May 9, 2012

Jonathan Chait sees "frightening outlines of a future systemic crisis"...

... in Richard Lugar's defeat. 

I'm seeing outlines of liberals getting really nervous about what is — I suspect — the American voters' preference for some crisp conservatism.

76 comments:

ricpic said...

Systemic crisis. Is that like...liberals pissing their pants?

Matthew Sablan said...

It is hard to encourage the other party to moderate when Democrats enjoy eating their own Blue Dogs.

Jane said...

You know, without having followed the race in any close fashion, I find it quite irritating that Lugar is treated as having a "right" to that Senate seat that he was unjustly denied. The man was a Senator for how many years? It's like in Mass. -- "Teddy Kennedy's seat": no incumbent has any more claim on their legislative office than any prospective challenger.

cubanbob said...

Chait's fright is my delight.

TosaGuy said...

Six-term senators losing primaries is a good thing, regardless of party. Perhaps it convinces others to retire after 4 or 5 terms.

X said...

whether it's a light at the end of the tunnel or an oncoming train depends on whether you're part of the productive or the non-productive.

Thorley Winston said...

Question do pundits who make enough predictions about future trends that don’t come to pass ever lose enough credibility that people stop caring about their opinions?

Andy R. said...

Parliamentary style parties in a presidential system could turn out to be a disaster. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Quaestor said...

The substance, however, is a different matter. The main affliction of American politics is not a lack of bipartisanship. It is, as the former advocates of on-the-one-hand, on-the-other-ism Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein argue in their new book, the collision of an increasingly radical Republican Party with a creaky political system poorly equipped to handle unified, fanatical parties.

Is it just my ignorance showing, or does Chait's paragraph contradict his premise?

Peter Jones said...

I find it funny that liberals, whose favorite pastime seems to be making unfavorable comparisons between the US and Europe, are now positively apoplectic over the concept of a European-style political party in the US.

The GOP is increasingly becoming a continental Christan Democratic party. I think that liberals are angry about this because they've been out-maneuvered by a group of people whom they like to stereotype as a bunch of ignorant, backwards rubes.

AJ Lynch said...

Can Chait name any longtime moderate Dem senators?

I can't - maybe Diane Feinstein but I bet she probably has a 90% voting record from the ADA.

traditionalguy said...

The United States Senate either has to cooperate with Obama's fast tracking the destruction of America for a few pieces of silver or they must stand in the way until the Traitor-in-Chief is gone.

Like a check and a balance. Lugar just wanted a check in his pocket and a cover story that he is an elder statesman who once lived in Indiana. Good riddance.

Scott M said...

But, in fact, Barack Obama has enacted entitlement cuts and proposed others, has offered to support tort reform multiple times, and has signed several free trade agreements. If these issues are the equivalent to the Republican mania on climate change, immigration, and taxes, it shows just how asymmetrical the two parties are at the moment.

Apparently, Obama himself embodies every last aspect of the Democrat party in one neat container.

Under Obama’s presidency, Republicans have gone to unprecedented lengths to block completely uncontroversial appointments, paralyzing the government and using the power to paralyze government to nullify duly passed laws.

No mention of the Obama administration's deciding not to enforce laws they don't like? For shame.

Parliamentary style parties in a presidential system could turn out to be a disaster. I guess we'll find out soon enough.

Agreed. Parliamentary government ends up being government by the minority party as coalitions shift back and forth issue to issue, until two poles form looking for every little delegation to tip the balance. Want to get this important legislation passed but you're tied with the opposition over it? No problem. Just go get the two member Left-Handed Underwater Basket-weaving party and agree to include a federal requirement for all residential pools to include rebreathers. Done.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Yeah, ousting a 35 year career politician is a crisis.

Liberals sure have a desire for an ingrained political aristocracy. It's as if elections just ruin things.

Thorley Winston said...

Six-term senators losing primaries is a good thing, regardless of party. Perhaps it convinces others to retire after 4 or 5 terms.

