January 24, 2009

Obama to congressional Republicans: "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."

Ha ha. Obama is being alpha, and he's deliberately tweaked that other alpha who just loves to hear his name invoked by his enemies. I'm picturing Rush delirious with glee, pacing the cavernous rooms of his mansion, booming out monologues to his kitty cat Pumpkin, as he waits for Monday noon to finally roll around. This will be good.
"There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats," [some Obama official explained.] "We shouldn't let partisan politics derail what are very important things that need to get done."
Rush Limbaugh's position is that he doesn't want things done:
I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, "Well, I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance." Why? They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated the search-and-destroy mission had begun. I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed.

If I wanted Obama to succeed, I'd be happy the Republicans have laid down. And I would be encouraging Republicans to lay down and support him.... I would be honored if the Drive-By Media headlined me all day long: "Limbaugh: I Hope Obama Fails." Somebody's gotta say it. ...

I'm happy to be the last man standing....Yeah, I'm the true maverick... You know, I want to win. If my party doesn't, I do. If my party has sacrificed the whole concept of victory, sorry, I'm now the Republican in name only, and they are the sellouts.

IN THE COMMENTS: Jason says:
The moment I heard Obama said those things about Limbaugh I went out and subscribed to Limbaugh's 24/7 service (giving him money). And sometimes Limbaugh makes me angry, but now that the government is against him he has to be cool. Like cigarettes or machine guns or heck, even drugs.
AND: Limbaugh responds in writing, kind of screwing up the suspense...
[Obama] is hoping that these Republicans will also publicly denounce me and thus marginalize me.... To make the argument about me instead of his plan makes sense from his perspective. Obama's plan would buy votes for the Democrat Party, in the same way FDR's New Deal established majority power for 50 years of Democrat rule, and it would also simultaneously seriously damage any hope of future tax cuts....

Here is Rule 13 of Alinksy's Rules for Radicals:
"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

109 comments:

Bob said...

It's going to be hard for Congress to pass the Fairness Doctrine again if it's perceived by the public as a way to hush Rush Limbaugh. President Lightbringer doesn't need to get a reputation of having an enemies list.

vbspurs said...

I'm picturing Rush delirious with glee, pacing the cavernous rooms of his mansion, booming out monologues to his kitty cat Pumpkin, as he waits for Monday noon to finally roll around.

Whoa. I've been listening to Rush since October '08, but this sounds like the observations of an avid listener of decades. Pumpkin, indeed.

Premium members unite.

Cheers,
Victoria

T Mack said...

Rush actually lives in five houses on a compound he owns, not just on mansion.
It is on the beach too.
There is a description of it in the NY Times Sunday magazine profile of Rush a month ago.

The Crack Emcee said...

To say "I'm with Rush" is putting it lightly. He's been calling out Obama, cultism - all that - and I, too, look forward to Monday. He's flailing a little but, IMHO, Rush is, easily, closer to the mark than anyone else out there.

Palladian said...

Wait... isn't Althouse going to Florida? Where does Rush live? You heard it here first.

vbspurs said...

Wait... isn't Althouse going to Florida? Where does Rush live? You heard it here first.

Palm Beach.

Not West Palm Beach, the repository of every ghetto blaster still kicking from the mid-80s, and highly highly dangerous at night, so if you go there Ann, don't.

But Palm Beach, proper. The last real closed/open community of hedonistic people in the United States. No one under 80 need apply.

My parents have a second home, there, which sadly I cannot use (update to the Miami thread). The season is in full swing, and it's on the market for being rented out...sniff.

Cheers,
Victoria

Beth said...

It's going to be hard for Congress to pass the Fairness Doctrine...

without someone actually proposing it. There's no such bill in Congress.

No need to shut Rush up. Let him yammer loudly how much he cares about party victory. He doesn't give a shit about the country; he's a partisan and nothing more. This is football to him, and there's no such team as America, just liberal and conservative. What a turd.

Doyle said...

Obama is the only alpha of the two. Rush is a fat impotent hatemonger.

Maguro said...

He doesn't give a shit about the country; he's a partisan and nothing more.

But I thought dissent was the highest form of patriotism. Or is that only when the R's are in charge?

Palladian said...

That's rich coming from you, Doyle. All I've ever seen you do here is monger hate. I love how so-called liberals are suddenly full of peace and light and good feelings and patriotism and bipartisanship and it's the hatemongers and partisans on the right who are causing all the problems.

Palladian said...

"This is football to him, and there's no such team as America, just liberal and conservative."

Funny, that's how most liberals acted up until, oh, November 5th.

Marcia said...

"He doesn't give a shit about the country; he's a partisan and nothing more. This is football to him, and there's no such team as America, just liberal and conservative."

Sounds a lot like Pelosi, except that I doubt she knows jack about football.

Beth said...

Palladian, there's no room for functioning government in the trite forumula you express. But I suppose that's the whole point of conservatism - when it's not in power, that is.

Palladian said...

"Palladian, there's no room for functioning government in the trite forumula you express."

Yes! That's the point! I don't want government to function!

Host with the Most said...

hatemonger

Defined as "someone who disagrees with me".

AJ Lynch said...

Obama claims he is open to all ideas. Let's wait six months or so to see if Obama supports any significant non-liberal plans (i.e school choice, school vouchers, flat tax,etc.)

Rush is betting Obama is full of soup and will turn out to be nothing more than an Eleanor Clift-type doctrinaire liberal. Rush has basically said to Obama:

"Mr. President Prove I am Wrong!"

William said...

Why is it wrong to use deficit spending to finance a war but OK to use deficit spending to reduce unemployment and vice versa?

Father Martin Fox said...

Gridlock is good. It would be the best thing for the economy.

Host with the Most said...

He doesn't give a shit about the country;

I'm a conservative, and I have disagreed with Rush in previous comments on this blog before, but I don't believe that he is a hater or unAmerican. I don;t believe tha either about Obama.

I do want Obama to succeed as President:

-I want the country to be safe now and prepared for it's future security.

-I want our public schools to break the NEA and it's state affiliates' stranglehold on education decisions. The NEA serves it's leaders and professional staff and their financial and political desires first, then it's member teachers, THEN students, in that order.

- I want Obama to succeed by
leaving certain things alone - like the environment, the first and second amendments and religious freedom.


Let's see how he does.

AJ Lynch said...

William:

Good point.

Both sides agree deficit spending is OK when figting a deficit. Today, the 2 parties disagree over the type of stimulus expenditures. Obama proclaims "accept and support my plan or I will accuse you of being partisan".

Republicans agree deficit spending is OK when fighting a war.

Dems agree deficit spending is OK when fighting a war with which they approve.

OSweet said...

RULE 12: Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it." Cut off the support network and isolate the target from sympathy. Go after people and not institutions; people hurt faster than institutions. (This is cruel, but very effective. Direct, personalized criticism and ridicule works.)

Ann Althouse said...

Don't you remember when I said I was going to Palm Beach? Don't you remember how shortly after that, I was raving "Ocean blues. Oh, shun blues." Do I ever really write about my private life here?

1jpb said...

I too, wait for reports of Rush gobbling up the hook, line, and sinker.

Do folks remember that Rush declared that BHO "hates America" during the primaries? Not to mention that he is the embodiment of a fat cat--so out of touch w/ regular folks (and seemingly addicted to attention/validation) that he's spent airtime insulting jets that aren't as elite as his own.

Getting mainstream attention focused on Rush, Palin, and JTP helps BHO. Who's playing whom?

P.S.

Consider the Magic song. Rush was throwing this out as bait during the election. Did BHO folks bite? No. Folks waited until after the election when this song made it's way into official RNC business before pulling the trigger. Who's playing whom, indeed.

JAL said...

Funny how the Bushitler crowd can't handle even the mostly civil disagreement of Ann's online neighborhood.

Big Mike said...

This is bad for Obama at several different levels. Getting into a pissing match with a radio commentator is not bright. Barack Obama has come into office with more political capital than anybody since Eisenhower -- maybe anybody since FDR. But still, why waste any of it on Rush Limbaugh? He's going to have to back off from this tiff he's started, and even that will cost him political capital.

