Saturday, February 19, 2011

Faulkner Was Right

The past isn't dead; it's not even the past.  The South is still trying to win the Civil War, which should tell you a lot of what you need to know about the opposition to Barack Obama.

In any case, it's time to stop obsessing over the past and focus on the future.  One way to start is by taking a look at this speech by John Kerry.  I can't help thinking that, if he'd spoken more like this in 2004, he might have made it into the White House.  Kerry was far from my favorite Democrat, but he would have been better than four more years of Bush-Cheney.

Being Number One Isn't All It's Cracked Up To Be

Courtesy of Charles Blow of The New York Times.  (You're still wrong about Tuscon, Charles, but I forgive you--for now.)

Limited Government, Indeed

Courtesy of my friend and fellow blogger, John Tierney.  Grover Norquist may want to shrink government down to the size of a bathtub, but he'll settle for the size of your mattress.

THIS is the Third Way?

Eating our retirement seed corn?

I'm glad he agrees with me that we can't cut or spend our way to prosperity.  But burning the finances of the future in an attempt to bail us out of the present is a true recipe for total disaster.

There is no first, second or third way out of our mess.  There is only one, historically proven way:  raise taxes.  It isn't an accident that the two most prosperous periods in our history--the 1950s and the 1990s--both came about when we faced the fact that civilization has a price tag, and civilized people (if they want to stay that way) had better be prepared to pay it.  (Thanks for the opportunity to paraphrase, OWH.)

Tax hikes are, in their own way, the equivalent of welfare reform.  They force people of means to put their money to work, which is the only thing that leads to real growth and job creation.  The wealthy aren't any more virtuous with their money than the more; they need a big stick to make them do the right thing.

Yes, conservatives, it's counterintuative, but so is most of life.  Get over it.

Winston Churchill once said that you can always count on the Americans to do the right thing, after they've tried everything else.  Let's hope that, when it comes to taxes, he was right.

Thursday, February 17, 2011


The spirit of Tahrir Square has come to America.  Or, at least, to Wisconsin.

If Only There Were 50 Governors ...

... like this guy.  Christie is, at best, a show horse.  Malloy is a work horse.

I'm NOT An Alarmist In Calling Liberals To Arms

I'm a realist.  Here's one more example.  For that matter, here's yet another

Non-violent resistance only works against an opponent that respects reason and order.  Our opponents don't.

If Capitalism Has Any Morality At All ...

... it lies in the morality of failure.  In tough economic times, the obligation of the government is to the many, and not to the few; they are the ones who suffer the most.  The most evil socialism of all is socialism for the rich.

He's Not As Feckless As They Are

Liberals didn't show up at the polls last fall the way they showed up in 2008, because they didn't think Obama and the Democrats had done enough for the things they believed in.  Obama, on the other hand, hasn't run away, and he's still trying, even when his supporters have effectively tied his hands through their non-participation.  Here's yet another example.

Real change--the kind we can believe in--never starts at the top.  If the Tea Baggers can figure that out, why can't we?

Still More Wisdom From Mr. Brooks

Entitlements versus the rest of domestic spending?  He's right.  It's time to make a choice.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Where The REAL Power Lies

My fellow blogger, John Tierney, recently shared a cartoon that I like very much.  It's a graphic reminder of where real power comes from:  below, not above.  We realized that in 2008.  I pray that we realize it again in 2012.

When The Emperor Has No Clothes, Dress Him The Way You Want

That seems to be what Ronald Reagan's admirers keep on doing.  Typically, they try to point to things he either didn't accomplish (such as cut taxes and shrink government) or stumbled into (the end of the Cold War, when Communism decided to bankrupt itself the year after Reagan's watch ended, something that not even Reagan expected to happen at any time).  Michael Kinsley does an effective job of laying out this argument, here and here.

As I've said elsewhere, the argument in favor of Reagan boils down to saying "he made us feel good about ourselves."  This is only valid praise if you take the view that a President is more of a head of state, symbolizing the nation and its spirit, and not the leader of the government, working to build a better society for everyone.  In this context, I've often thought that the late Tip O'Neill had the best take on Reagan:  it was sinful that he became President but, giving him his due, he would have been a helluva king.

Unfortunately, Reagan was, as President, both head of state and government.  And, in his latter capacity, a case can be made that he was an unmitigated disaster, bankrupting the Republic while increasing its exposure to threats against its existence, and polarizing the political system in the process.  Let's not forgot that he championed the Taliban.  Let's also not forget that over 90 percent of the national debt was accrued not only on his watch, but on the watch of his Republican successors.  The result:  even funding for the arts, which used to be as nonpartisan a part of public spending as anything else, is now seen as a threat to the nation's future.  It's dead in Kansas, it may be killed in other states, and it may ultimately die off completely.  A sad legacy for a President who once headed the Screen Actors' Guild (although maybe not an inconsistent one for him; he nearly destroyed SAG by failing to protect its members from the witch-hunting of the House Un-American Activities Committee).

And this doesn't even get into his enabling of terrorism.

Ronald Reagan can only make you feel good if you're hell-bent on fooling yourselves.  Shame on you if you are; shame on me if I let you bully me into believing you.  Dress him however you want; his long-term legacy will still be naked.

I KNEW There Was Something I Liked About Dubya

His attempt at comprehensive immigration reform was the only thing Bush tried to do in eight years that I supported.  Perhaps his recent comments can help to revive it.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

It's Not When They Do Nothing That Bothers Me

At least one writer thinks that people love the GOP House because they are doing nothing.  If only it were that simple.  As long as they spend their time trying to do this, and this, the cumulative effect is to continue to push any resulting legislation, and America, further and further to the right.

Much as a certain former President whose 100th birthday is today did.  Sadly, that is his real legacy, not his sunny personality.  He may have made Americans feel good in the '80s, but his policies, and the manner in which his followers have poisoned public debate ever since, are bringing twilight to this country, not morning.