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April 11, 2005

Return to Herbert Hoover--Not!

Matthew Yglesias says that the Republicans do not want to turn the clock back to Herbert Hoover--they want to do something worse:

Matthew Yglesias: Turn Back The Clock: I'm watching a Hillary Clinton speech she gave yesterday in Minnesota, and at one point she was saying something about how George W. Bush doesn't only want to unmake the gains of the Clinton administration, but wants to go back to the past before Franklin Roosevelt and even before Teddy Roosevelt. This Bush-as-McKinley song is something one hears now and again, and if it's effective political rhetoric I'm willing to listen to more of it, but it's pretty massively inaccurate. What they're trying to do doesn't really resemble that at all. Now, as I say, if it works, then it works, and I'll live with it. Senator Clinton's not a historian. I worry, though, that it doesn't work very well and that reliance on this sort of 'turn back the clock' rhetoric prevents the development of a new rhetoric that would critique what's really going on here.

Bush's policies have very little to do with laissez-faire (just ask the Cato guys) or any actual moment in the American past. Instead, it has everything to do with corruption and funneling money to friendly corporations and religious groups. It's a kind of christian democrat vision, but more along the lines of tangentopoli than Germany. I think this is important, because it's become obvious that many Democrats now have high hopes that the investigations into Tom DeLay's dealings will provide a major political payoff. It's my opinion that it only will if Democrats manage to actually tie this stuff in to a broader critique of Republican policies. They're not free marketers who happen to take bribes on occassion. The policymaking is fully continuous with the corruption.

Posted by DeLong at April 11, 2005 01:51 PM