Dissention in the Moderate Ranks

>> Tuesday, March 3, 2009

A Moderate Manifesto
--David Brooks, March 2, 2009
The New York Times


"...the Obama budget is more than just the sum of its parts. There is, entailed in it, a promiscuous unwillingness to set priorities and accept trade-offs. There is evidence of a party swept up in its own revolutionary fervor — caught up in the self-flattering belief that history has called upon it to solve all problems at once.

"So programs are piled on top of each other and we wind up with a gargantuan $3.6 trillion budget. We end up with deficits that, when considered realistically, are $1 trillion a year and stretch as far as the eye can see. We end up with an agenda that is unexceptional in its parts but that, when taken as a whole, represents a social-engineering experiment that is entirely new.

"The U.S. has never been a society riven by class resentment. Yet the Obama budget is predicated on a class divide. The president issued a read-my-lips pledge that no new burdens will fall on 95 percent of the American people. All the costs will be borne by the rich and all benefits redistributed downward."

This from an Obama voter. For some at the New York Times, the honeymoon is indeed over, and the question is being asked... "where is the hope and change I voted for?"


Marshall Art March 3, 2009 at 3:51 PM  

Class resentment is always a feature of Democrat philosophy.

BenT - the Unbeliever,  March 3, 2009 at 8:31 PM  

Careful clipping can lead to false opinions.

The sentence right before EL's quote:
"We like his investments in education and energy innovation. We support health care reform that expands coverage while reducing costs.

Later on in the piece:
"Moderates now find themselves betwixt and between. On the left, there is a president who appears to be, as Crook says, “a conviction politician, a bold progressive liberal.” On the right, there are the Rush Limbaugh brigades. The only thing more scary than Obama’s experiment is the thought that it might fail and the political power will swing over to a Republican Party that is currently unfit to wield it."

David Brooks is a champion of bipartisanship. Many times for it's own sake, beyond actual policy features of each ideology. But the country has swung so far right that there is no more room for compromise between the two parties. Even though the majority of the stimulus bill goes to tax cuts, not one single House republican could be swayed to vote for it.

At the state level, California almost went bankrupt because Republicans wouldn't move.

Back to the house a Senator from Texas threatened to veto legislation relating to DC's possible representation, because he wanted DC to change it's gun laws.

Brooks wants the two parties to work for comity and moderate bipartisanship, but with today's Republican party that just isn't possible.

Marshall Art March 3, 2009 at 10:47 PM  


I don't think you've refuted anything here. Eric's point still stands regarding disillusionment on the part of this and other moderates. Of course they will like some parts. They wouldn't be moderates, then, would they?

I would also reject your implication that only the Reps are standing in the way of "bi-partisanship". The speed at which the Dems try to ram through these spending bills is not the type of thing that lends itself to debate, particularly if they demand a vote without letting the massive bills be read and digested. The economy was no where near so bad that caution before spending would make things worse.

As to "bi-partisanship", screw it. For the left it means, "Shut up and sign on". For the right it means the Reps who dare invoke it are shlubs that need to step down and make way for Reps with spine. If an idea or proposal has merit, it will stand up to scrutiny and win over the party that didn't propose it. Why would anybody NOT want to hear objections, if the objections are good ones and laid out well? Why would any Dem or Rep want to support that which history has shown to be a failure every time it's been tried?

Eric March 4, 2009 at 7:12 AM  

Two points:

"California almost went bankrupt because Republicans wouldn't move."

Uh... no. California almost went "bankrupt" because California Liberals have both a problem with their core ideology (healthcare and education for illegals for one), and fiscal gluttony. Republicans in California wanted more responsibility.

"Back to the house a Senator from Texas threatened to veto legislation relating to DC's possible representation, because he wanted DC to change it's gun laws."

"A Senator from Texas" knows, as every other senator should know, that one, a senator cannot veto anything, and two, that DC is barred from representation by the Constitution. The Constitution does not allow the seat of our government to represent itself... its own interests in Congress. Washingtonians already have 545 representatives. BESIDES WHICH (and irrelevant to my point) DC's gun ban was UNCONSTITUTIONAL.

Republican's are not standing in the way of "bipartisanship." Dems have all the votes they need to pass whatever they want. Dem's want Republicans to sign on ONLY so that if legislation fails they cannot use it against the Dems come election time. Republicans are wisely standing on principle... something they should have been doing when they were in the driver's seat.

Oddly enough... no, NOT oddly. "predictably" ...Democrats are standing on they principles too. They just happen to be principles Republicans cannot in good conscience support.

BenT - the unbeliever,  March 4, 2009 at 4:46 PM  

Congressional Democrats and the GOP Governor of California worked out a budget that addressed the state's deficit. It included both large tax increases and deep spending cuts. They needed only one Republican in the State House to cross the aisle and vote for the budget. The GOP caucus balked because they would not support even the smallest tax increase. The fight went until the last possible moment. Hours before teachers, firefighters, police officers, government employees would be laid off. Is that not stubborn pig-headedness?

I meant to say "threatened to filibuster legislation"

And how would you feel if some senator feels that before our area can get the long awaited interstate connection, we must change our local laws relating to gay marriage?

On a breakout topic:
The clause in the constitution barring DC representation existed in a time when representatives didn't go home to their home districts every weekend. Today we have air travel and telephones and TV and internet connections that keep representatives much more attached to their home districts than the original founding representatives. It's time DC residents got their own rep in congress.

Eric March 4, 2009 at 5:00 PM  

Breakout Topic:

Whether that interpretation is valid, I won't argue. But the Constitution says what it says. If they want to change that, there is a process for it. However... the Supreme Court could very well turn over and change. Right now it is unconstitutional; simply voting to give representation is not enough to pass constitutional muster

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