Perhaps these are becoming counter-productive, but I see your Obama's Uncle and raise you Alan Freaking Reynolds! Including extra bonus David Stockman whacks. Oh man, it's like Easter and Christmas and my birthday all at once!
Newt Gingrich's alleged role in the development of supply-side economics sometimes looks like a deliberate distraction from deeper questions about why he claims to be more "conservative" than other candidates. Gingrich is the only candidate who repeatedly advocated federal legislation making health insurance compulsory. He has enthusiastically supported federal subsidies for ethanol and other green energy boondoggles. And he dismissed a thoughtful plan from Paul Ryan to slow the growth of entitlements as "right wing social engineering." Other candidates have their own faults. Romney seems hawkish for my taste, too prone to blaming our problems on China, and too harsh on immigration. But those are very common views among conservatives, arguably making Newt more moderate than Mitt in these respects.
For Newt Gingrich to toss out strikingly grandiose and obviously unworkable ideas about scrapping many taxes and slashing others is for him to reveal that he's far from moderate. But being immoderate is not the same as being conservative. And voicing flippant disregard for budget problems of the magnitude we face is not the same as being any sort of economist, supply-side or otherwise.
The one major accomplishment of Barack Obama has been to bring a sudden and abrupt end the people's ability to tolerate this tacitly understood game between the two major Parties.
All the other challengers were easily eliminated or made irrelevant, as they did not have the money or experience of knowing how the game is played, but Newt refused to just slink away. Never has the Republican Establishment trained its guns on any one candidate in such an unbridled and unrestrained way.
Perhaps Newt Gingrich or Rick Santorum or Ron Paul are not the right candidates to face Barack Obama, but that decision should be up to the voters. While it maybe the role of the conservative pundit class to proffer their opinions of the various candidates, it is not the role of the overall Establishment to so marginalize candidates that there appears to be only one viable alternative.
The Establishment could not have made a more strategic blunder. They will, in all likelihood, succeed in securing the nomination for Mitt Romney, but the damage they have inflicted upon themselves is approaching irreversible. The public now sees the length to which the Establishment will go to make certain their hand-picked candidate is chosen regardless of the dire circumstances facing the nation.
In what seems to be shaping up as a personality contest between Mitt Romney and supporters Nikki Haley, Chris Christie, George Will et.al on one side and Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, Herman Cain, Arthur Laffer and more on the other side, Thomas Sowell weighs in to say it isn't one candidate or another that must not be rewarded, but his tactic.
Gingrich is by no means above criticism. He has been criticized in this column before, over the years, including during the current primary season, and he will probably be criticized here again.
But the poisonous practice of irresponsible smears is an issue that is bigger than Gingrich, Romney or any other candidate of either party.
There have long been reports of people who decline to be nominated for federal judicial appointments because that means going before the Senate Judiciary Committee to have lies about their past spread nationwide, and the good reputation built up over a lifetime destroyed by politicians who could not care less about the truth.
The same practices may well have something to do with the public's dissatisfaction with the current crop of candidates in this year's primaries -- and in previous years' primaries. Character assassination is just another form of voter fraud.
There is no law against it, so it is up to the voters, not only in Florida but in other states, to punish it at the ballot box -- the only place where punishment is likely to stop the practice.
A vote for anyone but Newt at this point in the process is a vote for the politics of personal destruction, and the continuation of business-as-usual in Washington D.C.
Not a promising, conciliatory beginning, izzit? Portends poorly for the tenor of the whole piece...
We start, as James Pethokoukis did, with Art Laffer's (HOSS alert!) shining guest editorial on the Speaker's bold 15% flat tax plan.
Imagine what would happen to international capital flows if the U.S. went from the second highest business tax country in the world to one of the lowest. Low taxes along with all of America's other great attributes would precipitate a flood of new investment in this country as well as a quick repatriation of American funds held abroad. We would create more jobs than you could shake a stick at. And those jobs would be productive jobs, not make-work jobs like so many of Mr. Obama's stimulus jobs.
Sounds pretty good, huh? Well it is, and Jimi P likes it as well. Unfortunately...
If only Gingrich were as bold and specific when it came to cutting spending. Even Laffer admits in the op-ed that the Gingrich plan--despite faster economic growth--would be a revenue loser to the government. Now, that's not such a big deal if you also plan to slash the size of government. But Gingrich doesn't say what he would cut, aside from, dare I say it, grandiose projections like this one in his "21st Century Contract for America": [Hint: Six-sigma, baby! Waste, fraud and abuse!]
Sorry to be bellicose, but that is what a bass player I knew called "the crux of the biscuit." Government is going to be leaner and more efficient. It is going to do things you like and not things your lefty Facebook friends like.
But I want less government. I want government to do less. And I continue to believe in an existential threat if we continue down this road. And all the current GOP candidates except one will continue down this road in some fashion. Ergo, with some trepidation, I will be caucusing for Rep. Ron Paul. And I hope he wins the nomination and the general election.
Don Luskin is right, this guy really is Ellsworth Toohey:
Mitch Daniels, the former Bush budget director who is now Indiana's governor, made the Republicans' reply to President Obama's State of the Union address. His performance was, well, boring. But he did say something thought-provoking -- and I mean that in the worst way.
There is a cottage industry devoted to criticizing Krugman: from economic, political, and stylistic perspectives. I generally prefer to pretend that he doesn't exist. But my (biological) brother posted a link to this column, and a friend of his with whom I've tussled comments:
I so enjoyed the SOTU, I didn't want to ruin it by listening to one of my fellow Hoosiers. It started out sounding like the usual fur-ball coughed up by Republican puppets who can't think for themselves and it seems it didn't get any better after I turned it off.
Yes. When someone says something you don't agree with, stick your fingers in your ears and yell "la-la-la-la-la-la-la-la!"
But that's not important. And the etiquette of reposting friend's comment is borderline at best. What is important is the anti-Randian thesis of the piece. China (leftists and dictatorships, no no pattern, move along, pilgrim...) is economically swell because they have a concentration of factories. Apple is not swell because they outsource and do not contribute to the collective industrial community in the good old USA.
Now, I am an underlying fan of the first half. Colonial Connecticut, Silicon Valley, and the Jazzmen of 52nd Street demonstrate the power of critical mass. But Krugman wants to do it via top-down economics.
But the current Republican worldview has no room for such considerations. From the G.O.P.'s perspective, it's all about the heroic entrepreneur, the John Galt, I mean Steve Jobs-type "job creator" who showers benefits on the rest of us and who must, of course, be rewarded with tax rates lower than those paid by many middle-class workers.
And this vision helps explain why Republicans were so furiously opposed to the single most successful policy initiative of recent years: the auto industry bailout.
In '88, Gov Dukakis championed the "Massachusetts Miracle" and touted that he would bring Route 128 prosperity to the whole country. Vice President Bush's team responded with video of a filthy Boston Harbor, decrepit homes in Roxbury, &c. I suggest that "President Obama wants to bring Detroit to the whole country" would be a good campaign issue -- for both sides.
I had planned to do a writeup on the American Thinker article by this name but I'll leave it to Terri at ILinkThereforeIErr. I mentioned it to dagny this morning as she's still refusing to caucus for Newt - I thought it might help sway her. Terri does a bang-up job with the piece (except for still presuming Mitt will be the nominee.)
One of the greatest concerts of my life was Arlo Guthrie up at Red Rocks. He is a gifted showman/storyteller who entertains with just the right amount of political bite. Nor am I at all certain his bite matches Papa Woody's doctrinaire Communism. All the jazz and blues greats I have been privileged to see, I remember Arlo Guthrie most vividly.
Submitted for your approval -- Arlo Guthrie "I'm Changing my Name to Fannie Mae:"
Forget global warming -- it's Cycle 25 we need to worry about (and if NASA scientists are right the Thames will be freezing over again)
Met Office releases new figures which show no warming in 15 years.
The supposed 'consensus' on man-made global warming is facing an inconvenient challenge after the release of new temperature data showing the planet has not warmed for the past 15 years. The figures suggest that we could even be heading for a mini ice age to rival the 70-year temperature drop that saw frost fairs held on the Thames in the 17th Century. Based on readings from more than 30,000 measuring stations, the data was issued last week without fanfare by the Met Office and the University of East Anglia Climatic Research Unit. It confirms that the rising trend in world temperatures ended in 1997.
East Anglia Climatic Research Unit...now where have I heard that name...
But this whole thing isn’t really about Newt Gingrich vs. Mitt Romney. It is about the GOP establishment vs. the Tea Party grassroots and independent Americans who are sick of the politics of personal destruction used now by both parties’ operatives with a complicit media egging it on. In fact, the establishment has been just as dismissive of Ron Paul and Rick Santorum. Newt is an imperfect vessel for Tea Party support, but in South Carolina the Tea Party chose to get behind him instead of the old guard’s choice. In response, the GOP establishment voices denounced South Carolinian voters with the same vitriol we usually see from the left when they spew hatred at everyday Americans “bitterly clinging” to their faith and their Second Amendment rights. The Tea Party was once again told to sit down and shut up and listen to the “wisdom” of their betters. We were reminded of the litany of Tea Party endorsed candidates in 2010 who didn’t win. Well, here’s a little newsflash to the establishment: without the Tea Party there would have been no historic 2010 victory at all.
Click continue reading to see my comment to the FB thread.
There are 5 men in this country from whom we may now choose to be its next President. None are perfect and each has flaws for which some of us will "disqualify" him. I have disqualified ALL of them at one point or another. Ultimately, I believe, the greatest threat to America comes from Crony Capitalism - cozy personal and financial relationships between establishment politicians and CINO businessmen (Capitalists in Name Only.) Our greatest hope for ending bailouts is an electable Republican - Newt Gingrich. I trust Sarah and Michael and Nancy Reagan. They are great Americans. Romney is a nice guy with the wrong friends and backers: Republicans who give the brand a bad name. I don't oppose Romney so much as I oppose THEM. Watch this (especially after 21:30 mark): http://vimeo.com/35369616 Who am I? I am the TEA Party.
I linked to Senator Mark Udall's survey for Congressional priorities. The results are in:
Udall was my old Congressman in überliberal Boulder, and I first thought that this extremely balanced distribution represented CO-2. I've calmed down a little that it is the whole state. But having watched it go purple and then indigo -- I think this augers well for liberty.
Via email my brother mocked his Newtness for the moon colony contretemps.
"Do you think putting a manned colony on the moon is a good idea? You're kidding me right! Moon colonization and Obama care are both bad ideas."
He still likes Newt mind you, he just thinks this is a stupid idea that Gingrich should take out of his bag of tricks. Maybe he's right, but I remember the sense of wonder and national pride that gripped this nation during the Apollo age. I could live through that again without complaint. At any rate, it got me wondering why all the moon colony talk all of a sudden. This led me to a related discovery that we didn't notice at the time, possibly because Judge Vinson had just vacated Obamacare in Florida.
"The fact that we've found so many planet candidates in such a tiny fraction of the sky suggests there are countless planets orbiting sun-like stars in our galaxy," said William Borucki of NASA's Ames Research Center in Moffett Field, Calif., the mission's science principal investigator. "We went from zero to 68 Earth-sized planet candidates and zero to 54 candidates in the habitable zone, some of which could have moons with liquid water."
"In our galaxy." Imagine giving the "Palestinians" not just their own state, but their own planet.
Electability? The gender gap? Two very liberal women friends of mine who voted for Obama have come up to me recently and said they like and would vote for Newt. Why? Because he’s “so damn smart”! --Melissa O'Sullivan in "Send Us Newt"
Even more good quotes lie within, like the one about Newt's replacement as Speaker after his own party ousted him. (Hint: Dennis Hastert)
Several mentions have been made, some recently, of a Three Sources Blogger Bash. It is in this spirit that I propose a ThreeSources.COM blogger table at this year's Weld County (Colorado) Republican Party "Lincoln Day Dinner."
The Lincoln Day Dinner is an annual fundraiser and kickoff event for the election season by the Weld GOP. Congressman Cory Gardner (CO-4) is the Featured Speaker and former Senator Hank Brown is the Master of Ceremonies.
