is why the GOP has no credibility. The GOP now whining about debt and deficits is like a bunch of arsonists returning to the scene dressed as firefighters.

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  40. michael reynolds says:

    @Andre Kenji:

    Health care always had to be done in baby steps. Unlike Brazil, unlike France, unlike Germany, we have these creatures called Republicans. Think of them as a club foot we drag through life. You must understand that we are operating with this handicap. Once you understand that, you’ll see that we are actually being very brave trying to do anything challenging. We are the Special Olympians of the community of nations.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 2

  41. Andre Kenji says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    I agree with your general point, but it’s an overstatement to say he curbed the deficit. It took Clinton to do that.

    More or less. There was a recession in 1991, and the deficit would have been even bigger had he not signed that Budget in 1990.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  42. Andre Kenji says:

    @john personna:

    You have no idea how crazed and incited the rural parts of this country were by the whole “death panels” thing.

    1-) Unfortunately, I have.

    2-) The problem of Obamacare is that it´s too complicated for someone to understand.

    3-) I think that Obama should have said that he was proposing a limited universal coverage, that people that wanted private insurance would have tax credits to do it and that if Republicans were willing to oppose it, then, be it.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 0

  43. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    It seems that the people who can’t bring themselves to admit they elected a turd sandwich in 2008 and doubled down on it in 2012 just can’t let go of getting their asses stomped in 2000 and 2004.

    So much for progressives being the party that looks forward…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 38

  44. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    You mean Steven Taylor who wrote this post? Because I think he was actually still a Republican in 2000. I may be wrong about that.

    Actually, if this thread proves anything, its clearly that people like you can’t face the fact that you are wrong about pretty much everything.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 1

  45. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    But since we’re on the subject, have the Democrats ever gotten around to admitting that Jimmy Carter was a dismal failure and a horrible mistake?

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 24

  46. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Um, yes, we have. Which is the difference between us and you people. We live in reality. You live in crazy town.

    Remember how we all admitted Obama’s first debate was awful? See? That’s us in reality. Contrast it with Karl Rove and Dick Morris on election night.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 26 Thumb down 1

  47. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @michael reynolds: Dude, you guys ran against Bush and lost in 2000 and 2004. You still ran against him in 2008 and 2012, despite his not even being on the ballot. I’d bet you’re already warming up to run against him in 2016.

    And Mr. Taylor? He really needs to get over it. Just looking at his recent postings, he’s kicking around Bush 43, Bush’s FEMA director, and Rush Limbaugh. His last pieces on Obama called him “not very liberal” and a “moderate Republcian,” based on some very convoluted reasoning.

    I don’t particularly care how Mr. Taylor chooses to describe his political leanings. His consistency in finding ways to criticize conservatives and compliment liberals (good lord, I think I sprained my “C” key”) speaks even more eloquently.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 26

  48. KariQ says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    From Steve’s post:

    (BTW: if one’s response to this post is along the lines of “Oh, yeah, but Obama…!” then you don’t understand my point).

    He should have said “..or “yeah, but Carter” too.

    I suggest you try reading what Steve actually wrote.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 0

  49. michael reynolds says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    As usual, you make a stupid statement, then when you get caught, you shift the ground to some other stupid statement. Why did I just waste my time with you?

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2

  50. jukeboxgrad says:

    Excuse me for going off-topic, but I think some folks here might find this interesting. A few days ago a story appeared about voter fraud in OH. On Friday John Fund wrote about this at NR (link). Drudge then posted a link to the NR story, which created a flood of comments at NR. Right now the story has over 2000 comments (a more typical number there is 50-100).

    What I find interesting is the large number of comments expressing blatant racism, and the large number of upvotes those comments are attracting. A bit embarrassing for NR, but maybe their moderator is buried in a snowdrift somewhere. Some examples:

