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Trainwreck: The End of the Conservative Revolution (and Not a Moment Too Soon) Hardcover – March 1, 2008
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From Publishers Weekly
In a domestic cooptation of the neocon End of History thesis, talk radio host Press (Spin This!) argues that conservatism's record of failure should condemn it to a subordinate place in American politics—it can survive to check the excess of the majority, argues Press, but must never again be allowed to govern. For Press (who unfurls a dishonor roll of scandals, policy failures, corporate toadying, double standards and outright criminality), this betrayal of public trust has meant the betrayal of conservatism's own purported principles. Thus, citing the conservative canon of the mid-century right-wing intellectual Russell Kirk, and even Barry Goldwater, Press lambastes Bush, Cheney and other Republicans for turning away from the ideals of small government and limited executive power. Likewise, on the environment, conservatism was formerly synonymous with conservation, notes Press, pointing to early Republican leadership on this score from Teddy Roosevelt to California state senator and environmental pioneer Peter Behr. These contradictions rarely come as revelations—indeed the bulk of this narrative will be familiar to anyone paying even passing attention to the news—but by presenting all this material together, Press creates a serviceable election-year handbook for voters, particularly the Democratic opposition. (Apr.)
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Why is this so? For many years, now, the right wing has strongly asserted that government is part of the problem, not part of the solution; that government virtually never does anything right, and that private enterprise always does it better than government. Why, then, would they want to demonstrate the fact that they have been wrong all along, by making government work well? As Press puts it on page 231 (HC):
"Granted, the federal government is not the solution to ALL social problems. There are many tasks that families, churches, cities and states, or nongovernmental organizations can perform better. But there are many large-scale tasks that only the federal government can handle efficiently and effectively." [emphasis added] I would add that economists recognize two major areas where government can be expected to perform better than private enterprise, (1) where there are significant spillover benefits and (2) where there are economies of scale over the all (or nearly all) of the relevant size range (natural monopolies).
Spillover benefits occur when persons who do not participate in a market transaction benefit from that transaction. The classic example is national defense, from which it is to be expected that everyone benefits, whether or not they pay for it. Other examples are police and fire protection and education.
The classic example of a natural monopoly is garbage collection. If two or more competing garbage collection services are running trucks over the same streets, that uses more labor and more fuel and wears out more trucks than doing the same job with one truck and one crew.
Press goes on to say: "You'll never make government work, however, if you start out hating it, undermining it, refusing to fund it, or treating it only as a means of increasing your own personal wealth and power." As he put it on page 230, "It's no accident that the three most corrupt administrations of modern times-Nixon, Reagan, and Bush 43-have all been conservative, Republican administrations. Payola goes hand in hand with conservative rule. So much so, that Professor Alan Wolfe identified it as the second most common trait of conservative governance."
And now that that most corrupt of all administrations is out of office, the Republicans are proving once again Press' thesis. In the Murfreesboro, Tennessee Daily News Journal for 22-Feb-09, under the headline "GOP bitter about loss at the polls," Cynthia Tucker writes: "Indeed, congressional Republican leaders seem more interested in finding a cudgel to wield against President Obama and other Democrats in 2010 than in rescuing the nation from the worst economic calamity since the 1930's." Who could be more unfit to govern than those who place partisan advantage above the welfare of the people and even the survival of the nation?
Press spends almost an entire chapter alleging that Ronald Reagan was a "racist" for launching his campaign in Philadelphia, Mississippi - the town memorialized in the movie "Mississippi Burning". He also point out the Trent Lott simply met with members of the Council of Conservative Citizens (CCC), which is an organization descended from the Ku Klux Klan...but he doesn't mention the following: Harry Truman, Robert Byrd, Edward Douglas White, Hugo Black, Theodore Bilbo, Bibb Graves, Clifford Walker, George Gordon, and a whole host of others were ACTUAL members of the Ku Klux Klan...and guess what? They were ALL Democrats. Can't believe that people of color still buy into the hogwash that the Democrats are not the racists in this country....the current administration (O-Dumbo's) has certainly made it clear that they are also 100% anti-Semitic with the stance they have taken vis-à-vis Israel in the Middle East! Go figure.
And supposedly scandals like Watergate, Tea Pot Dome, and Iran-Contra only happen on the Republicans watch, right? I'd love to see Mr. Press explain Mr. Obama's "Fast and Furious" scandal, with hindsight being 20-20. Gotta love more recent history coming back to bite you right in the third point of contact, eh Bill?
Let's see...oh, Presidential grabs for power? Mr. Obama puts G.W. Bush to shame with all of his czars, completely incompetent cronies (that have never worked real jobs, just talk about them as politicians). Seems Mr. Press has issues with putting people with REAL experience into any government job....probably because he simply can't grasp the fact that as Ronald Reagan said: Government IS the problem.
You all will love this too: Bill Press lambasts President Bush (no fiscal conservative, by a long shot) for getting the national debt up to $9 trillion before he left office. God, I'd love to see him talk himself out of the fact that under the current Spender-in-Chief we are now at $18 TRILLION and climbing. Got any answers for that, Mr. Press?
Bill Press says that some government "successes" include Medicare and Social Security...both created under Democratic Presidents, both of which are the two largest Ponzi schemes in history. Bernie Madoff went to jail for a Ponzi scheme that is dwarfed by the MESS that both of these systems have turned out to be. If the average American was actually forced to put their portion of Social Security taxes into a 401(K) like investment vehicle, rather than trusting the government to provide for them when they are retired, all of those seniors would now be sitting on quite a nest egg. The government was supposed to be using the employer AND employee portions...and the system is going bankrupt!!! Incompetence run wild....
Mr. Obama has also done nothing to close Guantanamo Bay...he has done nothing to release these "enemy combatants"....why? Simply because the Bush Administration was RIGHT in not applying the rules of the Geneva Convention to terrorists! Terrorists/spies, etc. are specifically excluded from the Geneva Convention...maybe Mr. Press should read it. Or, perhaps Mr. Press should have worn a uniform at some point in his life?
For Bush's Katrina disaster...we have Obama's mishandling of the oil spill in the Gulf. FEMA is not the answer: LOCAL response is the answer. Blame Bush for Katrina...while allowing the Democratic Mayor of New Orleans at the time off the hook, AND the Democratic Governor of Louisiana off the hook. How is that even POSSIBLE? The lack of local preparation, evacuation, and immediate response in the wake of the hurricane was laughable....and it is no wonder neither the mayor nor the governor were re-elected.
In the meantime, I'd love to see what grade Mr. Kress would give Mr. Obama for dealing with any of the current foreign issues facing our nation: an aggressive (Cold War-like) Russia, the growth of ISIS, the nuclear proliferation desires of Iran, Boko Haram, Cuba....I can just imagine him applauding our moron-in-chief for the disaster that has become America's foreign policy.
He compares the "Bush Doctrine" to the "Wilson Doctrine"...without reminding everyone that Wilson went so far as to enact the Espionage Act of 1917 and the Sedition Act of 1918...which basically was his way to crackdown on ANY anti-war protestors. Guess you can't be against a Democrat once they make a decision to enter the country into a war....a war which resulted in over 100,000 US deaths, and over 300,000 US casualties.
I could go on and on...but it is far too easy.
Again, gave this four stars because it is really good to see just how warped the other side truly is....and Bill takes the cake, that's for sure.