Sunday, January 29, 2012

I'm afraid to go to Free Republic

I'll admit it: once a day or so I'll head over to Free Republic for the (right-wing) news.  But lately it's turned into the Newt Gingrich fan/Mitt Romney-bashing club.  Similarly, there are conservative bloggers I greatly respect who have gone whole-hog for Gingrich - and then I wonder if there's something wrong with me.

Maybe it's the engineer in me but I look at the problem at hand and wonder "what is the solution?"  The problem as I see it is Barack Obama who has put this country deep into a chasm of debt, forced Obamacare on an unwilling nation, and resorted to a divisive and cynical policy of class warfare.  Mitch McConnell was not wrong when he said our #1 priority should be ejecting Obama from office - a whiner who has never had to do the real work of creating jobs or passing legislation by building coalitions.  It's little wonder he wants Congress to just follow the orders of the Commander-in-Chief.

So do I want Romney?  Anybody who has followed this blog knows I went all King Lear death scene on him months ago.  (Too obscure?)  But if the GOAL is to defeat Obama, then the perfect is the enemy of the good. USA Today is reporting that in a swing-state poll, Romney would (barely) defeat Obama and likely win the White House.  On the flip side, Gingrich would lose by 14 points - not even close and none of the active candidates has a worse gap.  Under what imaginable scenario do the Gingrich supporters suppose Americans would rally behind a consummate Washington insider who has lobbied for Fannie Mae?  I don't get it.

Make no mistake: I would have preferred Mitch Daniels or Tim Pawlenty or Chris Christie or Paul Ryan or Scott Walker atop the ticket.  But this is what we got and if Romney has the best chance of reaching our goal then, well, he's the best we have.


denise said...

I agree!

denise said...

I guess I should be more specific. I think I have said every item in this post to my husband at some point or another during the last month.
I live in Florida and I have already voted for Romney. Early voting ended yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Oddly enough, I think the process is pretty much working as it should. The basic point is that if Romney can't even defeat Gingrich, then he has no business running against Obama. If that's the case, then we simply don't have a suitable candidate this time around.

Either Romney is going to learn how to be effective, or Gingrich will run, and lose, and thus open the door for a competent grownup to run in 2016.

Down with THEM! said...

You gotta give it up for bone-deep principles that apply one way only.

By the percentage of increase, George W. Bush raised the debt far more than Obama has, while Dick Cheney mocked critics of the policy... but that was a long time ago, when “Wednesdays were for W.“

The Bush tax cuts passed Congress with almost no Democratic support, necessitating a tiebreaker vote from the vice president. The Medicare prescription vote was held open for hours past the deadline until the go-ahead vote could be bought. But the health care bill was cruelly forced upon an unwilling nation.

Obama has resorted to a divisive and cynical policy of class warfare... but then, what else can you expect from a soft, cowardly Democrat who didn't support the troops, couldn't keep the homeland safe, and was rooting for the terrorists to win?

The president is an inept whiner who hasn’t created jobs, but has the arrogance to say Congress should just shut up and follow his orders... alas, if only we could bring back The Decider and all of his bygone prosperity.

Because the #1 goal is to get rid of Barack Obama... the mediocrity who assumed power over the rudderless party of "Anybody But Bush" crybabies and chumps who deserved to lose, and did. Therefore, ROMNEY '12! Splunge!

tom s said...

I feel the same. Anyone but O. I can accept Romney, but he is not my first (or 2nd or 3rd) choice.

A Conservative Teacher said...

Grat post- I share many of your thoughts on this issue, and would like to point out that the longer this thing goes on, the more 'unfavroable' moderates and independents rank all of the candidates. I don't mind a spirited campaign of ideas, but this suicide run by Newt is dangerous.

Monty Hell said...

The 2012 Republican race is like "Let's Make a Deal," except there's a zonk behind every door.

Bram said...

I don't really like Romney - but I truly dislike Gingrich. I'm not sure what Republicans are seeing when they declare old Newt the "most conservative" or the outsider. He's been around DC for over 30 years. Always talked conservative and acted big government.

I will probably vote GOP in November but not like it.

Jerry Tsu said...

Oh yes, it's gonna be quite the cliffhanger, watching Republicans agonize for show before "deciding" to cast the same vote they were always going to cast.

