One less “brain-dead liberal”

Well-known American author, playwright and film director David Mamet announced last week that he is no longer a “brain-dead liberal.” He now believes in free market thinkers such as Thomas Sowell who he calls “our greatest contemporary philosopher.”

Wall Street Journal columnist Daniel Henninger wonders, “If David Mamet says he can’t take it anymore, can others be far behind?”

Without making brain-dead jokes, what arguments and evidence do you think will help convince other liberals to see the light, and listen more to free market thinkers?


Steve Buckstein is Senior Policy Analyst and founder of Cascade Policy Institute, a Portland-based think tank.

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Posted by at 01:30 | Posted in Measure 37 | 21 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • I think, therefore I am

    Just listen to Dr. Michael Savage for a week and you will be cured.

  • John Fairplay

    I’m sorry, Steve, but I don’t think “arguments and evidence” will have much effect on most liberals. Look, for instance, at the parade of liberal failures in the City of Portland. One would expect thinking people to be outraged, to be marching – metaphorically anyway – on City Hall with pitchforks and torches and riding people like Erik Sten and Sam Adams out of town on a rail. But Adams is the leading candidate for Mayor, despite being an almost-complete incompetent. People in Portland – and in many places statewide – just keep voting for the same ideological dead end and somehow expecting a different outcome.

    The biggest problem is that you have the media calling failure success and reinforcing and enabling all the bad behaviors and cheerleading all the terrible ideas.

  • Steve Plunk

    It seems the liberals change when they stop thinking of the world as they wish it to be and start seeing the world as it is. Nothing like reality to make a person use logic rather than emotions in decision making.

    • dean

      Steve….phantom weapons of mass destruction, trillion dollar war that was to have cost 50 billion, massive budget deficits after a Democrat blanaced the budget, $4 a gallon gasoline, global warming, deteriorating roads and bridges, increasing number of Americans without health insurance, home mortgage meltdown, runs on banks….and it is we liberals who think of the world as we wish it would be?

      How does your conservative logic cope with the above reality?

      • Steve Buckstein

        Dean, I was about to answer your question, but notice that anonymous (two comments down) did a better job than I would have, so I’ll let his/her response suffice.

      • Steve Plunk

        That’s a lot to say in one breath Dean. It’s very easy to throw out accusations such as those. It’s more difficult to take the time to offer reasonable, logical answers but since the conservative side of the debate is more reasonable and logical…

        There were weapons of mass destruction. Some destroyed, some shipped off to Syria. Bill Clinton in 1998 said Iraq had a program of WMD’s, Democratic members of congress asked for air strikes in 1998 to end Iraq’a WMD program, Bob Graham (D) said in late 2001 that Saddam had reinvigorated in WMD program, on Sept. 23, 2002 Al Gore said Saddam had stored secret supplies of WMD’s throughout his country. On Oct 10, 2002 Hillary Clinton said Saddam had worked to rebuild his WMD program. When will people quit wishing there were no WMD’s when there were? It proves my point that liberals wish for a world different than it really is.

        Only a fool professes to know how much a war will cost before it starts. You should tell us who made the $50 billion estimate.

        That balanced budget you speak of was pre-war and with a Republican controlled congress. Who controls the purse strings? That’s right, congress.

        Speculators (perhaps like George Soros) have driven up the price of oil. A good part of that $4 gallon is their responsibility. Perhaps if we could drill and recover our proven reserves it would be a lower price but liberal environmentalists will not allow it.

        Global warming is in “hibernation”. Don’t you listen to NPR? Global warming is a hoax to enact more environmental regulations and make people like Al “trade me those carbon credits” Gore rich. Again, conservatives see through things like science by consensus (scientific method is not consensus it’s replication and the Mann hockey stick can’t be replicated).

        Budgeting priorities cause roads and bridges to not get proper maintenance.

        People don’t have health insurance because they either don’t need it, it’s too expensive, or they are young and decide to take the risk. Health insurance coverage is a poor measure of health care. Liberals don’t seem to know that or they wish it was that way.

        The home mortgage meltdown was speculators getting burned or people buying more house than they could afford. Is that a conservative thing? No it’s not.

        Lastly, what runs on banks? Please cite an example.