I didn't much care for McCain, but at least he was not a beginner. I thought Obama's lack of experience would take longer to show this badly.

Speaking of not taking long, Obama's efforts to reach across the aisle and exercise bipartisanship lasted, what, two days? He won. So what? That's why they call it the opposition.

There are plenty of first-rate economists who think the stimulus package will hurt, rather than help the economy. It would be nice if people who really believed in science were in charge of the White House.

Ann Althouse said...

Why didn't Rush buy me that plane?

Ken said...

Obama, like all Democrats, reacts poorly to criticism. Republicans get it from the lapdog media every day and learn it's part of the game. Democrats are used to adulation and feel betrayed when someone like Limbaugh doesn't act as expected.

Rush, on the other hand, loves criticism. Every attack by Democratic leaders is an indication he's doing his job. Republicans should take a page from Rush and glory in the smears. It means we are getting to them. They aren't going to like us unless we become Democrats Lite.

Now if he can get Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi to go after him, Rush will be the most popular man in America.

ricpic said...

Remember to take a detour around any of the bridges Obama will "get done" with some of his $825 billion stickup money. That infrastructure is going to be built with labor purposely non-white non-skilled and non-construction.

Diversity bridges falling down, falling down, falling down.

AJ Lynch said...

I wonder if President Obama uses his Blackberry to keep up with what Rush says?

Could Drudge or Althouse be some of Obama's favorite websites?

Tibore said...

Jesus H. Christ, Rush... It's one thing to accurately identify how Bush was treated, it's another to make the conscious choice to lower yourself to that same level!

I want the United Stated to succeed, and that goes beyond who's president at any given moment. Go read some milblogs and understand exactly what "Duty" stands for. I'd rather have someone else in as President myself, but I'm not going to spite my own country to express that.

No, I don't want a slide towards expanding, socialistic government. No, I don't want to see the fight against militant Islamic radicalism get diluted. No, I don't want to see progress in Iraq get halted in place and possibly reversed. But it's not a given that any of that will happen just because Obama is president, and once in office, reality has a way of changing what a Chief Executive will do; anyone remember George HW Bush's "No New Taxes" statement? At a certain point, pragmaticism must set in, and the pragmaticism of free markets and firm actions against terrorism has to become apparent now that he sees things from the Oval Office.

I don't believe Obama can slide the nation too far to the left, not without a backlash from the center of the country. So the trick is to help guide him in the proper direction as far as policies go, and you can't do that from a position of doing nothing but obduracy.

This is what I mean about "Principle": Conservatism needs to act from a position of first principles, and not define themselves in terms of their position vs. their opposition. I've said this before, and maybe even said it here, but doing things that way is a guaranteed way to be the also-ran party in the US. And that's just not the way to go. Rush is choosing to define himself as opposition by saying what he's said, not as someone working from firm principles.

The definition of letting Obama as President succeed is not rolling over and playing dead. It's letting the debate about policy form the policy in a sensible manner that accomplishes the most good for citizens. And that requires participation, not obstinance.

The best way to highlight differences between the liberals in 2000 and 2004, and the conservatives in 2008 is not to ape their behavior. It is to take the high ground and work for the principle of helping the nation succeed, not the principle of opposing any- and everything from someone just because he's a liberal. The left opposed Bush because he was Bush; do you want to fall into that same trap of adolescent behavior?

Opposition stemming from basic principles to specific points of a policy is necessary and good. That's all about helping form policies that are ultimately good for the nation. But promising opposition simply based on who states a position rather than what that position is is not the way to succeed.

Remember Reagan, Rush. Did he choose to define what he did in terms of trashing the Democrats? Or did he work from deeper principles? I think there's a lesson there for you.

MathMom said...

Isn't Rush's kitty cat named "Punkin"?

cubanbob said...

Rush is loving it. Great for his show, for his ad revenues and his audience numbers. No doubt he will put Obummer on his Christmas list.

I actually hope the democrats are arrogant enough to pass the Fairness Doctrine. It will bite on the ass in ways the fools never intended. Since all broadcast media is openly slanted, without any sham pretense of objectivity, the networks will be well and truly screwed. Not just the "news" division but the entertainment divisions as well. NPR and PBS will be dead man walking. The cable outfits as well. Its all a beautiful thing. Equal time for all points of view. Of course once passed and the litigation train starts, it will be on hold until the courts make their final determination (it will never fly) and Rush will be making out like a bandit for the entire Obama Administration and beyond.

Speaking of turds and hacks who put party over country, who was it that just signed the order to close Gitmo? Not Rush. And who is going to have to deal with the terrorist kept there? Not Rush. And what does Hussein the Magic Genius plan to do with them? Shoot them (if only)? Let them go? No wants them. So that leaves him to release them here.Put them in Federal Prison? On what conviction? Trials? And just how is that going to be done? Too late for that now to treat them as ordinary criminals. Under the current system, the courts will have to free them. Brilliant. Only a democrat could do such a thing, no ordinary person could be such a fool. We had a Commander in Chief less than a week ago. Now we have a Traitor in Chief.

Already Obummer is showing his true character; Nixon without the wisdom and charm. Will anyone even admit to voting for this turd two years from now? In a decent Third World country the tanks would rolling out in to the streets just about now.

traditionalguy said...

El Rushbo has too much brain power for his own good. The entertainer in him loves to think out loud while 20,000,000 people are listening. The result is either brilliant or BS. But he does listen to callers and admit to error when he has been off too far into right field. I see him as a real National Treasure.But I still get mad at him when someone that good at communicating is disagreeing with me. So King Barak and Lady Michelle will soon learn to hate Rush.I give the odds at 60/40 that the "Fairness in Campaigns Censorship Law of 2009" will be introduced during the King's first 100 days, who knows by whom, perhaps as an amendment to McCain-Feingold.

Greg Toombs said...

The Dali'Bama has a Glass Jaw.

Rush and Hannity have gotten under his skin.

Good. Someone has to point out the downside to the Dem's plans.

Some questions:
What does big government do well?
How bad can it get when big government gets things wrong?
Do lemmings have a loyal opposition?

Beth said...

Opposition stemming from basic principles to specific points of a policy is necessary and good. That's all about helping form policies that are ultimately good for the nation. But promising opposition simply based on who states a position rather than what that position is is not the way to succeed.

Tibore, good post. I want the same approach from Democrats and liberals - ideology tempered by pragmatism and accountability. Rush doesn't want that, because it doesn't get ratings.

Beth said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AJ Lynch said...

If a Fairness Doctrine gets enacted, all conservatives should begin an immediate boycott of MSM newspapers. I would just stop buying a paper except the WSJ until the Fairness Doctrine gets repealed.

Today, I tend to but two papers a day in addition to the WSJ.

A conservative boycott would get their attention.

AllenS said...

Out of the empty suit, steps a petulant little boy.

AJ Lynch said...

Beth:

Don't kid yourself. You can't get liberals and conservatives to agree on what is pragmatic. The MSM calls Obama pragmatic as if he ever voted against liberal dogma or stood up to Chicago corruption!

This is why there are policy disagreements.

traditionalguy said...

Forget my first 100 days bet, the Dem. strategy must await the two new Supremes to be appointed by King Barack and confirmed in one day by the Senate, with McCain adding the 67th vote.

1jpb said...

And, how could I forget the funny way Rush was used by the BHO folks during the election.

The BHO folks stretched reality to tie McCain to Rush regarding immigration so McCain and his folks had to run around saying they disagreed w/ Rush. This pisses off some of the conservatives who 1) already like Rush more than McCain, and 2) like the Rush perspective on immigration, and don't like thinking about McCain's opposition. And, this ad still raised doubts for folks worried that many in McCain's party were too close to the Rush view of an illegal immigration fix.

Rush is such a great (and eagerly willing/manipulated) foil for BHO.

Hilarious.

AJ Lynch said...

Tibore:

Rush has the same principles for 20years! Should he give those up?

