Frum Challenges The Republicans

Posted by | November 16, 2010 11:43 | Filed under: Top Stories

by Stuart Shapiro

David Frum has a long and insightful piece on the challenges ahead for the Republican Party as it shares in the responsibility of governance for the next two years.  He lists several lessons for Republicans.  If they can just absorb the first one, things may go better these next two years than I expect:

Too often, conservatives dupe themselves. They wrap themselves in closed information systems based upon pretend information. In this closed information system, banks can collapse without injuring the rest of the economy, tax cuts always pay for themselves and Congressional earmarks cause the federal budget deficit. Even the market collapse has not shaken some conservatives out of their closed information system. It enfolded them more closely within it. This is how to understand the Glenn Beck phenomenon. Every day, Beck offers alternative knowledge — an alternative history of the United States and the world, an alternative system of economics, an alternative reality. As corporate profits soar, the closed information system insists that the free-enterprise system is under assault. As prices slump, we are warned of imminent hyperinflation. As black Americans are crushed under Depression-level unemployment, the administration’s policies are condemned by some conservatives as an outburst of Kenyan racial revenge against the white overlord.

I actually think that there is almost no chance that Republicans will learn this (or Frum’s other lessons).  Too much of a stake has been built up in the “closed system” that Frum decries.  Escaping from it would involve depriving Limbaugh, Beck et. al. of their power.  And any elected Republican who has tried to challenge them has ended up kowtowing to them soon afterwards.  Look for lots of names to get hurled Frum’s way next.

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Copyright 2010 Liberaland
By: Stuart Shapiro

Stuart is a professor and the Director of the Public Policy
program at the Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy at Rutgers
University. He teaches economics and cost-benefit analysis and studies
regulation in the United States at both the federal and state levels.
Prior to coming to Rutgers, Stuart worked for five years at the Office
of Management and Budget in Washington under Presidents Clinton and
George W. Bush.

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