Spinning a Grand Old Fantasy

Jim McTague, a dyed in the wool Republican, is surprisingly negative on the McCain/Palin team. Recall that McTague forecast the GOP would retain both houses in 2006, based on a calculation relying on campaign fund raising. McTague sounds more like a Democrat than a Republican.

Note the discussion on bailouts at the end:

THE 2008 REPUBLICAN PLATFORM RELEASED at the party convention in St. Paul last week is a grandiloquent document, replete with Reaganesque calls for lower taxes, smaller government, and greater self-reliance. An honest librarian would file it in the fiction section.

I’m not a naïf. I appreciate that searching for candor among politicians is about as productive as shopping for a Rolex at the corner drugstore. All politicians make promises that they never intend to keep. You generally can wrest a straighter answer from 16-year-old teenager intent on deceiving you than you can from a campaigning politician.

Even so, this GOP document is so divorced from reality that it approaches parody. The authors should have penned the document in cuneiform, because it describes an ancient GOP, not the party of today.

One of the platform’s most monumental political principles is daily being trampled upon by the Bush administration, with the acquiescence of most GOP members of Congress. This is contained in a section devoted to the housing crisis that declares, "We do not support government bailouts of private institutions. Government interference in the markets exacerbates problems in the marketplace and causes the free market to take longer to correct itself. We believe in the free market as the best tool to sustained prosperity and opportunity for all…"

Democrats are depicted as the party of big, intrusive government, willing to "ignore fiscal problems while squandering billions on ineffective programs." The GOP, however, has no moral legs to stand on when it hurls such insults.

The Bush administration has bailed out Wall Street, and stands ready to bail out mortgage giants Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac — in the process abetting a slide into more intrusive government. If we are headed down the road to socialism, then the GOP can be credited with setting the pavers.  (Emphasis added)

The GOP has lost its way.   
Spinning a Grand Old Fantasy


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  1. cm commented on Sep 7

    “Socialism”? As the famous quote goes, “I don’t think the word means what you think it means”. The only trend I can see here is a plutocratic version of “socialism for the rich”. (And the latter is a misnomer — it’s really “the well connected”, though there is probably a good correlation.)

  2. Tom Lindmark commented on Sep 7

    I can’t argue at all with McTague’s comments except his assertion/conclusion that the Bush administration is the embodiment of the Republican party. What they have done is nothing short of what any good Democrat would have done. It does not represent the philosophy of most center/right voters. Perhaps, based on the platform adopted in St. Paul, the Republican party is rediscovering its place. Time will tell, but one can hope.

  3. Andrew commented on Sep 7

    McTague, however eloquent a writer, shows his inability to speak in that short clip. Not only does he lose his breath in his eagerness to rip Palin, he barely substantiates his claim that Barack is an experienced candidate. A candidate who beat the Clintons in a primary and understands the subtleties of the internet is not an experienced candidate, just charismatic.


  4. Steve Barry commented on Sep 7

    I urge you all to watch the CNN “McCain Revealed” if they re-run it. He certainly suffered in that POW camp and he is a hero. He learned very early in his political career, with his remark “the longest I lived anywhere up to now was Hanoi” to run on that theme…every speaker at the convention told the WHOLE POW story. Didn’t realize he was in major hot water in the Keating Five probe. Before watching that, I was 90% sure I would vote for Obama…now 99%.

  5. RNL commented on Sep 7

    He says Socialism, but he MEANS “Crony Capitalism.”

  6. m3 commented on Sep 7

    “All truth passes through three stages:

    First, it is ridiculed.

    Second, it is violently opposed.

    Third, it is accepted as being self-evident.”

    Arthur Schopenhauer
    German philosopher (1788 – 1860)

    i think we are finally getting close to stage 3.

  7. Daniel K commented on Sep 7

    I disagree with many of the comments posted earlier on this blog re the Fannie/Freddie bailout.

    That they would be bailed out if they ran into trouble has always been part of the deal; that’s why they could sell bonds at such low rates; that’s why they are called GSEs.

    As to how it should affect the dollar–well, who hasn’t known for some time that the govt would have to bail out Fannie?

    As to the financials in general–they should be up huge next week; with the government taking over Fannie & Freddie, bondholders risk in GSE bonds vanishes, thereby freeing up capital; the taps are now on again. The market in general should follow the financials lead.

    And yet…one can’t help but recall that in Japan, post-bubble, the financials collapsed, rallied dramatically, then collapsed again. We know why: because the government there tried to keep prices from falling….Are we following in similar footsteps?