I realize this is very short notice - next Saturday night at the UNC Grand Ballroom in Greeley - but I received news this morning that I believe gives the event much more appeal. Since the state caucus date was moved up to February 7 by last year's state legislature, there will be some high profile visitors to our state that week. And being one of only two such dinners statewide that were scheduled in advance for February 4 it is one of the best opportunities for politicians to address a large gathering of active Republicans.
At this morning's Weld County Republican Central Committee meeting it was announced that former Senator Rick Santorum has confirmed that he will appear and speak at the dinner. Since the dinner is a fundraiser for the County party organization and not the candidate(s) the cost is a paltry $50 per person. Such dinners are usually at least $250 for presidential fundraisers (which this is NOT.) To sweeten the offer just a little, the party Chair also said she has been in contact with the staff for two other presidential candidates and "there is a 50/50 chance that one or more of them will also appear and speak." (She did not name the candidates.)
I don't know about y'all but the idea of meeting all you folks over dinner and listening to these guys tell us all their political lies sounds like a right jolly good time. I've already asked the party secretary to reserve a table (8 seats) for me and I need to give her a confirmation by Monday. Let's do it! Spouses and other guests are encouraged. I should be able to get additional tables, if needed, if we move quickly. Please chime in with questions and RSVPs in the comments.
Time is of the essence! Please try to RSVP no later than Sunday, January 29 (tomorrow.)
While Bob Dole was endorsing Romney yesterday, former Reagan administration official Elliot Abrams loudly denounced Newt Gingrich's Reagan cred. Everyone remembers, right?
The best examples come from a famous floor statement Gingrich made on March 21, 1986. This was right in the middle of the fight over funding for the Nicaraguan contras; the money had been cut off by Congress in 1985, though Reagan got $100 million for this cause in 1986. Here is Gingrich: "Measured against the scale and momentum of the Soviet empire’s challenge, the Reagan administration has failed, is failing, and without a dramatic change in strategy will continue to fail. . . . President Reagan is clearly failing. Why? This was due partly to “his administration’s weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail”; partly to CIA, State, and Defense, which “have no strategies to defeat the empire.”"
That's right. Mr. Scheve, incensed at what he felt was a deliberate misrepresentation of his old boss by Abrams and the Romney forces, specifically of Gingrich's long ago March 21, 1986 "Special Order" speech on the floor of the House, and aware "that most of his [Abrams'] comments had to have been selectively taken from the special order" -- Scheve started digging. Since the Congressional Record for 1986 was difficult to obtain electronically, Scheve trekked to the George Mason Library to physically track down the March 21, 1986 edition of the Congressional Record. Locating it, copying and scanning, he was kind enough to send to me.
So now I've read the Gingrich speech that is the source of all the hoopla. All seven, fine print pages worth of it exactly as it appeared in its original form.
I can only say that what Elliott Abrams wrote in NRO about Newt Gingrich based on this long ago speech is not worthy of Elliott Abrams.
And here's the money quote:
• Abrams quotes Newt for saying in this speech that Reagan's policies towards the Soviets are "inadequate and will ultimately fail." This is shameful. Why? Here's what Newt said -- in full and in context:
"The fact is that George Will, Charles Krauthammer, Irving Kristol, and Jeane Kirkpatrick are right in pointing out the enormous gap between President Reagan's strong rhetoric, which is adequate, and his administration's weak policies, which are inadequate and will ultimately fail."
So he criticized Reagan's administration, not Reagan himself. Add to this the frequent reminders that "the establishment never trusted Reagan" and you start to see the bigger picture.
Better throw a bone to Brother jg; I have been pretty harsh of late.
Here's a great piece in AEI's The American on Bambi-nomics, where Robert McHenry fleshes out a jg theme -- this time with maggots!
Businesses that do what Bain does are sensitive about the common analogy comparing them to scavenger species in nature. In large part this is owing to how we are trained from childhood to think of nature in terms of postcard vistas, pettable furry things with large eyes, and the romantic notion of some sort of sweetly cooperative community of creatures. We tend not to teach children about vultures, fungi, slime molds, or maggots. More importantly, we do not teach them why such things are every bit as important to the ecology as Bambi. Without them, the world would soon be tree-deep in corpses, large and small, and life would become impossible. With them, the soil is constantly enriched with recycled nutrients, and life continues abundant. But this kind of comparison clearly doesn't help Bain's image very much.
This is not the way science is supposed to work, but we have seen it before--for example, in the frightening period when Trofim Lysenko hijacked biology in the Soviet Union. Soviet biologists who revealed that they believed in genes, which Lysenko maintained were a bourgeois fiction, were fired from their jobs. Many were sent to the gulag and some were condemned to death.
Why is there so much passion about global warming, and why has the issue become so vexing that the American Physical Society, from which Dr. Giaever resigned a few months ago, refused the seemingly reasonable request by many of its members to remove the word "incontrovertible" from its description of a scientific issue? There are several reasons, but a good place to start is the old question "cui bono?" Or the modern update, "Follow the money."
Alarmism over climate is of great benefit to many, providing government funding for academic research and a reason for government bureaucracies to grow. Alarmism also offers an excuse for governments to raise taxes, taxpayer-funded subsidies for businesses that understand how to work the political system, and a lure for big donations to charitable foundations promising to save the planet. Lysenko and his team lived very well, and they fiercely defended their dogma and the privileges it brought them.
Measured and professional -- yet pointed at the same time. You're all going to love it. I'm certain!
Before his account was hacked, brother jg had convinced me to reevaluate my perception of Governor Sarah Palin. I suggested that her populist appeal was swell but that she lacked intellectual heft.
My appraisal is extremely complicated. I still feel that picking her was the best thing Candidate McCain did in 2008. I feel she was undeservedly savaged by the media with zero support from the McCain team. I think the lefty "Palin Derangement Syndrome" is laughable. And I like her. The lovely bride and I watched her Alaska series, and I have followed her political moves with interest.
All this can be true and it does not mean that I wish to see a Palin candidacy (although this year, I've been looking at some three-legged, diabetic dogs...). Nor does it mean that I am comfortable with her having an oversized voice in GOP politics.
Tonight, she is guest on Stossel (Fox Business Network) and I will recalibrate all measurements to zero and start again.
Well, not directly. He meant to endorse Mitt Romney. In a statment, the former Senator from Kansas said:
I have not been critical of Newt Gingrich, but it is now time to take a stand before it is too late. If Gingrich is the nominee it will have an adverse impact on Republican candidates running for county, state and federal offices. Hardly anyone who served with Newt in Congress has endorsed him and that fact speaks for itself. He was a one-man-band who rarely took advice. It was his way or the highway.
Gingrich served as speaker from 1995 to 1999 and had trouble within his own party. Already in 1997 a number of House members wanted to throw him out as speaker. But he hung on until after the 1998 elections when the writing was on the wall. His mounting ethics problems caused him to resign in early 1999. I know whereof I speak as I helped establish a line of credit of $150,000 to help Newt pay off the fine for his ethics violations. In the end, he paid the fine with money from other sources.
Gingrich had a new idea every minute and most of them were off the wall. He loved picking a fight with Bill Clinton because he knew this would get the attention of the press. This and a myriad of other specifics helped to topple Gingrich in 1998.
In my run for the presidency in 1996 the Democrats greeted me with a number of negative TV ads, and in every one of them Newt was in the ad. He was very unpopular and I am not only certain that this did not help me, but that it also cost House seats that year. Newt would show up at the campaign headquarters with an empty ice-bucket in his hand — that was a symbol of some sort for him — and I never did know what he was doing or why he was doing it.
In my opinion if we want to avoid an Obama landslide in November, Republicans should nominate Governor Romney as our standard bearer. He has the requisite experience in the public and private sectors. He would be a president we could have confidence in.
When Mitt Romney is endorsed by Senators Dole and McCain, arguably two of the weakest Republican nominees since Adlai Stevenson, it can only help the former Speaker.
UPDATE: Mea maxima culpa. The Refugee meant to say Thomas Dewey, not Adlai Stevenson. He regrets the error. (And should fact check himself from time to time.)
Those of you who count Newt Gingrich's portliness as one of his many electoral handicaps, and I admit such a bias, may rest assured at least on this one count. In a lengthy and entertaining piece by RCP's Carl M. Cannon entitled Newt vs. Mitt: Can a Fat Man Beat a Thin Man? the author summarizes the social science:
Once again, the sexist double-standard manifested itself. Female "candidates" who carried excess weight were routinely devalued more than similarly girthed male candidates. But that wasn’t all. There was fascinating data about portly men: Overweight men -- but not truly obese men -- actually were judged more positively than thin ones. "Larger body size may be an asset for male candidates," Miller and Lundgren stated in a subsequent paper, postulating that this finding was not inconsistent with the gender bias they detected. "There is significant pressure for women in western society to be thin," they wrote, "but for men there is pressure to have muscle mass."
I was pundited out on Tuesday night and left John Stossel's special "libertarian response to the SOTU" on TiVo. MERCIFUL ZEUS! It was awesome. David Boaz from CATO, Matt Welch from Reason, Megan McArdle and Gov. Gary Johnson joined Stossel and a hard-Stossel-leaning studio audience to react to the speech.
As David Boaz said last night, Obama's talk of blueprints was telling. A blueprint is a simple plan that an architect imposes on an inanimate object. Obama really does seem to think that he can manage the economy in the same way. No, I don't think that he is a socialist. Rather, I think that he really believes there are technocratic levers that can make the income distribution flatter, the rate of innovation faster, and the banking system safer, without undesireable side effects.
After watching a large part of this David Stockman interview with Bill Moyers I'm about ready to adopt the dirty hippies #Occupy meme. When they villified "Wall Street" and "Greedy Corporations" I always had a mental image of Fidelity Investments and WalMart. But if I replace that with Goldman Sachs and General Electric I think we would agree on more than we differ.
This also magnifies my distrust of the GOP establishment and, by association, the Romney candidacy.
Thousands of loggers lost their jobs in the American Northwest because of dubious claims about wiping out the last of the spotted owls. This is just one example of environmental extremists' non-linear cost benefit analysis doing irreparable harm to the livelihoods of American workers.
The latest glaring example of this is TransCanada Corporation's Keystone XL Pipeline project. Despite the safety record showing pipelines to be the "safest, most efficient and economical way" to move the natural resource called crude oil, environmental activists have chosen spill hazards as the primary reason to oppose private construction of the new pipeline. But America is already criss-crossed by 55,000 miles of oil pipelines, many of which are small, old and in disrepair. And the spill rate [pg. 9] for those lines is 0.00109 incidents (spill of 50 bbl or more) per mile per year. That calculates to 60 spills every year. The estimated spill rate for the modern new Keystone XL [pg. 10] is 0.186 spills per year, anywhere over its entire 1371 mile length. (.000136 incidents per mile per year)
So the question every American voter should ask himself is, would I quit my job and ask 19,999 of my neighbors to quit theirs in order to avoid increasing the pipeline spill incident rate by 0.3 percent? (And have you even noticed any of the sixty-odd spills that already happen each year?)
It seemed like a big deal last Wednesday when Sarah Palin said if she were a South Carolina voter she would vote for Newt to keep the nomination contest going a while longer. In retrospect, big deal is a giant understatement. Weekly Standard:
According to the latest Rasmussen poll, Newt Gingrich now enjoys the support of 52 percent of Tea Party voters, and his huge advantage among such voters has vaulted him into the national lead in the GOP presidential race. The poll was taken yesterday, two days after Gingrich's win in the South Carolina primary, and it shows the former speaker leading Mitt Romney by an overall margin of 7 percentage points -- 35 to 28 percent. That result marks a 10-point swing between the two candidates from six days earlier, when Romney led Gingrich by 3 points in Rasmussen's polling (30 to 27 percent), and a 20-point swing from 19 days earlier, when Romney led Gingrich by 13 points (29 to 16 percent).
No doubt buoyed in part by the recent near-endorsement of Tea Party favorite Sarah Palin -- as well as that of Allen West (R., Fla.) -- Gingrich's level of support among Tea Party voters has risen from 24 percent shortly after Iowa (at which point he was tied with Romney among such voters), to 39 percent last Tuesday, to 52 percent in current polling.
