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Thursday, May 29, 2003  

Some of the people all of the time?

So Bush's tax cut has passed. There has been no shortage of opinions expressed on it, but I'd like to focus on a couple of choice GOP quotes collected by Prof. Jeff Cooper on his blog:

Prof. Cooper highlights gung-ho quotes from Grover Norquist and Bruce Bartlett. Here's Norquist in the Denver Post:

We are trying to change the tones in the state capitals--and turn them [the Democrats] toward bitter nastiness and partisanship.
Bipartisanship is another name for date rape.

It is exaactly the [Charlie] Stenholms of the world who will disappear, ... the moderate Democrats. They will go so that no Texan need grow up thinking that being a Democrat is acceptable behavior."

Here's Cooper's paraphrase of Bartlett in the L.A. Times (registration required so no link- Josh- if you're registered please add it):

[S]upply-sider Bruce Bartlett describes the evolution of the idea that tax-cut-driven deficits were an affirmative good, because they would "starve the beast."

Cooper then goes on to cite an oft-cited USA Today story about how the Republican-controlled legislatures outspend Democrats.

Cooper's reaction suggests that he find the Republicans hypocritical beyond repair:

I find myself throwing my hands up in exasperation, and hanging my head in despair.

I think there's a different point here: that the ideological Republican base is mostly consistent in their thoughts and actions, and the Republican legislators are hypocritically exploiting their base's zeal for electoral advantage. The GOP base wants less taxation and less government. The less taxation part has not been a problem for the GOP legislators to deliver- they want lower taxes, too.

The GOP legislators' hypocritical sleight-of-hand comes in their definition of "government." The GOP Congress and President Bush have been able to deregulate, fight affirmative action and do other things which look and smell like "reducing government." However, the GOP has also increased defense spending, promoted farm subsidies and promoted steel tariffs. These actions increase the size of government, the scope of government spending or both. However, they also produce votes from nonpartisans who are interested mostly in keeping their jobs and educating their children. These policies also produce deficits, but those won't matter until after the next election. The GOP legislators are thus able to have it both ways: they can gain the support of their base by passing tax cuts, but they can gain the support of nonpartisans by doling out government funds to (shockingly) key tossup states.

I don't know why the GOP base accepts their leadership's disingenuousness. It doesn't look to me like the leadership and the base have the same views on the appropriate size of government.
posted by Adam

12:22 PM/

Monday, May 26, 2003  

This feature on campus conservative movements from this week's Times magazine is definitely worth a read and a big long think. In a nutshell, it details how (1) money & support from conservative groups, (2) reaction against things like speech codes on campuses and (3) the natural college student desire to rebel are coalescing to fuel an apparent conservative revival on college campuses. (Although I would argue that the sheer amount of money being funneled into campus conservative papers, etc. makes these movements look larger and more powerful than they actually are, and Adam, the number of glowing Ann Coulter references alone will horrify you.) Coupled with this piece from today's Times, which is more or less a field guide to what Democrats are doing wrong, it gave me enough to think about for a whole week.
posted by Amanda

12:45 PM/
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