September 01, 2002
So Where Did the Volume Go?

"Gene Healy's another smart person at Cato," an acquaintance said. "He's making powerful arguments that the Bush Administration must acknowledge Congress's power over war and peace in foreign affairs." So I went to read what Gene Healy had written. I was expecting considerable volume: I had read a short piece by him on the "executive arrogance" of the Clinton years, calling Clinton's foreign policy: ...shameful... brazen... abuse of executive authority... contempt for constitutional limits ... Nixonian... the cluster-bomb humanitarianism of the war on Serbia... But the volume turned out to be extremely muted. After all, if Healy really does believe that Clinton's conduct of foreign affairs in Bosnia, Kosovo, Haiti, and Afghanistan was "...shameful... brazen... abuse... contempt," what words must have come to Healy's mind to apply to many aspects of the Bush Administration's conduct of the campaign against terror? Yet somehow none of these words make it into Healy's discourse, which seems rather... milquetoast... by comparison. His arguments may be right--but if it was so important to express them so... forcefully in judging the Clinton Administration, isn't it even more important to express them forcefully today? War with Iraq: Who Decides? February 26, 2002 by Gene Healy Gene Healy...

Posted by DeLong at 07:55 PM

May 22, 2002
Trust, But Verify?

A correspondent from Washington writes that I have been grossly unfair to the Cato Institute--that Stephen Moore is not a representative Catonian

Posted by DeLong at 02:30 PM

May 12, 2002
Let Us Now Praise Right Wing Hacks

David Broder thinks that the success of the Heritage Foundation and the Cato Institute is "something to cheer" because they are so "proficient in generating and promoting ideas" and have great "intellectual honesty." I disagree: I think David Broder has lost his ability to distinguish intellectual wheat from partisan chaff. Cato and Heritage's main function is to provide soundbites. As a result,their work can rarely be relied on: too much of the time, even when the good, straight, accurate arguments are on their side, the guys from Cato and Heritage are likely to come up with something twisted, inaccurate, and misleading that sounds punchy. Brendan Nyhan also disagrees with Broder, and expresses it better than I do.) For example, consider Stephen Moore, sometime Director of Fiscal Policy Studies at Cato, sometime a Fellow at the Heritage Foundation. Let me pull down from the shelf Stephen Moore and Julian Simon (2000), _It's Getting Better All the Time: 100 Greatest Trends of the Last Hundred Years_ (Washington, D.C.: Cato Institute). It's a book I by and large agree with: things are a lot better now than they were 100 years ago. It's a book I'm sorry I bought, because I cannot refer...

Posted by DeLong at 02:58 PM