Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Irrational Left & the Auto Bailout

The reaction to the auto bailout failure in the Senate demonstrates yet again the irrationality of what passes for analysis amongst much of the left.  The Blogometer's 12/12 roundup has the excerpts from the blogosphere.  The basic left-wing view is that evil, nasty Republicans don't care about the economy.  They just hate the UAW and that's why they opposed the bailout. Seriously, they really believe that.  Here's a representative sample:

Jane Hamsher at Firedog Lake: "I think this erases all doubt -- the Republicans quite plainly want the economy to fail"

Digby at Hullabaloo: "At this point, the only route they see power is to make things worse and blame it on the Democrats. What else do they have?"

John Cole at Balloon Juice: "you do have to be crazy to be able to pretend that somehow any principles are at stake other than union busting"

Read pretty much any left-wing site, and the theme is similar.  That brings up a few questions. What about the most evil Republicans of all, Bush & Cheney?  Oh yeah, they favored the auto-bailout.  What about the ten Republicans that voted for it?  How do they fit in to the dirty union-busting Republican theme?  How about all the Republican senators who voted against both the $700 billion rescue package and the auto bailout?  Could it be that maybe they don't think bailouts are a good idea at all?  No, of course not; they just want to destroy the economy.  What about the four Democrats who opposed the auto bailout?  Did they want to crush the union too, or do they get to have principles by virtue of being Democrats?  Eight Republicans didn't even vote.  They must have missed the memo about busting the union.  And if the auto bailout was so crucial to our economy, why did vice-president elect Joe Biden not even bother to vote on it, along with Ted Kennedy, John Kerry, and Wyden of Oregon.  Do they not care about the economy? But they're Democrats.  I thought only Republicans wanted to send us into a depression.

Here's the roll call on the financial bailout, and the roll call for the auto bailout.  Of the 31 GOP senators that voted against the auto bailout, 13 of them also voted against the financial bailout. So even assuming the worst, only 18 Republican senators could be accused of targeting the union and refusing to vote for the bailout, even though they were willing to support a much greater bailout.  But that doesn't stop the left from ascribing the worst motivations to Republicans in general.  Why?  Because they know that Republicans are evil and always act based on bad motives.  

How many times have we had to listen to left-wingers whine and snivel about the right questioning their patriotism?  Yet they feel free to portray the entire Republican party as an unprincipled organization bent on destroying the economy for political purposes, based on nothing more than policy differences regarding one vote.

13 comments:

  1. Priceless. Because all Repubs didn't torpedo the Big-3 bailout, the GOP opportunists in the Senate who did should somehow get a pass for destructive partisanship. I just love your logic on this one.

    As for Bush and the bailout, he wasn't above playing games with this issue until he realized just how crazy his fellow Repubs in the Senate were. Perino as Bush mouthpiece was at her clueless best on this less than a week or so ago.

    What about the most evil Republicans of all, Bush & Cheney? Oh yeah, they favored the auto-bailout.

    Let's not mix apples and oranges. Economic malfeasance isn't what will make this vile duo go down in history as infamous, un-American criminals cut from the same cloth as Augusto Pinochet.

    I know you're not big on all that effete bill-of-rights, Eighth Amendment and Convention Against Torture stuff, but the Bush White House's calculated human rights abuses and now-not-so-hidden torture policy
    is what will forever damn this Administration as one of the worst in American history.

    It goes without saying that the "a few bad apples" excuse was pure, lying bullshit.

    One thing I especially look forward to with Obama in power next year is even more of this criminality being exposed through additional investigations. No rock should be left uncovered in the drive to understand what went wrong and to craft policies that will (one hopes) prevent such lawlessness in future.

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  2. Redhand,

    I'm against the bailouts, remember? So its pretty pointless to argue blame based on "destructive partisanship" with someone who thinks voting down the bailout was a positive action.

    "Let's not mix apples and oranges"

    You write that but then go on a big unrelated rant about the Bush administration. Thanks for reinforcing my point about the irrational left. It's always helpful to have more examples.

    "I know you're not big on all that effete bill-of-rights"

    Actually I am. That's why I'm opposed to judges creating new imaginary rights that aren't found in the Bill of Rights, or the Constitution as a whole.

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  3. First, Jane Hamsher's been a fruitcake for way longer than she's been a liberal blogger. Digby and John Cole aren't quite in that league, though Digby's part of the civil liberties section of the blogosphere, which tends to be shriller than the rest for understandable reasons. The economics and policy-minded bloggers on the left haven't said anything that caustic.

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  4. Grrrrrrrrrreat blog!!!

