Right Wing Nut House



Filed under: Bailout, Financial Crisis, Government, History, Politics — Rick Moran @ 7:41 am

I just finished visiting the blog Crooked Timbers and, as is the case when I read stuff by very smart people, I need an aspirin because my head hurts. I take that as a sign that too much brainy stuff is crammed into my head and I must access the release valve so that some of the older crap can dribble out of my ears to make room for the next clump of logical, coherent, analysis from writers who know a helluva lot more about philosophy and politics than I do.

I lose a lot of long term memory that way, but hopefully, nothing major like the batting averages for the 2005 World Champion White Sox or the names of my children. (Do I have any children? Too late.)

Some very smart writers give me both a headache and make me want to throw up. Juan Cole comes to mind because even though I find his history writing the bomb, he is a nauseating self-referentialist and a terrorist apologist. Come to think of it, just about anyone who writes a blog is guilty of the former so perhaps I am being too hard on Professor Cole as far as his constant self promotion is concerned. His views on Hezbullah and Hamas are another matter and not only have me gagging but also make me want to take a shower after reading him. Same thing happens to me after trying to read Jane Hamsher’s foul mouthed spewings which only goes to show that you can have the mind of slug and still engender massive disgust. Nice trick, that.

There is great virtue in reading stuff by people more intelligent than you are. First of all, generally speaking, you learn something new - even if it’s that the writer is a dork and despite his brilliance, would benefit from the intellectual equivalent of a bracing thwack across the noggin with a two by four. Beyond that, learned writers offer perspectives you will never find by reading most columnists (the sainted Buckley one of the few exceptions), bloggers, or pundits, or by listening to your bartender expound on the mysteries of the universe (despite the fact that most PHD’s in philosophy work as mixologists or cab drivers).

That said, this well toned argument by Henry Farrell at Crooked Timbers on whether or not Barack Obama is turning America into a European style social democracy should be must reading for those who have been complaining about the president’s “socialist” policies.

Farrell quotes Roger Cohen on turning America into France-lite:

To paraphrase Mauriac, I love France, but I don’t want there to be two of them, least of all if one is in the United States. … I think President Obama’s counter-revolution goes in the right direction. … Still, the $3.6 trillion Obama budget made me a little queasy. There is a touch of France in its “étatisme” — the state as all-embracing solution rather than problem — and there’s more than a touch of France in the bash-the-rich righteousness with which the new president cast his plans as “a threat to the status quo in Washington.” … You know possibility when you breathe it. For an immigrant, it lies in the ease of American identity and the boundlessness of American horizons after the narrower confines of European nationhood and the stifling attentions of the European nanny state, which has often made it more attractive not to work than to work. High French unemployment was never much of a mystery. Americans, at least in their imaginations, have always lived at the new frontier; French frontiers have not shifted much in centuries. Churn is the American way. … If America loses sight of these truths, it will cease to be itself.

Cohen sums up the argument nicely, referencing American exceptionalsm without naming it explicitly. Any such mention of exceptionalism would put him in very bad odor with some of his friends on the left who have a jaundiced view of such old fashioned, outmoded, jingoistic nonsense.

Farrell also quotes from this Clive Crook piece at National Journal where the author speaks the forbidden words and points out that if we were to adopt some French social policies (health insurance, labor protections, etc.) that we would not become some kind of French-American hybrid while maintaining our “exceptional” character but rather something totally different:

