Yesterday, NRO asked longtime conservative former Congressman Vin Weber how he would have voted on the bailout. To explain why he would have voted in favor, he proposed a thought experiment for small government conservatives: “Imagine, just to play a mind game, if Herbert Hoover had engineered an intervention that had prevented the stock market collapse from turning into a full-scale depression. The whole course of history might have changed in a direction far more to the liking of conservatives.”
In other words, if one little financial intervention could have prevented the New Deal and preserved something like the Harding-Coolidge-Hoover-era size of government, wouldn’t it have been worth doing? I understand this sentiment, but think it relies on a misreading. Hoover actually undertook unprecedented economic interventions in response to the Great Depression, including public works spending, efforts to guide wages and prices, policies intended to benefit labor unions, and especially higher taxes and tariffs. Hoover was in some ways a precursor to the New Deal, not the last gasp of laissez-faire economics from which FDR was a radical departure.
But today we remember Hoover as an anti-government ideologue and FDR’s New Deal as our economic savior, ushering in a new era of big government that the conservative movement has never really been able to undo. Already, we hear that compassionate conservative George W. Bush, despite his big spending and this $700 billion bailout package, is an anti-government ideologue too. If the bailout is passed and fails, it will actually be used to justify even greater economic interventions — and cited as evidence of the failure of anti-government Bush.
A man of faith in a godless age is hitting Americans where it hurts.
Mr. and Mrs. American Spectator Reader, let P.J. O’Rourke talk sense to your kids.
In Britain, defending your property can get you life.
The debacle of this president’s administration is both a cause and a symptom of the decline of American values. Unless Congress impeaches him, that decline will go on unchecked. An eminent jurist surveys the damage and assesses the chances for the recovery of our culture.
It won’t take long for conservatives to scratch this presidential wannabe off their 2008 scorecard.
The American Christmas, like the songs that celebrate it, makes room for everybody under the rainbow. Is that why so many people seem to be hostile to it?
Was the President done in by the economy, or by the politics of the economy?