Chicago Boyz

                 
 
 
What Are Chicago Boyz Readers Reading?
 

 
  •   Enter your email to be notified of new posts:
  •   Problem? Question?
  •   Contact Authors:

  • CB Twitter Feed
  • Blog Posts (RSS 2.0)
  • Blog Posts (Atom 0.3)
  • Incoming Links
  • Recent Comments

    • Loading...
  • Authors

  • Notable Discussions

  • Recent Posts

  • Blogroll

  • Categories

  • Archives

  • National Review goes Bananas

    Posted by Michael Kennedy on January 23rd, 2016 (All posts by )

    National Review has now gone off the deep end on Donald Trump.

    This strikes me as fear and panic but about what ?

    But he is not deserving of conservative support in the caucuses and primaries. Trump is a philosophically unmoored political opportunist who would trash the broad conservative ideological consensus within the GOP in favor of a free-floating populism with strong-man overtones.

    Cue pearl clutching. What exactly has “the broad conservative ideological consensus” achieved the past 20 years ? Personally, I think Reagan began the problem by choosing Bush for his VP. Bush was antithesis to Reagan’s message and had ridiculed his economic plans.

    Sam Houston State University historian, writing on the Forbes web site, has a very odd blog post this morning. He criticizes MIT economist Simon Johnson for attributing the term “voodoo economics” to George H.W. Bush. Domitrovic calls it a “myth” that the elder Bush ever uttered those words. “You’d think there’d be a scrap of evidence dating from 1980 in support of this claim. In fact there is none,” he says.

    Perhaps down in Texas they don’t have access to the Los Angeles Times. If one goes to the April 14, 1980 issue and turns to page 20, one will find an articled by Times staff reporter Robert Shogan, entitled, “Bush Ends His Waiting Game, Attacks Reagan.” Following is the 4th paragraph from that news report:

    “He [Bush] signaled the shift [in strategy] in a speech here [in Pittsburgh] last week when he charged that Reagan had made ‘a list of phony promises’ on defense, energy and economic policy. And he labeled Reagan’s tax cut proposal ‘voodoo economic policy’ and ‘economic madness.'”

    It’s amusing to see people try to deny facts. Some argue that Bush did not oppose “Supply side” theory. Still, that is what “Voodoo Economic Policy” referred to. What else ?

    Bush promised “no new taxes” in 1988 but then raised taxes in 1990 creating or deepening a recession that cost him re-electiion and gave us Bill Clinton.

    Bush’s proposed budget relied on figures that many consider unrealistic, especially given that a recession was on the immediate horizon. Although the Gramm-Rudman-Hollings legislation threatened unpopular across the board spending cuts if revenues were not raised, President Bush threatened a veto of any increased taxes, pushing instead for cuts in capitals gains taxes. However, with looming economic troubles, in the summer of 1990 Bush agreed to a no-precondition summit in order to avoid an automatic GRH cut of $100 billion. During the summit, which excluded both liberal Democrats and conservative Republicans, Bush agreed that tax increases were necessary. The shift in policy split the Republican Party and gave Democrats cover to raise taxes.

    There are arguments that the tax increases increased revenue but the point is that the Cold War was over and spending cuts should have been the Republican goal. Of course, Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in August 1990, and budget priorities went out the window. I have also wondered if there was a deal, implied or explicit, that the Democrats required a tax increase to support the president on the Iraqi invasion. Bush held firm until October 1990, three months after the invasion.

    Anyway,the response to Saddam was largely predicated on world dependence on Saudi oil and the assumption was that Saddam, unless stopped, would go on into Saudi Arabia. That would give him a majority of world oil production.

    In 1992, the Democrats assumed Bush was unbeatable after the Gulf War I and potential candidates like Mario Cuomo stayed out and left the field to a little known governor from Arkansas. American politics have not been the same.