I was hoping that Brooks would press Shields to say what exactly it is about France he objects to, what makes him recoil at the parallel. Where has France gone too far, in the view of an American liberal? … Presumably, liberals approve of the universal health care, the generous and extensive welfare state, the comprehensive worker protections, the stricter regulation, the vastly more-generous subsidies for higher education, the stronger unions, the higher taxes, and especially the higher taxes on the rich. … Perhaps some liberals privately long to make the United States over in the image of France, but the great majority, I imagine, are more interested in taking the things they regard as best in the European economic model—all the things I just listed—and combining those “socially enlightened” policies with the traditional economic virtues of the United States. Take French social policies and welfare-state institutions and add them to the American work ethic, spirit of self-reliance, and appetite for change. Et voila, the best of both worlds. Color me skeptical. Culture shapes institutions and vice versa. Culture—that bundle of traits of self-reliance, self-determination, innovation, and striving for success—underpins the American exception. … In ordinary times, this culture makes it hard for a government to push the United States in a European direction … But now, maybe, the time is ripe. This unusually severe economic crisis has called American capitalism into question, highlighting its weaknesses and making it easier to forget its strengths. Liberalism has a rare opportunity. … But the interaction between culture and institutions works both ways. Change the system and, with time, you will change the culture.

Farrell’s take deals with the shocks to the political economies of Europe in the 90’s when the “Anglo-Saxon” model of capitalism seemed to be the road to take in a globalized economy:

France and other countries faced a profound crisis – a crisis which in some ways was even more profound than that facing the US today. They have faced continuing pressures to ‘reform’ institutions in a more market-liberal direction over the succeeding two decades. And they have indeed changed in some very important ways. But France did not converge onto the US model despite these pressures. If it had, presumably Crook’s and Cohen’s criticisms would be rather different than the ones that they are making Instead, it has reformed along a divergent trajectory to the US, with continued heavy state involvement in the economy but of a different variety than previously.

This reinforces a near-universal finding of the relevant literature in political economy as I read it. While there is some diffusion of policy lessons across states, it tends to have limited consequences. Different countries respond to common shocks in very different ways, because of their existing institutional structures. National economic trajectories are quite robust. Even in major crises, advanced capitalist countries tend to tinker around the edges of their institutional systems rather than opt for wholesale reform, let alone converging on a perceived ‘better national model’ elsewhere.

And this is what is happening in the US. The Obama proposals are not particularly radical departures from existing practice in the US. They are certainly nothing like traditional European social democracy. Even David Brooks effectively acknowledges this, when he says that they are potentially problematic in combination rather than individually. They aren’t going to set the US on a different national trajectory, let alone make it ‘French’ or ‘European.’ Some of us might like to see this happen, but it isn’t going to, even given the ideological trauma that the US is undergoing. And arguing that American individualism is likely to wilt if exposed to nasty foreign influences smacks more of a kind of capitalist-road José Bové-ism than any serious kind of intellectual analysis.

Reformer, not radical? Farrell seems to be saying that because our “Americanism” is so ingrained, that Obama can slap all the social democratic nonsense he wishes over the exceptionalism template and we will remain virtually unchanged in a cultural sense. I agree. A little more “progressive” in our tax and spending policies perhaps. But it will take a lot more than universal health insurance or card check legislation to destroy what has taken 400 years to build. The problem is, it is not Obama’s policies per se that are necessarily “radical” but rather the ways and means he will achieve them.

But I think Farrell is missing one part of the argument - the practical political effect of Obama’s transformative agenda. This is where the real “change” will occur - a change that will fundamentally alter the relationship between the governed and the governors. For this, we must look to the last American president who attempted transformation - Ronald Reagan.

At bottom, Reagan’s revolution was also firmly grounded in a non-radical departure from existing practice. Reagan did not repeal the Great Society or the New Deal. Social spending skyrocketed under his leadership, anywhere from 3-5% above inflation. Part of this was the fact that he was dealing with a Democratic majority in the House (and, for the last two years, the Senate). The traditional guarantors of aid to the poor made sure there was plenty of funding available to take care of their dependent constituency. Reagan managed to cut the rate of growth as a percentage of GDP in social spending, nothing more - a not inconsequential achievement given the spending trajectory we had been on in the 1970’s.

But even beyond that, Reagan’s “revolution” altered the national conversation on entitlements, bringing some much needed realism and perspective to the debate. Whether this caused a backlash or was itself a product of middle class resentment I will let the historians duke it out to discover the truth of the matter. I don’t see President Obama trying to bring us back to the days when the only question about entitlements was “How much more do we spend?” That part of the Reagan legacy seems secure and may be a starting point to finally come to grips with the frightening prospect of stupdendous social security and medicare outlays 20 years down the road that could literally bankrupt us (if Obama doesn’t beat the clock and do it sooner).

