October 04, 2004

Grownup Republicans Think About George W. Bush

Adeimantos: It is the enormous breadth of the policy disasters of the George W. Bush administration that is most distressing. Iraq, the failure to cement the alliances we need for the war on terror, economic policy and the deficit--those are obvious, and well known. But things have been equally bad in other areas.

Glaukon:: Yes. This is especially alarming because of the fact that in many other areas--environment, regulation, and trade, for example--the bar for a Republican administration is low, given how very difficult it is for the Democrats to run a sensible environmental or regulatory or trade policy. The unions are scared of free trade, and the fact that the harm done by failure to regulate is so visible and human while the harm done by excessive regulation is much less visible means that Democrats have a very hard time making good policy in these areas.

Adeimantos:Yes, it is truly remarkable how badly this bunch of Republicans has managed to do--even in these issue areas.

Thrasymakhos: A lot of my surprise is that it is so *unexpected*. Mammoth policy failure all across the board. Back in the 1970s Donald Rumsfeld Richard Cheney ran what was widely regarded as a very good, fair process, and substance-oriented White House staff for Ford. And it looked at the start of the administration as though Cheney was in command (which he may be) and had brought in his two best friends from the Ford administration--then defense secretary Rumsfeld and then OMB deputy director O'Neill--to be his Grand Viziers for security and economic policy. Yet Cheney and Rumsfeld then conspire to make sure the White House's security decisions are based on analytic garbage. And when Paul O'Neill calls for help to get a good economic policy process, Cheney ignores him. This across-the-board failure can have only one cause...

Glaukon: I see that somewhat differently. O'Neill was going up against Larry Lindsey, who is (a) as "conservative movement" as they come and who (b) had been with George W. Bush since before George W. Bush was important enough for Tucker Carlson to think he was a joke. O'Neill was bound to lose if Lindsey challenged him--the question was why Lindsey challenged him, since it led to so much lousy economic policy...

Adeimantos: But then they fired Lindsey--for saying that Iraq would cost a fraction of what it will in fact cost. That is really weird: someone has worked like a dog for you for three years, been impeccably loyal, and you fire him because he dominates a single day's news cycle with the "news" that war in Iraq will be expensive!?

Thrasymakhos: But his shirttail hangs out. Remember that: his shirttail hangs out. Can't have that in the Oval Office. It's undignified.

Glaukon: I do blush to say that one reason I was originally attracted to W-the-Candidate was his team. Andy Card is very smart--a highly competent and energetic Massachusetts-bred engineer. Josh Bolton was a very level-headed presence in trade policy under 41. Cheney, also, had a very good reputation working for 41. Rice and Zoellick are very smart. And there are many many more. It looked to me back in January 2001 like George W. Bush had skimmed the cream.

Adeimantos: Ashcroft?

Glaukon: The Ashcroft nomination should have put us all on notice that something really weird was going on.

Adeimantos: So what do Card and Bolton and Zoellick think that they are doing?

Thrasymakhos: Power is very attractive. Few people will ever give up their White House mess privileges voluntarily.

Glaukon: And they worry about what bunch of insane maniacs will replace them, and make matters much worse...

Adeimantos: But... But... But... They are shredding their own reputations... They have shredded their own reputations...

Thrasymakhos: If Bush loses, their memoirs will all hit the streets in February, explaining how hard they worked to save George W. Bush from the flatterers and the crazies and from himself. I guarantee that they are already written.

Glaukon: Of course they have: the illegal steel tariffs.. the obscene farm bill... electricity... the joke of the energy bill. Clear Skies proposal is not bad environmental policy, but it is a poisoned chalice--reduce pollution but eliminate new source review -- that was only designed to keep the environmentalists quiet but not to pass. The real action is the dismantling of new source review administratively without reducing pollution. Climate change policy is even less responsible than Clinton's...

Adeimantos: Which is not to say that Clinton's climate change policy was in any sense "responsible"...

Thrasymakhos: Moreover, no efforts made to advance the cause of cost/benefit analysis or even cost/effectiveness analysis... The general belief that rational analysis is our enemy...

Glaukon: Nevertheless, it's strange. Good people, by and large. Some of them very good indeed. Even some good people within security policy. So why has it turned out so bad?