    Bill Clinton famously put his wife Hillary in charge of a plan to reform American healthcare and she failed so spectacularly that the 1994 election saw a political revolution. Why ?

    the President’s performance can be criticized on several grounds. First of all, one can argue that he attempted to do too much, too soon in view of his weak popular mandate (43 percent of the popular vote in 1992). Perhaps it would have been better to seek reform in steps, starting with such popular items as covering children and providing portability of health care benefits. In this way, he could have broken a huge subject down into manageable pieces that could be understood by the American people in the course of a public debate that might have taken several years.

    Another criticism involves the President’s use of a task force, headed by his wife, that operated in secret. This process tended to shut out voices that might have helped create a more viable plan–voices of knowledgeable persons in the Administration who feared to criticize the work of the First Lady, voices of critics of a managed competition approach who were excluded from the Task Force, voices of interest groups and politicians (who were consulted, but not much) who might have exposed the political vulnerabilities of the eventual plan. Secret deliberations and exclusion of contrary voices are probably not a viable way of crafting a major reform in an environment in which the President has limited influence over Congress, powerful opponents, and a public distrustful of government and its capabilities.

    The Republican sweep of the 1994 elections devastated the president and his allies. It saw the first GOP majority in both Houses of Congress in many years.

    This atmosphere contributed to the narrow passage of the fiscal year 1994 budget, which despite being stripped of major stimulus and public investment programs garnered no Republican support and was opposed by a number of Democrats, as well as the administration’s failed efforts to reform the American health care system. Adding to these difficulties was the slow recovery from the 1990-91 recession. Although U.S. GDP had begun to rise by the time Clinton was sworn in, unemployment remained high, and inequality continued to grow. Popular discontent with the state of the nation’s economy fed into Republican attacks on the social and cultural aspects of American liberalism, the “culture war.”

    In spite of huge majorities, and the election of George W Bush in 2000, major domestic issues remained unaddressed. The Republican Congress managed to push through significant welfare reform in spite of Clinton vetoes.

    In 1996, after constructing two welfare reform bills that were vetoed by President Clinton,[18] Gingrich and his supporters pushed for the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act (PRWORA), a bill aimed at substantially reconstructing the welfare system. Introduced by Rep. E. Clay Shaw, Jr., the act gave state governments more autonomy over welfare delivery, while also reducing the federal government’s responsibilities.

    Clinton finally signed the third bill. After that, the GOP Congress subsided into minor and lobbyist driven initiatives. Very little further progress was made. Gingrich became obsessed with personal matters, including a book deal and eventually resigned his role.

    Gingrich had a clear shot at the Speakership and was elected. Shortly after the Contract With America had been voted upon, passed, vetoed, renegotiated, re-voted upon and again passed, budget talks between House Republicans and President Clinton broke down. Gingrich led the override of Clinton’s veto and when government operations expired, the federal government shut down.

    The shut down was the moment when initiative passed from the GOP to Clinton. The shutdown might have been effective if the Speaker had persisted but he had made a number of personal matters that distracted.

    A continuing resolution bill allowed the government to keep running. Nevertheless, the Clinton White House and Republican congressmen failed to reach agreement on the budget, and as a result the expiration of the continuing resolution on November 13, 1995 led to the closing of all non-essential government services. The shutdown lasted until November 19, when the President and Congress agreed to try to balance the budget in seven years. There was little agreement about how exactly this would be accomplished, however, and negotiations over the budget quickly dissolved. When the new continuing resolution that had been agreed to in November expired on December 15, the government shut down again. Over the following twenty-two days White House and Congressional negotiators struggled to hammer out an agreement over the budget, with the end result that, by January 1996 the President and Congress agreed to a seven year balanced budget plan that included modest spending cuts and tax increases.

    Politically speaking, President Clinton got the better of the 1995-96 government shutdown. Whereas Gingrich expected the public to side with the Republican Party during the dispute, opinion polls showed that a majority of Americans felt that the impasse had been the result of Republican obstinacy.

