Archive for January 13th, 2009

January 13, 2009

Robert Kuttner as Nigel Tufnel

Talk of $2 trillion in “stimulus” inspires Ace:

This is a Spinal Tap “But this goes to 11” moment. The actual amount of wealth the nation possesses is not some infinitely flexible quantum. Printed money represents a fraction of the wealth of the nation (which the government can seize, basically, to put tangible value behind printed paper money).
You can print up all the new money you like, but this does not actually create more wealth. It merely makes each dollar represent a smaller fraction of that pile of wealth.
So, like the amp which goes to 11, you can make up any denomination you like but you’re not actually increasing output.
And once confidence in the currency is damaged enough… well. Ask interwar Germany, ask Zimbabwe. Ask a dozen Latin American countries which turned on the printing presses to “satisfy” their debts.

Nigel Tufnel, liberal economist:

UPDATE: Cooking the books on the deficit (H/T: Instapundit).

UPDATE II: Welcome, Instapundit readers. Y’know, I think maybe Natalie Dylan could teach liberals a thing or two about economics. 
January 13, 2009

CPAC ‘somber and reflective’?

(BUMPED – UPDATE BELOW) Ed Morrissey recalls the past two Conservative Political Action Conferences:

In 2007, we had just lost the midterms but the activists sounded hopeful that the Republican Party had finally gotten the message about greed, corruption, and big-government solutions. In 2008, when it became apparent that John McCain would win the presidential nomination, it got somewhat somber and reflective.

Eh? Mainly I remember how Mitt Romney’s resignation Thursday morning caused some of his supporters to hit the bars for lunch and not emerge until they were stinking drunk. Funny? Man, you haven’t lived until you’ve seen a bunch of “family values” types staggering back into the Omni Shoreham after four hours of crying into their margaritas. Oh, the stories that could be told . . .

Ed’s right, however, that Crazy Cousin John ruined the mood. I remember his arrival in the hotel lobby, surrounded by an army of College Republican types in blue blazers, which inspired the Ron Paul supporters to start humming the Darth Vader theme from “Star Wars.”

This year, of course, the news that Sarah Palin will speak has made CPAC (Feb. 26-28) the hottest ticket in town.

UPDATE: For some reason, Memeorandum linked this post on the same thread with Marc Ambinder and James Antle — discussing George Allen’s status as front-runner in 2006 — although neither of them linked here. Curious.

January 13, 2009

Centrist ‘head fake’?

Barack Obama may be doing “a gigantic head fake” with his (alleged) centrist moves, but Jennifer Rubin’s worried:

To say that the Republicans lack both a message and leaders is to understate the depth of the problem: if Obama has his way they will lack a reason for existence.
There is a glaring irony here. The greatest champion of liberals (they thought) is on the verge of repudiating their agenda. But he is also undermining the opposition. The result may be that centrist nirvana which many have pined for these many years. Or the whole enterprise may falter as Obama is beset by both sides, corruption besmirches the entire Democratic Party, and the economic recession engulfs all incumbents. But there is reason, dare I say hope, that the Obama administration will deliver far less than the Left anticipated and the Right feared. That’s probably good for the country, and just awful for the angry Left and the future prospects of the GOP.

Jennifer is young, and probably doesn’t remember how the last “centrist” Democratic president alienated nearly everyone during his first two years in office. She is certainly not old enough to remember the naive but widespread pre-inaugural belief that Jimmy Carter was a “centrist” Democrat.

If there is one thing I’ve learned about politics, it’s this: People who say of presidential elections, “I vote for the man, not the party,” are the biggest fools on earth. When you elect a president, you elect his party.

A Democratic president will appoint a Democratic Cabinet, enact Democratic policies, and push Democratic legislation. You can take that to the bank. There will therefore be plenty of opportunities for principled opposition by the GOP. The challenge for Republicans is simply to remember why they’re Republicans.

January 13, 2009

Bishop promises un-Christian prayer

What did you expect of the un-Christian clergyman?

Bishop Robinson said he had been reading inaugural prayers through history and was “horrified” at how “specifically and aggressively Christian they were.”
“I am very clear,” he said, “that this will not be a Christian prayer, and I won’t be quoting Scripture or anything like that. The texts that I hold as sacred are not sacred texts for all Americans, and I want all people to feel that this is their prayer.”
Bishop Robinson said he might address the prayer to “the God of our many understandings,” language that he said he learned from the 12-step program he attended for his alcohol addiction.

