In a recent post at the Washington Post's site, juicebox mafia capo Klein thinks he's figured out who Barack Obama really is.
Perhaps this is just the logical endpoint of two years spent arguing over what Barack Obama is — or isn’t. Muslim. Socialist. Marxist. Anti-colonialist. Racial healer. We’ve obsessed over every answer except the right one: President Obama, if you look closely at his positions, is a moderate Republican from the early 1990s. And the Republican Party he’s facing has abandoned many of its best ideas in its effort to oppose him.
If you put aside the emergency measures required by the financial crisis, three major policy ideas have dominated American politics in recent years: a health-care plan that uses an individual mandate and tax subsidies to achieve near-universal coverage; a cap-and-trade plan that attempts to raise the prices of environmental pollutants to better account for their costs; and bringing tax rates up from their Bush-era lows as part of a bid to reduce the deficit. In each case, the position that Obama and the Democrats have staked out is the very position that moderate Republicans staked out in the early ’90s — and often, well into the 2000s.
It's important to note just who is making this wack-job statement. As noted by my new blog homie Proof, Ezra Klein was the founder of the junior high mutual zit-squeezing club Journolist. The four hundred reporters, academics, professional liberals and assorted mouth breathers in the listserv were basically a wing of the Obama presidential campaign in 2008, with future Obambi Cabinet members to boot. Needless to say, Klein has a serious intellectual interest in rehabilitating his teeny bopper fan boi crush's political fortunes.
Now, let's look at the 90's era Republican's 'best ideas'. The individual mandate that some Republicans championed back in the day was...and more importantly, is...unconstitutional. I know Klein thinks the Constitution is just some old impossible to understand scrap of parchment, but when something is plainly unconstitutional that pretty much makes it a stupid idea, not a good one.
As for cap-n-trade, I don't know if paid Washington Post journalist Ezra Klein has been keeping up with current events, but anthropogenic climate change has been revealed to be a fraud. C&T was a policy cooked up in response to fears of global warming caused by man-made carbon dioxide emissions. Why would Republicans keep advocating a policy that supposedly solves a problem that does not in fact exist?
Finally, we get to Klein lauding President George HW Bush for raising taxes. Ezra pats Pappy on the back for 'getting the job done' on the 1990 budget deal in his original piece. Funny thing is that Klein never really specifies how these tax hikes were successful, either as policy or politics. He just sorta says they are and moves on.
When confronted about the shakiness of his 'Republican raises taxes = epic win' theory, Klein has a ready retort:
This is the part when you realize that debating Ezra Klein is like having a discussion with Barry Bonds about the dangers of performance enhancing drugs. No, it's even worse than that. It's like debating a pre-med student on specific techniques and methods involved in neurosurgery. The dude is simply in way over his head.
How did Bush the Elder get wacked for raising taxes? For one thing, Bill Clinton hammered him for it in campaign ads.
That ad was a staple of Clinton's 1992 campaign. What makes the spot so effective--and what Ezra Klein simply cannot grasp--is that HW Bush's raising taxes gave Clinton ammunition that didn't just wound the President, but also damaged the Republican brand on a critical everyday checkbook issue. Why does Klein think people vote for the GOP anyway if not because of tax policy? It must be for the Republican's famous snappy fashion sense and party-hearty attitude [sarc/].
The best part of Klein's journey into fail is when he is again confronted with his stunning lack of understanding, he resorts to the lamest of rhetorical evasions and promptly moves the goalposts. But hey, far be it from me to point out how badly his argument is falling apart. Let's let Klein's own source, that he dutifully pointed out, do it for us.
If politicians are not rewarded at the polls for the choices they make, don't expect other politicians to make similar choices.
What exactly are we dealing with here? Klein brings up a political period from the recent past. It's not like it's a hundred years ago, when the issues and characters involved are far removed from our current context. Nor are we talking about particularly deep or convoluted political theory. No, this stuff is pretty easy to understand.
Which makes me believe that Ezra Klein is not just another overpaid undersmart liberal. By producing such an elementary amateurish piece--and then digging further down into the proverbial hole--it's clear Klein is a masochist.