    Here’s a peek at the spook. … BLAK SCUM!!!!! … SHE is a NI6^ER [posted by "StinkingKoons"] … There’s a video of her on you tube. She’s a knee -grow. Knee grow = Obot. … We must reach out across cultural barriers and realize that negroes have no conscience or shame. … Poo wittle Treyvon. Him all deaded. Why can’t we just let darkies run amok? … Liberal bl4cks should have their voting right’s taken away. … Bl4cks only vote for whichever candidate promises to give them the most stuff. Voting is merely one thing that they shouldn’t be allowed to do. They’re mooches on society. … Blacks always think they have a “right” to money and privileges (like not having to hand in a decent paper in school; the teacher will have to pass it anyway so as not to look “racist”). And sure enough, looking at the video, she is Black. … Black people are amazing. It’s incredible how rules don’t apply to them. … get a rope and find a tall oak tree. … You can bet dos homeboyz an homegirlz dont be trippin an hollarin RAZIST when da beatch be askin fur dat ID cart to sine up fur da SNAP foo card. … They have never been taught any morals so how can you expect them to be moral? Moron child raising moron children for generations. Talking monkeys is all they are. … ShaQueeQuee and granddaughter, LaBoneD’Nose, be votin’ twice fo da black guy, cause dey be slaves once. … When patriots show up and exterminate these vermin, don’t cry. … If we only let white landowners vote, we would have a better country. … Nothing rope can’t fix! … Whoever voted twice,they should put all you illegals and monkey ass commies in jail … Hang that bitch! … chimps … Just another lowlife negro that hates America. These Negroes have been trying to scam the system for decades now they own the system and the scamming is free and easy. … The ballot box no longer works. Time for the cartridge box? … The skyrocketing sales of firearms is all people need to know about the elections. … Typical niggar. … Friggin’ groids … Blacks corrupt most things they get involved with … These blacks are racist trash just like their messiah. … so another b lack low intelligence voter admits casting more than one ballot and so did ast least one of her relatives. theseNGR]S will and have done everthing,illegal,?,to put the lil black sambo back in office … We need to get rid of jews and n!ggers. [posted by "JudenRAUS"] … Only propertied males should be able to vote and not wel fare ra ts. … if a nigga screws a goat, then cures cancer he will still be the nigga that screwed the goat. … Kill them all. Expel the Jews. Destroy DC. [posted by "Jews are the problem"] … What does one expect for ni99ers, they don’ understand reality or laws. they are ni99ers man, laws mean nothing. … They’re animals. Blacks only care about the color black. They are the most racist. Thank God for Black on Black crime and high Black unemployment. They deserve both and continued poverty. BUT, they have a “cool” president!!!! … N-I-G-G-E-R-S … Groids are not human…they are cancers on the planet. Useless meat sacks that define corruption and mayhem, Hang em all. … We can’t have voter picture ID, because a picture of this monkey would be harmful to poll workers. … I am sure, since no picture, that she is a sub-human like obozo. … There’s Americans, and there’s black people. … Put the ni&&er in jail. … imagine my suuprizze surprizze surprizze when she turned out to be a netto gigger … TYpical negro. CROOKED and Devoted to the Kenyan. … Fing Ni,gg,er,s … Hell someone left the cage door open at the zoo and all the monkeys voted for ODUMBA over and over … I do not doubt that there was any fraud in the mind of Melowese. That’s congoloid logic. … Good for her. Meanwhile, in a distant red state, I’m pouring all of my disposable income into guns and ammo. … We are going to have to use direct action to regain our freedom. … A typical ignorant and immoral Negro. How do I know she is a Negro? If the slavish devotion to the Hawaiian born Kenyan were not enough to confirm my suspicion, I need only examine her moronic first name. (Rather like Sasha and Malia) … string the biatch up from a tree … Enn Eye Gee, Gee Aye Are, it’s the something something family~!! … This is stupid. We need to get our guns and retake control of our country while we still can. … Be not surprised when crooked ballots become righteous bullets. … Do I even need to ask whether Mizzz Richardson is a kneegro? … who would have thought she is BLACK ?

    And a few more that I thought were special:

    This political correctness and fear of being labeled a racist has gone too far. Do we risk the destruction of our American way of life and throw out our entire history because politicians are afraid of blacks in America? Guess what you fools, you’re already considered racist and hated by blacks just by virtue of being anything but black. It’s a scam they’ve learned to play on white people decades ago because it worked and continues to work today. I’m willing to tolerate anything including a race war that blacks will lose rather than lose my country to this destructive force running this country today.

    When the real fight starts and the inner cities begin to burn, those attempting to spread the violence are met by heavily armed citizens that leave their rotting liberal Democrat corpses in the road, maybe then they will understand it wasn’t OK to lie, cheat, and steal elections.

    After four years of this, be prepared. With less jobs, more flush mobs will happen and less law enforcement will be involved. Those who have not will take from those who have by force.Whatever residence you’re living in will become your fortress, it will be a zombie invasion.

    Been intercepted by watchers. Let us try to say the obvious without the trigger words. If my vote doesn’t count, there are other, shall we say less acceptable means to regain our freedom. I hope it never comes to that but don’t rule it out. … If our vote with the ballot box means nothing, pray that we don’t vote with the ammo box. You have been warned.

    Too good to not share. It’s like some kind of performance art.

    OK, back to Jimmy Carter.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 36 Thumb down 10

  51. anjin-san says:

    His consistency in finding ways to criticize conservatives and compliment liberals (good lord, I think I sprained my “C” key”) speaks even more eloquently.

    Well yes, it shows us that he is a decent & thoughtful guy. Naturally, that confuses you.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 1

  52. An Interested Party says:

    It seems that the people…just can’t let go of getting their asses stomped in 2000…

    Who could have guessed that one of the closest presidential elections in U.S. history that was eventually decided by a conservative Supreme Court translates as “getting their asses stomped”…actually what some people just can’t get over is the fact that the President has been elected twice, both times with a majority…

    @Jukeboxgrad: As these types of people become a smaller and smaller portion of the population, their fear and blatant racism is only going to get worse…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 3

  53. swbarnes2 says:

    @jukeboxgrad:

    OK, back to Jimmy Carter.

