Where Does the GOP Go From Here?

Jeff Alworth

The Republican Party is in a shameful, embarrassing shambles. The leadership is divided between extremist Southerners in Congress, an ineffectual, hapless party leader, and celebrity fire-breathers like Rush Limbaugh, odious in their personal hypocrisy to most of the Americans the GOP would in other times be trying to woo.

It is an interesting paradox that during times of political collapse it's the rival party that understands far more clearly how the collapsing party got there. They have spent years or decades in the political wilderness documenting the effect of arguments on the body politic, measuring tiny oscillations in voter registration, studying history and white papers and reports from the GAO.  The erstwhile ruling party, meanwhile, has developed such a habit of setting the agenda that it has forgotten there is any daylight between its rhetoric and reality. Once the collapse comes, the fallen party has thrown away the very tools it requires to regain power--the ability to see political reality and understand the mood of the electorate, the intellectual chops to compete with the upstart party, humility, moderation, and a grasp on the actual, rather than rhetorical, effects of policy.

Of course, as Twain noted, history doesn't repeat itself it just rhymes. The current collapse is marked by circumstances only possible at this point in history. Oregon's GOP differs from the national party in some ways, but let's look at a few of the key elements from the big picture:

Every one of these elements was either masked (incompetence) or held as a virtue (anti-intellectualism) until even two years ago. The GOP, as is the case with all recently-fallen parties, is in denial. They either don't see the fault--few Republicans will cop to their party's corruption or incompetence--or think it's a messaging problem. Most Republicans still hang on to the idea that they're the ruling party and that all they need to do is find the proper message to regain the support of the people.

The Republicans are in a bad situation. Structurally, they're being led by the most extreme, most distasteful members of the party. It's no wonder that Fox News is seeing a spike in viewership--the only Republicans left are the true believers, and they're in a siege mentality. The politicians who still have support live in places where those extreme voters remain. They're being pressured to get more conservative. While Limbaugh can remain one of the most powerful talk show hosts with 10 million viewers, a party that adopts his approach is absolutely doomed.

I've been listening to an evolving discussion among Republicans about where they go from here, and nationally there are two camps. One is led by the fire-breathers. The second is led by people like David Frum and David Brooks (and Utah's Jon Huntsman, one of the few elected officials in this camp), who are trying to revitalize the party's intellectual and policy bona fides. The problem is that it's no longer in their hands. Limbaugh is right about one thing: the only way the GOP gets back into power anytime soon is if the Democrats implode as spectacularly as the Bush- and Delay-led Republicans. No wonder he's rooting for failure. This is the really brutal thing about being in the minority party; your success depends on things outside your control.

If my cursory reading of political history is a guide, what we can expect is a continued decline by the GOP, leading to a rival faction, more moderate, more willing to accept the terms of the debate as set by the Democrats. Or possibly--and this is where the hinterland, places like Oregon, fit in--it could come from a totally new framework.  History, recall, doesn't repeat itself.  There's no return to Reaganism. 

However, a clever politician from a place like Oregon might chart a totally new course for the party.  Oregon was seized by the far-right earlier than the country, the party sanitized itself from the impurities of moderate Republicans earlier, and it flamed out earlier, too.  In the next couple elections, look for politicians to emerge who don't hew to the Mississippi model of Republicanism.  Our state will be on the leading edge of global warming, and smart Republicans will recognize that issue's non-partisan.  The assault on the OEA has been a total bust, but it has badly damaged education.  This, too, is an issue ripe for GOP poaching.  The future of the GOP isn't Reaganism, but it might look something like McCallism.  If so, Oregon may be on the leading edge.

At the moment, though, Republicans are eating themselves.  For those of us watching from the other sideline, they're doing everything right to prolong their time in the wilderness. We know that reality will play a forceful role in how things unfold, and the Obama years are going to be an accelerant in one direction or another. But the GOP needs to be able to step up if reality breaks in their direction. As long as they're being led by the same old dinosaurs who are blind to the problems that led to the downfall, they're not ready to step up.  I can't say it breaks my heart.

  • mp97303 (unverified)

    If you want to see how bad it can get, look to Arizona. Since Napolitano went to Homeland Security, the GOPers now have total control of the state.

    You in OR don't know squat about insane GOPers. You would be shocked at what governs AZ. One notable, Russell Pearce, implied that they should cut out funding for the UA and ASU because they have a good community college system there.

    Thank heaven I am back amongst the little blue people of Oregon.

  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead (unverified)

    Your intellectualizing stated nothing!

    As soon as we have a Democratic president federal budget as a percentage of GDP goes from 18 percent to 36 percent. This negates your economic argument.

    Unlike many, when George Bush lowered interest rates in 2002 we refinanced, and lived within our means. We are now only a few years away from complete economic freedom. Had others done the same, instead of living betond their means, the country would be flush with cash. The stock market would be 15,000.

    Try to intellectualize conservatism in another year or two when Obama hands you the tax bill. Of course if your one of our citizens that does not work and expects others to pay your way you wont be getting a bill. You will be getting more handouts!

  • Angela (unverified)

    "Try to intellectualize conservatism in another year or two when Obama hands you the tax bill. Of course if your one of our citizens that does not work and expects others to pay your way you wont be getting a bill. You will be getting more handouts!"

    Exactly. Do any of you realize just HOW MUCH money is being spent? Did you know that a trillion dollars would stretch from Earth almost all the way to the sun. Who's going to pay that bill, folks??



  • (Show?)

    Um... that tax bill would be largely related to the economic morass which conservatives handed President Obama. Or hadn't you noticed that, unlike presidents going back many decades, Obama inherited an economic implosion of epic proportions.

  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead (unverified)

    If you look at foreclosures by county, it will show that Southern California and Florida were mostly responsible for the economy. That and derivatives. Americans who refinanced to live beyond their means was the problem. Or did George Bush make them get sub prime and ARM loans so they could get a new kitchen and BMW?

  • Bill McDonald (unverified)

    I don't think most people are really aware of the magnitude of this mess. If you really jump in and grapple with these derivative numbers, you'll feel like you're in a horror movie. Letting it all just crash would be a scenario so bleak, the Great Depression would seem like a bad dental appointment. Of course the instinct is to stop spending. I mean run to the dimmer switch in the Oval Office and turn down the lights. We are tapped. I even fantasize about stopping the 2 wars and closing our bases overseas. Our defense budget is bigger than the rest of the world COMBINED. I would cut off a huge chunk of our empire swerve, but even most anti-spending Republicans won't touch defense. So what about this post? What about the future of the GOP?

      Listen, imagining what will happen to the Republican Party next is like worrying about the iceberg the Titanic ran into. One thing is for sure: It would have been easier to bail out the hull of the Titanic  before it sank than what we're facing.
      I'm sorry to be so negative, but I made the mistake of studying derivatives - 500 TRILLION dollars worth - and I've been bumming ever since.
      So I guess my opinion is who cares what happens to the Republican Party? Who cares what Rush Limbaugh's problem is? I like the way Stephen Andrew Brodhead is trying to help - although I wouldn't wait too long to start working on that concession speech - but we don't have time for another plan.
    The ship of state is sinking - if you can't lend a hand, then at least don't go down below deck and try and tear new holes in the hull. We can talk about this later when we see if we're still afloat next year.

    Okay, enough with the nautical bit. it could be the first time people got seasick from an analogy.

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    Americans who financed to live beyond their means were driven by the same greed which drove mortgage brokers to make questionable loans and then promptly bundle said questionable loans into exotic financial instruments and sold them - thereby reaping the rewards while shouldering zero of the risks of said questionable loans.

    Here's the thing, though: Those mortgage officers were the experts. Blaming the greedy but ignorant Americans who fed the beast is the same as blaming Bernie Madoff's clients for his Ponzi scam. Greedy though they all were, the fact remains that they were duped by experts.

  • Rulial (unverified)

    Good post, Jeff. Alas, I feel like you're talking to a wall.

    I agree with the commenters here that it's unfortunate that the president has racked up so much debt during his short time in office. However, it's forgivable because he's facing the most serious economic crisis in decades, one that threatens the very fabric of our economic system. Besides, where were these GOP paragons of fiscal responsibility when Bush was running up our credit cards with unsustainable tax cuts and the unnecessary war? At least we get some bridge repairs out of Obama's deficits. Apparently, balanced budgets are only a virtue when you are out of power.

    By the way, Mr. Brodhard, while Bush didn't make anyone get a subprime mortgage, this deregulation binge we've been on the last three decades, which Bush took to its fruition, certainly didn't help.

