Subscribe via RSS Feed

Hack of the Day

[ 61 ] July 10, 2012 |

Michael Gerson.

I’m so old I remember when Gerson was allegedly the reasonable, moderate, thinking person’s Republican because when he favored the same upper-class tax cuts as other Republicans, he added some talk about how he’d really like it if these polices reduced poverty.

Comments (61)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. david mizner says:

    I largely agree with Gerson.

    No ambitious set of proposals to address crisis? Check.

    Too much denial? Check.

    • Malaclypse says:

      I largely agree with Gerson.

      Nobody could have possibly seen that coming.

      • david mizner says:

        Well, instead of an ad hominem, maybe you want to point me to Obama’s ambitious proposals, those commensurate with the size our problems. Or try to somehow directly deny Obama’s well-documented record of happy horseshit. Who can forget “The Recovery Summer”?

        For literally three years, Krugman’s been criticizing Obama for his overly rosy take.

        First they insisted that the clearly inadequate stimulus was just right; then they have tried various anodyne slogans nobody remembers, all of which seem to imply that we’re doing just fine.

        http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/04/23/obamas-missing-theme/

        Elsewhere Krugman points out that Obama has made this same mistake every spring for three years.

        • david mizner says:

          I will acknowledge, though, that there’s been something of a shift in Obama’s messaging. His first ad directed at the swing states was recovery-themed; since then he’s delivering a more honest message, one than comports with the experiences of most Americans. Someone seems to have listened to the Clintonistas.

          It is elites who are creating a conventional wisdom that an incumbent president must run on his economic performance – and therefore must convince voters that things are moving in the right direction. They are wrong, and that will fail. The voters are very sophisticated about the character of the economy; they know who is mainly responsible for what went wrong and they are hungry to hear the President talk about the future. They know we are in a new normal where life is a struggle – and convincing them that things are good enough for those who have found jobs is a fool’s errand. They want to know the plans for making things better in a serious way – not just focused on finishing up the work of the recovery.

          Still need to work on that last part.

          http://www.democracycorps.com/focus/2012/06/shifting-the-economic-narrative/

          • Aaron says:

            Well, instead of an ad hominem…

            The mere statement, “Nobody could have possibly seen that coming”, is not an ad hominem argument. An

            ad hominem

            argument uses the personal attack to suggest that the speaker is wrong:

            1. Joe Smith said X
            2. Joe Smith is an idiot.
            3. Therefore X is untrue.

            The lack of logical support in the above example is pretty obvious – the personal attack on Joe Smith does not actually support the conclusion that his statement is untrue.

            Here we have:

            1. david mizner: I largely agree with Gerson.
            2. Malaclypse: Nobody could have possibly seen that coming.

            There is no suggestion that your alleged predictability (even if we assume that to be intended as a character attack) means that you are incorrect. Even if you felt insulted, there was no ad hominem argument.

            At this juncture, can you please clarify a couple of things? Is it in fact unusual for you to “largely agree with Gerson”? Do you consider it an insult to be associated with Gerson’s political positions?

        • Murc says:

          I gotta go with Mizner on this.

          I mean, as a practical matter, nothing Obama proposes is going to get through Congress. But, well, it’s pretty much beyond disputing that Obama has been touting actions that were obviously and massively inadequate or crippled half-measures as exactly the tonic we needed at any given time.

          • Scott Lemieux says:

            it’s pretty much beyond disputing that Obama has been touting actions that were obviously and massively inadequate or crippled half-measures as exactly the tonic we needed at any given time.

            Yes, clearly a really skilled politician would spend most of his time criticizing the legislation he signed, just like FDR and Reagan did.

            • Murc says:

              No offense, Scott, but… well, you seem to be comfortable with a much higher level of lying from your politicians than I am.

              Maybe I’m naive, but I expect to not be lied to, and I get outraged when I am. Someone who looks me in the eye and says “This legislation is sufficient to meet the issue at hand” when he knows, and I know, that it damn well is not, is going to lose some of my respect.

              I refuse to settle. I’ll vote for the lesser evil but I refuse to stop yelling at it for BEING the lesser evil.

              • Scott Lemieux says:

                You’re right — I don’t get outraged by stuff that all politicians do, and putting a positive spin on legislation you signed (even if it doesn’t reflect your optimal preferences) isn’t really lying anyway. I do think it’s pretty puerile to be perpetually outraged by politicians engaging in Politics 101.

                Can you explain what concrete gains would have arisen from Obama doing the politically dumb thing and trashing his own policies? Yeah, that would have gotten the Republicans to get a good stimulus bill through the House I’m sure.

                • david mizner says:

                  Straw man. No one’s arguing that he should’ve trashed his own policies.

                • Murc says:

                  putting a positive spin on legislation you signed (even if it doesn’t reflect your optimal preferences) isn’t really lying anyway.

                  There’s a difference between spin and lying, even if a lot of spin is in fact lies.

                  I do think it’s pretty puerile to be perpetually outraged by politicians engaging in Politics 101.

                  Yeah, because politics as usual has done just a super fuckin’ job.

