February 23rd, 2010

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Krugman: The Beast Is Starving, Now What

Good op ed on the problem for conservatives. Having spent three decades on a strategy of cutting revenues to force cuts in expenditures, Republicans must now say upfront what expenditures they wish to cut. Except this remains as politically untenable as it was when conservatives settled on the "starve the beast" as a strategy in the Reagan years.
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Have People Been Taking Stupid Drugs Or What?

"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are filled with passionate intensity."

So in the last 24 hours we've been ridiculously red-baited twice by serious orgs, not fringe whackos. Meanwhile, Conservatives are dumping Scott Brown faster than progressives dumped Obama. I particularly liked this line from the Baltimore Sun: "By Monday night, many of his Twitter followers had concluded that a White House run had become out of the question — even as he entered Day 19 of his Senate tenure."

Meanwhile, to my fellow progressives or just folks who want a functional political system. When someone steps up and says "it's not a great bill, but it does some good so I'm gonna vote it" rather than voting on a party line basis, the correct reaction is mild pleasure. As I keep repeating, public policy should be outcomes driven, not about personal validation or about sincerity of feelings. The Vorlon notion that the right thing done for the wrong reason contaminates the enterprise, is crap in a functioning political system. the system should be structured to maximize the likelihood of good outcomes and minimize the likelihood of bad outcomes, which invariably means a system that maximizes the benefit to players acting for a diversity of motivations.

Yes, it was a politically smart thing for Brown to do. He appears to be paying attention to the fact that Republicans do not have the cakewalk they are expecting to victory given that overall approval of Republicans is still tremendously low. Successful R candidates to date have won where they have been able to claim the role of pragmatic deal maker concerned with local issues rather than embracing a national conservative ticket. But the fact is that both Republican and Democratic elected officials are totally wussies. Ds are afraid of Rs, and Rs are afraid of their base. So it is always a pleasure to see fols from either party actually behaving in a responsible way. It doesn't magically erase all problems, but it is helpful to see.