Arnold Kling  

The Civility Plea

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'Jane Galt' and Kevin Drum have made "civility pleas" on their web logs. What they are saying is that people's comments ought to treat opponents with respect.

Let me add a similar plea to this blog. I've always felt that the stronger the case for the idea, the less need to attack the person.

Calling my clear-headed, careful, Nobel-prize-winning dissertation adviser a "hack" does nothing to advance your cause. (then how come in a forthcoming article you use the expression "foam at the mouth" to describe that same economist?--ed. Er, I thought I was criticizing his, um, behavior as opposed to degrading the person. Still, a bad choice--ed.)

Many years ago, I played a game of Othello (sometimes called Reversi) in a tournament against a British opponent. At one point, I made a stupid blunder, and he said, mildly, "I don't think that was your best chance, actually."

What I learned from that experience is that understatement can be as devastating as anything.


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The author at Modulator in a related article titled Civility in Discourse writes:
    Civility in the Blog World Complete and continual civility in the kind of open forum that a blog with comments presents is wishful thinking as the trolls will always pop up. This isn't an issue here...Modulator's comment threads currently are lucky exc... [Tracked on September 4, 2003 3:34 PM]
COMMENTS (45 to date)
Eric Krieg writes:

You know, politics ain't beanbag. If you are going to get upset about being called a hack, then perhaps you should not be making political comments. Stop using the Internet and stick to the Cartoon Network, or something.

Eric Krieg writes:

Let's get the terms of the debate right, too. You want to see incivility, check out the Dubya-haters, who equate our President to Hilter.

http://www.nationalreview.com/goldberg/goldberg090403.asp

Arnold Kling writes:

The issue is not whether someone gets upset about being called a hack. The issue is whether calling someone a hack is constructive in debate.

I think that we have gotten used to the idea of political debate as being a mudslinging contest. Maybe that is true in some quarters, but it does not have to be true everywhere, and it certainly does not have to be true on this web log.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

"If you are going to get upset about being called a hack, then perhaps you should not be making political comments."

If you can't disagree with someone without insulting them then perhaps you should not be making political statements.

If you're commenting on a statement about economics made by a Nobel Prize winner, then perhaps you might allow for the possibility that the person making the statement knows a thing or two about economics - maybe even a few things you don't understand.

Eric Krieg writes:

Bernard and Arnold, perhaps you should revisit the actual post.

The Nobel prize winner was not talking about economics. He was talking about politics.

And when Solow talks about economic policy, which I think falls under the realm of politics, I do not think he is being fair minded. I think that he has a partisan agenda to which his economic arguments have become mere talking points for.

When you are not being fair minded, and when you are just regurgitating talking points, then you fall into the realm of hackdom.

Again, revisit my post. What set me off was that Solow doesn't think that the tax cuts were immediate enough. This from a Democrat, the very people who blocked the tax cuts from being implemented immediately.

That's not fair minded. And that is hack behavior.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

Eric,

By your own admission you are a big fan of National Review. Do you think they have a partisan agenda?

You seem to take it as fact that Democrats prevented the tax cuts from being implemented "immediately." Yet it was Democrats who insisted on the $300 rebate program, the most immediate part of the cuts. The facts here are not as you claim. Perhaps you should seek mre information, and not simply regurgitate NR, whose economic writing, by the way, is objectively awful.

David Thomson writes:

“....whose economic writing, by the way, is objectively awful.”

Gosh, what ever happened to Paul “The Great Unraveling” Krugman? The stock market just a very short time ago was at 9588.39, up +19.93 from yesterday. Didn’t Krugman warn us that an economic Armageddon is at our doorstep? Yet, the economic news is improving on a daily basis.

Paul Krugman’s book has just been released. Should it be positioned in the economic area of the bookstore---or the humor section? Will he be laughed out of town?

Eric Krieg writes:

Well, Bernard, isn't it Democrats who argue that the rebates did little to stimulate the economy?