Do me a favor? Read what you wrote again and tell me what the hell you meant in 50 words or less.

Rush believes Obama will be the most liberal pres ever! Do you believe Obama it is likely Obama will prove Rush wrong?

I Callahan said...

it's another to make the conscious choice to lower yourself to that same level!

I want the United Stated to succeed, and that goes beyond who's president at any given moment.

Tibore, I think you're missing the point. Rush, as well as a lot of us conservatives, don't believe that Obama's policies will succeed. So hoping for something that ain't gonna happen is a dumb idea.

In addition, we believe his policies will hurt the country, so if enacted, I don't want them to be perceived as good either. The media will try to do just that.

For example, FDR's policies hurt the country (they prolonged the depression), and we're still feeling the fallout to this day. Yet the historians still write how FDR brought us out of the depression.

I really don't want to see a repeat of the New Deal or the Great Society, so I hope it DOES fail. That's MY duty as an American.

TV (Harry)

1jpb said...

And, how could I forget the funny way Rush was used by the BHO folks during the election.

The BHO folks stretched reality to tie McCain to Rush regarding immigration so McCain and his folks had to run around saying they disagreed w/ Rush. This pisses off some of the conservatives who 1) already like Rush more than McCain, and 2) like the Rush perspective on immigration, and don't like thinking about McCain's opposition. And, this ad still raised doubts for folks worried that many in McCain's party were too close to the Rush view of an illegal immigration fix.

Rush is such a great (and eagerly willing/manipulated) foil for BHO.

Hilarious.

somefeller said...

Palladian says: Yes! That's the point! I don't want government to function!

There are times when that attitude is politically popular. I don't think this time is one of them. As such, I encourage conservatives to run with that idea, at least until November of 2012.

Kirk Parker said...

Beth,

"He doesn't give a shit about the country; "

Come one, you're usually better than this. Rush thinks he knows the sort of things Obama will try to accomplish, and actually thinks they will be bad for the country. Please go back to arguing and disagreeing on the merits.

Tibore said...

AJ Lynch:

I said it already: Don't define yourself by the terms the opposition establishes. Rush is doing exactly that: Defining himself against what he opposes, not towards what he wants to work for. That's not the way to be perceived as working from principle. It doesn't matter whether he's held his opposition to liberals for 20+ years now, the point is that such a mindset is a guaranteed way to be the party that's forever responding to liberal initiatives, not working towards implementing it's own.

It's not that hard to figure it out from what I've written; I don't understand why I have to summarize it for you. Do me a favor in return, please? Go back and reread what I wrote and tell me what you think I meant. I don't understand why you fail to understand it yourself.

I Callahan:

Obama's policies haven't been implemented yet. We're confusing campaign promises and intent with actual, formed and executed plans of action. That's why I'm so emphatic about positive action instead of negative opposition. There's still time to shape things. But that cannot be done with declarations of outright opposition.

Mike K said...

I had quit listening to Limbaugh the last few years but have begun again. His criticisms seem to get under the O's skin so we may see some fireworks and it will be fun to watch.

The whole meme about Rush wanting Obama to fail was taken out of context from the original interview where he prefaced that statement by saying that he assumed Obama would try to install socialism.

I think this current stimulus bill will be a porkfest and of no help so I do NOT want to see Republicans voting for it. If you need an example of Democrats in charge for eight years, look at California.

Bankrupt.

Beth said...

Kirk, nothing Rush has ever done supports that interpretation. He states very clearly that he's all about party. He has been, from day one. It's been very successful for him, and that's fine; that's the market at work. But if he can't be squalling about feminazis and magic negroes, he's got nothing. So no, I don't fall for the idea that his "I hope Obama fails" is based on any measure of sound, reasoned opposition, through a careful analysis, of Obama's positions. It's the position Rush HAS to take, because it's what makes him successful.

Lexington Green said...

Obama is a genius. He is defining opposition to himself as identical with being a Limbaugh fan.

Normal people, even center-right people, are for Obama.

By promoting Limbaugh to the Face Of Conservatism, Obama has defined his opponents in a way that helps him.

Best of all for Obama, Limbaugh will gladly act as if he is the True Voice and Spirit of the Right.

Limbaugh fans are only a fraction of a coalition.

Many conservatives and Republicans do not much care for Limbaugh.

Obama has defined everyone who is not a Limbaugh fan as belonging to himself.

Brilliant.

cubanbob said...

What is amazing is the number of people who voted for Obama believing he really wasn't serious about some of the positions he had taken during the primaries. The same type of people who denounced Bush as a liar but are fervent in the belief the Obama is a liar to justify voting for him. Talk about mental derangement.

The big joke on them is Obama will try to make good on his campaign promises. Every president does until they run out of political capital to do it or situations occur that prevents them from trying. Hope and Change they voted for and they secretly hoping the change won't be that much as promised. Only a democrat can believe such things, no ordinary person could be that big a fool.

Rush, Hannity, O'Reilly ought to bless the day Obama won the election. A grand trifecta for the boys. Hilary as SoS with Bill tagging along, no fiction writer would dare make this parody of a government up. Its too over the top for fiction to be even semi-believable. Four years from if this keeps up Obama will have done what was thought impossible; he will make Bush look like a rocket scientist in comparison. It will be an interesting fours years.

jeff said...

"Normal people, even center-right people, are for Obama."

Right up to the point he actually tries to implement some of the policies the far left seems to think he promised.


"Many conservatives and Republicans do not much care for Limbaugh."
No, many of those described by the media as conservative and Republicans do not much care for Limgaugh. But they are not actual conservative and are RINOs.

jeff said...

"Obama is a genius. He is defining opposition to himself as identical with being a Limbaugh fan. "

yes, genius. How totally unlike every other liberal democrat over the last 20 years or so. Why didnt someone think of this before now? A mystery for the ages.

jeff said...

"Kirk, nothing Rush has ever done supports that interpretation."

With the exception of his actions over the past 20 years or so. Otherwise, dead on.

The Crack Emcee said...

"What is amazing is the number of people who voted for Obama believing he really wasn't serious about some of the positions he had taken during the primaries. The same type of people who denounced Bush as a liar but are fervent in the belief the Obama is a liar to justify voting for him. Talk about mental derangement."

You guys know what I'm going to say this is so I won't belabor the point.

LonewackoDotCom said...

BHO has been dissing RL for a while now. In May 2008, BHO came close to accusing RL of inciting violence, and he did so in order to help illegal activity.

Then, in September, a BHO ad outrageously lied about two RL quotes. Even the NYT and JoeKlein eventually spoke out against that ad.

I'm going to guess that both were completely off Althouse's radar.

Palladian said...

"Obama is a genius."

Yes! Even when he does stupid things, it's actually part of a genius plan! You see, it's not possible for him to do ANYTHING THAT IS NOT GENIUS! Geez, you people are already sounding like those that reflexively defended even the stupid things that the Bush Administration did.

Michael said...

"I'm picturing Rush delirious with glee, pacing the cavernous rooms of his mansion..."...woofing down handfuls of Oxycodone while eating a huge roast beef and cheese sandwich.

It's about time someone called out this ignorant buffoon.

*Bob said..."It's going to be hard for Congress to pass the Fairness Doctrine again if it's perceived by the public as a way to hush Rush Limbaugh."

Oh, Bob...you're so full of shit. First of all, they're NOT going to pass or even introduce it...and even if they did, and even passed it...something like this would never fall under its domain.

When are you wingnuts going to get over it and accept the fact that Obama won the election?

IT'S OVER...

Michael said...

Hey, Crack...think Rush would even let you on the property??

Not a chance.

You're funny.

Simon said...

Tibore said...
"Opposition stemming from basic principles to specific points of a policy is necessary and good. That's all about helping form policies that are ultimately good for the nation. But promising opposition simply based on who states a position rather than what that position is is not the way to succeed."

