Downward Spiral for the GOP

Lately, I am feeling a bit more skeptical about politics that usual. I think Republicans generally have better policies, especially about economics, but the dynamics of the race are pushing people to do and say ridiculous things on a regular basis.

I also think the party orthodoxy is not flexible or creative enough to address the size and depth of the problems the country faces (same being true for the Democrats). It feels like we’d be better off with the GOP in charge, but I’m not sure we’d actually be doing as well as we could or need to.

It would take a person with tremendous powers of persuasion (and intellect) to move us collectively towards the nuanced and sometimes complicated positions that are probably in our long term best interest – and neither Romney or Santorum are demonstrating they have those powers.

One of the reasons I voted for Obama was that I thought he possibly had the potential to do this. Turns out he didn’t – or maybe he did, but he never had any intention of doing so and it was just a ploy to get elected.

Whatever the case, it is clear that the Republican candidates, Romney included, are being forced to take very hard line positions across a number of fronts that a) can’t be good for winning the general election, and b) probably aren’t great solutions anyway.

Case in point lately for me is the issue of environment vs. oil/energy. Seems to me the best position is a nuanced one where we acknowledge high standards of environmental stewardship while pursuing an aggressive pro-growth energy strategy. However, the loudest voices in each party push their leaders towards fairly extreme positions – too much environmental stuff from the left, too little of it from the right. It doesn’t appear that anybody can rise above the doctrinaire to speak in the right proportion for each thing without alienating their ‘base’.

I could be wrong (as I was about Obama), but I think in his heart of hearts, Romney wants to be more centrist, but he is simply not nimble enough verbally (and maybe intellectually) to be able to make the case. I think if he had it in him, we’d have seen glimmers of it by now.

For me, that means that even if he wins the election, instead of balanced, nuanced policy, we are going to get a sharp lurch to the right. Overall, that’s a good thing compared to where we are going now, but, in short order, the party will take it too far and make a huge swath of people on the left extremely angry. Which means they’ll soon lose whatever power they had as they get voted out of office. I guess that’s the pattern we are destined to be in for a while – lurch one direction for a while, then lurch the other direction. Maybe it has always been so.

Maureen Dowd’s column today, Ghastly Outdated Party, captures this dynamic fairly well. Naturally, she goes over the top as is her wont, but unfortunately a lot of what she says strikes me as approximately correct.

The second paragraph would be completely hilarious if it weren’t substantially true.

“Republicans being against sex is not good,” the G.O.P. strategist Alex Castellanos told me mournfully. “Sex is popular.”

The paragraph that captures the essence of her point is this one:

The contenders in the Hester Prynne primaries are tripping over one another trying to be the most radical, unreasonable and insane candidate they can be. They pounce on any traces of sanity in the other candidates — be it humanity toward women, compassion toward immigrants or the willingness to make the rich pay a nickel more in taxes — and try to destroy them with it.

Her language is a bit dramatic, but I think it is essentially right.

In watching the debates, time after time, every one of them has taken a hatchet to one of the others for saying something even slightly offkey / nuanced. As this seems to work to kill candidates off, it has forced the remaining people to tow an ever harder line. I imagine if you are even slightly left of center (the people the GOP needs to capture to win), this has to look pretty scary. It often looks scary to me and I’m definitley right of center.

She also writes:

President Obama has deranged conservatives just as W. deranged liberals.

This is also definitely true.

Possibly the eventual candidate can tack back to sanity, but if the nomination race carries on for the many more months as it seems likely to do, he won’t have much time – and the bridges may all be burnt by then in any event.

Sadly, this will not only limit chances to unseat Obama, it could have an dampening effect on all Republican candidates – i.e., for House and Senate. That would mean four more years of Obama and possibly a supercharged Obama. That is a truly frightening thought.

I think a lot of people see this, but the dynamic probably can’t be reversed.