        So Dean, my conservative logic coped quite nicely with all of those things. How might a liberal mind do? I would guess not as logically or realistically.

        • dean

          Steve….yes very logical…just not grounded in reality. There were no WMDs. Period. Sadam had them in the 90s but got rid of them. Period. Fact. Even Bush accepts this as fact now. We went to war over something that did not exist…meaning a threat to us.

          The Bush Administration said the cost would be $2-50 billion. It is in the public record. When their budget guy, Lindsey sugested it might be $200 billion they ran him out of town. Wolfowitz said on more than one occasion Iraqi oil would pay for the whole party. Zero cost to us. Not hard to look this up.

          There were no oil speculators until that last few years? Its all George Soros fault? This is so far from reality I don’t even know how to respond. Oil is high and rising in the main because demand is higher than supply, in large part because the United States has no conservation policy to speak of.

          We don’t have enough reserves to make a dent. What we do have, mostly in the Gulf of the coast of Florida is off limits because of the efforts of Governor Bush. Bottom line, 70& of all recoverable oil is in the Middle East, not here. We used ours up a long time ago. That is reality.

          Global warming is reality. Not a liberal plot. Even Bush, even McCain, even Newt Gingrich are on board. Not just Dean.

          How many working Oregonians entered the lottery to try and get into the Oregon Health plan a few months ago? People don’t want
          it? If you want a better measure of health care, how about the U.S. spends more than any other nation, and we rank 37th in overall results? Maybe 33rd depending on the quetions asked.

          The mortgage meltown was directly tied to banking deregulation, a conservative idea, that allowed banks to loosen up the rules, bundle unsecured mortgages and repackage them as actual securities, sell them to unwary investors, and when the interest rates predictably rose the saps who took these mortgages were unable to pay. And that has led to a major credit crisis that could bring the entire banking industry down if not for the actions of the goverment through the Fed using Depression era authorities. Again…reality bites.

          What runs on banks? Bear Sterns comes to mind.You have not heard of Brear Sterns? Is this a liberal media plot?

          Money for roads and bridges is shrinking year by year as we fail to raise the gas tax to keep up with inflation. Misplaced priorities has next to nothing to do with this.

          So yes Steve…a great display of conservative logic. You made my point nicely.

          • Rupert in Springfield

            And, last but not least, lets not forget the a few things that emotion based arguments from the left about the WMD topic always seem to leave out.

            1) Everyone in the world was convinced Saddam had WMD’s, Bush hardly “made it up” or was alone his beliefs. Fact.

            2) Saddam was in material breech of the terms of his surrender because he did not prove he had destroyed these weapons. To the contrary, Saddam did everything he could to lead a reasonable person to conclude he had WMD’s Fact.

            3) Saddam aided, abetted and financed terrorism. He had a reward for suicide bombers and was filmed handing out money to their families. Fact. Saddam let Ansar Al Islam, a terrorist group, base themselves operate freely from his country. Fact.

            4) Bush pursued terrorists, Clinton pardoned them. Fact.

            End of story. Period. Fact.

          • dean

            Rupert….no not everyone. Not the weapons inspectors. They had their doubts and said so, but Bush decided to invade rather than to allow them to continue their work.

            Bush invaded to enforce UN sanctions and threats that the UN itself was not interested in supporting. We seemed the only nation that bleieved there was an actual threat from this 2-bit dictator.

            So he supported terroism. The United States has supported terrorism (i.e. the Contras, the jAfgan ihadists fighting the Soviets, etc.,) whenever and wherever it suits us. The Soviets supported terrorism for decades. Its not reason enough to initiate a war. It is reason to contain and oppose and undermine. War is a last resort, not a first or middle resort, or so we were taught in school and church.

            Clinton pardoned terrorists? You mean those Puerto Ricans? That is relevant to invading Iraq? Is that more conservative logic that I just can’t seem to get?

          • Rupert in Springfield

            >Bush invaded to enforce UN sanctions and threats that the UN itself was not interested in supporting.

            Wow! well, nice to see one of you finally admit that the UN was being feckless here. I’m impressed.

            >We seemed the only nation that bleieved there was an actual threat from this 2-bit dictator.