Which is true, but irrelevant, because Rush didn't say anything in tension with that. What Rush said was that to the extent Obama forms policies that are ultimately bad for the nation, Rush wants him to fail. I want - and I understand Rush to want - Obama to succeed to the extent his success is good for the nation, and I want him to fail to the extent it is not. Amba got this exactly right: "That's a totally unexceptional and indeed fair thing for a conservative to say ... unless you twist it out of context."

Suggesting that there's some kind of purely partisan aspect to this is a red herring; I can't think of a single example when Republicans have opposed a good idea because the Democrats thought of it rather than because they thought it was a bad idea. Party identification is only relevant to the extent it tracks ideology and thus predicts what you will think is a good idea.

Random Obama official said...
"There are big things that unify Republicans and Democrats"

More red herring. Sure there are things we agree on, but this is a smokescreen, misdirection. As I said at Amba's, earlier in the week:

"[W]hat is this purpose that [Obama] thinks unifies us? Is it 'resolved, this union prefers real coke to new coke'? Is it that 'happiness is good'? 'America is swell and we'd like it to remain the land of the free'? We are not unified abot anything specific enough to unite us in common cause. We are unified on general aspirations, yes, but divided - irreconcilably, it seems to me - over what those aspirations mean and how to achieve them.

"We would do so much better to drop the facile pretense that simply because there is more that unites us than divides us, that those things that divide us do not matter, and Obama would do so much better to realize that he is not synthesis but antithesis (or thesis, or you would prefer). His election comes to this: the boot is on the other heel. One of two competing worldviews is now in power. No more."

The Crack Emcee said...

Michael,

"Hey, Crack...think Rush would even let you on the property??"

Two things:

1) Many days, Rush's choice of topics match those on my blog so closely I wonder if he reads it (I wish).

2) Bo Snerdley(Rush's producer) is black, so I don't understand your point.

It's a conservative thang - you wouldn't understand.

Tibore said...

Yes, Simon, the Limbaugh quote that Amba put up I completely agree with. It's utterly correct, and exactly what I was trying to say myself:

"Now, success can be defined two ways. I said earlier, I don't know about this guy, I really don't. But I've got my suspicions and they're pretty close to convictions, but we're gonna have to wait to see what he does. Now if he turns out to be a Reagan -- if he adds Reagan to his recipe of FDR and Lincoln, and if he does cut some taxes, if he does not eliminate the Bush tax cuts, I would call that success. So yeah, I would hope he would succeed if he acts like Reagan.

But if he's gonna do FDR, if he's gonna do the New New Deal all over, which we will call here the Raw Deal, why would I want him to succeed?"


That's a fine, reasonable statement. Yes, I can agree with that, and yes, that tracks with my own thinking. What I'm reacting to is the inflammatory one that Professor Althouse posted. It, too is from Limbaugh. Here's an pair of excerpts from it illustrating what I mean:

"I disagree fervently with the people on our side of the aisle who have caved and who say, "Well, I hope he succeeds. We've got to give him a chance." Why? They didn't give Bush a chance in 2000. Before he was inaugurated the search-and-destroy mission had begun. I'm not talking about search-and-destroy, but I've been listening to Barack Obama for a year-and-a-half. I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed. "

"... I'm happy to be the last man standing. I'm honored to be the last man standing. Yeah, I'm the true maverick. I can do more than four words. I could say I hope he fails and I could do a brief explanation of why. You know, I want to win. If my party doesn't, I do. If my party has sacrificed the whole concept of victory, sorry, I'm now the Republican in name only, and they are the sellouts."


I can choose to appeal to the tension between the statements - what is he, reasonable about seeing what happens and cheerleading what's right, or unreasonable in spurning the chance to participate and shape policy - but the conversation's going to devolve into silliness if we choose to harp over parsings and interpretations. I only care about what I said: That conservatives go from basic principles and work positively towards helping to shape policies in a way that benefits the country. If Rush is going to say things that agree with that, good. If he's going to say things that don't, bad. If I need to be told that there's extra context behind his statement, then Rush is the one failing to communicate, since I did not get the context from his statement, but I could care less because that's a distraction. What matters is pressing conservative politicians in Congress to work, not merely oppose for the sake of opposition. And I think most elected representatives and senators are smart enough to realize that, so it shouldn't have to be repeated too many times to them. But it might have to be repeated to voters who choose to take the more radical interpretation of what Rush says, and decide to oppose merely for the sake of opposition.

This is merely my own statement of principle: I will support what abides by what I think is right, and I'll oppose what is wrong. But either way, if we're talking about politicians and other bureaucrats in Washington, I want such work to be put towards actually influencing policy to the best of their abilities. Not grandstanding, like we've seen many liberals do in opposition to things they don't like.

It's that simple. So if Rush agrees with me, Simon, then that's fine. It's good, even, because it means he's working from principle. But if he's going to say things I consider destructive - and I'm sorry, but I still didn't get the sense of thought and reasonableness from the original link above that I did from his quote in Amba's column; instead, I got a sense of simple antagonism - then I'm going to sound off and offer correction. And I'd hope that any thinking conservative would do the same.

Ted said...

WTF, at least El Rushbo is constitutionally qualified to be President!

OhioAnne said...

"Obama to congressional Republicans: "You can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."

Ann, when Obama said that, he was using the same argument that I have seen used hundreds of times on the Internet in the last 8 years. The other variation is to simply replace "Rush Limbaugh" with "Fox News".

What he really said to them was ... 'If you disagree with me, you obviously are doing so only because you are not bright enough to think for yourself. No other possibility exists.'

What our new President did was the cyber equivalent of a playground taunt - and a completely unoriginal one at that.

Simply another example that our new president's commitment to 'bipartisianship' is no more believable than any other politicians.

From Inwood said...

We have nothing to fear but Rush himself.

Obama is channeling FDR, running against Martin, Barton & Fish. At least they were congressmen.

Oh well, Rush can be Fr. Coughlin in Obama Fantasyland.

jayne_cobb said...

Actually Rush responded here

vbspurs said...

I love how Rush ends with a Saul Alinksky quote:

One more thing, Byron. Your publication and website have documented Obama's ties to the teachings of Saul Alinksy while he was community organizing in Chicago. Here is Rule 13 of Alinksy's Rules for Radicals:

"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."


What makes this work is to get as many people as possible to give them marching orders, and let them each of them go after the target in their own way.

If they go overboard, you can distance yourself from each individual person.

That's what you have seen so far, each time with each person who Obama deems suddenly inconvenient.

It's called throwing them under the bus, and Alinsky knew the soldiers would understand why they were being sacrified.

I suspect that when some poor schlubb really and truly doesn't get why he's being sacrified, we'll have a real behind-the-scenes whistleblower which then the press cannot avoid.

Cheers,
Victoria

Simon said...

Tibore, you're overlooking - or at least, giving short shrift - to the key statement: "I know what his politics are. I know what his plans are, as he has stated them. I don't want them to succeed." No one is "pressing conservative politicians in Congress to ... oppose for the sake of opposition"; they are encouraged to oppose because we know what Obama plans and we think it's fundamentally destructive to the country. Now, if President Obama does in fact pull a fast one-eighty and govern in a manner completely at odds with everything he's ever said and that we know about him (as some of those who voted for him apparently believe he will), if he proposes to dramatically cut government spending, eliminate capital gains and cut corporate and personal income taxes, do you really see Republicans opposing that? Republican oppose Democrats when Democrats propose liberal policy, and support Democrats when Democrats propose good, workable policy.

Simon said...

I mean, at an even more simplistic level, conservatives aren't against Democrats, they're against stupid policy. If it looks like we're against Democrats, that's only because so much of what they propose is stupid policy. If Obama proposes good policy, I hope it succeeds. If he proposes bad policy - as anyone who's been paying attention knows he will - I hope it fails.

janemariemd said...

I agree with OhioAnne--it was a taunt. I think it also was rather peevish--and foolish. Obama can't win an intellectual argument with Rush, he' just not that smart.

It ain't just Rush who has a problem with the stimulus bill. I think Instapundit said it best: "a giant transfer of wealth from the politcally unconnected to the politically connected" ( I paraphrase).