Further, Obama is not going to “undo” the Reagan tax revolution, not when 48 million Americans are paying no taxes at all and the marginal rates he proposes will still fall far short of the rates in place when Reagan took office. Again, Reagan’s tax policies were not really radical in retrospect (Bush’s tax cuts fit that bill nicely) but the changed perspective on taxation - influenced by the California tax revolt that was occurring at the same time - may have been radical in the sense that it reversed 50 years of thinking about taxation. Seeing taxes as personal property and that the government that confiscates the least, governs the best may have to undergo some slight adjustments given our current deficits but the overarching belief that low taxes are a beneficial model for our government will outlast Obama.

So the question of how radical Obama’s policies might be must be seen in the context of politics and history. While grounded, as Farrell rightly points out, in practices and theories of the past, the “remaking” of America that I and others see in Obama’s policies have more to do with a psychological barrier being broken with regards to government intervention in the economy and the resulting alteration of the national conversation about the efficacy of statist solutions to a myriad of social problems. Not France and yet, not America as we have known it either. I realize that “change” is what people voted for but did they vote for the kind of Middle Class dependency that some of Obama’s policies would seem to promote? I struggled with this question in a post I wrote last month, “If Government Makes Life Easier, Does That Make it Better?”

The transformation of American society from one that values liberty to one that embraces dependency has taken longer than any other western nation. This has largely been due to American conservatisms steadfast refusal to abandon what Kirk calls the “voluntary community” in favor of the stifling hand of collectivism. Where once only the poor felt the deadening hand of statism which created a permanent underclass, destroyed the family, and smothered ambition, now the middle class is in line to be granted similar attention…

Liberals do not like to discuss the loss of freedom their collectivist ideas entail. But we are clearly in an era where choices are to be limited for the middle class in order to make life less of a burden . And any society that limits choice, limits freedom.

But isn’t this what the people want, what they are demanding? How can you live in a democracy and tell people that government acting to make your life easier is wrong and that the alternative - struggling to make the right choices for yourself and your family and where not choosing wisely might cost you - is the preferred, indeed the “American” way of self sufficiency and taking responsibility for your own life?

There is nothing noble in suffering but I would posit the notion that independence is, in and of itself, enobling and in any society that values freedom, the slide into dependency cannot be allowed without a recognition of what we lose as well as what is gained. There are 400 years of struggle behind us to create a society where the individual took responsibility for his own well being and that of his family, his fortunes rising or falling based on his native abilities and talents. The reward was “an earned life” of personal satisfaction and a feeling of self worth and accomplishment that you simply cannot experience if you depend on government for as much as we do today. Or as much as we will in the near future if more of our freedoms are given up in the name of personal security and comfort.

Farrell does not believe that kind of “rugged individualism” is at stake in an Obama presidency. I believe it is. I believe the real transformation that Obama’s ideas and policies represent might not make us into a France (which isn’t really the point) but will result in a different kind of America - one that is inconsistent with our founding and an anathema to conservative (traditional) principles upon which we have built a society unique among men. And what I find despicable is the president and his cohorts using the “opportunity” of an economic crisis to bring about these transformative policies by subterfuge. They wouldn’t fly otherwise and they know it.

Give us a stand up fight without resorting to political tricks of fear mongering and partisan bitchery and I would guarantee the bulk of Americans would be standing with us and not the president.


  1. How radical is Obama? That we ask this at all is funny, given the influences, attitudes, and politics that have been on display his entire life. We have become enamored of the idea that men and women are always complex, that they will surprise us with nuance of character and thought, if only we watch and listen close enough. The narrative must always balance good against bad. Villains must have their soft side. Heroes must be flawed.