    But the fact that I've yet to see a GOP present a serious plan to deal with the economic crisis only underscores the points Jeff makes in his post.

    I know Jack Roberts, one of the few politicians in the GOP I respect, sometimes reads these boards. Mr. Roberts, I think you could lead the revitalization Jeff is talking about here. And I think that would be good--the nation needs two functioning parties.

  • Rulial (unverified)

    My sincerest apologies to Stephan Andrew Brodhead for getting his last name wrong.

  • LT (unverified)

    "Americans who financed to live beyond their means..."

    I hope you don't mean the victims of con artist mortgage types who sold "stated loan" or other dishonest mortgages to people with good credit--but the sales commission on the stated loan was more than the honest ordinary loan. Anyone who believes in caveat emptor and that we should punish people who were duped rather than the con artists who made fools of them (as Madoff did with his clients) is someone I wouldn't trust to tell me if it is raining outside unless I went outside and got wet.

    And I hope you don't mean people who thought they had steady jobs but were laid off when their company failed, merged, etc. Were they supposed to know they would be laid off a year before it happened?

    This is what happens when deregulation is king. I recall reading once about a famous investor who made a lot of money (old story, not sure it was Buffett or someone else) by only investing in things he understood--like investing in the brands of ordinary items his wife bought at the grocery store or elsewhere. Producing a product sold in the grocery store or other stores (as opposed to fancy "financial instruments") is what built the American economy. What the dishonest Wall Street types did is like the Northern Securities case (trying to corner the market was a game to the fabulously wealthy, but cost ordinary people their life savings and ended up being a major court case when Teddy Roosevelt was President). That case did not go down in history as "those poor people should have known better", it went down in history as a landmark pointing to government regulation of business.

    I want to know how paper profits ended up being counted in the GDP. I want credit given to the few wise people who didn't vote for the end of Glass Steigel (deregulating banks and allowing them to invest in risky ventures) or that whole commodities futures/ derivatives.

    I'd like to see a lot more people who did the financial crimes in jail. T. Roosevelt was a Republican who understood the basic fairness of not letting the very rich ruin the economy for everyone else.

    When the current GOP figures out that TR went down in history as more of a hero than presidents like McKinley and Hoover, they will be on the road back. Until then, attacks and ideology won't get them any better result in the future than it got them in 2006 and 2008.

  • Gil Johnson (unverified)

    Why is everyone in the Democratic Party so concerned about the Republicans. They are becoming more and more irrelevant to the future of our state and country. The only thing that keeps them in the news is that they control a bunch of seats in Congress and our legislature, holding over from the time when Dick Cheney scared voters into thinking we needed to suspend our civil liberties in order to save our nation from heathen terrorists. America got wise to that canard in 2006 and came pretty close to pushing the GOP over the cliff in 2008.

    If it weren't for the media allowing Republican blowhards to bloviate on so-called news shows, the party would dry up and disappear.

    I think David Brooks is onto something now that he is calling himself a moderate and even appearing, at times, to be one. He is formulating a possible replacement for the GOP that would essentially create a centrist party that would include conservative Democrats as well as moderate and some less rabid conservative Republicans. And it's high time this realignment occurred. For three decades, policy debates in the U.S. have been between centrists and increasingly doctrinaire conservatives, with the left side of the spectrum mostly left out. When it comes to true solutions to our problems, however, the debate needs to be between the left and the center, with the right marginalized. This seems to be occurring now inside the Democratic Party over the financial crisis and the Obama administration's actions.

  • cdd mills (unverified)

    Republicans will remain in an identity crisis as long as most of them continue to ignore the role Sun Myung Moon is playing. Moon, who plans to rule the world in a theocracy beginning in 2012, has pretty much given up on bringing American Christians into his fold, so he has his sights set on Mormons worshipping him. Mitt Romney is Mormon. Moon supported Mitt Romney in his 2008 election campaign, and apparently has already indicated that he will support Romney's 2012 run for president. Mitt Romney supports Rush Limbaugh, whose propaganda against all of Romney's opponents in the 2012 campaign will improve Romney's chance of winning. Given how much money Sun Myung Moon can get donated to election campaigns, and how much campaign propaganda his media outlets can spew, the House and Senate minority leaders are apt to be doing much of what Moon tells them to do. Yet, since Republicans in Congress would rather have it be said that they follow a blowhard radio talk show host - Limbaugh - than that they follow a man who considers himself to be the Messiah, they will continue to publicly elevate Limbaugh.

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    Rulial says: "I know Jack Roberts,... sometimes reads these boards. Mr. Roberts, I think you could lead the revitalization Jeff is talking about here. And I think that would be good--the nation needs two functioning parties."

    Jack Roberts is hated by the people in control of the current Oregon GOP. He's too much of an honest, intellectual, progressive Republican for them to stomach. Even his recent diatribe against unionization cannot placate, let alone win over, the backward-looking, knuckle-dragging intellectual midgets who now run ORGOP. He is nowhere near reactionary enough for them.
    Or, putting it another way, Roberts is no match for the likes of ORGOP'S current legislative and party leaders and those who blog here.

    We do have two functioning parties here in Oregon. It's just that one of them is run by people who meet all of Jeff's criteria -- I know many of them, having once been a member of ORGOP's central committee. Most registered Republicans simply do not understand what's going on behind the curtains or how the Republican party and those who pay the bribes (campaign contributions)to achieve gain (valuable contracts or protection from law and order) have ruined this country.

    So, my plea to Jack Roberts is: give it up. Quit ORGOP and come over to the light. Leave the nostalgia-driven Republicans to the fate they have struggled so mightily to earn in their relentless backward moves. Joel Haugen did it, I did it, and you can too.

  • edison (unverified)

    Wow, Jeff. You really know what buttons to push to bring out the moonbats. Good work!

  • BOHICA (unverified)

    "Where Does the GOP Go From Here?"

    Hopefully straight to hell.

  • Wicked Harold Godwin of the West (unverified)

    You know, from the amount of time BO spends strategizing for the Reps, you'd think this was the official, unofficial blog of the Reps, not the Dems. Is this how you deal with BSO's failure? Have T.A. post a "yeah, what he said", before he says it, then Jeff throws a misdirection 180 degrees, the next morning.

    I'm giving you credit with the historic, unofficial, official line. In truth it's become the Vomitorium Larsibus. Stephan, mp, Richard, puke away!

    More people are deciding everyday that BSO is a fraud. An electoral victory is not an accomplishment. Policy is. You have oodles of work to do. Clean your own plate before telling your twin brother what to eat next.

    Meanwhile, the predicted torches and pitchforks are here! By May, in the US, by next year the pols will be included with the bankers. And their little pet blogs, too.

  • Arthur Fiedler (unverified)

    BHO. Hard to write that without BS coming out.

  • Phil Philiben (unverified)

    Isn't it curious that when we finally have the opportunity to reform health care,energy and education deficits are the most important issue we face. How can anybody believe the GOP when they simultaneously vote to go to war and cut taxes. I'm usually not conspiratorial, but I'm beginning to believe that the powers to be realized that the Democrats where going win big in 2008 and the only way to thwart their agenda was to create a mega financial disaster.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    I'm rooting for a rise of the Whigs in all this.

    Anyone with me?

  • Freddy the Fez (unverified)

    Conspiratorial: 1. creating an interpretation of events which uses all the facts. 2. interpreting events using facts that have not appeared on Fox News. 3. Mythical.

    You have only yourself to blame for saying that. You want conspiracy?

    I'm confused. After you win the game, why do you need strategy?

    At the turn of the century, TR took us away from McKinley's administration's path, down the road of empire. We changed the constitution to directly elect senators, passed universal suffrage (so that prohibition, never possible, could be passed), instituted an federal income tax, entered a European war, and turned fed money supply over to a private corp.

    These interests have wanted, since then, to precipitate a financial collapse, which would allow them to implement a fascist government. Their actions during the Great Depression are a matter of record. After FDR's main enabler tried to torpedo him, by putting the repeal of prohibition on the platform, he left the party and, totally out in the open, joined the American fascists. Their connection with Prescott Bush is well documented. The basic techniques were used by Shrub's friend Wagoner Carr with Texas S&Ls, in the 60s, 41 as the bagman for Watergate, Niel Bush with Silverado Savings and Loan. Then, surprise, surprise, surprise, Shrub's administration fails to police suicidal actions by investors that bring us closer than ever to financial chaos. He does nothing to quell panic.

    They are right on schedule! Don't want to stick around longer than this, would you? The fix is in. They've calculated that we can't get out of this, and eventually things will turn chaotic and their fascists can coast to power. If that doesn't happen, then they have failed. As it stands at the moment, they are poised to achieve everything they have been working for during the last 100 years. Since FDR, you haven't had a Rep admin without Nixon or a Bush, but you really can't see the continuity, can you?

