I just came back from Bloomberg where I spoke with Tom Keene about numerous subjects (not online yet). In addition to talking stocks with Tony Dwyer, we discussed Elizabeth Warren with the Bloomie DC correspondent, the elections, and the conservative/liberal divide.

I ripped into each side as corrupt partisan hacks. I favor the NASCAR endorsement approach for Congress-critters: They should  all have to wear on their suit coats the stickers of their “sponsors” and campaign funders — like any NASCAR team. Only instead of Penzoil and Target, the sponsor logos on their blazers would say AIG and CITI and ENRON and HUMANA.

Tom dances around my party affiliation, and I tell him I have none.

Here’s why:

I am not a Democrat, because I have no idea what their economic policies are; And I am not a Republican, because I know precisely what their economic policies are.

Indeed, the entire left/right debate is false, an artificial framework for analyzing policy. In my mind, the real debate is the corporatocracy versus the individual.

And right now, the individual is losing . . .

Category: Media, Politics

Please use the comments to demonstrate your own ignorance, unfamiliarity with empirical data and lack of respect for scientific knowledge. Be sure to create straw men and argue against things I have neither said nor implied. If you could repeat previously discredited memes or steer the conversation into irrelevant, off topic discussions, it would be appreciated. Lastly, kindly forgo all civility in your discourse . . . you are, after all, anonymous.

101 Responses to “Democrat or Republican ?”

  1. And for the record, I find most of you partisans are brain dead parrots unable to think for yourselves.

    Stop being sheeple, and start thinking for yourselves . . .

  2. Thor says:

    Can’t wait for all the replies to this post BR

    Everyone knows you’re really just a “left leaning east coast liberal” ;-)

  3. Chief Tomahawk says:

    “Things are going to change — I can feel it.”

    George H. W. Bush

  4. Thor says:

    Why on Earth would anyone think for themselves when they’ve got Glen, Rush, and Sarah to do it for them!

    Sheesh BR, get with the program already!

    OK I’ll stop with the smart ass comments now.

  5. gbgasser says:

    I. LOVE. this.!!!

    “I am not a Democrat, because I have no idea what their economic policies are; And I am not a Republican, because I know precisely what their economic policies are.”

    Can I get your permission to use it Barry? I’ll try to remember to cite you when I do.

  6. Thor:
    BR is what I’d call a Bob LaFollette liberal. Look him up. ;-) Can you imagine anyone like LaFollette being a Republican today? As a Democrat, I agree with BR about economic policy. The problem is that a lot of the Democrats, Obama included, would have to wear logos like Goldman Sucks and others. They are just too beholden to corporate interests. Yeah, there is civil war in the Republican party, but there is also one, to a lesser degree, in the Democratic Party. You have the “kiss the ass of Big Business” wing, and you have the DFH wing(what I’d call it). The problem is that the DFH wing has little money behind it(though they’ve been right about most things(from Iraq to the economy). And whatever BR may be, I know a lot of DFH’s hold him in high regard.

    ~~~

    BR: I’ll take that as a compliment — I wa a Jacob Javitz Republican — another GOP member who could not recognize the crazy clusterfuck the party has become.

  7. Thor:
    You have to add a new one. Christine O’Donnell. She’s the new GOP rock star. She’s a real doozy.

  8. Johnny99 says:

    “I am not a Democrat, because I have no idea what their economic policies are; And I am not a Republican, because I know precisely what their economic policies are. ”

    Best. Sentence. Ever.

  9. sysin3 says:

    In the next election, I think I’ll vote for “Off With Their Heads”.

  10. Kevitivity says:

    It’s fairly obvious that modern democrats believe in a large, growing government funded by tax and spend policies. Conservatives (historically) tend towards a more limited government, lower spending, lower taxes.

    People who use the phrase, “tax cuts for the rich” are just throwing around partisan, class warfare slogans.

    Personally, I’m very liberal when it comes to social issues – more liberal than Obama. I’m an atheist, pro gay marriage, etc… But I’m conservative when it come to the important issues like the size of government (the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen), spending, defense…

    Ifthe choice is between a crackpot, small government conservative or a tax and spend, nanny-state liberal I’ll choose the crackpot every time.

    ~~~

    BR: Tax & Spend, vs Tax Cut & Spend

    Helluva choice there Kevvie

  11. Redcoat75 says:

    True story, we had a county registrar dude come to our front door last week, and wanted to confirm our voter registration. I live in California, and I’m registered as “Decline to State”, and the guy kept asking me over and over again if I was sure I didn’t want to “state” what I was, because, you know, “You can’t vote in the primaries if you’re ‘Decline to State’.”

    Man, can’t I just be “me”! Don’t try to label me!

    I think we are in serious need of probably more than three viable political parties in this country. Nothing in the Constitution declares that our national political conversation has to be about “us” and “them”.

  12. gbgasser says:

    Part of the problem is, as Barry says, that its not a left right problem economically its entrenched financial power vs the littleguy trying to stay a consumer. There are those in the democratic party who are looking out for the little guy and there used to be some in the republican party but that number over all is shrinking by the day . Get some Tea Partiers in there and it wont get better.

  13. ByteMe says:

    Indeed, the entire left/right debate is false, an artificial framework for analyzing policy. In my mind, the real debate is the corporatocracy versus the individual.

    And who created and perpetuates this artificial (left-right) framework?

    The corporatocracy. A distraction for the masses.

