Barney Frank is right about Barack Obama:
Frank worries that Obama’s evenhandedness may prove to be a political liability. “On the financial crisis, Obama said that both sides were asleep at the switch,” Frank said. “But that’s not true. The Republicans were wide awake, and they made choices to oppose regulation. They had bad ideas. He says, ‘I don’t want to fight the fights of the nineties,’ but I don’t see any alternative to refighting the fights of the nineties if we want to change things.”
Frank illuminates the president-elect’s chief weakness.
Also: Has conservative ideology been discredited by reality? Frank thinks so:
“We are at a moment now when liberalism is poised to have its biggest impact on America since Roosevelt, because the conservative viewpoint has been so thoroughly repudiated by reality,” Frank said. “Someone asked Harold Macmillan what has the most impact on political decisions. He said, ‘Events, dear boy, events.’ Events have just totally repudiated them, and we’re now in a position to take advantage of that.” He went on, “You know Hegel. Thesis: No regulation at all. Antithesis: Now the government owns the banks. What I gotta do next year is the synthesis.”
Conservatism doesn’t exist anymore. One could argue that conservatism isn’t so much an ideology, but rather a reaction to liberalism.
Conservatives do not feel obligated to offer solutions to problems. Why? Because if government is used to solve problems, then they can no longer argue (with a straight face) that government is always the problem.
Conservatives, like alcoholics, come in varieties. There are “unrepentant conservatives.” They argue from absolutist positions that have no basis in reality. There are “functional conservatives.” Bush is a bigtime “functional conservative.” No Child Left Behind, the Medicare prescription drug program, bailouts for businesses… While Bush’s programs have a mixed record of success, you have to give him credit for at least attempting to solve problems with government.