Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Strange New Respect

Strange New Respect is the name usually given to some conservative who "shows maturity" by moving away from his previously-held troglodyte views. In that vein, I hope my new overlords will show me some mercy when the Change We've Been Waiting For finally arrives.

Mostly though, I'm talking about strange new respect in the literal sense, taking a look at what the other team has done right. The first thing is Bill Clinton's handling of the economy in the first two years. Like the rest of the world I've been thinking of our economic troubles over the last few months or so, and I reread parts of _The Agenda_, by Bob Woodward. He definitely wanted to fund the usual dogooder giveaways. But out of necessity, he "cut" the rate of increase in government programs and let the economy catch up the to the size of the state it was supporting. It seems that many if not most people who support Barack Obama are expecting him to do the same thing. Maybe they're right, but frankly I'm not nearly as confident as they are.

The other item is the Howard Dean campaign in 2003-2004. The crash and burn was widely ridiculed among those of us on the Right, but this one especially has had very substantial long-lasting impact. The Dean campaign successfully disciplined the Democratic political establishment to accept the authority of the Democratic base. The substance doesn't matter so much to me because as far as I'm concerned there's not very much worthwhile from either one. But on our side, it's not so much that the Republican political class has ran off the rails as opposed to the reality that the conservative pundit class and the Republican base have utterly failed to enforce accountability on it, and that reality continues to this day.

I was reminded of this when I see that a Federal jury has just convicted Sen Ted Stevens. Maybe he's not even really guilty of anything except the quasi-crimes prosecutors like to use to get rid of inconvenient people. Nonetheless, it doesn't speak very well of us that the Department of Justice is doing our dirty work for us.

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