As luck would have it, President Obama actually saved US and Canadian energy companies billions of wasted dollars by using the power of the regulatory state to stop construction of their "disastrous" tar sands pipeline. How do I know this? Al Gore says so.
"The analysis from the final EIS, noted above, indicates that denying the permit at this time is unlikely to have a substantial impact on U.S. employment, economic activity, trade, energy security, or foreign policy over the longer term." Source: Climate Progress
This is an important win not only for the thousands of activists who risked arrest—and for the hundreds who went to jail--but for all of us who want to try and role [sic] back the effects of the climate crisis, not magnify them.
And who could doubt the objective fiscal evaluations of Climate Progress?
No feature of the Obama presidency has been sadder than its constant efforts to divide us, to curry favor with some Americans by castigating others.
As in previous moments of national danger, we Americans are all in the same boat. If we drift, quarreling and paralyzed, over a Niagara of debt, we will all suffer, regardless of income, race, gender, or other category. If we fail to shift to a pro-jobs, pro- growth economic policy, there'll never be enough public revenue to pay for our safety net, national security, or whatever size government we decide to have.
As a loyal opposition, who put patriotism and national success ahead of party or ideology or any self-interest, we say that anyone who will join us in the cause of growth and solvency is our ally, and our friend. We will speak the language of unity. Let us rebuild our finances, and the safety net, and reopen the door to the stairway upward; any other disagreements we may have can wait.
The speech itself was excellent, and the delivery by Indiana's Governor Daniels had the added benefit of making Mitt Romney sound, by comparison, like a dynamo.
All the organization and money in the world can’t force folks to vote for you if they don’t want to, and now that Newt’s inoculated himself against further Super PAC attack ads and renegade ex-wives, it’s unlikely that Romney can carpet-bomb him as effectively as he did in Iowa. Newt’s now like one of those nuked Japanese film creatures that not only was not destroyed but is back, bigger, badder and more cheesed off than ever. -- NRO Michael Walsh
Read on to find analogies to the Battle of Gettysburg (primary election) and the boxer vs. the puncher (general election.)
The establishment GOP punditry has been dutifully besmirching Newt Gingrich as "radical" and "erratic." Too much so, they say, to be elected president much less hold the office. But what about the other guy? IBD's editorial page appreciates the way that Newt goes about reminding the media, and the voters, who that guy in the Oval Office really is.
Alinsky's radicalism despises capitalism, entrepreneurship, individualism and, most of all, American exceptionalism. It is the genesis of Obama's demonization of the successful and his passion for the redistribution but not the creation of wealth. It's at the heart of his ongoing apology tour where he tells the world we are sorry for acting like we are mankind's last best hope for mankind, a belief Newt Gingrich shares with President Ronald Reagan.
Obama's is the belief system that Newt Gingrich told NBC's David Gregory, "is fundamentally different from probably 80% of this country." That would be a comfortable electoral majority, would it not? Does Mitt Romney even know how to pronounce "Alinsky?"
<understatement>Bret Stephens is a little down in the dumps</understatement>
In The GOP Deserves to Lose, he makes our commentariat look energized and enthusiastic. You'll want to read the whole thing, but the ThreeSources Style Guide dictates that I excerpt. Where to start? Where to stop?
As for the current GOP field, it's like confronting a terminal diagnosis. There may be an apparent range of treatments: conventional (Romney), experimental (Gingrich), homeopathic (Paul) or prayerful (Santorum). But none will avail you in the end. Just try to exit laughing.
Getting a taste?
Finally, there are the men not in the field: Mitch Daniels, Paul Ryan, Chris Christie, Jeb Bush, Haley Barbour. This was the GOP A-Team, the guys who should have showed up to the first debate but didn't because running for president is hard and the spouses were reluctant. Nothing commends them for it. If this election is as important as they all say it is, they had a duty to step up. Abraham Lincoln did not shy from the contest of 1860 because of Mary Todd. If Mr. Obama wins in November--or, rather, when he does--the failure will lie as heavily on their shoulders as it will with the nominee.
A lot of viewers were expecting Gladiator Newt to burst upon the stage, unsheath his sword, behead a moderator or two, hurl the decapitated-anchor noggin into the audience and bellow, "ARE YOU NOT ENTERTAINED?!?" But this was a comparably subdued Newt. -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]
Heh. Makes me think of Tiananmen Square! The Boston Bruins were honored with a White House reception today marking the occasion of their Stanley Cup victory last season. The team's players were in attendance, except one.
Nearly every other member of the Bruins was at the ceremony, where President Obama congratulated the team on its victory. Thomas is a staunch conservative and is expected to explain his snub of the president on his Facebook page this evening.
The WSJ Ed page analysis of The Gingrich Challenge is 20/20. If Romney can't beat Gingrich he probably can't beat Obama, and if Gingrich doesn't discipline himself, stay on message, and broaden his appeal then he won't succeed either.
The Republican nominee will have to make a sustained and specific case that Mr. Obama's policies made the recovery weaker than it should have been (stimulus, health care), squandered resources on political boondoggles (Solyndra), and how and why GOP policies will do better. Mr. Romney's 59 economic proposals are fine but forgettable little ideas. He needs a big idea.
Gingrich has been talking about these big ideas. However...
Mr. Gingrich will also eventually need a more inclusive message than he is now offering. He made a stab at it in his South Carolina victory remarks by mentioning the strengths of his competitors. His bow to Mr. Paul's "sound money" platform was especially shrewd, but then he kept talking and talking in his familiar undisciplined fashion.
He needs to practice the politics of addition with independents and nonconservatives.
The TEA Party is dead, they say? Not so quick. But remember it's the message, not the messenger, that we will reward.
What a great weekend for blogging and, pari passu, a rotten weekend for getting other stuff done.
The discussion of the GOP race was thoughtful and fun and spirited and serious -- everything I love. With several threads going, I risk another to address a direct statement: "So what you're saying is, Newt doesn't love liberty."
Yes. I am saying that at the bottom of the Speaker's [adjective], [adjective] heart is a Teddy-Rooseveltian desire to wield the levers of government to do great things. As Professor Reynolds would say, "What could possibly go wrong?"
I back this scurrilous charge with the Speaker's support for ethanol subsidies, and his lobbying-but-not-really-lobbying for Freddie Mac and previous support of the GSE model.
If we need a man to school Juan Williams and John King, by all means. If we need a consistent voice for liberty, then we should vote for...ummm...wait a minute...it'll come to me...
Note the possessive plural; I have been out-pragmated, Big time.
I appreciate the good words about Governor Romney. They are indeed palliative. But take a little walk with me (anybody read Issacson's Stove Jobs book? Five stars!) If your number one goal is defeating the President, isn't your best choice Senator Santorum?
The guy drives me nuts and has anchored the bottom of my list since Rep. Bachmann left the race. But somebody suggested that this is a time to be positive.
Articulates Free Market Principles. This has indeed been a nice surprise. He quietly and convincingly keeps making the case in interviews and debates. Now I think his manufacturers' tax break and his family engineering contravene those positions -- but there's been worse and he has a good story for each.
Evangelical Electoral Power. Libertarians love to talk, evangelicals vote. And give money. And walk precincts. And call their friends. And go GOTV. And serve as election judges. They put George W. Bush in the White House two times. Why not put them to work?
"Reagan Democrats." That's his spiel -- but is there not underlying truth? Middle class, Catholic kid. Grandson of a coal miner (never tire of hearing that one -- you?). Neither Gordon Gekko nor Long Dong Silver nor Crazy Uncle Wilfred. He loses Colorado which may be hopeless, but he puts Pennsylvania in play and pulls Ohio into the Red.
Don't know that I am riding on the Rick Bandwagon, but as we settle down to pragmatic choices of imperfect candidates, we should not leave anyone out.
This is when I first became aware of Mitt Romney, politician. I think I'd forgotten, or perhaps never knew, of his rescue of the 2002 Olympic games, since he was the unUberroth.
The payoff is at 0:40. J: "I represent the people" MR; "No, I represent the people. You represent the media." I remember it as more acrimonious, but that must be my projected feelings. The governor is his usual, unflappable and generous self.
Now that I'm hopefully done defaming (and defanging and nearly degrading) Newt, let's move on to positives. I think Paul, Santorum and Huntsman all have exemplary character, and not just because they aren't divorced. There's no corruption, no awful see-saws, no odd deals or confabs with Pelosi-types.
Stay and don't stray... we're talkin' about character.
Romney? Let's start with a story from 1996, concerning the daughter of one Robert Gay. There's an endorsement that should be saved for the week after some Obamattack comparing him to Gekko is taking hold. I think Mitt has more than a few of these. Why? Character.
I'll finish with this Gipper snippet: "there's no limit to what you can accomplish in politics, so long as you don't care who gets the credit" and point you to the 2002 Olympic games. Did Romney turn that into a horn-tooting endeavor? I think not, in fact he's been quite gracious when asked about it.
It's primary election day in South Carolina so I write this not to lobby for a candidate, but to defend his character and that of millions of men who, like him, experienced divorce from a wife.
This issue is a minefield of conflicting opinions and values but I think all would agree that people who divorce, more often than not, disagree on the root cause. As Taranto summarizes, Marianne told Brian Ross (with prompting) "Oh, he was asking to have an open marriage and I refused." Taken with her claim that he first asked for a divorce Taranto sees an important distinction:
In either case, there is an enormous difference between offering such an arrangement as a "compromise" to a spouse who does not wish to divorce, which is what Mr. Gingrich appears to have done, and flat-out asking for an open marriage.
This was my surmise even before reading of the details. "When she refused to divorce he probably said something like, 'What, do you just want to continue a marriage in name only?" He was determined not to be kept in servitude to a marriage that had died 12 years earlier. Taranto continues:
There is also evidence that the Gingriches' marriage had been troubled for years before the split. National Review's Robert Costa notes a 1999 Associated Press report on their separation, which revealed some background:
Documents related to the divorce filed Friday in Cobb County Superior Court include a separation agreement signed by the couple and notarized in December 1987. There is no indication it was ever filed.
Browning said Marianne Gingrich called her husband on his birthday in June 1987 to tell him she was leaving him. Gingrich, he said, came back to Georgia to find his home emptied out.
Browning said the pair maintained separate residences for six years before reconciling in late 1993 or early 1994.
There's no way to know who was at fault in the first separation, and while it is not in dispute that Mr. Gingrich committed adultery before the actual divorce, the 1987 story leads one to wonder if he was completely to blame for the ultimate breakup.
Newt and Marriane reportedly married in 1981 and just six years later, Marianne moved out taking everything but a television and a guest bed. In retrospect I'm sure Newt regrets not finalizing a legal split with his estranged wife in less than the 12 years it ultimately took, but only a bitter shrew would maintain that he owed any matrimonial duty to her during that time.
And what of the 6 years they were married? It's apparent to me it was a bad match from the beginning. If either is guilty of anything it is first and foremost poor judgment in marrying to begin with.
Now can we get back to the 100% of GDP national debt, economy-wrecking taxation and regulation, evisceration of our military and national security secrets and Euro-socialization of American society? By all accounts Newt, Mitt, Rick, Ron, Rick, Jon, Michele, Gary, Herman and Tim are all now happily married. Thank you very much.
The Refugee, having successively jumped from the Pawlenty bandwagon, to the Perry conestoga, to the Cain train, to the Newt pull-toy and finally to the Romney Radio Flyer, feels qualified to enumerate the many reasons why Mitt is The Man.
So, let's go through the list: first there's his position on... er, also he would.... well, not to mention... plus, we can count on... Uh, OK, there aren't that many reasons to affirmatively vote for the former governor. In the final analysis, it comes down not to who is best, but who is least bad. Here are The Refugee's disqualifiers for the other candidates:
1. His "go negative, write the Obama book against Romney and attack Capitalism" is, perhaps, even more dispicable than an open marriage. Newt compares himself to historical figures. Unfortunately, the only appropriate comparison is Benedict Arnold.
