Former Representative Dick Armey (what a name) shakes his fist at “compassionate conservatism” in the WSJ, declaring Bush’s so-called political philosophy a “mistake.” If by that term Armey means “incoherent ruse,” he’s right. But, no, this is the Republican argument that the party, once in power, has lost its way; that its corporate-loving, anti-government ideology is not inherently corrupting. As with Lynndey England and Charles Graner at Abu Ghraib, the fault of abuse lies with a few “bad apples.”
What sticks out to me is this bit of Armey’s dismay that the “truth” (my irony quotes) about Obama’s tax policy proposals has not got out:
A Rasmussen poll of Oct. 30 reported that 31% of likely voters believed that “taxes will go down” under an Obama administration versus just 11% under a McCain administration. Shockingly, 19% of self-described conservatives believed Mr. Obama would cut taxes; only 12% thought Mr. McCain would.
Perhaps this minority of conservatives believed this way because, I dunno — they read nonpartisan reports like this from the Tax Policy Center:
Compared to current law, TPC estimates the Obama plan would cut taxes by $2.9 trillion from 2009-2018. McCain would reduce taxes by nearly $4.2 trillion. Obama would give larger tax cuts to low- and moderate-income households and pay some of the cost by raising taxes on high-income taxpayers. In contrast, McCain would cut taxes across the board and give the biggest cuts to the highest-income households.
That’s just from the abstract. (Emphass-is mine.) The entire report is available in annoying PDF form (seriously, is HTML really that hard?) if you feel up to reading it. I know I may be assuming a lot, but perhaps these shockingly 19% of conservatives take tax policy seriously, really want tax cuts, and really want them for average schmucks like, say, Joe Not-a-Real-Plumber. So what did they do? They took time to find non-partisan reports (after all, the media has a “liberal bias”) and actually read them.
This inability to read has probably affected Armey’s grasp of history.
What will be the fate of free market capitalism in America? Will the 2008 election look more like 1932 — or 1992?
On both occasions, Republican presidents had abandoned their party’s principles for bigger government policies that exacerbated difficult economic times. On both occasions, Democrats took control, largely hijacking the small-government, fiscally responsible rhetoric of their opponents. Of course, FDR’s election ushered in the New Deal, the most dramatic expansion of government power in American history, together with policy changes and economic uncertainty that inhibited investment and growth and locked in massive unemployment for nearly a generation.
Say whatty-what? More of that ole-time revisionism. Oh, wait – to revise a theory based on new information is legitimate. To turn reality upside-down to fit the narrow confines of one’s ideology, what is that called again? Sticking one’s head up one’s ass? Close enough.