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Conservatives for Nancy Pelosi:

The liberal Washington Monthly, has put together a symposium of articles by prominent conservative (and two libertarian) commentators who argue that both the country and the conservative movement will be better off with a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives this November. More surprisingly, National Review columnist Jonah Goldberg is flirting with endorsing the same conclusion.

I agree with many of the arguments, particularly those made by Bruce Fein and Bruce Bartlett. To my mind, the two most important considerations are that 1) the GOP must suffer some electoral punishment for its big spending, big government ways of the last five years, and for the mishandling of Iraq's reconstruction, and 2) divided government may help check some of the worst impulses of both parties (as many of the Washington Monthly contributors argue). The latter point is well put by former GOP Congressman Joe Scarborough in his Washington Monthly piece:

During the 1990s, conservative Republicans and the Clinton White House somehow managed to balance the budget while winning two wars, reforming welfare, and conducting an awesome impeachment trial focused on oral sex and a stained Gap dress.

The fact that both parties hated each another was healthy for our republic's bottom line. A Democratic president who hates a Republican appropriations chairman is less likely to sign off on funding for the Midland Maggot Festival being held in the chairman's home district. Soon, budget negotiations become nasty, brutish, and short and devolve into the legislative equivalent of Detroit, where only the strong survive.

But in Bush's Washington, the capital is a much clubbier place where everyone in the White House knows someone on the Hill who worked with the Old Man, summered in Maine, or pledged DKE at Yale. The result? Chummy relationships, no vetoes, and record-breaking debts.

With a Democratic House and GOP Senate (the likely result of this fall's election), the Republicans will get a well-deserved spanking, while the Democrats will be unable to enact the more dangerous parts of their own agenda. Also, a Democratic House would not be able to block Bush's judicial appointments, to my mind a rare bright spot in this administration.

Steve Bainbridge writes that the "Republicans deserve to lose, but the Democrats don't deserve to win." I agree completely. And a Democratic takeover of the House coupled with continued GOP control of the Senate and White House is a good way to inflict a defeat on the Republicans without giving the Democrats a complete victory.

Related Posts (on one page):

  1. More on the Conservative Case for Pelosi:
  2. Conservatives for Nancy Pelosi:
gab (mail):
Let's not forget that Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury was Robert Rubin - a huge believer in balanced or surplus budgets and "paygo."

It's been totally and completely the Republicans who have squandered the surpluses of the late '90's.
9.15.2006 7:44pm
Joel B. (mail):
I have an even better idea. Why don't we all cut off our noses to spite our face. That'll be the trick. Or wait has that idiom last all it's useful meaning.
9.15.2006 7:50pm
Ilya Somin:
I have an even better idea. Why don't we all cut off our noses to spite our face.

The whole point is that electing a Democratic House without a Democratic president or Senate is a good way to "spite our face" without having to cut of our nose.
9.15.2006 7:52pm
TheSnakeguy (mail):
If we are going to give the dems something it should be the senate. They are far less conservative than the house.
9.15.2006 7:53pm
Goobermunch (mail):
So what, exactly, are the "more dangerous parts of their [the Dems] own agenda?"

--G
9.15.2006 7:57pm
Joel B. (mail):
TheSnakeguy has it right. Kaus also actually mentioned as well the point that the House in the only thing standing in the way of the current immigration proposal that could radically alter the election landscape for years. 2 years ago, I thought it would be best too, to see the House in Democrat hands and the Senate in Republicans due to the concern about confirming judges.

That being said, given the current environment on certain issues especially immigration, I think having a Republican house is a very valuable thing.

(All that being said, let me say I'm a huge supporter of immigration, in fact, I would tend to fall into a more open system as a preference, but more than that I think the law has to be respected and any system that says (repeatedly) the way to get ahead, is to lie, cheat, and steal, is going to undermine to civil fabric necessary to society.)
9.15.2006 7:58pm
Randy R. (mail):
And why don't the Dems deserve to take over the Congress?
The Repubs certainly don't deserve either house or the White House, if their performance is any indication. The Dems have at least recently started to call Bush &Co. on his worst ideas. And the Dems produced balanced budgets throughout most of the 90s.

Maybe the Dems haven't been the model of good government (I'll be the first to agree), but they have done plenty to deserve a shot at running the gov't again. And dont' forget, we have a lot of new blood running this election -- don't they deserve a chance to get it right?
9.15.2006 8:02pm
Moral Hazard (mail):

Let's not forget that Clinton's Secretary of the Treasury was Robert Rubin - a huge believer in balanced or surplus budgets and "paygo."

It's been totally and completely the Republicans who have squandered the surpluses of the late '90's.


You must have lived through a different 90's then I did. I remember the Democrats attacking the Republicans for being "mean spirited" for proposing budget cuts and Bill Clinton calling the Republicans extremists for even thinking they could balance the budget by the year 2000.
9.15.2006 8:05pm
Ilya Somin:
If we are going to give the dems something it should be the senate. They are far less conservative than the house.

