Saturday, February 07, 2004

Been a long time, and it is good to be writing this again a little. I think one of the reasons I stopped, besides the lack of time, is that I said everything I wanted to say one time, and the rest of the thing is just rehashing old themes in new contexts. What isn’t?

I have no particular article to point to, I could point to a million articles. Andrew Sullivan says that there is an article in the current National Review about the risks of Republicans running deficits. I’ll summarize Andrew’s summary, since it says enough to make my point. The National Review is worried that Bush is running huge deficits, that a Democrat will be elected some day, and raise taxes to cover Bush’s programs, and the end result will be big government, big taxes, a net loss of freedom. Some op-ed in today’s New York Times,
says that Bush in exercising all the limited power that a President has over the economy to pump-prime the economy in ways similar to Nixon’s wage-price controls in order to win re-election. Regular readers of The New Republic or The American Prospect know that the whole point is to “starve-the-beast” – to keep cutting the size of government, keep cutting its expectations so that people cannot rely on it. I said a lot about this during the summer.

Bush is cutting taxes, taking money that middle-class taxpayers paid in during the Bill Clinton 90s and returning it to upper-class taxpayers now. His vast right-wing conspiracy is supporting it. They think that Bush represents their values and that in running deficits they are “starving the beast.” So we now have a deficit based not on too much government, but on too few revenues. Then, and Bush even mentioned it during the State of the Union, these same people point to the deficit, and claim that if there is a deficit, it must be proof of wasteful government spending. Since Republicans do not spend wastefully in their programs (i.e. the Halliburton programs), the Democrats must be spending wastefully in their programs (i.e. the make sure we can all retire in one piece programs). We will then try the shell game again, balance the budget by raising taxes on the middle class (when the Democrats are in power), give all the middle class taxes back to the rich (when the Republicans are in power).

Bush is not a small-government guy, but he is most definitely a give the money to the rich guy.


I don’t understand why David Brooks has a regular column in the New York Times.
One thing that people who read the second-hand stuff that one needs to read to write the third-hand stuff of blogs have learned is the vast gulf between what it means to be the most liberal voice at the Wall Street Journal (which Brooks was for a long time) and the most conservative voice at the New York Times (which Brooks is now – same voice). His attempts to link John Kerry to Johnny Chung are pathetic, and just the tip of the iceberg of the anti-Kerry crap.

I don’t understand why everyone is up-in-arms about Johnny Chung, and I never did. Why are Bush’s business ties with the Saudis less nefarious than what Johnny Chung brings to the Democrats? Foreign agents will always try to give money to force policy changes. Taking the money does not make you a foreign agent. Hiring engineers who are downloading nuclear secrets onto computers may make you a foreign agent. Allowing the entire Bin-Ladn clan to leave the country on September 12 may make you a foreign agent. Anyway, what Brooks writes, what all of these people write, what we will write and say on our end, just won’t matter. It’s just the difference between not voting for someone because your gut tells you its wrong, and not voting for someone because you can scream about Johnny Chung or Halliburton at a party.

You are starting to hear this Massachusetts liberal nonsense attaching to Kerry, but I don’t know if it matters as much. Who are the undecided voters? Asians? (Beware what you imply about the difference between Johnny Chung and the Saudi royal family) Hispanics? (this is not my battle, and I do not understand it fully, but beware what you imply when you attempt to collapse Protestant values with Catholic values; when Protestant leaders try to cherry-pick issues just because they feel they will resonate with Catholic immigrants; when any of us try to guess how Western democracy resonates with Islam.) Are these undecided voters actually voting? Are undecided voters just people in their early 30s, first child, first mortgage payment, never really thought about these things seriously before?

As you can see, while I stopped working on this blog, I have been reading other people’s disjointed messes. I’m beginning to get the hang of blog-writing.

As some of you know, one of the reasons I stopped writing this blog-site was to spend more time researching the 1850s, a project that moves forward sporadically. What happens when you spend so much time reading on a topic is that you are not sure if you are the last one reading about the subject, or the first one. So in case you don’t know about this, or read about it in school and forgot about it, I leave you with a link to a little article about the Caning of Charles Sumner, the Senator from Massachusetts, by Congressman Preston Brooks of South Carolina – May 22, 1856.

And you wonder whether in the collective Mind of the South (the Red-State mind), calling someone a Massachusetts liberal is more elegant than announcing your intention to run for President from Philadelphia, Mississippi.

Incidentally, and this is a topic for an entire book in one paragraph, whatever else I feel about our current President, not only do I not think that he is a racist, but I think that his very lack of racism informs his plans for the American Kingdom. His goals continually assault Federalism. I don’t think he is consciously trying to assault it, I think it is just a by-product of things like the PATRIOT Act, No Child Left Behind, Defense of Marriage, etc. No President with any sensitivity to racial issues would be so cavalier in an assault on states rights. Things he does that are racist, like the recess appointment of this or the ther Federal judge, are just business transactions.