Several commenters have asked that I provide examples of Republicans making reasonable economic arguments; some of them seem to be saying that I’m proving my bias if I don’t provide such examples.
But it doesn’t work that way: if all Republicans are saying unreasonable things, then it’s a distortion — indeed, a form of bias — to insist that there must be reasonable Republicans…
It’s kind of the “treason never prospers” argument (“for if it prospers, none dare call it treason”); if someone declares that tax cuts don’t pay for themselves, or that printing money when you’re in a liquidity trap isn’t deeply inflationary, or that fear of Obamacare isn’t holding the economy back, he ceases to be considered a member in good standing of the GOP. There are, therefore, no reasonable Republicans on these issues.
Timothy Egan at the NYTimes skewers “Romney the Unknowable“:
Ten days from now, some of the world’s best-paid magicians of image and narrative will unveil a reboot of a most unfathomable man, Willard Mitt Romney, a 2012 model with a shelf life of barely two months.
The Republican National Convention will mark the fourth time in 18 years, dating to a losing Senate race in 1994, that a Team Romney has tried to construct a Brand Romney. This problem of who he is, Romney acknowledged last year, has plagued him ever since he became a public figure.
In focus groups, he’s described as a tin man, a shell, an empty suit, vacuous, a multimillionaire in mom jeans. And that’s from supporters.
At the convention, you can expect to hear high praise for a virtuous, disciplined, loyal person of family and faith. You will surely hear the words “turnaround” and “no apology” — both titles of platitudinous and unread books by Romney — in defense of his business acumen and unshakable view of American exceptionalism.
But I doubt you will hear anything of the real Romney because he is afraid of his own past…
Amy Davidson, at the New Yorker, has a lovely short piece on “Paul Ryan’s Father, and Al Smith’s“:
… Reading and thinking about political theory—and deciding to go into politics—is, indeed, a real and valuable sort of self-reliance for a young person to develop; it is the sort of move to adulthood that should be available to all children, and not just the sons of lawyers. It is better to read long novels and be a camp counsellor and, as Ryan often did, go fishing, than to have to work the Fulton Fish Market to help your mother with the rent. (Smith made it out; but the attrition rate in such circumstances is a whole lot higher.) That is a blessing, and a freedom, of the America that emerged after gnawing its way through the Great Depression and two World Wars. The “supportive community” that Romney mentioned gathering around the Ryans can now, thankfully, mean something broader than the neighbors who chipped in to help Al Smith’s mother pay for her husband’s funeral.
It is also worth remembering that the transformation of this country from 1886 to now was neither accidental nor inevitable. The social safety net did not waft down from somewhere; roads and airports did not simply emerge from the earth; public universities did not simply coalesce. They were all built, and fought for, piece by piece, because we wanted a certain kind of country. (Franklin D. Roosevelt, the man who succeeded Smith as the governor of New York, played a role in that.) Maintaining them will be a fight, too. Which side will Paul Ryan be on?
And Dave Weigel at Slate has a final fillip at yesterday’s nontroversy, “The Biden-Giuliani Feud, and Who Won“:
… In the pre-caucus phase of the 2008 presidential primaries, Joe Biden was getting zero traction. Rudy Giuliani was steadily losing it. Biden was the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee; Giuliani traded, then borrowed, then mortgaged off of his reputation as America’s Mayor. So Biden liked to rib Giuliani about his ignorance….
Flash cut to four years later. Giuliani is a vastly diminished figure whose consulting/speaking business has only slowly recovered from his 2008 disaster. Biden is vice president. You can see why the former mayor would kick and scream a little.
(Original “noun and a verb and nine-eleven” clip at the link.)
What’s on the agenda for the day?