  14. GuinnessFan says:

    I really enjoyed this post. It crystallized much of the way I look at politics in a way that I haven’t been able to concisely do. I especially like the Nascar analogy. Clearly, these days my vote is only for which puppet will go to Washington and have their strings pulled by the lobbyists. My thought had been that these “sponsors” should appear on the ballot or why not have them participate in the faux debates we have each campaign season.

    Also the terms conservative and liberal are grossly misused. What we have governing us are “political conservatives” and “political liberals”. This is just an attempt to falsely differentiate two factions that puke pablum aimed at trying to convince their partisans that they’re really looking out for their interests. In truth they’re only out to enrich their “sponsors” and themselves while enjoying the amenities that go along with power. They could also be labeled the “status quoers”

    Then there are the real conservatives and liberals. These are the people who can at least propose policy that’s based on some level of rational analysis and data (although none is ever really devoid of some of the “political” component). Unfortunately you rarely hear these people. Both sides have ideas worth listening two.

  15. TheUnrepentantGunner says:

    barry, you get the added advantage that you can actually do something about the system beyond voting, and that you have a relatively wide audience of people that are somewhat pragmatic like you, and are at least open to your opinions (though sometimes we respectfully disagree).

    for most of us, regardless of our skills, unless we donate a hefty amount of money, can’t do much in non competitive states etc… and besides, candidates often act differently than they campaign (for the record i had huge hopes for corzine 4 years ago and dreaded chris christie 10 months ago… i dont agree with christie on much but sort of begrudgingly respect the way he is trying to fix some of the wrongs, even if i abhor the process).

    as a thought exercise, how many people do you know that changed their mind on the health care debate? the stimulus? i dont have many friends who have, even those with phd’s and otherwise high degrees. people more than ever are sure of themselves, and have the newsoutlet of their choice to confirm their suspicions.

    i thank you for being pragmatic, admitting when youre wrong, and challenging us. i just wish i could do more.

  16. dussasr says:

    Everyone interested in small government and low taxes should check out the Libertarian party.

    http://www.lp.org

    Yes, they are a tiny party, and yes they have a long way to go to become a major political force. However, if you are voting Democratic or Republican you do not have the right to complain when things go badly – you got what you voted for. If you want CHANGE, try doing something differently!

  17. callistenes says:

    Hah BR it reminds me of Lewis Black’s 2 liner. Democrats are the party of no ideas and the Republicans have really bad ideas and the only thing worse than either of them is when they both work together.

  18. d4winds says:

    love the D vs. R remark. wrt the corporatocracy versus the individual, in my mind John Stewart nailed it in restating the D slogan for the midterms, “We suck less.” Of course, sucking less still sucks.

  19. comet52 says:

    “In my mind, the real debate is the corporatocracy versus the individual.”

    Ye hath NAILED IT!

  20. Whiskey Lunch says:

    “I am not a Democrat, because I have no idea what their economic policies are; And I am not a Republican, because I know precisely what their economic policies are.”

    Outstanding!
    Should be on a T-Shirt.

    aaaand here you go… http://i.imgur.com/LYIuT.jpg

  21. treasurefish says:

    You all should watch the movie on YouTube called “The Secret of OZ.” It starts out a little corny, but this is the best explanation I have ever seen on how today’s economy is in such a mess (due to the FED), and what the government NEEDs to really do to fix it!!!

  22. Thor says:

    Calvin – That’s right! I forgot O’Donnell.

    Personally, I’ve always seen BR as more of a middle of the road kind of guy, liberal on some issues, conservative on others. I do notice though, that many of the people who accuse him of being a closet liberal appear to be farther right than center.

  23. tsk tsk says:

    I’ve always envisioned BR as kind of like Jeremy Piven in the movie PCU — A little too enlightened and forward thinking for those that follow him and much too ear to the ground (and forward thinking) for the administration. “It used to be us against them. Now it’s us against us.” Droz, from PCU

  24. obsvr-1 says:

    the two party system has devolved into the ‘ irresistible force meets the immovable object’ when it comes to accomplishing the mission of their public office responsibilities. By having to align with one of the parties to get your vote to count is a total frustration. It is not much of a choice when you can either align with the Tax and Spend union backed or the Dont Tax and Spend corporatocracy backed candidates. Hopefully the independent, libertarian or tea party will emerge with enough critical mass to effect a sea change in the body politic.

    I love the idea of NASCAR sponsor labels on the politicians – the larger the contribution the bigger the label. A centralized capability to track and disclose contributions, lobby visits, dinners etc would help to make transparent these influence and manipulator entities to the public. With the information collected at a central database then someone could dice and slice the data to get comprehensive and aggregate reports without having to spend incredible amount of time searching all the congressional sites or other investigative methods to get to the information.

  25. Robespierre says:

    “Indeed, the entire left/right debate is false, an artificial framework for analyzing policy.”

    Actually it is not an “artificial framework for analyzing policy”. It is an artificial framework to split and control the population.

    “I find most of you partisans brain dead parrots unable to think for yourselves. ”

    It is really not their fault. Americans are discourage from understanding and from doing their own thinking from the day they are born. Why do you think that phrases like “Avoid discussing politics or religion exist?”. This I have only seen in America.

  26. AHodge says:

    nice
    i tell folks that any similarity between me and the two parties is purely coincidental.
    and like most of the founding fathers, GW in particular, I fear and despise all parties and factions.
    this will leave you nearly friendless for the next two months,
    by one week before both sides will think you are insane
    the good news:
    by 4 months later they will all forgive you, having gotten over THEIR temporary insanity, and say man were you right.

