Monday, April 11, 2011

The Rebellion -- UPDATE

Okay, new idea: Let's give our pro-Liberal, anti-Obama movement a name which sums up our defiant attitude, a name which tells the world that we don't like what the Democrats have turned into, a name which signals a break with the bipartisan neo-liberal orthodoxy which has ruined this country since Ronald Reagan.

Let's call our rebellion -- THE REBELLION.

Update: As you know, I can never resist slapping together a graphic for these occasions. (Click on the picture for a larger version.) How do you like it?

There's a deeper purpose to this imagery than you may at first notice. The man pictured here is Alexander Hamilton, and he was chosen for a reason.

Y'see, the libertarians have adapted Thomas Jefferson as "their" founding father. (See here for example.) He favored a weak federal government, states' rights, and unregulated enterprise.

I think that we should look toward Alexander Hamilton. Jefferson may have written the Declaration of Independence, but Hamilton was the man who pretty much invented Constitutional democracy. He makes a potent symbol for our cause for at least three reasons:

1. He favored a strong federal government.

2. He was not a free-trader. He believed in protecting what he called "infant industries" -- that is, home-grown enterprises. Ha-Joon Chang talks about Hamiltonian protectionism at length in his must-read book Bad Samaritans; a precis is here.

3. He wanted the United States to own a bank. If the government had made outright purchases of the "too big to fail" banks in 2008, we would be sitting pretty right now. North Dakota owns a bank, and that state is now the only one without deficit issues.

If the Rebellion takes off, we'll be accused of being Marxists. These days, anyone to the left of Milton Friedman is accused of Marxism. The response: We are Hamiltonians. Let's see the bastards try to dis one of the Founding Fathers.

I can't resist quoting Ha-Joon Chang:
Initially few Americans were convinced by Hamilton's argument. After all, Adam Smith, the father of economics, had already advised Americans against artificially developing manufacturing industries. However, over time people saw sense in Hamilton's argument, and the US shifted to protectionism after the Anglo-American War of 1812. By the 1830s, its industrial tariff rate, at 40-50 per cent, was the highest in the world, and remained so until the Second World War.

The US may have invented the theory of infant industry protection, but the practice had existed long before. The first big success story was, surprisingly, Britain - the supposed birthplace of free trade. In fact, Hamilton's programme was in many ways a copy of Robert Walpole's enormously successful 1721 industrial development programme, based on high (among world's highest) tariffs and subsidies, which had propelled Britain into its economic supremacy.

Britain and the US may have been the most ardent - and most successful - users of tariffs, but most of today's rich countries deployed tariff protection for extended periods in order to promote their infant industries.
orrr....True Blue Takeover. ;p
If you're the proprietor of a Hamiltonian website, does that now make you the "Hamiltonian operator"?
I like it.

Any movement that promotes Hamilton (a brilliant fighter) over Jefferson (a brilliant coward) is righteous in my book. And, importantly, George Washington would approve, as well.

We The People can only hope this becomes the shot heard 'round the Web. :)
The Hamilton project, an "economic centrist" think tank Started by Bob Rubin. Obama spoke at the kick-off. How about John Adams instead?
Doesn't work for me. "Rebellion" usually implies defeat. Also, it's not specific. I'd like to see something about workers. I haven't yet come up with anything myself, but I'm working on it.
Why not the Labor Wing of the Democratic Party?
We are all workers whether it be operating a punch press, wielding a drawing pen, tending to a patient's medical needs or teaching others to do any of the above. Our education level ranges from GED or less to multiple Ph.D's s but we have one thing in common we don't earn our money buying and selling debt.
HT to Riverdaughter for the idea.

Oh and should they put up a fight we could just drop the words 'Wing of the Democratic'.
Can we at least pick someone who was a better shot than Hamilton?
Actually, Sextus, Hamilton wrote the night before that he would deliberately miss Burr. The actual shot hit a tree branch. In the days of dueling, it was considered gentlemanly to shoot to miss if your opponent has done the same. But Burr aimed.

Richard: I didn't pick just ANY of the founders. I picked Hamilton because Ha-Joon Chang's book made an impact on me, and I believe that we need to recapture the "infant industry" idea. As for Bob Rubin's Hamiltonian thingamajigger -- who cares?
I prefer FDR, and reference to labor or New Deal.

Not happy with O, of course. But to be clear, in my view, if he's attacked in a primary in his own party, we probably should expect a GOP president will be elected.

Cf: Ted Kennedy v. Carter. Carter was no progressive, and disappointed liberals, which prompted the primary challenge from the left. And then we got Reagan.

When the left didn't like Clinton so much, and that transferred to disliking Gore as too centrist and corporatist, many on the left thought no difference between the left and right wings of the corporate party (so, vote your conscience and make a protest vote for Nader). And then we got W.

So.... be careful of the law of unintended consequences, I'm just saying.

(Similar examples can be found on the GOP side, with Reagan fighting Ford all the way to the convention, and Buchanan's primary-ing GHW Bush.)

I think Hamilton is a brilliant choice.

Maybe show the $10 bill in a future graphic though, to remind people of his imporance. One could have fun with this: "If you look in your wallet, you'll see that Hamilton is 5 times more valuable than Jefferson."

As for a name, how about "The Restoration." This name evokes revolution and conservatism at the same time--much like Hamilton himself.

When people ask, "What would you restore?" The Restoration's answer is: Hamilton's vision of American government.
I love the graphic, I like "rebellion," and I'm ready for one. I'm in!

Boston Boomer
Love the graphic brother Joe!!!

Count me in!!!
I love the Hamilton reference! One of my heroes.

But I must say, I like Jotman's suggestion of "The Restoration" better than Rebellion.

The Restoration has gravitas.

The Restoration sounds like one of those winger think tanks that want to "Return America to it's Christian Roots".

But that might be a good thing if it hooks some conservatives and they read whats there.

Still, my fave is New Deal Democrats. We can refer to the Obam-crats as the Raw Deal Democrats.
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