    The incidences of Guinea worm have gone from a few million a year down to a few dozen, and Jimmy Carter’s advocacy has a whole lot to do with that. Does anyone think that Bush will do anything remotely as beneficial in his post-presidency?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  54. An Interested Party says:

    If someone could release my previous comments from the spam filter, I would appreciate it, thank you…

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 2

  55. anjin-san says:

    You have to kind of feel for Jenos – his fanboy “Romney saved a drowning man” valentine to Mitt was the high point of the last four years for him. And of course he quickly found out that he was wrong abou that, like he is wrong about pretty much everything.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 0

  56. anjin-san says:

    getting their asses stomped in 2000

    Right – losing the closest election in history is “getting your ass stomped.” And Bush got what, 286 electoral votes in 2004? So by the standars you have set, Obama, the man you claim is an idiot, bitch slapped the GOP and then proceeded to kick their asses clean off of the planet in the last two elections…

    Good God man, you are giving imbeciles a bad name.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 30 Thumb down 1

  57. Michael Robinson says:

    The Chicago School is dead. Long live the Chicago School.

    That’s the dark orange and dark blue bands in the charts above.

    Republicans can repudiate Bush on grounds of incompetence, ineptitude, inattention, mendacity, whatever, until the cows come home, and it will have no real effect on the rotting foundations of the party.

    Until they face up to the comprehensive failure of Chicago School snake oil, they will be hobbled by policy prescriptions anchored in discredited fantasies.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 0

  58. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @jukeboxgrad: So, now you’re judging web sties by their commenters? How Charles Johnson of you.

    (If you don’t get the reference, CJ used to be someone moderately interesting, who’s now best used as an example of what NOT to do in the blogosphere.)

    If I wanted to do the same here, I’d cherry-pick the most stupid comments of wr and a few others, and label OTB a web site of hard-core stupid leftists. After all, the authors of the site never bother to challenge them, so obviously they endorse their beliefs…

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 20

  59. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    After all, the authors of the site never bother to challenge them, so obviously they endorse their beliefs…

    Wrong again (common problem for Mr. Idanian it appears), when I say something stupid on this site James, in particular, is quick to respond and enlighten me. Most recently I had the dates for Katrina wrong in my head, meaning that I had thought this country elected GWB after Katrina. That sequence of events made sense to me because his ham-handed response to the hurricane was so much in alignment with his other policies – but I learned that it was eye opening for others.

    Again – major difference between thinking people and Republicans. I don’t claim to already know everything, I’m here to put my ideas in a public forum and see if they withstand scrutiny. When they do not, I am perfectly happy to have learned something and grown as an intellectual being.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  60. Tillman says:

    @jukeboxgrad: I know so many people who are a few steps removed from that sort of thinking. The people who complain about the lack of a “white history month,” for example.

    It’s incredibly unaware and self-centered, but I guess most people are like that to begin with. Luxury (and remember, American citizens are the 1% of the world) has a detrimental effect on the mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2

  61. Tillman says:

    @jukeboxgrad: I know many people who are a few steps removed from that sort of thinking. The people who complain about the lack of a “white history month,” for example.

    It’s incredibly unaware and self-centered, but I guess most people are like that to begin with. Luxury (and remember, American citizens are the 1% of the world) has a detrimental effect on the mind.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  62. Tillman says:

    For some reason, the anti-spam is catching me. If you could just free the second comment, that’d be fine.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 1

  63. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds:

    Why did I just waste my time with you?

    I had to down vote you Michael, because you did it yet again.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  64. jukeboxgrad says:

    jenos:

    So, now you’re judging web sties by their commenters?

    NR has precisely the commenters they deserve. NR has a racist past (link, link), and it knows it has plenty of racist readers (link), so it’s no surprise when people associated with NR say racist things (link).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 3

  65. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    I don’t particularly care how Mr. Taylor chooses to describe his political leanings. His consistency in finding ways to criticize conservatives and compliment liberals (good lord, I think I sprained my “C” key”) speaks even more eloquently.

    You are more than entitled to your opinion both in terms of what you want to think about politics and my writings. However, if your goal is demonstrate that your argument has any foundation whatsoever, you have to provide actual evidence for your position. Opining that I am motivated by what happened in 2000 and 2004 is not an argument.

    And @michael reynolds: is correct: at the time I considered myself a Republican.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 3

  66. @jukeboxgrad: I am actually going to agree, in part, with @Jenos Idanian #13 here: it isn’t entirely fair to judge a site by its commenters, especially if the post in question had traffic driven to it by an outside source (I recall, for example, a bunch of crazy posts from an Instalanhce here at OTB and there was a case of a lot white supremacists at my old site who came over after following a link).

    Still: I don’t disagree with yous basic assessment about NR.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

  67. Al says:

    I’m starting to think I shouldn’t hold my breath on this data spurning Republicans to reconsider the merits of the Bush era tax cuts.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  68. @Al:

    data spurning

    Herein lies my fundamental problem with the conservative movement, and the GOP, at the moment: the lack of willingness to discuss these issues in the context of actual data.

