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Paul Begala is Delusional Again   July 8th, 2009
Of course he's just a Democratic talking head, but still...       

 
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I've written about CNN's Paul Begala before. And while he is clearly just a Democrat party hack, I feel the need today to respond to his latest nonsense. He's downright delusional now.

It is a paradox of the modern Republican Party: If they hate government so much, why don't they leave it to those who can use it as a tool for national renewal?


I assume Begala isn't ignorant enough to think this is really any kind of paradox. Real Republicans run for office precisely to make sure Democrats don't use government as a tool for national renewal--because we know that history shows that doesn't work. In fact, it's almost always entirely counterproductive.

There is no paradox in Republicans getting into government to prevent its misuse by Democrats. Weak strawman.

Republicans say government would screw up a one-car parade, and then when they get into government, they set about proving their theory right (e.g., Katrina, Iraq, the economy, etc.).


When it comes to Katrina, only Democrats seem to think the government is more powerful than nature. Whether they think that government can prevent a hurricane from destroying a below-sea-level coastal city or think that we can control climate change, the arrogance implicit in their belief that man can overcome nature is quite amazing.

Iraq? In case he hasn't notice, Iraq is now a success and has arguably been far more of an influence on the democracy movement in Iran than any words uttered by Obama. Of course, success in Iraq only truly occurred after Bush's successful surge--something Democrats (including Obama) were squarely against. But Bush's concept of planting a seed of democracy in the Middle East looks surprisingly plausible given recent events in Iran.

The economy? Republicans didn't cause this. Neither did deregulation. But Democrats' efforts to borrow, print, and spend trillions of dollars in record time will almost certainly cause our country long-term pain. And since it doesn't even seem to be producing much short-term benefit either we now have Democrats pondering the idea of a second stimulus package.

Part of the GOP's problem is that conservatism has been discredited by George W. Bush and the Republicans who controlled Congress for most of his presidency. Fiscal restraint, once a hallmark of the GOP, is history. It was Bill Clinton who balanced the budget, and Republicans who ran up trillions in debt.


Fiscal conservatism hasn't been discredited. It wasn't practiced by George W. Bush or the Republican Congress. If anything they discredited the very same polices that Obama is implementing. The behavior of Bush, the Republican Congress, and now Obama and the Democratic Congress stand as evidence of why we need fiscal conservatism.

Bill Clinton, of course, didn't balance the budget. It's unfortunate that so many people still believe that myth, and that the urban legend can be repeated unchallenged by commentators at CNN.

And for Begala to complain about Bush running up trillion dollars of debt (admittedly a bad thing) when President Obama is in the process of running up nearly $2 trillion in debt in a single year is just silly.

And how about family values? If the recent GOP scandals have proved anything, it is that neither party has a monopoly on virtue, but one has planted itself firmly at the corner of sanctimony and hypocrisy.


While I can understand Democratic pundits trying to spin the human shortcomings of Republicans as hypocrisy, in all honesty there is absolutely nothing inappropriate about speaking in favor of high moral standards. I set high standards for myself even though I know I will sometimes fall short of those standards. It's unfortunate that politics dictate that personal human shortcomings are used as political footballs.

In short, it's better to have high moral standards and fall short than to have no moral standards and, unsurprisingly, be able to meet them.

The current crop of Republicans repeat the same disgraced talking points George W. Bush used -- limited government, strong defense, family values. No one's buying their snake oil anymore.


That last quote is an amazing effort at revisionist history and a delusional view of current events.

Limited government wasn't discredited under Bush since it wasn't practiced. A strong defense wasn't discredited under Bush since no further terror attacks happened under his watch, Iraq is now a democracy, and Iran wants to move in that direction. And family values remain a good idea even when people fail to live up to them. How Begala can suggest that any of these points are "disgraced talking points" boggles the mind.

As for no-one "buying their snake oil," that's curious in light of polls suggesting that Americans are shying away from liberalism and towards conservative. In fact, polls have shown such a drop in support in Ohio that Vice President Biden has been dispatched to the region to shore up support. And other polls have Democrats rethinking their ideas of how to pay for their health care reforms.

If anything it would seem that Americans aren't buying Obama's snake oil anymore.

Clinton committed the heresy of supporting welfare reform, tough anti-crime policies, free trade and fiscal discipline. In so doing he paved the way for President Obama. No one today is attacking President Obama on crime or welfare; Clinton took those Republican-dominated issues off the table.


I believe all of those happened under a Republican Congress, but no matter. Obama isn't being attacked on those issues because whether they were addressed by a Democratic president or a Republican congress, those conservative issues were addressed. If Obama adopts conservative policies then there's no doubt that Republicans will lose relevance.

However, there's absolutely no indication that Obama's about to embrace conservative ideology. And the fact that some states have resisted stimulus funding because they potentially have a long-term expansive effect on welfare and social programs suggests that Obama is dangerously close to putting that "Republican-dominated" issue back on the table.

If the Republicans were smart, they'd find a principled compromise on health care and energy -- take those two Democratic-dominated issues off the table -- and then work on rebuilding their fiscal credentials.


A principled compromise? If the Democrats are arguing for a "public option" and conservatives believe that government should get out of the health care option, where exactly is the "principled compromise" to be found? And if Democrats are clinging to a crumbling belief that humans are responsible for--and can control--climate change and conservatives largely disagree with that premise, where exactly is the "principled compromise" to be found?

This isn't about taking issues off the table for one party or the other. It's about getting it right regardless of who gets credit. And since Democrats are now in the driver's seat with a filibuster-proof 60-seat majority in the Senate, a lopsided majority in the House, and have the presidency, Democrats are all set to get everything they want and to take credit for it. So why don't they do it?

Instead, the GOP has a strategy of implacable opposition on issues where the country wants action, increasingly wild attacks on a popular president, and a desperate search for a charismatic savior.


The country wants action? Increasingly more people think the government tries to do too much, not too little. Twice as many people oppose a second stimulus as support it. More than half of Americans don't want to pay more to fight global warming. And Obama's "wild popularity?" It's been falling for weeks, more people strongly oppose him than strongly support him, and the number of those that support him are almost equal to the number that oppose him.

That's a strange definition of "wildly popular." It's almost like Begala is still stuck in December 2008 when that statement was true.

Until Republicans prove they can revive their beleaguered party, no one will trust them to lead our beloved country.


And yet more Americans would vote for a local Republican than a local Democrat.

Once again, Begala proves he is either ignorant or arrogant... and whichever it is, he's definitely out-of-touch with reality in July 2009.

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