Tuesday, March 29, 2005

More Cheney '08 Talk, And A Buried Whine

Jonathan Chait of TNR (hat tip to PoliPundit) is talking about the Cheney '08 movement. I still think it feels more like a trial balloon floated by politicos than a 'movement', and Chait basically admits as much in his article, though you have to read between the lines a little. This won't go down in history as the most well-reasoned piece of Chait's career. Consider:
Cheneymania has reached critical mass.
Then, in this same article:
...the columns hyping Cheney read like a thinly disguised plea for Bush's support.
Do two columns hyping Cheney as a potential candidate equal a mania? Then Chait drops his real motive for writing this column; it serves as a thinly veiled attack on Bush. Chait concludes:
Critics of this administration, like me, tend to believe that Bush owes a great deal of his political support to his personality. In public Bush comes off as folksy, droppin' his g's and fixin' to clear brush at the old ranch. Although this persona strikes me as obviously fake, it strikes most Americans as genuine and wholesome. If he didn't have this regular-guy image, Bush could never get away with policies uniformly tilted toward the rich and the business lobby. That's exactly why Republicans chose Bush in the first place.
Yep, Jonathan, that's why we chose Bush and why we reelected him, too, so he would soak the poor and coddle the rich. We're some real mean bastards, us Republicans. Amazing how basic economic theory has yet to infiltrate the ranks of most people on the left. Matthew Yglesias recently wrote about the income disparity in America, and while it indeed boggles the mind, statistics in themselves don't tell the story. Is the disparity the result of bad policy? Have the richest of the rich earned their money? Did they steal it? Is there a policy prescription hidden in any of this...?

I know I'm getting off track a little, but here's my point. It does no one any good to just point at large income disparities. Ultimately, either you accept the inequalities as the inevitable result of free market capitalism or you embrace a socialistic scheme of income redistribution. There really is no middle; don't be fooled.

What's all this got to do with Cheney? Simply this: Cheney is a businessman at heart; so is George W. Bush. Businessmen tend to believe in making money; a lot of it, in fact. To many on the left, that makes them greedy; to many on the right, objects of admiration. By encouraging economic activity that lifts all boats, though some more than others, of course, conservatives believe we ultimately benefit the poor more in the long term (and often in the short term) than those who cry so loudly on their behalf.

Oh, and Cheney '08? Well, I'll give in slightly: I'm bumping him up.


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