    I will note that discussions in the context of the data do not require coming to the same conclusions, but the bottom line remains that any argument predicated on lack of data is, by definition, faulty.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  69. jukeboxgrad says:

    it isn’t entirely fair to judge a site by its commenters

    That true. Maybe I should have been more clear about the point I was trying to make by posting that material. It’s not important because of what it says about NR. It’s important because of what it says about the GOP.

    Yes, most Rs are not racists. Yes, it’s not fair to judge the whole party based on statements made by a certain group of commenters. But the sheer quantity of the material and the extreme nature of the material tells us something important about certain forces that are driving the GOP. Those forces should be seen and understood. This is a good opportunity to do so, because they are normally less visible.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 3

  70. jukeboxgrad says:

    any argument predicated on lack of data is, by definition, faulty

    And the problem is worse than that, because the only thing worse than lack of data is bogus data. Right-wing sources routinely promote the latter. Link.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 3

  71. Spartacus says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    Herein lies my fundamental problem with the conservative movement, and the GOP, at the moment: the lack of willingness to discuss these issues in the context of actual data.

    I think this is attributable to the fact that the only kinds of people left in the GOP are (1) those who have a personal or financial interest in maintaining the status quo in the GOP, (2) those who simply don’t have the intellectual discipline to wrestle with inconvenient data, (3) those who simply do not care, i.e. the tribalists, which are most likely the vast majority, and (4) social conservatives. Of these four groups, the tribalists are by far the most damaging to both the GOP and the country.

    GOP tribalist leaders are being extremely short-sighted in that the GOP has been losing and will very likely continue to lose the popular vote in national elections for the immediate future. Consequently, they ought to go ahead and take advantage of these losses by using them as an opportunity to aggressively purge the GOP of the bigots, kooks and truth-deniers. That is the only way it will ever be in a position to compete for a sane electorate.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 6 Thumb down 1

  72. stonetools says:

    And the problem is worse than that, because the only thing worse than lack of data is bogus data. Right-wing sources routinely promote the latter

    Indeed. The problem with the current GOP is that they have their own reality creation machine, to which they are dedicated. You can’t dialogue with anyone who has not only their own opinions, but their own facts.
    In GOPWorld,

    Benghazi is the greatest foreign policy disaster in the nation’s history, eclipsing the Iraq War.
    Cutting government spending increases employment.
    Tax cuts are self-financing
    Military spending should always go up, while every other form of government spending should always go down, regardless of economic conditions
    Global warming is a lie cooked up by government and their fellow travelers the scientific community to justify “socialism.”
    All government regulation is wrong, except with regard to female reproduction.
    Etc, etc.
    Just about all of this is dead wrong, but inside the right wing bubble these are accepted truth. How can you really negotiate with people who live in their own reality? You can’t really. Obama has tried-Oh, he has tried. Now he just tries to work around them.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 15 Thumb down 1

  73. Al says:

    @Spartacus:

    About five years ago California’s Republican party was where the national party is now. It courted the Minutemen, rode a populist wave to victory based on platitudes about fiscal conservatism (but really was focused more on social conservatism and xenophobia) in 2003. By 2008 it was clear that the victories where Pyrrhic and the seeds of its own destruction were sown with Proposition 187. There were no purges by the sane people because we all left. Now the GOP is dead here in California and I honestly thing nationally the party is on the same trajectory.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 0

  74. steve s says:

    The Free Beacon refers to GWB as the Greatest President Living.

    So Tea Party to “Doctor” “Professor” Taylor: take yer acamademic mumbo jumbo and cram it.

    In all seriousness, the GOP now is so fully and completely the party of my relatives–straight, white, older, uneducated, religious, and thoroughly misinformed on many subjects–that I have no idea how they remain a national party in the medium-term.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0

  75. steve s says:

    Indeed. The problem with the current GOP is that they have their own reality creation machine, to which they are dedicated. You can’t dialogue with anyone who has not only their own opinions, but their own facts.
    In GOPWorld,
    [etc][

    I think a lot of people haven’t really grokked how distorted the fox/rush bubble world is. For instance, there’s a guy at work named Jack who asked me, with complete sincerity, “You…you don’t think Obama hates America? He was actually curious as to how I could possibly believe that Barack Obama, 44th President of the United States, did not seethe with hatred for the U.S., and was not deliberately attempting to destroy America. I didn’t even know where to begin to respond.

    That’s just fuckin’ warped.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 14 Thumb down 1

  76. steve s says:

    On the plus side, I won a texas roadhouse dinner from a similar guy at work who was so sure the country would reject the Communist N***** Dictator that he even wanted to double down in the last week of the election. I declined, because i didn’t want to make an enemy, but I was watching Nate Silver, so I had pretty good confidence.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  77. al-Ameda says:

    For all intents and purposes George W Bush was a two-term version of Jimmy Carter, and a politician from whom Republicans will spend the next generation or so running away from.