5 thoughts on “Downward Spiral for the GOP”

  1. John,
    I can understand your skepticism. Based on our previous conversations, I would say you fall in the “moderate” Republican category. There are very few of you guys left in the Republican Party. What I see happening, which is not being reported by the “so called” liberal media, is the implosion of the Republican Party. There are two hardcore ideological bases in the party. On one hand you have the financial elite/establishment people (let’s call them the “big business” guys). This group doesn’t really have a fundamental objection to government, they just want to use it for their own financial purposes. They want government to tax (others) and spend money (lots of it) on private contracts for their businesses. When the elected officials leave office they become lobbyist and serve on board for the companies that they gave contracts to while in office. (Yes, I know Democrats do it to. But this is about the internal conflict in the Republican Party). On the other hand, you have the Christian evangelicals and other very religious groups (let’s call them the “fundamentalist”).
    Reagan was able to appeal to both groups because in the 1980’s neither of the two groups had moved to the extremes. In today’s GOP Reagan could not get the nomination. I think that the fact that the primary has come down to a race between Romney (Mr. Big Business and a perfect stereotype for the 1%) and Santorum (Mr. Fundamentalist) exposes this major fault line in the party. Both sides will try to pander to the other to get their support, because both know that they cannot win without some level of support from the other. But what both the “big business” and “fundamentalist” have in common is that they are both dogmatic in their beliefs.
    The “big business” guys still believe that more deregulation and more tax cuts for corporations are the solution to the economic problems. According to them the financial crisis that lead to the bailouts in 2008 was not a result of deregulation and regulators looking the other way, but was that there was still too much government regulation and oversight. But as soon as they get themselves in trouble they will run to the government to save them with bailouts. They preach the “free market” ideology of smaller government and less regulations but in reality they spend millions to create “rigged market” with more regulations (or in some cases removal of some regulations) and tax loopholes for their benefit and to make sure the government is big enough to bail their asses out when needed. They have no intention of suffering the consequences of the “free market” because they think they are too important to the overall economy. Of course this has always been a part of American politics, but most of the time it is tempered by regulations, with the 1920’s being one of the exception.
    The “fundamentalist” believe that if we were governed by God’s laws instead of man’s law, and if we use the government to regulate moral behaviors then the country would be much better off. Personally, I find this group more frightening. I don’t know how much you have read about the Dominionism movement or Christian Reconstructionism, but you need to look into them further. Read about Reclaiming the Seven Mountains. The seven mountains are business, government, media, arts and entertainment, education, the family and religion. As Santorum has been saying, these people do not belive in the separation of church and state. For them it is a one-way street. Government is to stay out of religion, but religion should direct government activities. How is this any different from the position of the Islamic fundamentalist who want their counties run by Islamic law?
    The crossover occurs between these two sides of the party because each believes they can use the other to achieve their ultimate goals. This Republican primary is a fight over who will have the dominate ideology governing the party. Neither is interested in a nuanced and sometimes complicated positions that they will need in the general election because both have a dogmatic view that if they are just more pure and less compromising in their positions then things will get better. You are correct that neither Romney or Santorum are demonstrating they have the powers of persuasion (and intellect) to move the Republicans, and they will have even less ability to move Democrats or Independents in a general election.
    I think your initial belief that Obama had the potential to do this is correct. But your assessment “it turns out he didn’t – or maybe he did, but he never had any intention of doing so and it was just a ploy to get elected” is an incorrect assesment. I also believed he had the ability and desire to take on very complicated and difficult issues with a nuanced approached. At the beginning of his term, he made many efforts to reach across party lines to achieve a nuanced compromise position. But when you are dealing with a dogmatic ideology that believes they should never compromise their beliefs and if they do it is aconsidered sign of weakness, then trying to reach a nuanced and sometimes complicated positions is impossible. When you add on top of that ideology a political agenda that concludes the best way to suceed in the next election is to not compromise and attack every position of your opponent (even if it was the same position you supported last year or ten years ago, such as an individual mandate), no matter how good someone’s powers of persuasion are it will not move the other side. Those Independents, or moderates in both parties, who don’t follow politics very closely and only tune in as we approach a presidential election are left confused because they don’t know who to believe. They also have very little understanding of how the legislative process works (or doesn’t) and they become frustrated because nothing seems to ever get done. So they blame everyone.
