Republican Death Spiral

January 31, 2009

Nate Silver coins a phrase.  It goes like this:

The more conservative, partisan, and strident their message becomes, the more they alienate non-base Republicans. But the more they alienate non-base Republicans, the fewer of them are left to worry about appeasing. Thus, their message becomes continually more appealing to the base — but more conservative, partisan, and strident to the rest of us. And the process loops back upon itself.

Nationalize now – Roubini

January 29, 2009

Roubini says nationalize now or we’ll have zombie banks for 10 years like Japan did.  Follow Sweeden’s model.

Nationalize now?

January 27, 2009

Barry says bite the bullet and just do it.

As I watched Obama’s inauguration speech from my couch, in my pajamas, I had the same feeling I would hear reflected over and over in pundits’ comments: “… missed opportunity”, “a ‘good’ speech”, “not one of his best”.

However as they kept replaying lines throughout the day I started realizing just how much weight there was to each of them, and also just what he might have been trying to accomplish.

I’ve been meaning to write about this, and yesterday Frank Rich said so eloquently what I struggled to put into words.  I urge you to read the piece to better understand how Obama sees himself in history, how he is approaching the next four years, and why this speech will be so important in the future.

In my own words:

  • His austere but hopeful and reassuring tone was intended not for a quick jolt (which would be useless), but to give us strength and solace the next four years as we get through the worse.
  • He reminded us that we are all guilty, not just the ‘greedy bankers’, and therefore each of us has a duty to toil in the rebuilding effort.
  • He described sacrifice in terms of each one of us giving up a little compensation rather than seeing our neighbors lose their job altogether.

His subtle but clear indictment of Reagan and clean break with the small-government conservative philosophy was also starling.

McCain the dinosaur

January 25, 2009

He was ridiculed during the campaign for not using email, or blackberry, or knowing the difference between a Mac and PC.

But never was his technological ineptitude as visible as today:

MCCAIN: There’s got to be some kind of litmus as to whether it’ll really stimulate the economy and whether it will in the short-term. Some of the stimulus in this package is excellent; some of it, frankly, has nothing to do — some of the projects and others that you just mentioned, $6 billion for broadband and internet access. That will take years.

Universal broadband access is actually the most important part of the entire stimulus package, and at only 6 billion (less than 1% of the total) is already incredibly underfunded.

Like many old-timers McCain still thinks of infrastructure in terms of roads and buildings, when we need to be thinking in terms of a new electron economy.  I’ll quote Friedman again:

If we spend $1 trillion on a stimulus and just get better highways and bridges — and not a new Google, Apple, Intel or Microsoft — your kids will thank you for making it so much easier for them to commute to the unemployment office or mediocre jobs.

Limbaugh wants Obama to fail.  The cynicism inherent in that statement reflects what he really is: a showman looking for attention.

Never mind his arguments that Democrats may end up with a ‘permanent majority’ like FDR built.  Fixing the country and the Democrats benefiting from it go hand in hand.  You can’t have one without the other.

Wanting the Obama and the Dems to fail is to want the country to fail.  If Rush doesn’t like this he should complain to the one that brought this disaster upon us all: Bush.

We have come to a provervial ‘moment of truth’:  Will conservatives obstruct just to prevent long-term Democratic control, and send the country into disaster?  Or will they accept some blame for the situation we found ourselves in, and give Obama some room to maneuver?

In other words, are conservatives prepared to put country first?

The Volt looks hot

January 24, 2009

I hope they don’t mess with the current design.  It would be the sexiest sedan in the market.  Lots more pics here.