George F. Will: President Obama's agenda will spark a conservative revival

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  • Clydesdale Tooele, UT
    Jan. 30, 2013 6:47 p.m.

    I love how liberals always assume conservatives were pro-Bush. What simple brains they have

    Jan. 29, 2013 7:31 p.m.

    Socialism has many problems. If you want to talk control theory, it lacks proper feedbacks to function efficiently as compared to free enterprise. There's the problem of concentrated power - there will always be someone trying to hijack the system for their own benefit. There's the problem that it works very poorly in a heterogeneous society where not everyone shares the same values and priorities.

    Freedom / free enterprise / capitalism has its problems as well, but it at least forces people to compete for what they get rather than use force to accomplish their goals. You can tell how much we've abandoned that ideal by how much influence Washington has in picking winners and losers, and by how much people spend in order to influence government.

    When Keynesianism is viewed as a creator of wealth, it's the economic equivalent of a perpetual motion machine. The two biggest factors affecting wealth creation and standard of living are the cost of energy and how efficiently we use energy. If we don't have inexpensive energy (and we're well on our way not having it), Keynesianism is powerless.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 29, 2013 2:06 a.m.

    @SG: " need a carefully-crafted hybrid of capitalism and socialism...."

    The most recent housing collapse occurred precisely because of that blend. Skilled technocrats created this disaster. Always the cry is, let me tweak just one more thing -- I can get it working.

    Hayek was right. It's a knowledge problem. The experts don't know what they don't know, and are too proud to realize that hundreds of millions of people making their own decisions are wiser than a few at the top.

    @LDS Liberal "Italy"

    Are you kidding me? Italy is broke. The other countries on your list are beginning to turn away from socialism, as America embraces it. It's been a bad deal for them. We should learn from their mistakes.

  • one vote Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 7:53 p.m.

    Was not that Mitt Romeny's agenda?

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 5:48 p.m.

    No Nate, I would say that socialism tends to produce sub-optimal outcomes; but then, so does laissez faire capitalism (externalities, adverse selection, business cycles, etc.). For optimal outcomes (maximizing both efficiency AND fairness; the greatest good for the greatest number), you need a carefully-crafted hybrid of capitalism and socialism -- and that is where Keynesianism falls.

    Keynesianism is certainly not perfect, but it can also certainly produce better outcomes than it has been allowed to thus far . . .

  • Open Minded Mormon Everett, 00
    Jan. 28, 2013 5:38 p.m.

    Pleasant Grove, UT
    @Eric and SG "Keynesian economics"

    Yeah, yeah. The reason it always fails, is because no one is doing it right.

    Just like socialism.

    4:57 p.m. Jan. 28, 2013


    Ya - that miserably failing Socialism!

    Tell that to;


    ...never mind those good old boy patriotic American Capitalists supporting and investing so heavily in Communist Red China.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 4:57 p.m.

    @Eric and SG "Keynesian economics"

    Yeah, yeah. The reason it always fails, is because no one is doing it right.

    Just like socialism.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 3:21 p.m.

    @4word thinker

    I'm not talking about the whole "bringing the troops home" thing . . . I was responding to the following quote from your previous post:

    "Welcome to today. Obama is president. He has 6 Trillion in new debt, and is adding 4 billion more every day."

    If you want to concede that President Obama gets a bum rap regarding responsibility for the magnitude of the national debt, I'll gladly accept -- then we can discuss troop withdrawal issues (on one hand, I agree that Obama has been dragging his feet on that; on the other hand, I think that his approach has been much more orderly than he gets credit for from the folks who wrongly predicted four years ago that he would "cut and run").

    @Eric Samuelsen

    I wholeheartedly agree. The problem is not that Keynesian economics doesn't work in practice, but rather, that true Keynesianism has never actually been properly and fully implemented.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 2:27 p.m.

    Sorry, Nate, but if you look at the world wide financial crisis, it's patently obvious that Keynesian economics has been, in every instance, right. The problems with the economy come from a failure to follow Keynesian principles, including by the President, not any failure of those principles.

  • 4word thinker Murray, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 1:01 p.m.

    Bush cannot bring home the troops today. Calling on him to do is utterly silly.

    Obama is the POTUS. He won, again, as you love to point out. He is still president. He could bring them home tomorrow. Why doesn't he?

