Kejda Gjermani her miscellaneous musings

17May/0819

Peggy Noonan rips on Republicans

Drudge loves Peggy, no doubt about it: it's how I got to this latest piece of hers. I found it to be a bit scattered, but overall right on target.

The Democrats aren't the ones falling apart, the Republicans are. The Democrats can see daylight ahead. For all their fractious fighting, they're finally resolving their central drama. Hillary Clinton will leave, and Barack Obama will deliver a stirring acceptance speech. Then hand-to-hand in the general, where they see their guy triumphing. You see it when you talk to them: They're busy being born.

The Republicans? Busy dying. The brightest of them see no immediate light. They're frozen, not like a deer in the headlights but a deer in the darkness, his ears stiff at the sound. Crunch. Twig. Hunting party.

Democrat vs Republican President: Insreases in National DebtYes indeed. Republicans are dying. Do not resuscitate. This current crop of Republicans need to run through the last disgraceful phases of their political life-cycle and fade away into oblivion. Maybe it will take the messianic reign of lord Obama to inspire/infuse new blood into the Republican party. But perhaps we are past that now: after all, we all know what happened to the last tide of then(1994)-new blood. The established pockets of corruption traditionally entrenched within the Republican party are there ready to suck in any new blood like leeches. There are simply too many tempting avenues for scoring cheap short-termistic political points through mere pandering.

Does the Republican party have too much baggage? Republicans should take a hint from what happened to Canada's conservatives.

For now, I am ambivalently cheering for Obama out of spite: Republicans need to hit rock bottom in order to digest the reality check of their compounded failures.

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Comments (19) Trackbacks (0)
  1. That’s a great graph. The Bushes really like to spend their money as it seems…

    “Do not resuscitate.”

    I go to U Waterloo as well : 1B Math/CS

  2. Well, that graph is a bit misleading, because it is Congress more so than the President that decides on spending sprees. The president can almost always resort to veto power, however, to prevent insane spending mandated by Congress.

    But for example, during Clinton’s years, it was thanks to a Republican Congress that spending was relatively balanced.

    Does not change the fact that Republicans suck big balls now.

    How do you like Waterloo? I started out in Software Engineering myself.

  3. Debt never registers with American voters. They know but they make believe it does not exist. Just as their credit card debt, car loan, McMansion mortgage, Macy’s card… McCain will win and I’m willing to bet a beer or a gote raki 😉

  4. Ha, well said Landi.

    It’s also like a small child who has not developed object permanence yet. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Object_permanence

    You hide something behind your back, and they forget that it even exists.

    It is really sad. Hence all the talk of free this, free that, universal healthcare, welfare, blah blah. There ain’t no such thing as a free lunch.

    McCain seems to be a bit better than Lord Obama, so up with the raki!

  5. Ideally a split government is best, however, they might decide to cooperate resulting in both sides fleecing the people. The D Congress says to the R President “we’ll approve a $200 billion increase in this if we get $70 billion more in pork.” Instead of reaching a more reasonable (and smaller) number, now we have even more spending–backed by debt.

  6. Well, the R-D duopoly is a frigging cabal. Republicans are limited-government-types in name only.

    That is why they keep losing! They are hypocrites in their supposed positions. Democrats, on the other hand, are usually sincere in the disgusting Leftist strife which they represent.

    The consistent radicals tend to win against the hypocritical and half-hearted pragmatists.

    We are screwed no matter who wins.

  7. No one ever lost an election promising “free stuff,” so they will promise it and then trade votes to get it passed. Even the idealists will do with the “If I don’t get elected I’ll never have a chance to change the system” reasoning.

    The only solution: An iron-clad balanced budget amendment with very few “emergency funding” provisions. (The Supreme Court would rule when something is really an emergency, i.e. Japan attacks us and we need to fight a war; earthquake destroys LA etc) When there is a limit on money they will have to make the hard choices.

    In short, do not rely on social security or Medicare 😉

  8. Yeah, no shit. The balanced budget amendment would put an end to the budget’s perpetual diarrhea, but who will be elected into office promising a balanced budget? It’s a vicious cycle, like you seem to understand. Someone can compete with fiscal conservatives by merely offering more free stuff as opposed to balanced books.

    Many stars will have to align in order to have both a fiscally conservative Congress that would propose a balanced-budget amendment, and a fiscally conservative enough President who would not veto it.

    The Republicans finally managed to come to power with such promises in the early 90s. But Clinton vetoed the proposal. By the time they had Bush, a Republican president, they were too corrupt and addicted to pork to push the amendment again.

    I agree with emergency provisions, though I think earthquake/hurricane disasters should not be included. Those are state problems, for which there ought to be state insurance.

    By the way, you are the first fiscally conservative Albanian I talk to!

  9. >> but who will be elected into office promising a balanced budget?

    Many will…if it goes into effect 12 years following passage. This gives them plenty of time to plan for an eventual loss in the election.

    The first election after passage will not matter as they will be campaigning on what they already did; thus, in essence they have anywhere from a 14-18 year time frame to start lining up another job, or merely retire.

    Of course, they also get the satisfaction that they actually did something good. Worst case scenario they will still have the name recognition and the office perks to use in a campaign; this is not an automatic electoral death sentence.

    Now go get it done Kejda 😉

  10. What that graph ignores is the growth in the overall size of the American Economy in those years. Running ‘manageable debt’ is actually good economic governance.

  11. I stand proud as a Republican because I stand against foolish notions brought about by the other party such as supporting any form of abortion (a word which IS the same as MURDER) and the fairness Doctrine (which stands against the first ammendment) and several others. It’s when things like this appear that a country’s downfall appears. Read your roman history and you’ll see.