Adeimantos: As Michael Dukakis would say, a fish rots from the head.

Thrasymakhos: Mark Kleiman has the answer--written by my friend Niccolo some five hundred years ago:

Those who think that every Prince who has a name for prudence owes it to the wise counsellors he has around him, and not to any merit of his own, are certainly mistaken; since it is an unerring rule and of universal application that a Prince who is not wise himself cannot be well advised by others, unless by chance he surrender himself to be wholly governed by some one adviser who happens to be supremely prudent; in which case he may, indeed, be well advised; but not for long, since such an adviser will soon deprive him of his Government. If he listen to a multitude of advisers, the Prince who is not wise will never have consistent counsels, nor will he know of himself how to reconcile them. Each of his counsellors will study his own advantage, and the Prince will be unable to detect or correct them. Nor could it well be otherwise, for men will always grow rogues on your hands unless they find themselves under a necessity to be honest. Hence it follows that good counsels, whencesoever they come, have their origin in the prudence of the Prince, and not the prudence of the Prince in wise counsels.

Posted by DeLong at October 4, 2004 08:36 AM | TrackBack
Comments

They still can't help but bring up Clinton,
as if that matters anymore.

Posted by: flamewar at October 4, 2004 08:49 AM

Ahhhh! The Typhoid Mary theory! Extremely insightful.

Could Thrasymakhos expound a bit on how Carl Rove fits in?

Maybe in fish-rotting science, his role is that of the anti-formaldehyde?

Posted by: Fast Pete at October 4, 2004 09:01 AM

Years ago, the Tallahassee Democrat ran a column from a baby that had been aborted. This would have been in the mid 70's. It got the scorn it deserved. That's how I view this kind of writing too, even if I do agree with it.
Can we have a little more responsibility here? I mean, if there really are grownup (current-day) Republicans who are concerned about GWB, I'd love to hear what they say.

Posted by: Wayne at October 4, 2004 09:04 AM

Wayne, check out Lincoln Chaffee's remarks. You can find them over at Atrios.

Posted by: Derelict at October 4, 2004 09:07 AM

Wayne:

Your comparison seems pretty off the mark to me. What precisely is it that you scorn?

Posted by: Fast Pete at October 4, 2004 09:13 AM

Derelict: "Wayne, check out Lincoln Chaffee's remarks. You can find them over at Atrios."

Thank you. I have in fact read them and have paid attention to Chaffee for the last six years. He along with a very few grownup republicans seems to have some integrity.

Totally unrelated but is Lincoln Chaffee related to the Roger Chaffee of Apollo 1 in 1967?

Posted by: wayne at October 4, 2004 09:16 AM

Brad,
When I stumbled across your blog ealier this year I was convinced that it was the best one on the net. It combined timely information with challenging insights and good discussions from a host of smart people. Recently I have become less interested however because the topics have drifted from being centered on economics with some political comments to being almost entirely focused on partisan politics.

This is your blog so you can do with it as you like. I have, however, gotten the impression that you want good government to happen, and I think this blog is losing its power to persuade as it becomes so one-sided.

Please know that I make these comments while hoping that GWB loses the election too.

Posted by: Keith at October 4, 2004 09:23 AM

Fast Pete: "Your comparison seems pretty off the mark to me. What precisely is it that you scorn?"

My problem is the synthesis of an argument from fictional surrogates when the reality is all too clear. If we need convincing evidence it is reality from the other side, not made-up characters.

I'm aware that a blog is a personal thing, and respect the approach the blogger takes. My own, though a grassroots blog if you pardon the expression, will undoubtedly be too tepid for the majority of policy wonks. In the case of Brad DeLong's blog I've read it for months and enjoy it considerably. I am simply hungry for the point of view from intelligent republicans.

Now of course if there is something more subtle here that I have missed, and the fictional surrogates are actual grownup republicans in disguise, then I humbly beg everyone's pardon; I seem to have missed recognizing the faces.

Posted by: wayne at October 4, 2004 09:28 AM

So what happened to W that explains why the administration turned out the way it did?

First, W was obsessed with averting the fate of his father, that is, a political base that might desert him. All potential actions were thus measured by what they might do for the base.

Second, he hired Karl Rove and listened to him.