2. With Newt's history, the press has more than enough on him to ignite a new scandal every week. By the time November rolls around, even Calista would be grateful for a secret ballot.
3. Newt will be unable to govern. The Democrats and their willing accomplices in the press would turn his presidency into a four-year circus.
4. Newt has many great ideas, but he also is more than willing to stray into populism if it seems politically expedient (see: Ethanol; Global Warming; #1 above). He is, in many ways, a no more reliable Conservative than Romney is.
5. He has almost as many negatives with Republicans as he does Democrats. Rallying the troops is not a given.
6. His national organization is minimal and he can't beat Obama on YouTube.
1. His positions on abortion will turn off enough female voters to make winning almost mathematically impossible.
2. If he lost PA by 18 points as an incumbent senator, does anyone really think he has a shot at a national election?
3. The only difference between Big Government Santorum and Big Government Obama is one of priorities.
4. He has no national organization and one can't be built in three months.
5. His sweatervests make him look like Fred, the doofus in the FloodSmart.gov commercials. (OK, a bit snarky, but still...)
1. His positions on Iran make him unserious and unelectable. Not to mention a lousy Commander in Chief.
2. "Abolish the Fed" is a non-starter nationally.
3. He's 76. He's running for President, not applying for a job, so age discrimination applies.
4. Even Ron doesn't think he's electable.
Sorry, folks, it does boil down to electablility. Mitt is by no means a shoe-in and needs to up his game to avoid getting clobbered, i.e, developing a positive agenda. But he's the only one with a shot; defeating Obama is Job 1. There is no such thing as a moral victory with Obamacare and the future of free enterprise hanging in the balance.
The issue is settled. Kinda like the science, no doubt.
Before we get into it, let me just say, I disagree with Newt here. I can imagine a lot of things that would be more despicable. A lot more despicable.
Just off the top of my head: John King could have held a gun to a panda cub's head and opened fire every time one of the debaters went over his time limit. Even more despicable, he could have pulled the trigger before the time limit, just to know what it feels like. CNN could have doctored videos of Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum so that they appeared to be playing Stratego with each other. Oh, wait did I say "playing Stratego"? I meant to say "having wild gay sex, with a midget riding a pogo stick in the background and an expression that says 'Things are going to get a lot weirder than this.'" -- Jonah Goldberg [subscribe]
Henninger argues, effectively I think, that Bain and cohorts kept America from slipping into the Euro trough two decades back when Brokaw and brothers were crowing about how Japan would own most of the US by the end of the decade.
When large-scale hostile takeovers appeared in the 1980s," Messrs. Holmstrom and Kaplan write, "many voiced the opinion that they were driven by investor greed; the robber barons of Wall Street had returned to raid innocent corporations. Today, it is widely accepted that the takeovers of the 1980s had a beneficial effect on the corporate sector and that efficiency gains, rather than redistributions from stakeholders to shareholders, explain why they appeared."
I've seen the bolded passage echoed here, I think perhaps? The smart guys know what's happening now: The new world order was made plain in a Jan. 12 Wall Street Journal headline: "Reversal of Fortune in Debt Market." The story told how global investors who routinely bought the debt of Italy or Spain were now buying the 25- and 30-year bonds of Indonesia, Brazil, the Philippines, South Africa and other so-called "emerging market" nations.
I wrote a paper in college debunking the conventional wisdom about the robber barons. My point was that of those who made the most wealth, that were in effect monopolies, used the GubMint to do so and become so.
Heh, and now that I've outed my feelings on Newt's candidacy, can I say that "Bain was Newt's Bane" ?
ohhh, I think I'm going to be insufferable for a few days....
The reader can be forgiven if he concludes that the "lacks moral character to be president" opinion belongs to ABC News, and not to Marianne Gingrich who "In her most provocative comments" ... "said Newt sought an "open marriage" arrangement so he could have a mistress and a wife."
Yes, that's provocative. Don't see the words president, character, or moral. Read into straight news reports much ABC? I propose that ABC's claim in Marianne's own words would have been much more provocative than this.
Heartfelt condolences to brother Keith. I remember the hurt. AP:
CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) -- Texas Gov. Rick Perry will abandon his presidential bid and endorse Newt Gingrich, two Republican officials said Thursday, a move coming just two days before the pivotal South Carolina primary as Republican front-runner Mitt Romney struggles to fend off a challenge from the former House speaker.
Orwellian is overused, trite, and a lazy substitute for thought. But --
Normally, I criticize FOX31 Good Day Colorado's anchors for being blandly apolitical. Less that they're biased as they don't connect politics or government to any of the stories they cover. This morning I got my wish and Ms. Melody Mendez displayed actual bias.
One good feature is a daily segment with FOX Business Channel to discuss markets and Wall Street. It functions as "adult supervision" and the most frequent of the network talent is the lovely and intelligent Lauren Simonetti. Ms. Simonetti had the throttle today. Mendez brought up the SC GOP debate, specifically Speaker Gingrich's "Food Stamp President" remark. Mendez said "It sounds like Gingrich should have done a little research" -- and closed with a smug smile I've never seen from her before.
Simonetti played it casually -- I could not see if she agreed or not -- and started reciting figures. As she spoke, they put the figures up on the Krylon (clearly it was not a total surprise). The figures distinctly show that Food Stamps have doubled under the Obama administration. This viewer was thinking that this particular "fact check" was running off the rails. How can they call him the Food Stamp President when he has only doubled it in three years?
Simonetti then said "but the increase started when George Bush was President." And they went on to the next story. Oh. Well, then. Glad we cleared that up.
John Hinderacker at PowerLine actually does clear it up. Apparently, Mendez's line was the current White House spin
The White House apparently doesn't like the association between Obama and food stamps; Jay Carney said that the claim that President Obama's policies have added to the food stamp rolls is "crazy."
As happens so often with White House statements, Carney's characterization had no basis in fact.
PowerLine is never afraid to use strong words, but if you click through and see the graphs, I don't see how anybody can quibble.
I'm considering instigating a Facebook fight. I haven't really started one in a long while, and Megan McArdle's piece on New York would be an excellent foundation.
Shorter McArdle: You won! Income equality is waaay down in New York.
After a disappointing year, the big banks are pulling back on their bonus pools. A lot. This is going to be hard on bankers whose salaries are usually a very small part of their overall compensation--and yes, yes, before you drag out the world's smallest violin, let me agree that they have no entitlement to anything more. Nonetheless, people tend to build their life around their expected salaries, and in New York, this choice is particularly important. You not only acquire a large mortgage that's often difficult to unload quickly (closings in New York take months at minimum, longer if it's a co-op), but also things like enormous school fees, higher food costs, and so forth.
So, those fat, greedy bankers have finally got what's coming to them. And they won't have money to spend on, um, schools and restaurants and museums and tips and taxes and things.
Income equality is on its way to Gotham. Woot!
Could the creatives pay the bills if Wall Street stopped? New York's bills are very hefty; about one in three people in the city (and one in five in the state) are on Medicaid, with the city paying half of that; the MTA has an operating budget of over $11 billion a year; and the city's annual pension bill runs about $7 billion. New York's generous social services are what nearly bankrupted the city in the 1970s, until they finally found an industry that would just pay hefty taxes instead of moving south and west.
Raising that money from the creatives means, among other things, raising money from the less affluent--people who are less able to shrug off a tax increase as the cost of living in the Big Apple. Creatives may also be a bit more mobile than folks who needed--until the last decade, anyway--proximity to a trading floor.
I recall Ms. McArdle has her detractors around ThreeSources. But, Facebook friends, this is an Obama supporter whose mentor is Professor Austan Goolsbee, President Obama's economic architect. And it's in The Atlantic, not AEI's American or the WSJ Ed Page or FOX News.
Income equality suddenly looks less like Steinbeck and more like Mad Max.
If you don't want to spend the better part of the next year trying to drag this sad sack of Mitt across the finish line so he can disappoint us for the next four years, then stand up, speak out, and stop letting the mainstream media and a bunch of Beltway conservatives tell you that the race has to be over with just 1.8% of the delegates needed for a victory awarded. The Tea Party didn't rise up, fight Barack Obama, and help the GOP have its best year in half a century just to see the Republican Party ideologically slide all the way back to the pre-Reagan years as a reward. --John Hawkins
"We apologize to customers for causing them undue concern."
That is a British Airways spokesperson responding to an alarm and a "this plane is about to crash into the sea" recorded message that was mistakenly played twice at three am [insert bonus Sec. Hillary Clinton joke here...]
Hat-tip: @jamestaranto UPDATE: Now that's a pretty good riposte:
(The audience sounded as if they did whiskey shots during the commercial breaks. Newt would begin, "Frankly, I believe that fundamental reform requires . . . " and then you would hear, "WHOOOOO! FRANKLY! FUNDAMENTALLY! WHOOOO!") -- Mark Geraghty
I'll add: no buzzers == best debate. Jeeburz, it might take a guy 45 seconds to explain his position on the peace of westphalia instead of 60. Other than Bret Baier whining about it, I thought it was perfect.
When in the course of a weak field, a blogger flip-flops chooses to reëvaluate a former position, a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that he should declare the causes which impel him.
Rep. Ron Paul hit one question out of the park for me last night. Bret Baier asked about military budget cuts and bases in the Palmetto State. (This was early on, before most people fell asleep.) Paul said we might need more bases for his military. We could close bases in Germany and South Korea and open them in South Carolina. He bifurcated spending for "defense" and what he’d call "Empire." I must reluctantly meet him halfway.
So, I'm a Ron Paul guy. I might grow my hair out, maybe join a truther club -- no, seriously, Presidents don't get all their wishes or accomplish all their goals (thank NED!) The correct foreign presence is likely somewhere between the status quo and Rep. Paul's ideal. Nobody else will ever yank a single soldier out of South Korea and I am not convinced that we can afford our current global presence.
So, I hope President Paul does not abandon Israel (still my largest concern) and give Al-Qaeda an "olly-olly-oxen-freeee." But our country's greater, existential threat is four more years of progressive socialism.
We have to fix home and hope the world does not crater during the process. Else, there will be no significant American presence in the world economy or military theater. We have to have our cancer surgery -- even if it means losing the house.
Don Luskin is quite good at it. He pens an instant classic of the genre on the WSJ Ed Page today:
Newt Gingrich's claim about Mitt Romney and Bain Capital--that its business model was "figuring out clever legal ways to loot a company"--is an egregious lie. Yet Mr. Gingrich is not stupid. He and the other Republican primary contenders who have echoed his attack have calculated that the only way to beat President Barack Obama, who uses the words "millionaires and billionaires" as insults, is to join him. It's unanimous, then--capitalism is immoral.
At last, Mitt Romney finds himself with an issue that can define him, an issue about which the 2012 election can be a referendum. This is Mr. Romney's moment to distinguish himself by proudly making a moral case for free-market capitalism.
I fear this is "Mister Romney's moment" in the manner that last Saturday night was "Tim Tebow's moment" and the New Hampshire primary was "Mister Huntsman's moment."
Should Governor Romney prove me wrong, I'd be the happiest blogger in the whole USA, but I suspect Luskin's Jedi mind tricks will fail -- and the guy who wants to institute the first ever progressive cap gains tax will be our nominee.
I did the screengrab just to capture it. In the "Why Are Obama's Critics So Dumb?" issue of Newsweek, ("Garsh! I dunno...") we are treated to an insightful piece about Senator Santorum's wife who, before she met his sweatervestness -- and I hope y'all are sitting down -- dated an abortion provider.
Hat-tip: Jonah Goldberg (@JonahNRO) who reminds that Kerry's war record and Jeremiah Wright were out of bounds.
MYRTLE BEACH, South Carolina (Reuters) -- Presidential candidate Jon Huntsman suspended his bid for the Republican nomination on Monday, endorsing rival Mitt Romney and calling on his party to end "an onslaught of negative and personal attacks."
I cannot disagree with a word of Byron York's post-mortem, yet I remain unapologetic.
MYRTLE BEACH, SC -- A number of Jon Huntsman's core positions were deeply conservative. His pro-growth economic plan was nearly everything the Wall Street Journal editorial page could have wanted. He was strongly pro-life. Strongly Second Amendment. Yet conservative Republicans stayed away from his candidacy in droves, and the few people who were attracted to the Huntsman campaign were moderate Republicans, independents, Democrats -- and the media.
