Saturday, August 09, 2008

Four legs good, two legs bad

Know-nothingism — the insistence that there are simple, brute-force, instant-gratification answers to every problem, and that there’s something effeminate and weak about anyone who suggests otherwise — has become the core of Republican policy and political strategy. The party’s de facto slogan has become: “Real men don’t think things through.” -- Paul Krugman -- Read the whole column here.


At 2:55 PM, Blogger Pelk posited...

I can definitely sympathize with the Krugman's angst regarding the foreign policy decisions made by the neoconservatives. After all, this is definitely not Barry Goldwater's GOP.

Krugman, however, seems to think that this same angst is equally justified for GOP energy policy, and I completely disagree. Krugman asserts that Republicans in Congress claiming that they contributed to the oil price drop by actively talking about offshore drilling is just plain stupid. In reality, the commodities markets, especially oil, are highly responsive to all sorts of information that could have even a small short-term impact on the demand and supply for oil. Oil prices have increased significantly from even minor events in the Middle East that had no foreseeable long-term implications, so Congress talking about significant offshore drilling will naturally be a meaningful catalyst for a price drop.

If Krugman is going to make assertions about oil markets, he should maybe brush up on how they actually work.

Also, to presume that massive ethanol subsidization isn't an equally dumb solution to our energy problems is also pretty ignorant.

At 3:23 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

But to take credit for the price fluctuations while never actually acknowledging that that drilling will take 7-10 years to produce more oil is equally stupid. McCain does not acknowledge this fact, and instead claims that Obama's entire energy policy is based on increasing tire pressure. Not only is this an excellent example of what Krugman discusses, but also an example of McCain's snarkiness, which he frequently uses to cover up the truth. Like Bush, McCain has started thinking only in sound bites.

At 6:47 PM, Blogger Pelk posited...

“The market is responding to the fact that we are here talking,” said Representative John Shadegg.

Krugman's use of this quote was what I was taking issue with. He either shouldn't have included it or argued that short-term price fluctuations are just that, short-term. Instead, he just said the statement was false because offshore oil drilling will take a while, which is a blatant misunderstanding of the way markets work.

Krugman had a lot of material from both sides of aisle to work with, and really could have written a good article by pointing out common flaws in each party's general view on energy policy. Instead, he just spewed political spin, which is both painful to read and not persuasive.

McCain and Bush both think in sound bites, but Krugman blames this on each being a neoconservative, when in reality it's just that each is a career politician. All career politicians dumb down their policies to sound bites because they think voters won't know any better. It's sad, and it's equally prevalent in both parties, even in both presidential candidates, just one candidate says his sound bites so much more soothingly than the other. To me, "Drill! Drill! Drill" and "Freedom isn't free" are just as irritating as "Change" and "No more politics as usual." All are meaningless. Both candidates avoid going into the finer details of their policies because they don't want to be boring and they don't want to have the weaknesses of their policies/knowledge exposed.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger CoachDub posited...

Just to be clear, Adam, I was agreeing with your first comment -- I was just adding my own frustration!

The reason this kind of campaigning bothers me so much right now is that sound bite misconstrual is exactly what Bush/Rove did to McCain in South Carolina in 2000, for which McCain should never have forgiven Bush, and which McCain should come out against because of his history with it.

At 10:54 AM, Blogger Pelk posited...

I understand, I just thought initially that you were agreeing with Krugman that this kind of tactic is correlated with party affiliation, when it's definitely not.

The system, man, it changes people.


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