1jpb said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
1jpb said...

jayne,

Does Rush really not understand why BHO would say we can't have banks using TARP money to remodel?

Of course the actual Thain remodeling wasn't TARP money but, we have heard of the TARP "capital injections" being used for plenty of non capital reserves activity. It seems like Rush was thinking along the lines of a question Greg Mankiw asked on his blog.

But, the fact is that it would be terrible for banks to use this money for remodeling. If they had used it to replace spent capital reserves (or increase stable capital reserves, assuming an institution has not taken losses) they can leverage it approximately twelve times over as loans to the community so that twelve bathrooms can be built.

It's mind numbing how few people seem to understand the relationships between capital reserves, deposits (and other sources of funds), and loans.

BTW, I'm confident that Mankiw does know the differences between these three factors, therefore it would be a mistake to assume that his answer to his question is that there is no difference.

P.S.
Simon,

Do you really think conservatives have the lock on smart policies? BTW, do you (unlike Rush) understand the differences between the three factors I mentioned above. Do you understand why there's a big difference between a bank blowing it's capital reserves on a remodel, and twelve companies undertaking remodels?

BTW, Buffet says nobody knows what will work. But, you want us to believe that Rush knows the best policies, even though he doesn't have the most basic understanding of banking.

Just consider that conservatives and Rush may have bad policies too. And, they may not know what they're talking about--which is fine... if you're an entertainer. But, it's not so good if you're in the government--"you can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."

You dittoheads really are something.

Jason said...

The moment I heard Obama said those things about Limbaugh I went out and subscribed to Limbaugh's 24/7 service (giving him money). And sometimes Limbaugh makes me angry, but now that the government is against him he has to be cool. Like cigarettes or machine guns or heck, even drugs.

1jpb said...

Jason,

Prostitution?

Tibore said...

Simon, I think you're making a big deal about the fact that we all agree on the idea of working from principle. Like I said above, there were two statements - the one Amba reproduced, and the one linked above by Professor Althouse - and the one the Professor linked is more strident and less reasonable. I was objecting to the message of sheer obstruction in that one, not predicting that congressional conservatives are going to just stand up and be mindlessly obstructionist, or fail to recognize if Obama gets something right.

Yes, ideally, conservatives do oppose terrible policy. That's the way things should be, and that's the point I was making, but Limbaugh's more strident statement can be taken as being one of opposition no matter what. I'm glad he made another more sensible one, but what was I supposed to do, accept the obstreperous one without comment? He should've stuck with the sensible one.

Because campaign promises aren't yet policy, I was also making the point that now is the time to work to shape it properly, not to just say "Obama, I stand against what you stand for". There's working towards positive ends to blunt the loonier proposals of the left in congress (as an aside, thank God McKinney isn't there anymore), and there's working towards obstruction, and the bulk of Limbaugh's statement came across as obstructionist. Am I giving short shrift to his one sentence? Sure, but that's because the other paragraphs there gave me that sense. Sorry, but there it is. If he wanted that statement to be as sensible as the other one, he should've stated it more sensibly to begin with, but without that context, what was I supposed to do? Keep my mouth shut? Like I said, if he or anyone else says something I think is destructive, I'm going to say something about it. I don't care who's saying it, I only care about the content and principles behind the content. Now that I know there's more to it than what he made apparent in the above linked post, I can breathe easier, but otherwise, if a statement appears to deviate from the idea of working from principle, I'm going to sound off.

Now does he accept that working from basic conservative principles should be the guiding light of Washington conservatives? Since you all say that's what he really means, fine, that's what he really means. I'll put aside the more strident statement and accept that the one Amba quoted as better reflecting his stance. So can we all stop microparsing already? I can't help it that one of Rush's statements out of the two sounded like it contradicted that ideal, and I'm fine with saying the other was his true intent.

Frodo Potter said...

Good post Tibore. I could be wrong, but I reckon what Tibore is trying to say (since some would like it reworded) is that *certain types of opposition are more effective than others, and moreover, that only a limited number of people are in a position to offer angry, sarcastic obdurate opposition.*

That’s the basics of it, but let me give an example. During the administration of George W. Bush—especially before 2006—who was more effective in opposing Bush’s policies, someone like John Kerry or Hillary Clinton or Russ Feingold, or, on the other hand, someone like Randi Rhodes? It was obviously Kerry or Clinton or Feingold. Of course, Rhodes is rather fringe (to put it mildly) so let us substitute John Stewart or Stephen Colbert. Again, the senators are going to be more effective in opposing Bush.

Now let’s dial it back to Gwen Ifill or Jim Lehrer or Eleanor Clift, much more mainstream, but also quite arguably partisan. This is a closer call, but once more, the Democratic folks just across the aisle probably win in terms of the WAY THAT THEY CAN SHAPE POLICY AND LAW.

In other words, in the same way that there can only be so many Stewarts or Colberts, there can also be only so many Limbaughs, Malkins, etc. Don’t get me wrong; they are needed, but the rest of the people can’t afford to take their attitudes. Conservative grass roots and conservative politicians are going to have to come up with counteracting ideas, not just fulminate. This is an awkward and hasty analogy, but it is not unlike the difference between football players and cheerleaders.

Indeed, if Limbaugh has indeed pwned Obama into a political miscalculation (and it appears to me that this may have been a misstep by Obama), the best strategy is not to pile on but to quickly put forth counter arguments.

So Tibore, forgive me if I have distorted your argument, but that is my take on things.

1jpb said...

What would Reagan do?

Let's ask someone (Mickey Edwards) who knew him during and before his political career.

"The Republican Party that is in such disrepute today is not the party of Reagan. It is the party of Rush Limbaugh, of Ann Coulter, of Newt Gingrich, of George W. Bush, of Karl Rove. It is not a conservative party, it is a party built on the blind and narrow pursuit of power."

Hahahaha.

You Rush worshipers think Rush is playing BHO.

Hilarious!!!!

Ok, conservatives you've got what's left of that proverbial foot in the crosshairs, time to pull the trigger... again.

Kev said...

Palladian: : Yes! That's the point! I don't want government to function!

somefeller: There are times when that attitude is politically popular. I don't think this time is one of them.

somefeller, I hope you can understand that there are plenty of us out there who don't care one whit about what is politically popular, but do care about what's best for the country, and that those two things can be very different, if not in fact mutually exclusive.

1jpb said...

One more quote:

"And, watching, I suspect Ronald Reagan is smacking himself on the forehead, rolling his eyes and wondering who in the world these clowns are who want so desperately to wrap themselves in his cloak."

But, nooooo Rush is great.

And, now the conservative jabber forces are (hopefully) lining up to support Rush since he's an important and brilliant conservative leader.

Hahahahaha.

Rush has BHO right where he wants him.

[Too bad Rush is a little limited in his ability to play the victim since his comment about wishing BHO would fail has already made the news (and some folks probably recall where the Magic song came from.) It's so sad that BHO's comments about Rush came after that. Such an unfortunate coincidence. Hahaha.]

This is a call to arms. Conservatives you must support Rush. Operation Chaos is now Operation Support Rush!!!

Funny stuff.

AJ Lynch said...

Frodo:

Here is an example of how Rush punked Obama on Thursday. On Wednesday, the White House or Obama announced he is freezing the pay of his top staff. Keep in mind they just started their new jobs the day before.

On his show, Rush asked "What is the big deal with this pay freeze, were they expecting to get raises already?!"

Think about this for a moment - how could Obama announce that with a straight face? Anyone with half a brain, would ask the same question as Rush UNLESS they were a member of the Obama cult. Heh.

somefeller said...

somefeller, I hope you can understand that there are plenty of us out there who don't care one whit about what is politically popular, but do care about what's best for the country, and that those two things can be very different, if not in fact mutually exclusive.

Yes, I'm well aware of that. However, I was talking about the politics of the situation, not the policy debate. Having a policy debate over the efficacy of government action with those who "don't want government to function" (which is the phrase and nihilistic version of conservatism I was responding to) doesn't seem like a good use of time.

