Patterico's Pontifications

4/9/2009

Obama Is the Real Conservative

Filed under: General — Jack Dunphy @ 10:30 am

[Guest post by Jack Dunphy]

Stop laughing. I learned this from no less an authority than The New Yorker magazine. The weekly “Talk of the Town” section is composed of a handful of short pieces, and in every issue for the past year or so, at least one of these has been devoted to extolling the manifold virtues of Barack Obama. In the April 13 issue, we indeed learn that the president is actually propounding classical conservative principles as he extends the federal tentacles into an ever-larger portion of the American economy. Writer George Packer explains:

In his budget message to Congress, Obama invoked the value of fairness, but his budget proposals don’t create government programs—such as guaranteed-income measures or large numbers of relief jobs—that would establish equality from the top down. Instead, Obama seems to recognize that nothing has shredded the civic fabric in recent years more than the harsh inequalities of finance capitalism and the market ideology of a generation of American politics. This is not the rigid mentality of an engineer of human souls; it’s the attitude of a community organizer.

It’s also a pretty good description of what used to pass for conservatism—a sense that social relations and institutions are fragile things, and that, while government can’t create wealth or impose equality, at moments like this it has to establish a new equilibrium between individuals and huge economic forces, so that society doesn’t crumble. But modern conservatism has grown into exactly the opposite of its origins, in Burke’s respect for tradition and Madison’s promotion of countervailing checks on concentrations of power. Instead, like any revolutionary creed, it is abstract, hard-edged, and indifferent to experience and existing conditions.

So you see, Edmund Burke and James Madison, far from rolling over in their respective graves at the invocation of their names in such a fashion, would actually endorse Mr. Obama’s economic policies. All of you out there who call yourselves conservatives, all you rubes out there in the vast, howling wilderness that lies between the Hudson River and Beverly Hills, well, you’re just wrong. But there is hope for you, if you will but seek the wisdom contained within the pages of The New Yorker. Read and learn, peasants, read and learn.

–Jack Dunphy

Pres. Obama’s coded message on immigration

Filed under: General — Karl @ 8:59 am

[Posted by Karl]

Today’s New York Times report that Pres. Obama “plans to begin” addressing the country’s immigration system this year is an example of the way Democratic elites use the paper to talk in code among themselves.  The lede notes that Obama has this plan, despite “acknowledging that the recession makes the political battle more difficult,” then informs readers of the following:

Some White House officials said that immigration would not take precedence over the health care and energy proposals that Mr. Obama has identified as priorities…

***

Democratic legislative aides said that opening a full-fledged debate this year on immigration, particularly with health care as a looming priority, could weigh down the president’s domestic agenda.

***

No serious legislative talks on the issue are expected until after some of Mr. Obama’s other priorities have been debated, Congressional aides said.

***

Anticipating opposition, Mr. Obama has sought to shift some of the political burden to advocates for immigrants, by encouraging them to build support among voters for when his proposal goes to Congress.

Obama knows that the McCain-Kennedy immigration bill was wildly unpopular.  Indeed, he played a decisive role in killing the bill on behalf of Big Labor – a major Democratic constituency.  Obama – and anyone else paying attention – also knows that none of his three biggest agenda items is likely to achieve final passage before this fall, as Congress chokes on an agenda that is already “too much, too soon.”

Accordingly, this story is best read as the Obama Administration launch of a trial balloon intended to crash like the Hindenburg.  The subtext of the story is that illegal immigrants may enter the US without standing in line, but the open borders lobby has to wait its turn behind the interests pushing big government healthcare, massive energy taxes, etc.  The subtext is that the open borders lobby should be happy with the stealth agenda the administration is already pursuing on immigration, until such time as the lobby manages to make its poisonous issue popular.

(via Memeorandum.)

–Karl

Lefty Bloggers get a Happy Ending

Filed under: General — Karl @ 4:46 am

[Posted by Karl]

There is a great disturbance in the Sinisphere:

Some of the leading liberal bloggers are privately furious with the major progressive groups — and in some cases, the Democratic Party committees — for failing to spend money advertising on their sites, even as these groups constantly ask the bloggers for free assistance in driving their message.

***

“They come to us, expecting us to give them free publicity, and we do, but it’s not a two way street,” Jane Hamsher, the founder of FiredogLake, said in an interview. “They won’t do anything in return. They’re not advertising with us. They’re not offering fellowships. They’re not doing anything to help financially, and people are growing increasingly resentful.”

Funny, when the Politico revealed the Left’s Soros-coordinated conference call for interest groups, Hamsher was singing a different tune:

“When something works for us we’ll pick up on it anyway, like the Rush Limbaugh story — we don’t need to be told,” said Jane Hamsher, the creator of the liberal blog Firedoglake. “I think we serve everyone better if we maintain our independence and preserve our ability to pick up on popular sentiment like that, rather than just bang on the same drum everyone else is.”

Kos is less hypocritical, but misses the big picture:

“Most want the easy way — having a big blogger promote their agenda,” adds Markos Moulitsas, the founder of DailyKos. “Then they turn around and spend $50K for a one-page ad in the New York Times or whatever.”

Somehow, Kos missed that the establishment media runs unchecked Lefty interest group PR as news all the time.   The New York Times was putting out Stalin’s PR decades before Moulitsas was even old enough to say “Screw “Em.”

However, this is a story proving the old adage about the squeaky wheel, as Americans United for Change — a front group for Big Labor — says it will now advertise on blogs.

–Karl


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