Cokie Roberts Blurts Out the Truth

I watch the Sunday talk shows, usually flipping back and forth between them. I was struck today by a comment made by Cokie Roberts on ABC’s This Week. In the discussion of the downgrade of US Treasury bonds, she was arguing with a tea party affiliated Congressman from Utah named Chaffetz and she made the following statement: (The comment begins at 8:55)

The reason why they (S&P) like France and England is because they have parliamentary government,  because the majority gets what it wants. There is no divided government where both parties have to agree.

I thought that an astonishing but revealing statement. First, Britain and France have not been exemplars of fiscal probity the past 50 years, with the exception of Margaret Thatcher’s era. She even mentioned that England now has an austerity program. Also, she didn’t mention that Obama had undivided government for two years and spending increased 24%. In fact, there has been no national budget for two years, probably because the Democrats did not want to expose their plans prior to the 2010 election.

Her second comment was also revealing:

The problem is with the US Constitution.

There, in a nutshell, is the Democrats’ complaint. The Constitution restricts the ability of one political party to spend at will without regard of the consequences. God knows we have had excessive spending since 1965 in this country under both parties and with the Constitution intact. But, for Democrats, that has not been enough. I don’t think I have seen a more revealing comment.

16 thoughts on “Cokie Roberts Blurts Out the Truth”

  1. Great point about the Constitution. To add to the thought, remember that the Const. has been so watered down and abused since Marbury V. Madison, that it is no longer the powerful government-limiting document that it once was.

    Even in its weakened and attenuated state, it is still working to limit government.

    As an aside, and relative to the spending/ Debt limit/ S&P / issue…

    I think it is fair to say that the reason we got the deal that we did was because the political class understood that the majority of the nation was tilting toward the Tea party position. Leaving the skewed polls aside, the nation knows that spending must be cut. I could make the case that the outcome was very very close to “majority” American opinion, even down to the schizophrenic nature of the “super congress.”

  2. Liberals start this whine (country’s ungovernable, parliamentary systems are better, etc.) every time a liberal administration starts to loose traction. The most famous example is Carter’s malaise speech. I am expecting one from BO any minute now.

  3. The other liberal problem is simple dishonesty. They know that they cannot fund the size of government they want to have (25 — 30% GDP) on the tax system as it now stands. Even complete reversion to the FY99 rates would only increase the estimated take by less than 400G$/a, about a third of the deficit. Only a broad based VAT with European style rates (>20%) can close the gap. They know this to be true, and they dare not breath a word of it.

  4. Leftisms is based on the belief that the world is actually a relatively simple place in which any reasonably intelligent and well educated individual with a good heart can figure out the right thing to do in virtually any conceivable circumstance. It follows from that axiom that politics is purely a matter of getting the intelligent, well educated and good hearted people, themselves of course, into power. If only they had enough power, they could and would always choose the best policies.

    This idea collides directly with the concept upon which the Constitution is based. The Founders believed the world a complex place which would confuse and confound the wisest of humanity. More importantly, they believed that all humans were constantly having to struggle against doing evil and that therefore no individual or group could be trusted with to much power. The Constitution is designed like a moral nuclear reactor. It is designed to both contain and harness the innate evil of political power.

    Leftists are so very dangerous precisely because they really do believe themselves to be morally perfected individuals who can be trusted with unlimited power. They view the Constitution as the Dead Hand of the Past whose superstitious belief in the universal depravity of humanity limits the ability of the morally perfected to create a just world.

  5. I remember reading some time ago that Rex Tugwell, one of FDR’s best and brightest, blamed the failures of the New Deal on the contraints placed on them by the Constitution (not that they didn’t push hard against it or set precedents that we still have to deal with today). I just look at them as would be tyrants, for that’s what they are and it doesn’t matter how well meaning they might be. Hell, that might even make it worse a la C.S Lewis.

    And the assault on the Constitution goes on everyday where ever lefties have gained control (no, I’m not giving a pass to conservative pols for the damage they’ve done). When I was in college in the mid-90s, a young friend came in to the UC center and began going off on how we just had to get past the notion of the Constitution as something almost sacred. All I had to do was ask which professor’s class she had just come from and then I attempted to counter the indoctrination. Not sure she listened.

  6. The Solution Is Simple: Dunning-Kruger Effect

    Incompetent individuals tend to overestimate their own level of skill and do not recognize their true inadequacy. They fail to recognize genuine skill in others.

    The unskilled overrate their own ability as above average. The highly-skilled underrate their abilities, often below the self-rating of the unskilled.

    Actual competence may weaken self-confidence, because competent individuals wrongly assume that others are also competent. The incompetent misjudge themselves, whereas the highly competent misjudge others.

    Many intellectuals believe that there is no job (oil company CEO, football coach, running the local post office) that they cannot do as well or better than the person currently in the role, should they ever exert the effort to do so.

    Academics outside the hard sciences succeed by manipulating an entirely artificial world of symbols and constructs. They think that all complexity in the world is created, like their own studies. They don’t create anything other than words, so they never have to confront their lack of real knowledge.

    So, we would be much better off if we elected people who doubted their abilities and insights, so that they would hesitate to interfere in people’s lives and take their money. It is a disaster to empower people who regard themselves as the smartest person they have ever met.

  7. Honestly, I’m beginning to see our long-established old-media like Cokie Roberts as just another set of court lackeys, ready to sing the praises of the ruling elite, in melodious chorus and upon command.

  8. Am I to understand that liberals are against parliamentary government and against the constitution? Aren’t those statements slightly hyperbolic? I mean, it’s fair that you think they want to increase spending, but the rest of it? Come on guys! Stay on point.

  9. “Ungovernable” is code for unruleable. I desperately hope our country is unruleable, I refuse to be ruled. Government of a democracy should not be about rule but about facilitating the maintenance and continuance of an already functional society.

  10. Am I to understand that liberals are against parliamentary government and against the constitution?

    Her comment was that S&P prefers parliamentary governments because the majority party can do anything it wants to. I don’t think it occurred to her that, if we had a parliamentary government, Obama would already have a no confidence vote and we would be having a snap election. Mitterand started out to try to impose pure socialism on France and had to backtrack rather quickly, in less time than Obama has been in office.

  11. Fortunately, it is not a Constitutional issue.

    It just requires a change of some US House and Senate rules at the start of a legislative session. That’s a simple majority vote in each house of Congress.

    Independents (Like Sanders, or Harry Byrd) already vote with other parties to form coalition governments. Just alter the rules to allow different parties to form coalition governments, too.

  12. Shannon: “Leftists are so very dangerous precisely because they really do believe themselves to be morally perfected individuals who can be trusted with unlimited power. They view the Constitution as the Dead Hand of the Past whose superstitious belief in the universal depravity of humanity limits the ability of the morally perfected to create a just world.”

    This is true of some leftists. Others — the most dangerous ones, and perhaps the ones most likely to succeed — are sociopaths who simply they believe they should have power and that the Constitution constrains them. The notion that they are doing what they do in the service of some greater good is a cloak.

  13. I frequently refer to Democrats and other Leftist as “stupid (enough to believe their own BS),” suffering from cognitive dissonance or living in the fantasy world of a shared delusion. Occasionally, someone will call me out for resorting to an ad hominum. Fortunately, there is a never ending supply of people such as Roberts I can point to and say: No, I’m simply being descriptive.

  14. Uhm, don’t Portugal, Ireland, Italy, Greece and Spain have parliamentary governments too? Yep, they do.

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