Third, 9-11 (which would have thrown anyone for a loop, and with W, it could have been a lot worse) sent them all into a reactive mode.

In combination, this produced the policy course and meltdown we witnessed.

Posted by: Jim Harris at October 4, 2004 09:37 AM

Keith - objective reality is pretty one-sided (or "shrill") with respect to Bush.

Wayne - the RI Senator's last name is Chafee, with one 'f'. I think the astronaut was Chaffee, with two f's.

Derelict - Chafee's remarks are at Political Animal (washingtonmonthly.com), not Atrios. He's also got the link to the NYT story.

Brad:

1) The quote from Machiavelli is great. I've got to get around to reading "The Prince" soon.

2) I hate to be obnoxious, but THERE ARE NO GROWNUP REPUBLICANS. At least, none that count. (82 year old John Eisenhower doesn't carry much weight, even if his words are true. And speaking of 82 year old moderate Republicans, have we heard from John Anderson?) If there were any, they would be speaking out against Bush: when a grownup is confronted with evil on this scale, s/he finds ways to confront that evil. Even Chafee has done nothing more than quietly say he won't vote for Bush. (He expects to write in another Republican's name as a protest.) But he will not speak truth to power, even though (as one of 100 US Senators) he has a certain amount of power. McCain has caved, Collins and Snowe are quiet, Bob Dole's remarks have been pro-SwiftLiar...other than John Eisenhower, where are these Grownup Republicans?

I'd like to believe in Grownup Republicans, and I'd like to believe in Middle-Earth. Unfortunately, they're both fictional.

Posted by: RT at October 4, 2004 09:56 AM

Sorry Brad,

If the head rotted first (and is the head Bush or Cheney?), the rest of the body enthusiastically followed, chasing their own fantasies of unlimited power or selling out for concrete gain.

The grownup Republicans are fooling themselves. They are also copping out as to the degree of their own responsibility. They too were following their own fantasies or selling out for filthy lucre.

When the car is going over the cliff you don't complain about how much you disliked the last driver.

Posted by: sm at October 4, 2004 10:06 AM

Re: "Recently I have become less interested however because the topics have drifted from being centered on economics with some political comments to being almost entirely focused on partisan politics. This is your blog so you can do with it as you like. I have, however, gotten the impression that you want good government to happen, and I think this blog is losing its power to persuade as it becomes so one-sided."

But two of the three people in this dialogue are all composites constructed from *Republicans* I have talked to over the past month--Thrasymakhos is a professional cynic.

Posted by: Brad DeLong at October 4, 2004 10:13 AM

Fast Pete and Jim Harris nailed it. "Karl Rove" There might have been some real talent in the Bush administration, but the political ops screwed it up on the domestic side. DiIulio's point: there is no domestic policy apparatus independent of the political apparatus. I don't know how it screwed up on the foreign side, although some kind of unholy logrolling between the agendas of the neocons, Cheney & Rumsfeld might have something to do with it.
BTW, I think that Rove also proves Macchiavelli wrong, at least in this case. On domestic policy, Bush is wholly governed by one adviser: Karl. The adviser, pace Macchiavelli, has stayed loyal to his principal. Remember, Renaissance Italy had, in some ways, a more fluid class structure than George Bush's America.

Posted by: Joe S. at October 4, 2004 10:14 AM

Bolton did a good job (good in the practical sense) because he has the capacity to do a good job. Not everyone, when given the lattitude to make some other choice, will naturally choose to do a good job (in the policy/ethics sense).

Rice is smart, but many, many people are smart within a limited area. It is apparent that she is unqualified to direct national security policy making in a wide variety of situations, especially when the geography is unfamiliar. Her own specialty is (these days) Russia, but somehow even Russia is sliding away from democracy with a sudden jolt, without the US having made any serious effort before the fact to prevent the jolt.

Rumsfeld and Cheney look like bigger, more dangerous versions of Bolton. They can do a good job when told to, but when they have a choice (when given too great a measure of executive power), they do terrible things.

Odds are that, absent the prudent Prince, internal turf battles would prevent any good coming of any government. It takes more than the lack of a prudent Prince to bring us Gitmo, Abu Graib, unconstitutional detention, stacks of civilian corpses, distaste for the benefits of real science, Fast Boat Venom and the like.

