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TorgoX (1933)


"Il est beau comme la retractilité des serres des oiseaux rapaces [...] et surtout, comme la rencontre fortuite sur une table de dissection d'une machine à coudre et d'un parapluie !" -- Lautréamont

Journal of TorgoX (1933)

Thursday October 09, 2003
01:08 AM

Narrative Politics

[ #15131 ]
Dear Log,

«A rough rule of narrative politics is that the candidate whose life story makes the best Hollywood movie will win the race. Which is why Schwarzenegger represents the greatest triumph of the theory to date. In the past, narrative politics has had to be combined with retail politics: Clinton, like Reagan before him, had spent years shaking hands and practising legislation.

[...] The advantage of narrative politics is that weaknesses are reclassified as strengths. A politician who knows nothing about politics? What a premise. A leader who can barely speak an American sentence aloud? Such a gripping yarn. A candidate whose answer to the bankruptcy of California is to propose tax cuts? We sure want to stay and see how this turns out.

[...] The paradox of narrative politics is that it is the very improbability of the campaign that gives it plausibility. In voting booths now - as always in cinemas - audiences will sacrifice coherence for surprise. This is democracy played by the rules of a Hollywood script conference and so, in this context, the coming of the machine governor ceases to be a surprise.»

--"Some mistake?": He has no political experience, no policies and a cupboard full of skeletons. So what does the rise of the Terminator tell us about the state of American politics? And should we be worried?

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  • America has always like to conflate circus freak shows and politicians. Although I don't have examples ready, eighteenth century American politics are full of dubious candidates. I'll wait to see what kind of governator Arnie is. Who knows? Perhaps he'll do an ok job. I'll be amazed if the Republican war on taxes (while spending gobs of money on the military and spook projects) has any positive long-term benefit for the country as a whole. Somehow, it just seems petty and self-serving.
    • Although I don't have examples ready, eighteenth century American politics are full of dubious candidates.

      Funny, I was about to say the same thing. Politics from the last quarter of the 19th Century and first quarter of the 20th century are particularly unmemorable. Except for prohibition and trustbreakers, that is.

      These days, the figurehead who takes the oath of office isn't really that important. For all of the hew and cry about "leadership" the real issue is about making the agenda. Arnold's p

    • The concept is simple: cutting taxes puts more money in the hands of people which helps businesses grow which creates more tax revenue. You can end up with the same amount of increased revenue and help taxpayers at the same time.

      It has worked in the past. It worked under JFK, and it worked under Reagan. Will it work again? Time will tell, but to imply it doesn't make sense is to ignore cases where it's actually worked as planned.
      • I'm not an economist, but some economists claim that supply-side has never been a real economic theory with any evidence for it, just a political platform. This article [] describes how supply-side economists have no support from academia. And currently Princeton economist Paul Krugman [] has devoted many of his NYTimes columns to debunking the idea.

        Also -- I've never heard that JFK was a supply-sider before.

        But you're one of the smarter conservatives I know, and I'd like to hear the other side. The rebuttals

        • I can't talk much about it now, I am on vacation, but realize two things: 1. academia is not interesting to me, as it often ignores practical application and evidence, and 2. Krugman is at least as "politically slanted" as the National Review is.

          As to Kennedy being a "supply sider," I wouldn't say that in today's terms, but look into the things he said about cutting the top tax rate (then up around 80 or 90 percent ... yes, really) and look at the result of slashing it. And "Reaganomics" DID help bring th
      • I know that I shouldn't reply to this, but I have to -- ears burning.

        [cutting taxes to spur the economy] has worked in the past. It worked under JFK, and it worked under Reagan.

        There were two recession under Reagans 8 years in office. Crime increased in 7 of his eight years in office (I'm excluding crimes that happen inside the White House, like Iran-Contra) and the crime continued to increase under Bush Sr. The crime dropped dramatically during the Clinton years (again, I'm excluding activities in t

          • There were two recession under Reagans 8 years in office.

          One of those recessions (January 1980 to July 1980) was inhereted from Carter and responded almost immediately to Reagan's tax breaks. It was the briefest recession in the history of this country. If it wasn't tax policy that cured this recession what was it?

          • Crime increased in 7 of his eight years in office...

          Continuing a trend that had been going on since the 50's. This was due to Reagan's economic policies?

          • Reagan's economic policies were a
        • You're missing the point. Even if I conceded most of what you claim, you did not and cannot claim that the economy did not grow significantly under Reagan, and it is perfectly reasonable to give much of the credit to "trickle down."

          As to the specifics, some of what you say is true but uninteresting. Yes, the "top 1%" got a big tax cut, because their taxes were disproportionately high. You disagree? Wow, surprise, coming from a Masshole! :-) But JFK cut the tax rate of the top 1% more than any Presiden