  12. Something that you must take notice of is that the economy laggs BEHIND 4-8 YEARS. what you have placed at the place of the republicans is because of the democratic policies.

  13. What’s so much better about having a bigger government financed by direct taxes and a correspondingly smaller debt rather than a smaller government and more debt? The worst would be bigger government and large debt. Which is of course exactly where we’re heading, under EITHER of the parties. With the Republican party there is at least SOME chance of less government growth, or even *gasp* a smaller government.

  14. Alex,

    Sorry but I find that a lame excuse for trying to cover the Republicans’ asses.

    Paleohawk,

    I don’t think the dilemma is ever between small but deficit financed government and large direct-taxes financed government. The whole point of running deficits is to expand government spending today beyond what’s palatable (read: popular) with the tax-base, at the expense of future generations whose wishes are not accounted for by the current selfish electorate.

    Even if that’s what the dilemma were, it is much better to have a larger government financed through taxes, because it would at least mean that it’s what people currently want and it’s what they are paying for, instead of leeching off of future generations.

    We are not merely headed now toward bigger government and large debt: the government has always been growing proportionally to the debt!

    My point is that with Republicans, our hopes for smaller government have lately been entirely misplaced and unfounded. So why reward them with our votes if they never keep their electoral promises? Both parties are really almost just as bad in the tax-indebt-and-spend department. Republicans should either get their act together fast, or get another slogan, because fiscally responsible/conservative just ain’t a fair characterization of what they stand for.

  15. First- Congress spends the money, not the President. For every dollar that came in to DC in the 80s, the Democratic Congress spent two.

    Second- the deficit spending under GW Bush is understandable- we’re at war.

  16. Sharmuta,

    Thanks for stopping by!

    Those are good points and I conceded the first one myself on this comment thread. However:

    First- Congress proposes the budget, but the president can veto it (the Democrats have seldom held such an overwhelming majority of Congress as to be able to override the President’s veto in the last few decades). Because of this asymmetric structure of power, the Republican presidents cannot be let off the hook so easily.

    Second, the greatest portions of spending under George W. do not fall under war financing, but rather under wasteful domestic programs. I wouldn’t bat an eye over war spending but that’s not what’s fueling the reckless deficits.

    Another more subtle point for you (playing Devil’s advocate here) is that GDP has been growing, in real but also (and most crucially) in nominal terms (due to inflation), so an upward pressure on deficits is unavoidable. The most recent dollars of deficit are cheaper ones though, and though the deficits may be growing in absolute nominal terms, due to the growth of the economy the percentage of GDP devoted to debt may not be increasing as fast.

    Not that I think that any of these mitigating factors change the fact that Republicans are lame today and have been for a while. They need to offer a real alternative to the Democrats, not just a differently packaged echo.

  17. Good points, medaura and I agree. The President is not completely blameless when it comes to spending. I think the bigger problem, however, is not what government spends it’s money on as much as HOW government spends it’s money. You’ll find a lot of waste in the how.

    First- it’s baseline budgeting. Congress baselines increases for programs, even if that program could get by with less.

    Second- programs are required to spend every cent in their budget or face budget cuts the next year. If this isn’t wasteful, nothing is. There is not only no incentive for programs to save money, they are actually punished if they do.

    Third would be duplicate programs, that double up on government services already being provided by another agency.

    So between baseline budgeting and mandated spending, there is plenty of waste to be found. Neither party seems interested in making government spend it’s money like a real American business or household would spend it’s budget, and I don’t think the American electorate even thinks about this aspect of government spending, otherwise we’d hear more about this issue. It’s common sense, and I believe the electorate would push for it, if they were only more aware of the issue.

  18. Graphs are all well and good taken out of historical context. The Republicans are often in office during times which require a good deal of militart spending.

    Gerald Ford – the end of the Vietnam Conflict (which BTW the Democrats started)
    Jimmy Carter – significantly cut military spending, also one of the worst economic & foreign policies to date who’s mistakes Obama learned nothing from and is poised to repeat.

    Regan – Massive spending to modernize and rebuild the American military after the deprivations of the Vietnam Conflict and Carter’s presidency. His policies also are credited with the fall of the Soviet Union without a much more costly (both in terms of human life and treasure) direct armed conflict.

    Bush Sr. – the First Gulf War and funds to help rebuild Kuwait, put out oil fires and clean up spills. Not to mention vast amounts of US aid to former Soviet Republics. Also you have the Savings and loan bailouts as well.

    Sharmuta makes some very good points about how the Government actually uses(wastes) those funds.
    Clinton – Newt Gingrich and Contract with America made drastic cuts to the Federal budget and used the surplus to pay down the debt. No major military actions or deployments. The NATO bombing used planes and munitions paid for on Reagan’s & Bush Sr.’s watch.

    Bush Jr. – September 11, start of the War on Terror, and now the Bank bailouts (which BTW were supposed to be overseen by the Dem majority Congress).

    Also your budget chart doesn’t take into account inflation and the fact that Congress not the President approves the Federal Budget. Its also inaccurate in that the Fiscal budget for 2001 for example that is attributed to Bush was actually proposed by Bill Clinton’s administration. This is true for all years in which a new president takes office.

  19. Hmm don’t know how that happened with the Sharmuta mention, but that was supposed to be at the end.

    I’d also like to point out that the President has little to do with earmarks, riders, and pork barrel spending being added to legislation. Also the S & L and Enron events lead to greater regulation which costs money and increased the Federal Budget.


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