    If only we watched what Obama does and ignored what he says, we’d realize exactly who he is. He not only intends to remake America, but the American character. IIRC, Mao estimated reshaping a people’s character would take around 12 generations. But things move faster these days.

    Comment by John Howard — 3/12/2009 @ 8:28 am

  2. [...] That said, this well toned argument by Henry Farrell at Crooked Timbers on whether or not Barack Obama is turning America into a European style social democracy should be must reading for those who have been complaining about the … See the original post: Right Wing Nut House » HOW RADICAL IS BARACK OBAMA? [...]

    Pingback by blackpresident.co.uk » Blog Archive » Right Wing Nut House » HOW RADICAL IS BARACK OBAMA? — 3/12/2009 @ 9:08 am

  3. Come to think of it, just about anyone who writes a blog is guilty of the former so perhaps I am being too hard on Professor Cole as far as his constant self promotion is concerned.

    It doesn’t get more American than constant self promotion!

    And what I find despicable is the president and his cohorts using the “opportunity” of an economic crisis to bring about these transformative policies by subterfuge. They wouldn’t fly otherwise and they know it.

    Oooo! I like this. We can apply it to the Republican guard as well, check it out:

    And what I find despicable is the president and his cohorts using the “opportunity” of 9/11 to bring about WAR IN IRAQ by subterfuge. They wouldn’t fly otherwise and they know it.

    Yay! Both parties are filled with horrible lying hacks.

    I disagree. I think even without 9/11 the Bushies and neocons were gunning for Saddam. Some other excuse would have been found. The vote for force may have been closer but it probably still would have carried.


    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 3/12/2009 @ 9:36 am

  4. I’m not sanguine at all that the American character and/or exceptionalism will not be altered. We have several confluences here: Sixties radicals who have shaped elite discussion of the United States for almost 50 years now; an economic panic and a president who uses fearmongering to try to make America look more like the U.S. the aforementioned opinion leaders would like to see; and people who have been cowed by society into silence and evnetual acceptance.

    I literally was shushed by a nephew recently when I badmouthed the latest spending orgy. He told me I wasn’t supposed to say bad things about Obama. That’s where we are, folks.

    Comment by jackson1234 — 3/12/2009 @ 9:42 am

  5. [...] Go here to read the rest:  Right Wing Nut House » HOW RADICAL IS BARACK OBAMA? [...]

    Pingback by Right Wing Nut House » HOW RADICAL IS BARACK OBAMA? | Right Views — 3/12/2009 @ 10:07 am

  6. [...] That said, this well toned argument by Henry Farrell at Crooked Timbers on whether or not bBarack Obama/b is turning America into a European style social democracy should be must reading for those who have been complaining about the b…/b See original here:  Right Wing Nut House » HOW RADICAL IS bBARACK OBAMA/b? [...]

    Pingback by Right Wing Nut House » HOW RADICAL IS bBARACK OBAMA/b? | b001.info — 3/12/2009 @ 10:44 am

  7. I think even without 9/11 the Bushies and neocons were gunning for Saddam.

    You make a compelling point. I wonder how they would have done it without 9/11 though. From the Bushies to TARP, to the current aptly named spending orgy, I’ve become ridiculously bitter and jaded towards both parties.

    I’m telling you… following politics is arguably worse than heroin or crack. It’s just that with heroin or crack there aren’t as many frustrating variables.

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 3/12/2009 @ 11:22 am

  8. B-Hobie’s vision for America has already been largely realized in New York. We have the highest local and state taxes in the country, but the corresponding quality of life that liberals are always arguing that more government spending produces just isn’t here. And the “stimulus” money the state is going to receive will go toward shoring up entitlement spending, which does nothing - repeat, NOTHING - to ameliorate the effects of the nascent depression.

    I would encourage everyone who wishes to witness first hand what happens when B-Hobie’s way of thinking manifests itself in the form of government policy to visit upstate New York. Take a good, hard look at what happens when people are systematically deprived of their initiative and freedom by a government that treats its citizens as either dependents or revenue sources. A close examination of what life is like in the “Empire State” will provide some insight into what the President wants to do to this country. There’s nothing positive or constructive about it - it’s nihilism in its purest form.

