Potomac Fever is the blog of the Hamilton College Semester in Washington Program.
My first comment is that it’s nice to see someone who calls themselves a political (and fiscal) conservative (though how accepted he is across the Right is debatable) admit that investment spending can be a good thing (Republicans in Congress simply dismiss Obama’s use of the word as being synonymous with “spending,” which makes investment spending sound undesirable). Sullivan is also correct when he notes that cuts in the non-security, domestic discretionary spending are probably the worst ones possible for addressing our nation’s long-term fiscal situation. Note that Obama’s cuts largely occur through selected cuts and an across-the-board freeze in domestic, non-security discretionary spending (which means that in the first 2 years the cuts are pretty minimal since inflation won’t seriously eat away at the programs- this is an important consideration if you think our economy’s current problems are related to weak aggregate demand which is generally created with the strongest multipliers by these specific type of government spending. However inflation will start to significantly erode these programs in years 3 through 5). Compare this approach to the House Republican CR…Andrew Sullivan also is a type of conservative who supports cuts in “defense” spending- which means that he’d find support with 90%+ of all Democrats (including in an ideal world in which he could do whatever he wanted-President Obama) and SOME conservatives. However, we’ve already seen Palin (a Tea Party type) and other leaders from that movement, plus many national security conservatives, come out attacking REPUBLICANS who suggested that defense cuts might be necessary. What would their reaction be to President Obama suggesting serious defense cuts? “Obama’s a Muslim Commie 3am phone call failure who is compromising national security at a time we’re fighting a war!!!” Do you think Republicans, even those who know deep down that defense cuts are necessary, wouldn’t seek to take advantage of this golden political opportunity to score serious political capital? You assume Republican leaders like Cantor and McCarthy for instance possess principles (which they don’t). Especially when they could draw comparisons between his minimal cuts on non-security discretionary domestic spending (which Sullivan points out might be some of the most desirable government spending) with any serious defense cuts he proposed. While Obama actually is more trusted by the American people on national security issues than Republicans, and although defense cuts are one of the areas that attract more wide-spread American support for cuts, defense has historically been a “third-rail” for Democrats so it’s unclear whether Obama could propose serious cuts in this area- especially without the political cover of proposing major savings in other areas. Of course, each of those other areas are sacrosanct to a specific party and most of the American people: Medicare (Democrats), Social Security (Democrats but even Republicans because the elderly and 80% of all Americans LOVE!!! This program), or Taxes (Republicans).
Not sure I would call him a conservative.
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