I mean, doesn't the rebate just blow Solow's argument right out of the water? Short term stimulus does NOTHING. Lowering marginal rates is a much superior tool.

I just get frustrated that, it seems to me, Dubya goes out of his way to compromise with Democrats on taxes, education spending, prescription drugs, etc. and he has nothing to show for it. Guys like Solow just move on to the next critcism, totally forgetting about the recent past.

As for National Review, that is a nonsequitur. It is hardly my only source of economic analysis. As I said, I even read Solow in Businessweek. I am familiar with his popular writing, if not his academic.

David Thomson writes:

The National Review posted Larry Kudlow’s
following column earlier today:

“The New Economic Reality
When will the bears wake up and smell the coffee?

August was supposed to be a bad month, but stocks rose anyway. September is supposed to be the worst month of the year, but stocks are surging anyway. When will the bears wake up and smell the coffee? We’re in a bull market. It has legs. It also has rising profits and productivity, lower taxes, and historically low interest rates. Investors are pouring money into stock prices. Think of it as rational exuberance.

Economic pessimists had better beware — and that includes Democrats on the presidential campaign trail.”

http://www.nationalreview.com/kudlow/kudlow090403.asp

There is no question but that Larry Kudlow has been far more accurate with his economic predictions than Paul Krugman. Wow, do you think that Brad DeLong might start pretending that he never heard of Krugman?

Arnold Kling writes:

"I just get frustrated that, it seems to me, Dubya goes out of his way to compromise with Democrats on taxes, education spending, prescription drugs, etc. and he has nothing to show for it. Guys like Solow just move on to the next critcism, totally forgetting about the recent past."

I agree. My forthcoming article discusses this issue.

Brad DeLong has a recent post in which he describes trying to give a reporter a nuanced view of the Budget (he's in favor of a short-term, cyclical deficit and opposed to a long-term structural deficit). DeLong makes it sound like the reporter blew him off. You have to be like George Akerlof and say "this is the worst fiscal policy in 200 years" if you want to get quoted.

That's true in the press. Obviously, there is a selection bias out there that makes Krugman and Kudlow (neither of whom educates the public, in my opinion) prominent columnists, while DeLong and I toil in relative obscurity.

But on this web log, we do not need to try to imitate Krugman and Kudlow. We can try to be civil.

Eric Krieg writes:

I wouldn't put Kudlow and Krugman in the same boat. Kudlow is nothing if not civil. No foaming at the mouth from him. You might not like him because he is an uber supply sider, and OH SO OPTIMISTIC!!! but he doesn't have an attack dog bone in his body.

Actually, he is quite humorous.

Question off the subject: are Brad Delong and J. Bradford Delong (writes in Wired magazine) the same person?

David Thomson writes:

“I wouldn't put Kudlow and Krugman in the same boat. Kudlow is nothing if not civil. No foaming at the mouth from him. “

That’s absolutely correct. Larry Kudlow has always acted like a perfect gentleman. He has never exhibited the normal nastiness of a Paul Krugman.

I suspect that Arnold Kling forgets that Brad DeLong has glorified Krugman---and says that the latter gentleman deserves a Nobel prize! And yes, it is patently unfair that Mr. Kling is not better known. I have learned much from his writings and admire him greatly. He definitely deserves better treatment from both the press and the economic establishment. Still, Arnold Kling should never forget the contempt endured by such notables as Ludwig Von Mises and Friedrich Hayek. The former couldn’t even find a teaching job in the United States until his friends promised to pay his salary!

Brad Hutchings writes:

Arnold,

Incivility is an older and worse problem on the Internet than SPAM is. While an undergraduate at UC Irvine from 1988-1992, I actively participated in an online politics discussion newsgroup frequented by students and profs in the department. It was ruthless, but always interesting because the playing field was level when everyone had an e-mail address and not just one person has a podium. I applaud you and other bloggers for asking for civility, but you're spitting into a tornado, and so long as you realize that, your plea is laudible.