    It would be wonderful to hear Barry and Jim Cramer debate this out at length. Jim is such a short termer; he thinks like a fund manager focused on the near quarter. Yet what are the ramifications of doing anything and everything to keep certain asset (home) prices up and people from walking away from their homes? Its the contention of Cramer and Gross that our public policy should be to do what’s needed to stop the negative spiral of debt unwind, in order to give the economy time to heal itself; maybe they are right. Or maybe the bears are right in saying that home prices simply must eventually come down to affordability, and that government policy should focus deficit spending instead on employment measures, such as infrustructure buildouts, and avoid interfering with housing price drops.

    I tend to agree with the second group, but I don’t know how else the government could respond to failure in “government sponsored equities”.

  8. Tom commented on Sep 7

    Pitbulls, lipstick; they’re all bitches.

  9. Simon commented on Sep 7

    Perhaps McTague has been reviewing his methodology since he got his GOP forecast so badly wrong.

    Perhaps he has enlarged his review to see how well his parties actions match its mandate.

    Perhaps this has shaken some of his fundamental beliefs and assumptions.

    He sure came across very shakily.

    I have great admiration for someone who can change the habits of a life time.

  10. Jim Haygood commented on Sep 7

    “THE 2008 REPUBLICAN PLATFORM … calls for lower taxes, smaller government …”

    Smaller government? “War is the health of the state,” said Randolph Bourne. “Smaller government” is wholly imcompatible with a lifelong Global War on Terror, not to mention a resurgent NATO/Russia Cold War.

    Not that the “other” party represents any alternative. Democracy coupled with paper money is a Doomsday mechanism, as the U.S. has been proving since 15 August 1971 when the Bretton Woods regime failed under the stress of Vietnam war financing.

    Somewhere, for sure, there is an enlightened country which believes in “more freedom and less government.” But it’s on another planet. Pray for teleportation.

  11. Joshua commented on Sep 7

    October 24, 2006

    “The new issue of Barron’s Magazine, always a model of objective journalism, has a cover story by Jim McTague that argues that reports of a coming Democratic victory in the 2006 midterm elections are greatly exaggerated.”


  12. bdg123 commented on Sep 7

    He says Socialism, but he MEANS “Crony Capitalism.”…………

    You mean “Crony Republicanism”?

  13. a guy called john commented on Sep 7

    bondholders risk in GSE bonds vanishes, thereby freeing up capital; the taps are now on again.

    they are going to need to drink what they pour, so those taps aren’t going to flow anywhere close to as free as hank/ben hope. unless they change the rules again.

  14. Mark E Hoffer commented on Sep 7

    The Good Ole’ “Keating Five”, no offence Steve, even I remember that one. It, and the S&L “Bailout”, occured shortly after I began my quest, via Economics, to figure out what was gagging, and binding, the creative efforts of our Nation’s Engineers.

    That episode, yon’ “Bailout”, was the bell-ringer for me. When the Economy’s unit(s) of account is Phony, expect Falsity.

    Needless to say, things didn’t get better after that “Bailout”, and I’m dubious that this one will fare any better.

    JH, with this: “Somewhere, for sure, there is an enlightened country which believes in “more freedom and less government.”

    Rand was right, the more the Good do, within a Bad system, the Worse it gets.

    Our Romanticism fuels the engine of our Capitivity.

  15. Jack commented on Sep 7

    Most Republicans can be fooled by lipstick.

  16. fresno dan commented on Sep 7

    I long ago gave up on the fantasy that there is a conservative American political party. Both parties believe that you can have something for nothing – republicans believe by way of tax cuts, without any credible plan to cut expenditures, and democrats in more programs without truly stating that everyone’s taxes have to go up. At some point, the other countries on the planet will realize that the dollar is just a piece of paper.

  17. grumpyoldvet commented on Sep 7

    Ah the Keating Five…wonder how many here never even heard of it…..it was shortly after that incident when McCain got caught with his hand outstretched that he made a strategic decision to court the media with a charm offensive…..smart man, charm the boys and girls with bar-b-ques, open access and straight talk, er buillshit, and they will respond…oh and remind them you were a POW….

  18. Blissex commented on Sep 7

    Guys, as someone observed, the bailout of the GSEs is *inevitable*. It must be done because the full faith and credit of the USA stand behind them. It is not a party issue, Republican or Democratic — it was a promise, and the promise must be kept or else.

    Note that I am strictly anti-bailouts without conditions, but the GSEs are a different case, there is no bailout, it is just the USA paying their debts, because in effect the GSE’s debts are the USA’s debts.

    The scandal is that the Republicans (with no little help from the almost equally corrupt Democrats) have allowed the GSEs to become casinos for the profit of third parties (their investors and management), and have bailed out Bear Stearns and JPMorgan for the benefit of third parties (their investors and management).

