Tuesday, December 27, 2011

So, explain something to me

I don't get the hypocrisy amongst the "new media" conservative commentariat.

Their thinking goes something like "Greed is good, capitalism is the best solution, the government should get out of the way and let businesses do their thing, and a properly free market will self-adjust". I understand this theory in general, and tend to agree with it.

But here's the part that puzzles me. Why, when it can be used to score cheap political points, does this self-same group of individuals turn around and decry the fact that a liberal politician went on holiday, or stayed at a $10k/night hotel, or did some other extravagant thing.

To cop a phrase, let me be clear. The only time I would care about where a politician stayed or how much they spent on something is if they did it on the public dime. Have the cash and want to buy a Lamborghini with your own funds? That's great, and good luck trying to drive it in the craziness that is D.C. traffic. Want to go on a "fact finding" junket on the public dime, and take your family with you? Then I start having problems.

I am sick and tired of the totality of the Us v. Them mentality that has set in. Compromise is not a dirty word, and can be done with compromising your principles. Especially in the Senate, the legislators need to remember they are their to govern the country. Obviously, in the House they have more local concerns, and should properly look out for their electorate first, but after that again, work to the good of the country.

These are not hard concepts, and all of these lines in the sand and bright-line tests merely confuse the issue.

There is only one bright-line test I care about: Is it Constitutional?1

1And now let the arguments regarding the definition of "Constitutional" commence


  1. I think that most free market types have no problem with a plumber working hard enough to stay at a nice hotel. They have no problem with an entrepreneur being smart enough to earn the money. They have no problem with a restraunteur making the money and spending it.

    They (we) get upset at POLITICIANS who have never - to reuse a tired phrase - "done an honest day's work in their lives" spending that money, because they think that whatever money they have to spend is - by definition - ill gotten.

    What wealtyh has Obama or Biden ever generated in their lives? They're pretty much just cashed government checks and used inside information to make can't-lose investments.

    "He spent $5k on a hotel" is a proxy for "he's stolen so much without working honestly that he can spend $5k on a hotel".

  2. Okay, that's a proxy argument I can understand. But I'm not necessarily sure that's the argument everyone is making.

    I think they are trying to deliberately conflate public vs. private spending in the minds of voters.

  3. Me, I have a problem with anyone telling me what I can and cannot do with my money, specifically relating to excesses. That comment stands in general, but I get really torqued off when someone tells me that I should tighten my own belt "for the good of the country" or some other idiotic reason, and then goes and proceeds to spend gratuitous amounts of money on things they just called out as frivolities.

    'Course, I try to shy away from those kinds of arguments exactly due to their weakness.