Tuesday, December 13, 2011
Cass Sunstein is one of the foremost legal scholars of our day. He was a colleague of President Obama @ the University of Chicago Law School before Obama went into politics and Sunstein migrated to Harvard. Sunstein took the job of regulatory chief under Obama, as Sunstein, among his many projects, has written on risk analysis and regulation. (He's really a prolific scholar.) When he took the job, he caught hell from both the Left ("He uses a form of cost-benefit analysis!") and the Right ("He"ll issue regulations!"). How difficult it is to get outside the small boxes that others want to use to contain us. Such small thinking! Maybe he's correct on some matters, wrong on others, but it would help to think about these matters, which he does. Fortunately, Sunstein made it through the Senate and is now (but for the attention of a Brooks column), probably ignored, as no one has much incentive to grandstand about the day-to-day workings of regulators (but which is quite important in the administrative state).
Krugman doesn't say "creepy", but I do. We've grown to expect Russia to always languish on the edge (if not over the edge) of despotism, but in this post Krugman notes that economic dislocation, like war, doesn't bode well for democracy. The situation in Hungary seems nasty, and they were among the better off of the former Soviet satellite states. In the U.S., too, we see radicalism resurgent in both the Tea Party and the Occupy movement. Neither group is very coherent or persuasive, but both are fueled by a deep dissatisfaction. We don't need any Father Coughlins or Huey Longs here, nor radical regimes in Europe, so we'd be wise to get things back on track quickly.
"It's all about the narrative" might be a bit of an overstatement, but not much of one. As in trials, the contestant with the best narrative wins. Obama, for all his rhetorical gifts, isn't a trial lawyer, and he has not defined the narrative as he should--and must--if he is to win reelection. Reagan did it as a master. Clinton, who was so effective on the stump, could do it. Bot explicitly and by his delivery, these men defined their campaigns. This is Obama's great challenge.
I think that NF is probably right on this one. Besides being downright scarey, this EU/Euro thing is a really complex question of political economy. Indeed, the phrase "political economy" (from whence economics began) is not an anachronism, it's more relevant than ever!
For a while I seemed to post constantly on Rick Perry. Well, he's history, but now we have the zombie Newt. This post by Frum, citing Brooks in comparison (and in essential agreement), covers a part of what's creepy about going Newt-ular. My goodness, is this a Republican ploy to sell everyone on Romney?