Why? Huntsman's problem was that, whatever his position on some key issues, he sent out political and cultural signals that screamed NPR, and not Fox News, that screamed liberal, and not conservative. Even though conservatives agreed with Huntsman on many things, they instinctively sensed he wasn't their guy. It wasn't hard for them to figure out.
I'll be quiet for awhile, I am still adjusting. I had hoped his candidacy would last long enough for the T-Shirts to arrive. C'est la guerre.
UPDATE: @jamestaranto Huntsman touts "refusal to pass down to the next generation a country that is less powerful...prosperous...and competitive." So negative.
Fair cop, guv. That was my least favorite aspect of his campaign. He didn't get the "sunny Reagan" memo.
Recently tried this and was happily surprised; I started with Xmas songs after the ComCast holiday music channel got repetitive. Very close to Xmas I found ComCast had revamped its play list with selections that were turning Xmas carols into something that was once again interesting. Let's be honest 80% of the Xmas music we hear - even rousing remakes with 21st century effects - are songs from the 50's and 60's.
Right after Xmas I tried Pandora with a fun selection from my past sure to evoke an eclectic response: King Crimson. I found their selections quite good - the really strident stuff from Tarkus just showed they really had the genre down - if their matching groups was strange (Genesis is like The Police?). The Bio's were cool, but the "Buy it" links not so good. Wow, Beck sure is one interesting guy, and I hadn't quite seriously considered Zeppelin's R&B influence before.
Now how much extra spam and Malware is on my computer is an open question. A little distressing was how the dominant pop-up ad was aimed at meeting age-appropriate women... but later put that down to the site noting I'd chosen a group who was dominant in the late 60's and early 70's. Sheesh, date 50+ women; I can barely handle two!
back to regularly scheduled political prosthelytizing....
The people of Nome, Alaska, know well what it takes to survive the long, cold winter in an isolated town. But a confluence of bad weather and other circumstances has left them lacking the fuel needed to heat homes and power vehicles. Now, America's lone Arctic icebreaker is carving a path to Nome that will bring relief to the city--but it also highlights the critical state of U.S. ice-breaking capabilities.
The weekend edition of the Wall Street Journal includes a 2000-word, 2/3-page interview with presidential candidate Rick Santorum, who finished 5th in Tuesday's New Hampshire primary with 9 percent of the vote. The interview is entirely about economic issues. To do a long interview with Santorum and never ask him about his opposition to contraception, his years of homophobic comments and policies, his attacks on "this whole idea of personal autonomy," "this idea that people should be left alone," and the pursuit of happiness is like spending an hour with Barack Obama and asking him only about his "plan to streamline government." -- David Boaz
South Carolina's largest newspaper endorses Gov. Huntsman.
Both men get tagged "moderate," but for different reasons. Mr. Romney is a technocrat, a business leader who focuses on getting the job done. As governor, that meant governing in a way that suited Massachusetts. Today the job is winning the presidency, and if that means "evolving" in his views as the primary electorate swings further right, and running away from his signature accomplishment as governor, so be it.
Mr. Huntsman is a true conservative, with a record and platform of bold economic reform straight out of the free-market bible, but he's a realist, whose goal is likewise to get things done. Under his leadership, Utah led the nation in job creation, and the Pew Center on the States ranked it the best-managed state in the nation.
Yet another -- not another, the best -- response to Elizabeth's Warren's "Nobody go rich on his own" diatribe, which lives on at moveon.org and in the (cold, dark) hearts of my Facebook friends. Richared Epsein, hoss of hosses, provides a clear and stirring response. Keep a link to this baby for the upcoming Massachusetts Senate election:
Her first sentence is meant as a direct assault on the notion of radical individualism. Yes, it is obvious that no person "ever got rich on his own." But that statement does nothing to undermine sensible forms of laissez-faire individualism. The reason why people do not get rich by themselves is not that they lack self-reliance or ambition. It is because the individuals who succeed understand the key proposition that personal gains result only through cooperation with others. The common business school refrain of win/win deals is not an observation about one person: it is, at its core, about two (or more) people, all of whom win through cooperative arrangements.
If I could write just one paragraph like this, I'd put up the keyboard for all time:
If the displacement of Huck Finn -- its relegation to the realm of imagination -- was what made On the Road possible, it was also what made it necessary: the citizens of the automobile age still needed a River God. It was Kerouac who reincarnated that god, in the form of The Road, showing how the possibility for revelation can be achieved even when the means is much more under human control, and the things discovered more tamed by human hands and populated by human affairs. There was still, Kerouac showed us, something wild in the West that was won.
Ari N. Schulman looks at the literary tradition from Homer to Mark Twain to Jack Kerouac and posits the effects of modern conveniences like GPS and Location Awareness. By removing the wonder and danger then obviating our need for discovery, their features become bugs.
There is a faint Luddite undertone for a future-looking magazine like The New Atlantis. And I'll confess the first part recounting his experiences with GPS could have been trimmed. But this magazine-length piece on Place and Placelessness is a great weekend read. Bonus Walker Percy references for Sugarchuck!
IBM has reduced -- from ~1,000,000 to 12 the number of atoms to store a bit of information on a disk.
Six years ago, I was impressed by a 1GB USB drive -- what a dork! But I also referenced paper tape, which used a 1.83 mm hole in a 0.10 mm paper to store a bit. Being generous and ignoring the space around, drive requirements, and parity bit, I figure the punch to be 0.263 mm3.
How many atoms in that? A goddam lot more than 12. Well done, IBM-ers!
Tebow's comin' (Tebow's a-comin')
Well you better hide your heart, your loving heart
Tebow's a-comin' and the cards say... a broken heart
Tebow's comin', hide your heart, girl
Tebow's comin', hide your heart, boy
Tom, Tebow's a-comin', you better hide
Bill, Tebow's a-comin', you better hide
Josh, Tebow's a-comin', you better hide
Girl, Tebow's comin', hide your heart, girl (hide it)
You better, better hide your heart
Tebow's comin', better walk
Walk but you'll never get away
No, you'll never get away from the burnin' a-heartache
I walked to Apollo by the bay
Everywhere I go though, Tebow's a-comin' (she walked but she never got
Tebow's a-comin' (she walked but she never got away)
Tebow's a-comin' and he's comin' to git ya (she walked but... she walked
Get down on your knees (she walked but she never got away)
Tebow's comin' (hide it, hide it, hide it)
Tom, Tebow's a-comin', you better hide
Bill, Tebow's a-comin', you better hide
Josh, Tebow's a-comin', you better hide
Girl, Tebow's comin', hide your heart, girl (hide it)
You better, better hide your heart
Tebow's comin', better walk
Walk but you'll never get away
No, you'll never get away from the burnin' a-heartache
I walked to Apollo by the bay
Everywhere I go though, Tebow's a-comin' (he walked but she'll never get
Tebow's a-comin' (she walked but she'll never get away)
Tebow's a-comin' and he's comin' to git ya (she walked but... she walked
Get down on your knees (she walked but she'll never get away)
Get down on your knees
Lord, I said no-no, no-no, no-no
(hide it) She can
(hide it) hide it
(hide it) You better
(hide it) Somebody
(hide it) You got t'
(hide it) Oh, my
(hide it) Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oh
I understand the lack of "enthusiasm" that has been noted about Romney. I've found it to be a positive for his campaign, without even considering the effect of the momentum of enthusiasm. I oddly wondered (but have no way of recalling what was my first ever vote for president), when exactly Reagan built the enthusiasm we all now remember of him.
Certainly being positive, consistent and confident (even with a zero message) is possibly the best foil to the bitterly failed messianic image of BHO. Think for a second; what else did RR have to offer at first? We can all see how powerful the "feel your pain" message had become in political circles with the - frankly pathetic - attacks by Perry and Gingrich (who were the two giants amongst the contenders).
I'd also like to state I think "the system" has worked, as noted by Taranto: "Gingrich has helped to define Romney as the defender of free enterprise.
... exactly the right counter to the social-democratic demagogy of the failed incumbent.
Romney has now committed himself to a campaign with a powerful theme"
I now hope that Huntsman and Paul can have similar positive affects. Gingrich did so unwittingly... one truly wonders why he ran.
Reading Romney's speech from NH, I'm seeing many winning themes, and am having trouble thinking of anyone else able to deliver them so effectively (which is as it should be: Romney shouldn't take on Christie's crusades...). MR may falter as a president, which is why we have Ryan and Pence and Jindall, and Haley and hopefully Rand Paul. RR surely did falter, Churchill had many and some were epic.
Short excerpt of Romney's speech below (my 1st experiment with the extended window), but only after one last closing thought. One way RR became hated in DC and Manhattan but loved everywhere else was letting these attacks build until just the right moment to thump them soundly ("there you go again"... "I refuse to exploit my opponent's age and lack of experience as a campaign issue"). Partly he did this by being comfortable with himself, not letting the turkeys get to him, and it showed with the wit, charm and humor with which he disarmed his accusers. Disarmed... so much better than even a deft parry, and loads better than the waspy snapbacks the media cheers on. Romney can do this unlike anyone else I've seen in the political arena (save for perhaps CC, but we've not seen him attacked by his own party). He already has on three occasions in less that many months. He'll need to many, many more times as November nears. I look forward to seeing that happen... there's my enthusiasm for a Romney campaign!
President Obama wants to put free enterprise on trial. In the last few days, we
have seen some desperate Republicans join forces with him. This is such a mistake
for our Party and for our nation. This country already has a leader who divides us
with the bitter politics of envy. We must offer an alternative vision. I stand ready
to lead us down a different path, where we are lifted up by our desire to succeed,
not dragged down by a resentment of success. In these difficult times, we cannot
abandon the core values that define us as unique — We are One Nation
A Gingrich fundraiser just called up and got an earful. I was my polite self, but said; "I wish you good luck as a person, but not in your effort to raise money for a Republican who attacks Capitalism."
Where is Rick Perry when you need him? I am having a great day! Woooo!
For what it's worth, my forays into hoping for divine intervention didn't work out. I prayed fervently before each of the three Super Bowls we Minnesota Vikings played in. We played against the Dolphins, the Steelers and the Raiders. I don't know about the first two games, but I was sure God would be on our side for the game against the Raiders! After all, they were the villains of the league, and it was hard to believe they had more Christians on their team than on our saintly Vikings. We lost. -- Fran Tarkenton
The great QB's column is good and rather complimentary, but feeds into the Tebow-haters' theme that he is "praying for touchdowns" ("belittling real suffering," my hero Penn Jillette said). I'm no football theologian, but it seems pretty clear that the young man seeks personal strength and clarity more than a favorable spot.
Fortune Magazine editor Dan Primack reviews the new "Winning Our Future" PAC smearomercial about Mitt Romney and Bain Capital. He says, "The 'Bain Bomb' is full of wet fuses."
We've been keeping regular track of claims made about Mitt Romney's business history over at our Mitt Meter, but today's video "documentary" from the Gingrich-affiliated Winning Our Future PAC requires its own post. The ominous music, deep-voiced narrator and tails of worker woe were all to be expected. But I also thought that the video would get most of its basic facts correct (and then cover them in innuendo). I was wrong.
Gotta admire Newt's tenacity and dedication to political victory but objectivity, fairness and free market fundamentals obviously escape him.
Indeed, the liberal group Americans United for Change has already launched a website suggesting Romney pick Gekko as his 2012 running mate. It’s a tongue-in-cheek way of suggesting similarities between the two men, one of whom the American Film Institute named the 24th greatest movie villain of all-time (just ahead of ax-wielding Jack Torrance from The Shining and two behind Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Terminator). -- James Pethokoukis
I take hope that chopping your wife and child up with an ax is still considered a bit worse than "being greedy!" But then I think of Terminator...
We may support different candidates, but we'll all share revulsion with Cato's Patrick Michaels as he surveys the Gub'mint Motors Chevy Volt.