    The deadlock in our political system will not be resolved until one party takes a dominate control of both the legislative and executive branches. It has to be filibuster proof in the Senate so that even routine business and appointments cannot be held up. It will need to be majorities like FDR had in the 1930’s. I know the Republican’s claim that Obama had this in his first two years, but that was not really the case when you had Senators like Ben Nelson and Joe Lieberman who would frequently cross over and flip-flop on their own positions. You can’t have a situation where just one senator’s vote is needed to break a filibuster. That is too much power in the hands of one person who is elected by a small minority of the country. Of course those that end up in the minority will scream that their rights are being trampled and that it is tyranny of the majority. But that is the way it is supposed to work for most political decisions, except in the case of the the majority trying to take away the constitutional rights of the minority.
    I am perplexed by your case in point the issue of environment vs. oil/energy. Obama’s position during the 2008 election, and ever since, has been a nuanced one where we acknowledge high standards of environmental stewardship while pursuing an aggressive pro-growth energy strategy. He has consistently said it needs to be an inclusive stratigy of all energy types. Which is exactly what he has persued. Drilling permits were put on hold for about 6-9 months during the BP disaster, but they started issuing them again at a rate even faster than the Bush administration. They approved the first nuclear power permits for construction in decades and provided federal loan guarantees because nuclear plants cannot be built by private funds alone. The Obama administartion has also put more funding and effort into renewable engeries (wind, solar, etc.). In 2011 the biggest export for the U.S. became refinded petrolium. How does this happen if the president is opposed to oil and gas? This is exactly what you say the policy should be. But the right-wing media focus on a few things like, he didn’t approve the Keystone pipeline permit as they demanded or they gave a guaranteed loan to Solyndra that went bankrupt. Keystone was denied because the Republicans in congress wanted to make a political issue out of it. They forced a decision when the environmental issues had not been addresses. When the state of Nebraska, hardly a liberal bastion of wacko environmentalist, objected to the proposed route this should be a clue not to rush the permitting process. If you really think we need to acknowledge “high standards of environmental stewardship”, then you should be in support of Obama’s denial of the application when he was forced to make a premature decision. I have no doubt that a Keystone pipeline will ultimately be permitted (after the election) and after TransCanada picks a new route that doesn’t go through environmentally sensetive areas. The hard core environmentalist will shout that Obama sold them out, but no one on the right will give him credit. It will be just like the nuclear power plant issue. Do you hear anyone on the right giving him props? It appears to me that Obama can “rise above the doctrinaire to speak in the right proportion for each thing without alienating his base.” But this has to be a two way street. Those of you on the political right need to give him credit when he does rise above, or else there is no reason for him to do so and alienate his base.
    I agree that Romney wants to be more centrist, but he is simply not nimble enough verbally (and maybe intellectually) to be able to make the case. He realizes that to win a general election he needs to be more centrist. But Romney’s problem is that he has no core convictions and will say and do anything to pander for votes to win the GOP primary. He is not authentic and everyone sees through him. If he were to be elected president I do not think he would govern from the center. He would return us to the Bush economic policies with more deregulation of business and less oversight. He would push the “free market” ideology to the next extreme step because as the ideology goes, the Bush administration were not true believers. If this occurs we will be faced with the next round of bailouts sooner or later.
    I think that you are feeling a bit more skeptical about politics than usual, because you recognize the internal split in the Republican party. I think you agree much more with the “big business” side of the party because the “fundamentalist” side scares the crap out of you too. But I also think if you did some deep soul searching and looked at the real Obama record, not the fake one promoted by the right-wing media, you would find that Obama is much closer to what you say are your positions, and you might even vote for him again.