                  Can you explain what concrete gains would have arisen from Obama doing the politically dumb thing and trashing his own policies?

                  I don’t think he should have trashed his own policies. I do think that honesty is its own reward, and that he should have said “These policies will help; millions will be spared suffering and hardship because of them. Nontheless, they are insufficient to the larger task, and the blame for their lack lies squarely upon conservatives, who have prevented me from doing more.”

                  I would also prefer he openly admit error when its clear he was in the wrong. You know, like an adult does.

                  I know you’re a lot more… cynically practical? I guess that would be the term?… than a number of us here are, Scott. Your dedication to substance is well-known and the reason many of us read you. And that you’re pretty comfortable with a lot of existing political norms, and that you feel that we should expect change to come from the ground up rather than via bold leadership. So I’m trying to be polite about this, but, well… fuck that noise.

                  Seriously, fuck it right in the ear. Existing political norms are what got us into a truly disastrous state to begin with, and I do expect my politicians to do their jobs without constant pressure, like a human being who takes some pride in their work does.

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  I do think that honesty is its own reward

                  Hell, let’s nominate Senator Honesty Is Its Own Reward and put him up against Chris Christie next time.

                  That will work out great, I’m sure.

                • Holden Pattern says:

                  Seriously, fuck it right in the ear. Existing political norms are what got us into a truly disastrous state to begin with, and I do expect my politicians to do their jobs without constant pressure, like a human being who takes some pride in their work does.

                  But existing political norms are the subject of study of the blog authors (not all of them, but certainly Lemieux), and so there’s not much patience with critics of existing political norms, nor, sadly, any interest in discussion of how one might change those despite the stated political commitments of the authors.

                • Hogan says:

                  Someone who looks me in the eye and says “This legislation is sufficient to meet the issue at hand” when he knows, and I know, that it damn well is not, is going to lose some of my respect.

                  As an exercise, go here, filter the presidential speeches and do a shot every time Obama says “we must do more” for economic recovery.

                • Murc says:

                  Hell, let’s nominate Senator Honesty Is Its Own Reward and put him up against Chris Christie next time.

                  That seems like an argument that I should just give up and stop voting, joe. What are you trying to say, that only an unprincipled hack can have a chance against a vile sack of shit like Chris Christie? Because it sure seems like you just said that.

                  Seriously. The only reason I stay involved in the political process is because of my belief that we can do better, because what we have now sucks hard. If I didn’t believe that, what would be the point?

                  As an exercise, go here, filter the presidential speeches and do a shot every time Obama says “we must do more” for economic recovery.

                  Well, I’ll be fair, Hogan; Obama talks about the inadequacy of current policy more than I thought he did.

                  But most of those “we must do mores” happen in the context of him then segueing into pimping how awesome his policy proposals are, policy proposals that, while better than the status quo, are in no way adequate to the task at hand.

                  That might, MIGHT, be barely acceptable if his proposals had any chance of passing, given that we’re talking about alleviating real suffering here and he could always pivot to “what’s next” ten seconds after signing. But given that nothing he proposes is gonna get passed anyway, what’s the political downside of actual honesty?

                • joe from Lowell says:

                  That seems like an argument that I should just give up and stop voting, joe.

                  No, it’s just the opposite. Your whining that this fallen world isn’t good enough for you is a reason to give up and stop voting. I’m telling you man the fuck up and vote anyway, even it doesn’t give you tingles.

                  What are you trying to say, that only an unprincipled hack can have a chance against a vile sack of shit like Chris Christie?

                  I’m not terribly impressed by the “principles” of those whose “principles” require them to lose and accomplish nothing.

                  The only reason I stay involved in the political process is because of my belief that we can do better, because what we have now sucks hard.

                  The only reason you stay involved in politics is for reasons having to do with improving the procedural elements of politics?

                  That is a really shitty reason to be involved with politics.

                  If I didn’t believe that, what would be the point?

                  How about getting poor kids health care? How about, I don’t know, anything having to do with the accomplishment of any substantive goal?

                  Get over yourself. Politics isn’t about making yourself feel virtuous.

                • Hogan says:

                  But most of those “we must do mores” happen in the context of him then segueing into pimping how awesome his policy proposals are, policy proposals that, while better than the status quo, are in no way adequate to the task at hand.

                  From the speech that started all this kerfuffle:

                  I don’t pretend that this plan will solve all our problems. It should not be, nor will it be, the last plan of action we propose. What’s guided us from the start of this crisis hasn’t been the search for a silver bullet. It’s been a commitment to stay at it — to be persistent — to keep trying every new idea that works, and listen to every good proposal, no matter which party comes up with it.

                • djw says:

                  “These policies will help; millions will be spared suffering and hardship because of them. Nontheless, they are insufficient to the larger task, and the blame for their lack lies squarely upon conservatives, who have prevented me from doing more.”

                  This sounds an awful lot like the clips of Obama campaign speeches I’ve been hearing lately.

            • david mizner says:

              No, but a skilled pol might not launch a “Recovery Summer” in the middle of economic crisis (and in the lead-up to mid-term elections.)

