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It's Been An Eventful Week In Fast & Furious News | Main | Overnight Open Thread
November 30, 2011

Nasty New Ron Paul Ad Hits Gingrich Hard

Incidentally, let me go on the record here: For any Paul fans who are thinking "This is his time," I heretofore state I will not support, or vote for, Ron Paul, under any circumstances whatsoever.

That's where I'm coming form. Under no circumstances whatsoever will I vote for this reactionary, anti-semitic peacenik "We brought 9/11 ourselves" pacifist Chomnskyite crank.

And I'll say it: I will, yes, be amenable to Barack Obama being re-elected under those circumstances. As members of the Purity Brigade used to tell me-- Sometimes you win by losing.

I would decide at that point to use my own "Sometimes we win by losing" chits at that point. As was said of Mike Castle -- it's better that we lose, because at least the guy in office won't be one of our own, making those bad decisions.

Anyway, that's my line in the sand. I figure a lot of people agree. Might as well just put that on the record, that for some of us, Ron Paul is not an acceptable third, fourth, or fifth choice.

Paul thinks he can possibly win, and so goes after Gingrich.

A lot of this stuff is stuff that I am frankly thankful to Paul for outing, since a lot of the party just seems to be on Anti-Romney Autopilot, and jumps in support without really giving the new candidate much of a look-see.

There are some things that aren't fair. I was pro-TARP, if you remember (and some of you will never let me forget). So I have a good idea of who was pro-TARP. Gingrich was not pro-TARP. I remember thinking he was guilty of playing clever politics, as usual (this is my general objection to Gingrich, clever in politics, but not nearly as sound in judgment).

But the point is, while I disagreed with him at the time (and currently neither disagree with him nor agree with him), he wasn't pro-TARP. He was frequently on the air, for example, advising Congress to suspend mark-to-market rules for banks with lots of bad mortgages as an alternative to a bail-out.

He did, if I have this right, say that if the only thing on the table was TARP, he would have ultimately reluctantly voted in favor of it; but he was a pretty strong advocate against it.

Again, this sticks in my memory, because at the time I thought he was a playing-politics douchebag for it.

On the other stuff: Look, if you don't believe Gingrich was a "lobbyist," well, scenic bridge in Brooklyn, graced by the decades, frequently photographed, must sell.

Personally I can forgive him for pushing for Fannie and Freddie and Medicare Part D, just as I can, if needed, forgive Romney for ObamaCare.

See, I keep saying this, but I'll say it again: The party has changed dramatically in the past three years, but a lot of people seem to forget this, or to say "Well I was always on the right, Tea Party side of things."

Well maybe a lot of people were, but not everyone was. From the 1990's into the 2000's, the dominant strain of Republicanism was neoconservatism, and here I am not talking about foreign policy, but domestic policy. Neoconservatism was invented by the original "neoconservatives," who were in fact liberals who deserted the Democratic Party when it became a special-interest Sugar-Daddy soft-socialist creature.

But the basic underpinning of neoconservatism was this: We shall address most of (or even all of) the major policy goals of liberalism; but we shall do so using market-based principles and sounder, conservative-tilting economic principles to do so.

This proved to be a politically popular movement, and we tended to win a fair amount during this period.

But Tea Partyism -- the current dominant mode of thought in the party -- is an explicit rejection of the old neoconservative line, which can in fact be fairly criticized as "just arguing the liberals down from $800 billion on free health care to $400 billion on free health care."

I have said this before, but personally, I am willing to forgive deviations from the Tea Party line in the past, because, well, I guess I'm more understanding. I was more of a neoconservative than many here. Not wholly, because I did not understand why we were continuing to spend, spend, spend and increase the scope and range of government intervention in our lives, but I also thought that a citizenry which insists on being paid off for its votes will get its way, one way or the other, and, the citizenry being basically corrupt in this sense (Give us more free stuff, taken from other citizens!) would produce, necessarily, a political class which curried to that corruption.

In the case of Gingrich and Romney both: It is worth remembering that during the mid-90s to 2000s there was a widely agreed-upon urge that we must "do something!" (anything! do something!) "about health care." And of course the hated individual mandate was created by the the conservative Heritage foundation, as a supposedly "conservative, market-based, no-free-riders, individual responsibility" initiative towards the general gauzy goal of "doing something!" about health care.

We all know how this think-tank idea went over when it was actually imposed on us, and we had the chance to examine it, and weigh the supposed benefits (no free riders on my health insurance policy, which is inflated in cost to pay for the uninsured) versus the serious objections to it (since when can government boss me around? Why are we further expanding government's power to make up for the problems with its current exercise of power?).

Still, this was, in fact, considered a "conservative" response. Not everyone believed in it. Very few tried it. But it was bandied about as being "conservative." And few objected when it was so characterized.

In fact, this proposition was in fact so non-controversial that most people don't even remember it. There was not a big argument in the early-mid 2000s whether an individual mandate was "conservative."