    He has had 4 years to bring the troops home.

    No whining about Bush. That was so 4 years ago.

    All these statements are regarding troops only.

    President Obama criticized Bush for having our troops in Iraq and Afghanistan and campaign promised in 2008 that he would bring them home. He is commander in chief, has been for 4 years, and they are still there.

    Why isn't his party at his throat to bring them home? Because they are still rabidly doggedly clutching Bush in their mouths. But for all the biting of Bush, he can't bring them home. Your man can, but doesn't.

    Can't you see you are barking up the wrong tree?

    If I concede that Bush wasn't perfect, would you then think about the now and the future, and what your president is doing today to shape tomorrow?

    No, your jaws are stuck in the bushes.

  • SG in SLC Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 12:31 p.m.

    4word thinker,

    To attempt to take either Pres. G.W.Bush or Pres. Obama out of the fiscal equation is disingenuous, at best. A number of President Bush's fiscal actions have "kept on giving" for many years after his presidency. In addition, when President Obama initially took office in 2009, he inherited an economy that was in an uncontrolled power-dive and was in the process of cratering. I don't believe that President Bush was solely responsible for the Great Recession, though he certainly did have a hand in it; there is plenty of blame to go around. A significant portion of the deficit spending actually initiated by President Obama (and approved by Congress) was an attempt to stimulate the economy (a process started by President Bush at the end of his presidency, I might add).

    If you want to debate the merits of expansionary fiscal policy and deficit spending for economic stimulus, fine; but let's be honest, objective, and non-partisan about the origins of our current, admittedly unsustainable, national debt situation, shall we? Anything less is just petty and lacks credibility.

  • ECR Burke, VA
    Jan. 28, 2013 10:15 a.m.

    I certianly hope Mr. Will is right. It has been disheartening to watch conservatives contribute absolutely nothing to solutions needed to fix what's wrong with the nation. As a perfect example look at the issue of new laws contolling access to guns. 20 children and 6 of their teachers and adminstrators are cut done in Connecticut and all conservatives can do is stand firmly on their stiff interpretation of the Second Amendment. "There's nothing we can do" is the mantra of the month.

    It would also be nice if Mr. Will got his statistics right. The most current polls show the president with a 52% approval rating and the NRA with a 44% approval rating. As opinion polls go that is a chasm between those two opinions.

    "If today the country had the same proportion of persons of working age employed as it did in 2000, the U.S. would have almost 14 million more people contributing to the economy." Ah yes, if only things could have remained positive as they were in 2000. Then came the Bush tax cuts, two unfunded wars and trillions in borrow and spend policies. Let's hope conservatives can get their act together.

  • Hemlock Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 9:49 a.m.

    It simply means that eventually voters will figure out that someone has to pay the bills. Living on "free money" is like the college freshman who spends on their new credit card and then receives that bill. "But this was such fun, you mean someone actually has to pay?"

  • 4word thinker Murray, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 9:41 a.m.

    Bush cannot bring home the troops today. Calling on him to do is utterly silly.

    Obama is the POTUS. He won, again, as you love to point out. He is still president. He could bring them home tomorrow. Why doesn't he?

    He has had 4 years to bring the troops home.

    No whining about Bush. That was so 4 years ago.

    Welcome to today. Obama is president. He has 6 Trillion in new debt, and is adding 4 billion more every day.

    Many small raises in the debt ceiling does not mean more debt than a few big raises of the debt ceiling. The number of times the ceiling is raised does not stand alone as an indication of debt.

    But then again, perhaps congress should only raise the debt ceiling one months worth at a time. It might make the deficits smaller. We couldn't sweep the debt monster under the rug and let it grow unchecked for months at a time. We would have to deal with it monthly.

    Let's try it!!!

  • Tyler D Meridian, ID
    Jan. 28, 2013 9:33 a.m.

    So here’s my question – what will this revival look like? Will it be a revival of conservatives with ideas (that people actually support, and not just bloviating wingnuts) and a desire to govern? We saw something like this in the 90’s, and problematic as it was in some respects (shutting down the government, witch hunt impeachment) they did actually work across the aisle on occasion and got some things done. And they, along with a Democrat president, left us a budget surplus.

