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stephanie
09-15-2011, 01:33 PM
From Alex Massie, whole thing here (http://www.spectator.co.uk/alexmassie/7223409/rick-perry-texas-gaullist.thtml).

Think of him - if you can wrap your mind around the comparison - as a Texan kind of Eamon de Valera. If that's too strange for you then consider Perry as a Texas Gaullist. All governors have something of this, of course, but the particulars of Texan history and identity make it a more powerful force in Austin than such small-n nationalism can ever be in...Nashville or Harrisburg or Olympia. L'etat, c'est moi and all that....

That's why he can seem to share some aspects of the Tea Party agenda while also acting as a standard corporatist Governor. It's why he can blast Washington but accept great dollops of Federal largesse. It's why - because it is Good for Texas - he can be more relaxed about immigration than most (though not quite all) Republicans who aspire to national office. Similarly, he can decry global warming but be a booster for renewable energy because, again, this is Good for Texas.

It's why, in fact, Perry's campaign is mainly the result of a moment of opportunity rather than the product of any long-held aspiration for national office....

Again, there's plenty here to antagonise most parts of the conservative coalition. But if the United States and France are more alike than they often like to admit then Texas is, if you like, the France of the United States. This is not a matter or policy or even, necessarily, of outcomes, but a question of a state of mind and, consequently, a certain idea of Texas. This seems reflected in their governor's contradictions but I suggest Rick Perry makes plenty of sense if you view him as a Texas Gaullist. Though, then again, it might make him too French to be the nominee...

Florian
09-15-2011, 04:09 PM
Only a Brit could come up with such a preposterous analogy. But let us hope that the last sentence is prophetic:

.....I suggest Rick Perry makes plenty of sense if you view him as a Texas Gaullist. Though, then again, it might make him too French to be the nominee.

stephanie
10-05-2011, 02:14 PM
More on Rick Perry, this time from Daniel Larison.

This ("http://www.theamericanconservative.com/larison/2011/10/05/to-get-a-better-class-of-populists-start-by-finding-some-populists/) is from a response to Ross Douthat's comments about Republican populism.

In what sense is Perry a populist? If there is one phrase that characterizes his tenure as governor, it is probably crony capitalism. Perry’s cozy relationships with corporations and donors are things that populists loathe. If Republican leaders have been “too forgiving of crony capitalism and Wall Street-Washington coziness,” what would be accomplished by a Perry victory except to reinforce all of the party’s worst habits? If right-wing populists see collusion between corporations and government as a major problem, Perry and those like him see it as something desirable and useful. Perry’s purpose in the race has always been to divert anti-establishment discontent in a manageable, acceptable direction where it will do nothing to force the party to make any significant changes. Can you imagine Perry proposing stricter financial regulatory reform? Of course not. Is he going to argue for breaking up banks that have been deemed “too big to fail”? Not a chance.

One reason why “no populist politician has been able to deliver an agenda to match” is that there haven’t been many populist politicians on the right in the first place. When Ross says that Republican voters deserve “a better class of right-wing populist,” I agree with him. The first step in getting better populists is to distinguish between the politicians whose “populism” consists of folksy mummery and those interested in breaking up concentrations of wealth and power. Until there are Republican candidates interested in both of those goals, there is little chance that any of them will propose policies that will achieve them.

I agree with Larison's assumptions about what populists would want, for the word to have any meaning, but it does seem clear that it gets used on the right in a much broader way.

miceelf
10-05-2011, 03:55 PM
I agree with Larison's assumptions about what populists would want, for the word to have any meaning, but it does seem clear that it gets used on the right in a much broader way.

Populism as packaging/marketing strategy vs. substantive populism.

I know this is partisan, but I really feel like a lot of Republican political campaigning is premissed on fundamental dishonesty (or as Frank Luntz might say "contradiction")

stephanie
10-05-2011, 04:17 PM
I know this is partisan, but I really feel like a lot of Republican political campaigning is premissed on fundamental dishonesty (or as Frank Luntz might say "contradiction")

I wasn't going to bother posting this (http://crookedtimber.org/2011/09/20/must-we-act-as-if-they-mean-what-they-say-what-did-i-mean-when-i-said-that/), given the predictable response, but I found it and especially the discussion in the comments really interesting. You might also.

A snippet:

...sometimes – pretty often, actually – Perry says stuff that he clearly doesn’t mean, at the philosophical level, in the sense that he has no intention – or desire – to realize, in actually existing actuality, the implications of that particular idea. That’s because Perry is a conservative, and that’s what conservatives do. Unlike liberals.

And of course Democrats/liberals sometimes say things they don’t mean. Obviously Democratic politicians are politicians. But they do not exhibit this very distinctive sort of cognitive dissonance, at the ‘philosophical’ level, that pretty much all Republicans/conservatives exhibit. Conservatives sometimes say extreme ‘philosophical’ things that, in an ‘operational’ sense, they don’t mean. Liberals pretty much never do this.

miceelf
10-05-2011, 04:33 PM
I wasn't going to bother posting this (http://crookedtimber.org/2011/09/20/must-we-act-as-if-they-mean-what-they-say-what-did-i-mean-when-i-said-that/), given the predictable response, but I found it and especially the discussion in the comments really interesting. You might also.


