Archive for February 25th, 2009

February 25, 2009

The politics of assertion

“Regulations were gutted for the sake of a quick profit at the expense of a healthy market.”
Barack Obama, Feb. 24

Prompting Tigerhawk to ask:

What regulations were gutted? He keeps asserting this as if it were well understood, but it is not.

One of the symptoms of psychosis is “magical thinking,” the belief that one can make something true by a sort of telepathic power — imposing one’s will on events by sheer mental force.

What seems to be happening with Obama is a similar phenomenon: “magical talking” — i.e., if Obama says something is true, it becomes true, merely because he said it. So as he repeats the assertion that greedheads during the Bush administration “gutted” financial regulations, thus leading to the market collapse, this repetition of the mantra makes it true, even though there is no evidence of any such thing actually happening.

This is very interesting to watch. Obama and other Democrats sincerely want to believe that deregulation is to blame for the current economic situation, since this belief supports their worldview. Because their worldview is so closely connected to their selfhood — I am a Democrat, therefore I am — no evidence is needed to support this counterfactual belief. Contradictory evidence (e.g., the role of the Community Reinvestment Act, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac in causing the mortgage crisis) is furiously shouted down: “Lies! Damned lies! All lies!”

New one for the next DSM revision: Psychopoliticosis.

February 25, 2009

‘The opposition party must oppose’

Jennifer Rubin:

It seems eons ago that in the aftermath of the election Republicans debated where they wanted to go as a political party and what they should do next. Throw out social conservatives, some suggested. Get rid of big-government moderates, others retorted. Pundits debated whether to advocate reform or return to the party’s roots, or whether the former could rely on the latter for inspiration. But now it is crystal clear what the party’s task must be: defend the free market and oppose the vast expansion of government which the president envisions. There is no getting around it. The opposition party must oppose.

Exactly. The Vichy Republicans would alienate conservatives and do nothing to placate liberals by moving to the center. Voters who want big government have already got the choice of voting Democrat. What’s the point of a “me, too” centrist GOP policy? Even if you could elect a Republican majority on such a basis — and I don’t think you can — the result would be similar party, with only a change in personnel implementing the policy.

Rubin is right: “The opposition party must oppose.” Read the whole thing.

February 25, 2009

Thoughts on strategy

Over the weekend, I did a post whacking Rick Moran for his plays-well-with-others advice to Repuublicans. Tuesday night, I did Rick’s Internet radio show with Stephen “VodkaPundit” Green and Fausta “Rule 5” Wertz.

We talked about a lot of things, including Republican strategy — to the extent that “Republican strategy” is not a contradiction in terms. One of the points I made was that it is always good politics to be right.

I pointed out that, in 2003-04, the Democratic grassroots who supported Howard Dean were essentially betting that the Iraq war would prove a policy failure and thus a political liability for Republicans. Dean flamed out, but his grassroots supporters installed him at the DNC, and the party continued to double-down on its anti-war bet — which paid off big-time in 2006.

The challenge Republicans confront now is Barack Obama’s enormous popularity. However, as I have argued, the Obama/Reid/Pelosi economic plan won’t work. Republicans seem afraid to bet against that plan — that is, to stake their near-term political fortune on the probability that, on Labor Day 2010, the recession will be far worse than what we’ve experienced so far.

Studying the basic economics of the situation, it seems certain to me that Obamanomics won’t work. We might get a dead-cat bounce late this year, but the pressure on the bond market from all this deficit spending will be unsustainable. Everybody keeps look at the Dow Jones, but if the bond market goes wobbly — hello, Weimar America. At a very minimum, the path we’re on now will lead to a Gerald Ford/Jimmy Carter stagflation trap.

So, if Republicans know the economy’s going down the toilet, how about they hang that disaster around the Democrats’ necks? All this namby-pamby crap about how the GOP needs a “positive agenda” is about policy; I’m talking politics. Negative politics works. Scapegoat the Democrats for the economy without mercy or scruple.

Stephen argued that it is unlikely the GOP can recapture Congress before 2014, saying of the 2010-12 time-frame: “Brace yourselves for failure.” That’s defeatism or, as my late father always said, “Can’t never could.”

Forget what Obama’s poll ratings are in February 2009. Forget about “Big Picture” questions of grand strategy. What counts is what the generic ballot question shows on Labor Day 2010. Republicans need to raise money, organize and identify at least 50 seats currently held by Democrats that the GOP can win in 2010. Do that basic stuff, and the “Big Picture” will take care of itself.

Bet against Obamanomics, do the basic work of organizing for 2010, forget all the distracting chatter and — above all else — quit the hang-wringing and whining. A great opportunity beckons, if only Republicans will buckle down and focus on the task at hand.

February 25, 2009

Peter Schiff on Obama’s speech: ‘A total lack of understanding of basic economics’

Via Doug Mataconis:

“This is all a bunch of nonsense,” Schiff says. By which he means: It Won’t Work.