  2. Hi Dan:

    Nice to hear from you. Hope you’ve been well.

    Boy, you can write a lot. I appreciate your taking the time to offer your ideas. i can’t respond to every point, so I’ll try to hit the highlights – even so i will no doubt write a ridiculous amount of stuff:

    – We see the world thru very different lenses. I basically don’t agree with much of what you’ve written — not just the factuality of it, but the whole worldview that sites behind your commentary. It feels like an episode of Rachel Maddow or something. A perfect echo of everything rattling around in the MSNBC / progressive ecosphere. I think that makes it hard for us to persuade the other — we are like a microcosm of the dialog we see on a national scale. Which is sort of weird cause I am not even that far right. But one thing I’ve realized in the past year as I’ve paid more attention to these things is how the underlying fabric of belief, casuation, priorities, and goals varies from left to right. The two sides actually seem to experience different realities — and not in the way your buddy George Lakoff believes. His stuff, while often repeated, is ridiculously lame. I guess you really can’t expect a linguist to have much insight into psychology and belief.

    – I can’t relate to your cartoonish characterizations of the right and the candidates. It’s the kind of thing I hear when I tune in MSNBC or read NYT. It is like these people don’t actually know any real-life Republicans, so their views are not tempered by personal experience with actual people (who are not TV personalities). Instead, they take larger than life personas like Rush, Bill O’Reilly, and others, then wrap them together and draw a cartoon figure that they believe is ‘real’. None of these characterizations track against real life people or even against the preponderance of conservative commentators you see on/in WSJ, Fox, or wherever.

    – The ‘so called’ media bias is only so called if you are on the left. It is real and ever present if you sit right of center. I recently read about a survey on this. I don’t recall the exact figures, but it was to the effect that 80% of people on the left believe the media is not biased while only 30% of people on the right believe that. I think it is also well documented that a huge majority of reporters at mainstream media outlets vote Democrat – like 70% or 80%. We’ve discussed this before. When you’re a believer, it is hard to spot when discourse is skewed in your direction – that just looks normal.

    – I don’t know where you get your information about Obama having a balanced energy policy. That is crazy talk, my friend. I follow energy policy fairly closely cause I’ve been interested in it since college when the first big wave of alt energy hit in early 80s. I challenge you to find hard data to support the idea that permits have overall increased under Obama. If you find it, please share link. I have only seen data that shows less and slower permitting at the Federal level. At the state level, it has increased in many states, but Obama cannot claim credit for this – it is out of his purview. The increase in activity from state permits is what largely accounts for increase in oil/gas production. I don’t believe Obama deserves any credit for that whatsoever. Sorry. And while it is hard to fully understand what Obama ‘believes’ since he talks out of both sides of his mouth (as most politicians do), it is clear what the left in general believes about energy policy by keeping up with NYT, MSNBC, etc. There is a clear preference to rapidly decreasing fossil fuel production, increasing prices for gasoline (Steven Chu made the case for prices in the $9-$10 range some years back – turns out i actually sort of agree), dramatically expanding wind, solar, etc. even as these energy sources are uneconomic even with large gov’t subsidies, very, very high threshold for safety and environmental protection (very close to a zero tolerance threshold – I don’t support anything close to that), etc. Also, when push comes to shove, the left will actively block large wind and solar projects that might actually produce energy on a scale relevant to meeting demand because they are necessarily going to be huge and ugly, physically much, much larger than corresponding coal or nuclear plant – perfect case in point is Cape Wind in my old state. The wind farm that could never be built even in the most liberal state in the US. In addition, the left opposes building out the large scale transmission lines necessary to carry electricity from the distant locations where such large scale alt energy projects would be built. I could go on and on. But the point is that the left’s energy thinking is totally incoherent. Like many of their ideas, some of the aspirations are nice, but the actual policy ideas are incomplete and not grounded in reality.

    – I do give Obama credit for the nuclear permitting. That’s a big deal. I’m in favor of nuclear and have been for years. And I agree he was not given enough credit for that. I don’t recall the NYT giving Bush much credit when he did something Democrats should otherwise like. Nonetheless, Obama did a good thing there.

    – I don’t give Obama any points whatsoever on Keystone. If there was an issue in placement of the pipeline, his administration should have uncovered that years ago during the prior two environmental clearances the project received. I’m in favor of re-routing if there’s an issue (I do not know the precise details to know if there really is an issue or people just say there is). Even if there is an issue, that should have been discovered ages ago and fixed. If an issue remains – and from what I understand the disputed part of the route is on the order of 50-100 miles out of 1,700 – he should have provisionally approved it under conditions that the rerouting be proven in. To hold up the entire length of the pipeline after 3’ish years of review, including 2 prior approvals by State is, to me, to show very poor judgement and leadership. Clearly pandering to the environmental side of his base – which, apparently, is more or less the entire Democratic party. Even Joe Nocera of NYT has repeatedly written in favor of the pipeline.

