From Arnold Kling‘s entry yesterday:
Kwak goes on to endorse Chinn’s ideological rant that the Bush tax cuts caused the financial crisis. Yes, I know that Chinn is speaking in the tone of economic analysis rather than a rant, but only a left-wing ideologue would take the thesis seriously. I bet Kwak cannot find a blog post of Chinn’s where he made a policy point against Democrats/liberals or for Republicans/conservatives.
Where Kling is responding to James Kwak‘s assertion: “[Menzie] Chinn is not given to ideological ranting.” (Thanks, James).
I don’t find it very profitable to characterize anybody’s posts as “rants”, but I thought it useful to see what the definition is:
A rant or harangue is a speech or text that does not present a well-researched and calm argument; rather, it is typically an attack on an idea, a person or an institution, and very often lacks proven claims. Such attacks are usually personal attacks.
For those interested in reading my purported “rant”, please see this article by myself me and Harvard professor Jeffry Frieden.
In his post, Dr. Kling lays down an explicit challenge. Well, I’m ready to take up the challenge. But before going down that route, let me pose philosophical question whether being an ideologue is the same as taking only one side of an argument. Suppose it’s 1861, and you can only find fault with the desire by certain States to impose a certain peculiar institution. Does that make one an ideologue?
Well, on to Dr. Kling’s challenge to identify cases where I supported positions adopted by Republicans or conservatives. I think these fall into cases referring to trade policy (specifically Doha round); gas tax vs. CAFE standards; TARP (that was a Bush Administration initiative, yes?); renminbi policy; fiscal restraint (well, that used to be something Republicans believed in). That’s already five issue-areas. And just to set the record straight, I did work for half a year in the G.W. Bush Administration (at the staff, not policy, level).
Let me conclude that in my view it is a supreme irony that Dr. Kling feels qualified to label me an ideologue. For my part, I will eschew such labeling.
Update, 8/29 10:50pm: Arnold Kling apologizes, and I am happy to accept. As for myself, I will not use the term “ideological rant” in my characterizations.