Econlog is actually a very civil place, and that accounts for at least 70% of its charm. But I think we all wonder where the bounds of civility really lie. Larry Kudlow is mentioned above. I generally find him well-reasoned and gut-wrenchingly humorous. I have one big problem with Kudlow as a personality involved as a very public face in the debate. It's the same reason I turn the TV off when [a particular sportscaster] comes on Channel 4 sports in LA. They have both had publicly acknowledged cocaine problems. I find it repulsive that the media culture says they can take a little time off, and come back and expect a warm exception or expect media consumers to just forget. So I wonder, when discussing the ideas of someone who has placed themselves squarely in the public media sphere, is it uncivil to bring up such issues? If so, is it too cynical to let such issues ccloud our thinking out their ideas?

-Brad

Eric Krieg writes:

You know, we really need to separate politics from economics.

I didn't call Solow a hack because of his economics. And I never would. We can have differences of opinion on theory, which in my opinion are fair minded differences.

But when it comes to politics, I tend to bring the blowtorch up a notch. Mostly, beause of what I percieve as hidden agendas.

As for Kudlow's cocaine use, he says that it is in the past. Who am I to say otherwise. I enjoy his appearances on television, as well as his writing. I guess I don't see the relevance, unless you are saying that he is CURRENTLY using cocaine. Which I seriously doubt.

Arnold Kling writes:

I'm going to have to disagree with y'all about Kudlow. I see a lot more hindsight than foresight in his columns. I wrote that the stock market was a "buy" back when the S&P was south of 900 and everyone was pessimistic. For him to say that we're in a bull market now does not impress me.

He interprets movements in financial markets to suit whatever he wants to say. If he were to write down ahead of time a model of the stock market and how to interpret it--fine. But as it stands, he is like Big Julie from Chicago in "Guys and Dolls" playing with blank dice and telling you he rolled an eleven.

I don't think he's a gentleman, either, because he beats up on competent economists who don't subscribe to his brand of supply-sidism. If you can find an example of self-doubt, humility, or appreciation of others' intellectual arguments in one of his columns, please send me the link.

What makes Krugman and Kudlow ideological bookends, in my opinion, is that both write to rile up their own camps. A lot of economics is nonpartisan and carries a strong consensus of the profession behind it--but I wouldn't go to either of their columns to find it.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

I'm not a big fan of Kudlow either. He may be a polite guy, but that doesn't make him knowledgeable. He is economics editor of NRO. Since I agree with DeLong that the quality of their writing in this area is abysmal, I have to conclude he is doing a very poor job.

In addition, I tire of him describing himself as "pro-growth," as though those who disagree with his proposed policies are anti-growth, instead of just differing as to how growth is best achieved.

David Thomson writes:

“Since I agree with DeLong that the quality of their writing in this area is abysmal, I have to conclude he is doing a very poor job. “

You are conveniently overlooking the fact that Brad DeLong has severely demolished his credibility by endorsing Paul Krugman. It is obvious that DeLong is unable to discern what is truly “abysmal” writing. Anyone who has humiliated himself by arguing that the very mediocre Krugman deserves a Nobel prize is in no position to throw stones. My guess is that both men are reluctant to upset the liberal establishment. Alas, it must be hell for those pursuing a career within the liberal controlled universities to find themselves removed from those white wine and brie cheese party lists.

Mcwop writes:

A lot of comments here, but let's remember to:

Keep comments polite and civil. It is ok to disagree, but try and present facts and reasoned arguments supported by them. This is what I like about this site - I don't feel like emotional crap after visiting it.

Addiitonally, this site explores a variety of topics, from differing points of view, which is in sharp contrast to a site like ArgMax.

Mark writes:

Another thing about Kudlow, on his show he goes from areas where he should have some expertise like economics(debatable) to even more complex areas like Iraq with the same self confidence and certainty. The impression I am left with is that things will be great because his guy is in charge. Perhaps I am wrong but has he ever been bearish on the market since Bush took office?

Eric Krieg writes:

Come on, Kudlow is HILARIOUS! Watch his show, he's funny.

The man is a serious supply side true believer. I don't ever think you are going to get a very open minded opinion from him ever. He applies his ideology to everything.

And that's okay. It's one view, and as long as you know going in that he's an ideologue, you can work with that. When I want to know what the supply-siders think about something, I go to Kudlow.

As for his being self decribed as "pro-growth", I think he certainly has earned that title, where neo-Keynsians have not. NKs put values like equality before growth. Supply-siders do not. NKs would sacrifice growth for "economic justice". Thus, they are not "pro-growth".

Bernard Yomtov writes:

Eric,

So Kudlow is not a "hack," to use your term, despite uncritically promoting a partisan agenda.

Your view of "neo-Keynesian" economics is simply wrong, by the way. Remember that Keynes was addressing precisely the problem of growth - how to end the Depression. You may think his ideas, or those of Neo-Keynesians are wrong, but before doing so you might want a non-cartoon version.

David,

I know that Krugman annoys the hell out of conservatives, but an awful lot of this is because he is simply right about many things. An extremely high percentage of the criticism he gets is due to the fact that conservatives just don't like what he say. I would say his comments about the budget and tax reforms have proven vastly more accurate than the Administration's.

I don't agree that DeLong has "demolished his credibility." And ifyou do believe that, how does that make the sort of idiocy published in NRO correct?

Eric Krieg writes:

>>So Kudlow is not a "hack," to use your term, despite uncritically promoting a partisan agenda.

Eric Krieg writes:

>>Remember that Keynes was addressing precisely the problem of growth - how to end the Depression.

Mcwop writes:

"An extremely high percentage of the criticism he gets is due to the fact that conservatives just don't like what he say. I would say his comments about the budget and tax reforms have proven vastly more accurate than the Administration's."

Actually, I have not seen where Krugman actually proves that the tax reforms were the prime factor in the budget problems. I predicted budget problems too. Anyone can be right in making off the cuff predictions. I want evidence backing his comments. This seems absent from his recent writings.

Eric Krieg writes:

Does Krugman ever criticise Democrats? Does Solow?

Like I said, Kudlow has some nice things to say about Clinton.

Arnold Kling writes:

"Does Krugman ever criticise Democrats? Does Solow?"

He famously took on Galbraith when Galbraith was at the peak of his fame. He took on the "Limits to Growth" crowd in the 1970's when they were all the rage. He has tremendous integrity, which would not be challenged by even the most conservative members of the profession.

Solow and Krugman are very different characters, in my opinion. Solow is well to the left, but he makes certain not to cross the line into demagoguery.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

"Well, this again takes us into an area of people not being straight about their true intentions.

The bottom line with Keynes is that government interference in the economy was seen as a means of CONTROLLING growth.

As is human nature, the power that came with that control was corrupting. Growth itself became subserviant to other agendas that were facilitated by Keynsian policies. For example, airline pilots who are against de-regulation because they make more money in a regulated industry.

For supply siders, its all about growth. Get the incentives right, growth happens, and other things like equality and justice take care of themselves. Of course, the class warriors just make it out to be "tax cuts for the rich"

Eric,

I don't know your source for this information, but I suggest you look elsewhere. This is woefully ignorant. There is not a single accurate sentence in your post.

And while you're at it, lose the sound bites about "class warriors." They make you sound like you're just regurgitating talking points in support of a partisan agenda.

Eric Krieg writes:

>>Solow is well to the left, but he makes certain not to cross the line into demagoguery.

Eric Krieg writes:

>>There is not a single accurate sentence in your post.

Eric Krieg writes:

I just want to clarify something.

Arnold, do you generally disagre with Kudlow's economics? I never really thought much about the relationship between supply-siders and libertarians. Is there conflict as there is between "neo-cons" (your definition) and libertarians (as outlined in your recent Tech Central piece)?

Supply-siders and neo-cons are probably on the same page in that they are not so concerned with the size of government. If the size is too large, the answer is to just grow the economy faster, not to cut programs.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

Eric,

True. I break my resolutions.

Let me be specific about what I perceive as wrong in your post. Keynes' ideas had nothing to do with regulating or controlling the economy. Therefore all the stuff about pilots is irrelevant.

Keynes was specifically concernded with growth. What he observed was a world economy stuck in depression that it was unable to come out of by just letting the market work. It seemed clear to him that the economy had reached an equilibrium, but it was not the full-employment equilibrium of classical economics. In other words, it was stuck.

Keynes recognized that one source of this problem was a lack of "aggregate demand," the combined demand, more or less, of business, consumers, and government. He therefore suggested that government deficit spending could provide a stimulus to the economy by increasing aggregate demand.

This has nothing to do with regulation or control. It is an observation, unexceptionable today, that fiscal policy affects the economy.

Now this is a dramatically oversimplified, and probably not totally accurate, explanation. But two things are critical:

Keynes was concerned with growth.

He did not advocate central control of the economy.

That is why I felt your post was poorly-informed. That is why I didn't respond to you ropinions - because your opinions of Keynesianism seem to have nothing to do with Keynes.

I know that supply-siders are concerned with growth, so I have to admit that that sentence was not inaccurate. But so are others. Let me quote from DeLong's lecture notes, linked to on his site:

"Ultimately long run growth is the most important aspect of how the economy performs."

Does that sound like someone who isn't concerned about growth?

Am I a "closet Republican?" No. I do think market solutions are generally desirable, but I have a reasonable understanding of when they won't work, and I am not averse to government action in principle. I also disagree with some Democratic policies, notably on trade (though I'm not overwhelmed by Republican policies in this area either). But I dislike Republican policies much more. And, I must admit, I think the Bush Administration is dishonest in the extreme, and cares only for the well-being of its big-money cronies.

David Thomson writes:

“Let me quote from DeLong's lecture notes, linked to on his site:

"Ultimately long run growth is the most important aspect of how the economy performs."

Does that sound like someone who isn't concerned about growth?”

Brad DeLong is indeed more of a Republican than a Democrat. There is no logical way that he can support the likely Democrats presidential candidate in the next election. DeLong prefers the Democrat social and cultural milieu, but it’s going to get increasingly more difficult for him to remain loyal to the party.

Who is DeLong trying to kid? The Democrat Party is currently being taken over by folks who make Bill Clinton seem like a political conservative. I see no realistic way for the Democrats to marginalize the shrill and take no prisoners agenda of the labor leaders.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

Glad to hear you're agreeing with DeLong, but he doesn't sound like much of a Republican. He recently wrote (accurately),

"The Bush Administration is incompetent at countercyclical policy."

And of course he has been in general a harsh critic of Bush.

Matt Young writes:

Scew you and all your civility crap.

Arnold Kling writes:

"Arnold, do you generally disagree with Kudlow's economics?"

Honestly, I never thought he had any to disagree with. I think in terms of general equilibrium models, accounting identities, and other apparatus of economic theory. I keep it out of my popular writing, but it's there in the background.

I can't fit such an economic model to what Kudlow writes. So, just as with Krugman's political rants, I see Kudlow's stuff as being in the "off-topic" category as far as econlog is concerned.

David Thomson writes:

"Glad to hear you're agreeing with DeLong, but he doesn't sound like much of a Republican. He recently wrote (accurately),

"The Bush Administration is incompetent at countercyclical policy.":

Yes, but what does Brad DeLong think about the current crop of Democrat candidates? Politics is often about the grudging acceptance of the less of evils. DeLong may not be pleased by the Bush administration---but the Democrats are currently marginalizing their neo-Liberal members. The Brad DeLongs and James Fallows are deluding themselves if they think the party will become more moderate before the general election.

