I Heart Sane Conservatives!

In a recent post I spoke with astonishment and admiration of an article/post by Ron Unz in the May issue of The American Conservative (he’s the publisher) that laid out a realistic, fact-based, cogent, and coherent portrait of our current economic situation. (I also pointed out that he 1. couched the post in an odd and unnecessarily tangential framing, vis-a-vis China, and 2. ignored what I consider to be the most obvious causes of that situation — thirty years of “conservative” economic ascendancy and the resulting empowerment/engorgement of the financial industry).*

I’ve been reading TAC regularly since then (yes: I’m way behind the curve on this), and I think it’s great. These guys fully understand that the dominant Republican/Conservative rhetoric is radical, specious, contrary to reality, and ignorant, blind to, or completely dismissive of the most basic facts on the ground — the stark, simple realities of economic history.

Here’s a guy who likes historical fact.

They understand that today’s so-called “conservatives” are anything but conservative. I could talk economics and politics with them over drinks without wanting to shoot myself in the head in the first twelve minutes. These are Edmund Burke/Dwight David Eisenhower conservatives. We could work with these people.

Yes, I think they still skew their causal interpretations in ways that ignore what seem to me to be patent realities, but they’re not the intentionally blind and/or shameless cherry-pickers, fact-distorters, and logic-contorters that comprise the whole Republican power structure — all the way from the base to Boehner (and decidedly including a large cohort of top-credentialed academic economists).

Speaking of Boehner, here’s a great example by Scott Galupo — a TAC contributor, former staffer for Boehner, and former staff writer for the Sun Myung Moon-founded (and decidedly righty) Washington Times.

Ronald Reagan Practiced Keynesian Economics Successfully – (usnews.com).

I’m not completely taken with this piece. He pretty much skirts the fact that Bush I and Clinton policies embodied exactly the responsible Keynesianism that he recommends (as do I) and that Reagan practiced (to some debatably greater or lesser degree) — pull back on stimulus, raise taxes as needed, and trim deficits in the good times, putting money in the bank for the bad times. And he definitely doesn’t mention how well those Bush I and (especially) Clinton policies seem to have worked out for economic growth. But still: he’s nowhere near the asylum that is modern mainstream “conservatism.”

So here’s a loud shoutout to The American Conservative, and to others of similar stripe (all of whom have been excommunicated or ignored by the Palin paleos and their nutjob nabobs). David Frum. Bruce Bartlett. Christopher BuckleyReihan SalamJim Manzi. (My gentle readers can undoubtedly list more.) Give them your links, your “likes,” and your Google love. (Damn, I might even subscribe.) Talk to them. If we ever manage to emerge from the political and economic morass delivered unto us by the modern Republican party, these people and others like them are likely to be leading the way — in our direction.

* I was somewhat put out that Ron linked to my post in a followup as if my comments were unequivocably approbative, ignoring what I think were important criticisms. But hey.

Cross-posted at Angry Bear.







2 responses to “I Heart Sane Conservatives!”

  1. Tom Hickey Avatar
    Tom Hickey

    A growing percentage of the voters are independents and now independents are in the majority. Is this a sign of moderate Republicans abandoning their former party affiliation, and the same for many progressive Democrats, both of which groups see their parties as out of touch.

    This may be an opportunity to get some agreement on economic policy based on understanding and empirics rather than ideology or currying favor with large donors.