At the Detroit Auto Show this week, CEO Dan Akerson admitted that General Motors may have to cut back production of the Chevrolet Volt because the 4,600-plus Volts on the market now are about three times the monthly sales. Other figures put the GM hybrid car’s inventory at an outrageous 120-plus days.
And, yet I read about their big month last month. It was great! They sold 1529! Man, things are really turning around. And all those naysaying bloggers are going to have to eat their... Umm, what?
More than a third of those were fleet sales to corporations. None of these were the traditional large-fleet purchasers, i.e. Hertz, Avis and the other big rental companies. They were more like Verizon and General Electric -- with GE having committed to buying 12,000 and having already purchased unspecified "hundreds," with continued "daily" deliveries, as The Wall Street Journal reported recently.
Then there are the direct taxpayer buys. Fifty to New York City. The city of Deland, Fla., brags about buying five with an Energy Department grant. The federal General Services Administration has bought 101 so far, but President Obama has ordered it to procure only hybrid or high-mileage vehicles by 2015. (The taxpayers buy about 60,000 cars a year for GSA.)
So, in addition to our taxpayer subsidy of $11,467,500 (no, that's not a lot in government speak -- but it's for fifteen hundred cars) we're buying the damn cars?
CATO suggests "Kill the car now. It's not cost-effective, and it's irritating taxpayers in an election year." But some folks might lose their jobs. And Speaker Gingrich and Governor Perry wouldn't like that.
Blog friend Terri has an awesome scoop today. With all the, deserved, strum and drang about Mayor Bloomberg's pitiful liquor store reduction fiasco, most missed the worst part:
The big story should not have been the nannystatishness of such a statement. (since retracted with all the Drudge outrage)
The big story should have been his use of a "Community Transformation" grant funded by your health care tax dollar through Obamacare to pay for all of this.
Yes -- that would have been ok had people not protested the ridiculousness of the proposal.
Your tax dollars to pay for fewer jobs in NYC, fewer business establishments in NYC, and fewer opportunities to imbibe in said city.
Well, an example would be that when given the first two years to lead out on the economy, he failed to do so. When given a chance to address Afghanistan--drawing down troops when we've done everything we can do--he has failed to do so. When he had an opportunity to embrace a bipartisan deficit spending proposal called Simpson-Bowles, it hit the garbage can. You get enough of these, and a kind of a pathology emerges here. People say, there's no more trust in the executive branch. There was an opportunity to lead, and it wasn't taken.
David Corn hears:
Was the former Utah governor calling Obama pathological--as in pathological liar (the common usage)? It sure seems close.
I take Corn's complaint as a blatant defamation of Huntsman's Mormonism. "Utah Governor!" Notice how he had to slip that in? And if you take every 19th character in the article, you get...
Unsuccessful or "diseased" businesses are a threat to overall economic health by preventing their labor and capital from going to productive enterprises. And he took them over by buying them, at a market clearing price. What's so awful about any of this? Only that the business failed in the first place, which completely predated any involvement by Bain or Romney.
Starting with a more family-friendly -- if less poignant -- version of a favorite jg line, I give you Kenneth P. Green with a a classic of the genre. His short post encapsulates everything that is wrong with renewable fuels mandates. Nope, not gonna excerpt.
If I may provide a little background for those outside the Centennial State: it has been a rough year for the Denver Police Department. A few beatings were caught on camera. While they were not Rodney King class infractions, they surely did not highlight DPD professionalism. There was a suspicious death of a prisoner in custody, which I think was under the aegis of the Denver Sheriff. I didn't complain when they were accused of excessive force clearing out the Occupy Denver encampment, but 99% did.
A new chief was brought in, reputations were to be repaired -- our thin blue line would shine up their badges. And -- what's this?
Even the teevee news people are ridiculing this settlement of a 2007 lawsuit from the police union.
There are a few items in there, but all anyone is talking about is retroactive and future pay for the officers to put on and take off their uniforms (15 minutes each). Ten million dollars will be paid out to officers and 1.75 million to the union's attorneys. Money the city does not have.
Public sector unions love to hide behind "teachers, police, and firefighters" as the good face grafted on the DMV administrators. I wonder if this does not start to threaten that goodwill. Everyone the news interviewed said "I don't get paid to dress."
The lovely bride suggests naked officers -- kinda like the police themed strippers. I dunno...
Gov. Huntsman's 17% portends poorly for his chances. He needed a Santorumesque close second finish, and I don't think the Palmetto State polity favors him. I'll "go down with the ship" I suppose, but see myself settling for Gov. Romney as all the non-Mormon candidates go completely insane. A strategic caucus for Romney vis-á-vis Sen. Santorum or a quixotic one for Huntsman looks like the decision.
But I don't have to like it.
Dan McLaughlin (I'm guessing that's my buddy, @baseballcrank) sees danger in dropping our integrity to support Governor Romney -- just because he is not President Obama, just cause he has an 'R.'
The other point I would make about integrity is that it goes close to the core of why a Romney nomination worries me so much: because we would all have to make so many compromises to defend him that at the end of the day we may not even recognize ourselves. Romney has, in a career in public office of just four years (plus about 8 years' worth of campaigning), changed his position on just about every major issue you can think of, and his signature accomplishment in office was to be wrong on the largest policy issue of this campaign. Yes, Obama is bad, and Romney can be defended on the grounds that he can't possibly be worse. Yes, Romney is personally a good man, a success in business, faith and family. But aside from his business biography, his primary campaign has been built entirely on arguments and strategies -- about touting his own electability and dividing, coopting or delegitimizing other Republicans -- none of which will be of any use in the general election. What, then, will we as politically active Republicans say about him?
In other words, if the election is going to turn into a contest over the future of the free enterprise system, the pro-free enterprise side of it sure doesn't want to wind up losing because of a flawed messenger, because the consequences of losing such a fight could be really devastating. The message of New Hampshire is that the people of that state, who know Mr. Romney well, find him a better messenger than any of the other candidates who were running. These are the same primary voters who chose Senator McCain on the last go-round. -- Ira Stoll
On Iowa caucus night Sarah Palin commented that the GOP marginalizes Ron Paul and his supporters at its peril for they understand that "a lot of Americans are war weary and we are broke." Coming from an ardent supporter of Israel this is a rather bold, and welcome, statement.
An old friend went into greater depth on the Paul candidacy on his website yesterday. I've been missing the rational insights of Minneapolis' Jason Lewis since Denver's KHOW radio foolishly replaced him in their lineup with *yawn* Sean Hannity. But I've since reconnected courtesy of iheart radio (iheart.com) 1130 AM in Minnesota. I'll excerpt only his close but the concise explanation he gives of Paul's three major issues that have "tapped into an emerging national sentiment that not only transcends party politics but speaks to a new generation of Americans fed up with the status quo and desperate for real change" is well worth your read.
Whether Ron Paul is the right messenger remains to be seen; as the GOP field winnows, polls show that he’s unlikely to be the second choice of Republican voters looking for a new candidate. But the message isn’t going away, and the two major parties ignore it at their own peril. As the Arab Spring demonstrated, cultural and political change usually begins with a select few, but those who are pushing the envelope today are often considered mainstream tomorrow.
A flawed messenger certainly, but America would clearly benefit from a less paternalistic relationship with the rest of the planet. Not disengagement as he sometimes seems to advocate, but closing a few hundred overseas military bases and a nearly complete end to foreign aid would be a good start. Strategic alliances must continue but the foreign national defense welfare business is long past due for the Bain Capital treatment.
I sent Professor Reynolds a nasty email a few minutes ago, complaining that Gov. Huntsman was always the butt of a joke on Instapundit. He links to a Bryan Preston piece with video of four very young Huntsman supporters who are well spoken and intelligent. Shooting from the hip, one exuberant lad applauds his moderation (which his friends define as not pandering to social conservatives) and says his Democrat friends wonder why he doesn't run as a Democrat.
Game, set match for Preston -- and sadly Reynolds who links with the same headline.
I suggest Larry Kudlow provides the answer, buried in a story about Gov. Romney:
So far as I know this is the first time that Governor Romney has endorsed the modified flat tax embodied in Bowles-Simpson. Jon Huntsman, who I think won the Sunday-morning debate in New Hampshire, has endorsed this from day one, with three rates of 8%, 14%, and 23%, plus a corporate tax rate of 25% (which Mr. Romney shares). The Wall Street Journal labeled this plan "exceptional." Governor Huntsman would blow out nearly all the deductions and exemptions in the code to properly broaden the base and generate additional revenues along with the revenue-generating growth impact of new incentives.
This is the guy who is "too moderate" for the Tea Party? I have too few hairs to waste pulling them out, but...
The numbers are in. AEI's Christopher J. Connover compares state heatlthcare and medicare spending during the tenures of "My Three Governors."
I'll cede that Utah and Texas likely had more helpful legislatures than "the commonwealth," but Gov. Huntsman comes out very well.
The available evidence suggests that Huntsman has a slightly better record than Perry in "bending the cost curve" both for health spending in general and Medicaid spending in particular, along with a decidedly superior record in that regard compared to Governor Romney. Also, Romney has overseen a rising burden of health spending during his time in office, whereas both Perry and Huntsman have seen this burden fall relative to the rest of the nation. The caveat is that Romneycare may possibly have begun to reverse the trend of relatively rising health spending for health facilities in Massachusetts. But we cannot be absolutely certain of this, given that the recession arrived just as Romneycare was being implemented. As with so many indicators of performance and characters, voters will simply have to make up their minds using imperfect information.
FORT MILL, S.C. (AP) -- Republican presidential hopeful Rick Perry is likening front-runner Mitt Romney's former private equity firm to "vultures" that ruin workers' lives.
Perry is sharpening his attack in hopes of drawing a clearer contrast on jobs with Romney, the former Massachusetts governor who touts his business credentials. The issue has special salience in South Carolina, where unemployment is high.
Addressing a retiree community in South Carolina, Perry criticized Romney's Bain Capital firm for two business deals that caused job losses in the state. He said private equity firms are "just vultures" that feed off sick companies no matter the human toll.
Wellsir, that re-evaluation was quick. Aren't these people tuned in at all? Kudlow did a whole show and all but bit a Gingrich surrogate last night, Michelle Malkin is furious, the WSJ Ed Page, ThreeSources. UPDATE: Rush, FOXNews... UPDATE II: James Pethokoukis adds himself, National Review, Jennifer Rubin and Akiy Roy, asking "Are there any right-of-center commentators or pundits who think the attacks on Mitt Romney’s Bain career bolster the case for free-market capitalism driven by 'creative destruction?' I haven’t found any yet." UIPDATE III: Taranto
Rush Limbaugh, discussing Newt Gingrich being interviewed by FNC's Megyn Kelley about his criticism of Romney's history at Bain Capital:
GINGRICH: There has to be some sense of everybody's in the same boat -- and I think again, as I said, he's gonna have to explain why would Bain have taken $180 million out of a company and then have it go bankrupt, and to what extent did they have some obligation to the workers? Remember, there are a lot of people who I had a that $180 million, it wasn't just six rich guys at the top, and yet somehow they walked off from their fiduciary obligation to the people who had made the money for them.
RUSH: (sigh) Folks, things happen. Sometimes they happen for a reason. Now, one of the things that you have to say that is happening here is (whether he intends it or not) we're finding out some things about Newt that we didn't know. We're finding out that he looks at "these rich guys," six rich guys and they have an obligation. He sounds like Elisabeth Warren.
"Fiduciary obligation?" I do not think it means what you think it means!
One of the joys of following politics is the collection of great lines you pick up along the way. I love to say about a person "I Knew X. X was a friend of mine. And, son, you're no X." And yet some of my friends fail to catch the allusion to the VP Debate of 1988 -- hell, some of them don't even know who Lloyd Bensten was! I knew Lloyd Bensten. Lloyd Bensten was a friend of mine...
When're a pol on either throws up the obfuscation screen to explain the inexplicable, I turn to VP Al Gore's superb and astounding "no controlling legal authority." I'd have to Google the context (spending campaign dollars on hookers?...) but it is a true classic.