            Nah, not really. Most nations did not have a lot of interest in Saddam continuing to work on WMD’s as most believed he was doing. That’s why more than a few joined us in the war. As an aside though, remember when he wasnt a two bit dictator? Like when he went into Kuwait and, had we not stopped him, could have rolled right into SA and thus controlled 30% of the worlds oil?

            Nice try with the straw man on the “threat” argument. To my recollection, Bush didn’t attack Saddam because he posed a direct threat to the US, it was because he was working on WMD’s ( or so he led everyone to believe ) and was a state sponsor of terrorism.

            >So he supported terroism.

            Astonishing! Again, nice to see someone on the left finally admit that.

            >The United States has supported terrorism (i.e. the Contras, the jAfgan ihadists fighting the Soviets, etc.,) whenever and wherever it suits us.

            Obviously you don’t understand what terrorism is. Terrorism is violent conflict in which civilians are the primary target, to win an objective by the terror and havoc created in such attacks rather than conventional military victory. Civilians, while often killed in conventional war, were never the direct target of either the Contras of the Mujahidin. Both those wars were guerilla wars, that’s very different from terrorism.

            >Its not reason enough to initiate a war. It is reason to contain and oppose and undermine. War is a last resort, not a first or middle resort, or so we were taught in school and church.

            Of course it is. If you have a state sponsor of terrorism, that is good enough for me to consider it an act of war. War was hardly the first result with Saddam either. How long did we spend after Desert Storm trying to get him to comply? How well did he comply? Seems to me like he shot constantly at planes in the no fly zone, kicked out the inspectors, all the while with the left telling us not to be too proud of our success in Desert Strom…”well, Bush never got Saddam did he?” was the constant refrain of the time.

            Clinton pardoned terrorists? You mean those Puerto Ricans? That is relevant to invading Iraq? Is that more conservative logic that I just can’t seem to get?

            Obviously you don’t get common logic then. If you pardon terrorists, as well as not pursue them, it does tend to encourage them. Looking at the ever more brazen attacks Clinton garnered for this approach, to not see this, or feign confusion over a very simple point is to simply be obtuse to the point of absurdity.

            I lived in NYC through the era of the FALN, Black Panthers and The Weathermen. Anyone who refers to convicted FALN members as “those Puerto Ricans” obviously cant understand why pardoning them was a pretty big deal, and the sort of message it sent. Clintons actions raised serious concerns about whether or not he truly grasped the consequences of his failure to pursue terrorists. His comment after 9/11 that he didn’t pursue bin Ladin because “we couldn’t find anything to charge him with” combined with the pardoning, cemented in most peoples mind that Clinton was asleep at the wheel at best when it came to terrorism. I think most, while they may have varied feelings about Iraq, are glad the era of the Clinton strategy of coddling terrorism is over.

          • dean

            A lot of historical misinformation to re-litigate here Rupert. I’ll just leave it at this. Bush chose to attack Iraq and used 9/11 as the rationale. Sadam, bad as he was, did not attack us on 9/11 and had zero to do with al Quida, Cheney’s fantasies aside.

            5 years later we have a depleted military, no prospects for an end to fighting in Iraq primarily to keep Sunnis and Shias from killing each other, while Iran bides its time knowing it will be the ultimate winner thorugh its Shia allies. Bin Laden is still at large. We have spent over a trillion, and need to care for 70,000 wounded veterans and counting for many years. We have a mounting debt, a declining dollar, rising oil prices, and our entire financial system appears to be hanging by a thread.

            Containing Sadam, which is what Clinton did successfully, appears to have been the wiser policy choice. And it is the only rationale choice for dealing with Iran, though it appears McCain is not at all rational on this subject.

            But hey…I’m just a “brain-dead” liberal. What do I know? Conservatives like yourself clearly have the answers. Elect McCain and let the war party continue.

  • Bad Boy Brown

    Virtually all these LIBERALS are a waste of time and energy. I have already crossed off my list of friends anyone that votes DEMOCRAT, as someone that cannot be trusted with financial affairs or much of anything else.

  • Anonymous

    Dean….phantom global warming, programs of mass dysfunction, billions on the mission creeping government, Liberal democrats forcing light rail and high density development on us, Liberals blocking efforts to use our own oil, coal and gas supplies, Liberals diverting money from deteriorating roads and bridges, increasing number of illegals aliens and liberals who think government should give everyone all that they need.