    Bear Stearns and its creditors (JPMorgan first among them) was not a GSE and not even a regulated deposit taking institution, and that was indeed a bailout; and letting private parties at the GSEs make a lot of money with a free-of-charge USA guarantee of their debts is also corrupt, and both are the result of mostly Republican (but congress Democrats fully endorsed both) policies and corruption.

    But honoring the guarantee is not corrupt, it is the only honest thing that the USA can do.

  19. larster commented on Sep 7

    Between McTague’s comments, Noonan and Murphy’s indelicate obsedrvations, etrc one must think that all is not right with the R’s. My personal opinion is that the Palin pick is a give in to the evangelicals and if by chance they get any direct power in the gov look out below. Palin believes that everything she wants is God’s will and anything you want is some anti Christ crusade.

  20. grub commented on Sep 7

    Hatred is the most powerful emotion in politics. At present, American liberals are not fighting for an Obama presidency. I suspect that most have only the haziest idea of what it would mean for their country. The slogans that move their hearts and stir their souls are directed against their enemies: Bush, the neo-cons, the religious right.

    Nick Cohen, The Guardian

    I would add, hatred is the most self destructive emotion humans possess.

  21. VJ commented on Sep 7

    The American RightWing has raised hate to a high art.

  22. D.L. commented on Sep 7

    Let the D’s have their three-house sweep.

    If the economy isn’t in good shape by November of 2010, the Senate will revert back to the R’s.

  23. Kirk commented on Sep 7

    Hey Barry,

    That is one thing we completely agree on!

    It is sad that the Republicans have stolen the playbook of the socialist leftist Democrats!

    Republicans have definitely lowered themselves recently! You can’t get lower than behaving like a Pelosi, Kennedy, Reid, et al!

    Good job and thanks for pointing that out! It is a sad day when republicans act like democrats!

  24. Blissex commented on Sep 7

    «The American RightWing has raised hate to a high art.»

    Since recent book argues more correctly that it is resentment that is the high art of the populist wing of the Republicans (the one that wins election so that the corporate wing can give trillions to their sponsors).

    It is resentment of dark skinned people who get welfare, resentment of intellectuals who can speak well, resentment of union workers who earn good wages, resentment of gays who want to pretend to be married, resentment of nonconformists who speak their mind.

  25. K Ackermann commented on Sep 7

    D.L., what is a “socialist leftist democrat” anyway? I’ve been a democrat all my life and I’ve never seen one. I wonder what their platform is.

    A normal democrat such as myself wants the usual stuff we always get under a democratic president:

    Raise taxes on just republicans and give the money to terrorist groups.

    Seek out pregnant women and force them to have abortions.

    Dangle rich White women at the border to entice “wetbacks” to come here and do some raping so democrats can do some more aborting.

    Prevent companies from shipping jobs overseas so we can raise that much more in payroll taxes to give to communist countries and terrorists.

    Take all your guns away again and give them to the illigal immigrant felons as we let them out of jail to go do some raping and sodomizing.

    But what we really like best is to do other things that morons and mental defectives place under the magic world ‘leftist’.

    B.T.W. after you get done signing over your entitlements to rich republicans starting this week, I will save a place for you at my dinner table when you get hungry. I have to warn you though, every time you reach for something I will punch you in the head so hard that your ears will bleed.

    It’s not for a lesson or anything; it’s just a game I play called ‘Punch the Pinhead.’

    My little commie kids get a big kick out of it. It’s better than the game you used to play with your father called ‘Don’t Tell Mommy’.

  26. VJ commented on Sep 7

    Actually, I was referencing more concrete examples, such as RightWing Hate Radio, RightWing Hate TV, RightWing Hate newspapers and magazines, and RightWing Hate websites.

    And the fact that just from the April 1995 bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City forward, the American RightWing has initiated more than 60 terrorist plots inside the U.S.:

    * Plots to bomb government buildings, banks, gasoline refineries, utility companies, medical clinics, synagogues, mosques, and bridges

    * Plots to assassinate police officers, government officials, judges, politicians, civil rights figures, and others

    * Plots to rob banks, armored cars, and firearms dealers

    * Plots to accumulate illegal machine guns, missiles, explosives, not to mention chemical and biological weapons

    That kind of hate.

  27. grub commented on Sep 7

    I pull the pin and lob this Question into the blog.

    Is being a hyper partisan something like being a B___h (as in contemporary prison nomenclature) to the politically powerful? Of course no matter what side one is on, hyper partisans mostly reside on the other side.

  28. anon commented on Sep 7

    Barry, just tell us you’re voting for Obama and get on with it. When I want this kind of stuff I’ll go read Daily Kos.


    BR: Ya caught me! That Murdoch owned Barron’s stuff is really a hard core lefty magazine.

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