Gov. Tim Pawlenty [come home, Mister Excitement -- all is forgiven!!!] gets that one today. for his answer to "So how come you're supporting the 'ObamneyCare' guy? And how will his magical, mystical waivers work if it doesn't kick until 2017?"
"I don't know if the range of options for waivers is limited just to the waivers addressed in the Obamacare bill itself, or whether there's some existing authority that goes beyond that, that would allow either the president or the Secretary of Health and Human Services to grant waivers," he responded.
Yup, a serious and substantive collection of kind words from Jay Nordlinger. For all the Governor's failings, Nordlinger is right that the treatment of Capitalism from his rivals has been unconscionable:
The last two presidential election cycles have revealed a stinking hypocrisy in conservatives: They profess their love of capitalism and entrepreneurship, but when offered a real capitalist and entrepreneur, they go, "Eek, a mouse!" And they tear him down in proud social-democrat fashion. In the off season, they sound like Friedrich Hayek. When the game is on, they sound like Huey Long, Bella Abzug, or Bob Shrum.
Last time around, Mike Huckabee said Romney "looks like the guy who laid you off." Conservatives reacted like this was the greatest mot since Voltaire or something. To me, Romney looked like someone who could create a business and hire the sadly unentrepreneurial like me.
I've been off the handle at Speaker Gingrich about this, and I guess the Gov. Perry campaign is having fun with the carefully edited audio clip of "I like to fire people." (For those who have not heard it, the context was how he could control a private contractor but not the government.)
I do not recall a single instance of another candidate saying "Whoa, cowboy! I have many differences with the Governor of the Commonwealth, but we should all accept Schumpeterian creative destruction."
But today, there are renewed signs that Motown is back. The latest evidence of its revival will be on full display this week at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit.
After gut-wrenching restructurings--GM and Chrysler in government-backed bankruptcies, and Ford on its own—the Detroit Three are all making money. Instead of having to spend a lot on labor costs and retiree benefits, they are pouring money into engineering and designing cars that can go head to head with the best in the industry.
Armed with good-looking, fuel-efficient and technology-packed cars, Detroit's revived auto makers insist they have a historic opportunity to strike back at their Japanese rivals and regain the upper hand in the North American auto industry.
This appeared in the Wall Street Journal (news pages) and I scrolled down to see whether these were union stooges or automotive pr people. Apparently, they are staff journalists for the WSJ. The entire, very long, piece is as fluffy as the excerpt. Rah rah! U-S-A! U-S-A!
Ask any young person and you'll be told that as you get older you (tend to) get more cynical. Perhaps it's a fair cop, guv. I think it is certain that one gets more skeptical - perhaps the gold prize is to acquire skepticism without cynicism.
Because there's a damned lot about which to be skeptical!
Andrew Ferguson has an awesome article in The Weekly Standard, lovingly titled "The Chump Effect."
Entire journalistic enterprises, whole books from cover to cover, would simply collapse into dust if even a smidgen of skepticism were summoned whenever we read that "scientists say" or "a new study finds" or "research shows" or "data suggest." Most such claims of social science, we would soon find, fall into one of three categories: the trivial, the dubious, or the flatly untrue.
I use the tinfoil hat title and mention cynicism because I am seriously concerned with both the frequency and amplitude of my heterodoxy. Even people who like me dismiss my thoughts on liberty because "he doesn't even believe in global warming!" I only tell my closest friends -- and the Internet -- that I don't believe oil comes from dead dinosaurs. I scoff at the Keynesian multiplier, Hegelian didactics, almost everything I see on teevee news, and now -- thanks to Gary Taubes -- all that is holy and sacred in dietary advice.
If you're on Facebook and have one friend who is not in Club for Growth, you've probably seen a picture of a woman who, 99% style, holds up a handwritten note with her life story. She is 34, doesn't get heath insurance at work, and now has cancer. Thanks to President Obama and the Affordable Crappy Care Act®, she is able to sign up for insurance. Ain't life grand.
My brother and two of my friends have posted this. I have made comments about right to contract, the blessings of liberty, and the suggestion that we could help people without outlawing insurance and redesigning 16% of the economy (obviously I want this poor woman to die of cancer). After all the democratic imposters over the years whose tearful plights have withered under scrutiny, I wonder a) if the woman has any health problems at all; b) what things did a working, 34-year-old prioritize over health insurance; and c) what is this job and how much does she make?
Two layers of tinfoil make a pretty nice capacitor -- you could charge your iPod from the government's rays.
Either TS'ers are fixed more on candidates that have something to say or were too polite to admonish my inclusion of Santorum in the categories of "Conservative" candidates. Let it not be said that I will not eat crow when I've put it on a plate and be called out for not serving chicken.
NRO did a nice rundown (in all senses) on him:
"embraced W's 'big-government conservatism.'"
"never met an earmark that he didn't like."
" The quintessential Washington insider"
nb is much more of a spending hawk than a social issues conservative. In fact, I don't meet most of the criteria of a "SIC" and would be barely perceptible as one if I were elected. For the record: I do have strong opinions on the issues typically lumped into that category, I just consider them more personal issues, in the "render unto Caesar" vein.
That much to say that Rick Santorum doesn't even rate as a conservative on the TS meter.
Now, what about Gary Johnson running as the Libertarian candidate?
The idea for this contrast of visions came to me yesterday, when I searched for a suitable cartoon to highjack and found an excellent cartoon in its own right from the Sarasota Chronicle by way of the (Montana) Missoulian. Being Broncos Playoff Sunday and having chores to do before the game I almost didn't post it, thinking it deserved a good writeup accompaniment. JK's Motor City Madness segue's well: New Orleans says, "Leave us alone" while Detroit still moans, "Take care of us."
I'll admit it. I watched (sniff) football last night. The 117th debate sits on my TiVo (I saw a half hour), now with the 118th (starring David Gregory -- I can't hardly wait!)
But I am still prepared to offer political commentary. One of the sportscasters offered heartfelt discussion on "how much the Lions mean to Detroit," "a city coming back," "just like the Saints meant so much to New Orleans after Katrina."
I was glad to see the Lions do well this year, though I'm a big fan of Drew Brees when he does not play for the hated Bolts. I was pulling for the Saints, even before the sportscaster compared Governor Jennifer Granholm and Mayor Kwame Kilpatrick to a Cat 4 hurricane. The good people of Louisiana had the sense to get rid of their destructive force. Michigan just replaced theirs with newer models.
What "comeback" the Motor City makes is a sugar high of stimulus and Nationalization of GM. There is no fundamental improvement in a city where arson is entertainment and a state run by kleptocracy.
New Orleans rebuilt from destruction by fixing its schools with private incentives. Detroit will double down on Union control and progressive politics waiting for more Federal jack -- which is not likely forthcoming. Walter Russell Meade is not so kind in his assessment:
If you want to know what it feels like to be Greek or Italian right now, you might consider moving to Detroit. Elected governments in both Greece and Italy were forced to step aside under EU pressure to put "technocrats" in power. The same fate could be in store for the Motor City soon -- with the story complicated by the politics of race.
The city of Henry Ford continues on its road to nowhere. Elected officials don’t want to make savage cuts in pay and benefits for some city workers while firing many others -- for understandable reasons both political and humane. On the other hand, there isn't any money and neither the state nor the feds will bail Detroit out.
It is easy to be disappointed when a candidate speaks against one's philosophy. Sometimes one feels that someone is self-aggrandizing against the best interests of the party and the nation.
And when one cares, deeply, about politics, government and philosophy it is easy to hold grudges. But those grudges can contravene the party's and the individual's best interests -- and that is the time for a pragmatic forgiveness.
So, yes, I've decided I will watch the first episode of Celebrity Apprentice, February 12, 2012. I've never watched El Donadlo! before, but Penn Jillette is one of the contestants.
Oh? You thought I meant the GOP Presidential candidates? No way, those guys are all losers.
I like to stay out of this game, but this is insane. Thou shalt not say anything bad about FLOTUS.
A baldly racist depiction of First Lady Michelle Obama that appeared Tuesday on a right-wing website is based on a 1775 portrait of Marie Antoinette by Jean-Baptiste André Gautier-Dagoty (1740-1786). The full-length painting hangs outside Paris in the Palace of Versailles.
And who you calling baldy? Seriously, to suggest this parody is badly or baldy racist is off the deep end.
In a thinking world based on reason and free will, David Brooks's endorsement should kill a GOP candidacy. The guy who fits the NYTimes definition of a conservative suggests that Santorum's intrusions do not go far enough:
Santorum doesn't yet see that once you start thinking about how to foster an economic system that would nurture our virtues, you wind up with an agenda far more drastic and transformational.
If you believe in the dignity of labor, it makes sense to support an infrastructure program that allows more people to practice the habits of industry. If you believe in personal responsibility, you have to force Americans to receive only as much government as they are willing to pay for. If you believe in the centrality of family, you have to have a government that both encourages marriage and also supplies wage subsidies to men to make them marriageable.
Worth a read just to bathe in its weirdness, Hat-tip @jamestaranto David Brooks wants "wage subsidies to men to make them marriageable." What could possibly go wrong?
All hail Kim Strassel! She catchesthe fundamental flaw in the GOP top-tier candidates.
What both campaigns are in fact doing is following Democrats down the class-warfare rabbit hole. Spooked by the Democrats' inequality theme, the Romney and Santorum campaigns are taking the narrow view, catering to the blue-collar vote, playing the class game.
In an election that needs to be about contrasts, this is point Obama. Game on for candidate Santorum, who gets to explain why his own policies for government to reward certain classes of citizens over others are any different than Mr. Obama's. Or let's see candidate Romney knock Mr. Obama's proposals to further tax America's job creators, those Mr. Romney thinks are doing "just fine." The bigger risk is that a Republican president actually pursues these distorting economic policies, sacrificing growth.
UPDATE: Brother br highlighted a Huntsman apostasy from HuffPo, and does not accept my complaint that it is not a direct quote:
Huntsman, by contrast, has argued for banks to be reduced in size, and for stricter limits to be placed on the type of financial activities they can undertake.
Taken as 100% face value: we currently regulate banks and we have proven that we will not allow the largest to fail. I remain the lasseiz fairest of them all, but in that world, keeping private institutions away from presenting systemic risk to global liquidity is not exactly nationalization.
And taken at its 100% worse, it is far less a threat to liberty than the things I routinely hear -- and Strassel highlights -- from the Romney and Santorum campaigns.
Mr. Obama is claiming an open-ended authority to determine that the Senate is in recess, despite that body's own judgment and the factual realities. That is an astonishing and, so far as we can tell, unprecedented power grab. -- David B. Rivkin, Jr. and Lee A. Casey
The President of the United States wants to run America "on behalf of the American people" unilaterally, without the consent of Congress, the Supreme Court, or the governed.
On the other hand: [at the 3 minute mark]
"And we had the task, where we are very successful, is reintroducing some ideas Republicans needed for a long time, and that is the conviction that freedom is popular. But once again we have had a fantastic showing for this cause and challenging people, not the status quo that we have been putting up with for decades after decade, but challenging them and saying, you know, let's challenge 'em - let's go back to this real old-fashioned idea, this very dangerous idea - let's obey the Constitution!"
I don't know about y'all but I'm beginning to be "scared straight."
And he could use it to purchase this year's election.
I couldn't believe my ears on this one. Partially because the prospect of Obama giving new lower rate mortgages to every Fannie and Freddie mortgage holder is so outrageous, and partially because I heard it from Rush Limbaugh before JK posted it. (And Rush is on 2-hour delay in Denver!)
And the beauty part for Obama? He wouldn't need approval from Congress to do it. Even though many Republicans would scream that the plan would reward irresponsible homeowners who took on too much leverage -- indeed, talk of a housing bailout is what launched the Tea Party movement -- they probably couldn't stop it.
But when Congress refuses to act, and as a result, hurts our economy and puts our people at risk, then I have an obligation as President to do what I can without them. (Applause.) I've got an obligation to act on behalf of the American people. And I'm not going to stand by while a minority in the Senate puts party ideology ahead of the people that we were elected to serve. (Applause.) Not with so much at stake, not at this make-or-break moment for middle-class Americans. We're not going to let that happen. (Applause.)