    Yes, the party is in a shameful, embarrassing shambles. What the party is being used for, is near complete success. That's why the vehicle can be discarded. They're coming back as full frontal fascists, anyway. They care not what you think of "the Republican Party". I will bookmark this post, though. It is painfully difficult to find quick, succinct examples of how party thinking is unrealistic, lazy and counter-productive.

    Woohooo! We're stomping the Reps. Unfortunately the fascists just won the day, while you were engaged in party politics. Parties don't matter. When they do, that is your problem. Parties started because "you can't expect the average person to process all this". That's why they have animal logos. Most those people couldn't read. What is your rationale today? Admit it. It's not different. "You can't expect people to keep up and be able to think it through as well as our legislators". Just say it. There is no other rationale for having a political party in the 21st century. You won't say it, because people don't accept that. Q.E.D., all party activity in the 21st century is fraud. Congrats. Your fraud is well-run, unlike that miserable shambles of a fraud that is Republicanism.

    I think I want to legally change my name to Hacker A. Fraud and run for a Metro post, as a Democrat. Fraud in 2010! Fraud for Metro! "Hacker Fraud: My kind of Democrat". "Wouldn't you like a good Democrat, Fraud, working for you"? That's all folks want. Maybe my wife can change hers to "Babe Killer", and run as a Rep. "Vote for Killer, Republican, for change". "Killer for Christ". "Send a Killer to Washington and make your voice heard"! "Babe Killer is the answer for Iraq". "Babe Killer will restore our international standing". The electorate would be left with the same decision. Do I vote for Killer or Fraud?

    I respect life. I'd vote for Fraud. What are those crazy Reps thinking?!?

  • William Pitt (unverified)

    Posted by: Eric Parker | Mar 25, 2009 7:41:34 AM

    I'm rooting for a rise of the Whigs in all this.

    Anyone with me?

    Most are Libertarians now! My son's a hold out, but he'll come around.

    Besides, given typical American spin and marketing, I don't know I could bear hearing "the party of Washington".

    Vincent's excellent post , only 15 days ago, mentioned that, with links.

    Seriously, the position of the Whig's at the end, is very much like today's Reps.

  • (Show?)

    I understand that there are huge issues to confront. That doesn't mean all discussion not directly related to the economy must stop. Trust a blogger--talk's cheap! Sometimes a person just gets musing on something, you know?

    I should get a post up about health care--something both Salem and Washington are considering. Soon.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    "Most are Libertarians now!"

    Agreed. And when they go to Canada, they are called the NDP - New Democratic Party. The ones starting to infiltrate the Liberal Party....but that's Canada's problem.

  • Bill R. (unverified)

    Once upon a time there were Rockefeller Republicans.It defined the Republican Party of Oregon. Bloomberg is the closest thing to it today. If the Rs had any chance of success it would be in that direction. Norma Paulus said a few years back, "There is no one left in the Republican Party I can talk to." That about says it all.

    The Republican Party is now a re-incarnation of the "Know-Nothing Party" of the 19th century. It's a pack of nativist, religious fundamentalist militants, science hating xenophobes, who promote a brand of irrational extremist and violent nationalism. The Republican Party of Georgia is trying to pass legislation threatening to secede from the union and revitalize the Confederacy. Need we say more.

  • Jason (unverified)


    Seriously? Get over yourself.

    As a democrat you are NOT an expert on what's happening within the Republican Party. Suffice it say that I'm not living in a dream world believing that everything is rosy in the conservative realm - it's not. But it's not as dire as you and Carla, and others, make it out to be.

    For a party that is now in control of our own state and the nation you all have this odd inclination to talk about the party you so hate, and has no power to do anything right now.

    It's kind of like a child who gets the candy he wants and then throws a fit because it's not big enough.

    I don't get it.

  • Murphy (unverified)

    Historically, ideological conservatism always loses, and as long as the GOP aligns itself with dogmatic and uncompromising conservatism, it too will collapse in most of the country and become a regional party -- a shrinking region at that.

    Throughout America’s history, conservative elements have opposed, almost universally, progressive change in society and culture. Here’s an example: in 1967, anti miscegenation laws were deemed unconstitutional in Loving v Virginia. The original trial judge , Leon Bazile, basing his decision upholding Virginia’s laws that forbade interracial marriage on Johann Blumenback’s racial theories, wrote that ” Almighty God created the races white, black, yellow, malay and red, and he placed them on separate continents. And but for the interference with his arrangement there would be no cause for such marriages. The fact that he separated the races shows that he did not intend for the races to mix.”

    That was conservative belief at the time, and 16 states, all of the Southern states along with Delaware and Missouri, had similar laws to Virginia’s. And it was a popular belief: in 1967 only 30% of American citizen supported interracial marriages.

    Yet, today one would be hard pressed now to find a conservative outside of the Klan who’d argue for the reinstatement of miscegenation laws, but fifty years ago it would have been not too difficult at all.

    Such has it been for all of our history. From Women’s Suffrage, to the founding of unions, to the civil rights struggle, conservatives have been on the losing side of all of these cultural battles. Unless it changes, the GOP’s slavish adherence to conservative ideology will again lead it down the path to political irrelevance.

    For a healthy society to function, both liberal and conservative aspects of political thought are necessary and vital -- and they must to an extent share power. When they fail in this task, you have catastrophe (in our case a Civil War). Liberalism is the engine that changes culture and society and often those changes are very painful and chaotic and people get hurt -- but these changes are also inevitable and necessary. While they are often unpopular, they also force us to reexamine the assumptions we have about what makes a just society. Rational Conservatism, on the other hand, forces us to slow that change down and reconsider it so liberalism doesn't destroy the culture in its zeal to change it. Rational Conservatism's the brake, and when it's functioning properly it not so much wants to turn the clock back, but rather stop it for a time, or at least slow it down. However, the modern, conservative GOP is anything but rational. It’s piloted by media hucksters who confuse ratings with political clout and sophistry for serious debate. It’s elected officials are impotent (or just crazy) and have few ideas beyond disinterring Ronald Reagan.

    So where does the GOP go from here? Unless it jettisons and disavows its far right malcontents, comes to its senses, and embraces moderation, it goes nowhere -- fast.

    Don’t hold your breath.

  • OnemuleTeam (unverified)

    Personally, I'd like to see then explode in a supernova like cataclysm, never to be anywhere near power ever, ever again.

    But, I'd settle for going somewhere far from here, laying down and quietly metaphorically dying.

    That might just be me.

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    "More people are deciding everyday that BSO is a fraud."

    Where do they live? Not in the US, where Obama's polling numbers have gone UP in the last week, and remain in the mid 60s for approval.

    The group that IS being labeled as frauds would be Congressional Republicans, who have some of the lowest recorded ratings in history. And their nonelected standardbearers? Rush Limbaugh is hated by a majority of the country, and Dick Cheney was perhaps the least popular elected official in US polling history.

    If you think Obama's failing, take a step outside the Beltway and reassess.

  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead (unverified)

    U.S. Federal budget as a percentage of GDP

    When the stock market crashed in 1929, the U.S. federal Budget was 2.5 percent of GDP. If we applied the 1933 Federal budget percentage to today’s $13.84 trillion GDP it would only be $346 Billion.

    If we look at the $3.1 Trillion 2009 Federal budget and include TARP $700 Billion, Fannie Mae Bailout $250 Billion, and a percentage of Obama’s stimulus package $400 Billion, as well as, a $410 Billion budget extension, we get approximately $4.860 Trillion in Federal Budget. This is 35 percent of GDP. However, hard revenue only amounts to approximately $2.5 Billion. Over approximately $2.4 trillion is deficit spending.

    If we consider State taxation, and national Health care costs (28 percent of GDP), we then realize that over 60 percent of GDP is for Federal, State, or local government and Health Care. 60 cents on the dollar is spent on other than Food, shelter, clothing, and non discretionary items. At best, 40 percent of GDP circulates within the private sector. 40 cents of every dollar is in the hands of “The people”. Our cash fuel tank is just above 1/3 full.

    Needless to say, FDR had much greater economic envelop to work with during “The Great Depression” (approximately 95 percent of GDP) versus BHO (40 percent)! In other words, 95 percent of GDP circulated within the private sector. 95 cents of every dollar was in the hands of “The people”! They had a full tank of cash fuel to run the economy on.

    We then must consider Demographics. FDR had a much, much, much younger population to work with. When Social Security was implemented, the ratio of workers to SS recipients was 28 to 1. I could elaborate on all the social issues of the time like, agrarian versus sedentary lifestyles etc., but lets just move on to straight numbers.

