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Paul Krugman is scared: Keep it up, conservatives

November 9, 2009 1 comment

Typically, Paul Krugman can’t help himself. He’s quick to call any fight for the Democrats and, when he can get away with it, has no problem starting the knockout count even before Republicans hit the ground. So when even he is worried about the next election, you know change is afoot.

In fact, the party of Limbaugh and Beck could well make major gains in the midterm elections. The Obama administration’s job-creation efforts have fallen short, so that unemployment is likely to stay disastrously high through next year and beyond. The banker-friendly bailout of Wall Street has angered voters, and might even let Republicans claim the mantle of economic populism. Conservatives may not have better ideas, but voters might support them out of sheer frustration.

And if Tea Party Republicans do win big next year, what has already happened in California could happen at the national level. In California, the G.O.P. has essentially shrunk down to a rump party with no interest in actually governing — but that rump remains big enough to prevent anyone else from dealing with the state’s fiscal crisis. If this happens to America as a whole, as it all too easily could, the country could become effectively ungovernable in the midst of an ongoing economic disaster.

The point is that the takeover of the Republican Party by the irrational right is no laughing matter. Something unprecedented is happening here — and it’s very bad for America.

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Elections have consequences

October 31, 2009 Leave a comment

Republicans who sat out the election because of McCain owe the rest of us who participated in our little republic a little something for getting us into this abject mess. I don’t know — maybe some community service during the next election cycle. Or a hundred push-ups. Something.

Categories: Conservatism, Politics

Matt Latimer: turncoat or change agent? (Why the “or”?)

October 6, 2009 Leave a comment

In principle, I’m generally opposed to tell-all memoirs of the kind that capitalize on one’s former, high-profile position as a trusted employee. An important ethic used to dictate that serving at someone else’s “pleasure,” as Colin Powell so frequently (and honorably) put it, required keeping behind-closed-doors conversations quiet and solemnly — even at the risk of less notoriety and financial remuneration — taking such conversations and insider insights to the grave. But as a weak mortal, I suffer from a voyeuristic attraction to the halls of power and as a student of political history, I can’t help but want to read this Latimer fella’s book, Speech-Less. It’s created a fair amount of controversy because he, apparently, so roundly criticizes Bush and many of his advisers as pseudo-conservatives, while praising the likes of Cheney; Rumsfeld; Senators Kyl, Coburn, and DeMint; and Governor Palin. So now my curiosity is piqued, because this Latimer dude sounds like my kind of conservative, even if he’s not my kind of honorable conservative.

Anyway, some interesting stuff about him on NRO’s “The Corner”.

Be sure to read the original letter Latimer sent to NRO (which Lowry links to in the above post).

So now, in conclusion, there’s another principle in tension here, one that might supersede my principled opposition to profiting from disloyalty and one’s own breech of trust: Does Latimer’s book serve a larger political goal, even if his aspirations in writing it might have been more puerile? I might have to read it to see, but either way, that others might profit from his folly makes the folly no less his. Maybe I can be a bit Solomonic about it: Perhaps I’ll just pick it up from the library or borrow it from someone to gain what I can from it while withholding my financial endorsement of his disloyalty.