Do you remember when . . .

The GOP favored free trade

Democrats worried about immigration

The GOP favored tight money

Liberals favored free speech

Conservatives thought it was naive to claim that North Korean nukes are no threat to the US

Liberals supported Israel

Conservatives worried about the Russian threat

Liberals mocked the conservative fear of Russia

Conservatives worried about sex scandals

Liberals thought it was hip to ignore sex scandals

The GOP opposed increasing government spending faster than GDP

Liberals opposed Harvard admission quotas on high achieving minority groups.

Conservatives were skeptical of antitrust laws

Liberals favored a colorblind society

Conservatives wanted to ban non-PC art

Liberals liked activist judges

Conservatives thought the President should be forced to testify under oath, and get impeached if he lied

Liberals liked Al Franken, Woody Allen, Garrison Keillor, Bill Cosby, Charlie Rose and Bill Clinton

Conservatives liked George Bush, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and John McCain

Republicans “believed the women”, and Democrats did not.

Just to be clear, I’m in favor of some of these changes and opposed to others.  It’s sad that I have to make this disclaimer.  But it’s the internet.

PS.  File this story under Trump Derangement Syndrome



14 Responses to “Do you remember when . . .”

  1. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    27. September 2018 at 10:11

    It may be logical for parties in a two-party system to hold opposing views. Maybe that’s why the system is so stable.

    However, I can not remember when the Liberals supported Israel. Large sections of the left represent the new anti-Semitism since at least the 1960s.

  2. Gravatar of Doug M Doug M
    27. September 2018 at 15:15

    This is the best think I have seen all day.

    Thank you.

  3. Gravatar of Scott Sumner Scott Sumner
    27. September 2018 at 15:18

    Christian, The liberals strongly supported Israel in the 1967 War, at least in America.

  4. Gravatar of E. Harding E. Harding
    27. September 2018 at 19:14

    “Liberals supported Israel”

    They still do (on the elected official level). Gillum, Schumer, Cuomo, etc. Bernie might be an exception. But he’s a rare one.

    “However, I can not remember when the Liberals supported Israel.”

    Are you on crack? Liberals were always generally in support of Israel, and that support was much greater in earlier times.

    “Conservatives worried about the Russian threat”

    They still do (on the elected official level). The sole exception is the Paul/Amash/Massie/Duncan group. If conservatives have stopped worrying about the “Russian threat” it’s only because they think Russia has submitted to them like Ford claims to have done to Kavanaugh back in the day. And they’re apparently right. Look at Russia’s shameful capitulation in regards to Idlib.

    “Liberals opposed Harvard admission quotas on high achieving minority groups.”

    That was, like, the 1940s, at latest.

    “Conservatives wanted to ban non-PC art”

    They still do.

    “Conservatives liked George Bush, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, and John McCain”

    They still do (well, for the most part). The change was mostly from liberals, not conservatives.

    “Liberals liked activist judges”

    Every single liberal still likes activist judges. What are you talking about?

  5. Gravatar of Hmmm Hmmm
    28. September 2018 at 11:17

    Robin Hanson nailed this phenomenon.

    “Politics is not about policy.”

    The last 2 years are undeniable proof.

  6. Gravatar of Mike Sandifer Mike Sandifer
    28. September 2018 at 14:32


    How are you defining “support for Israel”? As a liberal, I support the right of Israel to exist, but I don’t think Israel needs material support from the US anymore, and I don’t want to support the continued illegal develop of settlements in the West Bank.

    For that matter, I think the original Zionist movement was misguided, but that once established, Israel both had the right to exist and that we had a cold war interest in their existence.

  7. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    28. September 2018 at 17:44

    Scott, you are right about that specific war but the sentiment began to change around that time. First the USSR (even before the war), then other communists wordwide, then the European left, and then the American left maybe last. Now almost the entire left is heading down Corbyn lane more and more.

    I like the idea by Hanson that X is not about X but in this case it’s a bit too tautological. Of course politics is, first of all, about power and gathering as many voters behind you as possible, and about policy only in a second or third step. You can not implement and enforce policy without power. Maybe that’s why the English language got two slightly different words for it: “Politics” for the power struggle and “policy” for the content.

  8. Gravatar of Phil H Phil H
    28. September 2018 at 20:05

    This is a great list. It’s almost as though politicians are careerist climbers without any values at all!

    But I’d like to suggest that all of this is a good thing. When our “values” are so relatively unimportant that we can fairly freely swap them between the parties, that indicates a high level of consensus on the really important stuff. Cf. that quote about academic politics being vicious because there isn’t much at stake.

    The worry is that actually there is a lot at stake, it’s just that no-one’s noticed it. Perhaps with better leaders we could have solved old age and be living in harmony on the moon by now.

  9. Gravatar of Koishi Koishi
    29. September 2018 at 01:37

    “Liberals favored a colorblind society”

    When was this ever true? Liberals have supported ie affirmative action since at least the 1960s

  10. Gravatar of Michael Rulle Michael Rulle
    29. September 2018 at 04:12

    Not a bad list although as some readers noted all the timing issues are not necessarily in line. I also find these changes through time to be unavoidable. Knowing full well this will be seen as obnoxious, but I still think truthful, I will add a few that refers to one thing that has not changed.

    “I remember when GOP voted overwhelming for Democratic liberal Supreme Court Justices——-except Garland——even when they were pro choice”

    I remember when Liberals referred to Black conservatives, including Justice Thomas, and others, as “unqualified and Uncle Toms”

    I remember when Liberals promised they would “do anything” including “break the law” as SPARTICUS to stop a conservative appointee.

    I could reword these to fit your style, but what the heck, it’s true none the less.

  11. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    29. September 2018 at 05:32

    @Phil H

    This is a great list. It’s almost as though politicians are careerist climbers without any values at all!

    When our “values” are so relatively unimportant

    That’s one way to interpret Scott’s observations and from the framing of Scott’s post one might assume that he heads into a very similar direction.

    I think I have to disagree here. If a political party changes its point of view, but many of its constituents do not, then a gap is created which, of course, is taken up by other politicians. I would like to emphasize “other politicians” here. The politicians themselves don’t stay the same (like you seem to imply), they simple get replaced by other candidates (and/or parties).

    Examples might be Nixon’s southern strategy, the Tea Party, the Trumpers and Never-Trumpers, the decline of the two major French, German, and Italian parties, and so on. The Corbyn Party of today is certainly not the New Labour of Tony Blair. Sanders is no Bill Clinton. There are many other examples. Those politicians are not really flip-flopping, they simple got replaced.

    And what we have not talked about here is, of course, that the opinions of voters themselves are also changing. For example, there were plenty of Bush-style and Tea-party-style politicians in the last GOP primaries, but voters explicitly wanted Trump.

  12. Gravatar of ssumner ssumner
    29. September 2018 at 16:37

    Hmmm, Yes, Hanson was way ahead of the rest of us.

  13. Gravatar of Edwin Alvarenga Edwin Alvarenga
    29. September 2018 at 17:53

    Can you explain the “believe the women” one? Is there a reference I’m missing? Maybe I’m too young.

  14. Gravatar of Christian List Christian List
    30. September 2018 at 14:44

    Bill Clinton was President from 1993 to 2001. Women accused him of sexual misconduct. The scandals are being discussed again since about 2017. So young age is not really an excuse here.

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