A worthwhile point, but the Republicans who lose their seats if Pelosi takes over the House will mostly be the pro-big government moderates who hold seats in marginal districts. Replacing Republican big government moderates with Democratic ones is unlikely to do too much harm. And in any event, really dangerous Pelosi proposals are likely to be stymied by the still GOP Senate and White House/ The Senate, on the other hand, controls the judicial nomination process all by itself.
9.15.2006 8:05pm
Eli Rabett (www):
Bob Ney plead guilty today. If you think that the Republicans have not been corrupt, then by all means encourage the Democrats to take over one house of the Congress. On the otherhand with all the corruption and war profiteering in this administration and congress, what would be left after the Democrats take over one house.
9.15.2006 8:39pm
elephant for pelosi?:
I'm betting that Hillary is secretly funneling money to Denny Hastert. Two years of a shrill lefty female speaker will not endear people to a Prez Hillary.

(Before someone jumps on me for the comparison, let me stress that I'm just predicting how public mood WILL react, not whether it's rational or fair or whatever. Some may say it's unfair, as we don't compare one man to another just for being men. Or it's unfair and sexist to call Pelosi shrill rather than assertive. Fine. But will it happen? Yup.)

Similarly, the GOP would have been better off if they had not swept the House and Senate in 94. If they were just 3 seats shy, but still the formal minority in the House (with either a Senate majority or a 51-49 minority), then Clinton could not have run against the evil mean-spirited Gingrich and Co. Instead, the GOP might have snagged the White House and the last few seats at the same time in 96 (with a better candidate than Dole, I wish).

So, every smart Democrat Prez-wannabe should root for the GOP. And conversely, Bush should hope for Pelosi, so he can end his final two year in opposition to her.
9.15.2006 8:48pm
Christopher Cooke (mail):
I now believe in divided government but not in the type advocated by this post. First, I do agree that when one party controls both houses of Congress and the Presidency, the party enacts its most ridiculous and extreme proposals, which are popular with its base but not with the public at large, and becomes corrupted by its power (see Jack Abramoff, Tom Delay, Duke Cunningham and Bob Ney, as examples).

I don't support the mix of divided government posited by the post: Republican control of the Presidency and the Senate, and Democratic control of the House. The reason why divided government worked better under Clinton is that the Republicans in the House checked the Clinton and the Democrats' desire to spend money on adding new social welfare programs, whereas Clinton could refuse to enact the Republicans' tax cuts and spending cuts through his veto. Under Bush, we are already experiencing a repeat of Reagan's compromise with the Democratic controlled Congress and resulting fiscal irresponsibility and huge budget deficits, and I see no reason why this fiscal irresponsibility will stop simply because Pelosi becomes the House Speaker. The compromise then was that everyone gets to spend some tax revenue on something (Republicans on military/defense, Democrats on social programs), but the Republicans get a tax cut. Really, that is the way to fiscal madness, and road on which our current administration is already well-traveled. Pelosi will not act as a fiscal restraint on Bush, for Democrats will push for programs that Bush has not funded, while Bush will still push for further tax cuts and increased military spending. I predict they will compromise by enacting modest tax cuts, some spending on Democrat priorities, and a large military budget; if I am right, the deficits will get larger, not smaller.

By contrast, under Clinton, he could veto Republican tax cuts, whereas the Republican House could refuse to enact his spending programs. The result of this stalemate, and the high degree of economic growth that the US economy experienced in the 1990s, were budget surpluses.
9.15.2006 8:51pm
Brooks Lyman (mail):
At the risk of sounding like a one-trick pony (I'm not, really), one of the dangers, from a conservative or libertarian point of view, of giving the Democrats (the liberal Democrats) control of any part of the government, but particularly the legislature - the law-making body - is that we may get saddled with bad laws and programs which take years to amend or repeal. immigration law, for one example; welfare for another; gun control for a third.

On this last: in 1968 the Gun Control Act of 1968 was passed; it was a bad law, pushed by the emotions over several political assasinations during the 1960's. Some aspects of the law were sensible, but it was basically a badly-written piece of "anti-gun" legislation; a deliberate blow against our Second Amendment rights. It took 18 years before the worst provisions of the GCA68 were amended out in 1986, amd some of the bad parts are still there.

So, on this sort of social legislation - as against "Good, Old Pork Barrel Spending" - you not only get stuck with the baleful effects of bad (usually liberal) legislation, but there is a "ratchet" effect which makes it almost impossible to totally undo bad laws. Think of the (im my view, completely unnecessary) Federal Department of Education: despite wishful and bold talk by Republican conservatives, the Dept. of Ed. just keeps growing and gaining more power over the operation and curricular content of our local schools.

So, I am not particularly keen on seeing moderate ad conservative - if a bit too gutless on the pork issue - Republican legislators replaced with liberal democrats. Frankly, I'd rather see a Republican Congress and a Democratic President, if the republicans have to lose anything.
9.15.2006 9:44pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
This falls under the “things have to get worse before they get better theory.” It has a superficial attraction, but let’s think it through first.