Agreed, I actually considered myself a fan of Senator Luger (I used to have a picture of me with him in my office which I misplaced when I switched jobs) but he’s been a Senator for about a as long as I’ve been alive. I respect him for his willingness to champion cutting farm subsidies (which is virtually unheard of for an elected official from the Midwest) and think he brought a lot of much needed gravitas to the foreign policy arena particularly with his focus on trying to secure nuclear materials from the former Soviet Union. That being said – six terms in the Senate is four terms too many and I wish he’d left earlier on his own accord and maybe gotten elected Governor and perhaps he could have been a more effective challenger to President Clinton in 1996 and the world we live in might be a much different and safer place.

Widmerpool said...

My unsolicited (and contrary to my interests) advice to Chait and his similarly-minded partisans would be to wake up and realize that the "crazed right-winger" thing is a no-sale except in certain very few deep-blue pockets.

Quaestor said...

Parliamentary style parties in a presidential system could turn out to be a disaster.

Given recent history I'd say that's a safe bet. In case you weren't looking we had a functioning parliamentary system just a few years ago, from January 2009 to January 2001 to be precise. The same party controlled the Executive and both Legislative chambers. That worked out just peachy, didn't it?

The real question is whether the disaster that was the 111th Congress was because it was effectively a parliament or because it was a Democrat parliament.

edutcher said...

Lugar loved to reach across the aisle to his friends in the Democrat Party.

Of course, the Lefties are going to get nervous when they see people like him go down. He was one of the most reliable votes they had.

It must be particularly disturbing to the Lefties since this appears to be a case where the Tea Partiers, learning from their mistakes, have infiltrated a state party and turned it. And the Lefties are scared purple of the Tea Partiers.

And we do seem to be looking, as Ann suggests, at the wave of the future.

edutcher said...

Think Quaestor meant January 2009 to January 2011.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Maybe Chair fails to recognize that perhaps people are finally tired of 30+year incumbants. Hey, I like Lugar, met him several times but the man is frickin 80 years old and has been in Washington 35 frickin years.

MadisonMan said...

Yeah, ousting a 35 year career politician is a crisis.

Exactly. The real question is: Why did the people of Indiana put up with him this long? And why were Democrats unable to turn his non-residency into an issue in the past? That's what did in Santorum (Well, that and that fact that he's just not a nice guy).

John said...

This is the kind of change I was hoping for...

AJ Lynch said...

There are about 30-40 senators who have been in Congress for more than 25 years. IMO, they have failed the country since we have gone way downhill in that time and so they should do that Japanese thing and mass resign.

Carnifex said...

MMM...I guess the writer is too young to remember a judicial candidate named Bork.

I enjoyed Lugers acrimony. The RINO's, and the Elite's that make up the partyy leadership have been throwing conservatives under the bus for decades. They can't stand their own base. Well, the base feels the same way.

I foresee more and more RINO's being primaried, and them jumping ship ala Arlen Spector. This will give the illusion of the D's gaining seats and power, but it is a result of the D's that call themselves R's actually naming themselves correctly.

We've had 1 party rule for so long some of us can't see what opposition looks like. Especially the progressives,ie, the democratic party.

As the enclaves of liberalism self destruct NY, Chicago, Philly, etc, the conservative movement will grow more and more. There will still be enclaves of liberal progressives, Seattle, Austin, Denver, that prosper, but they will be islands of blue in a sea of red. Some irony there.

As someone up thread said. Name 1 "Moderate" Democrat Senator. The closest I can come is Joe Lieberman, and he's neither a D, nor very moderate, just pro-defense of America.

edutcher said...
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edutcher said...

Agree with Carnifex. I think longtime officeholders being primaried is another wave of the future.

I was a little disappointed my guy, LaTourette, wasn't, but Akron's pretty union so...

AJ Lynch said...

There are about 30-40 senators who have been in Congress for more than 25 years. IMO, they have failed the country since we have gone way downhill in that time and so they should do that Japanese thing and mass resign.

