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February 25, 2009

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ms

Jindal's speech was absolutely trashed all over the internet yesterday! He was awkward, but I found that rather endearing, since he kind of looks like a high school debate student. I liked hearing about his family and the Katrina story. I think politics is faddish like anything else and right now no one is in the mood to hear the conservative message. After big government proves a disappointment, the fad will change. I just hope we are not then so far in the hole that we cannot recover.

Tom

It's also a fad to think that Republicans are still small government types. Don't pretend that Reps are so much better than Dems, because they're not. I think both parties have demonstrated that they're equally bad on the economy.

Nathan Smith

Dude, when are you gonna grow out of this nonsense?

There was a little bit of an excuse in the Bush years because we didn't know the counter-factual. *Maybe* government would have been smaller under a President Kerry or a President Gore! Who really knows?

Well, now we do. The Democrats take all branches of government and *boom*, just like that, $1 trillion in new spending. And *all* the Republicans except Specter and Snowe and somebody are against. The facts don't proclaim themselves any louder than that.

This is why the Republic would be better off without libertarians. They're right about a lot of things on the ideological level. But they're too arrogant to do what common yokels and recognize the obvious.

Tom

You are so naive. The Republicans are just playing politics. That vote couldn't have been more partisan. It's like the definition of partisan. And what's really funny is that the bill was modified to accommodate Republican wishes. All they are thinking about is the next election, and if they (heaven forbid!) voted for a Democratic agenda, then they'd be considered traitors by the party. It's as simple as that.

If you think a Republican controlled congress and presidency wouldn't have passed a comparatively pricey bill, you're deluded.

Nathan Smith

Tom, are you listening to yourself? Would President *McCain* have signed this bill? He's been a fierce opponent of big-government spending for years. You can say he would have totally changed in office and passed massive Keynesian spending porkbarrel bills of the kind he's opposed vehemently throughout his career. But that's stupid. It would just show you have no understanding of human nature.

Whether the Republicans are "playing politics" is neither here nor there, indeed I can't really see how to give the expression any meaning. Yes, they're playing politics: they're trying to implement their political agenda of stopping the growth of government. Yes, they're thinking of the next election: they want to win the next election so they can stop the growth of government.

You're making fun of them for not wanting to vote for a Democratic agenda? I don't get it. They *disagree with* the agenda. They don't want ludicrously irresponsible spending burdening the next generation. Would you taunt an environmentalist for not wanting to throw plastic bottles in the ocean, or a pacifist for not buying an Uzi? More power to them that they held firm despite attempts to win them over! Yes, the vote is "partisan": the bill reflects the agenda of the Democrats and is anathema to what Republicans believe in, so Republicans voted against it.

No, it's not deluded to think a Republican-controlled Congress and president wouldn't have passed this bill. It's quite likely, at the very least, that they wouldn't have. Really this conversation is too silly. It's like talking to someone who keeps banging his head against a brick wall and insists that it isn't solid.

Nathan Smith

Here's an analogy for Tom's view of Republicans, and McCain in particular.

Suppose a girl goes out with a guy for a couple of years. He's always sweet and faithful to her, gives her presents, tells her he loves her, and behaves splendidly around her family. He hints at marriage a few times and finally makes a proposal. She accepts and they set a date.

Then one of her friends tells her: "Seriously, girl, who are you kidding? All guys are the same. He's just trying to get you into bed, once. After that he'll drink and waste your money and sleep around for all he's worth. You're deluded if you think any different."

Like this friend, Tom is blinded by his obsessive and fanatical cynicism to human nature and the laws of probability. Any persuasive force that his arguments has derives wholly from their being so counter-intuitive that one thinks there must be some subtle, non-obvious reason for why they make sense, otherwise how could anyone think them? But there's no subtle rational grounds to believe that a lifelong campaigner against government spending like John McCain would suddenly become infatuated with Keynesian boondoggles as soon as he took office. Rather, it reflects an ideologue's habitual contempt for accepting reality.

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