  27. cdrueallen says:

    Go Barry! You’ve identified the problem. Is there any possible solution as long as most people make their leadership decisions based on primate hormonal responses to what they see on television?

  28. Robespierre says:

    cdrueallen Says:

    “Is there any possible solution as long as most people make their leadership decisions based on primate hormonal responses to what they see on television?”

    Go back to your history books and read how all corrupted political systems/governments that are unable or unwilling to self correct end.

  29. AHodge says:

    brain dead parrots dead on
    you are by very definition unable to think for yourself.
    partizanship makes you stupid, anybody need the logic of that explained to them?

  30. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    Dam! that is the best thing I have ever heard….Barney, my man Frank would wear – I’m for Franie, and I like Fanie!!!!

  31. bergsten says:

    And right now, the individual is losing . . .

    Not is losing. Has Lost.

    We’re back to feudalism (not that we ever left), only the words used and the extent change.

    Hey, but at least the LIRR runs on time!

  32. AHodge says:

    Rush calls his devotees “dittoheads”….
    They seem to like it….

  33. cdrueallen says:

    @Robespierre – I agree that any political system that accumulates enough poor miserable peons will be subject to frequent radical changes but I don’t know that I’d call it “self correcting”. I look at it as entering a period of extreme turbulence aka France circa 1789-1871. Not something I think I’m going to enjoy.

  34. Shnaps says:

    I love it when he has days like today. Every post is a home-run, and this one is a grand-slam.

    I will write-in BR the next time I am voting for President.

    Unfortunately, we’re more likely going to end up with President Dwayne Elizondo Mountain Dew Herbert Camacho.

  35. NormanB says:

    BR: Very disingenuous, actually. You don’t know what Democratic economic policies are? Gimme a break. Everyone knows and has seen their economic policies. No hiding with that gibberish. I’m very disappointed. I hope you just had a bad day.

    ~~~

    BR: HIT A NERVE, DID I ?

  36. IS_LM says:

    Ah, yes, the typical pox-upon-all post. When faced with an actual choices, as opposed to some hypothetical ideal, the decision is obviously. As an example, take a portion BR’s actual choice set:

    Cuomo or Paladino
    Schumer or Townsend
    Gillibrand or DioGuardi

  37. DeDude says:

    But on election day you don’t get to chose between the Corporatocratist and the Individualist, you have the choice between a democrat and a republican. As with most choices you have to chose the least undesirable.

  38. IS_LM says:

    with an actual choices -> with actual choices
    obviously -> obvious
    portion -> portion of

    (wishing this site had a preview key for poor typists like myself).

  39. Robespierre says:

    @cdrueallen Says:

    “but I don’t know that I’d call it “self correcting”. ”

    Sorry I wasn’t clear by self correcting I mean that even when the system is corrupt there are still internal safeguards that will produce change. In a way the separation of government in several equal branches creates those safeguards. So for instance you may have the executive branch taken over by corporations but then the legislative and judicial (as long as they are not also corrupted) can “fix” the executive given time. What I’m saying is that once all those internal self correcting safeguards fail the the “fixing” has come historically from the outside and historically has hardly ever being peaceful.

    “I look at it as entering a period of extreme turbulence aka France circa 1789-1871. Not something I think I’m going to enjoy.”

    Nobody does and yet they seem to happen. BTW every case/nation is different and how it plays here (if it actually it happens here) is really impossible to predict (at least by me).

    If you look at the remark: “real debate is the corporatocracy versus the individual.” he frames it as a debate as if words are the chosen weapons of both sides. That may be the case at this point but it is impossible to say that in the future this debate will be “words” only. Corporations will use the tools at their disposal an so will do the individuals.

  40. H. Rider Haggard says:

    Redcoat75, why is it that we can’t belong to as many political parties as we want? It seems to me like a freedom-of-association thing.

    Of course, with the present voting system that would lead to lots of gaming the system. But if we had “beauty contest” voting (instant-runoff voting) we could each push candidates we like in different parties.

    There oughta be a lawsuit. Which Democrat wants to step up and bring a lawsuit against the Republican party for excluding him? Which Republican wants to do the converse? It would be fun for all. And it could lead to a change to beauty contest voting.

  41. JustinTheSkeptic says:

    Let me sum up the american political scene as we know it – “I once new a women from Nantucket!…”

  42. S Brennan says:

    Nice post Barry, let’s break the false divide.

    Just a brick in the wall…but how about state initiatives that have an open PUBLIC primary for those wishing to be printed on the ballot.

    Those parties wishing to have a PRIVATE nomination process will have to have the voter writing in their candidate….it cost public money to print ballots therefore PRIVATE candidates should not be subsidized.

    Better primary winners => Better candidate winners => Better government.

  43. DeDude says:

    “If the choice is between a crackpot, small government conservative or a tax and spend, nanny-state liberal I’ll choose the crackpot every time”

    But that choice is not on the list, if you care to check the facts. None of the two parties have small government on the agenda. The difference is whether spending is increased on the military or domestic (social) agenda – and whether the spending will be paid for by us or our children.

    “Hopefully the independent, libertarian or tea party will emerge with enough critical mass to effect a sea change in the body politic”

    Don’t forget that a sea change can be the tsunami that drowns you. Listening to the crackpots in the tea-party movements, even God couldn’t save America if they “sea-changed” the country.

  44. James says:

    And for the record, I find most of you partisans brain dead parrots unable to think for yourselves.

