Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Potpourri

Some great articles on the current state and future of conservatism:

1. Mark Sanford, governor of South Carolina, blames the Republicans, not conservative ideology for losing the presidential election. I completely concur. I have been recently arguing with Bush/GOP supporters who hold conservative viewpoints. Haven't these Republican leaders failed in almost every facet??? (massive spending, huge deficit, bailouts, 2 endless wars and nation building in the Middle East, etc).

2. David Brooks on the Traditionalists vs. Reformers in the GOP. Regardless, as mentioned above, Conservatism is dying in the U.S., and that has happened with Bush at the helm. Now that Obama will be taking over, the conservatives are going to have to hunker down (as it appears they are already doing on a cruise). The Republicans used to be able to state their mantra in 8 words: Smaller government, lower taxes, strong defense, personal responsibility. One can argue that all but the "lower taxes" themes have been violated (budget/deficit huge, military forces stretched, bailouts galore), and the lower taxes will likely give way as we will face the "bills" for all of the spending, bailouts and unfunded mandates (social security and Medicare) over the next several years.

3. Are we really going to bail out the auto industry as well? I'm torn on this, because collapse of GM and or Ford will be devastating for the work force, but these corporations have been so uninsprining and run so poorly, that I kind of think survival of the fittest should be the principle to adhere to in this case. Who will the government bail-out next, Circuit City? Give me a break. GM continued to build gas-guzzling vehicles for years, while Toyota and Honda continued to produce better and more fuel-efficient vehicles.

4. Bush is going to publish his memoirs and admits he has made some mistakes, including "Mission Accomplished". Thanks, W.

5. Palin, on the concession speech she wanted to give on election night. She hints she wants to run for Pres in 2012. At least she will have 4 years to study up for the "gotcha" questions.

6. A new study, reported at the American Heart Association meeting, finds that 10-year old obese children had arteries equivalent to 45-year olds. One-third of American children are overweight. Get out there and exercise kids!! At least play Wii Fitness!!

7. This map is scary: depicts where homes are worth less than the mortgage.

13 comments:

Don said...

1 - I agree entirely. We haven't had a conservative president since 1988.

2 - I think conservatism among elected politicians is dying. It is just too tempting to buy votes with unnecessary bridges and $500 "stimulus" checks. I think the electorate will accept a world without handouts, when the politician is bold enough to explain that position. Obama gave tons of vague comments speaking to that element of the American psyche (I have never heard a victory speech with less substance; and does anyone remember a single word from his glorified convention speech on the mount?) Conservatism is not dead in America. Just listen to Obama's speeches, and you will see that.

3. Agreed. Circuit City is based here in Richmond, but I don't think the government should prop them up too.

4. If he had just made those comments years ago, his legacy would be entirely different. JFK was about as conservative (perhaps moreso) than Bush, and JFK admitted his mistakes with the Bay of Pigs Invasion. The country appreciated the honesty and forgave him. W should have done the same.

5. Palin will not win the presidency. I don't think she wins the nomination. The next President will be an Indian from Louisiana.

6. I need the Wii Fit too.

7. May explain why I can't sell my Mom's house.... Anyone need a vacation home in beautiful Rural Retreat, Virginia?

elsquid said...

agreed that the next repub nominee (and possibly pres) will be an indian-american from louisiana. with changes in the law, it might also be an austrian weight-lifter turned actor turned politician.

don't like bailout of auto (or banks, for that matter). i understand the disaster that might ensue, but sometimes, there needs to be a little bloodshed, or even a lot of bloodshed. plus, i'll be really pissed if the likes of cerberus or other bargain-hunting opportunists can escape the downside risk of their investments in these dying companies. if there is a bailout, those investors better take some serious losses before the taxpayers pony up.

Anonymous said...

elsquid, i agree. i do not like the bailout. it seems carnage now will teach people a lesson for the future. pain will eventually lead to gain. me thinks the bailout stinks. pelosi is pushing for more. the american auto industry needs to get its own act together and maybe we will all stop buying hondas, toyotas, etc. obama has a dilemna. if he favors the bailout for auto industry, he will have to be in favor of reigning in a powerful union; 'bama faces a dilemna.

julie said...

Elsquid - there is plenty of bloodshed already in my retirement account, and the retirement accounts of millions of Americans for whom this matters more than me: those who need to live off that income today or tommorrow.

