Extremism: It’s not just a GOP P.O.V.

posted at 10:10 pm on June 27, 2012 by Karl

David Brooks is so gosh-darned cute when he tries to explain Republicans to Democrats. Brooks guesses he’d say “Republicans don’t have an illness; they have a viewpoint.” You see, many of them have concluded the welfare-state model is in its death throes, gradually following the European death spiral:

This is the source of Republican extremism: the conviction that the governing model is obsolete. It needs replacing.

***

Democrats have had trouble grasping the Republican diagnosis because they don’t have the same sense that the current model is collapsing around them. In his speech in Cleveland on Thursday, President Obama offered an entirely different account of where we are. In the Obama version, the welfare-state model was serving America well until it was distorted a decade ago by a Republican Party intent on serving the rich and shortchanging the middle class.

In his speech, Obama didn’t vow to reform the current governing model but to rebalance it. The rich would pay a little more and everyone else would get a little more. He’d “double down” on clean energy, revive the Grand Bargain from last summer’s budget talks, invest in infrastructure, job training and basic research.

However, in 2009, President Barack Obama acknowledged that our current deficit spending is “unsustainable.” White House Budget Director Peter Orszag echoed the warning that our large federal deficits are “serious and ultimately unsustainable.” That assessment was shared by the Government Accountability Office.

In 2010, Federal Reserve Chairman Ben S. Bernanke (nominated by George W. Bush, renominated by Obama) said the US economy continues a slow, painful recovery, but Congress must prepare to address an “unsustainable” level of debt in the federal budget. Doug Elmendorf, the head of the Congressional Budget Office said our fiscal path is “unsustainable” and the problem “cannot be solved through minor tinkering.” The co-chairmen of President Obama’s debt and deficit commission offer an ominous assessment of the nation’s fiscal future, with fmr Clinton White House Chief of Staff Erskine Bowles calling current budgetary trends a cancer “that will destroy the country from within” unless checked by tough action in Washington. And fmr Clinton Deputy Treasury Secretary Roger C. Altman co-authored a paper with Richard N. Haass for the Council on Foreign Relations summarized in part as follows:

The U.S. government is incurring debt at a historically unprecedented and ultimately unsustainable rate. The Congressional Budget Office projects that within ten years, federal debt could reach 90 percent of GDP, and even this estimate is probably too optimistic given the low rates of economic growth that the United States is experiencing and likely to see for years to come. The latest International Monetary Fund (IMF) staff paper comes closer to the mark by projecting that federal debt could equal total GDP as soon as 2015. These levels approximate the relative indebtedness of Greece and Italy today. Leaving aside the period during and immediately after World War II, the United States has not been so indebted since recordkeeping began, in 1792.

In 2011, the International Monetary Fund again warned that the US debt burden is perilously unsustainable. In 2012, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner told the Senate that President Obama’s budget entails an “unsustainable” course for entitlement spending and interest payments on national debt.

The irony, if any, is that Obama’s 2009 comments focused on the problem of “health care costs,” by which he meant government health care costs. He marketed Obamacare as a way to bend the cost curve down. And yet Geithner says our entitlement spending remains unsustainable. However did that happen?

The actuary’s office at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services already projects health care spending will be $478 billion higher over the next decade than it would have otherwise been had no law been passed. Moreover, the money going to expand coverage cannot be used to cut the debt. Based on the most recent annual report from the Trustees of the Medicare program, a side report from trustee Charles Blahous (on the double-counting issue) and non-partisan Medicare actuary Richard Foster’s “Statement of Actuarial Opinion,” it is apparent that Medicare, which is already running a cash-flow deficit, will go bankrupt in 2016 or sooner. Indeed, Foster also thinks the savings required by Obamacare “will not be viable in the long range.” (And yet the Grand Bargaineers of the world want to keep it. Center-left elites love the rule of experts, until experts deliver them bad news.)

Meanwhile, outside the ranks of of current and former high-ranking government officials, who thinks this way? There may be no man who has written more about the death of the “blue social model” than Walter Russell Mead, a Democrat who voted for Barack Obama in 2008. However, the team photo would have to include demographer Joel Kotkin, a Democrat who voted for CA Gov. Jerry Brown, but nevertheless worries America could end up like California or Spain and Greece.