              A skilled pol might say its stimulus package is just a start and I wish it could’ve been twice the size but I passed the largest one that the GOP would allow, or some such.

          • joe from Lowell says:

            it’s pretty much beyond disputing that Obama has been touting actions that were obviously and massively inadequate or crippled half-measures as exactly the tonic we needed at any given time.

            This is more of a lie than anything Obama has said about the bills he has gotten through Congress.

            Talking up the good parts of legislation, emphasizing the benefits you were able to achieve, is not the same thing as calling them exactly the tonic we needed at any given time. One easy way to tell the difference is to note the consistency with which Obama leavens his praise with “we need to do more,” and actually proposes more.

            • BrianM says:

              I listened to a number of speeches of Obama’s early in his administration. I found myself mentally shouting at the screen “No! No! Don’t claim this bipartisan compromise is the best thing since whole wheat sliced bread! It’s not! Say it’s the best you could get and you’re worried it’s not enough!”

              I could be messed up in the head, but I’m sympathetic to the case that Obama rhetorically took ownership of suboptimal policies (like the stimulus) when he did not have to.

    • Aaron says:

      Do you agree with all of this, as well? Seriously, how would Gerson react if Obama were simply to repeat some old G.W. Bush talking points?

    • rea says:

      The strongest argument for radical educational reform in this country is that people like Gerson and Mizner remain, despite all the hundreds of billions poured into edcuation in the course of the last few decades, illiterate.

    • Ramon A. Clef says:

      You largely agree with Gerson that Obama has not proposed the ambitious policy proposals that Obama has actually proposed? Wow.

    • mark f says:

      Mizner has joined the pantheon of True Progressives . . . like Pat Caddel and Juan Williams.

  2. Cody says:

    I should really look into writing columns for a living. How does one get into this business?

    It’s become obvious it doesn’t require education or research.

  3. DocAmazing says:

    If, in the year 2012, having witnessed all that has transpired in the last four decades, one is still a Republican and votes for Republicans, one deserves exactly what one gets.

    • NonyNony says:

      “Is there a VIP entrance? We’re VIP.”

      Some people are getting far more than they deserve (or far less, depending on how you look at it).

    • DrDick says:

      Sadly, that is not true, as we cannot beat them senseless on sight, tar and feather them, and run them out of town on a splintery rail.

    • Ramon A. Clef says:

      Unfortunately, some people of those people are getting far better than they deserve while the rest of us are getting far worse.

    • Holden Pattern says:

      Yes, but the rest of us are all trapped in the same country (and of increasingly urgent importance, on the same planet) as the wingtards. So we get what they deserve.

      Of couse, I blame the left.

  4. DrDick says:

    reasonable, moderate, thinking person’s Republican

    In other news, unicorns and leprechauns were seen frolicking on the White House lawn. There have not been any of those for more than 30 years and they were damned scarce on the ground for the preceding 20 years.

    • Murc says:

      The Chafees were okay. I mean, John Chafee was advocating expanded access to health care and abortion, and his signature issue was the environment. And he was doing all that not fifteen years ago.

      ‘Course, Linc left the party, so… yeah.

  5. David Hunt says:

    That’s article is a fine job of demolishing Gerson’s hack arguments, but it has one aspect that I’m sometimes get heartily tired of. I understand the value of using mockery to belittle your opponent, but the whole “Surly [Lying Hack X] doesn’t understand how matters truly are or wouldn’t have written an article that is the opposite of true in all respects” bit just grates on me sometimes. I just with that they’d come right out and say what they really mean: “This guy is a lying hack. He’s totally aware that the whole article is a lie and he wrote it anyway. He should be shunned from all journalistic circles and if, by some miracle, he’s every published or even quoted by a reputable outlet, his blatant lies should be disclosed to warn readers of his utter lack any credibility.”

    I don’t think that’s ever going to happen, but DNA research may get a working set of wings on a pig, yet.

    • NonyNony says:

      Accusing your opponent of rank dishonesty is uncivil in this world and at the very least runs the risk of degenerating into back-and-forth finger pointing (“no YOU’RE the liar”, “no YOU are”) if not crossing the line into outright libel lawsuits.

      Accusing your opponent of being a sub-literate moron who either can’t read or can’t understand what he’s reading well enough to argue against it is surprisingly somewhat less uncivil in this world and rarely runs the risk of starting up a libel lawsuit. That “everyone knows” that these accusations are veiled ways of accusing your opponent of rank dishonesty seems to be beside the point – you aren’t outright calling your opponent a liar so it’s okay.

      For some reason being called a liar is worse than being called an idiot in our current culture.

      • TT says:

        According to the rules of the Civility Racket, in both Washington and in the media at large, it is considered uncivil to point out that a particular prominent conservative/Republican is in fact lying through his/her teeth; keeps odd company (racist, extremist, etc.); advances radical ideas that will undermine the economy, shatter the social contract, and immiserate millions of Americans; and/or spews hateful anti-American bile on a daily basis on the nation’s airwaves.

      • firefall says:

        Well, being a liar is a choice, being an idiot is assumed not to be (rightly or wrongly)

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.

  • Switch to our mobile site