    How does your liberal logic cope with the above reality?
    You don’t because you live without logic or reality.

    • Anonymous

      WOW! Couldn’t have said it better myself!

      • John Fairplay

        Except it’s “all they want” rather than “all they need.” No one “needs” mass transit or bike paths or pedestrian walkways or trams or streetcars. No one needs housing policies that force lenders to approve high-risk homebuyers. No one needs restrictive building codes that forces cookie cutter development on postage-stamp lots. No one needs an Urban Growth Boundary. No one needs green roofs or Klingon interpreters or a jail that can’t be opened. No one needs So-What. No one needs the most generous government employee benefit package in the world. No one needs a government agent to visit a new mother in the hospital to ensure she’s fit to raise her own child. No one needs to have the government provide health care for their child or themselves. People certainly do “want” all these things and much, much more. “Democracy can only survive until the people realize they can vote themselves largesse from the public treasury.” All of these things are largesse, not necessity.

      • dean

        Okay…I’ll do my best.
        1) Global warming is backed by the preponderance of scientific evidence gathered and analyzed over the past several decades. Its not a phantom.
        2) Government “mission creep” runs in several political directions. The Iraq war was going to be an inexpensive “cakewalk” remember? And then there was the sad case of Terry Schiavo. And then there is abortion rights. And so forth.
        3) Light rail and high density development are not “forced” on anyone. I live on 5 acres 15 miles from downtown Portland. You could do the same if you can afford a typical house in Portland and are willing to deal with the inconveniences and expenses of rural living.
        4) Jeb Bush has blocked drilling for oil in the Gulf off of Florida. He is not a liberal.
        5) Ted Stevens, Republican Senator from Alaska, “diverted” a few hundred billion dollars for a bridge to connect Ketchican with an island that has something like 20 people living on it. Again…he is NOT A LIBERAL.
        6) Illegal aliens are employed by private companies, farmers, etc…who are not liberals. If they did not employ them, they would not be here.
        7) Most liberals, including this one, support a social safety net for all Americans. We are a rich nation and can afford to look out for each other. Guilty as charged.

        There you have my logic. Reality simply is what it is.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      Remember Rupert’s two truths of life when it comes to global warming:

      1) Throughout history, there have always been shysters who have made fortunes predicting the end of the world.

      2) Virtually everything tastes better wrapped in bacon.

      Hey, now that I think about it, the amount of money that liberals want to spend on AGW kinda makes Iraq look like tidily winks. Gee, I wonder if they will go on about “all the money wasted” on AGW when it fizzles out as a fad as much as they yammer about what Iraq cost?

  • Anonymous

    “Except it’s “all they want” rather than “all they need.”

    That’s the way liberals work. They convince people they need government for everything.

  • Jerry

    Libs only want one thing – power over other people’s lives. Plain and simple.
    They NEVER actually want to follow what they prescribe, either, which is why there are no wind farms off the coast in New England.
    The sheer folly of their ways blows the mind!

  • Pat Ryan

    *what arguments and evidence do you think will help convince other liberals to see the light, and listen more to free market thinkers?*

    Can’t speak for other Libruls Steve, but two moves by the current administration made me a believer in the *Invisible HAnd*:

    1) When the giddy Neo-Cons dusted off their copy of the PNAC’s “Let’s Invade Iraq doc from 1997 and sold it the The Decider, they decided to cut taxes, and borrow the money from the Chinese (in the form of issued bonds, rather than going the old Conservative idea pf Pay as you go. We are now five years into the Big Adventure and sitll paying around 10 billion per month and still printing money and borrowing like *there’s no tomorrow* (no offense to apocalyptic Christinas who believe exactly that).

    2) When the oppressed derivative traders started buying up home mortgage notes created without reference to buyer credit worthiness, and selling these essentially junk instruments all over the world, there were no worries, because at the top of the pile, firms like Bear Sterns were deemed *too big to fail* and were bailed out by printing a few hundred billion *more* dollars and selling more notes to our friends the communist Chinese.

    I believe in the Invisible Hand Dude. In factd AI can feel it giving my grandchildren a wedgie right now.

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