That said, I can't decide if I'm for or against the bailouts. I feel a lot of conflict about it all.

elsquid said...

jules -
i realize that millions of jobs are at stake. i feel for those folks, i really do, and would be fully in favor of a "bailout" focused on them, clearly victims of a bad turn of events and execs that have been poor stewards of the companies that they work for. i also realize that this will have ripple effects that will effect all of us. however, i just can't stomach the idea of pouring money into an industry where the companies essentially failed to compete. these are proven loser companies that we are proposing to save here. what guarantees that this will not just delay their inevitable demise by a year? they haven't demonstrated the best track record of running a successful business for the past 20 yrs. plus the fact that the money would not be bailing out the workers so much as the vulture investors like cerberus or the creditors who bought corporate bonds at rates that had the risk priced into it. just seems like giving those parties a windfall by letting them buy in at a discounted price ex ante, then turn around and eliminate their risk ex post. whole thing seems very backward.

if you can build in protections to prevent these abuses, i'm all for it.

elsquid said...

"affect" not "effect"

send me back to grammar school.

Will said...

If 'conservatism' means preferring non-governmental solutions then I think the whole debate is taking a frame shift to the left because of four big issues:
the environment, health care, private equity/corporate financing, social security. Each of these issues calls for an increased role for government, the degree to which reasonable people can disagree. Then throw on top of that the near-consensus for non-isolationist foreign policy... On the flip side, how 'government intervention' takes shape may be moving right: managed competition and other free-marketish principles. Whatever conservative/liberal meant 50 years ago from a policy standpoint has limited relevance to what it means now. The REAL PROBLEM (you can wake up now) for the conservato-Republican axis is trying to maintain the split personality coalition of libertarians and socio-religious fascists.

julie said...

I agree with you, elsquid. AIG is a perfect example of the bailout helping those who didn't need it with the spa vacations.

I was just saying that there are already tons of either retired or near-to-retire people whose IRAs and possibly pensions will already be seeing an effect, who thought they would be able to survive who are now doubting that. My retirement savings has now officially lost about 40% (no judgement from people who smartly got out of the market in time, please) but I still have time to recover some, of not all of my losses. I am really feeling for the people who need that nest egg right now. Either I wish I were, or I'm glad I'm not, an economist right now.

Anyway, I also resent bailing out executives and systems who created this mess to begin with greediness and a lack of common sense.

And for those of you rooting for the Indian from Mississippi, has anyone given consideration to the fact that he's a practicing charasmatic Catholic? My grandmother was one, and all I'm saying is ... those folks are a little nutty!

julie said...

Well said, Will.

Don said...

I couldn't disagree with Will more on the topics that demand more government intervention. If you think more government is needed to "fix" social security, then get ready to hand over your paychecks now (and that won't even work).

I do agree that the Republican Party's intellectual diversity is a cause for concern. There is little such diversity of thought even allowed in the Democrat party, so the politburo is kept in line very well.

That being said, I think the libertarian wing of the party could do well on its own and peel off some of the mushy independents who are committed to no party.

Will said...

it seems like you only disagree with one -- and I could take or leave that one.

kath said...

I agree with Don. And think people who are really interested in the traditional aspects of the conservative party should separate themselves from the religious right.

As for Bobby, it's funny, I was just thinking of him before this posting and that he might be our next president. And I'll admit, what I know about him, I like. If he was the Republican VP candidate and the campaign went another direction instead of the crazed populist, anti-intellectual direction ala Ms Palin, I may have voted differently. I don't think practicing Catholics are any more nutty than any other religious group (including, I suppose, the nonbelievers/atheists/agnostics). Catholics are a practical people. And one of their central principles is social justice...wonder how that works in the Republican party?

Don said...

I don't know that anyone can make the blanket statement that all Catholics stand for "social justice" (whatever that means).

I have never read anything in the Bible that says God wants us to use the government to take money from some to give to others. (not that it would change my opinion anyway) If God decides you are not charitable enough for his tastes, he has his own enforcement mechanisms. He doesn't need the I.R.S. to impose faith (if he did, it wouldn't really be faith, would it?).

Will, I do disagree on all 3 counts, but I don't have time to discuss ALL of our disagreements. I think the environment might benefit from "better" government, not necessarily more. I think the quality of health care only suffers with more government, but the quantity may increase. The Fed, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, the CRA and Congress all need less power -- not more -- before we put more regs on corporations.