Yesterday, Barack Obama was in Shaker Heights, Ohio, to deliver his awful class-war speech again. On page 39 of Mr. Romney's 160-page economic plan, he attacks the president's "inflammatory" rhetoric against "so-called millionaires and billionaires." Mr. Romney adds: "He actually includes every household earning more than $250,000 in that category." But turn to the next page, and you read that Mr. Romney will eliminate taxes on capital gains, dividends and interest "for any taxpayer with an adjusted gross income of under $200,000." -- Dan Henninger
Houston? We have a problem.
UPDATE: A great friend of this blog emails a link to Paul Hoffmeister in Forbes.com. This is a read-the-whole-thing piece.
The most important question to predict a presidential race is whether the GOP nominee is sufficiently pro-growth. Jude Wanniski, one of the godfathers of supply-side economics, noted that, since 1896, only supply-side Republicans have become President. Voters only elect Republicans that credibly support sound money and low taxes.
This was true from McKinley, Roosevelt, and Taft between 1896 and 1908, to Harding and Coolidge during the 1920's, to Reagan and George W. Bush during the last 30 years. Of course, some Republicans faked it during their campaign and won; for example, Eisenhower (1952), Nixon (1972), and George H. W. Bush (1988). And, predictably, "austerity" Republicans have never been elected president; for example, Hoover (1932), Goldwater (1964), George H.W. Bush (1992) and Dole (1996).
This simple but powerful historical pattern is testimony to our remarkable democratic system. American democracy has developed two political parties: a party of economic growth and a party of income redistribution. If a credible plan for growth is offered, the electorate will vote for it. If such a plan is not offered, then it will vote for income redistribution, hoping that the party of growth will get its act together someday.
UPDATE II: The author's name is "Hoffmeister" not Huffmeuster (corrected). I managed a typo and a misspelling in one word.
IT'S NOT A "RECALL," IT'S A "CALL BACK:" GM to call back 8,000 Chevy Volts."General Motors will strengthen the structure around the batteries in its Volt electric cars to keep them safe during crashes, a person briefed on the matter said Thursday. GM will ask Volt owners to return the cars to dealers for structural modifications, said the person, who did not want to be identified because GM executives plan to announce the repairs later Thursday." -- Instapundit.
Splitting the well-moisturized, salt&pepper, Mormon guy vote?
Right now, Huntsman has only received 700 votes, or about 1 percent of all votes cast. In a normal race, this would be nothing more than a blip. But this isn't a normal race.
With 96 percent of the vote in, Rick Santorum is leading Mitt Romney by a razor thin margin of 79 votes.
Entrance poll data suggested that Huntsman's support came exclusively from "moderate or liberal" voters, a subset which made up just 17 percent of the electorate, but which Romney carried over Santorum 35 percent to 8 percent.
If the final numbers are similar to these, Santorum might want to send Huntsman a belated Christmas present.
What's great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the president drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking. All the Cokes are the same and all the Cokes are good. Liz Taylor knows it, the president knows it, the bum knows it, and you know it. -- Andy Warhol
Warhol published his journal many years back. I recommend it highly.
Blog Brother JK has made numerous impassioned cases for Gov. Huntsman to be the GOP standard bearer versus the current Duffer-in-Chief. The basic argument, as The Refugee understands it, is that the former governor from the state geographically to the left of Colorado would be better at promoting Liberty. The Refugee is not so sure. The Good Gov seems to have taken a page from the Newt Gingrich playbook of attacking capitalism in an effort to get at Romney.
In an "exclusive interview with the Huffington Post," Huntsman characterized Romney as an "agent for Wall Street." ["Why would any self-respecting Republican give an exclusive interview to HuffPo," pondered The Refugee. But that was just him being snarky.]
Hoping to establish a competitive position once the Republican presidential primary contest shifts its focus from Iowa to New Hampshire, Jon Huntsman sharply criticized Mitt Romney on Tuesday, saying the frontrunner would be an agent for Wall Street and protector of the status quo if elected.
Huntsman goes on:
"It is the fact that he has raised so much money from the large banks, the banks that need to be right-sized. If you are the largest recipient of funds from Wall Street, and in particular the large banks, you are not going to be inclined to want to change that model. Because those who run those banks want no change, they profit off the status quo and clearly they are not going to be inclined to want to bring about any change."
It turns out that Romney has received 24% of his contributions from financial interests. Ouch. But wait - Huntsman has receive 21% from financial interests - is 3% really the magical difference between an agent for Wall Street and an agent for change?
The really disturbing thing, however, is that Huntsman - the alleged purveyor of Liberty - believes that his administration could judge what the proper size of a bank should be and what products it should offer:
Huntsman, by contrast, has argued for banks to be reduced in size, and for stricter limits to be placed on the type of financial activities they can undertake.
Romney's take is somewhat different:
"I believe that institutions have the capacity to go through bankruptcy if necessary to reorganize their obligations," Romney said. "I think what happened in 2008 was not a matter of one bank, Lehman Brothers, having caused the entire collapse. I think the matter was that we had a massive problem in our economy, which was precipitated by the subprime mortgage crisis, that threatened not just one or two banks but threatened the entire banking sector, our entire financial services sector. And that was a setting very different than that that would be caused by one institution getting in trouble."
Is The Refugee cherry-picking quotes and issues? Perhaps, but he continues to be troubled by a candidate who often sounds and behaves more like a Democrat than a Republican.
Yes, Iowa has pulled that old realtors' trick. You take someone to two houses with similar characteristics and the same price, but one is clearly better than the other. It makes the decision easier. Iowa has taken us to those two houses and Romney's is much better.
Yes, I was up late last night "Go Mitt!!! C'mon Governor Romney!" I don't have a Huckabee-esque antipathy for Senator Santorum in spite of the sweater vests. But he is far down my list as he clearly wants to use government power to advance social agendas. Subsidizing reproduction is likely defensible and I appreciate his nuance on immigration.
But I search like Diogenes (if I may steal Brother BR's metaphor) for a small-government candidate. Senator Santorum is another George W. Bush. While we have seen worse, that is not what I seek.
Chevy Volt "selling like hotcakes!" sez Democrat, Michigan, Superannuated Congressman.
Romney is the only fellow in the United States who appears to think that the Volt is an idea whose time has not come. Clearly it has not come to him. The Volt is selling like hotcakes. -- John Dingell (D - Dreamland)
I was reading a story of job layoffs at Kodak when the title of this column came to me. Some nine thousand in the film and film processing division will be let go this month. I feel sad for the people and have a certain empathy as it has been 18 months since I have had a regular paycheck. Politics and Economics both require a certain cold rationality that does not come naturally to me. Liberals will be in business for many years.
At the same time, this article, in the Wall Street Journal no less, read as if this were ample evidence that the slowdown is still in force. It is quite obviously a sign of wealth creation and economic vitality. Quick. Grab a 3 x 5" white index card with no lines on at least one side and a fine point marker and a ruler - got it? Great. Chart your film purchases over the last decade. The x-axis is time and the y-axis is the amount of film you bought that year. The area under the curve is your total film purchases in the last ten years and the slope of that line is why Kodak is releasing 9000 workers.
January 3, 2012: Kodak is threatened with de-listing off the NYSE.
Kodak last closed above $1 on Dec. 7. A year ago, it was around $5.85.
Kodak has six months to fix the below-a-buck situation, although with directors jumping ship -- three over the past two weeks -- it's hard to have much confidence in the struggling photography icon.
As a person with some modest experience of life under east-AsianCommunism, I've had a lot of people asking me whether the tears being wept at the funeral of Kim Jong Il are genuine.
Here's my answer: Those tears are more genuine than Newt's. -- John Derbyshire
The Colorado state caucus date is February 7, 2012 at 7:00 pm. You can pre-register and be emailed your caucus location (when it is determined) online. KOA Radio:
The Colorado Republican Party has set up a website for GOP voters to pre-register for the February 7th Caucus. State chairman Ryan Call believes Colorado will play an important role in deciding who becomes the Republican nominee. It will be the 6th state to weigh-in on the race.
Because districts and precinct lines have been redrawn, Call if urging Republicans voters to pre-register at www.caucus.cologop.org . Once you sign up there, you can be emailed your caucus location.
Call believes the turnout on February 7th will be huge. He claims Republicans aren't just choosing a nominee, they're choosing the person who will be our next president.
Is giving money to Gov. Huntsman a complete waste? Possibly, yes. If Mayor Giuliani was unable to pull off a New Hampshire - Florida nomination path in 2008, it is pretty hard to imagine the less well known and less polished Jon Huntsman doing it.
I see two other choices and like neither.
One. Join George Will in acceding to a second Obama term and focus all efforts on a GOP Senate. With Senator Nelson's (D - ObamaCare®) retirement, I don't think even the Republicans can muff this one. But, without the A team running, resign to losing the White House.
Two. Settle for a "front-runner." As blog pragmatist, I am supposed to be the first guy on this train. Surely either a President Romney or President Gingrich will be way better than the current occupant. But I can't.
I meant to blog about this but hoped it would go away:
Incensed by the negative ads that have spoiled his campaign, Newt Gingrich recently complained he'd been "Romneyboated," an allusion to the group Swift Boat Veterans for Truth, whose ads helped derail Sen. John Kerry's presidential campaign in 2004.
John O'Neill, the swift-boat captain who led the anti-Kerry movement, is none too pleased with the comparison. "To me, it reflects Gingrich's very cynical hypocrisy, which he shares with Kerry," O'Neill tells National Review Online. That hypocrisy "is the reason why he can appear with [Nancy] Pelosi in climate-change ads and why he can take money from Freddie Mac: If you're part of the political class, [you believe] you're free from any public scrutiny of what you've done." [Bracketed comments in original]
Words cannot describe how offensive that is. That he brings it up. That he identifies with Senator Kerry instead of his critics. That he cannot appreciate other Republicans pointing out what a crappy, lying faced, flip-flopping, unprincipled, hypocritical weasel he is. Perhaps I shouldn't say that. Perhaps I should have said crappy, lying faced, flip-flopping, unprincipled, hypocritical, fat weasel.
Governor Romney is the architect of ObamaCare® His bold tax reform offers capital gains tax breaks for everybody -- everybody who makes less than $200K that is. "The rich" will "have to pay their fair share."
NB likes Senator Santorum. He is on the "Faith, Family, and Freedom" tour -- 33% of which is actually under government purview. He's not "picking winners and losers," he's offering 0% tax rates for manufacturers because their jobs are easy to move overseas. How about the Financial Sector? I think BofA should get 0% too. Can you imagine the lobbyist action on defining "a manufacturer?"
I'd start in on Doctorepresentative Ron Paul but this would turn into a rant. No, my last chance of having somebody I could support is to see Gov. Huntsman stay in.
I was sad to see on Facebook that blog brother ac was travelling for work and was unable to attend the NHL Winter Classic at Citizen's Bank Park.
If you held a gun to my head (violent 2nd Amendment advocate that you are) and told me I had to miss the Super Bowl or the Winter Classic, I think I'd miss the Super Bowl -- even though the Eli Manning -Tebow matchup will be great this year. Seriously, the Winter Classic is the best sporting event of the year. I share one thing with Steve Jobs; he and I both cry when we encounter purity in music, art, operating systems, what have you. The Winter Classic has a purity about it that is unmatched in other sports.
But, if AlexC were there, I was going to tweak him. The Philly faithful booed the Canadian National Anthem! Jeeburz, guys! A lovely young lady comes out and just nails "O Canada!" and the rafters erupt in boos and "U-S-A!-U-S-A!" It's bad enough our great neighbors have to deal with the State Department on the Keystone XL Pipeline; we could at least show a little courtesy...
Whether the ads are fair or not, it's not as if Mitt Romney did anything that the Obama campaign wouldn't do in a general-election contest. Er, let me revise and extend that: If you can't handle what Romney's PACs are sending your way over the airwaves, how will you rebut attack ads coming from the Obama campaign AND the Democratic National Committee AND the unions AND the Soros-funded "independent" groups AND the eager recitation of the criticism from their mainstream-media allies? -- Jim Geraghty [subscribe]