Do your own Dirty Work

by Kieran Healy on March 17, 2006

David Bernstein “writes admiringly”: of his friend “David Boaz’s effort”: “to explain why conservatives love Bush so much, even though his economic policies are anything but conservative.” Boaz says,

Conservatives love Bush because the left hates him. If the New York Times would run a front-page story headlined “Bush Delivers the Big Government Clinton Never Did,” and the lefty bloggers would pick it up and run with it, maybe conservatives would catch on.

So here’s your challenge, lefty bloggers: If you don’t like the tree-chopping, Falwell-loving, cowboy president–if you want his presidency fatally wounded for the next three years–then start praising him. One good Paul Krugman column taking off from that USA Today story on the surge in entitlements recipients under Bush, one Daily Kos lead on how Clinton flopped on national health care but Bush twisted every arm in the GOP to get a multi-trillion-dollar prescription drug benefit for the elderly, one cover story in the Nation on how Bush has acknowledged federal responsibility for everything from floods in New Orleans to troubled teenagers, and maybe, just maybe, National Review and the Powerline blog and Fox News would come to their senses. Bush is a Rockefeller Republican in cowboy boots, and it’s time conservatives stopped looking at the boots instead of the policies.

Oh, please. Sure, let me be the first to step up and say people on the left think Bush is great because of all the damage he’s done. After all, “the left” and the Democratic Party are all about ruining America. Thanks but no thanks. Both Davids labor under the belief — genuine or disingenuous, who can say? — that “lefty bloggers” and their ilk are all in favor of irresponsible government spending, economic mismanagement, ham-fisted responses to security threats and natural disasters, gigantic handouts to energy and pharma companies disguised as environmental and health policy, phenomenally botched foreign policy interventions, and so on. If, after several years of this from the President, “schmibertarian”: fellow-travelers now feel that, for the sake of their own conscience, someone needs to smear the GOP faithful as rubes more impressed by cowboy boots than good government, let them go ahead and do it themselves. (Where’s individual responsibility when you need it?) I recall, though, that when Tom Frank made something like this argument about a key part of the Republican base, it wasn’t very well received by those on the right.

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A Poem for Patrick’s Day

by Kieran Healy on March 17, 2006

As always, the choices are limited to maudlin, drunk, and maudlin drunk. I choose drunk.

Carol Ann Duffy

Eight pints
of lager, please,
and, of draught Guinness, nine;
two glasses of pale ale — a squeeze
of lemon in that port — a dry white wine,
four rums, three G-and-T’s, a vodka — that’s the lot.
On second thoughts, you’d better give me one more double scotch.

A half
of scrumpy here,
and over there a stout.
I think we’re ready for more beer;
ten brandies, three martinis — no, my shout!
A triple advocaat with lemonade and lime
and six Bacardis — make that twelve, I’ve just noticed the time.

Six calves
of Harlsberg –fast–

pine bitter shandies –tents–

and make the landies barge; a vast
treasure of mipple X, ten meme de crenthes,
nine muddy blaries and, of winger gine, a wealth.
Got that? And then the rame again all sound and one yourself.


by Chris Bertram on March 17, 2006

Philippe Van Parijs has made some “correspondence with John Rawls concerning the Law of Peoples“: available on-line. The final two paragraphs of the Rawls letter are remarkable for their explicit anti-capitalism, a sentiment that is not so clearly expressed elsewhere in his work.