February 25, 2009

The blunt truth

“What I do is throw out opinions. Any monkey can and from what I read on the Web, many monkeys do. Reporting the news is tough. I’m lazy.”
Don Surber, speaking for us all

February 25, 2009

Digging deeper

At AmSpecBlog, I attempt to put into words my vast exasperation with the transparent bogusness of Obamanomics:

This goes back to September, when John McCain declared, “The fundamentals of our economy are strong.” Michelle Malkin finally got fed up with what she called the “Pollyanna conservatives” and burst out: “The fundamentals of the market suck.” And the sucking has only grown louder since then. . . .
We are headed for ’70s-style “stagflation.” Never mind what the Dow Jones does today; it will be below 6,000 by Christmas. Obama doesn’t know what he’s doing, and what he’s doing is standing at the bottom of a hole demanding we dig faster.

Our financial problem is caused by excessive debt, and you cannot borrow your way out of debt. Somebody owes Ron Paul an apology, because he’s been right about this problem all along.

February 25, 2009

John Ziegler, bachelor for life

If I were asked to list everything conservative radio talk-show host and documentary filmmaker John Ziegler does wrong in this dating-show video, I’d reply: “OK, how many weeks do I have to finish the list?”

“See, I’ve never been married. One of the many reasons is, I think if we’re going to live in the real world, the marriage contract should be like every other contract, it should have a certain duration and be renewable. The only reason women would never go for it is that, as you get older, you lose power in the relationship because [men] become more distinguished [but women] get older and by the time we’re in our 40s, the power’s completely shifted . . .”

Dude. Even if you think that, you don’t say that. It’s a date, not an anthropology lecture. It is not romantic to think of “relationships” in terms of “power.” If asked to explain why you’re still unmarried, explain that the True Love of Your Life died in a tragic auto accident and you’ve never gotten over the emotional wound. Even if it’s not true, it sounds better than any other plausible explanation, and it makes you seem vulnerable. Chicks dig vulnerable.

Also, when talking to a woman toward whom you have romantic intentions, beware of the sweeping generalization that includes her — that is to say, do not speak of her as just another woman. Chicks don’t dig that. As a rule, stick to the Mike Damone 5-Point Plan:

First of all Rat, you never let on how much you like a girl. “Oh, Debbie. Hi.” Two, you always call the shots. “Kiss me. You won’t regret it.” Now three, act like wherever you are, that’s the place to be. “Isn’t this great?” Four, when ordering food, you find out what she wants, then order for the both of you. It’s a classy move. “Now, the lady will have the linguini and white clam sauce, and a Coke with no ice.” And five, now this is the most important, Rat. When it comes down to making out, whenever possible, put on side one of Led Zeppelin IV.

Ziegler will be at CPAC, so maybe I can give him some counseling in this matter.

UPDATE: Linked at Hot Air Headlines.

UPDATE II: Just got an e-mail from Ziegler, who says he hasn’t seen the video but feels it may have been edited to misrepresent him. He had agreed to do the show, then wanted to back out because he had other business to attend to, and so he wasn’t really bringing his A-game that day.

Don’t sweat it, John. We love you like a brother, man. I’m sure you’ll find the future Mrs. Ziegler at CPAC, and even if not, we’ll all owe you beers for this one.

UPDATE III: In the comments at Hot Air, Lorien suggests Ziegler was trying to give the girl the brush:

It could be that Ziegler caught something – now edited out – that made him want to end this quickly. No sane guy – on a date with a chick who is pretty cute – is going into this unless his goal is to get out of the date. I’ve done something similar to this in the past, a bit more tactfully, but what guy (or girl) hasn’t pissed off the date on purpose, just to end it.

Hmmm. Maybe. But why do the “suicide bomber” routine with the cameras rolling?

February 25, 2009

CPAC: Mardi Gras for the Right

From my latest American Spectator column:

CPAC is, of course, the world’s largest gathering of conservative activists, and a great deal of serious activism is on the agenda when the three-day conference begins Thursday morning with a welcome speech by David Keene of the sponsoring American Conservative Union. CPAC director Lisa De Pasquale has once again organized a splendid schedule of speeches, seminars and other events, with a record attendance of more than 5,000 expected.
Yet for all wonderful events on the official agenda — including speeches by Ann Coulter, Karl Rove, Rush Limbaugh and Republican National Committee Chairman Michael Steele — much of the fun at CPAC is unscheduled and unofficial.
When I try to describe it to friends who’ve never attended, I tell them CPAC is like Mardi Gras for right-wingers. Or as Wendy Sullivan says, “It’s like what you see on MTV’s Spring Break, but with pearls and navy blue suits.” . . .

Please read the whole thing.

February 25, 2009

‘Rendezvous With Scarcity’

Ed Driscoll’s latest “Silicon Graffiti” video:

February 25, 2009

Obama plans mandatory socialized medicine

Ezra Klein of the (liberal) American Prospect:

I’ve now been able to confirm with multiple senior administration sources that the health care proposal in Obama’s budget will have a mandate. Sort of.
Here’s how it will work, according to the officials I’ve spoken to. The budget’s health care section is not a detailed plan. Rather, it offers financing — though not all — and principles meant to guide the plan that Congress will author. The details will be decided by Congress in consultation with the administration.
One of those details is “universal” health care coverage.

So, despite the economic downturn — the dire, dire crisis — Obama supposes that the federal government can pick up the tab for everybody’s medical bills. This program will be paid for by the Department of Unicorns and Rainbows.

And by the way, doesn’t it make you feel comfortable that the White House is now run by the type of people who have time to return Ezra Klein’s phone calls?