    Comment by Sirius — 3/12/2009 @ 1:03 pm

  9. Sirius,

    I have my own opinions about the ills of socialism, but I’m at a loss as to how you can equate nihilism with this type of social policy. Would you care to elaborate?

    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 3/12/2009 @ 1:33 pm

  10. Okay, I read your piece carefully and I still have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. What transformation? The notion that government might actually be made competent? That’s what has your knickers in a twist? You prefer more incompetent government? Like the ones that got us here in the first place?

    You acknowledge that moving from a 35% rate to a 40% top rate isn’t exactly Bolshevism. And you seem to admit that Obama’s health reforms aren’t Maoism run amuck. Or even Frogism. So what, specifically, are you talking about? Because I don’t see anything remotely radical or transformational going on here.

    Unless you are upset by the fact that business has screwed the pooch and is now being rescued by government. And if that’s your main gripe, then how is that Obama’s fault alone? Aren’t you blaming the fire department for getting the burning house all wet? Isn’t the fault here with the banks and their politician-enablers? Are you seriously arguing that we should let the economy spiral ever downward because a depression is preferable to competent government?

    Comment by michael reynolds — 3/12/2009 @ 3:42 pm

  11. Okay, I read your piece carefully and I still have no idea what the hell you’re talking about.

    You’ve appeared on screen, right?

    Comment by John Howard — 3/12/2009 @ 5:35 pm

  12. Don’t be apologetic about brains; I’ve spent my life among liberal academics and they are universally either conformist morons or evil scum.

    Comment by paul thomas — 3/12/2009 @ 7:26 pm

  13. John:

    So you can’t answer the question, either. Interesting.

    Comment by michael reynolds — 3/12/2009 @ 8:21 pm

  14. Frankly, I’m not sure how Obama is promising to radically change the relationship between government and its citizens besides taking on national health care. (Most things he is proposing are in fact left leaning but thankfully don’t seem to be off the socialist deep end.) What I do know is that it would be a lot easier to engage in “rugged individualism” if I wasn’t dependent on my job-issued health coverage.

    Comment by Surabaya Stew — 3/12/2009 @ 8:33 pm

  15. What I do know is that it would be a lot easier to engage in “rugged individualism” if I wasn’t dependent on my job-issued health coverage.


    Comment by Chuck Tucson — 3/13/2009 @ 8:48 am

  16. It’s about time this President was asked about his incredulous statements and disingenuous “goals”- for Obama to portray himself as some sort of deficit hawk just three days after signing the largest spending bill in US history is like Josef Stalin giving a speech deploring conditions in the Siberian gulag.
    He’s been writing his own story as the MSM just parrots it for far too long, and very little of it squares-up with reality. Barack Obama is habitually dishonest… and maybe he should finally get called-out on some of it.

    Comment by Reaganite Republican Resistance — 3/13/2009 @ 10:44 am

  17. Health insurance destroys individualism? I don’t get it.

    Comment by Brett — 3/13/2009 @ 3:29 pm

  18. “Okay, I read your piece carefully and I still have no idea what the hell you’re talking about. What transformation?”

    Are you SERIOUS? You could NOT POSSIBLY be that dumb, and so clearly you are deceived! The man, I’m referring to Obama, ran on a platform of CHANGE? His entire campaign was about changing the culture in Washington. He’s been talking about a “fundamental change in Washington” for some time.

    Really, its a shame you are even allowed to vote if you can’t discern the effect that the president’s leadership is going to have in shaping the country’s values, in fact, often the world’s values. That’s why its considered the most important job in the world (among Americans). Do you actually believe that Barack Obama has NO AGENDA to shape and transform our country or its culture??? He’s already fundamentally changed the political campaigning process. He was the first to use text messages and twitter to speak to his voting base, you twit. And that’s just the tip of proverbial liberal iceburg.