In short, contra Brooks, “extremism” is not simply a Republican viewpoint. It is the viewpoint of the Obama administration (as opposed to the Obama reelect effort). It is the view of the Fed chairman. It is the view of the CBO, the GAO and the IMF. It is the view of Medicare’s trustees and actuary. It is the view of Democratic thinkers. It is even the view of the Grand Bargaineers at whose altar people like Brooks worship.

If rank-and-file Democrats do not have the sense the current model is collapsing, it is because people like Brooks won’t tell them how broad the consensus is that federal entitlements will soon do to the federal budget what state employees’ pension and health benefits are doing to state budgets. After all, the problem for the Grand Bargaineers and their fellow travelers is that they won’t get the center-left solution they want unless they pretend the coming fiscal crunch is merely a Republican viewpoint — and an extreme one.

This post was promoted from GreenRoom to HotAir.com.
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Sharp Crease…

OmahaConservative on June 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM

This is for you, David:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJYSu2OVCGM

minnesoter on June 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

28 comments or bust!

I better get in early: FIRST!

Bishop on June 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Hey, hi OC, you doing good?

minnesoter on June 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Ok, it seems Romney is pulling out all the stops in trying to avoid being seen as extreme, but at great expense, let me explain.
Mitt is presenting himself, unfortunately and this was our fear, as an ideological-waffler. The immigration flap is the latest thing to amplify this feeling. It would have been so easy to just take a firm stand; but Mitt’s apparent evasive double talk seemed to confirm peoples worst fears about Mitt.
Mitt is clearly adhering to the median voter theory in an effort to present a small ideological target to offend as few as possible; but this also gives voters only a small target to like, and worse, it makes all voters distrust and dislike him. From my blog, in reference to loser Carly Fiorina in 2010 (CA), but I substitute “he” for she as this also applies to Mitt:
The article spoke of the role of perceived ideology (even if contrary to the ideology of the voter) in building trust with voters:

“A rational electorate is reluctant to support someone who does not exhibit commitment to some ideology,” [USC economist] Carrillo says. “Voters rightly perceive that someone without ideological commitment cannot have developed a valuable political program…
Carrillo and Castanheira’s paper is an important challenge to the widely accepted median voter theorem… To attract a majority of votes, parties cannot simply try to appear ‘median.’ Quite the contrary… [the candidate must take firm ideological stands (paraphrased)].”

To counter this perception of purposeful issue skirting, to build trust with voters of all stripes, he needs to go out of his way to visibly prickle some people (on the left, in this case) ideologically. Truly, without taking clear and visible stands, he runs the risk of [alienating all voters].

Mitt must defeat the growing viewpoint that he is a coreless waffler!
To do this, he has to not only take a stand or two, but do it in a highly visible way that gets a lot of media attention; ultimately, he has to take a somewhat controversial stand to get that media play. His ads are mostly good, but the unpaid media is as or more important. But in his ads he can also work to remedy the perception that he is a waffler. Get er done!

anotherJoe on June 27, 2012 at 10:21 PM

This is the source of Republican extremism: the conviction that the governing model is obsolete.

It’s not obsolete. Big government socialism simply does not work, it cannot work, and it is fatally destructive to a nation.

The problem is it took over 70 years for it to become apparent to a large enough percentage of the electorate to worry Democratic Party socialists. A worse problem is the awakening may be coming too late.

farsighted on June 27, 2012 at 10:22 PM

“We will Barry you.” – Nikita Khrushchev

PolarCoug on June 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Sweating my ass off. My AC is down…

OmahaConservative on June 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM

David Brooks is so gosh-darned cute when he tries to explain Republicans to Democrats. Brooks guesses he’d say “Republicans don’t have an illness; they have a viewpoint.”

…David Brooks needs a nightly HOT SAUCE enema…and BEN GAY rubbed into the front of his shorts every morning!

KOOLAID2 on June 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM

28 comments or bust!

I better get in early: FIRST!

Bishop on June 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

Excuse me, sir. But this is a very important opinion piece by David Brooks, the conservative voice of the New York Times. David Brooks has scads of HA admirers and I expect that this post could go on for days. Everyone will want to bask in David’s amazing lucidity.