But, for the record, what the Limbaugh conservative crowd (as opposed to normal Republicans) wants isn't good for the country, so watching them being tossed on the political scrapheap of history is both good politics and good policy. And a lot of fun to watch.

Kirby Olson said...

On the Huckabee program just now there was a lawyer who said that Obama is trying to get a law passed that would forbid politically incorrect speech of any kind. He instanced a grandmother in Philadelphia who had to go to court for being for the traditional family.

I wonder if that will affect his numbers at all if he manages to ram through all kinds of qualifiers on the first amendment so that the whole country is out of synch with the notion of freedom of speech just as most campuses today are out of synch.

The only people who will be able to say what they really think are terrorists who used to be housed at GITMO but who will now rewrite our constitution for us.

I love Fox News and Rush. They're the proverbial canaries in a coal mine.

AJ Lynch said...

Kirby:

Obama is a nanny-stater. He can't resist the impulse to control everything and try to guarantee equal outcomes for everyone via govt intervention.

This instinct will be his downfall.

1jpb said...

AJ,

Actually, Rush's response proves that he's a hack.

Can you imagine how happy an intellectually honest conservative would be if the entire federal government followed the BHO White House by putting a freeze on all the automatic government pay raises?

It's a common conservative complaint that the government has cushy jobs w/ lots of perks, like automatic pay raises. If Rush was as smart and principled as you think he is he would have asked why BHO isn't implementing such a pay freeze for the whole government.

And, it be nice to see congress freeze their own salaries, and those they control in the executive e.g. BHO's.

The Crack Emcee said...

somefeller,

"Watching them being tossed on the political scrapheap of history,.."

How many times must I say this:

You guys have won in one - 1 - election cycle.

What gives you the right, or the balls, to think you've consigned anything anywhere? It's delusional thinking of the worst kind. Your guy has been president for what? 4 days?!? And you think that means you guys rule the roost? You're fools!

We just got done with 8 years! We've won 7 of the last 11 presidential elections! If you guys didn't win this one you'd be DEAD! It's you who are on life support - and daring us to kick you in the head again? Well, I've got news for you:

A lie may make it around the world before truth gets it's boots on but, baby, you better watch your ass when we decide to take a stroll.

I swear, you people make me ill with your hubris.

Frodo Potter said...

AJ,

I was going to respond, but 1jpb actually had a better response than I did, so I will second his/her response.

I do have another thought on this. Many of the Whitehouse employees fall into one of two categories. First, many are twenty-somethings, full of energy and ambition, and often with a partner with a sweet job, DINKs if you will. They are not there for the money; they *are* there for the rep, the early connections. Jon Favreau, the speechwriter, *might* be making 80-120K, though I doubt it. But fast forward six or eight years to Jon Favreau, talking head, and he will be making 300K at a bare minimum, quite possibly closer to a million. It’s not at all unlike playing in the minors for 30K and crappy food, so you can have a chance of playing in the majors for a multi-million dollar contract. Only in this case, your chances of making the “majors” is far better, in fact, unless you screw up, it is virtually assured.

The second category are the forty and fifty somethings who are looking to either polish up the resume for a major move, or genuinely feel they can serve government. In some cases, they are independently wealthy. So, a more astute observer might have criticized Obama for his cynicism in trying to score points off an easy lay-up, rather than making the tough decisions.

Maybe that is the point you were trying to make, but it wasn’t clear if it was.

Paul Zrimsek said...

It isn't just me saying Republicans are a bunch of poopyheads just like Rush. Some other guy said it too! Plus we won an election, which proves we're right even though when we were losing elections it didn't prove we were wrong.

Hahahahaha. Now you die!

Simon said...

Tibore said...
"[T]here were two statements - the one Amba reproduced, and the one linked above by Professor Althouse - and the one the Professor linked is more strident and less reasonable. I was objecting to the message of sheer obstruction in that one, not predicting that congressional conservatives are going to just stand up and be mindlessly obstructionist, or fail to recognize if Obama gets something right."

Yes, I understand, but I disagree with your characterization of the one that Althouse links to as being a message of "sheer obstruction." That was the point I was making in my 6:11 comment, which quoted from the Althouse-linked segment. I'm not saying you're ignoring his other comments, I'm saying you're misreading the comments that Althouse posted. I'm saying is that it makes the same point - and that point is not "sheer obstructionism."

Michael said...

Truly when it comes to those whose minds are truly enmeshed in liberal thought it is impossible to parody them quite so well as they are able to do it to themselves.

Note: This is a different Michael, not the douchebag racist Michael.

AJ Lynch said...

Frodo & 1jpb:

All I know is Obama tried to score points by freezing the salaries of people who had been on the job for only one day!

He did not try to freeze Congress pay or any other govt staff.

That makes Obama quite the arrogant opportunist again in my opinion. Rush simply pointed this out to his listeners.

If you stoop to defend Obama for this, you have no balls or as Althouse might say "what a pussy you are"!

Beth said...

"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."

Exactly what Rush has done for his entire career.

Obama can't win an intellectual argument with Rush, he' just not that smart.

I nearly peed my pants when I read that!

Kelly said...

any American who shouts "I hope he fails" proclaims apathy and disrespect for his country and all who are working hard to be hopeful. Limbaugh needs to get back on drugs and take a better trip.

Bruce Hayden said...

Do you really think conservatives have the lock on smart policies? BTW, do you (unlike Rush) understand the differences between the three factors I mentioned above. Do you understand why there's a big difference between a bank blowing it's capital reserves on a remodel, and twelve companies undertaking remodels?

Of course Republicans don't have a lock on good policies. For example, it was under Carter that the Fed started looking to the money supply to control inflation. Unfortunately for him, it was too late to save his presidency... And Clinton, with a Republican Congress, did ok with the economy.

I am not sure your point on the difference between banks blowing their reserves, etc. My view there is that there was some culpability, also some nativity, and a lot more illiquidity than anyone ever expected.

But what does that have to do with the massive "stimulus" bill that Rush, et al. are opposing?

Nevertheless, I will suggest that the current proposed stimulus package is BAD for the country and BAD for the economy. It won't stimulate the economy, and, indeed, that is not its real aim, which instead is to buy votes for the Democrats. But buying votes, esp. by creating a permanent majority who don't pay federal income taxes, but rather receive rebates, free health care, etc., is BAD.

I am willing to look at any research you can provide that can show that all that money, much spent counter-cyclically, and most spent poorly (did you catch Reich the other day claiming that it won't be spent on trained white male construction workers, who actually know what they are doing?), will help the economy recover.

I would be interested in what you think is good about the biggest domestic proposals being pushed right now by President Obama.

BTW, Buffet says nobody knows what will work. But, you want us to believe that Rush knows the best policies, even though he doesn't have the most basic understanding of banking.

First, I think it highly silly to suggest that because Buffet doesn't know what will work, that no one does. He isn't god, just someone who knows how to make money. And, if he took the other side, you would ignore him. You argue here from selective authority, which is rarely persuasive.

And, yes, there are plenty of people do know what will work for the economy as a whole, it is just the banking sector that is the real dilemma. Cutting taxes on asset formation and running businesses works every time it is tried. And if we are going to spend trillions on this, eliminating capital gains, dividend, and death taxes would be far more effective than the infrastructure porkfest being pushed so hard. Cutting corporate taxes would also be very beneficial.

But I assume you, and Obama by his very admission, oppose this sort of strategy, not because it would work, but because it wouldn't be "fair". And the other Democrats oppose it because it doesn't buy votes, which translates into their continued hold on power (and for many, wealth).

Just consider that conservatives and Rush may have bad policies too. And, they may not know what they're talking about--which is fine... if you're an entertainer. But, it's not so good if you're in the government--"you can't just listen to Rush Limbaugh and get things done."

Interesting argument. You hypothesize that Rush is wrong, but then don't bother providing evidence on where. Frankly, this is even weaker than your Buffet argument.

Mark said...

Yo, defenders of freedom everywhere: the head of the most powerful government on the planet has just blacklisted a private citizen who is politically opposed to him. By name. To people he has some, shall we say, influence over.

