Other people’s parties

Greenberg Quinlan Rosner finds that:

[A] striking 53 percent (of voters surveyed) say that they will consider voting for a third party candidate next year.

This put me in mind of something Jay Ackroyd said a few weeks ago:

Voters have been throwing them out since 2006. It’s really all they can do. Hasn’t worked yet.

The last three elections were wave elections against the party that was in power at the time. I would argue that, in effect, all three were effectively votes against elitist, “centrist” opinion. In 2006, the “suck on this” war drove the Democratic victory, in 2008, the continuation of the “suck on this” war and the Maestro Greenspan-ravaged economy drove another Democratic victory, in 2010, the Kaplan-approved, insufficiently-stimulated economy drove a big Republican victory.

That is why there is something so incredibly perverse about the new pundit-and-plutocrat party that Friedman and his ilk are pimping: voters are unhappy precisely because of the policies that pundits and plutocrats pushed on the country. I can’t think of a better illustration of the shock doctrine than “centrist” elites driving the country into a ditch so that they can put Michael Bloomberg in charge of everything.

Of course, this is already going on, as Very Serious People use our austerity-throttled economic crisis to argue in favor of more austerity.








Not in our stars but in ourselves

I’m already tired of talking about that Drew Westen article about how Obama should have given better speeches and demonized the banksters more. I’m not saying it’s all wrong, but I mostly agree with the Monkey Cage’s take on it, that demonizing the banksters more might not have worked that well and that Westen is “fundamentally wrong in its portrayal of presidential power within American politics”.

American politics is a disaster in most ways. Media commentary is a mix of right-wing propaganda, both-sides-do-it tripe, and infantile fantasies about Reagan and Churchill. Very Serious People — at Brookings, at CFR, at S&P — are consistently wrong about almost everything, from Iraq to austerity. A political party used to sometimes nominate smart competent leaders like Eisenhower and Bush I now elects extremists, some of whom wanted to see a huge government default. The one bright spot is that the Democratic party often nominates good presidential candidates. Whether or not Clinton and Obama got/get everything right, they have to be near the very top of the heap of western political leaders of the last 25 years in terms of intellect and political talent.

I just don’t see why it makes sense to focus much energy on why they are, or were, so awful.

I realize that this makes sound like the worst kind of fanboi, but everything I said is true, right?








The best and the brightest

Reader B sends along news of David Brooks’ book deal (don’t have a link, he got it via email):

NYT columnist and #1 NYT bestselling author David Brooks’ two new books, the first on humility, looking at the gale force wind of self-preoccupation, self-celebration, and self-enhancement that has come to dominate every aspect of our lives, and at how the idea of humility, defined as the opposite of self-preoccupation, and informed by a new and more accurate view of human nature, can open up new and better foundations for community, commitment, and life purpose in a changing world, again to Will Murphy at Random House, by Glen Hartley at Writers’ Representatives (World).

Reader D sends along an Atlantic magazine job listing:

Atlantic Media recruits for two personal attributes in its candidates. The first is force of intellect – reflected in discipline and rigor of thought as manifested, often, in exceptional academic performance. The second is a personal spirit of generosity – a natural disposition towards service and selfless conduct.

Kthug explains how many arguments about economics work these days:

I don’t have time right now to track down all the examples, but if you look at how many freshwater macroeconomists have responded to Keynesian arguments in this crisis, you find over and over again that they resort to assertions of privilege — basically, I am a famous macroeconomic expert and you aren’t — rather than really addressing the issues. And this is so ingrained a response, apparently, that they use it in situations where it’s truly ridiculous: Lucas accusing Christy Romer of not understanding basic macro, then demonstrating that he doesn’t understand Ricardian equivalence; Barro belittling the credentials of yours truly, just after forgetting that there was rationing and investment controls during World War II.

This what American public discourse has devolved into: an undeserving, unbelievably self-absorbed “elite” telling the rest of us bitch better recognize, while lecturing the rest of us about how we should be more humble.