Free Markets, Free People
It appears that as President Obama tries to “move to the right” with his op/ed in the WSJ today, POLITICO is also engaged in such a move with the hiring of Joe Scarborough as the righty on the site. It is meant, one supposes, to help “center them up”. I guess. Joe Scarborough hasn’t ever impressed me as a good representative of the right on his MSNBC show, so I’m not sure how he’s going to help POLITICO in that regard. But hey, it’s their call. Maybe they don’t want a real righty, just a pretend one.
Anyway, Scarborough has decided these last two days to carry water for the “right-wing rage” crowd. Apparently if you don’t sound like mewling mush-mouthed compromiser, you’re in a rage and Joe is here to call you out on that. So taking on the big boys and girls (Beck and Palin), Morning Joe – who’d love to have Beck’s ratings, I’m sure – announces that he gets it. They weren’t responsible for the Tucson shooting. However:
But before you and the pack of right-wing polemicists who make big bucks spewing rage on a daily basis congratulate yourselves for not being responsible for Jared Lee Loughner’s rampage, I recommend taking a deep breath. Just because the dots between violent rhetoric and violent actions don’t connect in this case doesn’t mean you can afford to ignore the possibility — or, as many fear, the inevitability — that someone else will soon draw the line between them.
Uh, Joe … if the dots don’t connect in this case they don’t connect at all. Got that? It means whatever you’re babbling on about concerning their supposed “violent rhetoric” (yup, that’s a right-wing talking point isn’t it) is irrelevant. They aren’t a part of that scene. At all. Nada, zip, zero to do with it. Whatever their rhetoric it wasn’t a factor.
So I recommend you take a deep breath and back off. There’s a possibility that a freakin’ meteor may hit the earth, however given how slight it is, I think I can afford to ignore that possibility. At least until new information becomes available that says I should pay attention again, right?
Well, that’s kind of where you are with this act. You’re spouting off about a “possibility” which has no real history to support it and certainly isn’t something that was a part of this most recent tragedy.
Scarborough goes a little schizoid after his nonsense above and acknowledges the right’s righteous anger at the way the media and the left immediately blamed the usual suspects on the right (Palin, Fox News and Beck) but then says:
Now that the right has proved to the world that it was wronged, this would be a good time to prevent the next tragedy from destroying its political momentum. Despite what we eventually learned about the shooter in Tucson, should the right have really been so shocked that many feared a political connection between the heated rhetoric of 2010 and the shooting of Giffords?
Well, yes, the right most certainly should have been shocked. Ok, maybe not – after all we did watch the left melt down for 8 years – speaking of violent and vile, hateful rhetoric – but I haven’t seen anything to this point to even compare to that on the right. So maybe the shock was how the left woke up in a new world in January of 2008 (along with Scarborough it appears) and suddenly discovered “violent rhetoric” exists – at least as they define it. Most of the right, however, understands “violent rhetoric” as a lefty code phrase for “shut the right up”.
Of course the right’s “violent rhetoric” is, in comparison, a pale shadow of what the left pitched during the Bush years as has been amply demonstrated by any number of bloggers and right wing media types.
So show me the history Joe – where there has been right-wing violence precipitated by “violent rhetoric”. And no McVeigh doesn’t work – he stated unequivocally that the reason he detonated that horrific bomb in OK City was because of Waco – not Rush Limbaugh, not Fox News, not right rhetoric. In fact there really isn’t much history of political assassination associated with “violent rhetoric” from the right in this country, is there?
And what sort of whack job associates a campaign stunt such as firing a “fully automatic M16” with her political opponent as a threat to Giffords – except you and the left, that is? What you can’t break the context out on that? It was a campaign event. It was meant to draw people in to do something they’d find cool or enjoyable. It wasn’t, pardon the word, aimed at Giffords, for goodness sake.
But waterboy Joe can’t leave it there, oh no:
And who on the right is really stupid enough to not understand that the political movement that has a near monopoly on gun imagery may be the first focus of an act associated with gun violence? As a conservative who had a 100 percent rating with the National Rifle Association and the Gun Owners of America over my four terms in Congress, I wonder why some on the right can’t defend the Second Amendment without acting like jackasses. While these types regularly attack my calls for civility, it is their reckless rhetoric that does the most to hurt the cause.
Joe, you’re about as conservative is Barack Obama is centrist, but that aside, perhaps the right can’t defend the 2nd Amendment without acting like jackasses is because the real jackasses on the left are constantly trying to nullify it. Sometimes you just have to be blunt about what’s happening.
As for the nonsense about not understanding why the right would be immediately associated with a shooting crime that’s simply a predisposition for the left that Scarborough wants to excuse. And it jumped right out there after Tucson embarrassingly enough, didn’t it Joe?
Facts, pal … facts. That’s what matter. And the fact of the matter is the right or its rhetoric had nothing to do with the tragedy in Tucson. Not what it has said, not its literature, not its stance on guns. Nothing.