Nice.

Prediction: At some point the lapdog press gets fed up and drops the whole smoking story and goes straight for the cocaine habit.

Two years.

peter hoh said...

RUSH: Here is Rule 13 of Alinksy's Rules for Radicals:

"Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it."


Sounds like one of Rush's tactics.

Bruce Hayden said...

Can you imagine how happy an intellectually honest conservative would be if the entire federal government followed the BHO White House by putting a freeze on all the automatic government pay raises?

It's a common conservative complaint that the government has cushy jobs w/ lots of perks, like automatic pay raises. If Rush was as smart and principled as you think he is he would have asked why BHO isn't implementing such a pay freeze for the whole government.


Strawmen alert.

First one - how, precisely, is President Obama supposed to accomplish that, all by himself? I know many consider him the second coming, but I would be interested in the mechanism that you are suggesting that he could employ.

The career government employment systems were intentionally designed to prevent just this sort of thing. And that is where 98% of the government workers work in the federal government. It would take an act of Congress to implement your suggestion, and act that is highly unlikely given that most government workers on the civil side vote Democrat.

Second strawman - it is plain silly to suggest that conservatives think that many, or even most, government employees are overpaid. Sure, many are underworked, but many are overworked. The gross pay is far more likely to be found in the politicized areas of the government, such as the White House, tops of the agencies, and, most notably, Congress.

Many government workers are reasonably hard working and motivated. That is not the problem. The problem is that the organization in which they work is guaranteed to perform extremely inefficiently. And the bottom line there is that it so inefficient because it is not driven by profit, but rather by politics.

Beth said...

Bruce, you sound like a clean and articulate guy, but I doubt you could hold up in an face-off with the intellectual titan that is El Rushbo.

(/kidding)

Anonymous Blogger said...

Obama wants this fight.

Bruce Hayden said...

I thought some more about this over night:

Do you really think conservatives have the lock on smart policies?

The problem here is that the conservatives are not the ones proposing radical solutions. The "stimulus" package is nearly a trillion dollar porkfest. When we are talking something that massive, I would think that the burden would be on the proponents not only to prove that it just might work, but that it would work. Maybe not 100%, but I would think 90%+, and not the 5-10% that many conservatives think.

Then, there is the proposal that bought organized labor this last election cycle - to eliminate secret ballots in organizing. This has been the law since FDR, and has worked reasonably well since then, with some intimidation on either side, but the fact that the election was secret kept the intimidation down.

And, I would not be surprised to see some sort of socialized medicine being shoved through Congress shortly. We are talking about federalizing 1/7 or so of the economy, and a major component of a push to build a permanent Democratic dependency class.

The suggestion from that poster (likely), from the Obama Administration, the Democratic majority in Congress, and the MSM is to give Obama his way during the traditional presidential honeymoon. But that ignores that there seems to be a mad rush to implement what most in their more sober moments would consider massively radical legislation that is being pushed through without a chance to debate or consider it.

Bruce Hayden said...

Bruce, you sound like a clean and articulate guy, but I doubt you could hold up in an face-off with the intellectual titan that is El Rushbo.

I don't think that even Rush deep down thinks of himself as an intellectual titan. But I do think that he has been right, esp. on political and economic issues, much more than he has been wrong since he went national. Of course, many here are likely to disagree.

I find the Alinksy quote interesting here, in view of all of the derogative comments about Rush. Instead of attacking what he said, he is attacked personally, so as not to have to address his points.

But Rush's point here is too important to debate than to have it dismissed through ad hominum attacks on him. He has, in essence, given much needed cover to the Republicans in Congress to oppose the massive and radical proposals being rushed through Congress during Obama's honeymoon.

Bruce Hayden said...

Obama wants this fight.

Maybe, from a personal point of view. But I don't see it being to his long term advantage. Not only does it make him look petty, but it also brings added attention to what Rush is saying here, which is likely to energize Obama's opposition, and possibly threaten the passage of some of Obama's major initiatives.


Someone above pointed out that Obama wants Republican cover for his "stimulus" plan. The likelihood of that has now decreased. And that will probably be very important in two years during the next Congressional election. At that point, the economy is likely to be less far along recovery than expected, thanks to the massive porkfest being foisted upon us as a "stimulus" package.

There are a lot of Democratic members of Congress, esp. in the House that will be running for reelection from traditionally "Red" districts and they will be having to justify why they voted for all of the more radical things that were implemented in those two years, including the stimulus porkfest, elimination of secret ballots in union organizing elections, and possibly socialized healthcare. Remember, all of the seats picked up by the Democrats in the last two years were filled by Republicans a bit over two years ago.

It would be much easier for them to get elected if they had Republican cover. But this spat between Obama and Rush is almost guaranteeing that whatever Republican cover Obama gets here will be reduced.

rhhardin said...

Rush is the one who stopped Hillarycare in the 90s. That has not been forgotten.

AJ Lynch said...

Obama forgets he got more votes than McCain. Rush was not on the ballot and Rush has criticized McCain many many times over the years.

Kev said...

Bruce Hayden said:
The career government employment systems were intentionally designed to prevent just this sort of thing. (meaning government pay freezes)

In the current economic climate, we can't even afford the government we have, much less the one the O-Team would like to institute. What Bruce stated above is part of the root of this problem.

IMHO, there shouldn't be a "career government employment system." Government doesn't actually produce anything, especially not wealth, and in fact, it often gets in the way of those who do produce wealth.

It's time to grow the productive class in this nation, and the best way to do it is at the expense of the unproductive class, i.e. the government. Just as many have suggested term limits for Congress (I agree with this), I believe that it's time for there to be term limits for everyone in government (save for the military and quasi-governmental agencies like the Postal Service). Ideally, nobody would start or end their career in government, but rather would cut their professional teeth in the productive class and then loan those talents for actually Doing Something to the government for a short time, returning to the productive class after a decade or less.

Many government workers are reasonably hard working and motivated. That is not the problem.

Bruce, you must have run across a better class of government worker than I have. The ones I've met tend to be petty and small-minded, hiding behind rules rather than thinking (and probably believing that they're being paid not to think).

The problem is that the organization in which they work is guaranteed to perform extremely inefficiently. And the bottom line there is that it so inefficient because it is not driven by profit, but rather by politics.

If a company was run like this, it would have been bankrupt eons ago. Why should we hold our public "company" to any lower standard? The whole setup needs to change.

(And I realize that none of my ideas stand a snowball's chance in hell in the current political climate, but we have to think through some alternatives for when the current plans fail--and it's likely that they will, because no society has ever spent its way to prosperity.)

1jpb said...

Bruce,

Banking 101:
Banks are required to hold capital reserves for all their loans. The amount of required capital reserves is higher for more risky loans. So, banks can't lend when they don't have enough capital reserves. Capital reserves go down when a bank pays out losses on loans. At the same time banks are paying out losses for loans their capital reserve requirements can increase for the loans still in the portfolio if some of those loans are having problems (but not yet REO then sold off), which require reassigning a higher risk level w/ higher reserve capital requirements.

As a rough ballpark of aggregate capital reserve requirements you can assume that banks must maintain one dollar of capital for every twelve dollars they lend.

The money banks lend is different than their capital reserves. This money ideally comes from deposits, but it can also come from all sorts of other sources.

[In reality this banking 101 scenario avoids a lot of complications e.g. banks have been busy creating subsidiaries that are less/not regulated by banking rules, but getting into that stuff is at a level that I've rarely heard or read about in mainstream media, even though the subsidiaries (and sister companies) are plentiful and problematic--I include this note for accuracy because I've had first-hand experience w/ banking including these rarely publicly discussed subsidiaries.]

It seems that you (like Rush) don't understand how banks work. But, you think that you (unlike Buffet) know precisely what we need to do to rescue the economy. And, your answer is supply side economics. You ask me to provide data that would suggest it would be more prudent to focus on the the demand side of the economy. Are you joking? We have car lots packed with inventory, we have an extreme oversupply of housing, and commodity demand is weak. But, you think I need to prove that we have a demand problem. Open your eyes.