    A lot of this resulted from Gingrich’s behavior and allegations of personal animus about trivia. One major example is illustrated by this cartoon.

    gingrich

    It followed a complaint by Gingrich that he had been seated in the rear of Air Force One. A rather silly complaint but one that cost the Republicans much moral high ground.

    Eventually, he was forced to resign and Dennis Hastert, a corrupt Illinois politician, replaced him. The conservative revolution was over.

    Now, we come to the National Review complaints about Trump.

    Trump’s political opinions have wobbled all over the lot. The real-estate mogul and reality-TV star has supported abortion, gun control, single-payer health care à la Canada, and punitive taxes on the wealthy. (He and Bernie Sanders have shared more than funky outer-borough accents.) Since declaring his candidacy he has taken a more conservative line, yet there are great gaping holes in it.

    There is a useful summary of the complaints at the web site Vox.

    I am not impressed with National Review as a source of conservative orthodoxy since they have joined the Social Justice Warriors the past two years. First, they fired columnist John Derbyshire for this article which was not even published at NR. The Editor in chief Rich Lowry declared that “His latest provocation, in a webzine, lurches from the politically incorrect to the nasty and indefensible.”

    I disagreed and NR dropped off my radar although my subscription still seems to run. Lately, they also seem to have dropped writer Mark Steyn. It is possible that Steyn dropped them and he is just the guy to do it.

    12/22. Corner Post: “Re-Education Camp”

    http://nationalreview.com/corner/366943/re-education-camp-mark-steyn

    sample quote: “I am sorry my editor at NR does not grasp the stakes. Indeed, he seems inclined to ‘normalize’ what GLAAD is doing. But, if he truly finds my ‘derogatory language’ offensive, I’d rather he just indefinitely suspend me than twist himself into a soggy pretzel of ambivalent inertia trying to avoid the central point – that a society where lives are ruined over an aside because some identity-group don decides it must be so is ugly and profoundly illiberal.”

    Anyway, I am not really a Trump fan but I understand where he is coming from and why he is here. That seems to be more than NR does.

     

    36 Responses to “National Review goes Bananas”

    1. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I am not impressed with National Review as a source of conservative orthodoxy

      If you think of a parent responsible for a family, there are guiding principles but daily adaptations to circumstances. There are short term, mid term and long term goals. Principles can adapt – or even be ignored at times – to solve short problems or simply to accept that events have their own trajectory and people aren’t robots living out a theory or process plan. So principles are guides, but people or groups veering off in this or that direction are part of life and don’t bother me too much, as long as overall progress is toward a reasonable goal. We are not currently progressing toward a reasonable goal, unless you see going off a cliff as the goal.

      So the question isn’t ‘is this or that candidate more or less pious or orthodox’. The question is which candidate is better able to take us in a direction which is good for our society. In that sense, either Trump or Cruz is better than HRC or Sanders.

      Here’s a glance at Cruz’s platform:
      https://www.tedcruz.org/issues/
      https://www.tedcruz.org/five-for-freedom-summary/

      Here’s a glance at Trump’s platform:
      https://www.donaldjtrump.com/positions

      Of the two, Cruz’s platform is more ambitious towards goals that are desirable to me. He also strikes me as more emotionally stable which is conducive to keeping domestic and international working relations more productive. That said, I will vote for Trump if he is the nominee. But I prefer Cruz.

    2. TMLutas Says:

      NR’s move is best explained that they think Trump will be Hoover II, a non-conservative nominee that flops at facing a big crisis and they don’t want to make it easy for Trump to be hung around conservatism’s neck for decades to come.

    3. G Joubert Says:

      Nobody is supporting Trump because of his supposed “conservatism,” real or perceived. Otherwise conservative people might support Trump despite his lack of conservative bona fides because he has skills, talents, and abilities which outweigh the need for ideological purity at this point in history.

