The Bush Depression's Silver Lining

Glenn Reynolds writes:

THEY TOLD ME THAT IF WE TOPPLED SADDAM HUSSEIN, gas would be cheaper than it was in 2001. And they were right!

Professor Reynolds is confused regarding the cause of the drop in gasoline prices. The Iraq War did not lower gas prices (in fact, there is strong evidence it raised petroleum prices). The Bush Depression did. From the article cited by Reynolds:

The tumble in [gasoline] prices, from a high of more than $4.05 in early July, has meant incredible savings. Republicans said Democrats should issue a mea culpa. "I wonder if the same people who blamed the president for the increase in prices will now credit him with the reduction in prices. It's only fair," said Don Stewart, spokesman for Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Kentucky Republican.

(Emphasis supplied.) Indeed, Bush and Republicans should be thanked the way Hoover and Republicans were thanked for driving down commodity prices during The Great Depression - by decades in the political wilderness.

Speaking for me only

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    Thanks for the deflation... (5.00 / 1) (#3)
    by Salo on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:17:07 AM EST
    ...please sir may I have another!


    Even Greater Savings On Gas (5.00 / 3) (#8)
    by squeaky on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:22:43 AM EST
    No one has jobs to drive to.  

    Dem's better wake up (5.00 / 1) (#25)
    by mmc9431 on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:25:57 PM EST
    Evidently, McConnell hasn't gotten the memo that there's a "new" bipartisan game in town! And these are the people Obama has wasted so much time and energy to embrace. It isn't going to happen. Republican's have no problem with division. It's their strength. If it isn't there, they'll create it. They have no interest in seeing a successful Obama administration and they'll do everything in their power to assure it. Their sites are already on 2010.

    Don't look now, Mitch, (none / 0) (#1)
    by scribe on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:13:24 AM EST
    but gas prices by me have gone from their low, at $1.339/gallon, on December 30 to $1.499/gallon, hitting that figure on Sunday, 1/4 and holding there the last two days.

    So, even the "benefit" of the Bush Depression is disappearing.

    Surely, he's being snide? (none / 0) (#2)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:15:23 AM EST

    Snidely Whiplash? (none / 0) (#4)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:18:30 AM EST
    And his brother. . . (none / 0) (#7)
    by LarryInNYC on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:20:37 AM EST
    Snarkly Whiplash.

    the snark directed at who? (none / 0) (#12)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:26:46 AM EST
    Snark (none / 0) (#5)
    by DaveOinSF on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:19:37 AM EST
    The whole "They told us if we did X, then Y will happen.  And they were right!" schtick is a regular feature for Glenn Reynolds, and it's always done with liberal amounts of snark.  Don't try to confuse what he says here with his actual opinion.

    Heh (none / 0) (#11)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:26:24 AM EST
    Hell of a defense "Don't try to confuse what he says here with his actual opinion."

    Explain the snark if you please.

    Is he making fun of the claim that the Iraq War would lower gas prices? Considering his full throated support for the Iraq War, I think not.


    For example in April 2003 (none / 0) (#13)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:31:29 AM EST
    Professor Reynolds wrote:


    Yeah, there has been a lot of pro-war gloating. And I guess that Dawn Olsen's cautionary advice about gloating is appropriate. So maybe we shouldn't rub in just how wrong, and morally corrupt the antiwar case was. Maybe we should rise above the temptation to point out that claims of a "quagmire" were wrong -- again! -- how efforts at moral equivalence were obscenely wrong -- again! -- how the antiwar folks are still, far too often, trying to move the goalposts rather than admit their error -- again -- and how an awful lot of the very same people who spoke lugubriously about "civilian casualties" now seem almost disappointed that there weren't more -- again -- and how many people who spoke darkly about the Arab Street and citizens rising up against American "liberators" were proven wrong -- again -- as the liberators were seen as just that by the people they were liberating. And I suppose we shouldn't stress so much that the antiwar folks were really just defending the interests of French oil companies and Russian arms-deal creditors. It's probably a bad idea to keep rubbing that point in over and over again.



    That is the template (none / 0) (#15)
    by hairspray on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:45:51 AM EST
    for the GOP obstruction to come.  They have an answer for everything, even in the face of evidence.  They simply declare the evidence false!  See how easy bi-partisanship is with these people?

