Strong partisanship is dangerous as it creates extremes and limits the possibility of balanced policy for the good of all. On Sept 10 2008 on Hannity and Combs, Sean Hannity a Republican apologist trashed a guest for suggesting the economy was in dire straits. He declared “this is garbage you are spewing.” Hannity went on to say that the economy was not only fine but that very healthy and that the guest is an Obama agent a charge which the man denied. Hannity all but screamed, “You have to convince the economy is in bad shape….it’s all based on a lie.”
In these last weeks Sean Hannity has joined Rush Limbaugh, the self proclaimed guardian of righteous thought, in blaming President-elect Obama for the failing economy. Both are beating their chests calling what we are experiencing the “Obama recession.” Limbaugh on the radio stated, “This is the Obama recession. Might turn into a depression. He hasn’t done anything yet. But his ideas are killing the economy.” Dick Morris has joined them by arguing that as long as the tax increases are on capital gains are on the horizon, people will be pulling their money out of stocks.
Morris is held to be a thoughtful balanced analysis, but he is far from being balanced. One must never forget that Morris is a strong Republican who is making hundreds of thousands a year with his unbalanced commentary. On the surface Morris’ comments sounds plausible until one does the math. What Morris is saying is that people are selling their stocks rather than pay a higher rate of capital gains tax, and are doing so even if they take a lost on those stocks or have less net income.
Morris, Limbaugh and Hannity are arguing that thousands of people who had stocks worth $10,000 in the summer started to quickly sell them in September to present for $7,000 because they did not want to pay more in taxes. Let’s do the math, a person who had a net profit before taxes in the summer of say $3,500 profit in October was willing to sell and take a profit of $500 rather at a higher rate, say of 28% versus 15%. Amazingly this triumphant are actually suggesting people are willing to have less money than to more income. It makes no sense to me, and as they say in court, if it makes no sense it is not true.
Morris, Limbaugh and Hannity are absolving Bush and the Republicans of blame. They are blaming the world’s financial markets melting down not because of bad lending practices, poor retail sales, falling housing prices, declining production and layoffs, but because investors fear Obama’s tax and health care policies. These men represent one of the major problems with the right wing of Republican Party, denying reality when it does not match their ideology.
The genius of great political leaders and thinkers like Washington, Lincoln as well as Teddy and Franklin Roosevelt is rooted in their capacity to grow, a willingness to change their mind in light of new information and their avoidance of becoming slaves to ideologies. They had their partisan views, but they were realists. They were willing to change their thinking and modify their models and ideology in light of new information and what was happening around them. Many Republicans, including this trio, are blaming the lost of the White House, Senate and House upon the Republican party running candidates who were not dogmatic and conservative enough rather than upon a lack of great leaders and thinkers with balanced policies.
Hopefully Republicans will not listen and follow these three men who are far short of the genius of the thinkers the party needs. The nation needs a credible pragmatic Republican party that is not fixated upon holding firmly to failed ideologies. Unfortunately the early signs are that the dogmatic extreme of the party are increasingly guiding the direction of the party.