    Now there are approximately 2.8 workers supporting 1 worker on entitlements or 10 times less. 45 million Americans are over 65 years old. 5 million Baby Boomers will be leaving the work force a year for the next 20 years. Every year, 5 million Baby Boomers will be receiving entitlements paid for by 2.8 of our children. The labor force exodus will be very good for workers that are laid off. In a few short years, there will be a labor shortage and wages will go up, unless of course, companies continue to offshore.

    Why pay an American worker when you can hire 10 Chinese workers for the price of 1 American worker and pay zero health care, unemployment insurance, or entitlements? The bad news is that the Obama Socialist Welfare state will raise taxes and eat up any wage gains. In addition, deficit spending will continue to erode the value of a dollar.

    The statistics are frightening, but a huge number of retirees have very little savings and receive the bulk of their retirement from Social Security. The numbers are absolutely frightening.

    We must ensure that Social Security is sustainable! Social Security is very sustainable if we cut back drastically on Federal government spending, eliminate Medicare and simply expand the current VA system to cover Our most vulnerable.
    Social Security will be stable at a little over 5 percent of GDP for the foreseeable future. Medicare and Medicaid will become 20 percent of GDP or all present revenue.

    We can reduce total government to below 18 percent of GDP and still provide stable Social Security and Health care!

    George Bush’s economic mess?

    Barack Hussein Obama has stated dozens of times that he inherited the economy from George Bush.

    If we look at this You tube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usvG-s_Ssb0

    And this You tube video http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_MGT_cSi7Rs

    paint a much different picture!

    It seems the Democrats and Obama and their lack of oversight caused the bank failures! They encouraged and aggressively pushed loans for people that did not have the credit score or adequate means to afford a house. So now the same party that caused this mess is in power and blaming Republicans for the mess.

    A little Primer

    Demographics, Republican supply side economics, the technology ERA, and the height of the baby boomer marginal physical productivity cycle created the roaring 90s. Bill Clinton turned that prosperity into huge Federal surpluses and maintained several years of balanced budgets. The Y2K fiasco kept a super Tech heavy stock market artificially inflated. Stock market liars and traders and the media kept the illusion going and made billions off of American investors. When the tech bubble burst, 6 trillion was lost from the 401ks of millions of Americans. The NASDAQ tumbled from above 6000 to 1200, then 911 hits.

    In order to keep the Stock Market from tumbling further, George Bush and Alan Greenspan lowered interest rates. As a result of lowered interest rates, housing prices began to soar. Freddie Mac and Fannie Mae began adhering to very lax credit standards and very ridiculous loan programs and handed out billions to undeserving home buyers and investors. Meanwhile, we were engaged in and winning a war in the Middle East. The stock market hit all time highs, and many people recuperated the money they had lost in their 401Ks. Then the ARM loans and Sub Prime loans came do, the housing bubble burst, and people that lived beyond their means started walking away from the loans they should not have had in the first place. Loans brought to you by Barack, Barney Frank, Frank Raines, and associates. An economy brought to you by a democratically controlled House and Senate.

    The Obama Effect

    When Barack Obama gained the democratic nomination in August 2008, the stock Market was 11,543. When Barack Obama won the election on November 4th 2008 the DOW was 8900. When he took office in January 2009 the DOW hit 8000. When Barack Obama signed the stimulus bill, the DOW continued to slide. When Barack Obama, came out with the $410 billion budget extension for 2009, the DOW lost more ground. When he came out with his 2010 $3.55 trillion budget proposal, the DOW headed south of 7,000. When we then factor in Bernanke stating he will raise interest rates to quell inflation, it is clear that the Market reacts negatively to anything Obama. I feel there is collusion between the FED, Fannie Mae and Obama at the behest of the Stock Market. All the emphasis and attention is on loosening credit and buying up foreclosed homes versus the Stock Market.

    If Bernanke raises interest rates to pre 2002 levels, it will be very bad on both the housing Market and the Stock Market. Home owners will have to lower prices to sell. Our youngsters will have to pay high interest rates. People will flock to banks for better savings rates versus loss after loss in the Stock Market. A tumbling Stock Market will exacerbate an already untenable Baby Boomer/ Social Security retirement situation. With their 401k worth less, they will rely more and more on Social Security. What affect will 50 to 60 million retirees on (much lower than forecasted) fixed incomes have on the economy?

    The stimulus

    I looked at the stimulus package. It looked more like pent up closet tax and spend liberal agenda and rampant earmarks than a viable stimulus plan. I especially did not like all the money that is going to education, research, bio fuels, electrical infrastructure, and federal buildings. Given the price of tuition and tenured professor salaries, aren’t our universities over funded already? As far as bio fuel, aren’t battery powered cars a much cleaner method of propelling cars? Can’t we use Alaska CNG “compressed natural gas” for our interstate trucking? Shouldn’t we use agricultural land for food versus fuel? Can wind power be put in an aircraft fuel tank? Is Nuclear power the most efficient way to generate electricity? Isn’t natural gas the cheapest way to heat a house? Why hasn’t the federal government been able to maintain their buildings on the budgets of the past?

    Did General Electric, Warren Buffet, and Obama engage in Fascist style collusion before and after the 2008 Election?

    How will the universities that are slated for billions in research money help the economy when the products of research would end up being manufactured in China anyways? How will doubling government from 18 percent of GDP to almost 40 percent of GDP stimulate the economy? 70 percent of the GDP is generated from small business and the retail sector, how will an 800 billion pork ridden federal and state budget bailout help the working class that pays the taxation? When 5 million Baby boomers retire a year and leave the stock market for a more secure money stream, how is funding far-fetched educational research going to help our 401ks right now? Couldn’t we have just given our tax payers an 800 billion dollar tax refund? It was their money in the first place!

    How can a president that increases government 35 billion dollars a day for his first 35 days in office call it responsible? How can a president ask people that live from paycheck to paycheck on a globalized economy to be patriotic and sacrifice, while he balloons government and leaves lazy government employees secure. They get better pay, better pensions, and free medical and dental, and great benefits. The tax payer gets a layoff notice and a foreclosure! Government is no longer for the people. It is for itself, and our children will have to pay for it.

    Obama the Anti-Clinton

    I was under the impression that Obama would follow in the footsteps of Bill Clinton concerning government spending. I understood his “change” message to mean less military involvement, more efficient government, and less expensive health care for the tax payers. Instead, he expands the war in the Middle East, grows government, creates a massive deficit, and puts inexpensive healthcare on the back burner. In lieu of leaving Iraq on a short timetable, he wants to stay another 18 months and then leave 50,000 troops behind. By the time it is said and done, 50,000 troops will be in Afghanistan, 50,000 will be in Iraq and only 30,000 will get to go home. This scenario is no different than what John McCain or Hillary Clinton would have done. The change message has morphed into something much more status quo and inefficient. I feel bad for Bill Clinton. Standing by while an inexperienced 1 term senator wrecks the economy must be very painful for William Jefferson Clinton.

    Unlike George Bush who allowed federal government to grow from $1.7 to $3.1 trillion, Bill Clinton cut government and controlled spending. During Bill Clintons last term in office, federal government grew from $1.6 to $1.7 trillion. Republicans were too busy with the Monica Lewinsky ordeal to appreciate this wonderful fiscal achievement. I believe Hillary Clinton would have followed her husband’s example.

    Obama on the other hand is the Anti-Clinton. He along with his democratic cronies want to double the size of government and punish the rich. They will give the middleclass a tiny tax break then punish them a little later. Obama has spent almost as much money in 35 days as Bill Clinton spent in 4 years. Bill Clinton spent $1.7 trillion during his last year in office... Obama spent ½ the TARP funds, a $410 billion extension, and $800 billion on a stimulus. Our current democratically controlled congress feels bastardized socialism is a supporting premise for, and solution to, extreme fiscal stupidity.

    True Socialized medicine is far different than our current accepted or perceived form of bastardized socialism. The Veterans administration and Armed forces hospital systems operate as true Socialized medicine systems. Doctors, Nurses, and hospital staff are paid a salary. While a doctor’s appointment in the civilian sector might cost $300 for a 20 minute appointment, which Medicare must pay for, a veterans Administration doctor may see 15 patients a day for $500 total. VA style health care for our seniors would save our children utter trillions and allow them to buy a home. Same quality care at 10 to 15 percent the cost to the tax payer. Finland uses Health Care software developed by the VA. If Finland is using Veteran Administration Software to run its entire country, why are we spending money to develop new software that does the same thing?