    4. East Anglian Says:

      they don’t want to make it easy for Trump to be hung around conservatism’s neck for decades to come

      I wouldn’t worry about that: Conservatism is done. Future politics will mostly be about ethnic, racial, and religious identity.

    5. Mike K Says:

      “they think Trump will be Hoover II,”

      Bush was pretty close to Hoover II. Both of them but GHW more so.

      I don’t know where this is going to end but I do think Hillary will get indicted and probably pardoned by Obama on the way out the door.

      How would Trump do against Biden ? I don’t know.

      Megyn Kelly had the sister of one of the guys killed on last night and she said how awful a liar Hillary was. Megyn asked her about whether she was partisan and then she praised Biden as a very warm andn wonderful guy. Biden might be able to deflect Trump’s bluster.

      It might get interesting. Biden is dumb as a stump but so are a lot of voters.

    6. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Another view of the National Review’s hit piece issue.

      http://canadafreepress.com/article/78382

      To which I would add, that if either Trump or Cruz is elected; both the Democrats and the Whigs will work together to oppose anything either does without regard for the law and Constitution.[*] This will be the deciding battle. Cruz probably would fight, but not outside the box. Trump will, to use a phrase from my old job; “Walk on water, part waves with a glance, and call thunder and lightning down from the heavens.”. He may not win, but they will definitely know that they have been in a fight. And it will set up the next round.

      [*]-it is no coincidence that this broke yesterday.

      http://www.bloomberg.com/politics/articles/2016-01-22/obama-and-ryan-long-at-odds-said-to-meet-as-soon-as-next-week

      Despite making speeches about how the House under him is going to start pushing back [any day now, just like they promised to push back right up until the polls closed in 2014, and again AFTER surrendering everything later in 2014, and then again when Boehner was replaced by Ryan, then again when Ryan surrendered everything a few weeks ago], this is formal submission, k’tou in Chinese, and nothing good is going to come of it for the country.

      I disagreed and NR dropped off my radar although my subscription still seems to run.

      Just a suggestion, but might not this be a good time to tell them to stop sending it?

    7. Mike K Says:

      “might not this be a good time to tell them to stop sending it?”
      It’s funny. 20 years ago, I moved to New Hampshire to spend a year at Dartmouth. My NR copies stopped coming even though I sent an address change. When I came back to California, they started again. I can’t recall renewing. I think I may have renewed the NRO subscription but don’t even read the print magazine. Somewhere it is renewing in a secret place.

      I once had to cancel a credit card to get rid of the NY Times.

      I do enjoy a couple of writers but I read them online and I don’t go near the comments as they are a swamp of leftist trolls.

    8. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      On the subject of comments, I like DisQus if it’s moderated. Unmoderated it’s a swamp.

    9. Eric Says:

      Michael Kennedy:
      “I have also wondered if there was a deal, implied or explicit, that the Democrats required a tax increase to support the president on the Iraqi invasion.”

      Horse-trading is normal for Congress, but at the same time, US concerns about Saddam’s regime were not new in 1990-1991. If anything, Democrats were critical of Reagan and HW Bush’s moderate approach to Iraq and advocated a more-confrontational approach before President HW Bush positioned the US as the chief enforcer of the UNSCR 660-series resolutions. Then, in the wake of the Gulf War as Saddam ravaged the Iraqi people, Democrats criticized HW Bush for stopping short of deposing Saddam’s regime with Desert Storm or at least intervening against Saddam’s post-war actions.

      Which doesn’t mean that such a trade-off necessarily didn’t happen, but it may mean Congress didn’t need to be convinced too hard to intervene against Saddam and pass PL 102-1.

    10. Mike K Says:

      “Democrats criticized HW Bush for stopping short of deposing Saddam’s regime ”

      Remember how Bush only did famine relief in Somalia. It was Clinton who went for regime change, then ran away when the rangers were attacked.

