Supposedly, House Republicans are “modern day Hoovers” (one wonders just how long Colbert King had to stay up at night to think that one up). Never mind the fact that the actual Herbert Hoover–not the caricature that people like King come up with–instituted protectionist measures like the Smoot-Hawley Tariff that are much like the “Buy American” measures the Obama Administration is trying to get passed through the stimulus bill. Amazingly enough, King notes his displeasure with the “Buy American” provisions of the stimulus bill but doesn’t seem to understand that the Obama Administration is playing Herbert Hoover by pushing these provisions and that House Republicans are being anti-Hooverian by opposing them. This, of course, is what passes for punditry in newspapers these days.
Equally amusing is the contention that to be Herbert Hoover is to oppose a stimulus package that is remarkably interventionist, that will dramatically increase the deficit, and that does nothing whatsoever to actually stimulate the economy (see here, here, here, and here for just a few links that debunk the contention that the stimulus package will help the economy to arise, Lazarus-like from its current semi-lifeless state). And of course, contra King’s misreading of history, Hoover was massively interventionist, as Amity Shlaes points out. Despite all of this, King accuses House Republicans of being Hooverian because they are not interventionist enough. Is it too much to ask for a Washington Post editorial writer to actually do the hard work of reading history before he attempts to write about it?
If this is the best case that can be made against the House Republicans’ collective decision to grant not a single vote for the stimulus package, then the House Republican Caucus’s sole regret should be that it had but one vote to give against this latest, quixotic Keynesian scheme. And the Caucus should send Colbert King a nice little note and a fruit basket, thanking him for making their case for them.
Even if King did so inadvertently.