The Iron Lady

Asharak
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The Iron Lady

Post by Asharak »

I won't condone the recent (and rather ghoulish) celebrations of the death of a woman with dementia, but I do think Thatcher was overrated. She came to office with the purported goal of limiting government, but did the exact opposite.

The only reason why she won more than one term was because of the Falklands War, too.
Asharak
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Asharak »

I will say Gordon Brown was much worse, though.
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JasonL
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by JasonL »

On this topic I would say:

1) Holy crap have you guys seen that Meryl Streep horror show of a thatcher biopic? I've never seen anything that shitty and unfair. It literally begins with her in dementia, talking to her dead husband and looking for lost things (like maybe Her HUMANITY!!!) and plays her as shakepearean paranoid throughout. No no, there were no problems to solve, everything was great until she ruined the working man or whatever.

2) This plays into my overall complaint about overly harsh critiques of Thatcher and Reagan. Yes their libertarian bona fides are grossly exaggerated and especially when you calculate defense spending and such, but for one I often feel like in retrospect people act the Soviets in 1983 were some kind of non entity full of bluster and nevermind them and for another I simply don't understand how you can ignore the context of where the decade started in terms of growth, budget, labor markets, etc. That shit matters. A lot.

The overhaul was needed. Unsustainable commitments were being made all over the place and I can't help but think that a good portion of the acidity of the Thatcher critques comes from wishful thinking that these favored "nice" policies could continue forever.
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Mo
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Mo »

I agree that the Soviets are underestimated looking back*. However, if anything Reagan was less actually aggressive than predecessors. Unlike pretty much all of his predecessors, he did not engage in a proxy war and engaged them diplomatically more.

* Though conservative hawks calling AQ and Iran bigger threats than the Soviets ever were is even more idiotic.
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Aresen
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Aresen »

Probably the most important thing Thatcher did was break the union stranglehold on the UK.

Scargill and the miner's union were bidding to become an alternate government. If Labour or even on of the 'wet' Tories like Heath had been in power, the UK would have collapsed by 1985.
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Mo
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Mo »

Aresen wrote:Probably the most important thing Thatcher did was break the union stranglehold on the UK.
This.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

no one ever yells worldstar when a pet gets fucked up - dhex
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JasonL
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by JasonL »

Aresen wrote:Probably the most important thing Thatcher did was break the union stranglehold on the UK.

Scargill and the miner's union were bidding to become an alternate government. If Labour or even on of the 'wet' Tories like Heath had been in power, the UK would have collapsed by 1985.
That's what I mean. If you go back and look at actual things people were proposing in labor relations in the '70s - it's insane to even contemplate.

Dear The Left - The promise of increased prosperity through strangled labor markets working with cartel businesses in bed with left politicians was, if not a preposterous lie, at least misguided about every important thing regarding the origin of wealth.

ETA: and that's why her rhetoric looked like it did too. These were real concerns.
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Painboy
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Painboy »

Mo wrote:I agree that the Soviets are underestimated looking back*. However, if anything Reagan was less actually aggressive than predecessors. Unlike pretty much all of his predecessors, he did not engage in a proxy war and engaged them diplomatically more.

* Though conservative hawks calling AQ and Iran bigger threats than the Soviets ever were is even more idiotic.
This is something I wish more people would acknowledge about Reagan. For all the perceived chest thumping, the most militaristic acts of his presidency was the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Libya. Both with a time and body count less than many single engagements in Iraq or Afghanistan. When the marine barracks in Lebanon was bombed by Hezbollah (250+ dead), we tossed a few shells at Hezbollah locations, said "Fuck you assholes," and left. And when Reagan got word that the Able Archer exercise was taken a little too seriously by the Soviets he immediately worked to engage them to prevent something like that from happening again. He also began the START treaty which ultimately led to a massive reduction in nuclear weapons.

Yet the guy is constantly portrayed as some kind of warmonger. Strangely by both his critics and his supporters at times. I see a lot of similarity with some of the criticism with Thatcher.
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thoreau
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by thoreau »

Reagan is all things to all conservatives. He gets praised by hawks and isolationists, social conservatives and libertarians, budget hawks and "deficits don't matter" profligate spenders.

