Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Boredom, Message Discipline, and the GZ Mosque

There's a lot of finger pointing on the right about the danger of getting off our economic message and being distracted by this Ground Zero Mosque situation. 

It's the bloggers.  Or the professionals.  Or Sean Hannity. 


I think the first cause of this distraction is sheer boredom with the onslaught of bad -- nay, "unexpectedly" bad -- economic news.  I mean, we've won the economic debate, right?  How much more can we talk about the massive failure of the Democrats' economic agenda?  The porkulus.  Cash for Clunkers.  Trade.  Public sector unions.  The stagnation.  The malaise.  Paul Krugman's acute need for professional mental heath care.

It's going beyond boredom -- it's depressing.  (Pass the bourbon, please.  Knob Creek, if you have it.)

The second, though I think lesser, contributing factor is the high-school debate factor, the desire to be right at all times.  Even as I write here about the irrelevancy of the GZM issue, I'm fighting back the urge to lay out my opinion, to criticize the hypocrisy of folks like Howard Dean for thinking the GZM shouldn't be built while simultaneously accusing Republicans of religious incitement...

But I know that's not a voting issue.  ~10% unemployment is a voting issue -- THE voting issue.

I'm just so sick of thinking about it.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

No Take Backs - A Language Gripe

I've got to complain about a very common, bipartisan phrase: "take back".  As in, "We're going to take back the Senate."  Democrats used it in 2006, and Republicans are using it now, but it's really a repugnant verbal construction.

"Take back", specifically the "back" part, implies a restoration of some rightful order or position.  But there's no such animal in American politics.  No party has a standing claim on any particular body of government.  There's nothing to take back.  There are only offices and bodies to win control of.

Moreover, it sounds bad to the public, especially those who are not of the same party as one who speaks this phrase.  So anytime a Republican says we're going to take back the House, they're probably turning off a number of attentive independents, to say nothing of the Democrats to which they might appeal.

It is especially dangerous for Republicans to use this expression in the current environment, when the Democratic talking point is precisely that we would be going "back" to the previous order.

No take backs.

Tuesday, August 03, 2010

Stupid Dem Talking Points

In these two cases, Democrats have taken what are genuinely debatable policy positions and have insisted on patently false and ridiculous talking points in order to make their cases.  Not that I'm in the business of giving the other side debating tips, but they'd actually be better off if they dropped these:

(1) - "Raising taxes to the Clinton-era level won't harm growth"  --  Well of course it will.  Look, there's a reasonable debate to be had about taxation and the national debt, but it's rather silly to think that raising taxes -- in whatever form that might take -- won't impact economic behavior.  This is ECON-101, folks.  You can make the case that it will work out in the end, or that it's justified in some sense, but you can't make the case that it won't impact growth.  So just stop that.

(2) - "Extending unemployment insurance is a great stimulus because the money gets spent quickly" -- This one really takes the cake.  Nancy Pelosi was lambasted when she said this a few weeks ago, and rightly so.  And yet, I keep hearing that logic come up again and again on TV.  Let me re-phrase the point -- they are saying that paying people not to work is good for the economy.  Now, as a moral matter of throwing people a welfare lifeline when they don't have a lot of good options, extending unemployment is an honestly debatable point.  But it ain't stimulus, it's welfare.  And furthermore, this whole exercise is a demonstration of why Keynesian economics is insufficient, and shows the religious zeal with which a lot of Democrats cling to a broken theory.  They would rather accept an obviously ridiculous conclusion drawn from a theory than admit that the theory is wrong.