If Nancy Pelosi becomes Speaker of the House, she gets to appoint committee chairmen. These chairmen really run the government. She will appoint those safe liberal congressmen who have been around a long time and have seniority. People like John Dingell, Barney Frank and Henry Waxman. But the scarcest of them all is Alcee Hastings, the representative from the 23rd district Florida. Joe Klein says Pelosi wants dump Jane Harmon and appoint Hastings as head of the House Intelligence Committee. This is the very same Hastings who used to be a federal judge until impeached by the House and removed from the bench by the Senate for bribery. At the time he was one of only three federal judges ever removed from the bench in the whole history of the republic. It’s true that a jury acquitted Hastings of soliciting a bribe through his friend and crony William Borders from the Romano brothers. I don’t know the details of the case, but it sounds like jury nullification similar to the O. J. trial. It was alleged that Hastings was to receive $150,000 from the Romanos if he ordered (which he did) a return of $875,000 from the 1.2 million in assets the government had seized from them. The FBI had recordings of telephone conversations between Borders and Hastings.

Even if Hastings were completely innocent, his appointment in place of Harmon would make a sea change in policy for the intelligence committee. He opposes pretty much everything that has to do with surveillance. He’s a darling of the ACLU who recently honored him with a special dinner last May. Do we really want to chance this guy? He would never get security clearance in the real world. It’s ironic that this man serves in a body that considers him a corrupt federal judge.

There must be a better way to punish the Republicans than putting the security of the country at risk.
9.15.2006 9:50pm
Brian Kennedy (mail):
News I can't use. To do my part in making the House Democratic and the Senate Republican, I'd have to vote for Jim Moran and George Allen. That's not going to happen.

A lot of politics is still local, or at least still personal.
9.15.2006 9:54pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Some of the likely Democratic chairs if they take over the House:

- John Conyers: Judiciary. His primary goal would be to impeach the President. His recently released report accuses the Administration of violating no fewer than 26 laws and regulations. Has already stated that he would immediately start impeachment hearings if the Democrats take over the House.

- David Obey: Appropriations - Faulted Clinton for a balanced budget.

- Charlie Rangel: Ways and Means - avid protectionist and recently voted against free trade with Oman.

- John Dingell: Energy and Commerce - Bailouts for the automakers and more restrictions on the Internet.

- George Miller: Education and Labor - proposed a law to ban secret union ballots.

- Henry Waxman: Government Reform.

- Alcee Hastings: Intelligence Committee - impeached as federal judge for taking bribes.

This is from a WSJ article titled: Back to the Congressional Future: Let's think about how the Democrats would govern.
9.15.2006 10:58pm
Jim Rhoads (mail):
There will be some interesting hearings hijinx in the House if this comes to pass. And that's about all that will get done.

For Libertarians, gridlock is a desired end. I am not so sure that it's a good idea when we are in a difficult national security situation.
9.15.2006 11:26pm
therut:
Who says we do not compare one man to another man just because they are men. People sure do. My goodness just listen to someone like Chaffee, Kuchnich(sp),Shays vs Allen,Bush,Sessions.. Or John Roberts vs Breyer. Yes we do compare men to men. Some men are really wusses.
9.16.2006 12:28am
anonymous (mail):
Bruce Bartlett is not a Conservative. He's a turn-coat, Libertarian quisling.
9.16.2006 12:32am
Derrick (mail):
Anonymous,

Are you serious in saying that John Roberts with his Amish-looking family is a manly man. What's next Dennis Hastert?
9.16.2006 12:58am
Some Guy (mail):
Joe Scarborough, "former GOP Congressman"?

Keep it in your pants, there, Joe.
9.16.2006 1:47am
Angus:
Bruce Hayden,

Two can play at that game. Let's take a look at who would be out as current Chairmen should the GOP lose the House.

Jim Sensenbrenner: Judiciary. Wanted to criminalize "smut" on cable TV, also #1 taker of privately funded lobbyist trips.

Jerry Lewis: Appropriations. Under investigation for channeling millions of dollars to a lobbyist friend.

Joe Barton: Energy &Commerce. Stated that as long as he was chairman, his committee would never regulate pollution. Wants to excise all mention of global warming from government documents.

Peter Hoekstra: Intelligence. Embarrassingly announced three months ago that the U.S. had found large stockpiles of WMD in Iraq.

Duncan Hunter: Armed Services. Involved in the "Duke" Cunnigham scandal.

Pete King: Homeland Security. Outspoken supporter of terrorist Irish Republican Army.

Don Young: Transporation. Led the House fight in favor of the now infamous "Bridge to Nowhere."

Last but not least, you raise the specter of Alcee Hastings as head of the Intelligence committee, but he is not the ranking Democratic member.
9.16.2006 1:49am
JM Hanes (mail):
Conventional wisdom suggests that Republicans can't win elections without their Conservative base. Conservatives need to remember that they can't win without their Republican base. The strategy they are so casually batting about relies on the single highly questionable assumption that a chastened party will come crawling back to the folks who deliberately relieved them of their majority.

It's entirely possible that those who survive election '06 might seize the opportunity to recultivate a more reliable centrist constituency instead. A Giuliani nomination would be a great (and oh so easy!) way to begin. As a Republican, that's what I'll be fighting for anyway, and while I'd rather not leave Conservatives out in the cold, they need to realize that if they split the party, they're as likely to lose more ground in the ensuing debacle as they are to retake it.