And now he gets cited by liberals who want to argue that today's GOP is far to the right of Reagan. What I don't think they get is that political instincts are about directions, not absolute positions. The only people who might (just might) have absolute stances rather than sympathies and leanings are really wonky types, and Reagan wasn't a wonk. If a man with Reagan's instincts and sympathies came around today, he'd join the party that's to the right and he'd advocate rightward, same as he did in the time and place that he existed in.
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JasonL
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by JasonL »

Yup. I had a FB argument last week that pretty much went just like that. Left of center, but reasonable guy made the argument that Reagan couldn't get nominated today because he's so moderate. Time and place dude. Time and place. I dont' know what it even means to postulate about Reagan without the soviets and stagflation in the background.
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Jennifer
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Jennifer »

Asharak wrote:I won't condone the recent (and rather ghoulish) celebrations of the death of a woman with dementia, but I do think Thatcher was overrated. She came to office with the purported goal of limiting government, but did the exact opposite.
Reagan was pretty much the same -- you can't limit government and ramp up the war on drugs simultaneously. In both cases I suspect their admirers AND detractors paid more attention to their labels -- Republican or Conservative -- than to anything they actually did.
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Mo
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Mo »

Though I read an interesting article comparing modern Tories to modern Republicans post their conservative realignments. The Tories today are largely as conservative as Thatcher was. She realigned the party and the politics of the country and then it largely continued on. In contrast, the Republicans of today have moved to the right of Reagan. I wouldn't be so certain that he would be on the side pushing rightward. I don't think he'd be a Mitt Romney/Chris Christie type moderate, but I also don't think he'd be a fire-breathing conservative either.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

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thoreau
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by thoreau »

Jennifer wrote:
Asharak wrote:I won't condone the recent (and rather ghoulish) celebrations of the death of a woman with dementia, but I do think Thatcher was overrated. She came to office with the purported goal of limiting government, but did the exact opposite.
Reagan was pretty much the same -- you can't limit government and ramp up the war on drugs simultaneously. In both cases I suspect their admirers AND detractors paid more attention to their labels -- Republican or Conservative -- than to anything they actually did.
It's not just that they wore the labels, it's that they were loud and proud about their stated ideologies. Whether or not they actually adhered to those labels in practice, they proclaimed ideology more loudly and proudly than most predecessors from their respective parties.

If tomorrow the Democrats elected somebody with a cultural appeal pitched precisely to make educated progressives swoon, it wouldn't matter to them that he escalated his hated predecessor's policies on drone assassinations and government secrecy, that he started another war in a Middle Eastern country, that he dispensed favors to corporations like any other mainstream politician, or that he continued the racist War on Drugs. What would matter is that he has a cultural appeal that makes them swoon.
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Jadagul
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Jadagul »

Painboy wrote:
Mo wrote:I agree that the Soviets are underestimated looking back*. However, if anything Reagan was less actually aggressive than predecessors. Unlike pretty much all of his predecessors, he did not engage in a proxy war and engaged them diplomatically more.

* Though conservative hawks calling AQ and Iran bigger threats than the Soviets ever were is even more idiotic.
This is something I wish more people would acknowledge about Reagan. For all the perceived chest thumping, the most militaristic acts of his presidency was the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Libya. Both with a time and body count less than many single engagements in Iraq or Afghanistan. When the marine barracks in Lebanon was bombed by Hezbollah (250+ dead), we tossed a few shells at Hezbollah locations, said "Fuck you assholes," and left. And when Reagan got word that the Able Archer exercise was taken a little too seriously by the Soviets he immediately worked to engage them to prevent something like that from happening again. He also began the START treaty which ultimately led to a massive reduction in nuclear weapons.