So here's the theory. Bush, the smug, bullying patrician with a chip on his shoulder about his daddy, has a real preference for people who care nothing for conventional morality. If you bring conventional morality with you, it very quickly becomes apparent that you need to shed it to florish around Bush. He likes Rove best because Rove knows that an opponent's loved ones are "fair game," that painting a war hero as an adulterous husband and father of an out-of-wedlock black child is "fair game" too. Rumsfeld and Cheney, veterans of the Washington bureaucratic wars, know in their hearts that Rove is right, so come into the inner circle easily. Powell does not. Lindsey does not. O'Neill does not. It doesn't matter that Lindsey and O'Neill disagree on substance, or that Lindsey is willing to go part of the way toward Rovian politics. Lindsey missed the secret ceremony in which you pledge to eat your own heart if you ever contradict Bush. He missed the lecture where Rove would have explained how to get O'Niell into an ally and make sure he never came out.

Those around Bush have done very bad things because they were chosen for their willingness to do bad things, and because Bush willed them to do bad things. Has a nice Occam quality to it.

Posted by: kharris at October 4, 2004 10:18 AM

Ally? Alley? Oh, what the help. I mean kehc. You no what I ment.

Posted by: kharris at October 4, 2004 10:22 AM

Wayne:

Yes, yours really is a grassroots blog! Very nice.

Anyway. Let's fast-forward this thing. To me the platonic dialogue really IS the approaching reality.

Say Mr Bush does lose, on the lines that Zogby is now suggesting, and the fabled Bush point-of-a-gun loyalty then starts to fall apart.

The resultant memoirs etc are likely to be a lot less pretty and less adult than the rather whimsical platonic dialogue up top.

Ay which point, Chafee is likely to find himself rather less a party of one than he seems to be at the moment.

Posted by: Fast Pete at October 4, 2004 10:33 AM

"I hate to be obnoxious, but THERE ARE NO GROWNUP REPUBLICANS."

You're right about the Grownup Republicans, but you still need to learn that being obnoxious is fun.

With Cheney, I really wonder whether his medications have affected his judgement. He's not a healthy man at all -- a defibrillator is much more serious than a pacemaker.

Both Cheney and Rumsfeld: the first time around they were willing to take a subordinate role under Ford, who was a very prudent guy (as was Bush I) and an interim leader to boot. But now they have plans to make their marks on history, as does Wolfowitz (hubris drips from the statements of all three.)

I think that test for the alleged existence of adult Republicans is their willingness to publicly oppose Bush, even if they do it as weakly as Chafee has done (Chafee won't support Kerry). The ones who grumble behind the scenes are just good Germans.

In Oregon a few prominent Republicans have turned, though Mark Hatfield, sadly, didn't.

I don't like the DLC moderation of the Democrats at all, but you would think that it would make it easier for moderate Republicans to switch. Both parties would become more conservative, but the Republicans would go into the minority. At this point in my life I could live with that.

Posted by: Zizka at October 4, 2004 10:34 AM

Those around Bush have done very bad things because they were chosen for their willingness to do bad things, and because Bush willed them to do bad things. Has a nice Occam quality to it

Kharris, you've nailed it.

Posted by: sm at October 4, 2004 10:53 AM

KHarris,

So you discount the whole post-debate "Alfred E Newman in a Bubble" explanation for what went on in the right half of the split screen?

Good on you. Makes sense to me.

Posted by: Fast Pete at October 4, 2004 10:56 AM

It seems to me that what distinguishes a number of Bush's advisors is their bulldog like loyalty (witness Karen Hughes) and also their disdain for the details of policy. Things are cut and dried, black and white....so why should one have an interest in nuance? Nuance is so wimpy, so namby pamby, so "therapy-like". Better to just avoid that. In my mind I picture this sort of dismissive hand wave of the truth....we can't be bothered with that.

The world isn't black and white. There isn't just good and evil. People have both in each of them. Policies have both good and bad in them.
We can't just tell everyone like it or lump it...get with the program or you are ostracized.

And to understand people and the world, we have to be able to understand those gray areas.

Is thoughtfulness and fact-finding really a weakness?