    Ha, I see you’re in an ESPECIALLY charitable mood. Love this idea:

    “hey should all have to wear on their suit coats the stickers of their “sponsors” and campaign funders — like any NASCAR team. Only instead of Penzoil and Target, the sponsor logos on their blazers would say AIG and CITI and ENRON and HUMANA.”

    One last thing before I bag this board for the day . . .

    Go Seattle Storm, 2010 WNBA champs! That’s one tough bunch (swept the Dream and the entire playoffs, for that matter!).

  45. Thor:
    BR strikes me as a live-and-let-live kind of guy in many respects. I can’t see him being against something like same-sex marriage, for example. I’d bet he probably thinks DADT is pretty damn stupid. So I guess you could say he’s socially liberal. And yeah, I’d bet he was a fiscal conservative(a real one, not a phony one like almost all Republicans in D.C. are). The caveat being he’d be in favor of some form of a welfare state(like Social Security). I wonder if BR has been to Scandinavia at all.

  46. foxorrabbit says:

    “And right now, the individual is losing . . .”
    Right now? :)

    Care to share when you think was the last time the individual wasn’t losing? (on an overall basis)

  47. DanielHess says:

    BR–

    You are flat out wrong that we don’t know what Democratic policies are now. They consist of Keynesian spending with a redistributionist bias. Clinton working with Republicans went on the middle of the road.

    The problem, deficits are structural more than structural. Democrats have no willingness to address structural deficits, instead pushing structural deficits in the wrong way with healthcare.

    The folks at Pimco were pretty clear on what needs to happen. Fix structural long-term deficits while being loose in the immediate term.

    Barry you claim to be somewhere in the middle but I am willing to bet that when you draw that little black curtain shut you are a pretty consistent liberal vote.

    My voting history has been pretty much an even split on R’s and D’s.

  48. willid3 says:

    treasurefish Says:
    September 17th, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    You all should watch the movie on YouTube called “The Secret of OZ.” It starts out a little corny, but this is the best explanation I have ever seen on how today’s economy is in such a mess (due to the FED), and what the government NEEDs to really do to fix it!!!

    you do realize what the wizard of OZ was really about right? it was about the equivalents of the corporatists of today. back then (sort of like today) that would be the finance wizards (hm sounds real familiar) who were feeding on the farmers of the day. today its still the finance wizards, but now they feed on every one. so you could say we went back into the past, instead of the future?

  49. constantnormal says:

    Ritholtz for Emperor !!!

    Why would anyone want to saddle him (as president) with the CONgress? (which is, as everyone knows, the opposite of PROgress)

  50. willid3 says:

    one of our local talk show hosts (a car guy no less) points out that there is really no difference between the parties, and that none of the politicians every does what they campaign on (in fact most forget all about that).
    and it s mostly true.
    the only real difference in the parties is who they say they support. and some time even who they say they support.

    and the idea of having decals on them is great! at least then we would know who they really support (and work for!)

  51. constantnormal says:

    Barry, you really need to copyright that sentence, and put it on t-shirts (as Whiskey Lunch has to adroitly demonstrated), and have one of your many businesses sell them until such time as the inevitable dwindling of sales does not pay for the effort to sell them. Then you can license it to other s-shirt makers.

    Put me down for a half-dozen of them.

  52. Bernie638 says:

    Awesome post.

    About that NASCAR though, the sponsor stickers would be in an unreadable micro font to fit on even the largest congress critter.

  53. constantnormal says:

    Skip the decals — have their heads shaved and tattoo their “sponsors” onto their heads.

  54. constantnormal says:

    Perhaps to deal with the problem of “too many sponsors”, the names could be rendered in word-cloud style, with the size of the name being proportional to the amount of “sponsorship”… I still like the notion of tattooing them onto shaved heads. Of course, as their sponsorships change over time, there would be a booming business in burning off the old records (via laser), and then tattooing a fresh picture a few weeks later. The repeated pain would seem to be an minor penalty, considering the damage they are doing …

  55. I’m with those who agree it’s the best line ever on this blog. That’s all.

  56. louis says:

    Along with Homeower, I want some shirts.

  57. call me ahab says:

    And for the record, I find most of you partisans brain dead parrots unable to think for yourselves

    funny that the partisan parrots on this blog seem to agree w/ you 100% of the time-

    so let’s call them cheeleaders

  58. call me ahab says:

    . . .and I recollect about a year or two ago you said you were a Libertarian- or leaned Libertarian- can’t remember exactly the quote-

    so at one time you must have believed in small government and personal freedom-

    but maybe I’m wrong-

    with your 7 big projects post- you threw the first half of the equation out the window

  59. philipat says:

    @BR: Tax & Spend, vs Tax Cut Spend

    There you go Barry, you do understand Democrat economic policy after all. I do so agree with you, it’s the Corporatocracy and the Political classes who implement for them, versus the people. The US Constitution begins with “We, the people” doesn’t it?

  60. obsvr-1 says:

    @Bernie638 Says:
    September 17th, 2010 at 6:26 pm

    Awesome post.

    About that NASCAR though, the sponsor stickers would be in an unreadable micro font to fit on even the largest congress critter.

    — Reply

    Have a digital bill board hung around their neck with the Sponsor name/logos rotating
    Plue – mandate a scroll on the bottom of the screen (ala stock ticker) with the sponsor/lobby names whenever a politico is interviewed.

