Some old news worth remembering since the Republican attitude about government and governing has not changed. During the Bush-Cheney era it is important not to forget Conservatives were in charge of the presidency and Congress for six of those years. Bush was not awful in a vacuum. If governing from the executive branch sucked, the founders had a solution for that, Congress. As a last resort, the Supreme Court. If conservatives cared about government working well they certainly had the constitutional power and the legislative votes to keep the ship on course – many of these Republicans are still in office – Mitch McConnell, John Boehner, James Inhofe, John McCain, Jim DeMint, Paul Ryan. Republicans let Bush-Cheney do as they liked because on a fundamental ideological level they saw nothing wrong with governing disastrously. If the plans worked that was fine – see how great we are. If their plans failed that was fine – see government is incompetent by its very nature. As excessive as Bush’s grab at executive power was, he never used that power to correct any government wrongs – hire some green horn Republican cronies to oversee the rebuilding of Iraq with the resulting catastrophe? That’s fine because hey its just governing and we all know how unimportant governing is. In Lets’ Just How Bad Was the Bush Administration?
What’s striking to me about both of these stories is that if there was any part of the government that the Bush Administration, including George W. Bush himself, cared about getting right, one would have thought it was detention of terrorist suspects and prosecution of the war in Iraq. Of course, we’ve also seen reports of the president’s passive indifference in the cases of New Orleans and the financial crisis. It does raise the question of just how many more of these types of stories have not yet been uncovered, or at least publicized. There are a lot of federal agencies, and a lot of them aren’t exactly going to be in the news unless something terrible happens on their watch. Just how much disarray was there? I can’t emphasize enough that I’m not talking here about ideology, or even positions on issues of public policy. This is about basic competence in managing the government, and strong signs that it was sorely lacking for eight years.
I’m not in complete agreement with every point of Bernstein’s analysis, but his larger question about Republicans and their views about competence are a sharp indictment of the comic tragedy that is conservatism. The general consensus among conservatives is that Bush is to be commended for his governing from the “gut” style and what Bush lacked in intellectual heft was made up for by Dick. Few presidents have been geniuses but they have to be smart enough to know smart when they see it. So Bush doesn’t deserve a pass regardless of what part of his body he didn’t govern from. Cheney smart? Even if we pretend that torture is legal and moral it was hard ignore that it played into terrorist propaganda central as a major recruitment tool. And how does Cheney get away with being the anti-terrorism guru when he doesn’t know how many people are held in Gitmo or any facility or why they are there or where their paperwork is or why he let some out and kept others – one of those gifts that they left for the Obama administration to sort out.
Many panties in a twist in right-wing libertarian and conservative circles as they swear the gov’mint is coming after bloggers. As much as I enjoy the spectacle I’m afraid it’s just another “death panel” scare, The DISCLOSE Act and Blogs
Ed Morrissey at Hot Air says “the purposeful lack of exemption for bloggers looks ominous,” and he is calling the bill “an attempt by Congress to step around the First Amendment and regulate political speech that threatens incumbents.”
Kaptain Ed wakes up paranoid and dreams of plots when he goes to sleep. Real threats to his rights like the Patriot Act he drools over.
Craig Holman at Public Citizen, on the other hand, says the bill “leaves in place the carefully worked out provisions of FEC regulations that exclude blogging and similar internet activity from the definitions of ‘expenditure’ and ‘public communication’ under campaign finance laws. The additional reporting requirements of the DISCLOSE Act do not change the existing exemptions for Internet communications and blogging under federal campaign finance law at all.”
As OC notes it would help dampen the paranoia if Congress would double down on the “internet websites”
exemption rather than making people with short attention spans read back to an old bill referenced in the new bill.
Irony of the day: Fox is running this story in their “Science” section – Global Cooling Is Coming — and Beware the Big Chill, Scientist Warns. Gee, I wonder if that story is to counter this new report – National Academy of Sciences Urges Action on Climate and the fact that contrary to the Fox report and the scientist quoted by Fox – 2010 on track for warmest year on record. It would elevate the discussion if conservatives would learn the difference between climate and weather.
Way too much discussion over a relatively unimportant figure in politics. Rand Paul has even less cultural and political influence than his father. Rand does not seem to be a cross burning racists as much as a typical child of the elite. He was brought up in and lives in a financial, social and mental bubble. The kind which makes him feel a sense of entitlement and relatively obvious to the struggles of people outside his socio-economic class. In that sense, Randy fits in with conservatism very well. Rand Paul: Republican Senate Candidate and Ignorant Disablist
So wounded was he by this scourge that he founded a group called Kentucky Taxpayers United, presumably consisting of people who hope to cease being Kentucky Taxpayers and be left in peace to enjoy only those amenities of life each of them has provided for hirself individually, with no governmental support of any kind.
Of course, this might require Dr. Paul to give up his medical practice. The internet tells us that Dr. Paul has devoted his career to doing eye surgery. The commonest eye surgery done is LASIK, I believe. The Excimer laser used in this procedure was developed at the Northrop Corporation Research and Technology Center of the University of California, and I would hazard a guess that there was some, perhaps considerable, gummint research funding involved somewhere in the process.
Libertarians and conservatives couldn’t get up and go about their day if medical science ever finds a cure for the self delusions they use as a crutch.