    – I definitely do not agree that Obama’s hand was forced to move left by GOP opposition. In my opinion, in his early months he never made the kind of centrist case I was expecting. With his gift for oratory, it’s clear that he made promises to many types of people that he did not keep, but to suggest that he was/is naturally centrist and tried to make a strong case for that and eventually gave up. I just don’t see that at all. Not even remotely. Obama moved left and lost me even before he took office by the way he shaped the stimulus. I know you believe it should have been bigger and paid for even more gov’t workers, but I disliked this immediately and have never changed my mind. That put my support in jeopardy and it went downhill from there. Then because he grossly misread the severity of the economic issues (he now admits as much), and marched energetically into the ObamaCare debacle and devoted ridiculous amounts of energy to a misguided plan. Since I’m from MA and we did something similar a while back, I am somewhat familiar with the issues and, imo, he handled this very badly. Not just the politics of it, but the actual policy. There is much not to like – as with alt energy, there is some goodness in some of the intent – e.g., to cover more people – but the overall sweep of the thing is a nightmare. Most importantly for me, it was one thing in MA to defer solutions to the cost problems, but a whole other thing when you’re talking tens of millions of people. Even now, i don’t think they have any handle on the cost side of the equation. The most interesting cost control solutions are emerging from the private sector. So, no, I don’t think he’s proven to be not centrist because of opposition from the right. Do you really believe that? I can’t imagine.

    Well, there’s so much more to be mined in your comments, but I’ll leave it there.

    Take care,

    1. John,
      I am doing well, hope you are also. I am not the only one who gets wordy. 🙂
      Yes, I guess I am in the 80% that Karl Rove described as the “reality based community” in his famous quote to Ron Suskind. The majority of the Republican Party has chosen to live in the “alternate reality” that Rove said they were creating. This is why we seem to experience different realities, because we do. I think we have discussed this before, but it has been a 40 year effort by Republicans, ever since Watergate, to discredit the mainstream media. The original book that I am aware of on this subject was called News Twisters. It has been very affective with the majority of the Republican base who now distrust the mainstream media far more than the rest of the population. The result is an immediate dismissal of any facts that come from those media sources because they are considered biased. When someone in the “reality based community” doesn’t share your view then you say things like “it is hard to spot when discourse is skewed in your direction – that just looks normal.” But as Steve Colbert once said, “reality has a well-known liberal bias.”
      I have a lot of personal experience with actual people in the Republican Party. In fact, in my business a majority of the people I deal with are registered Republicans and they are mostly the “big business” type I described. Romney is definitely their guy and has been from the beginning. I have less contact with the “fundamentalist” group, but the Coral Ridge Presbyterian Church, founded by D. James Kennedy who was one of the leaders of the Christian Reconstructionism movement before he died a few years ago, is just a couple of miles from my house. Many of my neighbors attend this church. I have also read a fair amount on these groups. I have read significantly more on economics, politics, philisophy and history all of which are the basis in forming my opinions. In my initial comment, it was mostly my opinion of why you may be more skeptical about politics today. But you dismissed that as coming from Rachel Maddow or the NYT. I do watch her show but I do not read the NYT. On occassion I will see some of their article on-line but it is not as if I seek them out for my opinions. I have not seen any segments on Rachel Maddow’s show where she has address the split in the Republican Party that I described in my comment. It is a little insulting for you dismiss it as a perfect echo of everything rattling around in the MSNBC / progressive ecosphere.
      From what you have said I think you are a little further right than you give yourself credit for. I have seen some of your posts where you like to use data from the Heritage Foundation, which I believe is the fountainhead of the information that is the basis for Rove’s “alternate reality.” Which brings us back full circle to why we seem to experience different realities.
      With respect to Obama’s energy policy. Here is a link for the number of permits issued in the Gulf of Mexico.
      If you are interested in see how much of the federal lands that have already been leased and are not in production go to this site and click around by state.
      This idea that Obama is preventing oil and gas energy exploration is a right-wing canard.
      Here is a quote from an Obama campaign speech in 2008. “And in the short-term, as we transition to renewable energy, we can and should increase our domestic production of oil and natural gas.” Here is the whole speech site.
      Here is Obama’s policy speech in March 2011
      Obama has always had an “all inclusive” energy policy strategy. He spent most of his time talking about increasing renewable energy because that was the difference between he and McCain. If you can’t follow this “all-in” policy through out his speeches then you have the same selective hearing as the environmentalist.
      Finally, I don’t want to go off into another direction on the stimulus. Go read my post, Obama has made the Economy Worse, Really? Feel free to comment there.