    Democrats went through this with Carter, and now Republicans have their dues to pay when it comes to Bush.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 3 Thumb down 1

  78. steve s says:

    What did Carter do that was anything remotely as FAIL as Katrina, the tax cuts, iraq, and afghanistan?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 0

  79. steve s says:

    I agree that the carter presidency is viewed by many as terrible, but the oil shocks that boned his years weren’t created by his administration, were they?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  80. al-Ameda says:

    @Just Me:

    When Obamacare fully gets implemented and people get hours cut to part time, find out their insurance is now even more unaffordable, and then find out that they can’t afford the family insurance because the affordability only applies to the employed.

    Honest to god, Is this a Kabuki class or what? Conservatives are so disingenuous when it comes to the issue of rising health care costs;

    Where have you been the past 15 years or so, as health insurance premium costs increased at an annual rate of 3 times the rate of inflation? During which time I had to change my family health insurance carrier five times in order to attempt to mitigate the impact of rising costs.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0

  81. Unsympathetic says:

    @Septimius:

    Republicans are the party of deregulation – now, forever, and always.

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Clearly, you’re referring to the Jimmy Carter who proposed in 1979 that the US face the energy crisis head on so that we wouldn’t be dependent on foreign oil. What an idiot.

    The financial crisis didn’t have only one cause — it’s systemic. But here’s a mostly complete list.

    1. Fed Chair Alan Greenspan dropped rates to 1 percent — levels not seen for half a century — and kept them there for an unprecedentedly long period. This caused a spiral in anything priced in dollars (i.e., oil, gold) or credit (i.e., housing) or liquidity driven (i.e., stocks).
    2. Low rates meant asset managers could no longer get decent yields from muni bonds or Treasurys. Instead, they turned to high-yield mortgage-backed securities. Nearly all of them failed to do adequate due diligence.
    3. Fund managers made this error because they relied on the credit ratings agencies — Moody’s, S&P and Fitch. They had placed an AAA rating on these junk securities.
    4. Derivatives had become a uniquely unregulated financial instrument. They remain exempt from all oversight and reserve requirements. This allowed AIG to write $3 trillion in derivatives while reserving precisely zero dollars against future claims.
    5. The Securities and Exchange Commission changed the leverage rules for just five Wall Street banks in 2004 to infinite from 12-1: Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers and Bear Stearns.
    6. Wall Street’s compensation system is skewed toward short-term performance.
    7. The demand for higher-yielding paper [see #2] led Wall Street to begin bundling mortgages. The highest yielding were subprime mortgages. This market was dominated by non-bank originators exempt from most regulations. The Fed could have supervised them, but Greenspan did not.
    8. The private market mortgage originators’ lend-to-sell-to-securitizers model had them holding mortgages for a very short period.. which is why you saw the “your first 3 months’ mortgage is free” advertisements.
    9. “Innovative” mortgage products were developed to reach even less credit-worthy borrowers, with predictable results.
    10. To keep up with the private originators, banks fired their stodgy underwriter people and automated their underwriting systems. The software was gamed by employees paid on loan volume, not quality.
    11. Repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1998 [with a Republican supermajority in both the House and Senate ready to override any Clinton veto] allowed FDIC insured banks to get into very risky business.
    12. In 2004, the OCC pre-empted all state regulation of mortgage credit.. allowing national lenders to sell ridiculously risky product to anyone. Predictably, the default/foreclosure rates soon skyrocketed.

    So: Anyone who attempts to assert that the econ crisis was ever just a tax policy is absurd – the 07 crash was brewing for a while, mostly from Republican deregulation fetishization.
    The private market completely failed big-time here – and there has been ZERO punishment of the leaders (who knew exactly what they were doing) of the private loan originators.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 20 Thumb down 0

  82. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @stonetools: You’re the one living in a fantasy world. Let’s look at those “Republican beliefs” you tout:

    Benghazi is the greatest foreign policy disaster in the nation’s history, eclipsing the Iraq War.

    The Benghazi coverup is a scandal that deserves far more attention than it’s been given, and killed more Americans than Watergate.

    Cutting government spending increases employment.

    Cutting government spending means (or, at least, used to mean) that the government takes less money out of the private sector, as businesses that spend less on taxes have more money to hire people. Also, it tends to reduce the cost of employing people.

    Tax cuts are self-financing

    Cutting tax rates has, historically, led to increased government revenue far more often than raising tax rates.

    Military spending should always go up, while every other form of government spending should always go down, regardless of economic conditions

    National defense is one of the core, essential functions of the federal government. Without it, all the rest tends to be largely irrelevant. And “other” government spending always goes up — witness how often “draconian spending cuts” translate into “increased less than asked for.”

    Global warming is a lie cooked up by government and their fellow travelers the scientific community to justify “socialism.”

