alien & sedition.
Tuesday, August 07, 2007
  They're Doing It Again

Alien & Sedition's Law: Conservatives can't govern, because conservatives don't believe in government.

The Katrina Corollary: Conservatives will blame the failure of conservative government on government itself (also known as the Walter Reed Corollary).

Noah of the November Blog called it:
But just wait, Republicans will use this bridge collapse as an excuse to decry how awful things get when government tries to handle the public's infrastructure and safety. And they will call for more private control, and more"free market" expansion.
They wouldn't dare, would th-- oh, right. Of course they would:
But in this case, anger is an appropriate response, and it is proper for that anger to be directed at government - government at all levels.
Why? Not because of massive underinvestment in American infrastructure during an era of conservative governance. No:
Maintenance is necessary but boring, and since government is made up of human beings who abhor boredom, few elected officials or high-level managers are all that interested in this mundane task. Instead, they want to do big, exciting, bold new things - things they can claim for their own.

And in the past half-century, American government has redefined its core responsibilities. No longer does government exist for the purposes of maintenance and upkeep. Instead, it is seen as a means - perhaps the only significant means - of healing social flaws and reweaving the social fabric.
See, our bridges are collapsing because government inevitably prefers to spend its time cramming gay marriage down our throats (always down our throats) than doing boring maintenance. Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, sends an email to his list claiming that, when it comes to rebuilding, government will be the problem, not the solution:
The lessons are clear, as these cases prove. Yet, already some in Minnesota are calling not for unleashing American ingenuity but instead for more taxes to feed the same failing bureaucracies.

Their answer is to further punish Minneapolis drivers by raising the gasoline tax. This knee-jerk reaction is precisely what happens when the right lacks an effective vocabulary of solutions to compete with left-wing tax-and-spend policies.

Raising taxes to spend on bureaucracies -- which in all three cases were the main impediment to a safe, efficient and speedy rebuilding effort in the first place -- is exactly the wrong answer.
For the nth time, my conservative friends: the fact that you find it impossible to govern competently, does not mean that competent government is impossible.

Labels: ,

Nice post Paul. Thanks for linking to my blog.

What I can't seem to figure out is how Republicans can separate "government - government at all levels" from President Bush, his Republican infrastructure gutting buddies in Congress and Minnesota's Anti-Infrastructure Republican Governor Tim Pawlenty.

Earth to Republicans: For the last 6 years you have been the government, almost entirely. And where did that get us?

Democrats need to counter with the message that if these Republicans hate government so much, they should resign from government office and let some people who care about making government work for people get in there and solve problems.

An additional little gem I'll leave for ya is this quote from Rudy Giuliani from the other day:

“There is a liberal Democratic assumption that if you raise taxes, you raise money."

That's not anyone's assumption Rudy. Raising taxes = raising money. I think Rudy needs to take an introductory economics course.
I know it won't help to bring this ... Americans don't like comparison with Europe in cases that are ideologically loaded.

Americans do not want to learn from the experiences of democratic nations with a traditional inclination to STRONG government:
all Scandinavian countries,
as well as Netherlands and Belgium,
as well as Germany and Austria,
plus France and Switzerland,
and we can add now Spain, Portugal and Ireland.
(Not Britain - they follow the American way ... and you can SEE it!)

Just look, and you will see that infrastructure in these European countries is not in any state of corrosion, that maintenance there is steady and solid, and that any government which might neglect maintenance duties would be finished quickly by voters who unanimously WANT to see STRONG and competent government.

STRONG government usually produces good infrastructure and maintenance.

It is interesting for me that in all US comments on the question of whether government is the problem or the solution, there is near to no attempt to include European experiences. I suppose it is so because of kind of American arrogance, called exceptionalism.

My US college students in Munich usually admire our infrastructure and our public transportation system. In the three months they live here they can experience the benefits every day.
Here is an excellent Guardian comment plus wonderful debate on this topic:
Interesting link, Leo, and I don't disagree. One the one hand, it's natural for a huge country like the US to be somewhat self-absorbed; on the other hand, Euro-phobia has become something of an ideology among conservatives, and it's killing us in terms of political problem-solving.

Funny - the right has long denounced various public investment and welfare-state investments as "socialism". But only with Giuliani can I remember it getting to the point that we're just supposed to automatically assume that anything they do in the UK or Canada -- again, Canada! -- is worthless.
Post a Comment

<< Home

"An obscure but fantastic blog." - Markus Kolic


Critical analysis of the American conservative movement from a progressive perspective. Also some stuff about the Mets.

Email Me

Favorite Posts

I Was a Mole at the Conservative Summit, Part One
Part Two
Part Three

Wars of Perception, Part One
Wars of Perception, Part Two

Conservative Futures
Reading Conservative History


I also post at:

The Daily Gotham
The Albany Project
The Right's Field

Various favorites:

Ben Weyl
Chase Martyn
Cliff Schecter
Crooked Timber
D-Day (David Dayen)
Daily Kos
Ezra Klein
Five Before Chaos
Future Majority
Glenn Greenwald
The Group News Blog
Jon Swift
Lawyers, Guns, and Money
Matt Ortega
Matthew Yglesias
My Thinking Corner
New Democratic Majority
The November Blog
The Osterley Times
A Pedestrian View
The Poor Man Institute
Progressive Historians
Skippy the Bush Kangaroo
Talking Points Memo
Think Progress
The Third Estate
Undercover Blue
Vernon Lee
wAitiNG foR doROthY

Watching the right:

Orcinus (Dave Neiwert)
Rick Perlstein
Right Wing Watch
Sadly, No!

The conservative wonkosphere: (AEI)
The American Scene
Andrew Sullivan
Cato @ Liberty
Contentions (Commentary Magazine)
Crunchy Con (Rod Dreher)
Daniel Larison
Eye on '08 (Soren Dayton)
Jim Henley
Josh Trevino
Mainstream Libertarian
National Review Online
Patrick Ruffini
Ross Douthat
Ryan Sager
The Weekly Standard

New Yorkers:

Amazin' Avenue
Chris Owens
Z. Madison


December 2006

January 2007

February 2007

March 2007

April 2007

May 2007

June 2007

July 2007

August 2007

September 2007

October 2007

November 2008

Powered by Blogger