    Why does Obama want to spend $634 billion as a down payment on a future health Care system, when we can simply expand the VA system to cover seniors and simply redistribute how we pay for private health care? Isn’t 1/3 employer, 1/3 employee, and 1/3 Health care tarrif tax a fair ay to distribute health Care expenses? China has taken millions of our jobs. They have taken millions of our jobs that used to create revenue and pay for social services here in America. Should they now get away scott free? Isnt levying a 15 percent health care tarrif tax on all imports originating from countries that devalue their currency a fair system? Or do we make the rich pay for everyone’s health care in this country? Do we push corporations out of this country by mandating them to pay the high cost of health care?

    Why are we funding Medicare at $600 billion a year when we can expand the VA and then cover our Senior citizens for $150 billion a year?

    George Bush’s 2009 budget as passed by congress was $3.1 trillion. Medicare spending was approximately $400 billion. The deficit that year was forecast to be $400 billion. Hard revenue was forecasted to be 2.7 trillion. As it turned out it was a little over $2.55 trillion. Adding his share of TARP, and other issues, Bush’s share of the 2009 deficit balloons to over $1 trillion.

    A different course

    Let’s say that all the people that purchased housing when George Bush lowered interest rates in 2002 did not live beyond their means. They did not buy houses to large for their paychecks, and they did not speculate or sign on to exotic mortgage programs. Let’s say they bought modest housing within their means on 5 to 6 percent fixed loans. Let’s say many bought within their means and financed on a 15 year fixed mortgage structure. Some even paid on Bi-pay. So now after 7 years of payments on a 6 percent 15 year fixed Bi-pay mortgage, some would only have maybe 4 years left on their loans. Had this happened, there would be massive equity and massive savings in America right now. The wealth affect would be pumping the stock market to over 15,000. Boomers would have double hat they currently have in their 401ks. Instead, the Democrats that control Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac insisted on letting everyone get a loan regardless of credit or circumstance. They screwed up the Economy and then blame it on George Bush.

    George saved the American economy after 911. He won a war also. Unlike Vietnam, Iraq troops will come home to “thank you for your service”! I feel that had my parent’s generation been offered the George Bush Tax cuts and George Bush interest rates, they would have taken complete advantage of them. Instead of refinancing and taking equity out, they would have refinanced from 9 or 10 percent to 5 percent and paid off their homes as fast as possible. It is not George’s fault that 10 percent of the population speculated or lived beyond their means. As far as I am concerned, he was a damn good president and gave everyone an opportunity to gain wealth. He provided a path here Americans could pay off their homes and also preserve the stock market. All we as Americans had to do was to live within our means and honor our obligations. Obama on the other hand wants to take your wealth and is destroying the stock market!

    Finally, a balanced budget amendment of 18 percent of GDP would save the stock market for the long term. 18 percent of 14 trillion would be $2.55 trillion. This would leave 70 percent in our cash fuel tank.

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    Stephan, whatsay we try to express ourselves in less than 500 words? Libertarians are damned wordy.

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    Not just that, filled with so much misinformation, it would take 1500 of fact-filled references to refute it all. (I kind of started, but then rethought it - arguing with an internet loon never gets you anywhere.)

    Let's just say that Stephan lives in his own little world, where "George saved the American economy after 911."

    It would be funny if he wasn't so pathetic.

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    By the way, this is Exhibit A about how the GOP is continuing to miss the point:

    I think it was a B. He didn't hurt himself, but I don't see how he helped himself. He still seems presidential, even though he was often longwinded. He had some good answers and some bad, politically speaking. But it was un-memorable in the end and I'm not sure it was worth the political capital of sucking-up another hour of primetime.

    That's Jonah Goldberg at the Corner. He doesn't understand that these were policies being discussed. For him, everything's a performance--did Obama "win" the presser? Will there be political advantage? If the last president--and his enablers, like Jonah--had spent less time thinking about how things went over and just five minutes considering the actually policy, they might not have made such catastrophic errors of governance. How does Jonah miss this fact?

  • noel (unverified)

    All the Republicans have to do is sit back and wait for the economy to totally implode.

    The Ponzi scheme that is the Democrat economic policy will eventually be unsustainable, and the rats will be thrown out of office.

    The Federal deficit is not going down under Obama, rather up another 7-9Trillion. This economic game cannot go on forever. Once the money runs out, Democrats will find it difficult to buy votes.

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    Jeff, it's endemic to the major media (although I thought Chris Mathews was unusually spot on last night afterwards; he called the assembled press corps "Zombies" and explained that's why Obama was "out there" so much--he knows if he's going to have an adult convo with America, it won't involve the traditional media). What was the most common review of the presser last night? The fact that the Post, Times, WSJ and USAToday got shut out from questioning. Which as kos notes today, I suppose is marginally better than complaining about HuffPost being called on (and no similar consternation over the far less credible Politico).

    As for the politicians, Arlen Specter selling out EFCA to try and win a primary (one in which new polling shows he would lose badly if it were tomorrow) instituted by the wackjob arm of the party, is fairly emblematic of the process Jeff is describing. As moderates leave the ship, the grip on the rest to stick with an ever-crazier conservative party line grows tighter.

    I agree about not responding to the idiocy in the above tome, but I did have to make one comment about the "Obama economy" with regards to the Dow as a barometer...wasn't it like, up over 500 points last week? So shouldn't this guy be writing about the "Obama recovery?"

    (And putting aside the absurdity of "economy by Dow", maybe we should be starting to talk about an Obama recovery anyway: durable goods orders up unexpectedly, also new home sales surprisingly up, and mortgageapplications are also up. Some earnings statements are also above forecasts this week; that's driving the Dow.

    I won't hold my breath waiting for the applause from Sean Hannity, however. :)

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)

    Gil Johnson said, "For three decades, policy debates in the U.S. have been between centrists and increasingly doctrinaire conservatives, with the left side of the spectrum mostly left out."

    I would substitute "the right" for "centrist" and "the far right" for "increasingly doctrinaire conservatives". The center is where most of us are; the left is virtually non-existent in the U.S.

    By the way, I lived in Canada for five years, and the NDP is not "Libertarians". They have a real left there.

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    "The Ponzi scheme that is the Democrat economic policy"

    I don't think you quite understand what a ponzi scheme is. What might be more accurately described that way, is the deregulation that allowed financial institutions to take $100 of mortgage equity and trade on it as if it was $3,000.

    And um, the federal deficit hasn't ever even been a trillion dollars. Even under Gee-dub, it didn't get above around a half-trillion (using official figures, which of course don't include the entire Iraq war as being part of spending).

    But I definitely approve of the GOP's "Say No, Do Nothing, Hope he Fails" approach. It's working SO well for them right now; I counsel doubling down on it.

  • Miles (unverified)

    Jeff, do you really think the Democrats won, or is it just that the Republicans lost? I worry about all this "Where does the GOP go now?" talk because I'm not sure that anything has fundamentally changed with the American people and their beliefs since, say, 2000 when Gore lost to an imbecile after the biggest economic expansion since WWII. The GOP under Bush screwed up royally, and we're benefitting, but I'm not convinced that Americans have magically become more progressive. They still hate taxes, they still believe (philosophically, at least) in small government, they still favor the free market over regulation.

    In my view, we have an opportunity to win the battle and cement a progressive majority for the next 10-20 years, but we haven't done so yet. Obama needs to succeed in order for that to happen, and we need to build the intellectual foundation for a progressive movement. Otherwise, the answer to your question about where the GOP goes from here may be "Straight to the White House in 2012."

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    Well, Miles, I do believe there's been a fundamental change in the attitude of most Americans. Over the last 20 years, they've been able to see the result of what happens when you put Democrats in charge (the Clinton economy), and Republicans in charge (the Bush Sr. economy and the Bush Jr. disaster). Even for people who don't care to know the details, this is pretty hard to ignore.

    Rather ironically, the Democratic strategy has been what "noel" councils the Republicans do now: let them have their way and let the public judge by the results. And the public has judged.

    I'd also say that liberals are also benefiting as hate-filled bigots, who John Carroll O'Connor mocked so thoroughly with his Archie Bunker character, die away, as has the racist era that spawned them. Unlike the baby boomers, who were (except for the handful of "hippies"), quite conservative, the young of this country are liberal, and will likely remain so for the rest of their lives.

    So personally, I don't see where the Republicans go, except further into corruption, paranoia, and psychotic political fantasies. The most moderate (i.e. sane), I welcome into the Democratic fold.

  • noel (unverified)

    Torridjoe, I don't think you quite understand what a Trillion dollars is:


    But then, you're most likely a government employee living off the backs of taxpayers and could care less.