I suspect that you know that I can easily pull up data demonstrating that the economic multipliers for spending are greater than they are for tax cuts, and then you'll pull up alternative views from folks like Romer, then I'll note that in the more recent reveiw applicable to the current circumstances (rather than tax increases in more stable times) Romer favored spending. And, I can also pull out comments from conservative economists in favor of spending. And, I can show that even supply side economists (rather than the professional conservative blatherers) hedge their comments by not claiming the omnipotence you think you (and Rush) posses regarding the current problems. [BTW, my referencing Buffet doesn't bolster the BHO plan, it undercuts all folks who claim they know exactly what will work. I can't see how you could miss the obvious anti-partisan implications of that logic.]

And, your strident opposition to eventually getting back to a tax structure like that during the WJC years is not based on data. Those years did see acceptable and widespread (fair, if you will) prosperity. In fact, it's not insane to look at econometrics and argue that the Bush years were worse than the Clinton years. But, you disagree. You think (contrary to actual data) that the econometrics of the Bush years exceeded those of the Clinton years.

AJ and Bruce,

What's wrong w/ you guys. A new liberal president ends the automatic pay increases for some of the salaries he controls, and this is a reason to attack him? Weird.

Did the conservative presidents do this?

You will be shocked to learn that I have a strong history as an R. In fact I was a 100% WJC hater during all of his presidency, though my comments above would make it hard to know that--in recent years I've come to appreciate results more than mindless partisanship.

Speaking of mindless partisanship; you two (and Rush) are attacking BHO for quickly trimming government salaries where he can. I can, maybe, understand being neutral, because the the dollar amounts are relatively small (approx 1/2 million the first year), but why are you attacking him for this?

He should be encouraged to work w/ congress to do more of this where he doesn't have direct control himself. But, why attack?

Times are tough; the government is borrowing a lot, and a lot of Americans are in great trouble. So I don't think it's ridiculous to consider pay freezes for many in the federal government. I do think it's ridiculous to attack BHO for working to freeze pay increases for his staff. [It could be worse, Kaus took a pay CUT at Slate!]

You two (and Rush et. al.) make it really easy to not be an R.

P.S.

It hasn't come up but regarding federal debt; this is an awesome, historically unprecedented time for the government to borrow money. The government can lock-in a lot of very low rate money for long periods of time. They should do so quickly, then turn around and pump it into the economy to stabilize jobs.

This recovery plan will help the economy by supporting demand. And, ironically, the increasing borrowing will eventually help to reach the tipping point where the world's money feels the economy is becoming a safer investment than it is now, and returns on Treasuries will seem too feeble, so the private money will move back into the economy.

Put differently; this is why the government should lock in a lot of debt now 1) stimulate demand to more quickly find a floor for the economy, at which point private money will seek opportunities (for now they don't want to catch a falling knife), and 2) sop up "nervous money," and put it in the economy, even while the private investors won't do it directly because of the falling knife problem.

And, really have modern economies had big problems w/ running the kinds of debt we're talking about? Japan has run big debt, as they slowly trickled out a recovery plan, w/o the dire consequences some had predicted.
The only countries that have been really caught by big debt have backward countries where it was easy for the world's big money to move out. But, we're now in a global slowdown. And, the US is too big to fail, i.e. the world invests in our Treasuries and private sector because it's good for them, not out of charity, and they need us to recover as soon as possible.

But, Buffet is right: nobody (obviously including my own thoughts) can predict the future. We have decent data and somewhat related historic examples, but there is a fair amount of trial and error too--of course this doesn't apply to Bruce and Rush, they know everything.

P.P.S.

Isn't it funny what captivates our attention? $825 billion over two years, though it's not clear that it can all be spent in two years. So the government is trying to use $400 billion to stop the bleeding, and build a foundation for future growth of an economy that is a lot more than $400 billion below where it would be if it was growing at a sort-of decent pace (say 4% annually.)

And, as I noted above, the federal government is perfectly placed to sop up the world's nervous money so it can be used to kick-start/stabilize/reboot the economy, so that eventually the nervous money folks will recalculate the risk-reward balance when comparing Treasuries with the economy. If anything, because of the cheap money available to the government, and the size of our economy, it seems like the rescue plan is too small for the task, not too big.

OSweet said...

Anybody note my prescience with the Rules for Radicals citation?

(Although I said it was Rule #12)

Bruce Hayden said...

Isn't it funny what captivates our attention? $825 billion over two years, though it's not clear that it can all be spent in two years. So the government is trying to use $400 billion to stop the bleeding, and build a foundation for future growth of an economy that is a lot more than $400 billion below where it would be if it was growing at a sort-of decent pace (say 4% annually

Well, right now the CBO is predicting that less than 40 percent of the discretionary spending in the stimulus bill would be used in the first 18 months.

And in some areas it is worse. In renewable energy, $3 billion out of $18.5 by 2011. Highways: $4 billion out of $30 billion by then.

Perhaps most egregious is the $80 billion “State Fiscal Stabilization Fund,” intended to bail out those states that promised more in Medicaid and other welfare benefits than they had revenue to pay for. Just over $30 billion of the money would be spent by 2011. The rest is reserved for the years 2011 and 2012, with allocations stretching into the year 2019. This is not a stimulus plan. It is an invitation to states to engage in politically popular but unaffordable overspending for years to come.

So, why is it so urgent to lock in spending for the next 11 years?

Bruce Hayden said...

It seems that you (like Rush) don't understand how banks work. But, you think that you (unlike Buffet) know precisely what we need to do to rescue the economy. And, your answer is supply side economics. You ask me to provide data that would suggest it would be more prudent to focus on the the demand side of the economy. Are you joking? We have car lots packed with inventory, we have an extreme oversupply of housing, and commodity demand is weak. But, you think I need to prove that we have a demand problem. Open your eyes.

I find it humorous that you assume that when someone disagrees with you, that they don't know how banks and the banking system work. You then almost totally ignore the liquidity problem that the banks have because of the implosion of the subprime loan market, and posit, with no real evidence or backing that the solution is massive federal porkbarrel spending.

The banking bailout was hopefully designed to address the liquidity problem. And more may need to be done there. My policy preferences are that the banks that end up with negative balance sheets have both their stock and bond holders hammered, and maybe even wiped out. Better them, than the American people.

But plenty of struggling banks will ultimately turn out to have positive balance sheets, and they should survive. And I think it to our advantage to help them do so.

But your jump from that to massive fiscal stimulus frankly leaves me incredulous. Your justification seems to be that the U.S. government is capable of borrowing right now, and U.S. business cannot, so our government should borrow as much as it can and spend it over the next 3-11 years for just this reason.

For one thing, that ignores that it is unlikely that the banking/ lending situation is going to take the next decade to unwind. If it does, it is only because your sainted government is in charge. Of course, you also ignore that the government will be soaking up a lot of foreign investment capital that could be used by the private sector to unwind the liquidity problem much more quickly - i.e. the massive borrowing by the federal government is likely to lengthen the recovery of the banking (and other finance) sector by preventing the affected companies from acquiring the needed capital elsewhere.

Sure, there is excess inventory lying around. There always is in a recession. No surprise there. Nothing really unique there, except maybe a bit more because of the liquidity problems discussed above. This goes hand in hand with higher unemployment. But again, that has little to do with the massive fiscal stimulus over the next 3-11 years being pushed right now so hard. The cars are going to disappear from the lots over the next year or two, as they always do. And the unsold homes are going to be sold too, long before much of the stimulus package is spent.

And then what? A year or two down the road, all the locked in spending will likely start to drag down the recovery. Which is part of the problem here - that much of the spending is counter-cyclical. Indeed, some of it won't be spent until we are probably recovering from our next recession 8-10 years down the road.

batman_2004 said...

Hmmm...I love Rush, most of the time. Sometimes he says dumb things. But somebody has to stand up to the socialists in office now. Check out my blog, too http://changelooksfamiliar.blogspot.com/