Okay, I’m gonna read it now.

minnesoter on June 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM

They are all clinging desperately to the status quo like a drowning man to a piece of drifting wreckage. The same insanity is going on in Europe every day. The ruling elites have dug in their heals and just simply WILL NOT let go of their cherished set of conventional variables.
They will do anything to save the bloated and grotesquely obese bureaucracies that feed their grasping illusion of relevance….anything!

Lew on June 27, 2012 at 10:25 PM

Written 7 hours ago

News continues to be good from Creighton. Yesterday dad was moved out of ICU. His intestines are fully “awake”, he’s been eating solid food, and his catheter has been removed (again).

Today, dad has had a blood test to check his white blood cell count, which was down – a very good thing. If he continues to improve, they will consider releasing him to rehab later this week.

Right now, small improvements are the name of the game. Dad still is not walking as much as the doctors would like, but it hurts him so much to do so. Even a little progress requires a mountainous effort on his behalf.

Dad welcomes visitors, but we would recommend to keep them brief. He still tires very easily. Thankfully, most of the confusion seems to have disappeared.

A friend wrote a bible verse on the dry erase board in dad’s room, and it is very appropriate:

Phil. 4:13 “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

Blessings and thanks to all of you prayer warriors!

OmahaConservative on June 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Sweating my ass off. My AC is down…

OmahaConservative on June 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Oh no! I’m up here in St. Paul, and it was a smoker today. Well, I hope you at least weren’t chasing cows around today.

minnesoter on June 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM

OmahaConservative on June 27, 2012 at 10:26 PM

Man, that sounds tough. I’m and open-heart surgery veteran and I can relate. Recovery is hard, but I’m sure he’ll get through just fine. I sure hope so.

minnesoter on June 27, 2012 at 10:32 PM

28 comments or bust!

I better get in early: FIRST!

Bishop on June 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

29..
Cause I just posted…:)

Electrongod on June 27, 2012 at 10:33 PM

Epistemic closure.

Someone once told me that’s the disease of the lefty mind. Well, actually, it was Ace who said that and someday I fully intend to look the term up and find out why he’s saying such terrible things about our fellow citizens.

MTF on June 27, 2012 at 10:40 PM

Sorry Karl….
We may not get to 28 posts..

Electrongod on June 27, 2012 at 10:40 PM

If rank-and-file Democrats do not have the sense the current model is collapsing, it is because people like Brooks won’t tell them how broad the consensus is that federal entitlements will soon do to the federal budget what state employees’ pension and health benefits are doing to state budgets.

Why are rank-and-file Demoncrats not thinking for themselves? Why do they rely on faux moderates like Brooks to tell them what they should think about a given issue?

Happy Nomad on June 27, 2012 at 10:41 PM

BREAKING NEWS: Scott Brown says Eric Holder should resign. Good for him.

Prediction: with over 20 Dems ready to cross the aisle, he may resign in the morning.

Marcus on June 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM

BREAKING NEWS: Scott Brown says Eric Holder should resign. Good for him.

Prediction: with over 20 Dems ready to cross the aisle, he may resign in the morning.

Marcus on June 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM

.

Don’t count on it. They know F&F isn’t going away if Holder steps aside. If your gonna go out – go out big.

FlaMurph on June 27, 2012 at 10:50 PM

OT Just wanted to share with you Carvilles latest in case you missed it.
“These Tea Party Republicans have worn out their welcome. But I’m telling you — getting rid of ‘em won’t be easy. They’re not leaving on their own. We’re going to have to boot them out the door like unwanted house guests,” Mr. Carville wrote.

Bmore on June 27, 2012 at 10:51 PM

Oh James, you ain’t really a true coonass, poser.

Bmore on June 27, 2012 at 10:53 PM

Prediction: with over 20 Dems ready to cross the aisle, he may resign in the morning.

Marcus on June 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM

That could well be true. Contempt of Congress seems certain. That it will lead nowhere before the election is equally certain. But that doesn’t mean that Holder doesn’t become a political liability- especially with many Dems voting in the affirmative.

But how does Holder resign? Spend more time with the family is out. Different viewpoint than the President is out. How does Holder explain his resignation other than the “you caught me and I await the federal criminal charges?”

Happy Nomad on June 27, 2012 at 10:55 PM

Marcus on June 27, 2012 at 10:46 PM

Unlikely. At this stage of the game, all he and the WH can do is try to run out the clock and tie the committees hands via the courts. Whatever’s in those held back documents, it probably puts him in the hot seat more than the WH, but they *are* in it too, I’m betting.

