Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Bob Novak Jumping Ship

From The Washington Post:

'The I-word (incompetence) is also used by Republicans in describing the Bush administration generally. Several of them I talked to cited a trifecta of incompetence: the Walter Reed hospital scandal, the FBI's misuse of the USA Patriot Act and the U.S. attorneys firing fiasco. "We always have claimed that we were the party of better management," one House leader told me. "How can we claim that anymore?"'

Markos' take:

"But ultimately, Bush is a symptom of the problem, not the cause. The cause is conservatism. How can an ideology that holds as a truism that government can't work, work? If Republicans ran the country smoothly and ably, it would lay waste to their claims that government is the enemy and can't make people's lives better. In that regards, Bush hasn't been incompetent. He's been wildly successful."


It is possible that "Conservatism" deserves a place in history as an overwhelming failure. Perhaps it is also more prone to abuse by authoritarians.

I think that history is more likely to blame an unholy alliance of big media, big business, and radical authoritarians like Newt, Delay, and Rove. The authoritarians were smart, and psychopathic enough, to figure out how to exploit the greed of media and business. All went along willingly. All are culpable. I just hope America has the stomach to hold them accountable. Remember, many Americans went along for the ride also, some have yet to get off.

13 comments:

Dawn said...

Andrew: "It is possible that "Conservatism" deserves a place in history as an overwhelming failure. Perhaps it is also more prone to abuse by authoritarians."

I would not say that Conservatism in and of itself is a failure. Rather I believe the failure to be on the part of the people who claim conservatism, but do not live it.

True Conservatism is an advocate of less government intrusion in particular areas in the lives of the people. Conservatism seeks to uphold the constitution and the rule of law.

I think both parties are prone to abuse.

Novak: ""We always have claimed that we were the party of better management," one House leader told me. "How can we claim that anymore?""

Indeed! And that is the point wherein Conservatism is concerned. The Bush Administration is NOT the picture of Conservatism, nor is today's Republican Party.

Marko: "The cause is conservatism. How can an ideology that holds as a truism that government can't work, work?"

Marko has grossly misrepresented Conservatism's ideology. Again, conservatives do not hold to the ideology that government can't work. Conservtives believe in and know that government is absolutely necessary, but only on a very limited basis.

Marko: "If Republicans ran the country smoothly and ably, it would lay waste to their claims that government is the enemy and can't make people's lives better."

Conservatives do not believe that the government is always the enemy, nor do they believe that it can't make people's lives better. To the contrary.

Conservatives simply see the government as having gone too far in their governing. Much of it destroys people's lives rather than improving their lives.

Dawn said...

I haven't been following politics for awhile now. But was Novack ever really onboard with the Bush Administration?

I'd like to know who these Republicans are who are calling the Bush Administration "incompetent" in general. I'm not sure I agree with this term when describing Bush's Admin, but they've definitely made huge mistakes. I have not followed the three areas of incompetence so I cannot comment on that.

Dawn said...

Andrew, what are your specific complaints with the ideology of Conservatism (sans all the Bush Admin and Republican Party fiascos)?

Andrew said...

Great comments Dawn. I want to agree with you. At first I was not prone to agree with Markos. In fact I started by calling his conclusion wrong.

I then reread it and decided that I would agree with the short part he wrote. Markos' quote was in reference to a statment by Grover Nordquist. He stated he wants government small enough to "drown in a bathtub." Unfortunately, Nordquist, Gingrich, and Rove were achatects of the current conservative movement. I include Rove because he was very effective in getting it done. Without him the two others could not have gone as far.

I could not agree with this more:
"True Conservatism is an advocate of less government intrusion in particular areas in the lives of the people. Conservatism seeks to uphold the constitution and the rule of law."

I really do hope that you are right and that many true conservatives will emerge from this debacle. The reason I posted this, and came to the conclusion I did, is because so many conservatives kept quiet while all the problems were manifesting themselves. I could see, early on, that the conservative agenda had either been hijacked or had metastasized. I do not know why more people did not speak up long ago. If so many conservatives were unhappy with the way things were going then why the silence?

Novak has been a conservative for a long time and is a beltway pundit. He aligned himself with the Bush team and defended them for a very long time. It is only recently that he seems to have broken away. George Will broke away last year along with a number of other conservatives. I wonder if they would have broken if the policys of Bush were not such failures. Bush has never been a conservative. Why did they go along with him?

I actually do not have any problem with conservatism as you state it. In fact I tend to be conservative myself, on many issues, so I can't speak against true conservatism. I do think that conservatives tend to espouse conservative fiscal policy, which I agree with, and conservative social policy, which I don't.

All too often conservative social policy seems aimed at vulnerable people and minorities. I feel these are exactly the groups of people that government has an obligation to speak for and protect.

Dawn said...

Andrew: "The reason I posted this, and came to the conclusion I did, is because so many conservatives kept quiet while all the problems were manifesting themselves. I could see, early on, that the conservative agenda had either been hijacked or had metastasized. I do not know why more people did not speak up long ago. If so many conservatives were unhappy with the way things were going then why the silence?"

I think that in the beginning too many people erroneously believed Bush to be a conservative when he was, in fact, a moderate with a "slight" leaning to the right on social policy.

I think that those who saw some of his acquiesence to the left's agenda were confused and thought that this must be some sort of strategic move on the President's part so they said virtually nothing. Then when the left began to bash Bush even when he was passing "their" bills the right took up for Bush because of the hypocrisy of the left. I was upset that these "conservative leaders" were not speaking out against some of these liberal policies Bush had talked Congress into passing.

So, some of them are just now speaking out against the Bush policies, but it's too little too late.

