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Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Reading the Anti-Bailout Republicans

posted by on October 1 at 10:25 AM

“Who are all these anti-bailout Republicans?” people keep asking. “And what do they mean?” Rachel Maddow asked on her new show on MSNBC last night. The Wall Street Journal is asking on its blogs. The Irish Times is asking in its paper.

But Slog has already met them here, here, and here.

They were at the Republican National Convention this year, from some of its youngest attendees (Saul Farber, 22, running for New York State Assembly) and some of its oldest (Tim Babcock, 89, former trucker and governor of Montana).

They’re the growing movement of fiscal conservatives, not social conservatives. They like Goldwater and grumble quietly about toxic evangelicals and big government and the wrong turns their party has taken in the last ten years. They’re not interested in fighting for constitutional marriage amendments and the War on Drugs—they’re the better half of the Republican party and they’re starting to rebel against the worse.

(And they haven’t been conjured by the McCain campaign: all eight members of the Arizona delegation, McCain’s home state, voted against the bailout bill.)

They’re reason to hope.

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Fiscal conservatives I can respect, even though I still disagree with them on a number of key issues. Why? Because they understand that government should not be used to impose particular religious values on the country as a whole.

Posted by Hernandez | October 1, 2008 10:41 AM

Right wing GOP plus Inslee + many CBC and Hispanic caucus + Kucinich all together.

Clearly the days of Revelations are at hand...

Posted by PC | October 1, 2008 10:42 AM

ron paul is designing his 2012 blimp as we speak.

Posted by jrrrl | October 1, 2008 10:43 AM

Reason to hope, unless you like hospitals and bridges and transit systems and all the other public works projects that can't get funding now because the credit markets are seized up. Reason to hope unless you work for one of the millions of businesses in America that rely on commercial paper to get through their operating expenses -- like, oh, say, payroll. Reason to hope unless you have some particular reason to be rooting for a major global economic contraction. Reason to hope if you're in bankruptcy law. Yeah, baby, yeah!

Posted by Fnarf | October 1, 2008 10:46 AM

Fnarf, did you actually read the bailout legislation? There was a provision to eliminate limits on how much banks can lend out to both individuals and other banks. indefinitely.

Not passing a bad law doesn't mean that they oppose any action.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 1, 2008 10:51 AM

oh Fnarf... *pats head*

Posted by happy renter | October 1, 2008 11:05 AM

Interesting. Since Clinton the dems have been the party of fiscal conservatism. Perhaps some of these folks may be receptive to a platform that calls for sensible regulation for parts of the economy that are "too big to fail" and entrepreneurial freedom for the rest. We'll still probably fight over the level of public investment in infrastructure, but there's hope that a new consensus may be emerging on how to run the economy.

Posted by Don't you think he looks tired? | October 1, 2008 11:07 AM

The only sensible regulation for being too big to fail is to smash them apart into little bits and pieces of companies.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 1, 2008 11:11 AM

Wouldn't be nice to have a Republican party that you could have a reasoned and rational debate with, even if you disagreed with them vehemently?

Posted by Beguine | October 1, 2008 11:36 AM

@9: yes. That would be a marked improvement.

Posted by Abby | October 1, 2008 11:46 AM

Yeah, laugh all you want. Meanwhile the credit markets are slamming shut. The municipal market has been dead for two weeks. Projects are already being cancelled. But yeah, sure, cut off your nose to spite your face. Depression here we come.

Posted by Fnarf | October 1, 2008 12:00 PM

I'm not celebrating the demise of the financial system, Fnarf. Nor am I saying this classic conservatives are to be admired—but when it comes to the toxic influence of the big-government, legislate-your-life evangelicals, the enemy of my enemy is my friend.

Posted by Brendan Kiley | October 1, 2008 12:03 PM

Fnarf, I take it you were for the Patriot Act? Since you're using the same logic was used to pass it.

Posted by Bellevue Ave | October 1, 2008 12:05 PM

I'm not convinced that passing a carelessly written bailout bill today is better than passing a careful one in a month. But I am convinced that if legislators pass a "best we could think of on short notice" bill today, we'll all be stuck with it, no matter the consequences. Viz., Iraq.

Posted by tomasyalba | October 1, 2008 12:15 PM

What I'm thinking is the crooks who made and sold bad loans and made a fortune are now licking their lips about seven hundred billion dollars. That amount of money cannot be controlled and watched over. Hell, all the money that's gone to Katrina victims is a drop in the bucket and the government coouldn't control that.

Posted by Vince | October 1, 2008 1:15 PM

@14: Yeah, and I worry that some of the "fiscal conservatives" are just plain old-fashioned cons who have done the math, realized that the bill can and may be passed with a vast majority of Dems, and who are looking a few years down the road when it all turns to shit and they can blather on about the "Democrat bailout of Wall Street"--in spite of all the cheerleading and arm-twisting by Bush, Paulson, Bernanke, McCain, etc.

I'm pretty sure we need to do this, but a whole lot more GOPpers need to be on board, and without any bullshit buy-offs like capital-gains or business-tax reductions. We also need to look hard at alternative mechanisms for achieving the same ends that are more potentially beneficial to the taxpayer and the debt.

Posted by rob | October 1, 2008 1:24 PM

Yes, bail us out! The piper will still have to be paid though, but let's just defer the mess to our kids, after it compounds.

No matter where the Fed gets the $700B, whether through the Fed Reserve printing more money, or borrowing from China, or getting it directly from the people by raising taxes, the people end up paying it. But who is considering the idea to just let the market naturally adjust itself?

If there are too many houses and the prices are too high, we need to get the prices down to the market level, and quit trying to encourage more housing -- this is what we're doing. They're trying to stimulate houses and keep prices high. It's exactly opposite of what we should do.

So, we should get out of the way and not buy up bad debt. There's illiquid assets, but most of those are probably worthless. They're mostly derivatives. And we're sticking those with the taxpayer. So we have to recognize that the liquidation of debt is crucial.

And if we did that, we would have tough times, there's no doubt about it, for a year. But if we keep propping a system up that's not viable, we're going to have a problem for decades, just like we did in the Depression. That's what we're on the verge of doing.

Posted by Syn Holliday | October 1, 2008 11:38 PM

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