  61. ACS says:

    Voting for the lesser of two evils just perpetuates more evil. Take all the major legislation and policies of the last four administrations, mix them up and try to pick which are Democrat or Republican, only a major political wonk will be able to do it. NOT voting or only voting for third parties you actually agree with is the only way to send the message that you are unhappy with the dualistic corporatocracy.

  62. Thor says:

    Wow, 60 comments before we got the usual “yes you ARE a Liberal!!”

    Way to go Ahab, at least you’re consistent ;-)

  63. DG_Allen says:

    I was pondering this the other day.

    The problem is most (I’m guessing 99%) Americans have not idea how their goverment works. They slept through their one semester class in high school and thats it.

    So, they are ripe for a lazy media that only feeds them drama and for political hyperbole. We humans all also suffer from confrimation bias and the TV, Radio, Internet echo chamber feeds this perfectly. People both sides believe what they are hearing no matter how nonsensical it might be. So we have no issues debate only name calling, he said she said, and the daily horse race update of who’s winning.

    At this point, I would support putting in not a poll tax but a poll test. Mixed in with our electronic ballot are 10 random questions on how govt works. You don’t get a passing grade on the test, you ballot is not counted.

    How about them apples dumb asses!

    I’m just a liberal elitist I guess.

  64. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Of all the freekin’ threads to show up late to . . .

    The following is stated despite the fact that we are no longer governed under the laws of our former Constitutional Republic. As did Rome, we have continued only the administration of government (using the symbols and trappings of our former legitimate government — as opposed to the Constitution — as the imperatorial basis of the State). The law has been left by the wayside.

    Not a (D), or a (R), but I’m flaming liberal, socially, and a staunch conservative, fiscally (don’t ever assume that an enlightened philosophy holds no place for conservative ideas).

    I tend to hold with the left, politically, but the Dems are feckless, self-hating appeasers. I can’t really say they’re on the left, as they have moved steadily to the right in order to avoid having their frail egos shattered when the Republicans call them names. The Republicans OTOH, are so far right politically, that we would certainly have a theocracy that rivals Iran’s, should they ever have the opportunity to establish one. Both sides of the spectrum (compressed as it is) serve the Corporatist agenda.

    Since we have to pick between 2 parties (the tea party being the radical fringe of the right wing, fully-funded by the right wing), it comes down to who will do the least damage to the country. On that score, I can’t vote Republican, if only for their intellectual dishonesty, hypocrisy, and pandering to racial/ethnic/sexual identity bigotry and religious neanderthals (as well as being generally hung up on sexual issues. Lots of repressed sexuality on the right. Again, it’s dishonest). That way lies the ultimate in unenlightened government. That way lies oligarchy and the rule of man.

  65. algernon says:

    Well, Mr. ‘Show me the data’, now all you need is pithy soundbite when it suits you. Many Republicans are normal politicians like Democrats. Surprise, surprise. But there are some good Republicans who opposed the bailouts & propose serious spending cuts. They are trying against great odds & don’t deserve your derision.

  66. call me ahab says:

    thor-

    if it takes sixty comments before you get to the usual- maybe it’s not the usual?

    in any event- please parse my comments and tell me where I called BR anything- outside of what he self labeled himself as- a libertarian- or libertarian leaning (sadly- I just can’t remember exactly as it was a while ago)

    but maybe it’s just a dream he has- like Martin Luther King

  67. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Kevitivity Says:

    It’s fairly obvious that modern democrats believe in a large, growing government funded by tax and spend policies. Conservatives (historically) tend towards a more limited government, lower spending, lower taxes.

    Answer: This is obviously untrue. The difference is tax vs. borrow (deferred tax). Both sides spend like drunken sailors. The (R) on big business cronies, and the (D) on social programs. As was made clear by GWB, the (R) party believes in neither small, nor limited government (there is no such thing as a small or weak authoritarian government).
    _______________

    People who use the phrase, “tax cuts for the rich” are just throwing around partisan, class warfare slogans.

    Answer: “just” throwing around slogans? What else would you call a tax cut for the rich? Isn’t a tax cut for the rich class warfare on the poor?
    _________________

    Personally, I’m very liberal when it comes to social issues – more liberal than Obama. I’m an atheist, pro gay marriage, etc… But I’m conservative when it come to the important issues like the size of government (the bigger the government, the smaller the citizen), spending, defense…

    Answer: Your phone is off the hook. How and why would a party that believes in small government want to be involved in religious or sexual issues of private citizens? Why would a small government make something like DHS, to spy on its own citizenry? Spending and defense? Have you seen the money we’ve wasted on the Republican idea of what constitutes “defense”?
    ________________

    Ifthe choice is between a crackpot, small government conservative or a tax and spend, nanny-state liberal I’ll choose the crackpot every time.

    Answer: And that would make you the poster boy for crackpots.

  68. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    algernon Says:

    Well, Mr. ‘Show me the data’, now all you need is pithy soundbite when it suits you. Many Republicans are normal politicians like Democrats. Surprise, surprise. But there are some good Republicans who opposed the bailouts & propose serious spending cuts. They are trying against great odds & don’t deserve your derision.
    ___________

    Do any of these “normal” politicians believe in evolution (and if so, would they admit it, or would they lie through their teeth)? Could they cogently explain the scientific method? Do they think America was founded on Judeo-Christian principles (that is to say, do they suck the religious Right’s ass)? Did any of them show up to stop the liberals from murdering Teri Schiavo? If so, they deserve every goddamned bit of derision that can be heaped upon them.