They'll also have to abandon all the lofty rhetoric about uniting behind a President at war, of course. Or do only pseudo-Conservatives say such things? All told, however, I bet you'd be hard pressed to find a Conservative for Pelosi among those who would have to put their money where their mouths are and actually cast a vote for her at the polls. This whole proposition is what Conservatives are fond of calling unserious.
9.16.2006 2:22am
Thales (mail) (www):
Regardless of what individual bad ideas the old guard of Democrats may have, the ability of that party to coherently focus on and enact them is pretty doubtful, even if they were returned to partial power. Remember that they turned to infighting over Bill Clinton's health care plan and in the end enacted practically nothing. What current experience does demonstrate is that the Republicans have in 8 years abandoned any good, principled ideas in favor of runaway pork barrel and corporate welfare spending accompanied by tax cuts and concomitant mortgaging of our future (yes, my assumption here is that "starve the beast" is empirically false). And a disturbing focus on squandering our resources attacking crappy but harmless to the U.S. nations in the Middle East instead of sensible measures to protect us from terrorism, global warming and other existential threats. That deserves a round turning out and starting over, even if the alternative is a bunch of washed up liberals. Don't forget that the case of Lieberman shows that Democrats are willing to punish their own milquetoasts and lobby whores too. The very costs of turnover might prevent the new Dems from doing much damage, and the close memory of the anger of the public at bad Republicans might also do the same.
9.16.2006 3:23am
Medis:
I largely agree with Christopher. I have long been an advocate of divided government, but at least from a spending/big-government perspective, a Democrat as President and Republican-controlled House is probably going to be better than the other way around.

Of course, my real worry is that after the 2008 elections, the Democrats will take control of everything, and we will be right back to one-party rule again.
9.16.2006 7:41am
Lehuster:
prominent conservative (and two libertarian) commentators who argue that both the country and the conservative movement will be better off with a Democratic takeover of the House of Representatives this November.

Yeah, sure thing, it's good to get your ass handed to you.

Basically this is a Republican effort to put a pre-emptive positive spin on what they regard as inevitable defeat. We're going to lose, but it's really a win, see?
9.16.2006 8:14am
Cyn23 (mail):
Joe Scarborough's comments on the impeachment trial hopefully was tongue in cheek. Let's also remember that all that effort to make Clinton illegitimate (simply put, that wasn't just divided gov't; the '80s was divided go'vt; that was something else) helped take our mind off certain other problems.

The Democrats' liberal wing simply isn't prominent any more. But, do continue that trope guys.
9.16.2006 10:45am
fiddler:
I can't help but note how this coincides with the brouhaha over British Labour MP Clare Short's recent article in The Independent. (Her thesis that "the key to the change we need is a hung parliament which will bring in electoral reform" has of course been instantly reduced to "she wants Labour to lose seats", but that's merely incidental to the point she was making.)

Watching from the other side of the pond, one can probably be forgiven wondering what great difference it makes whether the representatives of Corporate America are painted red or blue.

Yes, that's a sweeping statement and unjust and all that, especially when I haven't lost hope yet that in foreign politics, which is obviously most important for us foreigners, some change at least is actually possible.

I wonder if the two-party system isn't itself the main reason for the fear and loathing that rules the relationship between Dems and Reps, and if reforms such as proportional rather than pure-majority representation or public rather than corporate campaign funding ever stand a chance to be considered.
9.16.2006 11:23am
Pantapon Rose (mail):
The Democratic liberal wing isn't prominent anymore? Tell that to Lieberman.
9.16.2006 11:49am
Medis:
Pantapon Rose,

Liberals aren't the only critics in this country of the war in Iraq.
9.16.2006 11:59am
Thorley Winston (mail) (www):
For Libertarians, gridlock is a desired end. I am not so sure that it's a good idea when we are in a difficult national security situation.


It’s an even worse idea when we’re coming up on some 70 million baby boomers who are approaching eligibility for Medicare and Social Security. We only need to look back to the 1980’s when we had “divided government” that “fixed” Social Security. The result was we had higher FICA rates, no personal accounts, and Democrats used the issue to retake the Senate.

I frankly care less about non-defense/homeland security discretionary spending (which BTW went much more quickly when we had a Democratic Senate during Bush’s first term – a fact proponents of “divided government” frequently omit) as I am about entitlements. The fact is that there is only one party who is even interested in any sort of entitlement reform that would reduce or at least slow down spending. You think it’s difficult to get anything done now? Try waiting until after the baby boom generation begins retiring and is on these programs and any reform constitutes a “cut” and it will be nearly impossible.

And just out of curiosity – does anyone doubt that should Republicans lose either House to the Democrats that the party leadership will see this as “proof” that they need to move “further to the center”? Seriously, when’s the last time you’ve ever seen a conservative (liberal) candidate who loses to a more liberal (conservative) candidate in the general election and who decided that that the problem was that they weren’t conservative (liberal) enough? It seems to me that most candidates and parties are more inclined to take the sign of the party winning as evidence that they need to co-opt more of their agenda. In which case a GOP loss would be more likely to move the party to the Left just as the electoral losses in 1996 and 1998 lead to the nomination of Bush 43 and the era of “compassionate conservatism.”
9.16.2006 12:53pm
Lincoln (www):
It behooves the voters not to allow any Democratic takeover of Congress. As bad as Republicans are at times, at least they are not terrorist enablers like Democrats are.
9.16.2006 12:54pm
Bruce Hayden (mail) (www):
Angus

Agreed, two can play that game, and under normal circumstances, Hastings should not get Intelligence. Pelosi has made a lot of noise about putting him there, BUT, I suspect that because of his background, and the current sensitivity of that position, that might cause a lot of problems for her. I think that a lot of members, even on the Democratic side of the isle, would find an impeached and convicted federal judge as inappropriate for overseeing our intelligence gathering in a time of war.