The Japanese thing?

You mean hara-kiri?

PS Note also IN has a "sore loser" law. Lugar can't run as a third party candidate and screw Mourdock.

Carnifex said...

Ps.

We(Kentucky) have to apologize for Mitch the Snitch McConnell. Unfortunately, he games the system so well he won't lose a primary unless he is found in bed with a dead boy hooker drug mule with a kilo of coke spilling out of his ass. And then it's 50/50. Too much money, and too much pull.

Christopher in MA said...

Do pundits who make enough predictions about future trends that don't come to pass ever lose enough credibility that people stop caring about their opinions?

If they did, Thomas Friedman and David Frum would both be holding signs that say "will opine for food."

edutcher said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
edutcher said...

Carnifex said...

Ps.

We(Kentucky) have to apologize for Mitch the Snitch McConnell. Unfortunately, he games the system so well he won't lose a primary unless he is found in bed with a dead boy hooker drug mule with a kilo of coke spilling out of his ass. And then it's 50/50. Too much money, and too much pull.


We are none of us without sin.

Tank said...

Chait

the homogeneously conservative Republican Party has winnowed out virtually all its moderates, while the Democratic Party remains a looser coalition of moderates and liberals.

LOL. Funny. Everything about this is wrong. I wish the Rep' were reliably conservative. The truth is, with a few exceptions, they are more and more conservative in the same way European conservative are, i.e. they are moderate leftists.

The Dems, on the other hand, have zero conservatives [even on financial issues] and few, if any, moderates. Really none. They have the way left, and the fairly left.

Chait is right about one thing. Our system is structurally unable to fix our problems. Neither party is willing to do what's necessary, or even talk about it. That's why voting is over rated.

DEAD COUNTRY WALKING.

SPImmortal said...

But, in fact, Barack Obama has enacted entitlement cuts and proposed others, has offered to support tort reform multiple times, and has signed several free trade agreements. If these issues are the equivalent to the Republican mania on climate change, immigration, and taxes, it shows just how asymmetrical the two parties are at the moment.

---------------

lol this has to be the most pitiful list of "extremist" tendencies ever compiled.

Most republicans want immigration enforcement rather than amnesty, want to keep taxes relatively low and competitivness high in order to keep America distinct from the Europe that is even now circling the drain, and don't buy into catastrophic global warming.

As far as the first two issues, the Republican position is supported by the vast majority of voters. The last one, global warming, is controversial but most voters are not particularly interested in the issue.

So it looks like Jonathan Chait is the "extremist" here.

MadisonMan said...

PS Note also IN has a "sore loser" law. Lugar can't run as a third party candidate and screw Mourdock.

Maybe he can run for Senate in the state he actually lives in!

DKWalser said...

I'm seeing outlines of liberals getting really nervous about what is — I suspect — the American voters' preference for some crisp conservatism.

I hope you're right. I fear that what we're seeing is Republican voters' preference for crisp conservatism.

In the general election, particularly if it appears Romney may win, independents and moderates may choose to split their tickets out of concern that a Republican administration and Senate may be too big a change for their tastes. Such voters may want Obama out of office, but they might be uncomfortable with (what they might view as) too large a change in public policy. While I think a large change in public policy is what is needed, I'm concerned that many of my fellow citizens find such a prospect both unsettling and frightening. They, if I'm reading them correctly, just want things to return to "normal".

Throwing out Lugar, Hatch, and Snowe, may please the Tea Party. It also may scare many of the voters Republicans need to win in November.

Fen said...

The truth is, with a few exceptions, they are more and more conservative in the same way European conservative are, i.e. they are moderate leftists.

Yup, thats why Obamacare is so dangerous. As Steyn says, it will create a permanent Leftist shift in this country.

Democrats will be calling for a 3 trillion dollar increase in spending and a 7% bump in taxes. "Republicans" will be arguing for 2.9 trillion and a 6.9% bump instead.