  69. cyaker says:

    “Federal taxes function to regulate demand, and not to fund expenditures,” Warren Mosler

    the problem with our politicians is that none of them understand monetary theory.

    Check out Warren Mosler and Barry he supposedly makes great cars also.

    About Warren Mosler

    Warren Mosler is running as an Independent. His populist economic message features: 1) a full payroll tax (FICA) holiday so that people working for a living can afford to buy the goods and services they produce. 2) $500 per capita Federal revenue distribution for the states 3) An $8/hr federally funded job to anyone willing and able to work to facilitate the transition from unemployment to private sector employment. He has also pledged never to vote for cuts in Social Security payments or benefits. Warren is a native of Manchester, Conn., where his father worked in a small insurance office and his mother was a night-shift nurse. After graduating from the University of Connecticut (BA Economics, 1971), and working on financial trading desks in NYC and Chicago, Warren started his current investment firm in 1982. For the last twenty years, Warren has also been involved in the academic community, publishing numerous journal articles, and giving conference presentations around the globe. Mosler’s new book “The 7 Deadly Innocent Frauds of Economic Policy” is a non-technical guide to the actual workings of the monetary system and exposes the most commonly held misconceptions. He also founded Mosler Automotive, which builds the Mosler MT900, the world’s top performance car that also gets 30 mpg at 55 mph.

    Learn more at http://www.moslerforsenate.com

  70. Almitra says:

    you guys need to learn about Mouseland:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gqpFm7zAK90

  71. obsvr-1 says:

    @Almitra Says:
    September 17th, 2010 at 9:49 pm

    you guys need to learn about Mouseland:

    —-
    That about sums it up for the evening … time for some cheeze, i mean some beer.

  72. DeDude says:

    “NOT voting or only voting for third parties you actually agree with”

    That and claims about “they (GOPs & Dems) are all the same” are for bums to lazy to participate in their democracy. If you have a brain and actually read any program from any party you will find something you do not agree with. If you carefully evaluate the positions of the individual candidates you will find that there are indeed differences between every democratic and republican candidate even if most of what they stand for is repulsive to you. But that would require an effort so forget about it, this is America, better to just fire of some BS phrase that can pass for an explanation to cover up that you are to lazy to participate (but not to lazy to bitch about it all).

    “Voting for the lesser of two evils just perpetuates more evil”

    That is just pure unadultered BS straight out of the political speach-writers handbook of empty phrases that sound good to braindead voters. If you do NOT vote for the lesser evil, you perpetuates evil by helping the greater evil win.

  73. favjr says:

    This is a great post, and received a great response. I’ve always wondered why one of the parties did not go social-liberal, conservative-fiscal. Most people I know are like that. Then, again, maybe I’ve been hanging around the wrong crowd. Whatever happened to Rockefeller Republicans anyway? I think Charlie Munger might be the last one.

    I would encourage you to write more on the debate between the corporatocracy versus the individual. This goes way back in American history to the early 19th century when the existence and legality of corporations was hotly debated. The main problem with them is that they don’t die naturally and can’t be sent to debtor’s prison. But our biggest mistake was applying aspects of the Bill of Rights to them — like the recent Supreme Court case allowing unlimited spending on political campaigns.

    There is a real audience for these issues right now and I think it would get wide re-circulation. Thanks for stating it so cogently.

  74. MinnItMan says:

    Mouseland is a pretty good allegory. Nonetheless, I have a hard time getting behind the idea that just anybody is a competent ruler.

    We’ll see with this current Tea Party crop – I’m guessing the corruption that we’ll hear associated with them after a few years will make Reps. Rangel and DeLay look quaint.

  75. mgflaw says:

    Thank you. This captures the sentiment of a lot of people, I think. If you are an intelligent, social liberal, pro choice, pro equal rights, free thinking individual, it is literally impossible to vote for a candidate of the party of Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachman, even if you are a radical de-regulatory supply sider. Not only are republicans social neanderthals, the results of their economic theories (“greed is good”) has only resulted in disaster, time after time. At the same time, how can a intelligent, social liberal who is also a fierce capitalist support such a hapless, inept and clueless Democratic party that can’t, for political reasons, address economic issues in a reasonable way (see stimulus plan)?

    A third party will emerge. I hope.

  76. call me ahab says:

    laugh the fuck out loud-

    BR- here you go- with your earnest and “oh so right” cheerleaders-

    they have it all figured out obviously-

    excuse me why I look for something to puke into

  77. cheapstocks says:

    To say that the Democrats have no economic policy is absurd. They’ve had the power of the purse for four years, and the purse along with the power of the pen for two years. If you don’t think there’s a policy, then you’re not paying attention. Even lack of a policy (and that is the LAST thing that we’ve seen in the last 2 years) becomes a de facto policy after a track record of any length.

    A statement like this is akin to a political slogan–it means nothing and serves as a catchy way of avoiding an answer to a direct question.

    Our friendly blogger’s like the majority of us, not perfectly boxed politically. However, make no mistake, he almost always votes Democrat. He’d argue that doesn’t make him a Democrat and highlight examples of occasional races when he voted differently, but if how you usually cast the vote isn’t a general classification, what is?

    And anyway, who cares. Just don’t offend sensibilities after what we’ve seen last 2 years by saying the Dems don’t have an economic policy as a slogan to avoid declaring a party tendency.

    Because if this is no policy, we can’t afford the Dems to find one!