Remember when Democratic women were so enraged about Hillary that they were possibly going to vote for Sarah Palin, or for nobody at all? And maybe Hillary wouldn't stand for it, and her army of undeclared superdelegates might march on the convention? That certainly was... discussed for months.

Tsk, tsk. So much mock angst, wasted on this year's John Kerry.

M. Bouffant said...

Barack Obama who has put this country deep into a chasm of debt, forced Obamacare on an unwilling nation

Ah, the G. W. Bush policies of massive, off-the-books debt for wars that have killed thousands of Americans & injured thousands more w/ no apparent positive results is actually Obama putting the country in debt.

And when Congress passes a law it's "forcing" something on an "unwilling nation."

Get a clue about democracy, representative gov't., & the truth. For your own sake, as well as our country's.

Eric said...

OK, since I'm being called out on Obamacare: here was a piece of crap that NEVER had anywhere close to popular support among the American people. It had to be laden down with special deals ("Cornhusker kickback") to get support and near the end Obama had to beg Congress to pass it NOT because it was great legislation but because "hey, were gonna look like a bunch of jerks if we can't get this through."

Nancy Pelosi told us we'd love it even more after passage and - guess what - Americans love it even less. That's why Obama spent exactly zero words on his singular domestic achievement in the SOTU.

You would have thought the death of Ted Kennedy followed by the election of Scott Brown was a signal that Americans didn't want this legislation but, hey, what the heck: let's restructure one-sixth of the U.S. economy so we don't look ineffectual.

That's what I mean by forcing something on an unwilling nation.

And as for those wars (which cost less than Obama's useless stimulus) at least Dubya was good enough to get the approval of Congress, including the current VP and Secretary of State. But Obama? He KNOWS what's good for you.

Annoto said...

And as for those wars (which cost less than Obama's useless stimulus) at least Dubya was good enough to get the approval of Congress

That Obama is a big ugly jerk! Where did he get off, unilaterally imposing his health care law and his second stimulus bill without so much as alerting Congress?

Also, economists widely agree that the stimulus accomplished something critical and necessary. Good luck arguing the same for Iraq.

Also, the comparison you're citing, which has bounced around the conservative blogosphere like a Superball, reckons the cost of the second stimulus through 2019, but cuts the meter for Iraq as of today. Do you think Obama's stimulus is going to ultimately cost $4 trillion?

Finally: Additional government stimulus in a time of recession or depression is Economics 101. Cutting taxes during a war is virtually without precedent, and preposterously stupid.

Which may be why you don't hear too many of the esteemed experts on Free Republic or Power Line saying, "Obama's stimulus cost more than the war in Iraq... but the Bush tax cuts cost more than either!"

Anonymous said...

Funny how Republicans keep tricking Democrats into voting for wars and extending tax cuts.

But then, as you note, the war in Iraq was a failure while the stimulus "accomplished something critical and necessary." Tis a pity it wasn't stimulating the economy.

Not to worry: Obamacare is going to "save" us money.

Anonymous said...

But then, as you note, the war in Iraq was a failure while the stimulus "accomplished something critical and necessary." Tis a pity it wasn't stimulating the economy.

You made the right choice to ignore the actual numbers. You couldn't post otherwise.

It's amazing how both the GDP and unemployment suddenly improved from the exact point that the failed stimulus kicked in, and just as suddenly leveled off when the failed stimulus did the same. What a zany coinky-dink!

Anonymous said...

Oh boo-hoo: "youre not debating the way I want you to."

You're right: I'm not going to get sucked into the unwinnable cost/benefit analysis of U.S. troops vs. a Saddam Hussein-free Iraq. I'd rather focus on the very measurable failure of the "stimulus" that dropped us further into debt while spurring 2011's GDP growth to a whopping 1.7%.

Anonymous said...

Holy mackerel, 2011's GDP underperformed? Right at the point when the stimulus ran out and the Bush tax cuts were extended? InconCEIVable!

Oh boo-hoo: "youre not debating the way I want you to."

Yeah, you show 'em, Tex. Don't take anybody's guff. What do the bulk of professional economists or the demonstrated history of results know, anyway?

Anonymous said...

Obama 2012: "That's what the economists told us."

