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Old 09-23-2010, 01:09 PM
stephanie stephanie is offline
Join Date: Dec 2007
Posts: 3,921
Default Re: Potentially Non-Evil Human Beings (Katherine Mangu-Ward & Stephen Spruiell)

So I finally finished this diavlog, so feel like commenting some more.

As just a general comment, I think this should answer some of the complaints about recent liberal on liberal backpatting, as this was reasonably smug too, even though I don't have any problems with either of the diavloggers.

I did find Stephen's generalization about "liberals" and how the Koch commentary represents their need for a corporate scapegoat a bit ridiculous. A relatively few people are all excited about the Koch's, but no more so than those on the right who get excited about their conspiracies du jour of which I could name of a number. Most liberals probably don't know or care who the Kochs are, despite the recent media coverage, however. And there's nothing either unique to liberals or contradictory about arguing that certain talking points and agenda items are pushed by those with a self-interest, whereas others are either falling for the rhetoric or simply allies due to other interests. Again, what else is the talk about how teachers unions or unions generally drive policy for the Dems, which was said in this very diavlog.

Personally, I think the excitement about the Kochs is odd, and I see no difficulty in believing that they are sincere and that their views do tend to support their economic interests. It's not that tough or unusual for people to see themselves on the side of the angels or to develop political philosophies which they sincerely hold which tend to line up with what they do and who they are. God knows I'm probably guilty of this (for the record, in a way that makes me more conservative on certain things), and yet I am still sincere about my views.

Originally Posted by Ocean View Post
So they say that the Real Republicans were taken by surprise by the election of the crazy Tea Party candidates. But, who voted for the crazies? Weren't they Real Republicans?
Yeah, all this talk about Real and non-Real Republicans should be dropped. Fact is, there are some splits within the Republicans (like the Dems) and unsurprisingly people tend to see themselves as the "Real" side. On this very board we have people who try and claim libertarianism as the essence of Real Republicanism (or conservatism) and others who take an opposite view. (Note: I don't care what is the Real Republicanism -- I deny that there is some Platonic form of Republicanism, in fact -- but as a matter of intellectual history and consistency the notion of conservatism=libertarianism is ridiculous.)

What the Republicans are good at (irritatingly good in my view, but that would be my view) is managing to paper over the differences or convince people that they care less about the differences than some other issue based on which they hate the Dems. This was the culture war, which was the old way of channeling populism in a rightwing direction. It's interesting to see how the Tea Party is a new way to do the same. It seems incoherent to me, but I'm obviously not the intended audience.

Then they talked about what cuts could be made to decrease the deficit. They said that there are many easy cuts, but they wouldn't amount to much, so they're not a solution.
I give them credit for this, they were reasonably honest both about the cuts that are being talked about most (and by the Tea Partiers) being basically irrelevant and in acknowledging that lots of their supporters really aren't in agreement with Reason on the issues. Too many people seem to think anti this heath care reform = pro free market, and the evidence is quite to the contrary, as these diavloggers seemed to recognize.

for what I read elsewhere, this would be a significant measure to reduce the deficit. What's the story here?
I agree with you on this. They also didn't address in sufficient detail (although they touched on) how impossible politically the entitlement reform that they want would be. This gets to the criticism by liberals (no doubt condemned by Stephen) that the rhetoric employed by the Tea Party doesn't seem really coherent or related to a sensible political agenda, as they have flipped out about the deficit in a way which seems transparently political, but oppose raising taxes and, I imagine, any of the measures necessary to make a real difference.

One could also wonder how cutting entitlements and keeping old people in the job market a lot longer than now will affect recessionary pressures, but oh well.

Last edited by stephanie; 09-23-2010 at 01:13 PM..
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