Thursday, April 8, 2010

More on Conservative Hacks

As I said before, one of the key questions in my mind about American politics today is whether conservative leaders believe their own talking points -- or, to follow Julian Sanchez, whether conservative leaders are trapped in the closed information loop that they've created.  Sanchez says no; I say that I would have thought the answer was no, but now I'm not sure.

Jonathan Chait makes the case the other way in two posts today, one on the "doc fix" and the real budget impact of health care reform, and the other on David Frum realizing that Larry Kudlow doesn't know what he's talking about.  I agree with Chait that Kudlow certainly appears to be a Newt-sized fraud, at least any time I've heard him talking...but both parties presumably have frauds.  And as to the doc fix, it's possible that the Republicans can't produce an analyst capable of understanding basic budget figures, but it's also possible that there's a strong incentive for a good Republican analyst to peddle the party line regardless of whether it's plausible or not.  In other words, if Sanchez is right that Republicans want to create a closed information loop, they'll act that way whether or not their leaders are actually included in the loop or not!

No, the strong argument Chait has isn't Kudlow or budget analyst Jeffrey Anderson, it's Frum, who is apparently shocked, as Chait points out, that Larry Kudlow could be so completely wrong about basic budget facts.  I can't really figure out a motivation for Frum to be play-acting this; I think he's really surprised.

Alas, Chait neglected the very best bit of evidence.  Frum:
Does this really come as news to Larry Kudlow, a very smart man and a former deputy to David Stockman at the Office of Management and Budget?
Gosh, someone who worked for David Stockman at OMB might fudge the numbers?  No!  Really?!?


  1. Who's the fraud, Jonathan, on the Dem side on the scale of Palin, Newt, Kudlow, McCain? You claim "both sides," so name a Dem fraud like those named above on the national stage. No fair rummaging through the Democratic Underground for obscure commenters either. We are talking frauds with almost daily access to national television and respectable print news venues.

  2. I second this. And it's got to be somebody who's lies and/or ignorance have been repeatedly exposed.

  3. I guess I need to explain what I mean by "fraud" here...the way I use it with Newt (and Kudlow, I guess) is that that Newt purports to be a Serious Thinker, and he isn't -- he's just a huckster. I can't really think of a Dem equivalent, but I don't think there's anything inherent in conservatives that makes them especially prone to that. McCain's not like that at all, and I don't use that word for him. McCain just doesn't bother learning about policy. That's fairly common among pols on both sides. Palin? What's phony about her isn't, of course, any claims to knowing anything, but her claims to being an ordinary American...but what's wrong with her as a presidential candidate is that it's a bad idea to have someone as president who knows as much about policy as the average American citizen.

    I can see the argument that they're all phonies of different stripes. If that's the case, then I'd say that I can think of at least two or three Democratic candidates for president from 2004 who I'd consider to be phonies of one stripe or another. Make that at least three or four. Not the (presidential) nominee.

  4. John Edwards was a pretty big fraud. There have been a few big scandals involving Dem Senators in the last few years, though names escape me. Someone on par with Newt or Palin though? Hmm, well, Noam Chomsky's about as radically unhinged as those two, though luckily he's always been so full of himself he'd never deign to run for office. There are certain other super lefties like him out there who frequently spout the sort of baseless anti-government screeds that we frequently hear from the Union-bashers and Neo-Confederates. The big difference, though, is that they don't get elected to anything.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.

Who links to my website?