    Yes, I think he is (none / 0) (#18)
    by DaveOinSF on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:54:32 AM EST
    That's his formula.  To note with irony that it was predicted that if X then Y would happen, and that it indeed came to pass, although in a manner completely at odds with how it was supposed to happen.

    As to your final point just because one supported the Iraq war does not mean that one agrees that that war resulted in lower gas prices.


    Are you saying (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:58:37 AM EST
    he disagreed with the oft stated view that in fact the war in Iraq would reduce oil prices?

    In other words, is he making fun of those who made that prediction? That would be quite startling indeed. If he clarifies it, that would be a first.

    Personally, I doubt your interpretation. Indeed, in my view, he seems to be in no position to snark on anyone who supported the Iraq War, given his own positions on the matter.

    Let me put it this way, I have never seen Professor Reynolds express the view that the Iraq War raised oil prices. I have seen him express the view that an invasion of Iran might lower oil prices, citing Max Boot.

    Your interpretation seems contorted, to put it mildly.


    I think (none / 0) (#21)
    by DaveOinSF on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:12:17 PM EST
    What I think is he is NOW making fun of the idea that the current price of gas is due to the Iraq war.  Whatever he's said in the past, whatever his views on the war in general, his post today observes that the price of gas is now lower than it was in the runup to the war, and makes fun of the idea that the two are somehow related using his preferred formulation for making such a comment.

    Hmm (none / 0) (#22)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:19:31 PM EST
    I missed the outbreak of posts from anyone claiming that the reason why gas prices have dropped is due to the Iraq War.

    Indeed, Reynolds' post is the first one I have seen even raising that issue.

    It is snark directed at air is what you are arguing.

    Hard to fathom the humor there.


    For (none / 0) (#26)
    by DaveOinSF on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:35:57 PM EST
    For what you are saying to be correct, you'd have to believe that, despite Reynolds using the "X then Y. And they were right!" forumulation hundreds of times, this would have to be the first time that he actually meant it.  That is just not credible.

    I have seen the formulation (none / 0) (#27)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:47:15 PM EST
    and each time he uses it, he varies its purpose.

    Most of the time, it is to say Obama is doing something McCain was accused of being for.

    The use of the formulation here was deeply perplexing in that it did not involve McCain and Obama.

    I guess my question to you is are you saying Reynolds is making fun of right commenters who said the Iraq War would lower gas prices many many years ago?

    to borrow your phrase, this would be the first time Reynolds ever made fun of right commenters on anything. Given his own position on the Iraq War, I find it hard to believe.

    I hope the good Professor clarifies his point.


    He (none / 0) (#31)
    by Abdul Abulbul Amir on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 02:46:26 PM EST
    Professor Reynolds is confused regarding the cause of the drop in gasoline prices.

    He uses that construction in an ironic fashion quite frequently.  BTW the first time I heard it used was about 40 years ago:

    They said if I voted for Goldwater then we would get a bigger war in Southeast Asia.  They were right.

    The construction is used when the if clause has nothing (or very little) to do with the then clause, although there was some expectation in the past that it would.  


    To be fair, Bush has also followed through (none / 0) (#6)
    by tigercourse on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:20:27 AM EST
    on his central campaign promises to "twiddle his thumbs while a major American city floats away" and "uncomfortably massage a major foreign leader".

    Gawd (none / 0) (#9)
    by Steve M on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:24:32 AM EST
    Maybe some people think Glenn Reynolds' snark is witty, but he just comes across as childish to me.

    Does anyone take Reynolds seriously anymore (none / 0) (#14)
    by Molly Bloom on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:32:36 AM EST
    and if so why?

    All joking aside (none / 0) (#16)
    by CST on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:49:56 AM EST
    This is kinda a silver lining for those of us with jobs, no house, and no kids.

    Prices are going down so we can save more of our money to buy houses - whose prices are going down.  We are less vulnerable to job losses (see - no kids), and don't have to worry about saving for higher ed yet (other than paying off our own loans - whose interest rates have lowered).

    I would have a lot of reasons to thank Bush if I were heartless.