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    "Torridjoe, I don't think you quite understand what a Trillion dollars is:"

    I do. Do you understand the difference between the annual federal budget deficit, and the national debt? Apparently not, since it says NATIONAL DEBT across the top of your link. :)

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    And while we're on the subject of things you don't understand, the term is "could NOT care less." W

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    Miles, there's other, more recent polling that shows a general shift in ideology that manifests itself in a number of areas, but this is a fairly comprehensive look at American ideology from 2006.

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    Imagine Michael Steele RNC Chair in a room with Stephen Andrew Brodhead..........................

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    Jeff, do you really think the Democrats won, or is it just that the Republicans lost?

    It's not the right question. We experienced a seismic political shift, and both parties played a role.

    The GOP under Bush screwed up royally, and we're benefitting, but I'm not convinced that Americans have magically become more progressive.

    No, they haven't. This is a fallacy of wonks, thinking that Americans have an intact governing philosophy. If Paul Gronke stops by, he can cite the relevant data, but something like 90% of Americans haven't the vaguest idea about governing philosophies. But what they do know is that the GOP experiment is a failure. Once you break something, it takes forever to fix it--and the average voter's insensitivity to policy/philosophical appeals only makes the task harder. It's no longer in the GOP's hands.

    If Obama is successful and people's lives improve and they remain positive about him, they won't care how often Limbaugh calls him a socialist.

    BTW, when I saw this sentence--"Torridjoe, I don't think you quite understand what a Trillion dollars is"--I lamented that I wasn't next to TJ as he read it. I suspect that was an amusing moment. Probably good Noel wasn't sitting next to him, either.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    Department of Redundancy Department: "extremist Southerners"

    I love Brodhead's correlation of Obama-related dates and the Dow Jones Industrial Average. Now maybe he can look for correlations with, say, phases of the moon, the daily number of words spoken by Rush Limbaugh, or even the number of words written by Brodhead himself.

  • LT (unverified)

    Progressive and Populist were minor parties 100 years or so ago. Many Americans in the 21st century don't think either in exactly those terms or in the ideological terms of the last few decades. Sometimes they just want problems solved, regardless of ideology.

    If you don't know anyone who voted Bush in 2004 and Obama in 2008, you have a narrow group of friends. I'm guessing if you asked around, you might find people you know who are in that category. They voted that way for a number of reasons--liked the guy, their economic situation has changed, their view point has changed, etc.

    A friend and I were talking about this and think the splits are different now. There are the political junkies who debate ideology (and think all adults have an ideology) and there are voters who support the person they like, the person with a vision for the future and a plan to carry it out, the proven problem solver.

    There are people who believe in anyone supporting debate and the right to ask clarifying and logistical questions.

    Case in point. Kent Conrad was the first Senator outside Illinois to support candidate Obama. He is no more willing to allow Obama to make all his decisions for him than Hatfield was in a similar situation in 1981.

    We have entered a new era where it is perfectly acceptable for Senators who supported Obama for President to argue with him over details of proposals. That is the way the Founding Fathers set up our system of government.

    And if you listen to some pundits, you will hear comments like "pleasing voters is not the same thing as pleasing Wall Street--Wall Street is not all of America, and there are some people with differing views".

    Under century-old terms, that would be a Progressive statement--opening up the process to ordinary people.

  • Henry Sizemore (unverified)

    cdd mills - Moon does not usually "donate" to campaigns. He gives money to individuals if they are deluxe shills like Poppy Bush and Falwell. He provides the money and fronts to prop up and mold right wing ideology. His paper is a subsidy to the entire conservative movement - which promotes his right wing politics and provides the underpinnings of his ideology which then manifests itself in society. Conservatism is his tool and the hard right has in many ways been made it into his image. Moon's goal was to "restore" right wing Christianity - as in make them a political force. He has already done that. He promoted them into control of the Republican Party.

    Moon's plans are for the world to be set towards his ideology. 2013 is just a date he uses because he knows he will likely be dead by then. It's a line of demarcation as to when people should accept his role as a player. He knows he will never reign over the world in the manner people think he is saying. He means that his ideology will be embedded and his influence will be seen through his various organizations as the world gradually moves his way. He is working on doing that now around the world through his NGOs.

  • Henry Sizemore (unverified)

    Department of Redundancy Department - the Dow has lost half its value since FOX Business Network went on the air.

    Plainly the reason for our troubles. :)

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    Nicely done takedown of the Moon operation, Henry.

  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)

    First, the GOP will head into the 2010 elections fractured with those who want to expand and include non-affiliated voters on one side and the Limbaugh Republicans referring moderate and liberal Republicans as RINOS.

    Second, 2010 will be a net nothing for Republicans. They will gain a couple of US House seats, lose a couple US House seats, and gain no US Senate seats.

    Third, talk radio under Limbaugh, Hannity, Beck and Ingram will again blame moderates for the losses causing more Republicans to register as non-affiliated voters, Independent, Libertarian and a few Democrat.

    Fourth, Republicans will not gain a majority in both chambers of Congress until 2010.

    Fifth, Obama will win another term in 2012 despite his performance, mainly because Republicans will have nothing to offer besides the usual losers of Romney, Palin, Gingrich, and on.

    That is the National level.

    I see it worse for Republicans in Oregon because they have largely blinded themselves to the changing political realities where running Southern values campaigns in Oregon catalyzes voters west of the Cascade Mountains to vote anything, but Republican.

    Governor for 2010? I don't know who will run, but I know that the Republican will lose.

    As for Sid Leiken?!? LOL! Sid Leiken is a nutless party switcher who switched from Democrat to Republican because he did not have the fortitude to survive a Democrat primary.

    Sid Leiken ain't going anywhere and those boosting him up are blinded by their personal relationships with him.

  • YoungOregonMoonbat (unverified)

    Correction, "Fourth, Republicans will not gain a majority in both chambers of Congress until 2020 ."

  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead (unverified)


    For those of you too young to remember:

    regans supply side economics, newts Contract with America, technology boom, and birth trends enabled Clinton to have a good economy!

    Birth Trends dictate boom cycles. We are on the backside of the Baby boomer cycle.

    Blaming a president is not very bright! Birth trends dictate economic cycles.

    hers is a link, and there will be a test in the morning:


  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead (unverified)


  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead (unverified)


  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead (unverified)

    Whoops I spelled Reagan wrong!

  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead (unverified)

    Here is Obamas stimulus package PDF. It really looks like simple expanded government and takes sevearl days to read.......


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    Reagan's Voodoo Economics helped set up the recession that Clinton finally helped pull us out of. And Newt's Contract On America helped set up the crisis we're enduring right now.

    PS. Only an arrogant fool would chastize others for crediting economic cycles to anything other than birth trends... IMMEDIATELY after having tried to do just that himself.

  • Johnnyb (unverified)

    Trouble is that the Republican Party cannot be all things to all people, and it cannot be the same thing at the Federal and the State level. If the Republican Party is going to rebuild it needs to look to Ron Paul, since he was the only person running for President who predicted the current situation which we are currently in.

    On the Federal Level, Republicans must all be like Ron Paul, and seek to reduce the size of the Federal Government by at least 90%. Of course 90% of the Government is not worthless, and all social programs are not a waste of time, but are constitutionally the role of the individual States and the people. To provide the services that people need, Republicans simply cannot be the same party at the State level. At the State and Local level they need to be responsive to State and Local Issues, while on the Federal Level they need to remain aloof.

    Replace State Republican Parties with Parties specific to the State. These State parties could work with either Republicans or Democrats without any sense of national competition.

    The Republican Party betrayed conservatives with big spender and war monger Bush. The Neocons and moderates wrecked havoc by compromising with Democrats against Conservative principles. They never should have gone to Washington to play politics in the first place but to kill big government, defend the nation, and insure our freedom. They failed in every respect, which is why the Republican Party will not the support of this conservative ever again.

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    Brodhead needs to lay off the cocaine and methamphetamine so he can sleep a bit and thereby spare us his endless bloviating. He's easily posted 25% of the total verbiage in this entire thread.

    As for the GOP: why in the world should anyone at Blue Oregon gives a rip about helping resuscitate the GOP as a rational political party? Let them continue their self-destruction. The country has a difficult enough time ahead; why do ANYTHING to make the GOP a bigger political force? And yeah, I understand the canonical blah-blah-blah about why having a healthy opposition party is critical for democracy, but anyone who imagines that the GOP is such a party has been tuned out since Gerald Ford was president.

  • Unrepentant Liberal (unverified)

    Where does the GOP go? Straight into the bath tub where it will be drown!

