StanCollender'sCapitalGainsandGames Washington, Wall Street and Everything in Between

More on the closing of the conservative mind

26 Mar 2010
Posted by Edmund L. Andrews

  We shouldn't be surprised that David Frum got fired from the American Enterprise Institute for violating the Republican party line on health care.   Notwithstanding the Palin/McCain campaign rhetoric, the GOP has been hostile for years to to mavericks, independent thinkers and, frankly, almost any kind of thinkers. 

   Even so, I was struck by this post from Frum's wife, Danielle Crittenden:

We have both been part of the conservative movement for, as mentioned, the better part of half of our lives.  And I can categorically state I’ve never seen such a hostile environment towards free thought and debate–the hallmarks of Reaganism, the politics with which we grew up–prevail in our movement as it does today. The thuggish demagoguery of the Limbaughs and Becks is a trait we once derided in the old socialist Left.  Well boys, take a look in the mirror.  It is us now.    

     It's hard to believe that this revelation came like a bolt out of the blue.  The Republican arguments on health care, the economic stimulus and financial regulation have become so convoluted and degraded that they only make sense from the perspective of raw political strategy and Tea Party pandering.

       What holds the Republican Party together isn't anything remotely like a coherent philosophy or set of values.  The only things holding it together are group-think based on a cold calculation of how best to block the Democrats and rile the base.  It's an intellectual circling of the wagons.  Small wonder that it becomes oppressive.

     I am tempted to think that the revulsion expressed Crittenden is part of a bigger ferment among Republicans.  I'd like to think that there is a group of young Turks or moderates who agree with Frum that the GOP health-care rejectionism will turn out to be the party's Waterloo.  I'd like to think that there is a new generation GOP that is ready to take a chance on constructive engagement.  

     But my good friend Bruce Bartlett is skeptical.  Republican leaders think their strategy since the 2008 election has been a great success.  If they win back House and Senate seats this fall -- as they almost certainly will -- they'll argue that their strategy has been vindicated.   And the truth is, the Young Turks are among the most fervent of the hard-liners -- the Jeb Hensarlings, Paul Ryans.  The moderates are disappearing faster than ever, and the ones who stay are disdained.

    So: tough luck, David Frum.  I'm sure you'll do just fine.   But don't be shocked that you've been bounced from AEI.   The surprise is that you kept the job for so long.












Denial, not just a river in Egypt...

I think that the rebirth of the Republican party will come but it will probably not start until after the November elections. Right now Republicans seem to be in the Denial and Anger phases of recovery and genuinely believe that their current strategy of, as you say, oppressively circling the wagons is the right way to go. I'm no expert but I do not believe they will take back the House or the Senate in November. I will be surprised if they do better than to pick up a few seats and believe they might still do worse.

If they don't make big gains in November then maybe all the anger and heat will dissipate and there can be some more serious consideration on what they need to change in order to be more successful at the voting booth. I think Obama was tactically astute when he said: 'Go for it' in reference to Republican promises to 'Repeal and Replace'. That is going to be a losing argument for the R's and a winner for the D's.

These days I am constantly reminded of the funny image in the Simpson's where Grandpa Simpson does the "angry old man shouts at cloud" routine.

The creation of a new

The creation of a new entitlement is easier than the abolition of an old one, the old one being their ruling prerogative.

A Better Healthcare Strategy for Republicans

Chalk me up as one of the moderates thatagree with Frum. I posted this as a comment on Bartlett's blog post, but it seems relevaant here as well.

Once the average American begins to experience this healthcare legislation, they are going to like it and Republicans will be on the wrong side of the argument. Instead, Republicans should focus their attention on making healthcare as financially stable as possible. Nobody wants to see the U.S. expand the federal deficit, and using their political capital to push for a more fiscally responsible system will put Republicans on the right side of the argument. Furthermore, it will reposition Republicans from being the party of “no” to the party of ideas.

Of course, this will require Republicans coming to terms with the fact that taxes need to go up. Let me be clear – I’m not fan of high government taxes. There are two parts to the equation when it comes to balancing a budget – reigning in spending and bringing in more revenue. There is no question that Republicans should continue to focus on reigning in spending, however to gain credibility it will be important to advocate for both aspects of the formula.

More in my post here titled 'A better heathcare strategy for Republicans':

I just wish

they would stop the lies.

I have to listen to lies from my Congressional rep EVERY day, followed by a quiet retraction from her chief of staff or media fact-checking about 3 days later. This "rinse and repeat" happens several times every week. God only knows why I follow this stuff, she'd make Hitler's Nazi propaganda machine look like the minor leagues. The latest was her saying that Medtronic would lose 1,000 jobs due to the healthcare bill (which she said at her rally in Duluth this week). Today's debunking comes from Medtronic Corporation and our local public radio station:

On Sunday she lied to Americans on "Face the Nation", but CBS outed her lies in this piece that followed:

I believe our elected representatives should take an oath to stick to the facts (not lie to Americans for political gain, as Bachmann does) and serve with honesty and integrity.

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