  3. Hi Dan:

    I didn’t mean to suggest you literally were repeating the words of Rachel Maddow or the New York Times editorial page, but that your views appear to me to be entirely consistent with them and borne of the same framework of thought. I get confused chatting with you because you, on the one hand, claim to be so widely read / watched and then on the other to not read NYT, to not read WSJ, to not watch Rachel Maddow (who you recommended to me last summer as the best, most sophisticated spokesperson for the left). I don’t know where your views are getting shaped, but they seem to echo the views of the left leaning media that I read / see.

    I literally have taken stuff you’ve written hear and seen it repeated verbatim later in newstories – like your claim that ‘regulation creates jobs’. That one so floored me that I kept an eye for it and sure enough, within days, it was popping up all over the place.

    So I’m confused. It appears you are at once 100% behind the views of these folks (you once said there wasn’t a single left-leaning policy position that you disagreed with except guns) and then you seem to take offense when I say your words echo what the leading commentators say and believe. I’m not sure what the tension is in your own mind to cause this reaction.

    Do you see what I am trying to say? What am I missing? What nuance is there in your thinking that makes it at once the same as yet different from them?

    Re: oil permits. Sorry, but that data does not prove your point. It is not time series data that pre-dates Obama. This page shows something more like what I’m talking about, particularly the lines showing 3-yr and 1-yr historical averages.

    Next point: In the same way you accuse the right of being dismissive of mainsteam media, you seem equally dismissive of anything that comes from any source other than a liberal one. I use a lot of data from Heritage and similar sources because they appear to be the only people who do such analysis. It is not like I seek out conservative data per se. I simply Google stuff and read what comes up. Heritage and similar entities come up regularly. Rarely, perhaps never, do I find substantive analysis of quantitative issues by liberal media / think tanks. At various points, I have spent time specifically trying to find liberal sources, but have not found any. I even asked you at one point to suggest some. The ones you suggested were not very data-driven or analytically rigorous.

    The post I did the other day comparing the WSJ and NYT editorial responses to Obama’s budget encapsulated this beautifully. The NYT commentary used practically no numbers of any kind. The WSJ commentary was organized almost entirely around numbers. More than a 10:1 ratio WSJ:NYT. This is very common.

    I like numbers and prefer to ground concepts in data where possible. For whatever reason, Democrats prefer to frame things in conceptual / abstract / emotional terms and tend not to use numbers. This seems to work very, very well for them, so I guess it makes sense they go with their strong suit.

    As to me being more conservative than I give myself credit for: This is perhaps true. That said, I am definitely not as conservative as you are liberal. Daily, there are things conservatives do that make me grimace – I’d run screaming from them if the alternative weren’t liberals. On the other hand, there are apparently few things liberals do that cause you any discomfort.

    I think part of the explanation is that I have come to believe in recent years that liberal policies are particularly inappropriate at this time in history. In other times, like when I was younger, social inequities were the central issues of the time and needed urgent and radical overhaul. In more recent years, economic issues seem to me to have become the more central issues of the day. I think Democratic policies on that front are largely wrong and getting ‘wronger’. And not wrong in a neutral sort of way that many people say it doesn’t matter who is running the country, but wrong in a way that has negative long term consequences that I think we should best avoid. I think we are reaping the results of some of this thinking today and it has contributed to chronically slow growth rates stretching back a dozen years or more.

