A Free-Market Party?

What a concept:

The rise of free-market populism in this country finally has manifested in an election. And judging from the hyperbolic reactions, you know it’s a political movement with staying power.

When tepid, traditional conservative candidate Doug Hoffman knocked off liberal Republican Dede Scozzafava—a candidate who was supported by nearly every boogeyman in the GOP handbook—you might have thought that the rabble had stormed the Bastille.

Sophisticated New York Times columnist Frank Rich called the event “a riotous and bloody national G.O.P. civil war” and compared the conservative surge to a murderous Stalinist purge. (Remarkably, the esteemed wordsmith failed to unleash similar histrionic language when one-time-Democrat Sen. Joe Lieberman met the same fate.)

Purging moderates is indeed a self-destructive strategy for any national party. But running a party without any litmus tests on the central issue of the economy seems to be similarly self-defeating.

The most impressive trick played by Rich and other liberals, though, is creating a narrative wherein the ones attempting to fundamentally reconfigure the American economy are cast as the moderates.

The nearly powerless who stand in their way? Well, they play the part of Stalinists.

But of course, as Orwell pointed out, the real Stalinists are the people who torture the language like Frank Rich does.

Is It 1993 Again?

…or 1938?

Democrats lost 80 seats in the 1938 election, after gaining seats in 1930, 1932, 1934 and 1936.

How did this happen? As Amity Shlaes notes in her history of the Depression, “The Forgotten Man,” Roosevelt believed less competition and high wages would heal the economy. Aided by Congress, he went about engineering those two things with a vengeance, trebling the size of the federal government in less than a decade.

At the time, such drastic action may have seemed warranted. Within three years of the 1929 crash, GDP had fallen nearly a third and a fourth of the U.S. work force was idle. Even so, the economy appeared to stabilize in 1934 and 1935, and in 1936, Democrats won landslides in both Congress and the presidency.

What happened next is a tale of overreach and hubris — one that holds lessons for today’s Democrats.

But they seem determined not to learn them. Because to do so would negate their entire world view.

Congratulations LaserMotive

It looks like they just won almost a million dollars in the power beaming contest.

I sure hope that the administration will request a lot more money for Centennial Challenges, and Congress grant it. Tomorrow’s award of the NGLLC prizes at the Rayburn Building would be a good opportunity to make the point that, dollar for dollar, they put to shame anything else that NASA is doing, Constellation most of all.

They Couldn’t Have Found Anyone With More Expertise

If this is true, whoever sets up lectures at Harvard had his sense of irony removed at birth:

HARVARD UNIVERSITY EDMOND J. SAFRA FOUNDATION CENTER FOR ETHICS

Eliot Spitzer, former Governor and Attorney General of New York, will deliver a public lecture as part of the 2009/10 Labs Lectures on the Question of Institutional Corruption.

Truly amazing.

Harvard Idiocy

Check out this editorial at The Crimson on Ares I-X:

Such an achievement augurs well: The new moon program is a shining rebuttal to detractors of America’s math and science programs as well as a promise for progress in American space exploration in the future.

To begin with, the rocket’s technical specifications are astounding. Thirty-two stories high, the Ares 1-X towers as the tallest rocket in the world. And the sight of the launch was no less spectacular than the rocket itself. The first stage of the engine brought the rocket 25 miles into the air until its fuel ran out and parachuted it into the ocean.

When Clark wrote the other day that the Ares was really tall, it was completely tongue-in-cheek, but this editorial writer seems to seriously believe that rocket height is a useful technical metric. And 25 whole miles in the air? What a spectacular achievement, fifty-plus years after the first orbital launch. But wait, it gets better:

But the true triumph of the Ares rocket doesn’t lie in its physical properties alone. It’s the less tangible inspiration the rocket will provide to future generations of American mathematicians, scientists, and engineers that makes it so important. Education reformers working with students from kindergarten through 12th grade will now be able to look to the rocket as a symbol of hope and inspiration. The Ares will encourage them to imagine even more fantastic goals and products that will be achieved after America repairs its education problem.

Yes, only the Corndog, flying a few times a year at billions per flight, will inspire the Young Pioneers, and fill them with hope. Hundreds or thousands of people going to and from orbit with their own money, reusable tugs fueled in LEO, or at the Lagrange points, on the moon, with orbital and lunar hotels? Boooorrring.

Sigh.

More Augustine Thoughts

Dennis Wingo says that NASA doesn’t need more money, it just needswhat NASA needs is a better architectural approach. I agree. But that’s doesn’t keep the jobs in the right places.

Despite my initial misreading of it, though, I even think that it’s possible to do it without the extra three billion. And it had better be, because I doubt if they’re going to get it.

Biting Commentary about Infinity…and Beyond!