My appearance on Up With Chris Hayes

I was on Up With Chris Hayes this morning talking about conservatism and the GOP. For various reasons, I can’t yet embed the video here. All I can do for now is provide the links to the three segments in which I appeared. I hope to post an embedded version later.  For now, though…

Part 1: Racial backlash is in the DNA of the modern conservative movement.

Part 2: The waning power of law and order as a conservative idea.

Part 3: How the Democrats became the party of austerity.


Update (11 pm)

I fixed the link to Part 1.


  1. David Littleboy August 26, 2012 at 10:45 pm | #

    I disagree with you on the Democratic Party’s attitude toward balanced budgets. I think that we Dems simply realize that lip service to balanced budgets is necessary in the current political zetigeist. We don’t want to burn the political capital that would be required to make the Krugman argument that deficit spending is needed. At least one of Obama’s CEA guys gets this in spades (I buttonholed the poor bloke at a recent college reunion he showed up at). There are just too many Serious People saying stupid things that one can’t fight all fights. Sigh. But you are, of course, correct on the economics of things.

    • David Kaib August 27, 2012 at 5:13 pm | #

      I wonder what you mean by “the current political zetigeist.” It seems to me that Democrats have been actively pushing austerity since the 70s, that Republicans push it heavily whenever there is a Democrat in the White House, and that the media ignores it when Republicans are in charge and hypes it when Dems are (in part because the media treats anything the parties agree on as true). There is no evidence that voters (or anyone else for that matter) actually care about balanced budgets, which is really more of a code for ‘spending I don’t like.’ When people are asked about actual programs Democratic positions poll far stronger than when they are asked about budgets in general.

      What’s more, Democrats get precisely zero credit from voters, Republicans or the chattering class for their efforts. Under Clinton, we had surpluses, the debt started to decline, and the Serious People screamed bloody murder and Bush II promptly put us back in the red without paying the slightest political price. Voters didn’t know that this happened under Clinton and as a result couldn’t have rewarded him if they wanted to (which I doubt they would have anyway).

      Even if you were right that it’s politically problematic to make the case for more spending (which for the record isn’t quite the same as non-austerity, which involves more than just levels of spending), what’s the logic for making a generation long argument in favor of austerity?

      I’m not terribly convinced by the political capital analogy here either. What would be the consequence of making the case? That the Serious People would accuse Democrats of being fiscally irresponsible? They are already doing that.

      • David Littleboy August 27, 2012 at 7:41 pm | #

        You ask “what you mean by “the current political zetigeist.”” and then answer your own question with “That the Serious People would accuse Democrats of being fiscally irresponsible? They are already doing that.”

        Sigh. I’d love it if the Democrats would take up Krugman’s arguments, But in a country where the 5-second sound byte is king, “deficit is a problem” is the winning argument. At least Chris Hayes took the time out to point out that Social Security is completely fiscally secure when some troglydyte pulled out the usual “Medicare and SS are in trouble” canard. No one realizes that the US has the lowest ratio of retirees to working age folks of all the industrialized countries.

        Whatever, I don’t hear the Democrats doing more than paying politically necessary lip service to balancing the budget. I think it’s a mistake to call that “a generation long argument in favor of austerity”.

  2. Brian A. Graham August 27, 2012 at 12:37 am | #

    Professor Robin,

    I enjoyed your perceptive analysis of fiscal matters and how the Democratic party became the party of fiscal austerity by practicing “reactionary Keynesianism” and what that means for the advancement of social welfare policies. You have done an excellent job explaining the taxation part of modern neoliberalism. What explains the antipathy of Neoliberal Democrats toward labor? It is structural such as Carter and Clinton being from southern right to work states? Gary Hart disliked “Big Labor” from his days with McGovern. Instead of being responsive to U.A.W. members is Obama responding to various identity groups and degreed professionals. Was the cultural backlash from the sixties responsible? Peak Oil? Stagflation?

  3. Blinkenlights der Gutenberg September 2, 2012 at 1:29 am | #

    I much prefer to read your words than hear you keeping up with the fast-talkers. Don’t take that as criticism!

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