    As to Obama being ‘all in’ with energy. I read your citations and have heard him speak about energy several times. Especially lately, he’s made more of an effort, but the more frequent commentary seems to be about castigating oil companies (and most every other kind of company) at regular turns. He also pumps alt energy much more often than other forms. Frequency wins. I think at root, he shares the left’s distaste for successful companies in general and in particular for oil companies who are, as we all know, the nastiest of the nasty companies.

    In my view, he doesn’t understand the underlying economics of energy. Petroleum is just an incredibly rich, dense, and accessible source of energy. The economics of producing it will beat out wind, solar, and bio for decades, in my opinion. I am confident that it will remain the dominant form of energy for my lifetime and probably those of my nieces and nephews. The only thing that comes close is nuclear which I think we should also pursue even more aggressively.

    I also support wind, solar, and bio and even believe government should be putting a lot of money into it. Probably as much as he wants to spend – I’d probably support even more. I think it’s a huge thing – mostly for the long term, but we need to steadily push it over the decades.

    However, I strongly object to the role he’s carved out for government. He’s got the government engaged in commercializing a technology that doesn’t appear ready for commercialization. Government support of long-range technology is best focused on R&D, not commercialization. Government has done extraordinary things in my lifetime when it has backed academic and research organizations – like internet, like space – but it’s record of commercialization, I just don’t see it. Is there even a single successful government-funded entity that has arisen from first wave commercialization by the Federal government?By this I mean direct capital funding, not via contracts. I don’t know of any – certainly none that’s now a household name.

    I think the whole issue is encapsulated in the quote you offer “And in the short-term, as we transition to renewable energy, we can and should increase our domestic production of oil and natural gas.” The problem is the timeframe – he and much of the left think it is around the corner (“short term…transition”) and it isn’t. When you say ‘short term’ in this day and age, that means ‘now’ – more or less – and it definitely is not now. This misconception, coupled with strong environmental bias, leads to strange policy behaviors.

    As usual, I’ve written more than planned. Like Democrats with spending, it is hard to restrain myself.

    1. Hope you are enjoying the kool-aid. Fox News is Just the Propaganda wing of the Conservative Movement. The fact is, between Fox and Rush, the O’reilley’s the hannitty’s..the Beck’s…etc…. you love in a reality Bubble that is is hard for facts to penetrate. As they bounce around each commentator, gives the facts a rightward bent that by the time it gets to you, you are nodding your head.

      During the night of the 2012 election the reality bullets that tried to make it is were so rebounded so you never got tham, that even as Nate Silver gave you, a down to a 99 % accurate prediction of how the election was going to turn out,… broken down by state. everyone In your Bubble was saying ‘ those numbers are all biased.”

      Rove et al. were so convinced that Romney was going to win, that Romney never botheredto right a concession speak. Rove, was on Fox News when they announced the election for Obama, that he has a fit… refused to accept reality.

      On the One hand, as a liberal Democrat..( raises hand… proud of it.)… I may be happy with all your republicans in that bubble, as it almost guarentees you will lose national elections. ( What happened in Virgiania 2013?… get used to it, as long as you insist on Living in O’reilly/Lumbaugh Ville)… it will consign you to a permanent minority In the senate. And you will Only keep the House as Long as you can keep gerrymandering. On the other… America always benefits when there is a healthy debate between at least two parties. The question is, how long before the Republicans go the way of the whigs, and are replaced by a party that is more relevant to the issues that concern our country?

      Ideology has a real problem, it doesn’t reward compromise, and if we need anything to run our government through the rough shoals of 21st century international problems, we need halthy governance. The Tea party, and the right wing fundies in your camp seem to feel that governing is evil… look at their joy over the shut-fdown. to them ” the government that governs best…governs Not at all. But it’s ok, from the perspective of History… all will turn out for the best, as long as we weather the current tea party extremism. we made it through a Civil war… we’ll make it through the Tea party… and the right win fundies.

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