Myopia: (n) a lack of foresight or discernment: a narrow view of something
Wednesday, November 07, 2012
Cheering a friend
Excerpts from an email in which I probably failed to do so:
Jeez, dude, you're starting to sound like me. A couple thoughts:
"I disagree vehemently ... that PBO does not have a mandate. "
I would argue that there is simply no such thing as a mandate. There is what you can pass, and there is what others can keep you from passing. Last night's election with few exceptions preserved the status quo, except that now we have a lame duck president. There's no "momentum" and the President has no more political capital than he had six months ago. History shows that, with rare exceptions, what presidents accomplish is accomplished in their first term. I would also note that, like Bush, Obama has screwed his party because he does not have a successor. Joe Biden? Really?
"Talk about unsustainable."
I would argue that it will therefore not be sustained. Your thinking is too linear here, I believe. We are already broke and getting broker, the budget is wholly out of control. Like Greece, like Spain, like Iceland, this goes on until one day it can't go on any longer. Either massive cuts are coming or a Greek-style meltdown is coming. But I really don't think a federal takeover of the states is in the works any more than it has been in the works since FDR if not Lincoln. That's the problem, IMO, with looking just at Obama. Bush as well federalized - he gave us NCLB, Medicare Part D (which is still going to cost more than Obamacare), and he gave us a army of unionized, blue-gloved molestadors in every airport in the nation. Obama carries on the work of centralization, and Romney would have done the same. So it's not a matter of who wins except in the velocity of centralization. And even that is arguable - Republican legislators support a Republican who centralizes (see Bush) while they fight a Democrat.
"is conservatism a dead political movement/theory?"
Yes, if by that we mean a philosophy of national governance. It had its shot, and its future is regional at best. But it did not fail because voters rejected it, it failed because elected officials did. When the GOP had a chance to fulfill Reagan's dream of eliminating the Dept of Ed, what did they do? Why are we still paying Big Bird's salary 15 years after we had a GOP house, senate, and President? Because elected officials, elected as conservatives, governed as politicians. It's a limitation on the system, not on the philosophy. The government will not lay off Big Bird until it runs out of money no matter who is elected. All over Europe, it's the socialists who are slashing budgets and laying off bureaucrats. Why? Because they have no choice.
"The talking heads are a complete farce, imo."
Yes, they are. "It was all an exercise in self-serving and hipness."
It's the Johnson County GOP, that's what they do. You would be far better served (and less disappointed) to find the party of a single Rep or senator - they really do care about the results.
Even better, I would recommend a book for you: Davidson and Rees-Mogg's "The Sovereign Individual: How to Survive and Thrive During the Collapse of the Welfare State." You can probably get it on Amazon for a penny. James Dale Davidson is the founder of the National Taxpayer's Union, while Rees-Mogg is a member of the British House of Lords. In that book (and the two that preceded it) they explain why technology, not voting, is the driving engine, and the organizer, of society. They explain last night's results, 15 years early, as a reaction not against political conservatism, but against the coming end of the free money.* Those who want to save Big Bird, SocSec, Welfare, Unemployment, and all those government programs are in reality conservatives. They are reactionaries, even, fighting against a future in which the power of political financial coercion is going away because decentralization, dissolution, and devolution are coming. It's a dark future for Big Bird and a rough one for all of us. Then again, no one ever said the decline and fall was going to be easy ;)
* We have lots of "free" money today, and yet we pay for it in other ways. It will get more and more expensive going forward.