I think that Washington’s embrace of Hooverism is of a piece with its embrace of global warming denialism. Once upon a time we were all Keynesians, just as once upon a time Tim Pawlenty and other Republicans supported a carbon tax. Then wealthy interests decided they didn’t want increased government spending during a recession, just as they had decided they didn’t want carbon taxes.
Pretty soon there were all kinds of pseudo-intellectual justifications: if you take a triple-backwards contrarian Amity Shlaes view of the Great Depression, Roosevelt made it worse, the economy is a Brooksian complex system that the enlightened know man can never understand, the earth could just be going through a warming cycle, a carbon tax will slow the economy and what we really need is a powerful economic juggernaut that will solve global warming through the magic of the free market, or maybe through some giant Nathan Myhrvold dome that will never be built if there is cap and trade.
Pretty soon the far-left position is that we should continue with traditional macroeconomic policy and accept the findings of climate scientists, while the far right position is that we should go on the gold standard and admit that snow in Buffalo proves the earth is not getting warmer. The sensible centrist positions — embraced by Brian Williams, Ruth Marcus, Charlie Rose, and the rest — are to do nothing on global warming, while allowing that it may be happening, and to adopt Hooverist economic policies, while allowing that the gold standard may be going too far.
Everyone but the true hippies must at least admit that Al Gore’s heating bill is too high and that John Maynard Keynes was a bisexual eugenicist.
I’m not an Overton window kind of guy, but I have to admit they’ve worked for conservatives on these issues.