Friday, May 01, 2009


Goin' out with a "Bang!"

I am a charter subscriber to The American Conservative. Last week, I received some sad news: TAC is ceasing publication.

I'll bet I've never been in even 75 percent agreement with any issue of TAC. The mag's paleo-conservative writers and editors often seemed to me incredibly naïve to me 'bout things like free trade, foreign policy, and the Israeli-Arab World conflict. (And I was never comfortable with the fact that so many published letters to TAC began with something like, "I'm a liberal and I agree with your ...")

That said, TAC was indespensible when it came to discussions of culture, religion, arts and letters, and what Dr. Russell Kirk called the "permanent things." Indeed, TAC remains the only magazine that I've ever read back-to-front ... 'cause all the Burkean and Muggeridge-style pontificating took place in the back pages. That's what I'm gonna miss.

The American Conservative may be going away; however, it's going out with a big ol' anti-Obama bang. In the April 20 issue, TAC writer Brian Doherty tells us ... well, he tells us the truth 'bout Obama's first 100 Days. Like this:

Here Obama’s grip is far less subtle. He’s clear and decisive: the financial and industrial economy is his, and he’ll do with it as he pleases. What’s decided for the U.S. is what’s decided for General Motors, as presidential pressure pushes out GM chief Rick Wagoner. Obama and his man at Treasury, Timothy Geithner, want the power to confiscate any company whose failure they claim threatens the larger economy.

Now that he occupies the White House, the new president ... seems to believe that his own vision of economic security empowers him to take whatever he wants and make any decision he deems necessary, from curtailing CEO compensation to renegotiating mortgage terms. What private sector? This is economic war!

And lest one think this is all about being faithful stewards of the public wealth, as Obama and Geithner like to play it, the
Wall Street Journal reported that an unnamed bank was not allowed to return money the Feds had stuck it with in the first bailout wave. The strings attached to those bailout funds gave the federal government effective ownership over the bank; evidently the Obama administration values an excuse for control more than it values taxpayer money.

It also seems primed to use more traditional means of throwing weight around the national economy. The president’s pick for antitrust chief, Christine Varney, has already cast a stink eye at Google, expressing concern at a conference last year about the company’s "monopoly in Internet online advertising." And Obama’s pick to head the Department of Agriculture, former Iowa governor Tom Vilsack, is an enthusiastic supporter of one of the most foolish and damaging federal economic manipulations around, endless ethanol subsidies. Any noises about damping down agricultural subsidies in general, supposedly part of the "fiscally responsible" Obama agenda, are dying in Congress.

Read the rest here.

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