Paul Gigot: Republican Intellectual Distemper

Having praised Republican Intellectuals for their leadership in defining the the number 1 issue in the upcoming Presidential Election [in case you missed it -High Anxiety over the widespread  National Decline and Washington’s incapacity at addressing the underlying issues], ye Editor expected that some Republican intellectual  gaffe or three to inevitably follow. After all this is the Republican Party and  its Fox News Propaganda Network with all their GOP Doctrinaire Talking Heads were sure to mix metaphors  with fiction and please spare us the facts. So you can imagine my surprise when the Gaffer-in-Chief turned out to be  patrician Paul Gigot, Editor of the still-clinging-to-prestigous Wall Street Journal.  On Meet the Press, Paul gracefully uttered a whopper Republican TwoSpeak.

Let me explain  Republican TwoSpeak with a few  examples. FoxNews credits itself as being “fair and balanced” when you would be hard pressed to find Fox News a)praising the Obama administration or Democratic policy more than not at all in any given week  or b)the obverse, finding fault with Republican policy positions unless they happened to stray over the red litmus test line. And as for policy analysis in which 3-5 options are consider and debated with pros and cons … you must be a “liberal”.

TwoSpeak is the big deceit to paper over either underlying dissension or untenable positions or behavior. Two other examples of Republican  TwoSpeak. “This is not a weak Republican Presidential candidate field  and the party welcomes the opportunity to find a leader who will be more than competitive with Obama come the 2012 elections”. The reality is that Republicans are uncomfortable with having to abandon their easy position of just saying “NO” to administration proposals and policy, delaying appointments and funding for hundreds of executive positions and department budgets, and then blaming Obama when those same departments are not able to function effectively. Now Republican candidates have to do more than blame, they have to propose believable and practical  policy.  This is not only hard to do; but more tellingly exposes the many deep divisions within the Republican party itself. Already, the party is splitting on foreign policy and what should be done in Libya, Afghanistan and Iraq.  More pointedly, the ironclad policy of no new taxes or cuts in tax breaks whatsoever has just trembled with a deeply divisive Republican split vote to eliminate the Ethanol subsidies [Farm Republicans versus Corporate Republicans]. The Presidential election campaign will be a Withering Field of Republican Sniping and Dissension as its lashed together coalition of Christian Evangelism, Social Conservatives,  Tea Party Radicals, and Big Business start to differ on deep held beliefs and start to hurl  their growing virulence at each other as much as at the Democrats.

Another telling example of Republican TwoSpeak is the the party line on its unflinching support of banks and financial institutions over the past 10 years. “Banks would be out lending  and helping the economy if it weren’t for the hostile regulatory climate and the resultant uncertainty which inhibits their efforts.”  This statement appears halfway reasonable until one considers a)the banks and financial institutions have been the beneficiaries of  not just a $3.3 trillion bailout but the lowest span of  interest rates over a 5 year period ever; b)the banks and financial institutions have roared back since 2008 to their highest profitability and compensation levels; c)the banks have resumed their controversial, but highly profitable derivatives trading plus moving back to higher leverages;  but d) have not found the money  either to lend to small businesses nor to reduce the foreclosures rate for even responsible homeowners but instead have instituted a mess with robo forclosue-signings and other post-meltdown questionable financial practices. The Trickle Down low interest rate policy simply has not worked because banks and financial institutions are still pouring money elsewhere rather than directing pointed programs to mortgage relief   and US small businesses and other domestic job creators. Instead $BigBank dollars are headed either overseas or into the higher margin derivative , M&A, and private equity bets.

But the prize winner for Republican TwoSpeak goes to Mr. Gigot. Ye Editor paraphrases what Mr. Gigot said today on Meet the Press: “Every dollar saved in deficit cuts and expenditure savings is vital to US businesses because it encourages their spending.” The business reality is opposite and  bleak.  NYSE and NASDAQ businesses are sitting  on a horde of $1.2 trillion in cash [and still growing rapidly] and the lowest interest rates in decades. They are investing in overseas operations in emerging markets, mergers and acquisitions, share buybacks, and ever more generous dividends. Anything but large scale domestic capital spending and investments which would create domestic jobs.  Some are working to bust unions, lower benefits, and dispense with working condition or environmental protections.   Others are holding out for subsidies and tax breaks from state and local governments desperate for jobs and wages.  And nearly every big business has contributed to the Race to the Bottom in  wages and salaries by outsourcing, automating with poor service[don’t you love waiting forever  for a live and native speaking voice on service calls] and holding down wages by over+ part-timing. But most duplicitous of all, every business man worthy of his Chamber of Commerce membership is bitching about government regulations which came about in the first place because businesses tried to cut corners, pass on costs, or failed to self -insure or self-regulate properly. The analogy with the Republican party casting themselves as Champions of Deficit Control is so telling. The bitter reality is that  the US deficit position is the result of Ronald Reagan’s near treasonous Starve the Beast policy in which deficit spendings were made to hasten the day when a budget crisis would force drastic cutbacks. Under Republican Presidents Reagan, Bush 1, Bush 2 the deficit as a % of GDP grew buy 80%  while under Bill Clinton it declined by nearly 10%. The Republican TwoSpeak here is nothing less than disgusting. Mr. Gigot should read his own sister publication, Marketwatch, on this matter.

Summary

A distemper is a viral infection that causes visual misperceptions, paralysis and pathetic behaviors in mammals. The viral distemper that is plaguing the Republican Party  with its lashed together coalition of fundamentally discordant interests and the Republicans subsequent litmus test voting, intolerance of dissent, embracing a propaganda network, and mocking of  “liberals” and any who might offer alternatives or options to Republican positions [just forget questioning the  validity of  Republican policy or policymakers] – all of this is going to come crashing down in the Republican Presidential race. Watch for the GOP to splinter and wreak internecine warfare among its ranks. Already Sarah Palin has gone rogue and Newt Gingrich with his staff desertions will be taking intellectual potshots at both sides of the aisle. Finally, the Republican split on foreign policy and the official plus pseudo wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya and Yemen will be hard to cover over. This is not to say that  dissent on Republican foreign policy is bad – rather its occurrence is unusual in the party and could spin out of control. Will the party of Ayn Rand elites be able to control themselves? Ye Editor shrugs without an atlas to tell how this  drama will play out.