No surprise that my list of horribles seems worse to me than yours, but I am sure that the reverse is also true.

Nevertheless, of all those potentials, the one who scares me the worst is Conyers at Judiciary. He has made quite clear that his primary intent over the next two years would be multiple ongoing investigations of the current Administration. While a moderate amount of that might be beneficial, the amount he is proposing would likely paralyze the functioning of the government at its highest levels, esp. in the War on Terrorism. And, in the end, he isn't going to get his impeachment - he won't get any Republican votes and most of any Democratic seat pickups will be from Bush voting districts.

I should note that the Clinton impeachment did impact the functioning of that government and degraded its performance at the top. But the difference is that we weren't involved in a real shooting war at that time. I think the effect here would be worse because of that, and because Conyers has much more in mind here than merely 20 year old Whitewater land deals.
9.16.2006 2:10pm
Derrick (mail):
It behooves the voters not to allow any Democratic takeover of Congress. As bad as Republicans are at times, at least they are not terrorist enablers like Democrats are.



Oh yes, many Democrats are advocating for peace talks with Osama Bin Laden. Yes and I heard that Sen. Strawman (D-NY) has come out for normalizing relations with Iran and exchanging goods and weapons with the Muslim Brotherhood.
9.16.2006 2:13pm
Derrick (mail):
Bruce Hayden,

I agree with you that impeachment talk is probably not a good thing for the country, but as you have already seen over the last 3 months, Conyers has already been threatened by the Democratic leadership about his focus on that. If the Democrats get hold of Congress, they are going to attempt to immediately sabotage their attempts of keeping it.

I won't lie, there will be investigations, but ANYONE who believes in governance, has to know that there should have been massive investigations about 9/11, the Iraq insurgency, Abu Graid, Katrina, CIA's interrogation tactics, Rumsfeld, the Iraq reconstruction graft, and a host of other issues. Unfortunatley the Republcian have barely been able to even fake any realistic notion of governance. I truly doubt that impeachment talks, with the 2 years of Bush's presidency left, will prove to be appetizing for Democrats but there is a difference between that and the check on the power of the Presidency that is Congress' true responsibility.
9.16.2006 2:23pm
AppSocRes (mail):
As bad as the Republican Congress has been — and it has been rotten to the core — I vastly prefer it to the alternative. Many posters above have provided good reasons supporting my attitude. This Fall I'll hold my nose with one hand and vote with the other.

pifu: aizheng is right!
9.16.2006 2:45pm
jvarisco (www):
I don't think it is accurate to consider the Republicans as a unified group behind one platform this election. Due to the, well, major problems with Bush's policies, quite a few are refusing to go along. Furthermore, it is in this election cycle that we are likely to see important legislation on immigration - and electing a bunch of amnesty-loving democrats is not going to help that. If Tancredo can get a majority of the house behind him, and a couple more senators who care about enforcement get elected, there is a chance of actually fixing the issue.

I don't think terrorists are the issue here. No one is going to discontinue the measures we are currently taking, which are clearly working fine. I don't think allowing a couple detainees to get fair trials is going to go and cause another 9/11 anytime soon.
9.16.2006 3:10pm
David M. Nieporent (www):
Liberals aren't the only critics in this country of the war in Iraq.
But they're the only ones who are single issue voters against the war in Iraq.
9.16.2006 3:25pm
Thales (mail) (www):
Tancredo is exactly what's wrong with the small group of (as far as I can tell) non-corrupt Republicans left in the House. He takes a principled stand on a retarded position. Nativism is NOT the way to go for the country that stands for personal freedom and economic opportunity. Increase the legal immigration slots, allow non-criminal illegal aliens a genuine path to citizenship, and get self-righteous Americans used to the idea that they are simply not born entitled to jobs that pay them an artificially high wage Ideally combine this with effective job retraining andd education spending to help lift the minimum wagers out of their bleak situation, but in a way that doesn't make them dependent on handouts forever. Tancredo may make some modest gains with the know-nothings, but he will screw the GOP with one of their natural voting blocs, namely socially conservative, hard working family values folks (i.e. most Hispanics, immigrant or not, legal or not).
9.16.2006 3:29pm
Paul Zrimsek (mail):
Why don't we all cut off our noses to spite our face.

If we have plural "noses" and a singular "face", seems to me we ought to do something about the excess.
9.16.2006 3:40pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Even if Democrats are for more spending (I don't see how they can spend MORE than these Republicans have) at least they are for PAYGO. This came up in the Bush/Kerry debates and was played off by Bush as HAHA Democrats want to tax you. But if they are for paying for what they plan on spending it will be a huge improvement over what we have now. The spending is so out of control under the Republicans because its all being piled on the National Debt, so the true cost is being hid from the tax payer.