    Or will it be a rebranded repeat of 2010, with their ideas drawn from such bizarre and contradictory sources as Atlas Shrugged and the 5000 Year Leap, combined in a cocktail of anti-intellectualism and overt religiosity, and a desire to shrink government to a size where it can be “drowned in a bathtub?”

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 28, 2013 1:15 a.m.

    Upset at $6 trillion?

    Then why didn't Bush end his wars?

    Not only did the Iraq war cost us over 4,000 brave US troops.

    It cost us, every American taxper money ya know.

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 10:39 p.m.

    @Mark B "preemptive history"

    It's called a prediction, but it's based on Obama's rigid attachment to policies and principles that failed in the 70's and will fail again. What makes it worse this time is the size of the debt, to which Obama has added $6 trillion since he took office.

    I'll put my prediction up against "the stimulus will hold unemployment to 8%" any day.

    "Worse than Carter." Write it down.

  • Hutterite American Fork, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 9:46 p.m.

    I'd love to see a conservative revival. You know, the one with good ideas, leadership and limited government. Instead, we get attempts at a republican revival, with big spending, and Tea Party/Religious nutjobs.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 8:57 p.m.

    Ronald Regan raised the debt ceiling....x18 times.

    W. Bush, x7 times.

    Obama? x3 times.

    Democrats factually ARE doing better on the national debt than any Republican in modern history.

    Dont' want debt?

    Why vote Republican?

  • Cool Cat Cosmo Payson, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 7:42 p.m.

    Very well stated. He sums it up perfectly, reiterating the immense debt we are passing off to our children, children's children, etc., and also shows just how clueless our president and those who want to keep raising the debt ceiling are.

    "Our possibilities are limitless...wait, what is that? A credit card bill? For...I don't even know how many zeroes that is...yeah, uh, just shred that, and ask Congress to raise our debt ceiling a bit more. I'll let the next president worry about it."

    The immoral use of money we certainly do not have to fund entitlement programs so that increasingly more of us can sit on our duffs and collect a paycheck is reviling, yet we tolerate it. No, Mr. President, America's possibilities are NOT limitless; though those in Washington (and elsewhere too, sadly) seem to think that our credit limit is. We will have to pay the piper sooner or later, folks. And the sooner we do, the less interest we accrue (which is about $1 billion per day). Sick to your stomachs yet? I certainly am.

  • the truth Holladay, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 5:54 p.m.

    What I find absurd is are the ignorant attacks of left against the tea party.

    It was the republican party, and Romney, that didn't stand for anything that lost the election.

    Not the conservatives, and certainly not the tea party.

    Both who have tried to find a voice in the republican party, but the republican party will not stand for anything, they will not fight for anything they will stupidly even kick their own right leaning voices down.

    Conservatives have tried to work with the republican party.

    The failures of the Republican party is of their own left leaning, principleless moderate, RINO, doing.

    So why vote a liberal republican when you can vote for a real liberal?

    They have never given the electorate a real choice, when they have they have won convincingly like with Reagan or in 1994.

    even the so-called conservatives voices now in congress are not willing to take a real stand, but have shown willingness to compromise with uncompromising left.

    It is not conservatism that is losing, is is liberal republicanism that is losing and that unfortunately is the voice that the GOP Party gives most support.

    Jan. 27, 2013 5:02 p.m.

    Another rational, well thought out analysis that will mostly be ignored from the Obamabots.

  • atl134 Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 3:16 p.m.

    Yeah it did, we called it the tea party, do they still have influence on things other than sabotaging Republican senate pickups by nominating lunatics? Oh right, they make things stressful for Boehner.

  • Mark B Eureka, CA
    Jan. 27, 2013 2:59 p.m.

    I think I have a name for what Nate is attempting. Let's call it "preemptive history". Put it alongside famous quotes like "We'll be greeted as liberators."

  • the old switcharoo mesa, AZ
    Jan. 27, 2013 2:35 p.m.

    Well, if Obama's approval rating is so low after the election that just means republicans and Romney had an EVEN LOWER approval rating doesn't it?

  • UtahBlueDevil Durham, NC
    Jan. 27, 2013 2:01 p.m.

    I have not problem of a conservative revival.... I would love it if we say a return of Reagan era republicans even. But a revival of the do-nothing-but-say-no-Tea-Party types..... no one needs that. I welcome anyone who can help America remain a competitive country in this now global economy. All good ideas - left or right - are welcome. It is going to take a hybrid of both tracks of thought to keep America dynamic and vibrant.