    He Must Be Joking. (none / 0) (#17)
    by santarita on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 11:54:18 AM EST
    What is he a professor of?  Delusional thinking?  Illogic?

    aside from the obvious: (none / 0) (#20)
    by cpinva on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:09:02 PM EST
    they're all delusional. i have another bone to pick with the good prof. and his equally silly republican mates in congress:

    if the republicans, and the bush administration, will take credit for the disaster that is their legacy, on so many levels, then i'll consider suspending rational disbelief, and give the bush follies (and i don't mean that in a good way) in iraq credit for lowering gas prices (nudge, nudge, wink, wink).

    the claim is so absurd on its face, the MSM will immediately pick up on it, reporting it as though there were even a grain of truth to it.

    breathlessly, no doubt.

    At this moment, Republican ... (none / 0) (#28)
    by santarita on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:48:30 PM EST
    geniuses are busy developing blast faxes for the media that contain soundbites that simultaneously deny that there is a problem with the economy and the  problem with the economy  is the fault of the Dems.

    They are preparing blast faxes for future issue that blame Obama and the Dems for continuing economic turmoil or, in the case the proposed stimulus works,  take credit for pushing Obama to make tax cuts.  

    Republicans have constructed and will continue to construct a reality that comports with their ideology.  This is very efficient because they don't have to deal with messy contrary facts.  Of course, the media will continue to be complicit by not upsetting the comfortable Republican reality with nasty contrary facts.


    Uh, (none / 0) (#23)
    by bocajeff on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:24:31 PM EST
    Professor Reynolds does this take with tongue firmly planted in cheek. In other words, there is no cause and effect, merely a reminder that there doesn't have to always be a cause and effect of what people predict.

    When gas prices were shooting through the roof it was Bush's fault. When gas prices are falling like a rock then it's Bush's fault. The old joke goes: President Bush fell out of a canoe in the middle of the lake and WALKED back to the shore safely. Headline in NYT reads "Bush can't swim".

    Sort of  like when BTD disagrees with someone they aren't merely wrong they are "delusional", "a hack", "stupid", as well as a myriad of other dismissive terms. It's simply the way bloggers like to present themselves.

    Was that Reynolds' point? (none / 0) (#24)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 12:25:51 PM EST
    Nothing is Bush's fault? That is an interpretation I can accept.

    I think (none / 0) (#29)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 01:37:36 PM EST
    we get the idea you aren't thrilled with Prof. Reynolds.

    I think (none / 0) (#30)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 02:32:19 PM EST
    that I am trying to understand the interpretation forwarded by certain commenters.

    Perhaps you can enlighten me  on the subject.


    Humor, some are funnnier than others (none / 0) (#32)
    by Wile ECoyote on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 03:10:26 PM EST
    Here are some older ones:

    THEY TOLD ME THAT IF I VOTED FOR MCCAIN, WE'D SEE A THIRD BUSH TERM. Obama drops proposal for windfall profits tax.

    THEY TOLD ME THAT IF GEORGE W. BUSH WERE RE-ELECTED, harmless conversations could get you suspected of terrorism. And they were right!

    GOING JOHN JANE GALT: They told me that if Barack Obama were elected, rich people would withhold their taxes as a means of political protest. And they were right! Melissa Etheridge to Stop Paying $500k/Year in CA Taxes After Passage of Prop 8.


    Explain the humor here (none / 0) (#38)
    by Big Tent Democrat on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 06:43:40 PM EST
    Do you think Garrison (none / 0) (#42)
    by me only on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 08:40:43 AM EST
    Keillor is humorous?  If so, please explain the humor to me.  I have listened to more than 500 hours of the most boring radio show and never laughed.  I don't think you laugh at racist jokes, but I know people who still think "Barack the Magic Negro" is a masterpiece.

    Someone (not you) might even find my screen name humorous.


    LOL. there is humor here in this thread. (none / 0) (#43)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 10:51:56 AM EST
    My sense on humor is more attuned than yours.  Due mostly to the beer, not wine consumed during life.  

    I don't read Glenn Reynolds... (none / 0) (#33)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 03:19:59 PM EST
    ...but that was likely intended as a sarcastic comment.