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... Exactly. The real question is: Why did the people of Indiana put up with him this long? "

Name recognition for one. Plus Murdouch is the first real primary challenge hes had in years.

"..And why were Democrats unable to turn his non-residency into an issue in the past?"

Dunno. Residency is going to be an issue for a few candidates here.

Scott M said...

Name recognition for one. Plus Murdouch is the first real primary challenge hes had in years.

How did he manage this without maintaining a residence? That was a surprise to me.

YoungHegelian said...

Remember all the hand wringing by the Democrats about how bi-partisanship & moderation was dying in their own party when the left challenged Joe Lieberman, their own VP candidate of a few years before?

Yeah, I don't either.

It's also interesting to hear long-time liberals gnashing their teeth over the defeat of incumbent dinosaurs of either party. What? Does EVERYONE get to have a sinecure? Does every senator get to stay there until he drops dead on the Chamber floor?

Hoosier Daddy said...

"... How did he manage this without maintaining a residence? That was a surprise to me..."

I'm wondering if this residency thing isn't more common. I recall Evan Bayh had similar questions raised a few years back.

Then again I would think its tough when majority of your time is spent working on legislation far from home. Maybe the real problem is our Congresspeople should spend less time in DC.

But I don't have an answer to your question Scott.

BarrySanders20 said...

80 frickin' years old, and he wants another 6 year term. These pathetic old men like Arlen Spector and Dick Lugar think the world cannot get by without them. He had his chance, did what he did, and generally screwed the future. He didn't know when to leave and now he's been told to leave. Now it's time to go putz around the house while that young 60-year old whippersnapper cleans up the mess.

Thanks for the service, Dick, and good riddance.

Bob Ellison said...

AJ Lynch, Joe Lieberman. He's not even a DINO anymore, but he helps the Democrats hold power in the Senate.

rhhardin said...

People spotted spend now pay later as a scam that comes due after the guy is gone, and are getting rid of those guys.

Scott M said...

Maybe the real problem is our Congresspeople should spend less time in DC.

This is what I was getting at in particular. When the House or Senate is in session, fine. Congressional-supplied "dorms" free of charge for the member and staff. Maybe a suite with a couple of bedrooms and a kitchenette. All on the taxpayer...I'm willing to foot that bill. Anything else is on the member themselves.

Given media technology today, there's simply no reason the congress members shouldn't be back home in their respective states dealing with their constituencies when Congress is not in session.

Alex said...

The fact is I'm sure there are about 10-15 moderate House Democrats and 4-5 in the Senate. Maybe 20% of Democrat governors are moderates too. Let's not get all extremist now!

Greg Toombs said...

"progressives" believe Fascism is always descending on Republicans but never see it coming as it lands with the help of Democrats.

Alex said...

Ya'll don't understand the point of these politicos we send to D.C. We send them to get our piece of the pork pie, nothing more. The better they are at it, the more we re-elect them and by bigger margins.

Christopher in MA said...

Such voters may want Obama out of office but they might be uncomfortable with (what they might view as) too large a change in public policy.

Interesting. Then I would think Romney's best bet would be to assure those voters that it was the last four years of an expanded socialist / crony capitalism government that is the anomaly, and that a GOP president and congress would be a return to the mean. I think he might also keep the independents if he acknowledges that the last 12 years (at the least) have seen an unwarranted expansion of an intrusive, bullying "security state" that also needs to be rolled back.

I'm quite certain that That government is best which governs least is not Mitt's philosophy, but the more he can be pressured into that position the better, IMHO.

Hoosier Daddy said...

A lot of Lugar supporters are hammering the Tea Party and my response is 'up yours.' It's guys like Lugar and a raft of others that have spent this country into $16 trillion of debt and now its the Tea Party that is uncompromising because we refuse increased taxes.

Tell ya what, go piss away your paycheck for a year or two then go tell your boss you need a raise to pay your bills and debt. Let me know how that works out.