    But this turning to the past, thinking we are an "exceptional" people.... that isn't going to work. What we had was exceptional opportunity that people with spin took advantage of - each step of it creating new ground and rules. Turning backward.... we will be the new England, only an empire in our minds.

    North Carolina is in the process of reinventing itself from an agricultural based economy to not the nations leading banking center. The US needs to likewise to the same - top to bottom. Conservative - Liberal - what ever it takes.

  • procuradorfiscal Tooele, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 1:26 p.m.

    Re: "Nice exercise in reality denial."

    You mean, of course, on the part of liberals. Particularly that liberal amen chorus that regularly prowls these pages, poised to pounce on anyone speaking truth to cynical liberal power.

    Desperate denial of reality is the mother's milk of liberal politics.

  • samhill Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 1:25 p.m.

    As of this writing, I'm the 4th person to comment on Mr. Will's post and the 1st (if I read the meaning of the other comments correctly) who considers it in a positive light. Actually, a *very* positive light.

    If only the other three commentators and more of the country had even a fraction of the common sense that Mr. Will routinely demonstrates with his always very well articulated articles, our country might stand a chance of pulling out of what I fear is a tail-spin into some very rough times. Rough times of the sort that much of Europe (Greece in particular) is now just beginning to experience.

    And, it should be noted that the reason for their rough times and those that we are, seemingly, doomed to share, is the same lame-brained socialistic policies that Obama is now, in his 2nd term, pressing for with even more fervor.

    I just hope that Mr. Will is correct and I'm wrong, and that the conservative resurgence he's predicting actually comes to pass. I think that's our only hope of avoiding or even mitigating the worst effects of Obama's corrosive agenda.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 12:41 p.m.

    Regan Tripled the national debt
    W. bush doubled the national debt
    Iraq war
    Afghanistan war
    Patriot Act
    Bank bailouts
    x7 raised to the debt ceiling
    The Current Republican House has a majority that is Republican. And today, they have passed the least amount of legislation than any in history.


    And they currently enjoy a 10% approval rating while Obama is over 50%, on his 2nd term.

    Besides offering speculation, what factually has Conservatism done for you?

    And why would I vote Republican?

  • Nate Pleasant Grove, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 12:15 p.m.

    So far, Obama has gotten away with blaming other people, but this can go on for only so long. At some point, the pain he is inflicting on our economy will cause people to recoil. The policies announced in his second inaugural will only make things worse.

    So, yeah. History will judge Obama as "worse than Carter," and the pendulum will swing back.

  • pragmatistferlife salt lake city, utah
    Jan. 27, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    You just keep talking George that's what you're good at. Don't bother to look at the actual polls, or just reality. There is a true conservative argument to be made for all of our pressing problems, one that could possibly attract voters but it isn't denial. Like I say, you just keep talking George it's what you're good at.

  • The Real Maverick Orem, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 11:32 a.m.

    Conservative "revival?"

    I thought you folks already had that a few years back with the Tea Party?

    How'd that work out for ya?

    Is the GOP going to have new "conservative revival" every few years? Great idea! NOT!

    A great way to become politically irrelevant is to continue to retrench yourselves in these "conservative revivals." You folks lost because you were too conservative and untrustworthy anyway.

  • Pagan Salt Lake City, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 11:11 a.m.

    Agenda to date:

    Healthcare for Americans
    End of the Iraq war
    Exit date for Afghanistan
    Unemployment down from 10% to 7.6%.(Lower than when he took office.
    National debt has not doubled, and has slowed.
    Taxes the lowest since the 1950's
    Ghdaffi dead. (Libya)
    Kim John Ill dead. (North Korea)
    GM is alive
    Osama Bin Laden is dead.

    The claim that Obama is doing 'bad' is just that, a claim. Otherwise he would not have won his 2nd term with more votes than his 1st term.

    In my opinion, Conservatism is not offering solutions.

    As such that 'revival'? Will be a long time in coming.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 11:09 a.m.

    But at 50% Obama's "popularity" is far higher than that of Congress. And far, far higher than that of the GOP.

  • Eric Samuelsen Provo, UT
    Jan. 27, 2013 10:11 a.m.

    Nice exercise in reality denial.