I read Paul O'Neill's book. Though there were minor points at which it was self-aggrandizing, the truth of the matter is, his interest was policy, not politics. His interest was earnestly in doing what was right to save social security and he earnestly wanted to help the President. And his viewpoints got squelched from within, some of them by Cheney himself.

Same with Diulio. These were earnest men. YOu can tell that by reading their writing.

My point is this--Bush is surrounded by too many people who think exactly like he does. Even Condaleeza Rice--her answers to questions seem to evince simple intellectual laxity in pursuing to the nth detail the exact and correct information.
If we are about to go to war, shouldn't somebody make sure the information is right, to the nth degree?

I"ve been seeing this little icon of George Bush's portrait in black and white pop up on various blogs. I think it's highly appropriate.

Posted by: CF at October 4, 2004 11:33 AM

It seems to me that what distinguishes a number of Bush's advisors is their bulldog like loyalty (witness Karen Hughes) and also their disdain for the details of policy. Things are cut and dried, black and white....so why should one have an interest in nuance? Nuance is so wimpy, so namby pamby, so "therapy-like". Better to just avoid that. In my mind I picture this sort of dismissive hand wave of the truth....we can't be bothered with that.

The world isn't black and white. There isn't just good and evil. People have both in each of them. Policies have both good and bad in them.
We can't just tell everyone like it or lump it...get with the program or you are ostracized.

And to understand people and the world, we have to be able to understand those gray areas.

Is thoughtfulness and fact-finding really a weakness?

I read Paul O'Neill's book. Though there were minor points at which it was self-aggrandizing, the truth of the matter is, his interest was policy, not politics. His interest was earnestly in doing what was right to save social security and he earnestly wanted to help the President. And his viewpoints got squelched from within, some of them by Cheney himself.

Same with Diulio. These were earnest men. YOu can tell that by reading their writing.

My point is this--Bush is surrounded by too many people who think exactly like he does. Even Condaleeza Rice--her answers to questions seem to evince simple intellectual laxity in pursuing to the nth detail the exact and correct information.
If we are about to go to war, shouldn't somebody make sure the information is right, to the nth degree?

I"ve been seeing this little icon of George Bush's portrait in black and white pop up on various blogs. I think it's highly appropriate.

Posted by: CF at October 4, 2004 11:33 AM

It seems to me that what distinguishes a number of Bush's advisors is their bulldog like loyalty (witness Karen Hughes) and also their disdain for the details of policy. Things are cut and dried, black and white....so why should one have an interest in nuance? Nuance is so wimpy, so namby pamby, so "therapy-like". Better to just avoid that. In my mind I picture this sort of dismissive hand wave of the truth....we can't be bothered with that.

The world isn't black and white. There isn't just good and evil. People have both in each of them. Policies have both good and bad in them.
We can't just tell everyone like it or lump it...get with the program or you are ostracized.

And to understand people and the world, we have to be able to understand those gray areas.

Is thoughtfulness and fact-finding really a weakness?

I read Paul O'Neill's book. Though there were minor points at which it was self-aggrandizing, the truth of the matter is, his interest was policy, not politics. His interest was earnestly in doing what was right to save social security and he earnestly wanted to help the President. And his viewpoints got squelched from within, some of them by Cheney himself.

Same with Diulio. These were earnest men. YOu can tell that by reading their writing.

My point is this--Bush is surrounded by too many people who think exactly like he does. Even Condaleeza Rice--her answers to questions seem to evince simple intellectual laxity in pursuing to the nth detail the exact and correct information.
If we are about to go to war, shouldn't somebody make sure the information is right, to the nth degree?

I"ve been seeing this little icon of George Bush's portrait in black and white pop up on various blogs. I think it's highly appropriate.

Posted by: CF at October 4, 2004 11:39 AM

Ok sorry for posting the same thing ....my browser said the connection was lost!

Posted by: CF at October 4, 2004 11:42 AM

Well, I thought this was a great job, even if I am too ignorant of Greek to even know if those are pun-names.

I would pay good money to see this kind of discussion on TV.

Posted by: Josh Narins at October 4, 2004 11:45 AM

A fish rots from the head? Fish brains are very small...

More importantly, what does Machiavelli have to say about fish?