Yet the guy is constantly portrayed as some kind of warmonger. Strangely by both his critics and his supporters at times. I see a lot of similarity with some of the criticism with Thatcher.
That's a good point, and I almost wonder if Reagan was able to get away with that because of the chest thumping--if his performance of "Patriotic militaristic warmonger" was good enough that conservatives wouldn't complain when he didn't actually monger many wars. Because he talked loudly he didn't have to actually do anything. (see also Thoreau's comment above).
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fyodor
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by fyodor »

thoreau wrote:Reagan is all things to all conservatives. He gets praised by hawks and isolationists, social conservatives and libertarians, budget hawks and "deficits don't matter" profligate spenders.

And now he gets cited by liberals who want to argue that today's GOP is far to the right of Reagan. What I don't think they get is that political instincts are about directions, not absolute positions. The only people who might (just might) have absolute stances rather than sympathies and leanings are really wonky types, and Reagan wasn't a wonk. If a man with Reagan's instincts and sympathies came around today, he'd join the party that's to the right and he'd advocate rightward, same as he did in the time and place that he existed in.
Hmm. I get the point that context matters. But I also wonder so what? I mean, if it's true that today's GOP holds positions to the right of Reagan, I think that kinda stands on its own. Who cares what zombie Ronnie would theoretically do today? The point isn't about Ronnie himself, it's about the GOP being to the right of where RR was then and, well, whatever that's supposed to mean (I can think of a few possibilities, but would rather not bother to hash them out, unless anyone thinks that's important).

Also, is no one going to talk about the lowering of marginal tax rates under Thatcher and Reagan and the ostensibly resultant sustained recovery? Oh, where is Ken Schultz when (well, more like the only time) we need him? ;)
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Mo
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Mo »

fyodor wrote:Also, is no one going to talk about the lowering of marginal tax rates under Thatcher and Reagan and the ostensibly resultant sustained recovery? Oh, where is Ken Schultz when (well, more like the only time) we need him? ;)
Then Krugman's point about lag is apt. For union busting, it makes sense that there was a lag, as it takes time to clean out. But cutting taxes should have relatively short incubation time.
his voice is so soothing, but why do conspiracy nuts always sound like Batman and Robin solving one of Riddler's puzzles out loud? - fod

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JasonL
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by JasonL »

My understanding is that there is absolutely no consensus on cause effect of tax cuts and growth in any particular instance. Too many interdependent and confounding variables.
Asharak
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Asharak »

JasonL wrote:On this topic I would say:

1) Holy crap have you guys seen that Meryl Streep horror show of a thatcher biopic? I've never seen anything that shitty and unfair. It literally begins with her in dementia, talking to her dead husband and looking for lost things (like maybe Her HUMANITY!!!) and plays her as shakepearean paranoid throughout. No no, there were no problems to solve, everything was great until she ruined the working man or whatever.

2) This plays into my overall complaint about overly harsh critiques of Thatcher and Reagan. Yes their libertarian bona fides are grossly exaggerated and especially when you calculate defense spending and such, but for one I often feel like in retrospect people act the Soviets in 1983 were some kind of non entity full of bluster and nevermind them and for another I simply don't understand how you can ignore the context of where the decade started in terms of growth, budget, labor markets, etc. That shit matters. A lot.

The overhaul was needed. Unsustainable commitments were being made all over the place and I can't help but think that a good portion of the acidity of the Thatcher critques comes from wishful thinking that these favored "nice" policies could continue forever.
I saw the opening of the movie and it was quite cruel, yes, especially with the quickie mart patrons not recognizing her.

I wouldn't say the Soviets were a non-entity back then, but they were actually on their last legs and it was the Afghan war that finished them off.
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Shem
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Shem »

Jadagul wrote:
Painboy wrote:
Mo wrote:I agree that the Soviets are underestimated looking back*. However, if anything Reagan was less actually aggressive than predecessors. Unlike pretty much all of his predecessors, he did not engage in a proxy war and engaged them diplomatically more.