    Don't let the recession get you down. When was the last time you looked at government grants? With the bailout, there is more money than ever. Don't miss out.

    ******************************
    My Grant Blog
    *****************************

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  5. Alon,

    "The economics and policy-minded bloggers on the left haven't said anything that caustic."

    Which ones do you have in mind? I'm asking that seriously, because I like to read reasonable opposing views.

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  6. I'm against the bailouts, remember?

    It must be wonderful to live in a principled world where one can cling to antique economic doctrine without the slightest regard for its impact on real people.

    You write that but then go on a big unrelated rant about the Bush administration. Thanks for reinforcing my point about the irrational left.

    Your "point?" You throw out an piece of red meat about the supposed moral innocence of Bush and Cheney, then complain about the lion eating it?

    I'll try not to confuse you with the facts in future. I'll also be a compliant commenter by confining my off-topic observations to my own, newly established blog . See what an inspiration you are to me!

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  7. Redhand,

    "It must be wonderful to live in a principled world where one can cling to antique economic doctrine without the slightest regard for its impact on real people."

    Believe it or not, plenty of people feel that the bailouts are a bad thing for economy and the country as a whole. It doesn't mean they don't care about "real people." A majority of the country opposes the auto bailout. It's not like it's some fringe position.

    "Your "point?" You throw out an piece of red meat about the supposed moral innocence of Bush and Cheney, then complain about the lion eating it?"

    My point was, that the blanket condemnation of Republicans with regard to the bailout conveniently ignores the fact that the Republican administration, as well as a signficant number of other Republicans, supported it.

    "confining my off-topic observations"

    I don't care if you are somewhat off-topic. But I thought we agreed to disagree on anything directly related to the Bush administration. I don't see the purpose of going point by point with you on any Rush-related issues, since we've gotten nowhere doing that in the past.

    I linked your blog and I'll be reading it and commenting. But I'm not touching your first post for obvious reasons.

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  8. UNRR, the ones that comes to mind are Yglesias and Delong. Brad Delong is shrill as hell and has resorted to eliminationist rhetoric, but he still has argued against the bailout.

    The blog I'm closest to personally, Majikthise, hasn't really touched the issue, besides linking to the article debunking the $73/hour myth.

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  9. Alon,

    I'll check them out. I have read some things by Yglesias in the past. He's also been on Bloggingheads a couple times.

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  10. From what I gather, Yglesias is every conservative's favorite liberal blogger, in that he's unusually fair and thoughtful, and displays relatively little partisanship.

    Also: so far Krugman has made no comment on the auto bailout; however, he has given a single link on the issue, which argues very dispassionately that the bailout is economically necessary.

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  11. Alon,

    "Yglesias is every conservative's favorite liberal blogger"

    Funny you should say that. I was just at Right Wing News and John Hawkins has a post up called "Matt Yglesias Is A Moral Leper" :)

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  12. First, the Yglesias post Hawkins is criticizing is unusually shrill for Yglesias.

    Second, Yglesias is expressing a view that's common on the left and center, even among people who are generally very thoughtful, such as Paul Krugman.

    And third, Hawkins' post is even worse than Yglesias'. It has a condescending "He's too young to understand" subtext. It's full of chest-beating about freedom and how Yglesias is anti-American. And it entirely skips the reasonable critique that can be made of the post, which is that people who actually talked to the neocons, such as George Packer, report that the neocons believed in everything they were doing, and that their sin was delusion, never malice.

    It's really annoying that Hawkins doesn't make the above critique, because there's a lot to be said about wrongly attributing malice to one's opponents. It's not just that it takes them down; after all, it's just as damning to show they're incompetent and delusional. The problem is that it requires the person making the accusation to engage in self-reflection. If great evil can come out of people who really were trying to make things better, then it means that maybe we should examine our beliefs, to ensure we don't succumb to the same mistakes. It means we shouldn't be self-righteous, not when self-righteousness itself leads to error. It means we should doubt ourselves and listen to people who disagree with us - in other words, we shouldn't behave like partisan hacks.

    You can see why political movement bloggers wouldn't be willing to do any of that.

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  13. Alon,

    Well, Right Wing News is a hardcore Republican base site. I wouldn't look there for any balanced criticism of liberal views -- although I think Hawkins is a decent writer who has some good political insights. He's not going to be fair when attacking the views of someone like Yglesias.

    "there's a lot to be said about wrongly attributing malice to one's opponents."

    Yes. That is a personal pet peeve of mine, and it occurs far too often in political commentary on both sides. Most people on the left and the right hold the positions they do because they think they are best for the country, not because they are evil, anti-American, immoral or whatever.

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