Posted by: wood turtle at October 4, 2004 12:18 PM

On the days when I choose to believe in vast conspiracy theories, the one I believe in is that large business seeks control of the wealth of the country. All of it. Starting in the 1880s or thereabout, they made a lot of progress towards the goal. Populist appeals led to antitrust laws and a much larger federal government performing regulatory functions, a setback. The Great Depression led to a number of setbacks -- right to organize, Social Security, minimum wage laws, limited work week -- but the group is nothing if they are not patient. Large federal government was their enemy, so they started working to co-opt it.

If you were a member of such a group, what might you try to do? Cut the marginal income tax rates at the top end. Cut taxes on unearned income. Reduce regulation. Remove hurdles to mergers and acquisitions. Reduce transfer payments to the poor and middle-class. Where transfer payments must be made, find ways to divert money into the hands of business rather than individuals. Price people out of higher-education. Renege on promises of deferred compensation (eg, pensions) to the large mass of employees. Shuffle top people back and forth between business and government as opportunity presents itself in order to work on those other tactics.

I'm not a professional economist, but at least a few read here; who's doing game theory work on class warfare?

Posted by: Michael Cain at October 4, 2004 12:20 PM

This is the best blog on the internet. The conversation in this post is quite intricate and thoughtfilled.

Posted by: anne at October 4, 2004 12:27 PM

Zizka, I think Cheney's behavior has less to do with medication than his actual heart surgery. This article has an interesting theory on the cause.

Posted by: space at October 4, 2004 12:34 PM

Zizka, this article has an interesting theory of the cause of mental impairment in bypass surgery patients. In any case, Cheney's problems are more likely to have resulted from the surgery than the medication.

Posted by: space at October 4, 2004 12:36 PM

Zizka, this article has an interesting theory of the cause of mental impairment in bypass surgery patients. In any case, Cheney's problems are more likely to have resulted from the surgery than the medication.

http://www.hon.ch/News/HSN/511665.html

Posted by: space at October 4, 2004 12:36 PM

I hope gordon brown is reading this.

Posted by: big al at October 4, 2004 12:51 PM

I really don't think you need to go beyond the uroboros-like self-justification of this administration to see what motivates it. God has decreed their supremacy, and there is no room to question this. It's not that its members were selected to do bad, it's that they were selected for, first, their unquestioning loyalty, and only second for their competence.

Posted by: modus potus at October 4, 2004 12:54 PM

Rove, Hughes, Bush, Cheney are interested in aquiring and hanging on to power. The talent of the brightest among them is in knowing how to tease real-world greys into posterized blacks and whites that sell their agenda to the voters. The failing of the stupidest among them is believing in the poster more than the reality. I think Bush himself falls into the latter category.

Posted by: sidhra at October 4, 2004 01:10 PM

aren't giuliani and mccain grown-up (enough) republicans?

Posted by: wildman at October 4, 2004 03:43 PM

I wish people would figure out how NOT to hit the "Post" button over and over again. If you hit the "Post" button three times, you will triple-post. Period. If you don't see anything, that's because the PAGE is locked up, NOT your submission.

C'mon, guys, figure it out -- it can't be any harder than, say, microwaving rice.

. . . Oh crap.

Posted by: Dragonchild at October 4, 2004 06:43 PM

RT: But [Chafee] will not speak truth to power, even though (as one of 100 US Senators) he has a certain amount of power. McCain has caved, Collins and Snowe are quiet, Bob Dole's remarks have been pro-SwiftLiar...other than John Eisenhower, where are these Grownup Republicans?

Hagel and Lugar? They refused to go along with the happy talk as Iraq reached a new level of violence. Pretty minimally rational, I grant you, and they're not announcing a vote for anyone other than Bush, but somehow there's a sense they're looking past this November and looking HARD at 2008. With Tony Zinni as Secretary of Defense.

Posted by: eb at October 4, 2004 07:31 PM

aren't giuliani and mccain grown-up (enough) republicans?

They have ulterior motives. They both probably seek higher office and to get the party machinery behind them, they have to suck up to the party faithful and stay in the limelight.

I agree that this fictional dialog is overly shrill. There is plenty to be shrill about without making stuff up. Isn't it ironic that a main criticism of the fictional dialog is about how Bush's team is making up lots of fictions.

