One major analytic error I think liberals tend to make is vastly overstating the level of dishonesty among conservative pundits, analysts, advocates, etc. The crux of the matter is that the overwhelming majority of smart people with conservative political opinions are working as businessmen. If they think about public policy at all, they’re thinking about how to cheat on their taxes or clever knew ways to bilk the public, and certainly not talking about it. So you’re left with a kind of denuded population in terms of brainpower. But at the same time, smart conservative businessmen have financed a staggering array of conservative institutions creating a tremendous number of jobs for conservative pundits and so forth despite the shallow talent pool. The result is a lot of people saying dumb things that they genuinely believe.
Which is all by way of introducing an excellent Barron Young Smith post in which he recaps a dispute between Jon Chait and Stephen Spuriell over the latter’s bizarre critique of Barack Obama’s student loan program and then ads his own detailed demolition of Spuriell’s stance. I think if you read it, it quickly becomes clear that Spruiell has no idea why he opposes student loan reform. Or, rather, he knows he opposes it because Obama proposed it and conservative politicians mobilized against it. So he started grabbing random ideas and throwing them together, citing Jason DeLisle without attempting to understand what he was saying, and generally making a fool out of himself.