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The GOP Can't Save Itself, And We Won't Help

Illustration for article titled The GOP Cant Save Itself, And We Wont Help

Moe is on the (supposedly) WiFi-enabled bus from Virginia, taking in the greatness of America (or at least that section between D.C. and New York City) while I'm stuck in upstate New York, so it's another episode of reverse-polarity Crappy Hour! We talk oil, what the GOP is doing wrong, what is wrong about what the GOP thinks it is doing wrong, what is a capital-punishment worthy offense (hint: advertising WiFi on your bus and not providing it) and kissing Bill Clinton's ass. It's all after the jump!


MOE: Okay, first of all, re the companies chosen for those coveted Iraq oil contracts of course they did, some people are complete idiots, Paul Krugman thinks Obama needs to be more like Reagan than Clinton…so what's Obama doing here??

MEGAN: On the first story, gotta love this quote:

The advisers - who, along with the diplomatic official, spoke on condition of anonymity - say that their involvement was only to help an understaffed Iraqi ministry with technical and legal details of the contracts and that they in no way helped choose which companies got the deals.


I mean, does anyone actually believe that?

MOE: Also I don't know if you've been reading about this book but it's been eliciting some really surprising rarely-articulated viewpoints from pundits such as:

The people who fund and run the GOP are simply too committed to the idea of cutting taxes for affluent people and reducing government spending… In fact, even saying the GOP estabilshment is "committed" to these things understates the grip of economic libertarianism over the party. It suggests a worldview that's the product of some reflection, when in fact the economic libertarianism of big GOP donors is mostly an expression of their self-interest

And in case you didn't catch what he was trying to say there:

-i.e., they want to keep their own taxes low.

MEGAN: As for McCain's record, not to bash on John Aravosis whose work I normally like, but Jeffrey Klein did that story way better, like two weeks ago without going into the gutter at all.

Well, the problem with Noam Scheiber's analysis in that review is that he repeats the claptrap that the GOP is ostensibly committed to reducing government spending, which is utter bullshit.

Let's bust that myth people. They are committed to saying they want to reduce government spending, and committed to spending more of it in ways that appeal to them ideologically (i.e., defense, abstinence education, marriage-promotion) or appeal to their constituents (i.e., earmarks)

MOE: Okay here's the thing:

The authors say they blew their chances to capitalize on their opening to these voters "by confusing being pro-market with being pro-business, by failing to distinguish between spending that fosters dependency and spending that fosters independence and upward mobility, and by shrinking from the admittedly difficult task of reforming the welfare state so that it serves the interests of the working class rather than the affluent."


To "distinguish between spending that fosters dependency and spending that fosters independence and upward mobility" is, as near as I can figure, the opposite of "pro-market."

MEGAN: Yes, I would agree with that completely. Of course, apparently, "spending that fosters independence and upward mobility is - surprise! - serendipitously spending on things like marriage promotion and putting more black people in jail and abstinence education!

Douthat and Salam say to the contrary that the social issues are a major part of working-class insecurity. "Safe streets, successful marriages, cultural solidarity and vibrant religious and civic institutions make working-class Americans more likely to be wealthy, healthy and upwardly mobile. Public disorder, family disintegration, cultural fragmentation and civic and religious disaffection, on the other hand, breed downward mobility and financial strain - which in turn breeds further social dislocation, in a vicious cycle that threatens to transform a working class into an underclass."


Great, so, the government is now going to be able to solve the problems of family disintegration by.... making divorce harder? Making marriage necessary for all pregnant women? They're going to solve religious disaffection by... making religion mandatory? And, God knows the Democrats love them some public disorder. Yum, goes perfectly in my coffee.

MOE: The thing that is so dreamy about talking about this stuff as a failure to distinguish between the different kinds of "spending" is that it really cuts to the heart of the issue that, as some guy points out on today's WSJ edit page OF ALL PLACES…numbers lie!

MEGAN: Whoa, seriously, someone spiked the coffee with LSD at the WSJ this weekend:

there is no such thing as "the economy."

MOE: The first Harper's reading last month said this a lot better, but I'm not sure where it is online. Maybe I'll just screengrab it here.

Dammit, it doesn't want to let me, oh well.

MEGAN: Although, back to the intersection of economics and politics, I spent hours yesterday obsessed with the implications of this chart. Which goes with this article but the article's less interesting and not just because I like pretty pictures.

MOE: Oh here it is. Anyway we forgot to discuss < a href="">Steven Hatfill, whose name is not Mohammed and therefore actually got some money out of his whole post-9/11 harassment, or we never did, because that happened on Friday and I was too tired out from Dimitri the Lover to do a proper news roundup, but hahaha he did well for himself. And Mallaby who I generally love has something on oil and speculation and whatnot.