This kind of underlies my problems with libertarian/rightist notions that the free market will automatically lead to the best possible products at the best possible prices.

Competitions between purveyors of similar goods aren't usually competitions of quality/value of product. They're often nothing more or less than competitions of marketing.

eeeeeeeli
10-08-2011, 11:54 AM
This kind of underlies my problems with libertarian/rightist notions that the free market will automatically lead to the best possible products at the best possible prices.

It seems to me that there is a huge gulf between the radical right, who truly believe the anti-all-government crap, and the mainstream right, who enjoy the same rhetoric, while not actually believing it - they actually believe in libraries, schools, medicare, social security, etc. But the radical right is so energetic and passionate... here's the question: why do moderates let them get away it, why do they pretend to agree?

On the left, there doesn't seem to be at all this kind of schism. You rarely hear for the outright abolishment of business. And if you did, the rest of the left wouldn't dream of pretending to agree.

I tend to think this is historical. Communism as a politically correct philosophy died a long time ago. Total free marketism is alive and well, despite routinely demonstrating massive failings. Reasonable people understand this, and advocate a mixed economy. So again, why does the right allow radical idiocy to invade their rhetoric?

I'm reminded of the radio right, in which half-truths are routinely bandied about, with a sort of wink-and-nod - we don't really think that (or do we)? It's a comfort with factual relativism that seems to baffle the left.

miceelf
10-08-2011, 12:03 PM
It seems to me that there is a huge gulf between the radical right, who truly believe the anti-all-government crap, and the mainstream right, who enjoy the same rhetoric, while not actually believing it - they actually believe in libraries, schools, medicare, social security, etc. But the radical right is so energetic and passionate... here's the question: why do moderates let them get away it, why do they pretend to agree?



Oh, I agree. I don't think they believe it. They just illustrate a downside of the market solving everything.

They aren't delivering a better product. They win some in terms of marketing.

Ocean
10-08-2011, 01:41 PM
It seems to me that there is a huge gulf between the radical right, who truly believe the anti-all-government crap, and the mainstream right, who enjoy the same rhetoric, while not actually believing it - they actually believe in libraries, schools, medicare, social security, etc. But the radical right is so energetic and passionate... here's the question: why do moderates let them get away it, why do they pretend to agree?

On the left, there doesn't seem to be at all this kind of schism. You rarely hear for the outright abolishment of business. And if you did, the rest of the left wouldn't dream of pretending to agree.

I tend to think this is historical. Communism as a politically correct philosophy died a long time ago. Total free marketism is alive and well, despite routinely demonstrating massive failings. Reasonable people understand this, and advocate a mixed economy. So again, why does the right allow radical idiocy to invade their rhetoric?

I'm reminded of the radio right, in which half-truths are routinely bandied about, with a sort of wink-and-nod - we don't really think that (or do we)? It's a comfort with factual relativism that seems to baffle the left.

I think that you're identifying features that tend to cluster together. Those who are more extreme in their ideas may be more extreme in their expression of the same, while those who are moderate also tend to be quieter.

On the left, I agree that the death of communism as an idea, after the collapse of the Soviet Union, threw the left into some existential limbo. The conditions were given for a raw form of triumphal capitalism to take hold, with the cruel philosophy of "leaner and meaner". So the pendulum swung all the way to the right (and with it the entire political spectrum) and now it's looking for its way back.

Or so is my speculation.

stephanie
10-08-2011, 04:04 PM
It seems to me that there is a huge gulf between the radical right, who truly believe the anti-all-government crap, and the mainstream right, who enjoy the same rhetoric, while not actually believing it - they actually believe in libraries, schools, medicare, social security, etc. But the radical right is so energetic and passionate... here's the question: why do moderates let them get away it, why do they pretend to agree?

On the left, there doesn't seem to be at all this kind of schism. You rarely hear for the outright abolishment of business. And if you did, the rest of the left wouldn't dream of pretending to agree.

I tend to think this is historical. Communism as a politically correct philosophy died a long time ago. Total free marketism is alive and well, despite routinely demonstrating massive failings. Reasonable people understand this, and advocate a mixed economy. So again, why does the right allow radical idiocy to invade their rhetoric?

I'm reminded of the radio right, in which half-truths are routinely bandied about, with a sort of wink-and-nod - we don't really think that (or do we)? It's a comfort with factual relativism that seems to baffle the left.


I basically agree with all of this, without having any kind of real notion of why. The arguments in the comments of the article I linked that seemed most right to me were those about emotive language, but why people find satisfying emotive language that expresses views that they don't agree with and which would worry them if they thought it was actually serious, I don't know.