Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Coming Backlash

David Brooks has a dire prediction for the nation’s economy if Barack Obama is elected.

What we’re going to see, in short, is the Gingrich revolution in reverse and on steroids. There will be a big increase in spending and deficits. In normal times, moderates could have restrained the zeal on the left. In an economic crisis, not a chance. The over-reach is coming. The backlash is next.

After the last eight years, hearing a conservative warn about a “big increase in spending and deficits” is, uh, ironic. (Oh, and I’m sure Mr. Brooks would have something to say about John McCain’s economic proposals, but which one?)

There’s another level of irony at play here. Notice how the stock markets rallied like they were on steroids yesterday after the governments of the EU stepped in to help unfreeze credit, and today the United States is planning on investing at least $250 billion of the big bailout in banks such as Citigroup, Wells Fargo, and Bank of America. So all those conservatives who rail on against socialism and government interference in the private marketplace are apparently greatly relieved when they ride to the rescue. Or, to coin a phrase, they are against it until they’re for it.

So if there’s going to be a backlash against the government for injecting itself into the banking business, it may be because it came too little and too late.

Bonus: Jim Sleeper at the TPM Cafe has some thoughts on David Brooks and his dizzying gyrations.

My expectation is that Brooks is condemned by his own poor judgment and character to keep on sliding around in search of an exit. Only, this time, the sliding will be harder to disguise, and it will be more widely disdained.