    There’s an element of a scam there; for example, Al Gore has managed to both become a billionaire (or damned close to it) AND increase his personal “carbon footprint” to about the size of several football fields while pontificating about global warming. The so-called irrefutable proof keeps developing serious holes and flaws. The anthropogenic global warming movement is looking more and more like a jihad, complete with dire threats against the infidels and heretics.

    All government regulation is wrong, except with regard to female reproduction.

    A lot of government regulation is just plain stupid, regulating things that don’t need regulation, cause a lot more harm than good, and in some cases actually cause the inverse of the declared intent. And then there are those that are simply none of the government’s goddamned business. Why do we license people so they can braid hair?

    Sorry to violate your little illusions, but that’s the danger when you wave them around in public like that.

    Poorly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 22

  83. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Unsympathetic: Clearly, you’re referring to the Jimmy Carter who proposed in 1979 that the US face the energy crisis head on so that we wouldn’t be dependent on foreign oil. What an idiot.

    Every president since Nixon (I think) has said the same thing. It’s about as meaningful as “God bless you” after a sneeze.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 12

  84. Mikey says:

    @Unsympathetic:

    Repeal of Glass-Steagall in 1998 [with a Republican supermajority in both the House and Senate ready to override any Clinton veto]

    Clinton veto? Not a chance. Not only would he not have vetoed it, he fully supported its objectives.

    There was no “Republican supermajority” in either house of Congress at that time. Senate was 54-44 and House was 222-210.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  85. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    The Benghazi coverup is a scandal that deserves far more attention than it’s been given, and killed more Americans than Watergate.

    Even if we state that there was a cover-up, which I don’t accept, how can the cover-up have caused death?

    BTW, we had a guest on campus the week before last, a former US Ambassador to Oman and Deputy Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who knew Chris Stevens and he finds all the politics that have emerged over all of this to be problematic. He further noted that Stevens knew what he was doing and that he was taking a risk, and that being an ambassador in a dangerous place involved risks. He also noted that every embassy and consulate in the world asks for more security, and there is never enough of it. He further noted that we cannot out our ambassadors behind highly guarded walls because if we did they could not do their jobs.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 0

  86. @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Al Gore has managed to both become a billionaire (or damned close to it) AND increase his personal “carbon footprint” to about the size of several football fields while pontificating about global warming

    Which has nothing to do with global warming,

    This is talk radio diversionary tactics, not an argument.

    Highly-rated. Helpful or Unhelpful: Thumb up 18 Thumb down 1

  87. @Mikey:

    There was no “Republican supermajority” in either house of Congress at that time. Senate was 54-44 and House was 222-210.

    Indeed.

    Veto-proof majorities are like Bigfoot. They may exist, and some people claim to have seen them, but I am not so sure they exist.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 1

  88. Mikey says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: In the case of GLB, it actually was passed by a veto-proof majority: 90-8 in the Senate and 362-57 in the House. But that was not a single-party veto-proof majority–GLB enjoyed near-total bipartisan support along with the full endorsement of President Clinton.

    According to the Wiki on presidential vetoes, only 110 out of 2564 have ever been overriden in the history of the United States.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 0 Thumb down 0

  89. @Mikey: I really should have typed “Republican supermajorities”–clearly some bills do pass with veto-proof majorities (though for major bills they have rather rare of late).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  90. Sejanus says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: And the president was born in Kenya. And HPV vaccines cause mental retardation. And the earth is only 6000 years old. You forgot to mention all those Holy Republican Truths in your comment.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2

  91. mattb says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    There’s an element of a scam there; for example, Al Gore has managed to both become a billionaire (or damned close to it) AND increase his personal “carbon footprint” to about the size of several football fields while pontificating about global warming. The so-called irrefutable proof keeps developing serious holes and flaws. The anthropogenic global warming movement is looking more and more like a jihad, complete with dire threats against the infidels and heretics.

    You realize that there is absolutely no argument in there. In particular, I’m interested in proof of the following statement:

    The so-called irrefutable proof keeps developing serious holes and flaws.

    Please do be citing…

    The fact is that there is no serious question within the scientific community that climate change is occurring at an unnaturally acellerated rate. You cannot be a science-based skeptic of that question.

    And we are at the point where it is very difficult to put forward a science based argument that a significant portion of that change is being caused by human activity.

    Where legitimate skepticism (i.e. fueled by science versus personal belief) is possible is (a) to the specifics ways that human activity effects the climate and extent of that effect, (b) the broader/long term effects of climate change, and (c) what can be done to mitigate those effects.

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  92. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @Sejanus: And the president was born in Kenya. And HPV vaccines cause mental retardation. And the earth is only 6000 years old. You forgot to mention all those Holy Republican Truths in your comment.

    That’s because I wasn’t talking about “bullshit talked about a hell of a lot more by sneering liberals than actual conservatives.” I knew the regulars here would have that covered.

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  93. mattb says:

    @mattb:
    Just to be clear, I meant to write:

    And we are at the point where it is very difficult to put forward a science based argument that human activity is NOT significantly contributing to climate change.