And now I have to try to get on the internet bus

BRB as they say.

9 minutes

MOE: And I'm back! On the bus. But I'm still using the free Dupont wifi signal so I'm not sure if that's sustainable.

MEGAN: I think it kicks in on the bus pretty soon, but we can totally hurry up.

Anyway, what's fascinating about the chart I sent is about the redistribution of wealth in this country, from the Midwest to the Coasts (by and large) and the weirdness that Alaska and Hawai'i were two of the richest 12 states in 1976.

And about how the richest states - and by and large, the richest people - are increasingly turning to the Democratic party. Fucking elitists.

——-16 minutes—-

MOE: Hey

Do you read me?


MOE: The wifi server is allegedly just getting reactivated

So I'm on bberry.

Anna is going to kill me but. If this works it isn't a bad thing. Free wifi in DuPont is good!

MEGAN: No problem! I got grabbed coffee and a yogurt and plugged my computer back in as I was previously sitting on the front porch watching my neighbor playing with his baby and the cats of the 'hood stare at me

Anyway, the wifi bus worked fine for me the one round trip I took it. I, um, spent most of the time IM'ing with people.

MOE: So Cass Sunstein co authors an oped in the Wash Post... Cass sunstein is the Obama policy adviser yes? It doesn't mention that. But anyway it is about the death penalty. I wanted to bring up Juan Williams admirably

MEGAN: Juan Williams?

Also, Cass Sunstein, I'm not sure if he's an adviser but he's definitely a fan

MOE: Frustrated performance on fox news Sunday re the supreme courts striking down the gun ban

MEGAN: Sadly, I have no cable but I will find a clip.

I mean, my parents have no cable because my mother doesn't believe in it.

MOE: Maybe I can find a clip. What he lacked in eloquence he made up for in abject what the fuckitide

My dad and I talked about whether murder is the worst crime. He believes in the death penalty for people who cut off peoples legs and gouge their eyes out and such.

MEGAN: On the other hand, I think blind people and amputees would probably disagree, right?

MOE: If I can't get wifi on this bus I'm going to make them drop me off on the side of the 295

MEGAN: As though there's wifi along 295?

MOE: Well if you had your arms and legs cut off and your eyes gouged out by some crazy child rapist you might feel like giving that guy the lethal injection, I dunno,

MEGAN: But is it worse than murder? Would I rather be dead than mutilated? I guess I already made the decision a long time ago that I'd rather be a living sexual assault victim than a dead one. So I guess that makes murder worse.

It's kind of a subjective question

MOE: Yeah anyway sunstein mostly discusses the evidence or lack thereof for and against the concept that the death penalty is a deterrent which is sort of the same question...

MEGAN: For the death penalty to be a deterrent, people would have to believe sincerely that the likelihood is that they will get caught.

MEGAN: Most people aren't weighing the consequences of their actions or thinking that far ahead, frankly.

MOE: I wonder what the penalty for advertising internet access on your bus service and failing to deliver is...

MEGAN: Ok, that's totally a capital offense.

MOE: Lol I just passed the capitol.


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@ronaldpagan: The evangelical thing has been around for a while, but pretty underground. There is a large division coming in the evangelical movement and now it seems a second fracture has happened.

There are two splits: the first is on theological reasoning and the second is the "youth factor" that you read about. The theological split has many congregations going back to the Torah and debunking the whole replacement theology myth. They also have walked away from guys like Hagee and his rapture movement. They're turning off the tv preachers and are angry about how religion has been used by politics for money, votes and power. And how those big-name preachers helped things along and lined their own pockets. Now you don't see these groups out in the streets and they're keeping a low profile because the LAST thing you want to do is piss off a Hagee, Dobson, Osteen and their like. If you think they're hard and hateful towards, oh, say the gays just wait until you see what they'll try to do when they find one of "their own" going astray.

The youth movement that you read about is a part of this but much more visible. They are individuals, not entire congregations, but their ideas and theology are much the same. These are the people you see out there spreading the word - and I'm not talking about trying to save people. They're trying to get other young evangelicals to begin looking at more than the traditional two issues. In fact, many have said there are MORE IMPORTANT things than those traditional two... a shocker, to say the least. The big guys aren't happy with them either, but they are harder to get to because they are not established. Mostly, they're just doing the "you kids get off my lawn" thing and not giving them credit for their ideas because of their youth. The most serious thing they're done lately is made a call to parents to regain control over their rebellious children. Hah.

The upshot of this is you're going to see a whole lot of people who were part of the famous "evangelical base" that won Ohio for Bush in '04 (well, that and some dirty tricks anyway) voting for the dems for the first time. I have a feeling we will never see the evangelical base as we've known it again.