    The following is just a sampling of the articles hitting my inbox over the past few months. You may notice that I am siting primarily social issues in my examples. Why? Precisely because these are the exact kinds of social changes that WILL lead to fundamental cultural transformation under this kind of administration. When mixed with the kinds of sweeping economic, political, defense, diplomacy and foreign relation changes that we have already seen in the first 50+ days of Obama’s presidency, we cannot CLEARLY expect to SEE transformation…how much and to what degree the transformation will take shape is the fundamental question that is trying to be answered in this article. And now, I digress and leave you with just a small FEW key examples of the social changes already taking place:

    “A move is under way in Congress right now to force you and me to pay for coercive abortion programs overseas. Congress’ latest spending spree paved the way for U.S. taxpayers to fund China’s forced abortion policy through the U.N. Population Fund.”

    “As if you haven’t noticed, the political climate has changed dramatically since early November… [And apparently you have NOT noticed Mr. Reynolds] congressional Democrats are moving quickly to consolidate their power and silence opposition to president-elect Obama’s agenda.

    House Speaker Pelosi and the Democrats reinstated an archaic rule that greatly limits the ability of the minority party to amend pending legislation. One congressman said this move “severely limits the democratic process in the House.””

    Although the Obama administration is a little over 24 hours old, the new President has already set to work undoing years of pro-life and pro-family policy.

    “Minutes after Obama took the oath of office, the transfer of power was made complete on the White House website. The page, once home to a host of family values, now welcomes an extreme collection of anti-life, anti-woman, and anti-family agendas. Under the caption “civil rights,” Obama pledges to fight for nationwide civil unions [for homosexual partners], repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, homosexual adoption, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, expanded “hate crimes,” and over 1,100 costly same-sex benefits. He promises to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” [in the military] as well as block a federal amendment to preserve marriage. In exchange for the support of groups like Planned Parenthood, the abortion business is also due for a rich payoff from the 44th president, including his support of abortion-on-demand, more funding for “family planning” programs, embryonic stem cell experiments, and tax-funded abortion.”

    Comment by Heather — 3/13/2009 @ 7:38 pm

  19. I did not edit before I commented, so just to clarify…”siting” should be “citing” and most importantly “we cannot CLEARLY expect to SEE transformation” should be “we CAN CLEARLY expect to SEE transformation… how much and to what degree the transformation will take shape is the question…

    I do not think it wise to equate liberal agendas with competence and conservative agendas with incompetence. It’s also not wise to think of liberalism as progressive and conservatism with back woods, old hat idealism. When you ONLY talk about health care coverage and economic stimulus under this administration, ANYONE would agree with you that those are issues that need to be dealt with in a new way. But the problem with that is that we get so much more than we bargained for in the process! In getting two good things, we open a pandora’s box of social changes that we did not expect, nor want.

    I also just also wanted to say this post so refreshed and energized me, especially Mr. Reynolds comments to it! My husband and I were talking about this very thing a few weeks ago. At the time, I compared Obama’s changes more to Amsterdam, Sweden, Norway and Germany Europe as opposed to France, but I’m glad to see others who are much smarter than me are talking about how America is going to look after all is said and done. It’s an extremely important question that we need to be asking in the midst of all this fear. It’s my opinion that the older generations think China when they think of Obama’s brand of socialism, but I’m thirty-one and I saw his brand of socialism as being European in demeanor and agenda.

    This is not my blog, so please forgive me of my long, ranting comments. I appreciate your approach.

    Comment by Heather — 3/14/2009 @ 8:28 am

  20. People don’t get it, most Democrats like myself that voted for Obama are centrists, not radical liberals. Why can’t the right get that thru their heads? We root for the Packers, drink beer, love meat and hunting, believe in God, work hard get along. Were all not tree huggers and pacifists. Yes, we vote Democratic, we realize what a fiasco the war in Iraq was. Unregulated free market capitalism doesn’t work. That doesn’t make me a commie. Isn’t there something in the middle? Bring our jobs back from China, bring our troops home from Germany, regulate Wall Street, hello SEC. I like Obama but he needs to stay more centrists, but the right needs to quit crying socialism.