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  94. stonetools says:

    Krugman on the Republicans resistance to facts, so aptly demonstrated by Jenos’ posts. Excerpt:

    To be sure, Mr. Cantor tried to sound interested in serious policy discussion. But he didn’t succeed — and that was no accident. For these days his party dislikes the whole idea of applying critical thinking and evidence to policy questions. And no, that’s not a caricature: Last year the Texas G.O.P. explicitly condemned efforts to teach “critical thinking skills,” because, it said, such efforts “have the purpose of challenging the student’s fixed beliefs and undermining parental authority.”

    And such is the influence of what we might call the ignorance caucus that even when giving a speech intended to demonstrate his openness to new ideas, Mr. Cantor felt obliged to give that caucus a shout-out, calling for a complete end to federal funding of social science research. Because it’s surely a waste of money seeking to understand the society we’re trying to change.

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  95. Tony W says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Kind of you to demonstrate Stonetools’ arguments for him/her.

    See folks – there’s the problem.

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  96. C. Clavin says:

    A lot of comments re: Carter here.
    What doesn’t get mentioned is that the Reagan economy had as much to do with Carter as it did Reagan.
    Carter ended price controls on oil, and he appointed Volker who eased up on interest rates/monetary aggregates in 1982.
    All Reagan did was deficit spend, grow government, and cut taxes…until he raised them far more.

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  97. john personna says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    “BTW, we had a guest on campus the week before last, a former US Ambassador to Oman and Deputy Ambassador to Saudi Arabia, who .. ” could make a lot more money if he learned to blame Obama.

    He’s leaving money on the table, that one.

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  98. john personna says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    If Gore rode a bicycle a bit more, he’d knock off some weight.

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  99. john personna says:

    (Bush rode Air Force One to go bicycling, which was probably not a net win, carbon wise.)

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  100. Unsympathetic says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:

    Objectively wrong.

    One of Reagan’s 1980 campaign assertions was the notion that “America is excellent” – and therefore we didn’t need to bother with the difficult work of dealing with the reality of the world. So, 30+ years later, no energy plan.
    The oil embargo during Carter’s term allowed the US a unique opportunity to support a national change to address the very real issue of energy independence – but Reagan won the election based in no small part because of his happy talk on the energy issue.

    To use a Texas phrase, Reagan was all hat and no cattle.

    Since it required a significant emergency such as the OPEC oil embargo to justify any nationwide changes in the US, no president since has had the “recent memory” of constituents to justify support for changes that would represent a national energy plan.

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  101. anjin-san says:

    A lot of comments re: Carter here.

    Yes, and the rocket scientists like Jenos seem blissfully unaware that the economy had been in the toilet for many years before Carter took office.

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  102. @anjin-san: Another amusing element of the Carter conversation: he was president from 1977-1981, while Bush was president from 2001-2009.

    One is of more proximate significance, yes?

    (And, I would further note, the Democrats did manage to eventually answer the Carter Question–but it took them a while. Mondale was a hardly the answer, nor was Dukakis. Say what one will about Clinton, but he did represent a Democratic Party that was forced to rethink itself).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 1

  103. Sejanus says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13: Excuse me? When Obama released his birth certificate in April 2011 around 47% of Republicans believed he was born in Kenya. A couple days later a Zogby poll showed that 30% of Republicans continued to believe Obama was not a natural born citizen. In regards to evolution, a gallup poll from 2007 showed 68% of Republicans are evolution deniers. I don’t see any reason to think that the situation is different nowadays.

    In regards to the HPV vaccine, I will admit that I don’t have any data about how many GOP voters agree with Bachmann’s insane statements. With that being said, the fact that the Republicans aren’t shunning her tells a lot about the party.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 0

  104. C. Clavin says:

    @ SLT/anjin-san…

    “…(And, I would further note, the Democrats did manage to eventually answer the Carter Question–but it took them a while. Mondale was a hardly the answer, nor was Dukakis. Say what one will about Clinton, but he did represent a Democratic Party that was forced to rethink itself)…”

    Emphasis mine.
    Excellent point.

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  105. jukeboxgrad says:

    Say what one will about Clinton, but he did represent a Democratic Party that was forced to rethink itself

    And that “rethink” was radical enough to lead to one famous Republican saying this:

    I think Bill Clinton was the best Republican president we’ve had in a while

    Link, link.

    And Obama is following in those footsteps (link):

    Obama revealed: A moderate Republican … President Obama, if you look closely at his positions, is a moderate Republican of the early 1990s.

    The Democrats are occupying the space previously held by the GOP, and the GOP is occupying the space previously held by the John Birch Society. Which makes perfect sense, since “Fred Koch, founder of Koch Industries, was one of the founding members,” and his sons (and others like them) are now the main backers of the GOP.

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  106. matt bernius says:

    @Sejanus:

    When Obama released his birth certificate in April 2011 around 47% of Republicans believed he was born in Kenya. A couple days later a Zogby poll showed that 30% of Republicans continued to believe Obama was not a natural born citizen.