Seems that all compromising has done is saddle us with an unsustainable debt and a crippled economy.

KenK said...

I wish we here in the mitten state could get rid of our deadwood senators. Levin was first elected in 78 and Stabenow is on her way to a third term this year. Absolutely nada to show for it either. A few years ago Levin's official address of record in Michigan was found to be a room in Detroit flophouse that had been torn down several years before. And yet he has been reelected twice since then. Go figure?

Eric said...

As the enclaves of liberalism self destruct NY, Chicago, Philly, etc, the conservative movement will grow more and more.

No, because when they've finished turning their own states into fiscal smoking ruins, blue voters follow the productive people to solvent states and resume their old voting habits.

Michelle Dulak Thomson said...

Golly, such tsuris about a guy losing a seat he's had for thirty years. Maybe thirty years of Lugar is enough?

Quaestor, it is not "just [your] ignorance showing." You're quite right.

I have to say, about the Mann/Ornstein book (no, I haven't read it, but they've been interviewed all over the place, so I've heard them expound their thesis more than once), that I think they have it wrong. The Democrats police their national candidates at least as strictly as the Republicans do theirs. There have been hawks and doves (Huckabee and Paul are the most prominent recent ones); there have been pro-immigration-reform advocates as well as advocates of stricter enforcement. (Chait says that "in the last two election cycles" Republicans competed to see who could be most anti-immigrant. He must have blotted out McCain's work on this issue, as well as GWB's.)

There are pro-choice Republicans. There are also anti-abortion Democrats, but they don't get a lot of platform time these days at nominating conventions.

Und so weiter.

PatCA said...

Fiscal sobriety, constitutional government = fanatical? So was Lincoln "fanatical" for embarking on the controversial, divisive Civil War and the Emancipation Proclamation?

It's not partisanship, it's devotion to principles. We haven't had that in decades, and I welcome it.

mik said...

@Carnifex

"We(Kentucky) have to apologize for Mitch the Snitch McConnell. Unfortunately, he games the system so well he won't lose a primary unless he is found in bed with a dead boy hooker drug mule with a kilo of coke spilling out of his ass. And then it's 50/50. Too much money, and too much pull."

His father-in-law is a RED CHINESE shipping magnate and a business partner of many thugs in Asia.

It does not count in TN, does it?

MadisonMan said...

A few years ago Levin's official address of record in Michigan was found to be a room in Detroit flophouse that had been torn down several years before. And yet he has been reelected twice since then. Go figure?

His opponent should film a lot of TV ads in front of the official address.

Carnifex said...

Yes some migration will occur. But only for the elites of the democrat party. Their base, will be stuck in the cities, frozen in place, on the D plantation, as the leadership as always worked for. And those bastions, without the fled leadership, will whither and die. Look at Detroit, or Tuscaloosa, or Atlanta to see what happens when the productive classes leave a city.

DADvocate said...

Hah! The systemic problem is that the Chait approved candidates and other lefties aren't getting elected. Time to change the system!!

Bender said...

There are ZERO moderate or conservative Dems in the Senate. None.

Why?

Because all of the Dems have chosen to be puppets of Harry Reid.

Supposedly, our (Virginia) two senators -- Mark Warner and Jim Webb -- are moderate/conservative. So what? They vote down the line the way that Reid tells them to. You cannot name even one thing that they have accomplished on their own in the Senate.

Whatever Reid wants, Reid gets.

roesch/voltaire said...

So far "crisp conservatism" has meant filibustering congress into complete dysfunction, while pandering to the one percent to keep filling their pockets with contributions.

Scott M said...

So far "crisp conservatism" has meant filibustering congress into complete dysfunction

Congress has been dysfunctional for so long the best they can do right now is damage control until power shifts.

Blue@9 said...

So far "crisp conservatism" has meant filibustering congress into complete dysfunction, while pandering to the one percent to keep filling their pockets with contributions.