    11. Grurray Says:

      Adding to these difficulties was the slow recovery from the 1990-91 recession. Although U.S. GDP had begun to rise by the time Clinton was sworn in, unemployment remained high

      Bush 41 always blamed Greenspan for his one term presidency. He started jacking up interest rates right when Bush entered office and kept them rising up to the Gulf War. The economy struggled during the entire Bush presidency.

      Later Greenspan dropped rates in 95. The result was the infamous “Irrational Exuberance” that propelled Clinton into his second term.

      Maybe it was all circumstance and coincidence, but Greenspan did marry liberal operative Andrea Mitchell in 1997, perhaps getting rewarded surreptitiously for his faithful manipulations.

    12. Pouncer Says:

      ” she [Mrs Clinton] failed so spectacularly that the 1994 election saw a political revolution”

      Uhm, you don’t suppose that Ross Perot winning nearly 20% of the popular vote on a budget reform / debt reduction platform had anything to do with a “Contract for America” that promised line-item budget veto, zero “base line” budget requirements, government-wide audit for fraud and waste, etc?

      The “Reform Party” voted for drastic reform, bordering on revolution. The GOP, two years later, promised to implement reforms. “Read my lips,” they told us — or might have well have done. The reform voters bought it. The Democratic leadership of Congress was replaced with GOP leadership. And the voters desiring reform got…

      Uhm, help me remember… What was it?

    13. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      Uhm, help me remember… What was it?

      I think the most important things we got were Gramm-Rudman-Hollings and welfare reform. Gramm-Rudman-Hollings balanced budgets, but they went out the window with the Iraq war and the WoT, and welfare reform was quietly nullified by Obama.

    14. Mike K Says:

      Perot’s big issue was free trade and “The giant sucking sound.”

    15. Grurray Says:

      This is a pretty good interview from 2011 that Trump gave to CBN

      https://youtu.be/pwcg6npt8Io

      aside from the host’s silly jokes and weird commercials.

      At about the 6:45 mark Trump expains why he changed on abortion.

      He’s doing well with Evangelical voters. Unlike the unforgiving East Coast Dogmatists, Evangelicals inherently understand redemption and conversion, and that a spiritual rebirth is in fact necessary.

    16. Eric Says:

      Mike K:
      “It was Clinton who went for regime change”

      With respect to Iraq, the Iraq Liberation Act of 1998 merely carried forward, and codified, HW Bush’s policy for Iraqi regime change that was active by May 1991 at the latest. See https://bush41library.tamu.edu/files/persian-gulf/41-CO072-287965ss-365241/41-co072-302096-2.pdf . Much of the linked correspondence is blacked out but the inference is clear enough. Note the Congressman who reached out to the HW Bush administration regarding Iraqi regime change.

      While Presidents HW Bush and Clinton both wanted someone else to depose Saddam’s regime, both presidents viewed Iraqi regime change as the solution to the Saddam problem. (Which, of course, opened the question of the US role following Iraqi regime change by whatever agency, which HW Bush answered implicitly with the invasive, multifaceted enforcement of UNSCR 688 and Clinton and Congress answered explicitly with section 7 of PL 105-338.)

    17. Eric Says:

      Me:
      “(…which HW Bush answered implicitly with the invasive, multifaceted enforcement of UNSCR 688…)”

      Actually, in that regard, Congress answered the question implicitly together with President HW Bush with PL 102-190, which clarified “that Iraq’s repression of its civilian population violates United Nations Security Council Resolution 688 and ‘‘constitutes a continuing threat to the peace, security, and stability of the Persian Gulf region,’’ and that Congress, ‘‘supports the use of all necessary means to achieve the goals of United Nations Security Council Resolution 688’’” (PL 107-243).

    18. Mike K Says:

      I meant that it was not Bush who wanted to do regime change in Somalia. It was Clinton. The Iraq resolutions by Clinton were mostly virtue signaling of the time which was to dispel the impression, since restored, that Democrats are weak on national security. It cost Clinton nothing to bloviate about Iraq. After 9/11, Albright was quoted as saying, “Yes we took terrorism seriously. We had meetings about it almost every week.”