Way to go, Vicki Gene.

UPDATE: Welcome, Hot Air readers.

January 13, 2009

Obama’s first defeat

Before he’s even sworn in:

Bowing to widespread Democratic skepticism, President-elect Barack Obama will drop his bid to include a business tax break he once touted in the economic stimulus bill now taking shape on Capitol Hill, aides said last night.
Obama suggested the $3,000-per-job credit last week as one of five individual and business tax incentives aimed at winning Republican support. He proposed $300 billion in tax relief in a bill that could reach $775 billion, and he resurrected the jobs-credit proposal from the campaign trail as one of his main provisions. . . .
Democrats . . . dismissed the $3,000 credit to employers for every job created or saved as ripe for abuse and difficult to administer. When no champion for the proposal came forward, the president-elect decided to sideline the incentive.

“The president proposes, the Congress disposes,” and giving tax breaks to business is an idea Democrats were happy to dispose of.

It is interesting to observe the naivete of Obama’s method: Had he any real inkling of how Washington works, he would have recruited a “champion” for the legislation before he ever publicly proposed it. But during his four short years as a senator — the last two of which he spent running for president — Obama never really got involved in the legislative process. When you think about, Democrats were the minority for the first two years after Obama’s 2004 election, so the only meaningful experience Obama had in the Senate was voting against the Republican majority’s bills.

Obama got rolled by Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi and something tells me, not for the last time.

January 13, 2009

‘That’s your act’

(Video via Hot Air.) Barbara Walters introduces Ann Coulter by saying that her new book, Guilty: Liberal ‘Victims’ and Their Assault on America, is “deliberately provocative because, after all, that sells books.” Which might have been said about, inter alia, Bill Buckley’s God and Man at Yale.

Whoopi Goldberg — whose show-biz career has been largely based on shock value — subsequently lectures Coulter: “I know you want to do this whole ‘Left’ thing — that’s your act.” We are to presume that, in Goldberg’s mind:

  • A. The Left is a figment of conservative imagination; or
  • B. The Left, granted it exists, does not do what Coulter says it does; and
  • C. Therefore, Coulter is merely engaged in an “act,” whereas Goldberg and her “View” colleagues are . . .?

The reader sees the point. Five days a week, 52 weeks a year, Walters, Goldberg & Co. sit on that set, doing their own “act,” generating revenue via advertisers who pay for access to their audience, and yet when Coulter seeks to earn her keep by offering conservative arguments about current events, Walters and Goldberg deride her as an insincere peddler of outrage.

(“. . . and next week on ‘The View’: Why can’t atheist transsexuals be Cub Scout den mothers?”)

Despite its relatively small audience (about a million daily viewers in November sweeps) “The View” is deemed sufficiently lucrative that Disney/ABC is willing to pay full-time salaries to its four stars, to say nothing of the producers, crew, and other expenses. And who can doubt that Coulter’s appearance generated higher-than-average ratings? When, pray tell, did some mid-level singer or actor appear on “The View” to be treated with the sort of sneering that Walters, Goldberg and the insufferable Joy Behar dished out on Coulter?

Publishing is a commercial enterprise. To say that an author earns her living by selling books, and that being “controversial” or “provocative” (i.e., interesting) is helpful to that process is certainly no brilliant insight, nor is it a valid criticism of the content of Coulter’s book. That Coulter regularly appears on television to promote her books is not a criticism, unless one is the kind of snob who patronizes only authors who don’t regularly appear on TV. (In which case . . .) And to say that she knows how to mix it up with tasty sound bites is merely to say she understands and excels in the medium.

Well, Coulter is conservative, while Walters, Goldberg and Behar are not and — apart from any actual errors of fact or logic they can cite, which weren’t apparent from their confrontation with Coulter — this political disagreement is the sum of their criticism.

Which is not to say that there are no valid criticisms of Ann Coulter, and certainly many conservatives have criticized her over the years. I could sum up the conservative arguments against Ann . . . but any commenter can do the same, eh?

Coulter is who she inarguably is, and does what she inimitably does, and in the process has changed minds and inspired many young conservatives to stand up against liberal dogma on campus. Whatever criticisms anyone on the Right makes against Coulter must be weighed in the balance against the tremendous good she does, because if she wasn’t doing good, Joy Behar wouldn’t hate her.

BTW, if you are burning with resentment over how Coulter was treated on “The View,” there is really only one way to get your revenge: