Brooks is amazingly inconsistent. He’ll go weeks in row with unimpressive, routine, sometime bizarre, hash. Then, he’ll nail one.
Like this one on the future of conservatism (aka the Republican Party).
Without taking sides, or expressing any personal preference, this last paragraph seems to be absolutely correct:
The debate between the camps (“Traditionalist” vs. “Reformist” Conservatives) is heating up.
Only one thing is for sure: In the near term, the Traditionalists are going to win the fight for supremacy in the G.O.P.
They are going to win, first, because Congressional Republicans are predominantly Traditionalists. Republicans from the coasts and the upper Midwest are largely gone. Among the remaining members, the popular view is that Republicans have been losing because they haven’t been conservative enough.
Second, Traditionalists have the institutions. Over the past 40 years, the Conservative Old Guard has built up a movement of activist groups, donor networks, think tanks and publicity arms. The reformists, on the other hand, have no institutions.
Yep. the reformists, seem to me, to consist of Brooks and Ross Douthat and a few other columnists. Wow, are they gonna get clobbered in the coming years of the GOP.
I thought that the following parts of the article were its heart: Finally, Traditionalists own the conservative mythology. Members of the conservative Old Guard see themselves as members of a small, heroic movement marching bravely from the Heartland into belly of the liberal elite. In this narrative, anybody who deviates toward the center, who departs from established doctrine, is a coward, and a sellout.This narrative happens to be mostly bogus at this point. Most professional conservatives are lifelong Washingtonians who live comfortably as organization heads, lobbyists and publicists. Their supposed heroism consists of living inside the large conservative cocoon and telling each other things they already agree with. But this embattled-movement mythology provides a rationale for crushing dissent, purging deviationists and enforcing doctrinal purity. It has allowed the old leaders to define who is a true conservative and who is not. It has enabled them to maintain control of (an ever more rigid) movement.I also thought it telling when Brooks observed: “Rush Limbaugh and Sean Hannity are the most prominent voices in the Traditionalist camp * * * *”WTF does that tell you about the ethos, and intellectual depth, of the “modern” GOP? Angry, lying demagogues as the Party’s doctrinal vanguard?A formerly conservative friend called me today to talk politics. He mentioned that yesterday “El Rushbo” called Obama and Rham Emmanuel “two Chicago thugs” on his program. I read somewhere else that Limbaugh is already describing the current economic meltdown as “the Obama recession” because of his proposed tax policies.And these are the GOP “opinion leaders?”Keep it up Rush, and you’ll marginalize your Party for a generation. I’m beggin’ ya, keep it up.
Interesting article, but I think there are significant variations & sometimes overlap within the two groups Brooks describes. There's definitely a middle position between ideological purity/kick out the heretics conservatives, and the complete GOP makeover types."Keep it up Rush, and you'll marginalize your Party for a generation. I'm beggin' ya, keep it up."Wishful thinking. Large swaths of the left were/are far crazier than Limbaugh for the last eight years and it didn't marginalize the Democratic party. If Obama screws up and his administration becomes unpopular, people will vote GOP for change.The idea that a hardcore conservative can't win is just silly. It all depends on the situation, the individual, and how he campaigns. A liberal won this year by campaigning as a moderate. There's no reason a conservative can't do the same, given the right set of conditions.If Obama governs as a moderate and manages to remain reasonably popular throughout this term, I think it's going to be very difficult for Republicans to unseat him in 2012 — no matter who they run. And who knows what the situation will look like in 2016. Things could change drastically by then.
Large swaths of the left were/are far crazier than Limbaugh for the last eight years and it didn’t marginalize the Democratic party. If Obama screws up and his administration becomes unpopular, people will vote GOP for change.I guess it depends on your definition of “crazy.” I agree the primary reason Obama won was because of how extreme the Bush Administration was. However, some of the writers quoted in Dan Froomkin’s latest WaPo “White House Watch” piece (the “Opinion Watch” Section, page 5) put “crazy” in context for me.I like the quote from Frank Rich in the NYT:”The post-Bush-Rove Republican Party is in the minority because it has driven away women, the young, suburbanites, black Americans, Latino-Americans, Asian-Americans, educated Americans, gay Americans and, increasingly, working-class Americans. Who’s left? The only states where the G.O.P. increased its percentage of the presidential vote relative to the Democrats were West Virginia, Tennessee, Louisiana and Arkansas. Even the North Carolina county where Palin expressed her delight at being in the ‘real America’ went for Obama by more than 18 percentage points.”The actual real America is everywhere [in evidence after the election]. It is the America that has been in shell shock since the aftermath of 9/11, when our government wielded a brutal attack by terrorists as a club to ratchet up our fears, betray our deepest constitutional values and turn Americans against one another in the name of ‘patriotism.’ What we started to remember the morning after Election Day was what we had forgotten over the past eight years, as our abusive relationship with the Bush administration and its press enablers dragged on: That’s not who we are.”A measure of how radicalized Bush made me is that I once considered Rich a contemptible left-wing moonbat. Now he seems like a mainstream patriot: “That’s not who we are.”
"I guess it depends on your definition of "crazy." I agree the primary reason Obama won was because of how extreme the Bush Administration was."I agree that Obama won because of Bush, but that was my point. If Obama makes himself unpopular, and voters get fed up with Democrats in general, things will shift the other way. There was nothing particularly extreme about the Bush administration, other than extreme incompetence & eventually extreme unpopularity. Your view of Rich changed because of BDS. Rich is still the same clueless left-winger he always was. And he has no idea what he's talking about, as usual. Apparently, even though Bush is going away, it will take time for BDS to subside.This is clearly illustrated by the quote you referenced:"It is the America that has been in shell shock since the aftermath of 9/11, when our government wielded a brutal attack by terrorists as a club to ratchet up our fears, betray our deepest constitutional values and turn Americans against one another in the name of 'patriotism."This is nothing more than typical garden-variety BDS. America hasn't been in "shell shock," the whole fear thing is left-wing propaganda — and total hypocrisy from the biggest fear-mongers around — our constitutional values are just fine and haven't been "betrayed," and the Americans that turned against each other did so for basic ideological reasons.
Your view of Rich changed because of BDS.BAWHAWHAWHAW! Yeah, me and a majority of the electorate are infected with this “Invasion of the Body Snatchers” malady. Recent polls show that President Bush is the most unpopular president since approval ratings were first sought more than six decades ago.I guess they’re all left wing nuts, too.
redhand,Wow, good job demolishing that strawman. Did I say Bush’s unpopularity was unwarranted, or question that he’s extremely unpopular? In fact, I even wrote that one of the extreme things about Bush is his unpopularity.
Davidc, just don’t use the term “BDS” M’kay? At this point in W’s downward arc it no longer has the meaning it once did, and can’t be used IMHO w/o overwhelming, if unintended, irony.I know my response if Pavlovian, but I think I’m right on this one.
redhand,Sorry, I forgot my self-imposed resolution to avoid further argument with you about anything directly involving Bush :). Getting back to the main topic, what do you think of this article? I like his analysis of the Republican situation better than Brooks.
“what do you think of this article?”Sort of a postscript to the Brooks piece, which describes the two main “conservative” factions. Without trying to be snarky, I do think that the writer highlights the main problem that the GOP has: it doesn’t really stand for anything now.The Party’s old policies seem dinosaur-like in just the last six months. Think of the economic meltdown as a comet hitting the earth in the Jurassic. In economics, given the chaos that “unregulated markets” and raw profiteering created in the financial sector, and the horrific damage that has caused all other sectors of our (and the world’s) economies, I just don’t see the deregulation mantra working. Way too Hoover-like. McCain’s “earmark” arguments prescribed a band-aide for a severed artery. Paulson seems absolutely clueless tonight, and we know Bush is. Like it or not, the torch is being passed to the Dems on this central issue. New New Deal, here we come, I predict.The whole GOP culture wars shtick may still energize the shrinking Palinolithic “base” of the Party, but I think it’s a guaranteed way to make the GOP wither and die. It also seems to me too tied to the self-assured bravado/know-nothing stupidity of its two principal exponents: Bush and Palin. People are tired of listening to national leaders who can’t utter a single coherent sentence, much less string a series of inter-related concepts together. Note that your author closed with a plea for “a renewed intellectualism.” That’s NOT what losers like Palin are about.So, what’s a classic libertarian to do? I don’t think there’s much you can do until your party chit-cans old tyme religion and starts from bare metal painting a policy picture Americans will buy.
"t doesn't really stand for anything now."I basically agree with this. There's no clear message. McCain's message was little beyond: "vote for me because I'm John McCain & not Barack Obama.""I just don't see the deregulation mantra working. Way too Hoover-like."Hoover imposed wage & price controls & other big government policies to try to counter the depression. Who has been pushing deregulation? There was and is massive regulation in the financial sector. Regulation increased dramatically under the Bush administration. Certain aspects of the financial system always evolve to evade and counter new regulations — which are usually based on things that happened in the past. "McCain's "earmark" arguments prescribed a band-aide for a severed artery."Yes. And McCain made it seem like earmarks were the only economic issue he even cared about. He didn't offer anything remotely like an economic plan. In one way Obama sounded more like a Republican, constantly pushing his middle-class tax cut."Paulson seems absolutely clueless tonight, and we know Bush is."Indeed. Which is one reason I was strongly against the bailout. They have no idea what they are doing. They panicked, it's not working, and they don't know what to do, other than spend us even further into debt."Like it or not, the torch is being passed to the Dems on this central issue. New New Deal, here we come, I predict."You may be right. And if so, I fully expect it to deepen the recession, make it last longer, and massively increase the national debt. The bailouts are up over 2 trillion and we've seen little or no benefits."The whole GOP culture wars shtick"I strongly dislike this wing of the GOP, but I think it has some resonance in the country. Being strongly anti-abortion is a loser issue in much of the country, but some of their other issues can be effective vote getters depending on the overall situation. Look at the anti-gay marriage propositions that passed — even in California of all places."People are tired of listening to national leaders who can't utter a single coherent sentence"Yes. Bush has to be one of the worst communicators to ever occupy the presidency. Obama's speaking ability was/is a huge plus for him."Note that your author closed with a plea for "a renewed intellectualism.""I agree with this also. I think the GOP situation calls for thought and analysis, not for excommunicating anyone who disagrees on certain issues, or who dared criticize the Palin pick."I don't think there's much you can do until your party chit-cans old tyme religion and starts from bare metal painting a policy picture Americans will buy."I don't think it's quite that extreme, and more a matter of returning to an emphasis on core principles that can be embraced by a big tent party. As Harsanyi said:"For the past eight years, we have had a Republican Party that was neither excessively conservative nor too moderate, but a party that employed no principles to speak of — unless securing power for power's sake is now a creed."
Large swaths of the left were/are far crazier than Limbaugh for the last eight years and it didn’t marginalize the Democratic party.Yes, and the Democrats won by ignoring them and courting moderates like Jim Webb. The only really crazy person who has any official power within the Democratic Party is Franken, and he’s never said anything particularly bad in his capacity as a candidate.
“President Bush is the most unpopular president since approval ratings were first sought more than six decades ago.”I will see that and raise you with the Pelosi/Reid Congress is the most unpopular Congress since approval ratings were first sought more than six decades agoOh and their approval rating is ONLY about 1/3 of Bush’s?? ;-)I wonder what will happen if the most Liberal Senator in Congress, now the President Elect let’s the Liberal Left in Congress have their way?Can you say change in Presidential approval ratings and more Change in 2010?
I will see that and raise you with the Pelosi/Reid Congress is the most unpopular Congress since approval ratings were first sought more than six decades ago.Dan, Dan, you still don’t get it, do you? The principal reason the electorate was unhappy with the Dem Congress was because they were ineffective in opposing Bush’s policies. The electorate fixed the problem by electing a Dem president, and far-larger Dem majorities in Congress.I guess they were really, really mad about that Pelosi-Reid Congress, so much so that they increased their hold on the legislature.
It is fascinating to see the Republican blogs tearing chunks out of each other for political impurity or insufficient loyalty to Palin. And I’m thrilled to see the number of people refusing to support the Republicans until they drop the moralizing and bible thumping. It is my dream to see the religious right marginalize itself so badly that it ceases to be a political force, and get replaced by a secular conservative party.I would like to see a secular conservative party, partly because I know the Dems will grow corrupt and eventually lose, but partly because I have more sympathy for secular conservatism than my right-baiting might imply.
“It is my dream to see the religious right marginalize itself so badly that it ceases to be a political force, and get replaced by a secular conservative party.”I don’t think that’s going to happen any time soon. I’d settle for a weakening of that wing of the party, and a deemphasis on their issues — particularly issues that are big political losers, like opposition to human stem cell research. Unfortunately, it’s possible (and I’d say likely) that having Democrats in control will create conditions that actually strengthen the religious right. “Traditional values” type voters cut across the political spectrum.
Canuck, you have such a party in power right now in your own country. So far it’s treating the country like an oil sheikhdom.
Alon- I don’t love my current government, and in fact I voted against them in the latest election. But they are not as secular as I could wish – there’s a strong streak of religious rightness about their base of support in the west, and many believe that if they had a majority, we would see more social conservatism in our leaders than we have seen up here in a generation.
Re: “The principal reason the electorate was unhappy with the Dem Congress was because they were ineffective in opposing Bush’s policies. The electorate fixed the problem by electing a Dem president, and far-larger Dem majorities in Congress.”It’s a theory.You may be right. And you may be wrong. There is no reason to venture a guess right now. The test will be in 2010 when the variable “ineffective opposition to Bush’s policies” that your theory is completely dependent upon gets isolated.
C’stan:I am curious. What would you list as your top 3 issues with non-secular conservatives?
Natalie-Since you asked-1) Debasement of science2) Gay rights3) Demonization of non-Christians, including the idiotic “War on Christmas”I’m not sure about the order of 2 and 3, but the suppression of scientific evidence which contradicts dogmatic views, and here we can talk about creationism v. evolution and cosmology, global warming, the effectiveness of abstinence-only education, the effect of condoms on AIDS transmission in Africa, is the biggest issue in my mind. I would also, if I wanted to go further than 3, list access to materials relating to sexual enjoyment by consenting adults (birth control, toys, pornography), decriminalization of marijuana (tho I am not a user), freer access to alcohol (including the legal use of alcohol by minors under parental supervision), and of course, the A-bomb of contention, abortion (although I would be willing to compromise on 3rd trimester abortions).And I could probably think of more, but there’s enough flame-war fodder here already to do in a dozen California mansions.
You may be right. And you may be wrong. There is no reason to venture a guess right now. The test will be in 2010 when the variable “ineffective opposition to Bush’s policies” that your theory is completely dependent upon gets isolated.True… however, I’d like to lower expectations a bit and say that it’s normal for the party in charge of the White House to lose seats in the midterm. If the Democrats in Congress are effective, they can still suffer small losses, especially in the House. I’d put the bar for success at having more House seats after 2010 than after 2006, and having no net losses in the Senate.
bhcanuckistani,You listed a number of things that aren’t particular to religious conservatives, or even conservatives as a whole. Global warming isn’t a religious issue, and drug laws are supported across the political spectrum, as are restrictions on pornography. And legalizing gay marriage is widely unpopular. Religious conservatives usually support alchohol restrictions, but so do other groups. The religious right doesn’t necessarily oppose access to birth control, unless you are talking specifically about morning-after pills. The Catholic Church is another matter, but it isn’t part of the U.S. religious right.I would throw in gambling of all types, which is usually opposed by the religious right.
David, most of the opposition to distribution of birth control is religious. The religious right is focusing on banning abortion rather than contraception right now, but is against teaching about contraception in schools, and was against the HPV vaccine.You’re on somewhat firmer grounds about global warming, but even there, the religious right has a role to play in debasing science. A lot of the alliances between the corporate and religious right have been about common opposition to good scientific research on matters like evolution, global warming, and tobacco. It’s worth noting that in the Protestant world, the countries that are most resistant to action on global warming – the US, Canada, and Australia – are also the most socially conservative.
DavidC-It’s hard to tell on the internet who are total whackows and who actually speak for their communities, but I think you will find a number of global warming deniers operating from the contradictory positions that a) God said we could and b) God will fix it.Gay marriage may be unpopular, but its chief opponents are absolutely and unquestionably Christian churches. And I stand by my assertion that birth control, alcohol, smut, pop culture, drugs and gambling are all disapproved of by the RR. It’s late, and I’m tired, but if you insist, I will find links for you tomorrow, or you can watch tv on Sunday morning. And I will stand by my assertion that these are all choices that are nobodies business but my own.
Canuck, Free Inquiry ran a feature about Christianity and the environment a while ago. A lot of people who understand something about Evangelicals concluded that Evangelical anti-environmentalism doesn’t exist outside a general rubric of right-wing politics. It just doesn’t exist in left-wing fundamentalists like Wallis.
I’m happy to consider religious global warming denialism to be kook behaviour and cross it off my list. We’ll just roll it in with general conservative global warming denialism and I can dislike the whole movement.Th rest of my list still stands.
Again, birth control is not opposed by the religious right. Being opposed to school condom distribution, or other government measures, is a different matter from opposing birth control. The Catholic Church opposes birth control. The religious right does not."Gay marriage may be unpopular, but its chief opponents are absolutely and unquestionably Christian churches"true"that birth control, alcohol, smut, pop culture, drugs and gambling are all disapproved of by the RR."yes, with the exception of birth control. But again, they aren't exclusive to the RR. "I will stand by my assertion that these are all choices that are nobodies business but my own"Me too. Unfortunately, neither of the two major parties believes that."general conservative global warming denialism and I can dislike the whole movement."I greatly prefer global warming denialism to global warming hysteria. Global warming deniers help restrict & slow-down radical "solutions," most of which in my view are likely to cause far more harm than good.
David, how can anyone help create good solutions to global warming when the main people causing it deny that it’s even a problem?
“David, how can anyone help create good solutions to global warming when the main people causing it deny that it’s even a problem?”How are the minority that deny global warming exists somehow the main people causing it — any more than anyone else? As I understand it, human actions have affected the climate to some extent throughout history, increasing in magnitude after the industrial revolution, and continuing to increase in impact right up until the present. How can one relatively small group of currently living individuals be reasonably held responsible?
How can one relatively small group of currently living individuals be reasonably held responsible?We may not be solely responsible for the creation of the problem, but there’s nobody else around who is going to solve it. If you’re the fifth driver to run over some guy lying on the road, you can’t say “I ought to call an ambulance, but if those other guys didn’t, I don’t see why it’s my responsibility”.Well, I guess you can, but I think it makes you a jerk.
How are the minority that deny global warming exists somehow the main people causing it — any more than anyone else?I don’t know if “Main” is the correct word, but the heads of the industries that contribute to it the most, like the oil industry, tend to also be at the forefront of global warming denial.
How are the minority that deny global warming exists somehow the main people causing it — any more than anyone else?Whoa, talk about not seeing the forest for the tree(s)!The focus should not be on how much a “minority” composed of global-warming-denying religious nuts and greedy industrialists–yeah I’m exaggerating just to annoy you–contribute per person to humanity’s “carbon footprint” (or whatever) but whether these people’s representatives are in a position to deny the problem and also ignore solutions.Of course our President, who just happens to be a born-again Christian and totally in the tank for industry, has been instrumental in “causing” global warming over the past eight years by scornfully ignoring the mounting evidence of it and refusing to anything about it. The stupid, malevolent tool has even gloated over his ability to frustrate meaningful steps to deal with the issue:It was his final summit with the Group of 8, the leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan and Russia as well as the United States. President Bush, the most senior member of the group, was attending his eighth summit, and for years he withstood pressure to take a firmer stand against global warming.It was the topic on the minds of summit partners and demonstrators.His final words to the likes of British Prime Minister Gordon Brown and French President Nicolas Sarkozy: “Goodbye from the world’s biggest polluter.”That was the report from the British press, citing “senior sources” who said Bush made the private joke as he was about to leave Japan on Wednesday.It stunned his partners, according to the Telegraph, which said: He then punched the air while grinning widely, as the rest of those present including Gordon Brown and Nicolas Sarkozy looked on in shock.The Independent offered this analysis: “His remarks were taken as a two-fingered salute from the president from Texas who is wedded to the oil industry.” (Two-fingered? Yes, that’s the V-for-victory sign, but in Britain it means something else, too, when the palm is turned inward.)A White House spokesman responded to our inquiry: “I don’t have anything on this for you.”This is not just “W.’s” frat-boy act run wild. This is deep-seated sociopathy on arrogant display for all the world to see.
Alon,”the heads of the industries that contribute to it the most, like the oil industry, tend to also be at the forefront of global warming denial.”Is it in any way surprising that people with major vested interests in industries that contribute to global warming are going to be the hardest to convince? Their job is to protect their industries.redhand,Even Bush can be right occasionally. Regardless of his bad attitude toward the issue, at least he’s succeeded in blocking U.S. participation in the type of utterly useless feel-good efforts pushed by the Europeans.Here’s a U.S. global warming reduction effort I would support. The idiots running the big 3 U.S. automakers want a federal bailout. How about making it conditional on a massive overhaul of the industry, that requires them to produce far more energy-efficient cars? This is the perfect opportunity to force them to change. If they refuse, let them go bankrupt.
How about making it conditional on a massive overhaul of the industry, that requires them to produce far more energy-efficient cars? This is the perfect opportunity to force them to change. If they refuse, let them go bankrupt.Stephen, do you have any spoofing protection on your blog? Some guy is pretending to be DavidC and spouting off sensible ideas.
David, there are a lot of liberals who’re suggesting that. There are others suggesting the opposite – letting GM go into Chapter 11, so that it’ll be forced to undergo restructuring, but still be able to keep making cars. (The main objection to that is that the credit markets are so tight GM may not be able to avoid liquidation.)I’m skeptical either way. To reduce emissions, the US needs to do a lot more than have more fuel-efficient cars. The US has less fuel-efficient cars than Europe and Japan, higher car ownership, lower rates of public transportation use, and longer car commutes. It also has less energy-efficient buildings, though that could be said about pretty much every country outside Scandinavia. (In Denmark, buildings don’t need heating.) And its electricity largely comes from coal rather than nuclear or renewable energy.
"here are a lot of liberals who're suggesting that."Well, liberals aren't necessarily wrong about everything. I'm normally against major government interference with private industry. But when industry comes to the government looking for a big taxpayer handout, then they are inviting government involvement in their business. "It also has less energy-efficient buildings"This is another area that could be pretty easily addressed but won't be. The construction of buildings in the U.S. is already massively regulated. Energy-efficiency standards should be raised for all new construction within the existing building code regulations. But the construction/housing industry has major lobbying power in both parties. So passing any such measure would be very difficult."And its electricity largely comes from coal rather than nuclear or renewable energy."I've been a big fan of nuclear energy for a long time. Environmentialists are largely to blame for blocking construction of nuclear power in the U.S. — one of the most counterproductive things they've ever done. We need to start building them now, as our power grid is getting more and more overstretched. If we don't, we'll have no choice but to put up more coal-fired plants just to keep up with escalating demand.Worrying about the future impact of climate change is something of a luxury. We need to keep everything operating at acceptable levels and start implementing solutions for the future. If the power grid goes down, and the country starts experiencing rolling blackouts, people are going to stop worrying about the future and demand power now — by whatever quick & dirty method we can produce it. Look how popular oil drilling became once gas hit $4 a gallon.
Well, with building standards, maybe it’ll be politically feasible to require more energy-efficient buildings while at the same time relaxing zoning laws. The problem is that a) a lot of the inefficiency is in existing building stock, which requires retrofitting, and b) the places with the least efficient buildings tend to be wealthy suburbs with stringent zoning restrictions, which won’t like the idea.The environmentalist opposition to nuclear power is counterproductive, but sometimes there are more intelligent arguments against it – for example, it is very expensive, and is only getting more expensive as the best uranium ore gets used up. It also has lifespan and security issues (though coal kills far more through accidents and pollution, and oil is creating even more security issues.)
“Dan, Dan, you still don’t get it, do you? The principal reason the electorate was unhappy with the Dem Congress was because they were ineffective in opposing Bush’s policies. The electorate fixed the problem by electing a Dem president, and far-larger Dem majorities in Congress.I guess they were really, really mad about that Pelosi-Reid Congress, so much so that they increased their hold on the legislature.”LOL they had control of the House and the Senate and still could not get anything done?Sounds like typical Liberal we need to throw more down a black hole,But they could blame their incompetance on Bush and the Evil Republican Maji, I guessI see mto recall Republicans getting a few things done under the Clinton Administration, but it does not surprise me that the Democrats of the 2006 Election were all Talk and No Show,Well that Dog won’t Hunt anymore they have both Houses soldily and the Presidency, it is Put Up or Shut Up (Why do I doubt the latter happening even if the first doesn’t?)The Democrats said in 2006 they had a Plan to Reduce the Cost of GasolineThey NEVER came up with AMYTHINGI mean they campained on it but that was just so much hot air,
Dan, they’re coming up with a plan now – mass transit. Biden’s been pro-train for decades, Obama promised more mass transit funding, and Kerry and Clinton are both ready with their own transit ideas.
Re: How about making it conditional on a massive overhaul of the industry, that requires them to produce far more energy-efficient cars? This is the perfect opportunity to force them to change. If they refuse, let them go bankrupt.The question has to be asked: If that is what the American consumer wants then why are they not producing them now? The big three were losing money when they were selling the higher margin larger vehicles. They were higher margin because people paid a premium to own them.People will not pay a premium to own a smaller car.End result. The Big 3 still go broke.This is what Chapter 11 was specifically designed to do. Keep assets together and maybe give others a chance to run the company.This means management and….this is big…a new contract with union workers.The Big 3 can’t survive under the current contract. If that doesn’t go then we are throwing good money after bad.
Natalie,I’m strongly against bailing out the automakers at all. I wasn’t suggesting that forcing them to make energy-efficient cars would actually make them profitable. The market should dictate what types of cars get built. But, if we are going to bail them out, with amounts of taxpayer money in excess of the current valuations of the companies, then we are essentially making them government enterprises. If they can’t survive without taxpayer money, the government should be able to direct their operations toward the public good.”The Big 3 can’t survive under the current contract. If that doesn’t go then we are throwing good money after bad.”Exactly. When you are making an average of -1400 dollars a car, as is Ford, your business model is completely broken. Giving them taxpayer money and expecting them to somehow become profitable again is insane. If we are crazy enough to do it, we should recognize that we are making them into quasi-governmental industries.
Environmentialists are largely to blame for blocking construction of nuclear power in the U.S. — one of the most counterproductive things they’ve ever done.The “environmentalists” wouldn’t have gotten to first base on this issue if the monumental screw-up known as “Three Mile Island” had not taken place. I was in the “meltdown” zone at the time (Cherry Hill, NJ) with a three month old child, and the words “We can’t rule out the possibility of a meltdown” made quite an impression. We are damn lucky we didn’t have an American Chernobyl that day.That is what killed nuclear energy for a generation or more in this country.
"That is what killed nuclear energy for a generation or more in this country."That was one incident way back in 1979. I also lived in South Jersey not far from you at that time (Medford Lakes). And even then it was blown way out of proportion by environmentalists with their hysterical propaganda. The reasons we don't have a serious nuclear energy program in the U.S. are basically the same reasons we don't have enough conventional electrical plants or oil refineries: enviromentalists & the not-in-my-back yard attitudes of local governments.
That was one incident way back in 1979. I also lived in South Jersey not far from you at that time (Medford Lakes). And even then it was blown way out of proportion by environmentalists with their hysterical propaganda.I think it’s wonderful that you were able to keep your cool from the relative safety of Medford Lakes, despite the hysterical line in The China Syndrome (playing at the time) that “A meltdown could devastate an area the size of Pennsylvania.”I repeat. The anti-nuclear forces would never have had the success they did without the radicalizing effect of this incident on the population.
You are quoting a movie as some sort of scientific opinion?The reason I wasn’t worried at the time, was that a close friend of our family was a nuclear engineer involved in the construction of nuclear power plants (although not of 3 mile island). So we had access to in-depth, expert opinion on the situation.”I repeat. The anti-nuclear forces would never have had the success they did without the radicalizing effect of this incident on the population.”That’s debatable. But even if true, it doesn’t change my argument. It merely helps explain why the environmental movement was so successful in hindering nuclear power in the U.S.
You are quoting a movie as some sort of scientific opinion?Of course not, but it fed into the public mood and fears at the time. You know, zeitgeist and all that. You need to remember that this was at the tail end of the 70s when mistrust of the Government and corporations was at a post-Vietnam high.Not everybody had a nuclear engineer to leaven the propaganda, one way or the other. Recall that initially the power company people were saying everything was “under control,” then transited to “We can’t rule out the possibility of a meltdown.” The dialogue from the film suggested what that meant and terrified millions of Americans.(Unhappily, the world learned all too well what a major nuclear accident looks like at Chernobyl).As to your argument, this is one of the few times I’m not trying to score points, just reliving the god old days (not!) of the 1970s. I consider this exchange more conversation than polemic.
Redhand,Fair enough. Here is an interesting link with various charts showing the breakdown of nuclear power by country. The article suggests that U.S. nuclear power generation is currently near maximum capacity of the reactors in operation. I guess you could also reasonably make an argument that our abundance of coal made nuclear energy seem to be an unnecessary risk, following 3 Mile Island, whereas other countries didn’t have that luxury and really needed nuclear to generate power.
DavidC:I may surprise you by saying this, but I’m not actually against commercial nuclear power. The USN has shown that it can, by and large, operate nuclear propulsion plants safely (vs. the Russians). The problem is making sure that that Rickover-like discipline is successfully imported into the private sector.Prior to Three Mile Island, I thought that it was. I felt enormously betrayed.Admittedly, the absence of major accidents since in commercial nuclear power is a critical vital sign, but incremental coal pollution is nothing compared to a Chernobyl.Perhaps enough time has passed so that we can revisit the issue of commercial nuclear power in this country. I hope the Obama Administration will be open to it as part of its “comprehensive energy solution,” but we’ll have to see.FWIW, mush as I liked Ronnie on national defense, I was appalled by his dismantling of numerous alternative energy programs right after he took office. One of the more hideous examples I can think of was a six story pressurized-fluidized-bed (PFB) coal fired demonstration plant erected on my old company’s facility at Wood-Ridge, NJ in 1980. The plant was actually finished and all but ready to light off to do demonstration testing when we got a termination-for-convenience order from DOE and subsequent instructions to dismantle the entire structure.I was amazed at the waste.
Of course not, but it fed into the public mood and fears at the time. You know, zeitgeist and all that. You need to remember that this was at the tail end of the 70s when mistrust of the Government and corporations was at a post-Vietnam high.True, but even then, nuclear power has killed far fewer people than coal and oil. The main difference is that nuclear power spreads the risk among consumers, whereas with coal and oil, it’s concentrated in coal mines and oil fields.Post-1960 environmentalism has always emphasized the need for trust, as well as precaution and local empowerment. It has a way of looking at society which ends up emphasizing low-probability, high-consequence risks. Of course it’ll be suspicious of nuclear power.