  78. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    cheapstocks:

    What you say is true. My only quibble is that the Republican base is crazy as a shit house mouse, and as dishonest as the day is long. It’s measurable and intentionally exploited (how was a majority ever persuaded to vote against their own self-interests?). The Dems might want to give away the store, but the Republicans want to burn it down. I’d rather have to deal with Forest Gump than Travis Bickle.

  79. common-sense says:

    I am not a Democrat because they don’t know what their economic policies are. I am not a Republican because they don’t know what their economic policies are. I am however a conservative because I know what my economic policies are.

  80. eddems says:

    I read an interesting piece the other day by Joe Quinn. “Poor Have No Chance of Joining the Rich, the Game is Rigged”. It shows, among other things how much of the income is being taken in within several wealth categories. So we find that in the 20s, and since 93 or o, the top 1% have been raking in nearly 25% of the income. For the average, we would have 10%. The financial industry and teh CEOs make salaries 300 times the average worker.Yoi know it wasn’t always that way, it . And so, it was more like 30 times. its down to the game is rigged. And we in another cycle of huge income disparity between the rich and poor. Now the poor cant even get a job, let alone a big bonus. It looks like welfare or warfare. It wont be fun.

  81. trainreq says:

    | I am not a Democrat, because I have no idea what their economic policies are; And I am not a Republican, because I know precisely what their economic policies are. |

    Really Barry, this bit of prose should be in your blog header, if not on a US postal stamp.

    In my opinion the party label thing is more of a divide and conquer procedure.

  82. Hugh says:

    @ cheapstocks.

    I agree 100%. The Dems are in power – they have exercised that power – they do have a clear economic policy – the policy is to help Dem insiders and voters – it may prove to be a winning policy for America’s sunset years.

  83. Petey Wheatstraw says:

    Hugh:

    The dems have helped the corporations, mostly, just like the republicans do.

    “the policy is to help Dem insiders and voters”

    Please provide an example in support of this statement. I don’t think you can.

  84. Kent C says:

    Cor-por-a-tol-i-gar-chy

    Wikipedia offers the definition of Corporatocracy as a form of government where a corporation, a group of corporations, or government entities with private components, controls the direction and governance of a country. It further states that “corporations give to competing political parties and major political party candidates. This is seen as a corporation hedging their bets on the outcome of an election, and trying to get on the good side of whichever candidate is elected into office. Some say this is one of the hallmarks of a corporatocracy.

    Oligarchy is defined in Wikipedia as a form of government in which power effectively rests with a small elite segment of society distinguished by royal, wealth, intellectual, family, military, or religious hegemony.

    Since I coined a new word, it is incumbent upon me to provide a proper definition:

    Corporatoligarchy – a form of government in which power effectively rests with a small group of very large and wealthy corporations who are free to provide financial support (called campaign contributions with a heavy wink, but actually raw bribes) to hand-picked candidates for political office. These candidates are carefully researched and determined to be safely counted upon not to work for any issues or outcomes that may be contrary to the short and long term interests of the sponsoring corporation. Corporations are also free to draft and submit legislation through an extra layer of governance known as a professional lobby group generally staffed by attorneys who approach the elected legislators they own with said legislation, for the purpose of submitting it as a legitimate bill for consideration as law.

    How did this happen? Does it matter? Is it changing the flavor of your bacon and eggs for your breakfast this morning? Will you have to change the route you drive to work because of it? Do you have any idea who the elected officials you voted for in the last election are beholden to? (You did vote, right?) Here’s a clue to give you a head start: It isn’t you! You aren’t on their mind when they vote how they are told on an important bill, unless it is close to the next election date and their vote might cause you to support their opponent. Why should you be of concern to them, anyway? If you contributed to their campaign (and you probably didn’t) it was an amount too insignificant to influence their loyalty.

    What puzzles me is why anyone should be surprised when a political candidate gets the overwhelming majority of their campaign funding from the corporatocracy and large special interest lobbying organizations, that they would do anything other honor those sources on important social issues. Isn’t that what you and I would do if we were them? If we work for a company that makes or sells products that we use in our everyday lives, do we run right out and spend all our paychecks at their competitor’s businesses?

    But I find this political governing system to be far more insidious than just these perceptions imply. If indeed there is such a vast amount of power operating out of public view and without concern for critical observation and regulation, what are they able to accomplish without the American voter’s awareness. Are the candidates that survive the early vetting process actually the best choices for their constituency, or are they the ones who have already won the favor of the corporatocracy? In other words, are we casting our precious votes for who we think we are?

    When we hear it stated “the America political system is broken”, do you think this is what the speaker means? Can it be fixed? What do you think?

  85. victor says:

    Here’s a Jewish proverb applicable to the thinking of those who blame the current Administration for not having fixed the economic mess it inherited (and because of which it got elected) in some 18 months: “Do not pray for the death of a king, the next one could be worse”.

  86. hammerandtong2001 says:

    Referencing foxorrabbit @ September 17th, 2010 at 6:03 pm

    And right now, the individual is losing . . .” (BR) Care to share when you think was the last time the individual wasn’t losing? (on an overall basis)

    ____________________________________________________

    The increasingly obvious point, that there is little to no discernible difference between Democrats and Republicans and their respective policies, represents a growing danger to the republic. Saddling future generations with vast mountains of debt, poorly conducting foreign wars and standing silent while the nation’s vital institutions erode, corrode or collapse are not just “lifestyle” challenges for “individuals” — they are “threats”.

