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February 19, 2009


It seems like making cause and effect judgments on fiscal and monetary policy using economic data is a fools errand. Are the supply-siders right? Are the tax and spenders right? No one really knows b/c we still don't fully understand all the moving parts and how they interrelate. So what are we left with? Ideology, I guess. Perhaps there are some well-established economic principles that we can all agree on, except that I don't know what one might be given the diversity of opinion. How about the one about rewarding bad behavior results in more bad behavior? which is "economic-y" in one sense. Sorry, I'm just rambling now. Someone want to take this baton?

Brendan's been on the case pointing out Bush's unverifiable claims (which Brendan dubs "bogus") that his economic policies created [x] jobs. When the Obama Administration claims it saved [x] jobs and created [y] jobs, as it surely will, can we rely on Brendan to call those claims bogus? Watch this space.

Brendan's defense of Obama is illogical. Brendan considers Bush's economics to be bad policy and disingenuous to boot. Yet, he defends Obama by comparing him to Bush.

Brendan's criticism of Rove seems to be that Rove is barred from making even a correct criticism of Obama because of the way he supported Bush's disingenuousness in the past. Obama's wrong-headed economic policies are a heck of a lot more important than the past misdeeds of one of his critics.

Rob and Dave, I wonder if you actually read Brendan's posts. He wasn't defending Obama or attacking Bush, he was calling Karl Rove on his intellectual hypocrisy.

Rove isn't barred from criticizing Obama because of the way he supported Bush's disingenuousness in the past (Last I checked he has his own WSJ column and is constantly on TV).

He simply has no credibility.

Rob and David only exist in this space to twist Brendan's writing into a springboard to push their own viewpoint. They're a cheap imitation of Steve Sailer's stalking of Malcolm Gladwell.

I think Brendan has it right here.

ANYONE is free to critique the Obama Porkulus bill.

But surely the Republicans cannot seriously expect to huff-n-puff up a DEFICIT-based critique. The only reason the Obama increment to the deficit is a problem is that the Repubs built a MOUNTAIN of debt, with some (but by no means all) of it based on a needless, discretionary war.

And for Karl Rove, one of the architects of the largest increase in the deficit in history, to make such a claim....breath-taking. Almost unbelievable.

Mike, if the Rep can't criticize Obama's deficits because Bush ran deficits, presumably the Dems can't criticize Republican deficits for the same reason. Then we're left with a bankrupt government and parties that aren't even permitted to criticize each other's profligacy. I think both parties should criticize each other whenever warranted. And, I think we citizens should pay aattention the criticism, no matter what the source, because our lives will be affected by the government's mistakes.

Jinchi, I think you are correct that Brendan wasn't defending Obama or attacking Bush, he was calling Karl Rove on his intellectual hypocrisy.

After some thought, my problem with Brendan's post is that he focused on the lesser of Rove's criticisms. It's true that Rove criticized Obama's economic statistics. But, as I read Rove's column, he was also criticizing Obama's economic plan (or, as Rove describes it, Obama's lack of an economic plan).

Failing to fix the economy would be a lot more serious than some misuse of statistics.

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