    19. vxxc2014 Says:

      Politics is Power. Any other lens distorts.

      A lever of politics is greed. Over NRO.

      NRO represents the Conservative Beltway establishment that has fed and sucks at the teats of the Beltway. Trump represents the America that has had enough of being looted.

      They see their sinecures and money threatened and are hysterical about the end.

      All you are seeing are selfish people hysterical that their scam is up.

    20. vxxc2014 Says:

      The most priceless gem of that NRO Against Trump is Neal Freeman offering a 100K bet he “and his associates” will pay to their favorite charity if a minor point he makes about Trump is true.

      Sorry – we peasants usually bet what ever is left of our checks on friends, family and guns.

    21. Ginny Says:

      ok, I don’t want the Republicans to eat their own – nor to discourage someone who clearly has traction outside the Republican faithful. But are Thomas Sowell and Glenn Beck really establishment? That National Review list is interesting and not that narrow. (And, by the way, didn’t the establishment do everything it could to not get Rubio elected?) I’d like someone who respects the Constitution, who sees limits to government (and not because he wants to limit others’ access while keeping his own).

    22. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      22 Enraged Conservative Leaders Unite To Dump Trump
      http://politistick.com/explosive-22-enraged-conservative-leaders-unite-to-dump-trump/

      The Megyn Kelly videos are worth watching.

    23. Grurray Says:

      I don’t know if this is sexist or not, but the thing that turns me off about Kelly’s show is the adventurous hairdos & outfits that they always stick her with. Lately she’s really been resembling David Bowie. It’s kind of ruining my remembrance of his work.

    24. Marty Says:

      If you look at NR’s big piece on Trump, and the people who provide the little 200-300 word contributions, you are looking at the big fish in the little pond of conservatism, scared that Trump may enlarge and dilute the pond so that it is no longer as congenial and exclusive. Some of them may actually believe they are looking out for the country’s interests, and maybe in some sense they are, but it is crystal clear that at base this is all personal and about personal prestige and access to goodies.

      I would much prefer Cruz to Trump, and I share many of their concerns about Trump–but I do not think for an instant that this is not self-interested turf protection on the part of most of them.

      The “conservative movement” has failed at the national level, and the people at NR and TWS, etc., need some serious introspection as to what kind of country this really is, and how to move it in as positive a direction as possible, and why they have failed. Some of the contributors have done good work trying to advance conservatism, but they have failed.

      Or, just admit you are not a national movement and settle for controlling a fair number of State and local governements in some regions, and offering a choice when the natural ruling party, the Democrats, overreaches. And, that’s it.

      But I guarantee you that if Trump is the GOP nominee it will do them and their careers no good at all if Hillary or Sanders or Warren wins, and they are seen to have undermined the last line of defense. They may take Trump down at the expense of 8 more years of Democrats in the White House, and after those 8 it will probably be as permanent as anything in politics ever is. But they will do themselves and conservatism no good and much harm in the process. They will be remembered, not at all fondly, as a footnote in the story of how the Democrats won in 2016.

    25. Trent Telenko Says:

      The NR 22 are very much in the position of people throwing themselves on railway tracks hoping to derail the train that has left the station.

      Whether they achived their goal or not, they have committed suicide.

    26. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      I don’t know if this is sexist or not, but…

      I don’t think it’s sexist to have an opinion, though I’m sure there are some feminazis out there who would disagree. I like Megyn Kelly, and I’m usually totally impressed with her. I generally like her hair too. Even short, which she manages to wear in a feminine way.

      I think Trump’s feud with her is telling. It’s part of his ‘How dare you question me!’ schtick. He can be a real ass at times, not a good quality in presidential candidate.

    27. Mike K Says:

      “I do not think for an instant that this is not self-interested turf protection on the part of most of them.”