And as much as Cheney claims Deficits don't matter, it isn't true, in the long run its going to come back and bite us in the ass. The country has gone down the wrong path under the Republican's leadership
9.16.2006 4:17pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Here is the text from one of those debates


Senator Kerry, a new question. Let's talk about economic security. You pledged during the last debate that you would not raise taxes on those making less than $200,000 a year. But the price of everything is going up, and we all know it. Health care costs, as you all talking about, is skyrocketing, the cost of the war.

My question is, how can you or any president, whoever is elected next time, keep that pledge without running this country deeper into debt and passing on more of the bills that we're running up to our children?

KERRY: I'll tell you exactly how I can do it: by reinstating what President Bush took away, which is called pay as you go.

During the 1990s, we had pay-as-you-go rules. If you were going to pass something in the Congress, you had to show where you are going to pay for it and how.

President Bush has taken -- he's the only president in history to do this. He's also the only president in 72 years to lose jobs -- 1.6 million jobs lost. He's the only president to have incomes of families go down for the last three years; the only president to see exports go down; the only president to see the lowest level of business investment in our country as it is today.

Now, I'm going to reverse that. I'm going to change that. We're going to restore the fiscal discipline we had in the 1990s.
....

And we start -- we don't do it exclusively -- but we start by rolling back George Bush's unaffordable tax cut for the wealthiest people, people earning more than $200,000 a year, and we pass, hopefully, the McCain-Kerry Commission which identified some $60 billion that we can get.

....

SCHIEFFER: Mr. President?

BUSH: Well, his rhetoric doesn't match his record.

He been a senator for 20 years. He voted to increase taxes 98 times. When they tried to reduce taxes, he voted against that 127 times. He talks about being a fiscal conservative, or fiscally sound, but he voted over -- he voted 277 times to waive the budget caps, which would have cost the taxpayers $4.2 trillion.

He talks about PAYGO. I'll tell you what PAYGO means, when you're a senator from Massachusetts, when you're a colleague of Ted Kennedy, pay go means: You pay, and he goes ahead and spends.


BUSH: He's proposed $2.2 trillion of new spending, and yet the so-called tax on the rich, which is also a tax on many small-business owners in America, raises $600 million by our account -- billion, $800 billion by his account.

There is a tax gap. And guess who usually ends up filling the tax gap? The middle class.

I propose a detailed budget, Bob. I sent up my budget man to the Congress, and he says, here's how we're going to reduce the deficit in half by five years. It requires pro-growth policies that grow our economy and fiscal sanity in the halls of Congress.


source

I cut off some of Kerry's long winded response, but nothing of importance to my point.

If Democrats get power and raise taxes, they will at least show the American people what the costs of their legislation is when the taxpayer sees his bill. The amount we are spending now (which is insane) is hidden (and reaching dangerous levels IMHO). If Democrats bring this into the open it will help libertarians make their arguments for less spending as of now libertarians are handicapped because when they point to all this Republican spending and waste the average joe doesn't see it in his tax bill and writes off the libertarian as a kook.
9.16.2006 4:36pm
PubliusFL:
Christopher Cooke: "First, I do agree that when one party controls both houses of Congress and the Presidency, the party enacts its most ridiculous and extreme proposals, which are popular with its base but not with the public at large"

So that explains how the Republicans passed comprehensive Social Security and immigration reform!
9.16.2006 4:39pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
Last post on this for a bit, but this would have been my choice for quoted part

"Under Bill Clinton’s presidency, discretionary spending grew at a modest rate of 3.4 percent. Not too bad for a Marxist, even considering that his worst instincts were tempered by a Republican Congress. (Well, his worst fiscal instincts.)

But compare Clinton’s 3.4 percent growth rate to the spending orgy that has dominated Washington since Bush moved into town. With Republicans in charge of both sides of Pennsylvania Avenue, spending growth has averaged 10.4 percent per year. And the GOP’s reckless record goes well beyond runaway defense costs. The federal education bureaucracy has exploded by 101 percent since Republicans started running Congress. Spending in the Justice Department over the same period has shot up 131 percent, the Commerce Department 82 percent, the Department of Health and Human Services 81 percent, the State Department 80 percent, the Department of Transportation 65 percent, and the Department of Housing and Urban Development 59 percent. Incredibly, the four bureaucracies once targeted for elimination by the GOP Congress—Commerce, Energy, Education, and Housing and Urban Development—have enjoyed spending increases of an average of 85 percent.

It’s enough to make economic conservatives long for the day when Marxists were running the White House"

(the Marxist line is a joke referenced earlier and not a serious accusation)
9.16.2006 4:42pm
Jay Myers:

Nativism is NOT the way to go for the country that stands for personal freedom and economic opportunity.


How about for a country where over 3% of the population is here in violation of our laws? A country having to cope with accommodating the presence of 10% of its southern neighbor's population? Mexico isn't poor. According to the IMF, its economy was the thirteenth largest in the world in 2005. The reason its people live in poverty and despair is a corrupt and incompetent government that is firmly in the grip of Mexican billionaires. (Make that two corrupt and incompetent governments if you also count Bush and the pro-illegals faction in Congress.) If we allow ourselves to act as a safety valve then the Mexican people are never going to get fed up enough to revolt against the current system.