  • Miles (unverified)

    This is a fallacy of wonks, thinking that Americans have an intact governing philosophy. . . . What they do know is that the GOP experiment is a failure.

    True on both counts. But even though most Americans don't have a consistent governing philosophy, there are certain things that they still believe that are inconsistent with a progressive future. Two examples: lower taxes, and an emphasis on freedom over equality. Our European counterparts don't have the same aversion to taxes, and they emphasize equality over freedom. These are cultural beliefs more than political beliefs, and I don't think they've changed a bit over the last 8 or 80 years. (Which explains why Obama won't propose any taxes on those under $250,000. He's only going after the richest of the rich and won't even touch the top 5% of wage earners -- FIVE PERCENT!!! -- out of fear of a populist backlash.)

    Only two things need to happen for the GOP to come roaring back in either four or eight years. First, Obama fails to turn the economy around, and I would argue there is a 50% chance of that due solely to the fact that the President doesn't control the economy. Second, the GOP falls back on their tried and true arguments of lower taxes, more freedom, smaller government. Culturally this argument will still resonate, particularly if the massive government economic programs fail to have a visible impact. Imagine the following ad:

    "Obama has spent over $2 trillion on failed government programs. That's enough money to stretch from earth to the sun. Yet Americans are still facing the highest unemployment in two generations, people are losing their homes, and they're losing faith in the American dream. How much has Obama's failed vision cost you? Over $8,000 for every man, woman, and child in America. Wouldn't you be better off if you had that money back? Vote Jindal in 2012."

    How do we stop this? First, pray for economic recovery. Second, go read Steve Novick's recent post. For years Steve has been making the argument that progressives need to do a better job educating the public on the truth about their government. We need to develop the rejoinder to "Lower taxes, more freedom, less government." Right now, our governing philosophy seems to be "We won't screw up as bad as they did", which isn't likely to win over a generation of converts.

  • LT (unverified)

    "But even though most Americans don't have a consistent governing philosophy, there are certain things that they still believe that are inconsistent with a progressive future. Two examples: lower taxes, and an emphasis on freedom over equality"

    Miles, are you saying that progressive = higher taxes and equality as more important than "freedom" undefined?

  • Kerry Hershner (unverified)

    Who cares about the imperialist warmonger baby eaters in EITHER party? As I have been trying to explain to you idiots forever, there's only 11 cents' worth of difference between the Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats are worse, in fact, because they've been taken over by an Obama cult of personality. The True Path lies instead with Saint Ralph, who is 99 and 44 one-hundredths percent pure.

  • Miles (unverified)

    .Miles, are you saying that progressive = higher taxes and equality as more important than "freedom" undefined?

    Let me separate those into two pieces. Does progressive = higher taxes? In general, yes. The US has one of the lowest tax burdens of any western democracy, and we're one of the least progressive. Most progressive goals -- better education, universal health care, family leave, fair wage, etc. -- require a larger role for government, and that requires higher taxes.

    Do progressives elevate equality over freedom? Often when they conflict, yes. Of course everyone loves equality and liberty and we strive for both, but when they conflict conservatives tend to favor freedom, progressives tend to favor equality. A progressive tax system takes away your freedom to earn and spend as much as you'd like in the name of equality. Medicare restricts the freedom of its beneficiaries in the name of treating all of them equally, and universal health care will do the same. Regulation of the financial services industry will take away the freedom of those who wish to create new investment tools in order to protect investors from future collapses. The entire labor movement is based on the idea that it's better for all workers to have the same protections than for individual workers to get ahead while the rest are exploited.

    Does that answer your question?

  • LT (unverified)

    That is a philosophy, Miles, but one I have never supported.

    " Medicare restricts the freedom of its beneficiaries in the name of treating all of them equally"

    To me that means a senior citizen needing a pacemaker or other heart surgery who doesn't have private health insurance or a lot of money has the "freedom " to choose between not having the operation (would that shorten their lifespan?) or going into debt and perhaps bankruptcy.

    And about the labor movement, you are saying workers should be "free" to work 7 or 8 days in a row for minimal wages, and if that exhausts them, tough luck.

    What exactly do you do for a living, Miles? Are you a political consultant? An office worker? Someone who works in a demanding job which makes you glad for days off?

    Once upon a time, there was an advertising slogan, "Organized labor, the people who gave you the weekend".

    Robt. Taft (Mr. Republican when I was a small child) famously said "we must give up the idea we can legislate the answer to everything". He did not live to see Medicare passed, so we don't know how he would have reacted to that. But I'm pretty sure he wouldn't have supported the Terry Schaivo sideshow (government making medical decisions for a family) and I doubt he would have supported the Religious Right agenda.

    Would he have supported deregulation of derivatives and credit default swaps? We will never know.

    But Teddy Roosevelt (a Progressive president) supported Pure Food and Drug Laws and Anti-Trust laws.

    Current Republicans seem more interested in ideology than in solving problems. If you believe theory is more important than practical answers to problems, and the public is basically pragmatic, preaching ideology won't change that.

    Oh, and btw, the generation who were small children when Reagan was elected are now adults--incl. college grads, parents, busy working people (or all of the above). Are their political ideas the same as Reagan's or are they a new generation?

  • LT (unverified)

    Miles, my "ideology" is pragmatic, pro-debate, standing up for the right of anyone to ask clarifying and logistical questions.

    I don't think ideology solves problems, and believe that labels short-circuit thought.

    There are ideologues who don't want issue debates because they are right and everyone else should see things their way. I've always fought those folks, regardless of what party they are in. (Or no party, or Naderites, etc.)

    Miles, the reason I know so much about Robert Taft is that he was my Dad's political hero. I know where you are coming from, but don't happen to agree.

    I have decades of political experience, have been registered in both and no party at some time in my life, and think Taft and Goldwater were conservatives and the current crowd are so different they should be called "conservative" because they are not the genuine article.

    I campaigned for Tom McCall's re-election and voted for President Ford. I think the Republicans were better off back in the days before Reagan, esp. the first half of the 20th century. I believe regulation of business is necessary (A TR, not McKinley view) and like what Dan said in his "toothpaste in the tube" post here.

    "We’re now in the midst of the third major crisis in the U.S. financial system to have hit in the last 20 years."

    I think deregulation caused those problems, not some "liberal" or "socialist" plot. Those who know the history of 100 or so years ago have the right to say they see history is repeating itself without being called names.

    I believe in the free marketplace of ideas deciding things, which sometimes means the political pendulum swings.

    You may dislike every word I say, but I hope you believe our Founders set up a system of government where people of widely different political views have the right to be friends with each other, to debate politics, and to live with the results of any election.

  • Harry Kershner (unverified)

    Kerry Hershner is almost right (and isn't it amazing how his name resembles mine?). My estimation, however, is that there's exactly a dime's worth of difference between DP elites and RP elites. Saint Ralph concurs.

    "We, the Democratic coalition, are the ones who have the overwhelming power to change things, or not change things, and barely a day goes by where we don't see evidence of Democrats - not Republicans - standing in the way of change...Spending most of our time bashing Republicans and not pressuring Democrats is a politically stupid waste of time." (Why Progressives Must Push Democrats, Not Just Bash Republicans)

    "I think the reason they keep on coming back, the reason the zombie ideas won’t stay dead, is the lure of an easy solution, that you can just wave a magic wand and the problem goes away, and they’re still looking for magic." (Have Geithner's Zombie Ideas Won? Paul Krugman on the "Cash for Trash" Program)

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    [T]here are certain things that they still believe that are inconsistent with a progressive future. Two examples: lower taxes, and an emphasis on freedom over equality.

    I disagree. While I think that in comparison with W Europe this is true, we have lots of room to make great strides. Imagine this scenario: Obama uses the fiscal crisis to push through a more progressive tax structure, creates a framework for universal health care; in eight years, people's incomes are up, education is more affordable, and everyone has health care. Will this become the working model for the US, or will the next wave of conservative popularity roll it back? History suggests that not only will they not roll these back (too popular), but the very existence of these programs in concert with rising wages creates momentum for a much longer, sustained liberal era.

    Will the liberals eventually grow lax, corrupt, incompetent, and power hungary? It's a certainty. But by then, certain programs will be untouchable and enshrined in our national character, much like Social Security and Medicare are now. Even 30 years of assaults couldn't roll them back.

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    Will the liberals eventually grow lax, corrupt, incompetent, and power hungary? It's a certainty. But by then, certain programs will be untouchable and enshrined in our national character, much like Social Security and Medicare are now. Even 30 years of assaults couldn't roll them back.

