The Difference Between Democrats and Republicans.

If you've noticed a strange unanimity among Republicans over the last few days about what a bad idea it is for the Fed to inject some money into the economy, well, it's no accident. Take a read at this article (via Kevin Drum) from The Wall Street Journal this weekend:

A group of prominent Republican-leaning economists, coordinating with Republican lawmakers and political strategists, is launching a campaign this week calling on Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke to drop his plan to buy $600 billion in additional U.S. Treasury bonds. ...

Last Tuesday evening, about 20 economists and others met over sea bass at the University of Pennsylvania Club in Manhattan and hashed out a broad strategy. Mr. [Paul] Ryan, who has gained notice for a plan to balance the federal budget through deep spending cuts, joined the group as they discussed ways to encourage the GOP's new House majority to unite behind what they describe as a "sound money policy."

"We talked about the importance of the right being outspoken and unified on this," said a participant. Mr. Ryan couldn't be reached Sunday.

Over the weekend, organizers began discussions with possible GOP presidential candidates, including former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich. On Tuesday, Mr. Boskin and another signer, Paul Singer, head of hedge fund Elliott Management, will brief GOP governors at a conference in San Diego.

The beauty of the right's hive mind is that it doesn't need hierarchy. There are multiple ways an idea can be injected into the system and then immediately spread through it. Two weeks ago, almost no Republican who wasn't an economist even new what quantitative easing was, much less had an opinion on it. But now they all do, even Sarah Palin. But it doesn't take a vaguely conspiratorial meeting to get the ball rolling; it might have been a report from a think tank, a statement by a congressman, or a thought that popped into Rush Limbaugh's head. But once the idea that this is what conservatives ought to believe emerges, it propagates itself with amazing speed.

And the left? I can't tell you how many meeting and conference calls I've participated in over the last few years in which someone says to the assembled progressives, "We need to be outspoken and unified about this." The difference is that when Republicans decide to be outspoken and unified, it actually happens.

-- Paul Waldman

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