Incredulously Andrew Sullivan still claims to be a conservative. Yesterday he wrote a write up of his evening at Claremont McKenna and says that his thoughts around the bailout have "crystallized." Here's what he said.
At Claremont-McKenna College last night, my thoughts on the stimulus package vote this week crystallized a little - they can do that when a bunch of feisty undergraduates are asking good questions. On the one hand, I'm delighted that the GOP has rediscovered fiscal conservatism after a long period of Bush insanity. On the other hand, they may have chosen the one moment in recent history when fiscal conservatism could be disastrous. Yes, I can understand why Obama's bizarre idea of having Rahm Emmanuel deal with the House GOP back-fired (shouldn't he just run the White House?). But I also see that Obama won the last election, the public rightly expects a real boost to demand, and more tax cuts simply won't do enough.
So what to do? This is the smartest GOP approach I've seen yet:
Instead of fighting Dems on the dollar amount of spending, knowing that we would lose that fight in any event, we could have stood with Obama and called for large high-tech infrastructure projects that would employ large numbers of minorities in construction and white collar suburbanites in development. These projects (high speed rail corridors as an example) would also capture the imagination of the green close-in suburbs that are turning viciously against the GOP and have the strategic benefit of jamming up the young Dem members (Webb/Warner/Hagan/McCaskill) who depended on these voters for their victories.
Bring on the long term infrastructure investment.On the contrary, Mr. Sullivan, the public expect the country to get out of its economic downturn. Keynesian spending just won't do it. Why is "fiscal conservatism" "dangerous" now? Looks like someone has his ideological blinders on again... (Does he ever take them off?)
I sincerely doubt Obama was elected because he was going to help boost demand. If he really wanted to do that, he would lower taxes. It's called the Laffer Curve, Mr. Sullivan.
And how is that proposal of the green spending a good idea for the party or the country? It fails for two basic reasons.
1.) Most conservatives I know are global warming skeptics. As in, we need to be convinced.A quick note to Sullivan: something doesn't become conservative simply because you say it is.
2.) There's little evidence that the cost per passenger mile of rail would be cheaper than car transport. So how would that be "long term infrastructure investment"?