    For what it’s worth, I don’t believe its a foregone conclusion that all of those 30/47% of responders actually think that Obama is not a natural American citizen. I suspect that a high number of them are simply answering “yes” in order to express dissatisfaction with Obama, express that he’s not a “true” American, and/or screw with the pollster.

    I’d suspect the number of Republicans/Conservatives who truly believe Obama isn’t American is less than 10%. Still far too high, btw.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 1 Thumb down 1

  107. anjin-san says:

    @ steve s

    I was in Phoenix during the election. Pretty much cleaned up on bets with guys who were saying “Obama gets fired tomorrow” the day before the election. I put a $20 cap on each bet, felt a little bad taking their money.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  108. mantis says:

    @matt bernius:

    I’d suspect the number of Republicans/Conservatives who truly believe Obama isn’t American is less than 10%

    Oh, I think I would put it at 27%.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0

  109. Medusa says:

    Pretending like the Bush administration never happened is a problem for the GOP.

    They don’t pretend this, it merely seems that way because Bush is kept continually in the forefront of any discussion on the issues because the dem’s have to keep it that way, to make it look like everything is always “someone else’s” fault.

    The GOP has to keep discussing the “Bush polcies” because they are touted as being central to Obama’s failures. The egregious faults of the current administration are almost completely ignored. The current economic problems, foreign relations failures, and displays of what can only be properly described as gross incompetence never get a true airing out before the public.

    By my reckoning, Obama will start to take responsibility for his actions in about 10 more years, when his presidential library has had enough time to be funded and populated with reams of documents containing carefully edited “facts” about how much he accomplished.

    Nothing he is doing will make a difference and, therefore will likely not effect a positive change for the average American. And, therefore, everything will continue to be “Bush’s fault” for his second term. Just like it was for his forst.

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  110. matt bernius says:

    @Medusa:
    Three simple questions (and one that I’m asking you to answer without invoking Obama, Clinton or any other Democratic President):

    1. Do you think GWB had a successful presidency?
    2. Do you think he left the country in better shape that it was when he took office?
    3. In hindsight, would you vote for him again?

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0

  111. jukeboxgrad says:

    I think I would put it at 27%.

    That number is ironic, because the truth might be the inverse (kind of like how Mitt ended up getting 47% of the vote). In a poll done 1/12, only 27% of Republicans said this statement is true: “Obama was born in the United States” (link).

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 1

  112. matt bernius says:

    @jukeboxgrad & @mantis:

    Like I said, I have no doubt that some subsection of Republicans do believe that. And perhaps this is my personal bias toward qualitative research, but I think on topics like this, phone polling is really inaccurate because it assumes a level of, for lack of a better word, “honesty” that doesn’t fit my understanding of people.

    I’m not saying that it’s always inaccurate. But I think that quantitative research (i.e. polling) works best as a way to formulate questions for qualitative research. And I suspect — which means that this should be taken with a grain of salt (or perhaps two or three) — that if you dug into some of those responses and conducted post interviews, you’d find that they many of those answers are not as straight forward as they seem.

    btw @mantis HUGE PROPS for reminding me about KungFuMonkey!

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  113. Jenos Idanian #13 says:

    @matt bernius: 1. Do you think GWB had a successful presidency?
    2. Do you think he left the country in better shape that it was when he took office?
    3. In hindsight, would you vote for him again?

    1. I think Bush was better than Gore or Kerry would have been.
    2. I think he left the country in better shape than it would have been under Gore and/or Kerry.
    3. Given the alternatives of Gore and Kerry, in a heartbeat.

    I’ll also put Cheney as a better choice than Edwards, and a tossup for Lieberman.

    Like or Dislike: Thumb up 2 Thumb down 6

  114. matt bernius says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13:
    Fair response (and +1′d for taking the time to respond to that question).

    If I remember correctly, you also believe that Palin would have done a better job as President than Obama.

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  115. Barry says:

    @Steven L. Taylor: “Even if we state that there was a cover-up, which I don’t accept, how can the cover-up have caused death?”

    So far the right has (a) not presented any evidence at all of a cover-up (as opposed to either the CIA BS-ing the State Dept for a week, or simple confusion) and (b) the right did not take that attitude towards embassy attacks during the Bush administration.

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  116. Xenos says:

    @Jenos Idanian #13

    Dude, you guys ran against Bush and lost in 2000 and 2004. You still ran against him in 2008 and 2012, despite his not even being on the ballot. I’d bet you’re already warming up to run against him in 2016.

    :
    The funny thing is, we won against George Bush in 2000, nearly won in 2004, and won handily in 2008 and 2012. We will keep on running against him and will keep on winning, until it stops working.

    W was so spectacularly bad that I suspect we can succesfully run against him for another decade, maybe more.

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  117. jukeboxgrad says:

    It’s not just that he was so spectacularly bad. It’s that the stink of him is still all over the GOP, and they’re not doing what they need to do to purge that odor. Their policies are still the same policies, and the people now leading the GOP are the same people who helped him implement those policies.

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