The labor bosses have an inordinate impact on the Democrat presidential candidate selection process. Why is this? One should not overlook the fact that the Democrat candidate will most likely be decided upon in the very early part of 2004. This means that money will be desperately required in the immediate future. And guess what? The labor unions have a lot of money to contribute!

Bernard Yomtov writes:

"but what does Brad DeLong think about the current crop of Democrat candidates?"

I don't know.

"The labor bosses have an inordinate impact on the Democrat presidential candidate selection process. "

Well, they have an impact, certainly. Lots of groups have an impact on the nominating process in both parties. Whether the impact of any one group is "inordinate" depends on your view of the group's agenda. it's not an objective term.

Eric Krieg writes:

>>Keynes' ideas had nothing to do with regulating or controlling the economy. Therefore all the stuff about pilots is irrelevant.

So you're going to argue about the definition of the word "Keynsian"?

Please. What exactly was Nixon talking about when he said "We're all Keynsians now".

The regulated economt of the 1970's was Keynsian.

>>Keynes was specifically concernded with growth.

Let's take Keynes at his own words, shall we?

From my well worn copy of "The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money", Chapter 24:

"The outstanding faults of the society we live in are its failure to provide for full employment AND INEQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH AND INCOMES".

Growth was not Keynes' principle concern. He had other agendas.

>>This has nothing to do with regulation or control. It is an observation, unexceptionable today, that fiscal policy affects the economy.

No doubt. However, Keynes was also concerned with bubble economies, and wanted to regulate growth so that markets didn't become overheated. He said to avoid the depression by limiting growth during the boom.

I'm not aware of ANY similar concern with supply siders. I don't think that supply siders can even spell bubble.

>>He did not advocate central control of the economy.

But Keynsians did advocate regulation of the fiscal cycle by government. Not socialism, per se, but regulated capitalism.

>>Am I a "closet Republican?" No.

I disagree. Respectfully. You don't like Republicans as people, and you question their motives. But you agree with their policies, economically at least. Contrast that with Democrats, whom you probably like personally, and certainly you agree with their motives. But the economic policies leave you cold.

That, my friend, is the DEFINITION of a closet Republican.

Oh, we used to call closet Republicans "New Democrats". Are you more amenable to that definition?

Bernard Yomtov writes:


“So you're going to argue about the definition of the word "Keynsian"?”

Well, I’m reasonably sure it doesn’t mean what you think, which is something like, “economic policies Eric Krieg disagrees with.”

Please. What exactly was Nixon talking about when he said "We're all Keynsians now".”

Nixon was talking about the importance of fiscal policy to the economy.

"The regulated economy of the 1970's was Keynesian."

Nonsense.

>>Keynes was specifically concernded with growth.

Let's take Keynes at his own words, shall we?

From my well worn copy of "The General Theory of Employment, Interest, and Money", Chapter 24:

"The outstanding faults of the society we live in are its failure to provide for full employment AND INEQUITABLE DISTRIBUTION OF WEALTH AND INCOMES".

Growth was not Keynes' principle concern. He had other agendas.”

Keynes’ motivation was the Depression. Getting out of a depression requires growth. If you had read a little further you would have noticed that he was writing in favor of progressive income taxes and the estate tax. His main concern was that certain types of inequality hindered economic growth. He was not opposed to inequality per se.

“ Keynes was also concerned with bubble economies, and wanted to regulate growth so that markets didn't become overheated. He said to avoid the depression by limiting growth during the boom.

I'm not aware of ANY similar concern with supply siders. I don't think that supply siders can even spell bubble.

Keynsians did advocate regulation of the fiscal cycle by government. Not socialism, per se, but regulated capitalism.”


I don’t doubt that supply-siders are poor spellers. Do they not think that the Fed has a role to play in preventing the economy from overheating?

Are the objectives of “regulation of the fiscal cycle” much different than the objectives of regulation of the money supply?”

>>Am I a "closet Republican?" No.

“I disagree. Respectfully. “

You are wrong.


“You don't like Republicans as people, and you question their motives. “

True.