That’s the fact, sir. And jackasses like you who keep this crap rolling based in nothing but your own “rage” need to be called out on it. “Civility” is just another in a long line of lefty attempts to shut the right up. Racist is losing its sting so now the way to shut down debate, to shut your opponent up and to dismiss or wave away any argument they may make, is to call them “uncivil”. That’s what the left is attempting. Nice to see it has fellow travelers who claim to be from the right carrying water for them, Joe.
UPDATE: Ah, now I know why waterboy Joe is still ranting. Ed Koch explains. Ed Koch for heaven sake.
President Obama has an op/ed in the Wall Street Journal (a carefully chosen venue to project a “pro-business” lean, I’m sure) in which he touts an Executive Order he is signing which orders a review of all federal regulation ostensibly to bring them inline with today’s realities and help root out those which stifle job creation.
On the surface, nothing at all objectionable in the premise. Obama claims the purpose of the effort is to ensure that what regulation is kept represents “common sense rules of the road that strengthen our country without unduly interfering with the pursuit of progress and the growth of our economy.”
Fine and dandy. I’d love to see that applied to the letter. I just have no real confidence that this is anything other than show (a visible move toward the center) or that bureaucracies will pay it any attention. Of course that’s something we’ll have to see and monitor.
But … again, backing government out of much of the present regulatory regime (“unduly interfering” in Obama’s words) would indeed be a help.
More on the stated premise:
But creating a 21st-century regulatory system is about more than which rules to add and which rules to subtract. As the executive order I am signing makes clear, we are seeking more affordable, less intrusive means to achieve the same ends—giving careful consideration to benefits and costs. This means writing rules with more input from experts, businesses and ordinary citizens. It means using disclosure as a tool to inform consumers of their choices, rather than restricting those choices. And it means making sure the government does more of its work online, just like companies are doing.
Again, wonderful words (“more affordable, less intrusive” and more choice instead of “restricting those choices”) in an op/ed, but I have to say despite Obama’s claim this has been the aim of his administration the last two years, I’d dispute that. Look at the route the EPA is taking right now in terms of trying to impose a regulatory regime on greenhouse gases. Or how the Interior Department has unilaterally blocked oil and gas exploration.
Certainly simplifying the regulatory regime, removing conflicting and overlapping rules, eliminating redundant reporting requirements and moving much of what can be done on-line to that venue would help. But while that may make things more understandable and less onerous to do, it doesn’t really mean that intrusive regulation is going to go away or even be lessened.
We’re back to how you define such regulation and what level of intrusiveness you believe is too much. There’s no doubt that the Obama administration believes in a level of intrusion far greater than do most on the right. An example of the difference can be found in the article itself:
One important example of this overall approach is the fuel-economy standards for cars and trucks. When I took office, the country faced years of litigation and confusion because of conflicting rules set by Congress, federal regulators and states.
The EPA and the Department of Transportation worked with auto makers, labor unions, states like California, and environmental advocates this past spring to turn a tangle of rules into one aggressive new standard. It was a victory for car companies that wanted regulatory certainty; for consumers who will pay less at the pump; for our security, as we save 1.8 billion barrels of oil; and for the environment as we reduce pollution.
Of course on the other side of that are those saying “since when is it a function of government to decide what gas mileage a car must get?” The entire premise that it is a function of government is built on belief in a “justified” level of intrusion far beyond that which any Constitutional scholar would or could objectively support (that’s assuming he is a scholar and an honest one). In fact the example perfectly states the obvious difference between big government advocates and small government advocates. BGA’s think it is government’s job to dictate such things – that it is a function of government to do so. SGAs believe it is the market’s job to dictate such things and that government shouldn’t be involved in these sorts of things.
So in essence, while the Obama op/ed has all the proper buzz words to attempt to sell it as a pro-business, small government move, it is in fact simply a restatement of an old premise that essentially says “government belongs in the areas it is now, we just need to clean it up a little”.
This really isn’t about backing off, it’s about cleaning up. It isn’t about letting the market work, it’s about hopefully making government work better. And while Obama claims to want to inform us about our choices rather than restricting them, I’ll still be unable to buy a car that doesn’t meet government standards on gas mileage even if I want one.
Now that may not seem like something most of us would want – few if any of us want bad gas mileage and the cost it brings – but it does illustrate the point that government regulation really isn’t about providing choice at all, it is and always will be about limiting them. And all the smooth talking in the world doesn’t change that. It’s the nature of the beast.
So when you hear wonderful things like this…
Our economy is not a zero-sum game. Regulations do have costs; often, as a country, we have to make tough decisions about whether those costs are necessary. But what is clear is that we can strike the right balance. We can make our economy stronger and more competitive, while meeting our fundamental responsibilities to one another.
…just remember the reality of regulation and understand that all the great sounding words you hear coming from the administration about regulatory overhaul are most likely based on a completely different premise than the right has. And as all of us have learned from the 2 years in which this administration has been in power, never, ever, ever just go by what they say they’re going to do. Always judge them on what they actually do, because rarely do they ever do what they say in speeches or op/eds like this.