    I believe that is very much true and we need look no further than our neighbor to the North to see it borne out. As I think someone pointed out early on in this thread, nobody in the powerful Conservative party in Canada is even suggesting that national health care be done away with.

    And it's not for lack of conservative bonefides. I've seen several reich-wing blogs that are actually Canadian and they seem as strident as their peers down here. But even so, national health care still isn't on the table and barring some major implosion of epic proportions I don't see it ever getting put ON the table.

    As one of my favorite Oregon minor bloggers illustrated a couple months ago, the reasons why seem obvious.

  • Eric Parker (unverified)

    "nobody in the powerful Conservative party in Canada is even suggesting that national health care be done away with"

    That's because 1. They wouldn't dare do that being that there are 4 major parties in the House of Commons and the Conservatives are a minority even with control - which makes them not really THAT powerful (just gatekeepers, really) and 2. The other 3 parties (Liberal, NDP, and the Bloc Quebequois) are too busy trying to create coalitions among the 3 (to overthrow the Conservatives)to even think of such a thing to consider.

    The only real political story going in Canada right now is if the Liberals stop waffling among themselves, elect a stable party leader, and quit looking like fools in the eyes of all thier followers. In Canada, the Liberals are the ones in policital trouble being trounced in their elections much like the Republicans were trounced in the US elections. Only up North, there is a third party starting to supplant the Liberals - The NDP's.

    But it all will be perpetually unstable until someone gets a majority government in Canada's House of Commons. That will be a long time given the world econony.

  • Josef Stalin (unverified)

    A million dollars is money; a trillion dollars is a number.

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    Eric, the GOP on this side of the border aren't even in power and indeed have been significantly weakened in two successive elections... and yet that hasn't stopped them from posturing wildly over nationalized healthcare.

    Me thinks your dissertation, correct though it may be, is a red herring with respect to why Conservatives in Canada don't dare touch healthcare.

  • mp97303 (unverified)

    "Looking at Obama's actual vote in 2008 reinforces the story. According to the Edison/Mitofsky Election Day exit polls, liberals provided only 37% of Obama's total votes. Moderates (50%) and conservatives (13%) provided far more. By contrast, conservatives provided almost three-fifths of John McCain's votes, with moderates contributing only about one-third and liberals a negligible 5%. Source

    The biggest treat to the Dems right now is if the moderates ever organize into a party.

  • LT (unverified)

    "Will the liberals eventually grow lax, corrupt, incompetent, and power hungary? It's a certainty."

    First of all, Budapest is the capital of Hungary.

    Secondly, not everyone who voted for a Democrat in 2006 or 2008 is a liberal, no matter how that word is defined. There are people who have long supported Ben Westlund, for instance. They have been fans of his when he was a Republican and W & M chair, when he ran as an independent for Gov., and when he was a Democratic politician. The fact that Alley didn't understand that, and there was no other Republican running for state treasurer shows the weak "bench strength" of the GOP.

    The reason Gingrich was able to take over is everything from Rostenkowski and the others who went bad, the check scandal, etc. is that the Democrats got lazy and arrogant and forgot they were supposed to serve constitutents, not just power for the sake of power.

    Arguably, Dave Dix being full of himself was as responsible for losing the majority for Democrats in 1990 as Wayne Scott and Karen Minnis were in 2006.

    Go to a library somewhere and find the Steve Duin Oregonian columns from roughly 20 years ago about all the bad things Dix and Wiederanders did with the caucus finances. Talk to an old timer in the Democratic Party back then and ask them to respond to the 3 words Post Office Fine (misuse of bulk mailing permit).

    There are Democrats who mistrust Future Pac acting like an unaccountable fiefdom because they saw how quickly (and without ordinary activists knowing about it in time to prevent the hubris which led to the party falling off a cliff) things went downhill with Dix & Co.

    However, none of that excuses what Republicans did in the legislature or in DC over the last several years. There just might be correlation between Minnis saying "the voters have spoken on Measure 30" (a low turnout special election was more important than the November election as a measure of what Oregonians believe?) and the number of young Democrats elected to office in the last couple campaign cycles.

    Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, et al did not tolerate dissent of any kind. Had Margaret Spellings still been Education Secretary this week when Obama said publicly what he thought was wrong with No Child Left Behind (it puts all that pressure on high stakes tests, it doesn't measure individual progress, it doesn't reward schools which make more than a year's progress in a year unless that school hits every single NCLB benchmark), she would have called him all sorts of sarcastic names. Now she is out of office, and we are all free to debate the details of NCLB and whether it should be mended or ended. Many questions on Whitehouse.gov for today's online town hall were about various aspects of NCLB.

    Barack Obama and his Administration are refreshing because they engage in dialogue, not just pontificate that they have the revealed truth and even asking questions is subversive.

    Republicans who now say Bush made mistakes but would not say so until after Jan. 20, 2009 should not think "But the Democrats...." is a responsive answer to "Why didn't you speak up when Bush was still in the White House?".

    There is a long history, in both parties, of people leaving an Administration they worked for because they reached a point where they couldn't in good conscience stay anymore. Those people deserve more respect than those who, for instance, wanted all Americans to say 3 words without modifiers, such as THE SURGE WORKED, under penalty of being called names, told they didn't really think Sadaam was a bad guy, or that they wanted a catastrophe because anything less than total obedience to the party line on Iraq would lead to being told "failure in Iraq would be catastrophic".

    Experts on Iraq say things like "The surge in Iraq lessened violence but it was also supposed to solve political problems and it hasn't done that yet." Are they bad people because they go into more detail than 3 words will allow?

    This is why I support individuals, not "my party, right or wrong".

    I'd like to see an intelligent GOP return--like what we had 30 years ago. Yes, folks, there was a pre-Reagan Republican Party, and it had admirers then who haven't voted GOP for a long time.

  • Stephan Andrew Brodhead (unverified)

    Here is some interesting data


    I am wondering why the economy came to ascreaching halt in 2008. Was it the same behavior after the Bush Gore dangling chad behavior? Was it 20 million Illegals sending their paychecks to Mexico? Was it people attempting finally seave? Was it the Mortage Debacle? Was it the rise of China? was it the rise of entitlements? Was it gas at $4.79 a gallon? Or was it Iraq?

    Obama will prove to be the most fiscally irresponsible and economically ignorant president in our history! There will be a backlash on the 111th Congress in 2010. Then when Obama's deficit continue to rise and he almost doubles the National Debt fro 10 trillion to 18 trillion, he will not have a leg to stand on! There will be a Republican in the Whitehouse in 2012

  • joel dan walls (unverified)

    My careful statistical analysis reveals beyond the shadow of a doubt that the global economic crisis was caused by Stephan Andrew Brodhead's bloviating. The Dow Jones Industrial Average and every other global stock-market indicators has been falling ever since Brodhead starting blogging. FOR THE LOVE OF GOD someone needs to stop Brodhead!!!!!

  • kerry hershner (unverified)

    I resent Harry Kershner mocking my name. We're going to go mano a mano over this whenever we cross paths again at a Grateful Dead Ralph Nader concert.

  • ravi kumar (unverified)

    From Women’s Suffrage, to the founding of unions, to the civil rights struggle, conservatives have been on the losing side of all of these cultural battles. Unless it changes, the GOP’s slavish adherence to conservative ideology will again lead it down the path to political irrelevance. acai berry

  • ravi kumar (unverified)

    It seems the Democrats and Obama and their lack of oversight caused the bank failures! They encouraged and aggressively pushed loans for people that did not have the credit score or adequate means to afford a house. So now the same party that caused this mess is in power and blaming Republicans for the mess. acai berry acai berry oprah

  • Parvez (unverified)

    His paper is a subsidy to the entire conservative movement - which promotes his right wing politics and provides the underpinnings of his ideology which then manifests itself in society. Conservatism is his tool and the hard right has in many ways been made it into his image. Moon's goal was to "restore" right wing Christianity - as in make them a political force. He has already done that. He promoted them into control of the Republican Party.

  • ARUN (unverified)

    For a party that is now in control of our own state and the nation you all have this odd inclination to talk about the party you so hate, and has no power to do anything right now.

    It's kind of like a child who gets the candy he wants and then throws a fit because it's not big enough. acai berry acai berry oprah

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    Arun, I agree completely. As if we're not lucky enough to live in the US....then people go and complain because they have everything but want more.... :(

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    well that's politics. though you say you belong to only one group but then again you have different interests. and that's what make things go crazy.

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    That's one thing I really hate about politics. The fact that you have these opposing sites against eachother all the time for the stupidest stuff.

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    Where does the GOP go? No one can answer that question. Michigan health insurance

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