Increase the legal immigration slots, allow non-criminal illegal aliens a genuine path to citizenship, and get self-righteous Americans used to the idea that they are simply not born entitled to jobs that pay them an artificially high wage


How about if we stop acting as enablers for the Mexican government? Illegal immigration and remittances allow Fox and his cronies to continue oppressing the 90% of the Mexican populace that isn't able to flee to the United States. Last year $20 billion in bank transfers and approximately $3 billion in cash was sent back to Mexico by immigrants. That's equal to the 78th largest economy in the world and does enormous harm to our balance of payments. Only oil revenues made up a bigger portion of the Mexican GDP last year and this year remittances are expected to be even larger than oil revenue despite high oil prices.

And isn't it more than a little disingenuous to criticize the American worker for feeling "born entitled to jobs" immediately after you decry Tancredo as nativist for wanting to stop people who feel entitled to jobs in the US by virtue of being born in an adjacent country and for trying to end the practice of anchor babies? Maybe birth shouldn't matter but the law certainly should.
9.16.2006 5:05pm
PubliusFL:
llamasex: "If Democrats get power and raise taxes, they will at least show the American people what the costs of their legislation is when the taxpayer sees his bill."

I won't hold my breath. As Bush pointed out in the transcript segment you posted, the Democrats *always* propose more in new spending than the propose in tax increases. And it's easier to get the opposing party to agree with more spending than it is to get the opposing party to agree with more taxes. The House has been the organ most likely to oppose spending. Turn that over to the Dems and it's open season on taxpayer dollars, no bag limit. Not only that, but if taxes are increased it will slow economic growth, which will reduce tax revenues and widen the disparity between revenues and spending. And slowed growth is always a signal to Democrats that MORE spending is needed to ease people's pain and to attempt to spur the economy Keynes-style.
9.16.2006 5:14pm
llamasex (mail) (www):
PubliusFL, Bush doesn't say that Democrats won't pay for all their spending, he just claims the middle class will have to pick up the bill.

And to that I say GOOD. Better than the debt being passed onto their kids. If spending goes up the middle class should pay more, it might make them not ask their congressman to spend so much.
9.16.2006 5:28pm
jvarisco (www):
The point is not whether immigrants are good or bad. The point is that we are a country of laws, and that they are breaking them. I would have no problem enforcing extremely strict penalties for hiring illegals while at the same time allowing temporary permits for an equivalent number to come and work here. But the fact is that they knowingly broke the law, and they cannot be rewarded.

All illegals do is subsidize some products. We let them in, they get paid hardly anything, and our tax dollars pay for their health/school/etc. We may as well just directly subsidize if that's what we really want. At least then we could regulate it.
9.16.2006 5:34pm
PubliusFL:
llamasex: "PubliusFL, Bush doesn't say that Democrats won't pay for all their spending, he just claims the middle class will have to pick up the bill."

You may believe that if the Democrats had power they would pass enough tax increases to cover the deficit plus all the additional spending they would propose. Even if it's true, which I highly doubt, it is almost axiomatic that tax increases raise less revenue than expected and new government programs cost more than expected.
9.16.2006 6:13pm
Medis:
David N.,

I think plenty of non-liberals view the war on Iraq as the most important voting issue.
9.16.2006 7:43pm
A. Zarkov (mail):
“Nativism is NOT the way to go for the country that stands for personal freedom and economic opportunity.”

How does Tancredo’s positions on immigration differ from that of any other country in the world including Mexico? Name me one country that does not control its borders. Name me one country that won’t put you in jail for entering illegally? The concepts of personal freedom and economic opportunity have nothing to do with immigration policy. One could have a perfectly free country and have zero immigration.

“ … allow non-criminal illegal aliens a genuine path to citizenship ...”

That’s just a code phrase for amnesty. We have already tried amnesty and found it does not impede illegal immigration. The number of non-criminal illegal aliens is very small. How do you work without a social security number? You either have to work “off the books” and evade taxes or use someone’s else’s number which is identify theft. Both acts are felonies. How many illegal aliens don’t work? Isn’t that why they come here in the first place?
9.16.2006 8:35pm
Third Party Beneficiary (mail):
"How about for a country where over 3% of the population is here in violation of our laws?"

And if you passed a law that made having an "R" in your name a crime, probably 50% of the population would be in violation of it. Shouting, "They're law breakers!" is unpersuasive if one thinks the law in question is silly or overly-harsh in the first place.
9.16.2006 9:36pm
jvarisco (www):
If you argue immigration law is 'silly' you are rejecting the entire basis of our international system, that of sovereign states. Do you also think we should be part of the ICC and give the UN veto power over our domestic policy? If you suggest that we as a nation do not have the inherent right to decide who is allowed to enter the country, that is what are you advocating.

Every single illegal alien is a criminal. They have all knowingly broken the law. And you want to reward them for it.
9.16.2006 9:59pm
Jay Myers:

Shouting, "They're law breakers!" is unpersuasive if one thinks the law in question is silly or overly-harsh in the first place.