    It's called tongue in cheek (none / 0) (#34)
    by abdiel on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 03:31:42 PM EST
    And the joke is poking fun at the Washington Times articles that he links to, which cheers lower gas prices as "adjusting Bush's legacy".  He is in fact satirizing the exact same thing you are.

    I like most of your opinions, but this was asinine.  Are you that determined to hate Republicans?  

    Clarification (none / 0) (#35)
    by abdiel on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 03:51:17 PM EST
    The real joke is that people will fit news into their opinion.  If oil prices keep falling under Obama, everyone will probably take a direct 180 on their take - Democrats will say Obama has saved the American consumer, while Republicans will take it as proof that Obama has driven us into depression.  It's humorous how far people are willing to stretch to defend their guy, especially when it's news that they called bad when the shoe was on the other foot.

    See Coleman v Franken for exquisite proof.


    It annoys me (5.00 / 1) (#37)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 05:26:36 PM EST
    to know end that both sides are tying to paint the other as responsible for this current recession.

    1. First all recessions are inevitable.  Our economy can't continue to grow exponentionally forever.

    2. Bush, congress, wall street, banks and the public at large all made the housing bubble possible.   The practice of bad lending was going on for years and all political stripes encouraged and fostered it for one partisan reason or another.   Dems to earn votes with minorities, Repubs to earn votes with bankers and CEO's etc...  We all enjoyed the good times, flipped houses, got rich on property value and no one, I repeat no one was willing to risk stopping the fun.

    3. Democrats helped create the problem.  Republicans now claim they where against it but this is so equally lame it's laughable.   Bush stood up in his firt term during the state of the union and took credit for more Americans then ever owning homes (not so great in retrospect) and dems faught any weak attempt by Republicans like Bush and McCain to reform Fannie and Freddie tooth and nail.

    The basic truth is we're all responsible for this recession but that doesn't fit into the political landcape so partisans like BTD and Rush will instead stake out a position of blame the other guy.

    Gotta tell ya (5.00 / 1) (#41)
    by Steve M on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 07:35:56 AM EST
    The recession was not caused by too many people buying homes.  The recession was caused by the unregulated derivative/credit default swap market which caused the impact of each mortgage default by many thousands.

    I can't understand how people can believe that the world economy is now in a recession merely because we let a few people take out home loans that were too risky.


    So (none / 0) (#44)
    by Wile ECoyote on Wed Jan 07, 2009 at 10:53:14 AM EST
    we did let people take risky home loans.  I also assume you aren't talking about Sen Dodd's loan.

    Blame Bush for everything (none / 0) (#36)
    by Slado on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 05:17:16 PM EST
    I've yet to see liberals adress the reality that plolicies enacted and put in place by Carter are the true cause of this recession (it's not a depression, use of that word shows your bias and how unserious you are about this subject).

    Bush is one actor in a large play that includes, dems, republicans, bankers and the public at large.

    Bush's sin is sitting by like the rest of us while the bubble grew larger and taking credit for the very surplus of property value these failed policies created.  However to call this a Bush recession is silly.   Will you call it an Obama stagflation an recession in 2009 when this stimulus falls flat?  Or will you pull the partisan move and continue to blame it on Bush?

    An economy is too large and too complex to be ruined or saved by any president.   It takes consumers, wall street and government to cause this type of bubble and we all played our part.

    But who cares.  Let's just blame Bush and wait for the next bubble to burst.   Let's see, we've done the internet, then homes now lets try green energy!

    While you are at it... (5.00 / 1) (#40)
    by pmj6 on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 08:47:33 PM EST
    ...why not blame LBJ, JFK, and FDR as well?

    Bush does not bear all the blame. Congressional Republicans and their knee-jerk anti-government, anti-regulation, anti-oversight, anti-taxation, anti-science, free market ueber alles mentality bear a lot of it too.

    I would not call it Obama's stagflation anymore than I refer to the Great Depression as something of FDR's making. Now, it may be that Obama's prescription will be sorely inadequate, but that will not change the sad fact he inherited a colossal set of problems.


    The Bush depression, huh? (none / 0) (#39)
    by elrapido on Tue Jan 06, 2009 at 06:50:09 PM EST
    So I take it that the 2000/01 recession was the Clinton Recession. Right?