Wednesday, August 31, 2011

More Proof that the Republi-CONs don't believe what they're saying

The Think Progress blog reveals that85% of Republicans, including Boehner, Cantor and McConnel in 2008 under Bush voted for a stimulus with elements that they are now rejecting from Obama. There couldn't be a clearer illustration that this is about pure politics, and any idea of actually understanding how to help the economy, or actually help it, is the farthest thing from the minds of the Republi-CONs.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Dean Baker's Book: End of Loser Liberalism

Dean Baker has a new book, The End of Loser Liberalism available free in PDF form.

Baker argues that Liberals have been accepting the Conservative line that they favor market solutions. This puts the Liberals in the position where they look like they are just trying to bail out the losers in the competitive market place.

In fact, the Conservative line is a lie, as they support all kinds of government limitations on the free market—so long as they favor the rich. Baker puts forward proposals that restructure the market to as to benefit "the bulk of the working population rather than just a small elite."

I've just started the book, but his basic analysis of the Republi-CON seems right on target.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Remember arguments in good faith?

Krugman acidly remarks in a blog post that some of the arguments against Keynesians like him are so bogus and malicious that: "You have to assume that this kind of argument is made in deliberate bad faith — although I suspect that many of these people don’t remember what it is to make an argument in good faith."

The argument in question was that when Krugman points out that WWII overcame the depression by massive spending he is being a war monger. Of course he is arguing for government spending on infrastructure, education, etc., not war.

I think what this points up is that Democrats should not only be answering the arguments of the RepubliCONs, but to point out their dishonesty. They are not interested in the truth, but only name-calling and belittling the opposition.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Debate on Obama's Leadership

Charlie Rose aired a fascinating debate on Obama's leadership. Drew Westen sharply criticizes Obama, and Jonathan Chait and Fareer Zakaria defend Obama. Will and I have been taking the Drew Westen side, with me being slightly softer.

What I think is missing from this debate is the most interesting thing about it. Obama, by not using the "bully pulpit" to educate the public on economic issues, and the devastatingly bad impact of RepubliCON policies, has ceded the field to the Right Wing crazies. Their narrative is not contradicted.

Yes, it is contradicted by Krugman, Ezra Klein, Dean Baker and others we've been quoting here. But not in the national mainstream TV news: the CBS NBC ABC CNN. Only Obama making the case for government investment and against austerity will get the public on his side. He's just relying on them seeing him as responsible. But that didn't work in 2010. Yes, there's a failure of leadership.

Jonathan Chait argues that the "bully pulpit" is way overrated and hardly has any impact. I really doubt that, not because it's not the President alone. Once the President takes the field philosophically against small government cut taxes on the rich people, the whole public debate will change. The latest example of this is when Ross Perot took out his charts about the deficit, it changed the narrative, and the Clinton tax increases resulted, which helped.

Friday, August 12, 2011

RepubliCON chutzpah and Obama's response.

In response to Will's last post I was too mild. I heard Congressman Nadler make a good argument. When Obama blamed Congress he was actually being dishonest. Nadler didn't put it that way, but that's what it amounts to. It wasn't Congress that wouldn't compromise, but the RepubliCONs. The right wing of the right wing said they wouldn't compromise on anything. As some have pointed out, today the Republicans have regularly come out against their own original proposals. They have ended up favoring nothing but tax cuts on the rich. That's it.

There's a famous definition of the Yiddish word "chutzpah". The fellow who beats you and cries "Help, Help!" Now HE has chutzpah. He's going to blame you for attacking him. Even after he's stolen your money he's going to try to get you arrested!

That's what the RepubliCONs have been doing. They held up the country by needlessly threatening to force the government not to pay it's debts and creating an international financial collapse. And they refused to compromise. It's only Wall Street that brought enough RepubliCONs along not to collapse the whole financial system.

So the guy being beaten here is Obama—and the rest of the country. And what does he say when the police arrive. "There's a fight going on here; can you separate us." No dammit, he mugged you and us. Tell the truth. As I think Churchill once said, there's a difference between an arsonist and a fireman. Obama has really now gone too far. It's like the guy who spits in your face and you say it's raining. Hey, Obama, it's our face he's spitting in as well. Tell the truth!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Bully Pulpit Failure & Other Failures

For those of us who are typically in thrall to the concept of American exceptionalism and the idea that "the American experiment" was still alive and well, the 2008 election of Barack Obama certainly brought tears to our eyes. And yet, two and a half years later, in the midst of the current "manufactured" American "debt crisis" - when the opportunities for strong Democratic leadership are at an absolute apogee - Barack Obama chooses to step back from them. He does not do this timidly but resolutely and consistently. It is beyond pathetic.

Even in the face of "GOPspeak" which the ending of a decade-long Bush gift of lowering taxes ( to those who don't need it is called a "tax increase" by Republicans, the President himself calls the current agreement on the debt a "balanced" tax-and-debt package (when the top 1 percent continue to control 40-50% of the wealth in the country)...He will simply not talk about class warfare in spite of the fact that this actions by the Tea Party and its adherents have are totally consistent with such a theory.

It is not surprising then, as has been pointed out recently by the chief executive of a polling company (Greenberg-Quinlan-Rosner, a polling company that works primarily for center-left interest groups) that the "common man" is disgusted with the Democratic Party. Even though Democrats and others support the DP's policies, they have very little belief in the Party's abilities to implement them. And, Obama represents these policies perfectly. As Landsy emphasizes, "if they [the Dems] are to win trust and votes, Democrats must show that they are as determined as the Tea Party to change the rules of the game....

What should Dems do??? (I paraphrase the Landsay article here): a) they should limit or bar corporate contributions to electoral campaigns; b) they must force public broadcast media to "freely" publish candidate ads; c) they must simplify the tax code and remove the loopholes, etc. Obama has failed consistently to stand up for any serious Democratic principles. He has consistently caved when any serious conflict was involved. Why should I vote for him in 20012??? Because the alternative is so much worse? Wow, that's an real exciter!!! Sadly, he will expect Progressives to support him spite of the fact that he has absolutely refused to stand up for the Democratic Wing of the Democratic Party. And, the Super coalition to which the President agreed will be simply a reprising of the same.....No revenue increases...
I will take bets now....

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Clear refutation of right wing economic analysis.

Paul Krugman marshals the evidence that his Keynesian analysis of the economy—that we are in a liquidity trap, and government spending won't raise interest rates—has proven large correct. The Wall Street Journal's persistent RepubliCON view that government spending would increase interest rates and inflation has proven wrong again and again.

Now explain to me again why Obama doesn't mention this?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

A failure of leadership

Now that we have survived the irresponsible threat of financial collapse by the Republi-CONs, it is more clear than ever that President Obama has seriously failed to articulate a vision for our economic future, and to rebut the Republi-CON—the Republicon "CON" of the American people for the sake of the rich.

Why is this?