If one disagrees with a law then there are legitimate avenues to change it and to seek redress if one was harmed by it. Simply ignoring the law will only lead to increasing lawlessness and I find that an astonishing attitude for someone to promulgate on a legal blog. Even those who practiced civil disobedience such as Thoreau, Gandhi, and King understood and accepted that when you violate the law for any reason, including changing a bad law, you are choosing to accept the consequences. One of Gandhi’s rules was "When any person in authority seeks to arrest a civil resister, he will voluntarily submit to the arrest, and he will not resist the attachment or removal of his own property, if any, when it is sought to be confiscated by authorities."

Another rule of Gandhi’s was "In the course of the struggle if anyone insults an official or commits an assault upon him, a civil resister will protect such official or officials from the insult or attack even at the risk of his life." I'd sure like to see people (of all political affiliations) honor that during contemporary protests!
9.17.2006 2:05am
fiddler:
jvarisco, Third Party Beneficiary didn't say "immigration law" was silly, only the particular law that you have. That's a perfectly legitimate position to hold, whether you agree with it or not.
I'm personally very much for the US to join the ICC, but that has nothing to do with either immigration or the UN.

While I'd generally agree with Jay Myers last post, in this particular case, when inofficial (I'm on purpose not using the word "illegal", because that would preempt the argument) entry is made a criminal offense then all inofficial immigrants are by definition criminals. To then use this "criminal" status to justify deportation is circular reasoning. That doesn't generally bar deportation, only unsound reasons for it.
To demand, as someone else did, "allow[ing] non-criminal illegal aliens a genuine path to citizenship" refers to criminal offenses other than illegal entry, otherwise it would be a contradiction in terms.
9.17.2006 11:10am
Jay Myers:

Third Party Beneficiary didn't say "immigration law" was silly, only the particular law that you have.


We admit over a million legal immigrants to the United States each year and, to my knowledge, don't discriminate by nation of origin. Not being terribly knowledgeable about the details involved, I'm curious as to exactly what is "silly" about our current laws.

One thing I do find less than amusing is that I live in the twelfth largest city in the US and every year the number of illegal immigrants from Mexico alone is equal to two-thirds of my city's population. Is it really so outrageous to expect people to follow our rules for immigrating here and that people who don't will be gently deposited back home? Should we allow people to line jump just because they can and are willing to? That wouldn't have passed the fairness test back in elementary school and I would hope that anyone coming to live here would be at least as amenable to conforming to polite behavior as an unruly pack of seven-year-olds.
9.17.2006 2:51pm
Thales (mail) (www):
"We admit over a million legal immigrants to the United States each year and, to my knowledge, don't discriminate by nation of origin. Not being terribly knowledgeable about the details involved, I'm curious as to exactly what is "silly" about our current laws."

Yes, your knowledge, like that of many others, is somewhat lacking on this subject. The Immigration and Nationality Act, the primary statute containing U.S. law on the subject, explicitly does discriminate by national origin. That is in fact it's raison d'etre. It regulates how many people come to the U.S. from where. If you are in Mexico seeking to come to the U.S. legally and find gainful employment and do not fit a narrow category of highly skilled worker (and in many cases even if you do) it is a practical impossibility that this will occur in your lifetime under current law. This is what I advocate changing. I defy you to tell me that it is wrong for a person to seek to better himself by looking for a job elsewhere. Americans do this within our borders all the time--witness the flood of people who drive from the heartland to NYC, LA, Chicago to "make it big" every year. What most illegal immigrants do is no different, but it involves crossing a line we drew in the sand and ignoring an unrealistic and unfair barrier to their success, a barrier that privileged Americans do not face. I agree 100% with defending the country against real threats to its existence. Mexicans looking for jobs may threaten the economic well-being of those unable or unmotivated to compete, but they improve the economic well-being of the rest of us. Indeed, illegal aliens, by any respectable measure (those paid for by FAIR hacks don't count) bring in more in tax revenue and consumer surplus than they take away in government benefits (because they don't qualify for many, it is difficult to procure many benefits even by fraud, and because the net drain or welfare seeking illegal is largely a creature of myth). Yes, it is a problem that states face an added burden on hospitals, schools, etc. from those not here legally. But the burden is also partly caused by Americans who are net drains on the system's resources (i.e. those who take in more in benefits than they pay in taxes). Let's be fair, and allow these people to immigrate legally so they don't find themselves inclined by our draconian laws and harsh/corrupt conditions at home to do so illegally. More hardworking, productive and tax paying citizens can only help us. Moreover, allowing them to legalize could actually end a lot of the wage disparity problem (i.e. Americans won't work for less, illegal Mexicans don't demand more than a certain sub-minimum wage)--once the pool of illegal labor turns legal, all workers have a more solid level of bargaining power. I am not a utopian about this, but on balance, trying to restrict legal immigration to unrealistically low levels hurts us and benefits only some American workers and greedy, lawbreaking American businesses.
9.17.2006 4:22pm
Third Party Beneficiary (mail):
During my absence, fiddler made my point. To Jan Myers, who wrote, "Simply ignoring the law will only lead to increasing lawlessness and I find that an astonishing attitude for someone to promulgate on a legal blog," I would suggest that if someone enacts a law predicated on malum prohibitum rather than malum in se, then the fault for any lawlessness that results lies with the enactor not with the lawbreakers. As stated in the Tao Te Ching: "The more laws that you make, the greater the number of criminals."
9.17.2006 6:45pm