    I have not in the past nor do I in this post accuse Obama of socialism. He is, however, offering up a radical agenda in the way he is seeking to implement it.

    btw - the idea that we had “unregulatetd free market capitalism” is so goofy it makes me wonder what planet you’re from. The strait jacket government has wall street and the investment community in is a proximate cause of the mess we’re in. If markets were unregulated, those risky derivatives and COD’s would never have been possible. What made them possible was a change to the Banking Act in 1999 (not community reinvestment act) that allowed brokerage firms to become banks.

    That’s your government regulation for you.


    Comment by Joe — 3/14/2009 @ 12:12 pm

  21. I am tending to think more and more that The Fresh Prince of Hot Air is a schnook and his college professor’s dreams of “social justice” and the like are gonna fall “kerplunk” to the ground.

    He has virtually no experience. He does hold Marxist tendencies, due to his background growing up in and around radicals of the left. We can tell this from his rhetoric. He uses quite a few Marxist terms, phrases and ideas when he speaks. He is simply a good speaker (with a teleprompter; without it, he is quite clearly a professional BS’er / lawyer who thinks he can talk his way out of anything). At his core, Barry & Michelle are America-hating, race-baiters like Sharpton and Jackson, only smoother and more articulate.

    “Barry’s Revolution” will peter out soon, especially in November of 2010.

    Comment by Nessus — 3/14/2009 @ 1:27 pm

  22. Rick said,
    “If markets were unregulated, those risky derivatives and COD’s would never have been possible. What made them possible was a change to the Banking Act in 1999 (not community reinvestment act) that allowed brokerage firms to become banks.”

    This is just false.

    When the government changes a regulation to allow something that was previously prohibited that IS deregulation!

    Summary: It was the deregulation in the 1999 Banking Act that helped make the Bush (and Obama) Banker’s Socialism mess.

    Comment by bsjones — 3/15/2009 @ 1:00 am

  23. I love you Rick, but didn’t you assure us that Obama wasn’t a socialist? I think we only need to look back to the October archives (I think it was 10/8) of this blog to your story on how all the conservatives were overreacting to OHB’s radical background and that he wasn’t that radical.

    Which is it, Rick? It’s easy to change your tune after the fact, but I think you chastised a lot of us (at that time) for pointed out what you’ve just recently learned.

    Maybe I’ve missed your point in either this or the October article. Any way, it’s nice to have you back on the “right” side of the argument.

    One last point, the worst part of this whole “socialism” problem is that Obama is 110% correct in stating that he is just following the playbook set out by Bush/Paulson throughout 2008. It will take years for Republicans to crawl out of that hole.

    Comment by Dave Gordon — 3/15/2009 @ 10:43 am

  24. Rick, what bsjones said. And there are times I wonder what planet you are on.

    Comment by Joe — 3/15/2009 @ 12:17 pm

  25. You make strong men and women and steel in the same way. You hammer the impurities out of them. As Jackson1925 you may understand that is the year of my birth. During the depression my parents somehow hept us in food and shelter. At one time, dried butterbeans grown in a back yard garden, corn bread and some milk were a staple at our meals. Try feeding thst to your children for two or three days.

    The nations problem can be identified with one word. Corruption. From the ffederal congress, the buracracy at every level down to the city. Consider that since WWII we have had more prosecutins of correct officials than I can recall from my reading and study of history. Senator Dodd (D)exemplifies the group along with Congress Cunningham (R).

    Congress brought this mess upon us. Both parties are guilty. Liberals set up the suvprime loans and we are eating their dust.

    We need change and I hope and pray that our president will knuckle down and provide that change. I am concerned about his methods and fear for the nation.

    As to General David H. Petraeus, I think he would make a fine president. Jackson1925

    Comment by Henry Stringfellow — 3/24/2009 @ 4:24 pm

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