    Neither Democrats or Republicans have answered the call — neither have they framed the issue, or even asked the question:

    Indeed: is this “corporatism VERSUS the individual”? To wit, how the fuck…

    (after a complete banking collapse, an 80% stock market crash which vaporized the invested wealth of millions of American “individuals”, the housing wipeout, etc. requiring ” $ TRILLIONS OF TAXPAYER DOLLARS” to bailout a relative “handful of financial institutions, etc.)

    …do we see 99% of the same actors still heading and running those same fnancial institutions — and to boot — paying themselves and their minions unheard of bonuses while the nation swims in record-setting unemployment?

    How the fuck does that happen? How do these clowns keep their jobs? Where do they get the unmitigated gall to accept $millions in bonuses and to pay out the same? How did the financial sector (banking, insurance, IB broker dealer, etc) grow to represent 35% of the S&P earnings tally — when 25 years ago it was 15%?

    Corporatism VERSUS “the individual?” This great and truncated post from “Baseline Scenario” certainly holds clues. Bare-knuckled poltical power seems to be one possible reason why…

    http://baselinescenario.com/2010/09/13/the-importance-of-the-1970s/

    “….Hopefully the financial crisis and the recession that has ended only on paper (if that) will provide the opportunity to teach people that there is no such thing as abstract economic forces; instead, there are different groups using the political system to fight for larger shares of society’s wealth. And one group has been winning for over thirty years…”

    .

  87. MinnItMan says:

    ‘ “the policy is to help Dem insiders and voters”

    Please provide an example in support of this statement. I don’t think you can.’

    This seems to fall into the one-out-two-ain’t-bad category. Democratic insiders, like Republican insiders, can count on being taken care of first.

    I’m not, strictly speaking, a pox-on-both-houses guy, but I do want to find someone who is pox-immune. I was a Republican, I like Pres. Obama. I voted for Pres. Obama. Nonetheless, so far, I’m not sure it made a DBOD if Sen. McCain had been elected. McCain at least had a history of taking on corpoarte power. It was tough call for me, but the tie went to Sen. Obama – maybe because what I disagreed with McCain on was frequently close to a deal killer.

  88. [...] Barry Ritholtz at The Big Picture I am not a Democrat, because I have no idea what their economic policies are; And I am not a [...]

  89. [...] Independent defined: The Big Picture I am not a Democrat, because I have no idea what their economic policies are; And I am not a [...]

  90. VennData says:

    People who follow political parties are followers. People who follower Sarah Palin, are idiots.

    http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703904304575498634115612498.html?mod=WSJ_newsreel_us

  91. ZedLoch says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever met a small government conservative inside the Republican party…sure they talk a big game, but put into practice how much has government really shrunk over the past 30 years? The Reps had Congress from 95-2006 and the Executive Branch for 20 out of the past 30 years. Spending, bureaucracy, and the shoe size of government all sky rocketed during that time. Talk about and epic fail!

  92. TakBak04 says:

    BR..This Post and Thread is just Incredible. Reading all the replies… (and, YES…serious Politco’s/Voters moving our Country Forward need to read EVERY POST.

    We At a CRISIS in AMERICA…and our FINANCIAL SYSTEM IS AT THE ROOT OF IT!

    It Goes BEYOND Politics………and to the very Heart of Corpotocracy……….Where we are ruled by ROBBER BARRONS at the Expense of Our our American Financial Health and our Global Economy is in Jeopardy even though we Have BEST AND BIGGEST MILITARY and ECONOMY…we Might be following a FAILED ECONOMIC MODEL that has served us well for Generations since WWWII…but no long Serves Us TODAY.

    GLOBILIZATION…SEEMS TO BE…the CURRENT MODEL…but BLEEDING JOBS from One Location to another Globally just seems to produce BUBBLES.

  93. [...] Barry delivers the line of the weekend on why he's neither a Republican or Democrat.  (TBP) [...]

  94. [...] would not be so funny if it were not true. Read this at Barry Ritholtz blog. “I ripped into each side as corrupt partisan hacks. I favor the NASCAR endorsement approach [...]

  95. MinnItMan says:

    I don’t think it has registered with Republicans how badly the Jack Abramoff scandal damaged them, at least with the narrow slice of voters like me. I’ll admit I have a peculiar take on it, but follow me:

    Democratic big city corruption at least makes cities like Chicago a place to be proud of with its sheer awesomeness (although its traffic problems make it somewhat sub-optimal). The ATR-Abramoff-casino corruption dotted rural America with outposts of seedy (hay-seedy) leave-us-alone “Meccahs” that remind me of Patrick Swayze’s “Roadhouse,” where some petty tyrant rules in ways that nobody gives a shit about because, really who cares what happens there? Not a civic vision that makes me proud.

  96. subscriptionblocker says:

    Still in shock how it ever came to this….

    Truly believe there was once an informal competition betwen the parties as to who could deliver the *most* efficiently. A real contest of ideas.

    Haven’t seen that for a very long time.

    And I no longer believe what we see is just theater. Both sides just loath each other, and now we have this “loath purity test” with the baggers.

    Wish we could put it back together again….

  97. arthurcutten says:

    Barry Ritholz is like a fine wine. He just keeps getting better and better.

  98. Master Shake says:

    Barry,

    I think you would enjoy Charles Hugh Smith’s post from today.

    http://www.oftwominds.com/blogsept10/class-warfare09-10.html

  99. [...] of these are Democrat/Republican conflicts, but rather, are corporate vs. individual [...]