If Obama loses, he’ll pull a Clinton and go on a serious pardon writing 11′th hour campaign. I would not be surprised if you hear about some handed out for a few Death Row inmates and maybe a certain Chicago couple with ties to 1960′s radicals?

Hell, even Blago might get hisself a Golden Ticket out of Club Fed.

If the President wins, the MSM crowd will lap it up: Holder will skate, and at best, some mid level Regional manager will be shown the door in Holders stead.

BlaxPac on June 27, 2012 at 10:59 PM

Sweating my ass off. My AC is down…

OmahaConservative on June 27, 2012 at 10:24 PM

Oh no! I’m up here in St. Paul, and it was a smoker today. Well, I hope you at least weren’t chasing cows around today.

minnesoter on June 27, 2012 at 10:27 PM

…close to a hundred in the Detroit area tomorrow…so we are all going to have sweaty ba_ _s… to go along with the Courts decision and F & F

KOOLAID2 on June 27, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Brooks is an ass. And an OVERPAID one.

GarandFan on June 27, 2012 at 11:06 PM

Brooks is a laughingstock

faraway on June 27, 2012 at 11:11 PM

We may not get to 28 posts..

Electrongod on June 27, 2012 at 10:40 PM

…we just did! (:->)

KOOLAID2 on June 27, 2012 at 11:15 PM

How come, when we talk about extremists, we never mention, Maxine Waters, Henry Waxman, Chuck Schumer, Chris Van Hollen, Harry Reid, or Barbara Boxer? This is just a few of the Democrats who have extreme views and are always throwing bombs at the Republicans so why aren’t they extremists?

All Republicans want is fair reporting, we don’t need the press to cuddle with, like the Democrats, just call them fair. I know it’s hard because, if you do, the Democrats will never win an election, but the least you can do is try!!!

bflat879 on June 27, 2012 at 11:33 PM

I’m sure the folks on the Titanic refused to acknowledge that the ship they were on was going down due to a little ol iceburg too. Didn’t change the outcome though did it. The difference is that theres a lifeboat called Romney and I’m getting a seat onboard. You Libs can play fiddle in the orchestra while she sinks beneath the waves.

neyney on June 27, 2012 at 11:33 PM

I don’t think a resignation from the idiot Holder will end this. Little Bammie’s assertion of E.P. signals that this goes beyond Holder, and that means either Valerie Jarrett or himself or both. Still, the question of what the objective of F&F was, has not been answered.

We have a duty to expose what happened, we can handle it just fine.

slickwillie2001 on June 27, 2012 at 11:34 PM

Sharp Crease…

OmahaConservative on June 27, 2012 at 10:14 PM

This is for you, David:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wJYSu2OVCGM

minnesoter on June 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

28 comments or bust!

I better get in early: FIRST !

Bishop on June 27, 2012 at 10:19 PM

.
(shaking head sadly) Oh Bishop . . . . . .

listens2glenn on June 27, 2012 at 11:45 PM

Please Brooks is an elitist Democrat pretending to be an elitist Republican. And Mr. Brooks, I have more degrees than you do. From places where one had to actually learn rather than simply show up. One of the things these institutions did not seem to care about was the crease of my pants, nor the shine on my boots.

pat on June 28, 2012 at 12:27 AM

How does Holder explain his resignation other than the “you caught me and I await the federal criminal charges?”

Happy Nomad on June 27, 2012 at 10:55 PM

At the risk of giving Holder ideas, he uses the same excuse the Hollywood starlets use when they get too hooked on drugs to work anymore;

“Exhaustion”. Except this time it’ll be “due to the incessant attacks from Republicans”.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on June 28, 2012 at 3:08 AM

Hey, this is Obama we are talking about, a President who is unafraid of flouting the law, Congress and common sense. I expect the pardon to be issued the day after the election, regardless of the result.

For whatever reason (which King Barry also won’t need to explain) we will never learn whatever mysterious F&F history Holder is choosing not to share with Congress.

MTF on June 28, 2012 at 6:22 AM

Who is David Brooks?

Robert Jensen on June 28, 2012 at 7:30 AM

Poster boy for smarmy puke RINO.

Sporty1946 on June 28, 2012 at 7:58 AM