The other reason that some who call themselves conservative did not speak out is because they have themselves been compromised and are no longer true conservatives and probably only understand the issues in part. So to them, Bush hasn't done anything wrong.

So, I guess you could say that true conservatives are quite the minority these days. Conservatives can only vote for the one who holds closest to their ideals. As it stands, everyone who has announced their candidacy for President are, in the eyes of true conservatives, liberals. Except for Newt Gingrich, but I'm not sure I can trust 'ole Newt. And I hear that Fred Thompson is possibly going to run (he may have already announced), but I don't know much about where he stands on specific issues. Though, I do intend to do some research on Mr. Thompson.

Andrew: "I do think that conservatives tend to espouse conservative fiscal policy, which I agree with, and conservative social policy, which I don't.

All too often conservative social policy seems aimed at vulnerable people and minorities. I feel these are exactly the groups of people that government has an obligation to speak for and protect.
"

I believe our conservative social policies speak for and protect vulnerable people and minorities. But one must understand the difference between offering temporary help and offering total dependency.

Can you give me a few examples which you think conservative policy has not aimed to protect minorities and the poor?

Katie said...

Are you a Minnesotan, too? That explains the "Prospect Park" reference, I suppose.

-Katie from Feministing comments

Andrew said...

Kate and Dawn,
Kate, yes I am a Mineapolitan. Nice to meet you.

Dawn,

I am not aware of any liberal leaning things that Bush has ever done to pacify the Left. I have often said "I just wish the guy would throw me a bone once in a while."

As far as I am concerned he has governed from the far right the whole time he has been in office. Can you geve me an example of something he has done that is moderate?

Now that I think about it, he used to talk moderation but it was all just talk. He always bowed to a very conservative Congress. I am not sure he even "bowed." He just downright agreed with them and banged the right corner from day one.

It is my anniversary tonight so I may not respond to your insightful comments right away. I look forward to reading them tomorrow.

Dawn said...

Happy Anniversary Andrew! Hope you enjoyed your evening with your beloved.

Goodness. It's been awhile since I've followed all that has been going on with the Bush Administration. The first few things that come to mind are his Supreme Court nominations Justices Roberts and Alito (going against the Republican platform on abortion and homosexuality), his disregard for the protection of our borders and his appointment of Attorney General Alberto Gonzales who is not opposed to abortion. There are more items of concern that I'm not able to provide at the moment. I will have to do some research. I've got tons of articles in my email that I've not ever read that I'm sure will list more grievances against Bush concerning his moderate to liberal leanings.

Maybe you overlooked my question so here it is again.

"Can you give me a few examples which you think conservative policy has not aimed to protect minorities and the poor?"

Thanks.

Andrew said...

Dawn,

I wish I had more time to go through this. Perhaps I can do more later.

1. When you cut taxes on the wealthy, when you are running a budget defecit, you must either borrow or cut spending. We have done both. We have borrowed and thus the deficit has risen. This does not directly affect the poor unless it affects quality of life later, which it will. When you affect quality of life in America you disproportionatly affect it for the people who have less disposible income. They have less wiggle room and are thus more vulnerable to a falling dollar or slowing economy.
2. When you cut programs, as we have you impact the poor more. They depend on government programs a great deal more. I can give you a list of programs that have been scaled back in Minnesota at a later date. You will have to take my word for it that these programs do not affect folks like me but rather folks in the bottom end of the middle class and the poor.

3. Union busting. Since unions are designed to protect the worker and the worker is predominantly the middle class, when your policies are designed to put unions at a disadvantage in negotiating worker benefits and wages you reduce worker leverage and thus income. There is a reason that unions are on the ropes in America. The Republican Party has done everything in their power to marginalize them.

3.The Minimum Wage: Not raising the minimum wage for over a decade hurts the most vulnerable workers. No one with any power or economic choice works for minimum wage. Thus the people who do are very poor and cannot live on what they earn. They often work many hours more than 40hrs/wk just to get by.

Private School funding: When you give people the choice to send their kids to provate school with tax dollars you deprive public school of the best students and their income. The public schools are left with the children of families who cannot afford the additional expense of private schools. Not only does their school have less money to educat the student but they are left with harder students to educate (those in poverty).

Health care reform: When you do not actively persue health care reform, and in fact turn over all the reform recommendations to the companies who make money providing health care, you end up with a system that does not insure 43million Americans and costs the rest to the middle class a great deal of their income. We spend 16% of our GDP on health care while Sweden spends 7%. The extra money, we pay, goes to the corporations that make a great deal of money. Republican Policy has directly fostered this screwecd up system.

Financial Aid to poor kids, when you reduce aid for highter education and raise interest rates on school loans you hurt the middle and lower classes. In a country that depends on a good education, you thus confine poor people to lower wages because they cannot afford higher education.

I could go on and on but I do not have time. Sorry for all the misspellings I am in a hurry.

Andrew said...

Dawn,
More on Unions here:

http://www.firedoglake.com/2007/03/29/billions-spent-attacking-unions-could-be-better-spent-on-decent-wages/#more-8114

Dawn said...

Hey Andrew, thanks for the examples. I'll get back to you later about them.

Andrew said...

I know how you might feel. Frustration with either conservatives or liberals always devolves into some kind of stereotyping and may not be very productive. As a freind of mine says, we all agree on 98% of stuff so why argue about the differences. I may have thrown the first stone by blasting conservatives (actually not conservatives in general, but their manifestation in the current administration)and am OK if you do not have time or inclinition to rebut. I would probably agree with your well thought out arguement anyway. I am much more comfortable talking about specific policy. I learn more, and it is often more productive. I will be away from my computer for the long weekend. Have a great one and I will be back Tuesday.

A

Dawn said...

I'm going to bow out on this one. Thanks for the dialogue.