* Though conservative hawks calling AQ and Iran bigger threats than the Soviets ever were is even more idiotic.
This is something I wish more people would acknowledge about Reagan. For all the perceived chest thumping, the most militaristic acts of his presidency was the invasion of Grenada and the bombing of Libya. Both with a time and body count less than many single engagements in Iraq or Afghanistan. When the marine barracks in Lebanon was bombed by Hezbollah (250+ dead), we tossed a few shells at Hezbollah locations, said "Fuck you assholes," and left. And when Reagan got word that the Able Archer exercise was taken a little too seriously by the Soviets he immediately worked to engage them to prevent something like that from happening again. He also began the START treaty which ultimately led to a massive reduction in nuclear weapons.

Yet the guy is constantly portrayed as some kind of warmonger. Strangely by both his critics and his supporters at times. I see a lot of similarity with some of the criticism with Thatcher.
That's a good point, and I almost wonder if Reagan was able to get away with that because of the chest thumping--if his performance of "Patriotic militaristic warmonger" was good enough that conservatives wouldn't complain when he didn't actually monger many wars. Because he talked loudly he didn't have to actually do anything. (see also Thoreau's comment above).
Dude didn't have to actually fight. Massively increasing defense spending, especially on measures to preempt the Soviet first-strike capability, was more than enough to establish his "we're ready for war, commies" bona fides. If anything, it's better. Makes the other guy wonder what you're saving your strength for. He was profoundly lucky the Soviets didn't have a warmonger of their own in charge; somebody more ideological might well have decided to go down shooting when it was obvious the wheels were coming off no matter what. For a guy who believed the Soviets were the Evil Empire, he sure was careless in his dealings with them. Almost irresponsible.
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Asharak
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Asharak »

Jennifer wrote:
Reagan was pretty much the same -- you can't limit government and ramp up the war on drugs simultaneously. In both cases I suspect their admirers AND detractors paid more attention to their labels -- Republican or Conservative -- than to anything they actually did.
Agreed.

Thatcher's own admirers and detractors also claim that she reduced the UK's welfare state. Could have fooled me.
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Shem
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Shem »

Asharak wrote:I wouldn't say the Soviets were a non-entity back then, but they were actually on their last legs and it was the Afghan war that finished them off.
It did a lot of damage, but you can't underestimate glasnost and perestroika. Putting free speech before economic development meant that people were free to take out their frustrations about their crappy standard of living on the government. Can't really blame the leaders, since it's not like they had a lot of historical examples to draw wisdom from, but their government definitely would have been longer-lasting if they had done something more like China. And, I think we'd all be better off for it had they done so.
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Asharak
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Asharak »

Mo wrote:
Then Krugman's point about lag is apt. For union busting, it makes sense that there was a lag, as it takes time to clean out. But cutting taxes should have relatively short incubation time.
Speaking of taxes, I recall that proposing new taxes was what helped lead to Thatcher's downfall. It wasn't a smart thing to piss off her own middle class supporters.
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Fin Fang Foom
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Fin Fang Foom »

Mo wrote:[H]e did not engage in a proxy war . . . .
THOREAU! Help me! Use your physics powers to get me back to my own timeline!

[Afghanistan, Contras, El Salvador]
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Fin Fang Foom
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by Fin Fang Foom »

Asharak wrote:
Mo wrote:
Then Krugman's point about lag is apt. For union busting, it makes sense that there was a lag, as it takes time to clean out. But cutting taxes should have relatively short incubation time.
Speaking of taxes, I recall that proposing new taxes was what helped lead to Thatcher's downfall. It wasn't a smart thing to piss off her own middle class supporters.
That was the poll tax, a flat tax per person, which was to pay for local services and replaced some kind of property tax.
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thoreau
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Re: The Iron Lady

Post by thoreau »

Fin Fang Foom wrote:
Mo wrote:[H]e did not engage in a proxy war . . . .
THOREAU! Help me! Use your physics powers to get me back to my own timeline!

[Afghanistan, Contras, El Salvador]
GREAT SCOTT!!!
"saying 'socialism' where normies can hear it is wrapping a bunch of barbed wire around a bat, handing the bat to the GOP, and standing with your head in the strike zone."
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