“But you agree with their policies, economically at least. “

Let’s see. The only consistent feature of Republican economic policy in recent years has been tax cuts as the cure for all evils. I disagree with that, and think Bush’s cuts were a terrible idea.

I disagree with protectionism but, rhetoric aside, that is practiced by both parties. I do think markets are in general the best way to allocate resources. But I think Republicans generally have a poor understanding of markets. They do not understand that markets sometimes fail, that they exist in a context of law, and that their economic benefits are not best realized by complete laissez-faire policies. Further, they seem happy to interfere on behalf of many business interests.

As for non-economic matters, there are very few areas where I agree with Republicans, and many where I find their policies destructive, and as I said above, motivated solely by a desire to please big business. Furthermore, I admit to a visceral dislike of many leading Republicans. They are smarmy, stupid, sanctimonious, mean-spirited, bigoted. I despise the gay-bashing and kowtowing to religious ignorance that characterizes so much Republican rhetoric. I have zero respect for Bush.

Sound like a closet Republican to you?

Since you’ve taken the liberty of telling me what I think, let me talk about you. You’re a bright guy who comes to reasonable conclusions sometimes, but you . But you’ve read too much conservative propaganda, and swallowed it without realizing it. For example, you take “supply-side way too seriously and may actually blieve that tax cuts pay for themselves. Broaden your reading, understand that NR is a rag, that Business Week columnists are a highly mixed bag. Try The New Republic for starters.

Eric Krieg writes:

>>Try The New Republic for starters.

Ugh, no. I used to read the New Republic, back in the early ninetees. It was a main culprit in my falling for the whole "New Democrat" thing, and the biggest mistake I ever made, voting for Bill Clinton in 1992.

I do pick it up occasionally, though, just to see what the other side thinks. Atlantic Monthly, too.

As for Republicans, economically at least, I probably agree with you, at least with what the party is right now. They're not the party of 1995, which is where I still am intellectually.

But politics is the art of picking the lesser of evils, being that Democracy involves comprimise. As such, the Republicans are a HELL of a lot closer to the perfect free market party we all want.

And the more the Democrats move to the left, the more Republicans move left to fill the vacuum. It's very disturbing. I can see now that one reason the Republicans were so conservative in the 1990s was that Clinton was a relative moderate (relative to, say, Dean and Sharpton). So I am profoundly unhappy with the politics of hate and anger practiced by the Nine Dwarfs, not because I like Democrats all that much, but because of what it does to Republicans.

Eric Krieg writes:

I have no problem with someone disliking Republicans for their cultural stands. I'm glad that there are things more important to you than mere economics.

I am the opposite. I give Dubya wide latitude on economics because of the things he has done culturally and especially with respect to the military and foreign policy.

Eric Krieg writes:

I just wish guys like Bernard would give the President SOME credit for domestic policy. It seems to me, and many conservatives, that Dubya has gone out of his way to make nice with guys like Teddy Kennedy.

Again, just an aknowledgement would be nice. You can still hate Dubya. I hate Clinton but I can say a couple of nice things about him.

Bernard Yomtov writes:

Tell me what I should give him credit for. He sometimes talks a good game, but when it comes to putting up some money he backs off.

"Haven't you heard? There's a big deficit. We can't afford X."

Whose fault is that?

(Rhetorical question. Let's not start the 98,375th thread about what caused the deficit).

Eric Krieg writes:

Dude, even Teddy is happy about educational spending.

Come on, you're being intransigent.

Eric Krieg writes:

Your stance also reminds me of the difference between liberals and conservatives.

Liberals think that people who don't agree with them are evil.

Conservatives think that people that don't agree with them are just misguided, and need more convincing.

Your visceral hatred of Dubya is very personal, when really your beef is just over policy. Now, I probably loathe Clinton just as much, but more for the fact that his word meant nothing, and that he was a sexual predator. And that liberals let him get away with behavior that would get a normal human being thrown in the slammer.

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