On Up with Chris Hayes, the shifting panels talked about the Chuck Hagel confirmation hearing, the divide in the Republican Party and if inequality is causing the economic malaise.
Regarding Hagel, the panel criticized McCain, Graham and Cruz for engaging in theatrics as they pounded Hagel over his past positions that place him as at least neutral on Israel and mostly dovish/cautious regarding foreign interventions. Hagel had previously criticized the surge in Iraq, and now Republicans like McCain and Graham hold up the surge's success as vindication for the Iraq War. Hayes was disappointed that Hagel didn't stand up against the Republican onslaught. One panelist said Hagel is a good person and deserves better treatment (isn't this true of us all?). I agree with Hayes that Hagel should have held to his principles and stood up against the attacks. Unfortunately, as I suspected, Hagel is a pragmatic, professional politician who will moderate or change positions to advance his career. I believe this is why he was attacked, because he tried to play his questioners who know him too well. I wish that someone who really believes in a new non-interventionist doctrine which includes a superior defense would stand up in a hearing and tell McCain to justify our long history of interventions overseas, especially in the mideast, then state exactly why we need to withdraw and close military bases that were built on World War II concerns. The money we could redirect to the private sector, and the defense system that could be built, are two reasons that a non-interventionist policy could attract anyone concerned with our stalled economy, the creation of more new terrorists than are killed through misuse of drones, and the waste of lives and resources as every country in which we intervene becomes worse as a result of our interventions. If we follow the interventionists on the Right and Left, we'll chase terrorists around the mideast and Africa, then Asia and South America, until we've exhausted our military and our resources, while making terrorism worse as deep-seated hatred and resentment are sowed globally. The type of interventionism we've been involved in is an abuse of the brave men and women in our military who faithfully follow orders and do their jobs well. The President and the Defense Department need to re-huddle and develope a well-thought out response to terrorism that matches the new threats and realities -- what we're doing is not working.
Concerning the GOP, the discussion broke no new ground regarding current narratives -- Republicans are split, weakened and confused because the radical base has had too much influence. A couple of conservatives were on the panel, and they took the popular position among Centrists that depending on limited government and fiscal responsibility is not sufficient. I'm not sure when Republicans really thought limited government is enough, so it's a bogus argument. There are probably five Republicans who really understand the concepts of limited government and free markets --the rest are social cons, neo cons, establishment types and Centrists who believe that Center/No Labels is the new movement. Because we have a Progressive, interventionist party already, the Democratic Party, the real question is what constitutes opposition to statism. The few anti-statist Republicans, like Rand Paul, are powerless at this point, despite the confused critiques from the Left and Right about the damaging influence of libertarianism on the party -- I wish libertarians had influence. Yes, there's a battle going on between Ds and Rs, but it's a battle over power and control of the statist system. From my perspective, Republicans are useless if they don't represent opposition to statism and progressivism. It doesn't matter who wins if all the victory represents is one gang of statist contollers in place of another gang of statist controllers, each with their own central plans they want to enforce on the rest of us.
Finally, the economy and inequality. I wrote about this yesterday on this blog. I think the main cause of inequality right now is government intervention in the economy. The cronyistic, corporate/government enmeshment, designed by government to strengthen State power, oppresses small business growth, innovation and the surprises that come about through economic freedom. Competiton is blocked and large corporations are allowed to control the business game and profit, while government benefits from a stable order they can control. Free markets are anti-statist, and we live under the control of political class that values State power and control. When political means trump economic means, then economic outcomes suffer, and that's what we're suffering from. The guests on Up with Chris Hayes in this segment, except one businessperson, basically believe that government spending will bring the economy around. Hayes showed a chart that revealed just how many new jobs have to be created to get to full employment in a few years -- we are not generating even half the jobs needed to get there. Investors need confidence in economic freedom, then the innovators and developers and dreamers and small upstarts and real capitalists of all stripes can become active. Right now the game is rigged and government is regulating too much, and no one trusts the system. No, we don't need government created jobs -- we need a free market.