      I agree and think they are on a suicide mission, too. Lowry fired Derbyshire and drove away a significant number of conservatives who care about race relations and are not virtue signaling with inane “Islamophobia” statements. Then they drove off Mark Steyn.

      Megyn was already on probation with me because of her ridiculous name. She acted like a high school girl at that first debate.

      Is there a hot blonde babe in NYC that doesn’t work for Fox?

      Trump is a blowhard but he is still telling the truth. I just wish someone with better manners was doing what he is doing.

    28. Trent Telenko Says:

      >> I just wish someone with better manners was doing what he is doing.

      No one “with manners” could do what Trump is doing.

      “Manners” is another form of virtue signaling.

      Trump is about jamming “virtue signaling” — AKA Political correctness — and Trump blowhard schtick destroying P.C. is all of a piece.

    29. Michael Hiteshew Says:

      >> “Manners” is another form of virtue signaling.

      I disagree. Manners are a social lubricant. They allow people to interact with each other in such a way that they’re not constantly offending each other. When you are constantly offending each other it leads to a lot more conflict and the breakdown of cooperation. Again, not a good quality in a person who’s main job is getting everyone to work together, and more importantly in a public office executive, to work with him or her to make major changes.

      You can get away with offending people in a situation where people have nowhere else to go, or have no say, like the military or a private concern. You cannot get away with that in a free society. I’ll add that manners have nothing to do with signalling. It’s one of the attributes, like hard work and education, that allow people to become successful in the first place. Running the country is a lot different than running Trump Inc.

    30. Mike K Says:

      “Manners are a social lubricant.”

      I agree. Reagan was a disrupter but smiled as he was doing it. I think Trump’s “game face” is ridiculous.

      I don’t know how this will end.

      I think this WSJ graphic is useful to see who the Trump supporters are.

      Meanwhile, China is collapsing and everyone is worried about Trump.

      China’s raging battles with currency speculators are unlikely to end as happily for the country. That’s because turmoil in the currency markets reflects a much more perilous imbalance than an overvalued yuan: China is now lopsidedly dependent on ever larger inputs of local bank credit to keep sputtering growth from declining further.

      The country is already littered with “zombie” factories, empty apartment blocks that form ghostly suburbs, mothballed power stations and other infrastructure that nobody needs. But yet more wasteful projects are in the pipeline, even as the government talks about cutting industrial overcapacity.

      “That’s the misalignment—everything else is noise,” says Rodney Jones, the Beijing-based principal of Wigram Capital Advisors, who was a partner at Soros Fund Management during the 1990s.

      If debt keeps piling up at the current rate, China faces an eventual financial crisis, perhaps leading to years of subpar growth, mirroring the fate of Japan after its bubble burst in the early 1990s.

      I am waiting to see if California real estate collapses.

    31. Jonathan Says:

      Perhaps the personal qualities that make for a successful campaign don’t always make for effective executive leadership.

      It could be that Trump’s campaign will not be successful for him, but that he will have been successful in shifting the conversation on immigration and other important matters away from an unrepresentative elite consensus.

    32. Trent Telenko Says:

      >>I disagree. Manners are a social lubricant.

      We are in an age “…Where the personal is political.”

      That makes manners “Virtue signaling” by default.

      Such is our fallen age.

    33. Mike K Says:

      “a complaint by Gingrich that he had been seated in the rear of Air Force One”

      Apparently it was more than that. Clinton had told Gingrich they would discuss policy while on the trip to Rabin’s funeral. Then Clinton ignored him and played cards with Mort Zuckerman. Still, Gingrich did not have the PR skills to make this a serious matter.

      The Age of TV is all about skills in PR and Trump seems to have that.

    34. Trent Telenko Says:

      Mike K.

