The Wisdom of Bob Dole … Bob Dole no longer recognizes the Republican Party that he helped lead for years. Speaking over the weekend on "Fox News Sunday," he said his party should hang a "closed for repairs" sign on its doors until it comes up with a few positive ideas, because neither he nor Ronald Reagan would now feel comfortable in its membership. "It seems to be almost unreal that we can't get together on a budget or legislation," said Mr. Dole, the former Senate majority leader and presidential candidate. "I mean, we weren't perfect by a long shot, but at least we got our work done." The current Congress can't even do that, thanks to a furiously oppositional Republican Party, and that's what has left mainstream conservatives like Mr. Dole and Senator John McCain shaking their heads in disgust. – New York Times
Dominant Social Theme: Things are out of control and the US Congress isn't getting anything done.
Free-Market Analysis: Unlike Bob Dole, bless his patriotic heart, we are not upset at the spectacle of a dysfunctional US Congress. In fact, we would humbly suggest that the less Congress does the more functional it becomes.
In the meantime, we'll settle for good old gridlock. Dole sees it and grumbles. We see it (and you, too, dear reader?) and are content. In fact, it makes us smile.
Here's more about Dole's disgust:
The difference between the current crop of Tea Party lawmakers and Mr. Dole's generation is not simply one of ideology. While the Tea Partiers are undoubtedly more extreme, Mr. Dole spent years pushing big tax cuts, railing at regulations and blocking international treaties. His party actively courted the religious right in the 1980s and relied on racial innuendo to win elections. But when the time came to actually govern, Republicans used to set aside their grandstanding, recognize that a two-party system requires compromise and make deals to keep the government working on the people's behalf.
The current generation refuses to do that. Its members want to dismantle government, using whatever crowbar happens to be handy, and they don't particularly care what traditions of mutual respect get smashed at the same time. "I'm not all that interested in the way things have always been done around here," Senator Marco Rubio of Florida told The Times last week
This corrosive mentality has been standard procedure in the House since 2011, but now it has seeped over to the Senate. Mr. Rubio is one of several senators who have blocked a basic function of government: a conference committee to work out budget differences between the House and Senate so that Congress can start passing appropriations bills.
They say they are afraid the committee will agree to raise the debt ceiling without extorting the spending cuts they seek. One of them, Ted Cruz of Texas, admitted that he didn't even trust House Republicans to practice blackmail properly. They have been backed by Mitch McConnell, the minority leader, who wants extremist credentials for his re-election.
… Already, the mulish behavior of Congressional Republicans has led to the creation of the sequester, blocked action on economic growth and climate change, prevented reasonable checks on gun purchases and threatens to blow up a hard-fought compromise on immigration. Mr. Dole's words should remind his party that it is not only abandoning its past, but damaging the country's future.
God bless this little jeremiad! We can feel the frustration oozing out of its inky pores. The New York Times is surely an aggregate spokesperson for the US "establishment" just as Dole was … and those operating the Times are vastly unhappy, it seems.
So they should be. We've spent a lot of time on what we call the Internet Reformation (absorbing the slings and arrows of myriad critics and sophists). Our perspective has been that like the Gutenberg press before it, it would blow up business as usual and puncture the globalist tidal wave that previously threatened to sweep all in its path.
Today, the Tea Party, UKIP and various other parties in the US, Britain and Europe are adopting libertarian approaches just as we have long predicted and are gaining momentum and power. It is fashionable to say that people are willing to sacrifice freedom for security but we never believed it. The West's security is not so great, as people have now seen, and because of the Internet the blame is now being laid squarely where it should be, which is with dysfunctional and intrusive government.
The globalist elites who stand behind government manipulating levers to generate ever-increasing internationalism are dissatisfied with the current trend. Having denigrated growing libertarian movements, they've begun an effort to take them over. But this is not going to work any better, in our view, than the manipulated creation of the initial Reformation, etc.
It is one thing to get out ahead of a movement; it is another to control a vast, social awakening. The Internet Reformation is just that. Whether it is WikiLeaks (another possibly controlled operation, in our view) or controlled variants of the Tea Party, the reality remains that the Internet Reformation is going to run its course like a river rushing toward the sea. It is a natural phenomenon and ultimately not controllable, no matter what our "leaders" try to do.
Dole can grumble, others can try to take over, clever plans can be made and false flags erected, but people's consciousness is being raised and it doesn't take a lot of people – only some smart and energetic ones – to make a big change in the way the world works and where it is headed.
Bob Dole certainly had his day and was an effective proponent for what he considered to be free markets and minimal government. The trouble was surely that when he put his own beliefs aside and voted with Democrats "for the good of the country," the efficiencies that resulted were horrendous.
Today, the US (like the EU) is faced with a neo-Depression that can certainly be related to the policies that Dole and others endorse. Add in some 50-plus wars around the world, a decrepit industrial base, galloping globalism, a budget deficit that threatens to wreck the country, a dysfunctional public school system and other elements of what can only be characterized as a ruined society, and you wonder why Dole – as portrayed in this editorial – wants more of the same.
Thanks to Dole, who no doubt meant well, the US itself faces a full-on promissory deficit of some US$200 trillion and this doesn't include a thousand-trillion's worth of derivatives. Dole believed in free markets (of a kind) but he didn't make a distinction between the market and the corporate capitalism that he ended up supporting.
Now the results of the policies of the "greatest generation" (and those preceding it) are both evident and destructive. Dole may grumble but those of this generation and the next will have to live with them.
Within this context a little or a lot of the dysfunction that Dole seems upset about is certainly better than the activism that helped create the current mess in the US and Europe. Congress's positives are in the single digits for a reason. If those involved actually closed up shop and went home, they might actually rise.
If, as we predict, the Internet Reformation continues to evolve, there may be significant (and hopefully peaceful) changes that affect Congress (and the other two branches of the US government significantly) and for the better.
Freedom is not a dirty word, Mr. Dole.