Posted by: Whynot at October 4, 2004 07:36 PM

Dragonchild, each individual has to learn this for him or herself.

Posted by: Zizka at October 4, 2004 08:12 PM

Dragonchild, each individual has to learn this for him or herself.

Posted by: Zizka at October 4, 2004 08:13 PM

Dragonchild, each individual has to learn this for him or herself.

Posted by: Zizka at October 4, 2004 08:13 PM

What W. Bush--or someone in his administration--does seem to be very good at, is getting people to go against their better natures, or perhaps choosing people who will do that.

Posted by: Randolph Fritz at October 4, 2004 11:32 PM

Damn, but this is a great blog.
Sometimes though, I feel like that rat in the Psych 101 movie. The one choosing between food and some drug (Cocaine?)
“faster, faster…..click the lever faster”

More like this please.
NOW!!!

Posted by: freejack at October 5, 2004 05:34 AM

This is he best blog on the internet

Posted by: Jim at October 5, 2004 06:31 AM

It's hard work being President~

http://www.thepoorman.net/archives/003218.html

Posted by: Kosh at October 5, 2004 08:23 AM

Zizka: "You're right about the Grownup Republicans, but you still need to learn that being obnoxious is fun."

Indeed it is! But I really hate to 'shout' in CAPS LIKE THIS unless I'm shouting at a frickin' idiot. And Brad DeLong is at the opposite end of the bell curve. And it *is* his blog, after all; I want to be a reasonably well-behaved guest.

Now on my favorite message board - one devoted to fighting ignorance - ignorant people show up anyway and make bad arguments. They get the brunt of my obnoxiousness.

eb: "Hagel and Lugar? They refused to go along with the happy talk as Iraq reached a new level of violence. Pretty minimally rational, I grant you, and they're not announcing a vote for anyone other than Bush, but somehow there's a sense they're looking past this November and looking HARD at 2008. With Tony Zinni as Secretary of Defense."

I have to agree with Zizka that the time has come when grownup Republicanness has to be measured in terms of being willing to take on GWB openly - not just on individual issues (which would have sufficed last year, or earlier this year) but opposing the continuation of his Presidency, which is clearly bad for America, and can do far more damage in a second term.

Krugman's comparisons of the U.S. with banana-republic economies make me worry that the damage of a second Dubya term could be serious and long-lasting. And when Colin Powell is gone from State next spring, there may be no grownup in the Administration in a position to put any brake at all on the neocon cabal. Planning for 2008 is insufficient, IMHO.

I respect Hagel and Lugar both, but just like with Watergate, a time has come when good men must ask themselves if they can simultaneously be loyal to their President and their country. And what's going on now makes Watergate look (to me, anyway) like a penny-ante triviality.

Posted by: RT at October 5, 2004 10:09 AM

I do believe that their are moderate (read "grown up") Republicans left -- however, the Republican party is being swamped by fanatics. We as a nation state need to consider whether we want to be the Christian equivalent of an Iran or a Taliban dominated Afghanistan. I, though I am religious, in a moderate sort of sense, do not -- regardless of what fraction of the faith dominates.

That said, the moderates are afraid of the extremists, the religious extremists, AND the standard extreme conservatives. The Club for Growth funds primary campaigns against liberal Republican incumbants -- that sort of thing does not lead to outspoken opposition within the structure.

Nevertheless, I concur. Olympia Snowe, Susan Collins, Lincoln Chafee, (not Arlene Specter, he owes his political survival [ past one of those CfG funded primary challenges to Bush ]), and for that matter John McCain, Rudolph Guiliani, )George Pataki, and Michael Bloomberg should all call out for Bush's defeat -- his policies cannot benefit them, or their constituents, and certainly his policies damage the United States of America, which I genuinely believe that they all love.

I do not understand why they do not change.

Posted by: Reynolds Jones at October 6, 2004 09:30 AM

Senator Lugar is one of my senators in the state of Indiana (the other is Democrat Evan Bayh). I am sending Senator Lugar an email today suggesting, no, DEMANDING that he immediately disavow any support for the re-election of Dubya.

Posted by: Betty Jean Carroll at October 6, 2004 11:50 AM