Point is, the party has changed, and the overton window has moved, significantly. Stuff that was a clear submission to the ever-growing socialist state was given a quick paint-job and branded a "conservative" solution.

Medicare Part D? Bush did that, and a Republican Congress passed it.

And Gingrich lobbied for it, calling it "conservative."

Do you forgive?

I don't know. Personally, I can forgive this stuff, but what I can't do is pretend that this fundamental inconsistency will not be a very, very handy talking point for Barack Obama during a debate, or during the campaign.

It's going to be quite hard for Romney or Gingrich to make any sort of political attack on ObamaCare when Obama can say, correctly, "The individual mandate? Oh right, the idea I got from you."

Does that mean they won't sign the repeal of ObamaCare, if given the chance? No, they probably would, assuming they had the chance. Arguments, after all, require intellectual consistency, but actions really don't.

The base wants this repealed; they'd probably, I assume, repeal it, if they had the chance.

But arguing about it in a debate? Don't expect Mitt's textbook perfect memorized answers to overcome the simple and powerful point But you did it yourself and called it a "model for the nation" and don't expect Newt's glib gray-cell rolodex of interesting but half-baked policy ideas to rebut Obama's You mean the individual mandate you cooked up at Heritage?

As for Freddie and Fannie, honestly, the media refuses to note the role these played in the Great Meltdown, so the fact that Newt can't bring it up himself doesn't really lose us all that much.

But... to the extent it comes up at all... It's going to be hard to make the case that Fannie and Freddie caused the implosion when our candidate lobbied for them.

And no I don't believe he just wrote "historically-oriented white papers" for them.

People say I'm in the bag for Perry. I'm not in the bag for him, exactly; I support him. But the reason I talk about this stuff is that while everyone knows the problems with Perry -- these problems are notorious and palpable -- no one ever seems to know the problems with the current NotMitt Flavor of the Week, as Palin called Cain.

And you have to know these things. My pretending that Perry doesn't have an immigration problem, or a debate problem, doesn't make those problems go away, and similarly, not knowing that Herman Cain doesn't seem to read the newspapers, even the front pages, doesn't make that problem disappear, either.

Gingrich would not be a bad candidate. Although I don't think he'd be as good a debater as many seem to, no doubt, it would be nice to have a candidate who was inarguably an intelligent man, well-versed in federal policy wonkery.

But as far as the next Great True Conservative Hope -- as with the previous ones, sure, as long as you don't bother to actually do much inspection, and keep him a blank slate upon which you can project your hopes that this guy is a Pure Conservative.

We don't have a Pure Conservative in the race. (Possibly the unelectable Bachmann, but only because she's only been in office since shortly before the outbreak of the Tea Party, and really has never been asked to do anything except play to the Tea Party. And, meanwhile, she and her husband's clinics scooped up all the federal and state money they could.)

I guess I don't have a point except to say I really don't think it is useful or true to debate these guys in terms of "The True Conservative I Can Get Behind."

None of them are that. None. So the Quest for the Pure True Conservative can and should end, and we should stop talking about such nonsense and start talking, seriously, about the imperfect candidates we have.

Gingrich would be an okay imperfect candidate. So, I guess, would Romney.

But this idea that someone here must be a True Conservative, because, gosh, someone must be, is just plain wrong.

The Great Shift On Immigration: Let's not forget, either, that prior to the Shamnesty melt-down, most conservatives at least talked up the possibility of some kind of deal or pathway to citizenship.

Bush was elected as president, twice, expressly running on this platform.

I never liked that. I suppose most of you didn't, either. But we didn't object to it so vigorously we chose some other candidate, or even argued with him about it.

Sometimes I just think people are little bit nutty when they expect politicians to have always subscribed to Circa 2011 Conservative Orthodoxy, when this orthodoxy is, in fact, pretty dramatically different than the 2007 Conservative Orthodoxy.

People change. They bend with new winds. Most conservative voters have done this -- despite protestations, no, 75% of the party was not really diehard Tea Partiers in Training in 2006; they were mostly just standard Orthodoxy of 2006 conservatives.

If voters changed -- if half of you have shifted rightward -- it's kind of nuts to go berserker-pants over politicians who did, too.

They're whores. That's what they're paid to be, idealistic ideas of Men of Resolve be damned. That's 1% of them. What about the other 99%?

At any rate, since I'm talking about Great Red Shifts on Medicare and Fannie and Freddie, it's only fair to point out this happened on immigration, too.

Yes, a Texas Governor signed a politically-popular piece of legislation that allowed the children of illegals to attend Texas schools at the same cost other Texas residents paid. There was, I think, two dissenting votes on this, in the whole legislature.

Politically Popular Governor Makes Move That Continues His Political Popularity; Film at 11.

We'll be right back with breaking developments in what analysts are dubbing "WhatTheHellDidYouThinkHeWasGoingToDo?Gate."



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posted by Ace at 07:45 PM

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