Dude, that spin has gotten so stale. How about something new, like "Move On" or "Forward!" or "Evolve!"

Kirk Parker said...

Scott M.,

I'd take it even further. Senators are required to be physically present in their states 183 days per year. If they fail this, they immediately lose their seat and the state can hold a special election if they want. Representatives are required to be physically present in their districts 183 days.

Anything else we can do to destroy DC as the company town of government is worth looking at, too.

holdfast said...

What's really funny is that Obama ran, successfully, on a platform that included being new and fresh, and rejecting the old-style Washington ways. Yet his sycophants decry the loss of a Senator who has been in the Senate longer than some Army Majors have been alive. What other job, besides monarch, does anyone get to keep for 36 years? Seriously, even in the British House of Lords there is more generational turnover. Yet the "Vorwärts!" looking Dems decry the loss of this fossil?

leslyn said...
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Revenant said...

I wonder if Chait's keyboard has a key on it labeled "republish previous whine".

Revenant said...

that are shifted to cuts in social programs. Those folks don't have expensive lobbyists.

Don't know much about the AARP, do ya?

Steve Koch said...

Lugar's defeat will have a rippling effect, GOP pols may not like the Tea Party but they better fear and respect it.

bagoh20 said...

"-costs, that is ,that are shifted to cuts in social programs.

Cuts to expenses are now costs. The new math.

There is more than enough money to safety net everyone who needs it, but there is not ever enough for everyone who wants it.

leslyn said...

Hey, Althouse, I don't think Tank's avatar is a dueling pistol.

Icepick, about women using sex toys:

"Colonel Mustard
In the bedroom,
With a pipe bomb
BOOM!"

Crack: Any woman who talks back to him will get his fists.

Me, I say "you, sir are a cad, dueling pistols or swords?" which NO ONE could take seriously, and you use it as an excuse to rip into me for "metaphorical violence."

You're a hypocritical piece of shit. And don't pretend that "piece of shit" is "inappropriate." It and worse are used here all the time and you love it.

leslyn said...
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Steve Koch said...

Re: safety net, it will be preserved but a good change would be to make people work for their welfare. The industrious would be thrilled to have a job and the slackers would not show up for the workfare and would be cut off from welfare.

Scott M said...

Wow. Someone woke up with a hangover...nauseous from all the shitty results last night and just in time to see Dear Leader once again show that he really knows what good leadership is after being forced into a panderous decision.

I wonder if he's thinking of all those servicepeople "fighting on his behalf" that don't want to shower with someone who's sexual preference puts them on the menu.

Eric said...

So far "crisp conservatism" has meant filibustering congress into complete dysfunction...

Well, it might mean something along those lines if it hadn't been over three years since Senate Democrats proposed a budget. I'm at a loss to understand what they do all day. Are they all playing bocce or something?

Paul Zrimsek said...

Under Obama’s presidency, Republicans have gone to unprecedented lengths to block completely uncontroversial appointments

Even in the many cases where Chait has said foolish things in the past, it was at least possible to make some sort of sense out of what he was saying. This is the first time I've seen him lapse into complete gibberish.

Revenant said...

Where's the confusing, Paul?

"Unprecedented lengths" = mustering 41 votes in the Senate

"Completely uncontroversial" = "Democrats like them".

Freder Frederson said...

Can Chait name any longtime moderate Dem senators?

I don't know about Chait, but I can--Mary Landrieu, Max Baucus, Jeff Bingaman

Big Mike said...

Democrats have been regularly purging moderate politicians from their ranks, but somehow it's wrong for the Republicans to reject Lugar?

The same Lugar who in 2008 asserted, against all available evidence, that Barack Obama could and would work with Republicans? That Lugar?

The same Lugar who cannot be bothered to maintain a residence anywhere in his home state? That Lugar?

Glad he's gone. Thank you, Indiana. And I appreciate what you Wisconsinites did in getting rid of Feingold. Neither will be missed.