Reality is annoying said...

In response to the 2008 global recession, China jacked up government stimulus and imposed more stringent banking regulation. I wonder how things turned out for them?

In 2009, Germany's debt skyrocketed as a large package of stimulus money and bailouts was launched. It was even later discovered that some of this money was wasted! Apropos of nothing, who's expected to save Europe these days?

Eric said...

If only Obama had Jianghau and Gunter advising him in 2009 instead of Christine Romer, Jon Corzine and Tim Geithner.

Anonymous said...

Yes... yessss... Romer, Corzine and Geithner. The unholy three.

"The New Yorker magazine today released the 57-page memo that former Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers handed Barack Obama in December 2008 as the President-elect grappled with the daunting reality that he was taking office just as the U.S. was entering the worst economic downturn since the Great Depression. The memo informed an 11,000-word article that describes the novice president’s shift “from idealism to pragmatism.”

One of the juicier tidbits in the long memo from the former Treasury Secretary was a recitation of the range of advice on how large a stimulus package to submit to Congress. The eventual number: $789 billion over two years.

But it turns out that the number – driven by political consideration and too low to rapidly pull the economy out of its downward spiral – was significantly below what most economists from both sides of the political spectrum thought necessary. Summers, who would head the National Economic Council, also warned about a “debt” backlash in the memo.

Left-of-center economists pushed for significantly larger packages, as expected. University of Texas economist “Jamie” Galbraith wanted $900 billion in a single year. Former Labor Secretary Robert Reich called for $1.2 trillion over two years. Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz of Columbia University said a trillion.

Notably, Paul Krugman, the New York Times columnist, called for a humble $600 billion in one year, which was less than “Larry” Lindsey wanted. The former Federal Reserve governor and National Economic Council director under President George W. Bush wanted at least $800 billion to $1 trillion. Among other Republicans consulted, Harvard’s “Marty” Feldstein, President Ronald Reagan’s top economic adviser, suggested a $400 billion package – about what the administration sought in the first year.

Other notables: Ken Rogoff, former chief economist at the International Monetary Fund who had just written a history of financial crises throughout history, advised $1 trillion over two years. Mark Zandi of Moody’s Analytics and an adviser to defeated Republican John McCain, wanted at least $600 billion in the first year. The memo also said that “senior federal reserve officials” (unnamed) wanted a plan that “well exceeds $600 billion.”

Nearly every economist consulted by the administration, it turns out, called for as large or larger stimulus package than was eventually submitted to Congress. But there was one outlier. Harvard University’s Greg Mankiw, who is now advising former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, “refused to name a number and was generally skeptical about stimulus,” the memo said."

Anonymous said...

And your point is?

Is it that Obama ignored the majority opinion of those smart economists?

Anonymous said...

Read more slowly.

"But it turns out that the number – driven by political consideration..."

The point is that radical socialist B. Hussein Obama, who is trying to turn our country into an unrecognizable welfare state by mortgaging the future, dialed the stimulus back from even the middle-of-the-road consensus. And that therefore, the people who decry the high cost of it are thick partisan blowhards.

Anonymous said...

Well, thank heaven for President Practical and his highly professional staff:

"There was an obvious tension between the warning about the extent of the financial crisis, which would require large-scale spending, and the warning about the looming federal budget deficits, which would require fiscal restraint. The tension reflected the competing concerns of two of Obama’s advisers. Christina Romer, the incoming chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers, drafted the stimulus material. A Berkeley economist, she was new to government. She believed that she had persuaded Summers to raise the stimulus recommendation above the initial estimate, six hundred billion dollars, to something closer to eight hundred billion dollars, but she was frustrated that she wasn’t allowed to present an even larger option. When she had done so in earlier meetings, the incoming chief of staff, Rahm Emanuel, asked her, “What are you smoking?”"

And yet the stimulus ended up at the upper number of $850 bllion and we're still waiting on that "required fiscal restraint."

Anonymous said...

That's the "upper number" of the political debate ("Summers, who would head the National Economic Council, also warned about a “debt” backlash in the memo").

It's not the "upper number," or even the median number, recommended by the preponderance of economists.

Anonymous said...

Obama 2012: "I kinda listened to the economists. You're welcome."

Anonymous said...