Re: The Sadness of Conservatism
I think fellow bloggingheads readers would benefit from Robert Reich's (the former Clinton Labor Secretary) book Supercapitalism. He concedes many of Jonah's point's with regard to lobbying and the intersection of government and regulation. But has a more nuanced observation. Some points I jotted down in my notes when i read it:
Pg 147 The primary increase in lobbying is not 1.) due to a cozy relationship between big businesses and the Republican Party (Democrats get the contributions almost evenly), nor 2) the size of the federal government with regards to spending/pork (discretionary spending is about the same) nor 3) a buyout of both parties by corporations for broadly pro businesses goals. It is simply private competition extended to the political sphere via the regulatory regime i.e. Walmart wanting to move into consumer banking and regular banks using their influence to stop Walmart.
I also read (and enjoyed) Jonah Goldberg's Liberal Fascism as well and he seems (along with Beinart on a comment in this bloggingheads) to think Reich is more left than what comes out in Supercapitalism. Anyway I think it's worth a read by both Jonah Goldberg and Peter Beinart in addition to the bloggingheads community.