Donnerstag, Februar 12, 2009

Democrats and Arguments...

This is something I've noticed as well.

The Democrats have, I think, lost the ability to make a cogent argument for their positions: what dominates is dogma and incantations, as well as "we won, now shut up".

It's not a cogent argument to simply state "the past ways were wrong" without explaining why; it's not a cogent argument to say "no one cares" when the act of questioning shows that people do care; it's not a cogent argument to say "we have to do something or the economy crashes" without making the case that the plan is actually designed to achieve what it claims. The arguments I've heard and seen aren't arguments: they're a wish list that lists what the Democrats fervently hope will happen. Claims that all economists - or even a consensus of economists, as if that were even remotely possible - support the plan are patently false. Arguing from authority is a logical fallacy, a rather basic one.

This is, at best, very poor politics. It is the sign that the party has, in fact, become deranged during the years of BDS (Bush Derangement Syndrome, the folks who start foaming at the mouth when Bush's name is mentioned or he appears on TV) and became emotionally distraught. The Democrats in Congress, during the first Bush administration, basically rolled over and abandoned virtually any pretext of serious opposition, scared to death that he would call them unpatriotic. He never did: it was their own bad conscience, the knowledge of their abject failure to protect the US looking forward during the Clinton administrations, that led them to that dark place in their souls where they know they did wrong, but can never, ever admit it. Bush kept them happy by proposing and approving spending packages that the Democrats could go along with, and ultimately the Republicans in the House and the Senate were seduced by the money to get into the hole they're in now. But you won't find anyone in the Republican Party whining and complaining how unfair things are: the party stopped digging and I think you will see how they will get themselves back to power: by reverting to being Reagan Republicans of small government and lowered taxes.

The Republicans recognize that in the last election they lost because they disappointed not only their base, but the general public as well by being seduced by earmarks and actually being bipartisan; this will be the ultimate lesson of the Obama and Democratic victory for the Republicans, that Democrats simply can't be trusted when it counts.

A political victory doesn't mean you have a mandate to do whatever you want: it means really that you're the one who is now responsible for what happens. This is what the Democratic Party, which is increasingly showing how intellectually shallow and immature it is, fails to understand: they think instead that when they're in charge, everyone has to do what they tell them to do. This is the sign of really bad management - and believe me, I've had more than my share of that - and invariably ends in failure to actually get anything done, let alone make truly fundamental changes.

It's reflected in what is contained in the Stimulus Bill: plenty of things that deserve debate and discussion. Instead of taking the bully pulpit and taking any real arguments to the public, Obama let Congress, riddled with special interest groups, go wild, unleashing its frustration over its relative unimportance and increasing self-imposed irrelevance in an orgy of spending and "getting what we deserve".

Now what the country needs, but what the Democrats think they deserve to get after 8 years of a President that they are convinced should never have been confirmed and never re-elected.

The problem now is that this stimulus bill binds the hands, as it were, of the President, as it commits too large a group of resources to do too little. The Obama Administration will be condemned to react to events, constrained by their commitments, rather than to be proactive and start doing things to help the economy to recover. Given their ideological blinders, though, and their fundamentally reactionary ideology, little else could be expected.

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