Skip to main content

Since Paul Ryan has entered the race as Mitt Romney's running mate, I've had to hear two long-standing tropes that just annoy the hell out of me.  The first casts Mr. Ryan as some kind of "thinker," "intellectual," and "ideas man."  The second posits that unlike the Democrats, the Republicans are the "party of ideas."  The first is pretty easy to refute: since when did espousing the half-baked economic theories of a third-rate hack novelist beloved by teenage boys make anyone an intellectual?

The oft-repeated line about the GOP being the party of ideas demands more in-depth consideration, mostly because it contains a great deal of truth.  Republican policies and initiatives are more likely to be idea-driven, it's just that those ideas are really, really bad.  Don't believe me?  For your consideration I present the following examples from the great minds at the Republican lab:

Supply Side Economics

If more money is given to the wealthy ("job creators") via tax cuts that they will then take this money and invest it into the economy, creating growth.  According to the Laffer Curve, the resulting growth will generate more tax revenues than before.  You can cut taxes and get more tax revenue, it's magic!

Of course, we all know that this isn't true at all, and we've had the deficits since the Reagan era to prove it.

Privatization

Anything the government does is by nature shoddy and inefficient, unlike the omnipotent market.  Why not just give over public functions to the private sector, and let these wizards of industry sort it all out?  The incentives of the market will unleash all kinds of innovation!

Not exactly.  Not only does privatization allow politically-connected people to make huge profits off of infrastructure built by tax dollars, it allows those who profit to ignore the public good for their own bottom line.  Look no further than the for-profit college industry, which has benefited from cutbacks in community colleges and gets almost all of its money from federal student loans, and often gives their students a useless, cut-rate education.  If that doesn't convince you, take a look atthe abuses and corner cutting in New Jersey's privatization of halfway houses.

Neo-conservative Foreign Policy

People in the Middle East will understand democracy when we invade their countries and give liberty to them at the point of a bayonet.  They will welcome us as liberators!

Oh, wait, how did that work out again?

2nd Amendment Solutions

Hey, if we let people carry concealed weapons, we will have all kinds of citizen heroes to stop anyone who attempts a shooting spree!

Recently in states with open conceal and carry laws like Wisconsin and Colorado (and elsewhere), it hasn't quite worked out like that.

Laissez-faire

As Adam Smith and von Hayek proved to us, regulation of the free market will put us on the road to serfdom.  We must free up the laws of supply and demand instead of shackling the economy to the authority of bureaucrats.  Rules for of the financial industry like Glass-Steagall harm innovations and hurts economic growth!  Once we allow our banks the freedom we need, prosperity for all will follow!

As hard as it is to believe, the clowns on the Right are getting their knickers in a twist over the Dodd-Frank Act, a fairly piddly response to the complete meltdown of our economy caused by shady financial dealings.  Deregulation gave us the 2008 collapse and the S&L debacle after decades of financial stability in the wake of New Deal regulation.  It's an epic fail on the scale of Mitt's trip to London, but people out there still push it with a straight face.

*

What have we learned here?  Perhaps that conservatives these days tend to turn their ideas into a rigid ideology that blinds them to reality, no matter how many times their theories fail.  (Back in the old days conservatives always used to level that charge at the left.)  As a proud member of what one of their number derisively called the "reality based community," I think common sense is a better guide to our politics than the flights of fancy being pushed by pseudo-"intellectuals" like Paul Ryan.

EMAIL TO A FRIEND X
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags

?

More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site