Thursday, March 09, 2006

Tomasky's LQ Test: Piffle. Tomasky's quiz is the very type of inside baseball info that progressive journalists and think-tank types believe is meaningful to governance.

The economy didn't zoom because Clinton knew obscure French political philosophers, as Tomasky admits. "But," Tomasky says, "his knowledge of that and 500 other things like it informed the decisions that made the economy zoom." Typical technocratic socialist wet dream, that trivia-minded bureaucrats create good economies. The economy zoomed because technology increased productivity steadily throughout the 90s, which (as most of us will recall) led to an optimism that made the economy zoom a little too fast at times, claiming gains based mostly on an "irrational exuberance" (and no, you don't get 500 points for knowing who said that) that said that the internet could make us all millionaires.

If the economy was influenced to any extent by policy matters, which it surely was, I would give that credit, in order, to Greenspan for keeping inflation in check through solid monetary policy (remember when libs all thought monetary policy was bunk?); GOP House budget chief John Kasich for being an arm twisting sonofabitch and the closest the House leadership has had to a fiscal conservative since Dick Armey called Barney Frank "Barney Fag"; and, finally, Bill Clinton for getting himself into so many scandals that he was unable to gain any momentum on his big progressive ideas (like his health care "reform," which would have dicked up the economy but good) and had to govern as essentially an incrementalist moderate.

Finally, what some wonk at a liberal mag thinks is essential to the intellectual life of American politicians is in no way dispositive. That John Edwards doesn't know who James Q. Wilson is, is not the same as George Bush not knowing, say, that FDR let Sidney Hillman make trade policy decisions. At least James Q. Wilson is relevant today, given that he is one of the leading social scientists in the country, while FDR and Hillman are both dead.

Anyway, I got 14 correct, which I think is pretty outstanding considering the foolish questions he asks.


Flyer said...

I couldn't agree more with yourpoint about the relevancy, or lack thereof, of Tomasky's questions to actual policy making. I was looking at it as a pure trivia challenge, something the three of us can no doubt appreciate for its own sake. Nice takedown, though, anyway.

And 14 is pretty good, considering the obsurity of some of the subject matter.

Razor said...

Glad to see our resident curmudgeon is so well read. I didn't quite get 14.

But you just give me a Johnny Depp quiz and I'm on that like eyeliner on Johnny's fluttering lids...

enobarbus said...

As a trivia challenge, it's tough but fair game. The thing is that the challenge-maker can sit there with almanac in hand to make the game. After all, Tomasky didn't write this off the top of his head.

For example, shouldn't everyone know the name of the first president of the United States? Seems reasonable, right? But the name John Hanson just doesn't stick in the mind very well.