The Corner

Politics & Policy

The Curious Criteria for Identifying ‘Pretty Crazy’ Conservatives

Over in New York magazine, Jonathan Chait writes, “Reminder: Even Trump-Hating Conservatives Are Still Pretty Crazy.”

Chait’s criticism focuses on John Podhoretz – not Podhoretz’s contribution to the NR “Against Trump” symposium, but a separate piece over in Commentary.  He picks some curious examples as evidence that Podhoretz is “pretty crazy.”

He begins with Podhoretz’s comment that the stimulus “did almost nothing.” Chait points to the stimulus getting high marks from a survey of academic economists.

If the stimulus were a success, Democrats would be running on enacting another one, and they would be using the term “stimulus.” The president’s advisors contended that with the stimulus, unemployment would peak at 8 percent and steadily decline. It hit 10 percent remained above 8 percent for almost all of Obama’s term. Bernie Sanders’ stump speech is a portrait of unending American economic woe, particularly among minorities and young people. The poverty rate and median wages haven’t budged. Almost 80 percent of voters say the country is still in recession.

If overwhelming number of voters feel like the recession never ended more six years after the stimulus passed, why is it “pretty crazy” to contend the stimulus “did almost nothing”?

Chait refocuses the Obama promise on health care to be “expand access to health insurance and slow the long-term growth in its price.” Some of us recall more specific promises —  “cut the cost of a typical family’s premium by up to $2,500 a year,” “If you like your doctor, you can keep your doctor,” “If you like your plan, you can keep your plan.” Chait contends the Obamacare “result is far more successful than even the law’s advocates forecast” and that the backers “did not believe Obamacare would reduce total health-care spending in the medium term.”

We’re at an odd political moment where many Democrats and independents think poorly of Trump and quite a few conservatives do as well. But this sort of common agreement might be disruptive to a conservatives-are-always-wrong philosophy, so progressive loyalists must reaffirm to their audience that it’s not okay to start agreeing with conservatives – remember, they’re the  “pretty crazy” folk who say the stimulus and Obamacare over-promised and under-delivered!

If Chait wants to argue Podhoretz is crazy, maybe he should look at JPod’s movie reviews…

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