Friday, November 2, 2012

Paul Krugman's The Conscience of a Liberal 8: Party of Ideas

I finished Paul Krugman's The Conscience of a Liberal.  In this post, I'll highlight something that Krugman says on page 271:

"In fact, to survey the current political scene is to be struck by just how well formulated the progressive agenda is----and how intellectually decrepit movement conservatism has become.  As this book was being written, Democratic presidential candidates [for 2008] were discussing plans for universal health care, new approaches to poverty, options for helping troubled home buyers, and more.  Meanwhile, Republican contenders offered no concrete proposals at all----they seemed to be competing over who sounded most like Ronald Reagan, and who was most enthusiastic about torture.  To the extent that the Democratic Party represents the progressive movement, the Democrats have become the party of ideas."

I don't think that this assessment is entirely fair, but I can see where Krugman is coming from.  Why don't I think that Krugman's assessment is entirely fair?  Because, in my opinion, there have been times when movement conservatism has generated ideas, particularly when it comes to tax reform.  Moreover, I remember even some of the Republicans in 2008 talking about why health care was so expensive and how to cut costs.  And, four years later, is not Newt Gingrich the king of ideas?  And was not Mitt Romney an idea man in his first Presidential debate with Barack Obama?

Why can I see where Krugman is coming from?  Because, during the 2008 Presidential election, when we had just been hit with economic cataclysm, the only person I remember who offered a solution that made sense to me was Hillary.  She proposed that the bad mortgages be renegotiated so that people can keep their homes and pay some sort of mortgage over a period of time.  I don't recall hearing any solutions from the Republicans.  But I heard a solution from Hillary.  And, as a Republican at that time, I was upset with her over that, and yet deep down I thought that her idea made sense, and that she did well to have an actual idea for dealing with the crisis.  That's just how I remember it, and my memory may be flawed.  But I can still identify with what Krugman is saying on account of that memory.

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