      Why Trump’s lack of manners make him loved by his movement —

      Dear GOP: Calling your own base a bunch of stupid hicks seems like a bad idea
      http://ace.mu.nu/archives/361207.php

      So…yeah. They really do think we’re stupid. Their Delphic prophecies and magisterial command of political philosophy flies right over our thick ape-like craniums. Their brilliance is wasted on us, and they would like nothing better than to trade us in for a smarter (or at least more pliable, and certainly less white and male) base. Alas, they need our votes for the foreseeable future, so they must bottle up their contempt as best they can and lie to us through fake smiles. But the bitterness and contempt is seeping through the façade, as it always does.

      Calling your own base a bunch of stupid hicks is not good strategy (not to mention petty and rude) if you want them to vote for you or your preferred candidates. Mainly because the so-called “intellectuals” who have been driving GOP policy for the past two decades have done a spectacularly shitty job of it. If I’m forced to choose between the lumpenproles and the think-tank eggheads, I’ll throw my lot in with the peasants. They’re a lot smarter than the sneering elites give them credit for, and they don’t sit around all day inhaling their own ass-waft.

      If the GOP brain-trust was arguing from a baseline of stellar success and policy wins, it’d be different. But the post-Reagan era has been an utter catastrophe in terms of actual conservative policy, and on all fronts: cultural, economic, foreign-policy, tax policy, you name it. The arrogance of these pissants is pretty rich, given their two-decade run of fecklessness and failure.

    35. Subotai Bahadur Says:

      Mike K Says:
      January 26th, 2016 at 12:09 pm

      Speaking ex cathedra from my navel; I would say get out while it is still possible. Leaving aside the drought [which seems to have a temporary reprieve] the infrastructure of the state is too small, falling apart, and there is not only no desire to maintain it; there is an absolute refusal to believe that anything is wrong with the situation. Fiscally, the state is in a drug induced dreamland, and their only hope for salvation is if the US pays off all their debts. And if that happens, the whole country is gone.

      They are cranking up taxes as fast as they can, and with a Democrat-run legislature, a literal Chiroptera Lunarii Democrat governor, and a Republican opposition that makes Ryan and McConnell in DC look like they are auditioning to be Horatius and Spurius Lartius at the bridge; they will get the taxes and about all that is Left that is not politically correct is property. Yes, I know that there are constitutional restrictions on that. Name the last Democrat who cared about any constitution, and the last Republican who would defend a constitution under attack.

      Then there is the matter of the social and demographic problems. Victor Davis Hanson is a bloody optimist.

      One other factor. You have mentioned offspring. When the organic waste encounters the rotating airfoil; it would be nice to have the option of being able to offer them refuge from the splatter if you so desire. You can’t do that from ground zero.

      Keep in mind that the advice is, at best, worth what you paid for it. ;-)

    36. Grurray Says:

      “This book is far from a standard D.C. “if only they listened to me” critique. Lewis’ essential argument is that the current crisis is decades in the making, the unintended consequence of a series of understandable decisions made decades ago to help address the challenges the movement faced in the 1980s and 90s. The first was the decision to court Southern evangelicals. Lewis is himself a Southern (West Virginia) evangelical, so here he criticizes his own when he notes that evangelicals have long shied away from engagement with the less-devout world. This has meant they as a group tend to lack intellectual curiosity and rigor. Bringing a decidedly unintellectual group into the movement, Lewis contends, encouraged the movement itself to move away from its strength, its use of argument to explain America’s challenges and propose real solutions that solve them.”

      What movement is he talking about? Not only have they not shied away from engagement, but after Evangelicals switched to the Republican party in the 60s and 70s, the GOP saw it’s greatest success of the century led by the religious Right.

      I see his recommended reading list in his book includes Chris Matthews, James Carville, and Tip O’Neill. Maybe he means the movement is “stupid” for not being liberal enough. The anti-Trump crowd has to come up with better material than this.

      According to Mike K’s previous WSJ link, polls show Trump is building support among non-religious voters and winning with it. If/when Evangelicals throw in their support for him, there will be a religious/secular coalition that will make the history books. Unless it’s stupid to unite the country and win, this is starting to look smarter with each passing day.