Here Comes The Paul Ryan Presidential Campaign
June 03, 2011
One story I've been following but haven't written about is the possibility that Paul Ryan might decide to run for president. When you have the power to set your party's vision of government for the next fifty years, and nobody in the party is allowed to disagree with you, or even dodge paying fealty to you, then you already are the party leader. Ryan's disavowals of interest never struck me as terribly strong. Now he's dropping even stronger hints: On Thursday evening, Wisconsin Rep. Paul Ryan said yet again that he is not considering a run for the GOP presidential nomination.
The Rise Of Debt Ceiling Denial
May 18, 2011
Carrie Bordoff Brown has a good story about the increasingly widespread belief among conservatives that failing to lift the debt ceiling would have no important economic consequences: They are the newest breed of government skeptics, the swelling ranks of Republicans who don’t believe the Obama administration when it says a failure to raise the debt limit will prove catastrophic. And they stand ready to make negotiations over raising the cap on debt as grueling as possible, making Treasury officials and Wall Street more nervous than ever that the country could suffer an unprecedented default
The Goodness Of Paul Ryan Is Self-Evident
April 19, 2011
Bill Kristol, editorializing in the Weekly Standard, begins by block-quoting a section of President Obama's budget speech attacking Paul Ryan's Republican budget: It’s a vision that says up to 50 million Americans have to lose their health insurance in order for us to reduce the deficit. Who are these 50 million Americans? Many are somebody’s grandparents, maybe one of yours, who wouldn’t be able afford nursing home care without Medicaid. Many are poor children. Some are middle-class families who have children with autism or Down’s syndrome. Some are kids with disabilities . . .
Libya And GOP Infighting
March 29, 2011
One interesting ramification of the intervention in Libya is that it's a rare issue that splits both sides straight down the middle. Liberals have been re-fighting the Iraq war debate. Meanwhile, conservatives have cracked a few chairs over each others' heads. Bill Kristol attacked Haley Barbour for endorsing defense budget cuts in at item entitled "T-Paw v. Hee Haw." Here's David Keene hitting back at Kristol.
Why Conservatives Turned on Sarah Palin
March 09, 2011
It’s never easy to extricate yourself from a fling that got way too serious. But that’s exactly what many conservatives are trying to do after a few heady years of Sarah Palin infatuation. In the wake of Palin’s deeply unserious reality TV show and her embarrassing “blood libel” video, the bloom’s worn off the rose, rather definitively. In fact, those incidents may have provided just the convenient excuses the GOP establishment was looking for. Now, with the 2012 election looming, Palin’s former backers are fleeing left and right.
A Glimpse Into The GOP's Inner Sanctum
January 24, 2011
I've always been fascinated by the way that party elites meet behind closed doors to pick a presidential candidate long before the primaries begin. The selection of George W. Bush as GOP standard bearer in 2000 occurred almost completely out of sight. Bill Kristol, in the course of urging Republicans to let the primaries play out without doing has, offers a tantalizing glimpse: We know the superiority of spontaneous order to central planning. But too many GOP bigwigs in Washington who claim to have read Hayek have succumbed to the fatal conceit.
How Republicans Talk Themselves Into Opposing Monetary Stimulus
December 21, 2010
My TRB column in the current issue is about the conservative movement's newfound opposition to monetary loosening during an economic crisis, and the charged question of what motivation has brought about this ideological turn: Of all the strange things that Republicans have freaked out over during the last two years—a federal version of Mitt Romney’s health care plan, a continuation of George W. Bush’s bank bailout, a failed attempt to implement John McCain’s climate bill—perhaps the strangest target is Milton Friedman’s monetary policies.
Ease the Day
December 20, 2010
Of all the strange things that Republicans have freaked out over during the last two years—a federal version of Mitt Romney’s health care plan, a continuation of George W. Bush’s bank bailout, a failed attempt to implement John McCain’s climate bill—perhaps the strangest target is Milton Friedman’s monetary policies. Yet here we are. Last month, the Federal Reserve announced it would purchase $600 billion in Treasury bonds in order to push down long-term interest rates and spark the moribund economy—a practice known as quantitative easing. Conservatives exploded in outrage.
Bill Kristol's Think Tank Fetish
November 29, 2010
Earlier this month, a new conservative economic think tank called e21 sent a letter to Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke. The missive bore a heavy gloss of intellectualism. Its topic was the Fed’s “large-scale asset purchase plan (so-called ‘quantitative easing’),” and it carried the signatures of numerous academics and professional economists, all of whom listed their various books (The Ascent of Money), past governmental jobs (Chairman, President’s Council of Economic Advisors; Director, Congressional Budget Office), and current institutional affiliations (Harvard, Stanford, Columbia).
The Emergency Committee for Israel, a neoconservative lobby associated with Bill Kristol, is attempting to turn support for Israel into a partisan issue. (That's useful for Republicans, because support for israel is popular, but not so good for Israel.) The ECI's method consists of two things.