October 20, 2008

A little sunny optimism

OK, maybe just "partly-cloudy." (It seems to be in order around here these days. JEEZ!)

Bill (not Billy) Kristol writes in today's NY Times that the American public usually does show pretty good judgement:

Americans are dissatisfied with the way things are going in the country and of course concerned about the economy. But, as Pew summarized, “there is little indication that the nation’s financial crisis has triggered public panic or despair.”

In fact, “There is a broad public consensus regarding the causes of the current problems with financial institutions and markets: 79 percent say people taking on too much debt has contributed a lot to the crisis, while 72 percent say the same about banks making risky loans.”

(...)

Needless to say, the public’s not always right, and public opinion’s not always responsible. But as publics go, the American public has a pretty good track record.

In the 1930s, the American people didn’t fall — unlike so many of their supposed intellectual betters — for either fascism or Communism. Since World War II, the American people have resisted the temptations of isolationism and protectionism, and have turned their backs on a history of bigotry.

And this good judgement might just lead to a McCain-Palin victory in November:

But it’s hard to blame the public for preferring Obama at this stage — given the understandable desire to kick the Republicans out of the White House, and given the failure of the McCain campaign to make its case effectively. And some number of the public may change their minds in the final two weeks of the campaign, and may decide McCain-Palin offers a better kind of change — perhaps enough to give McCain-Palin a victory.

The media elites really hate that idea. Not just because so many of them prefer Obama. But because they like telling us what’s going to happen. They’re always annoyed when the people cross them up.

Finally, Kristol puts a face on this "common man" who makes up the American public: Joe the Plumber.

And to Peggy Noonan, who wrote that Joe “in an extended cable interview Thursday made a better case for the Republican ticket than the Republican ticket has made.” At least McCain and Palin have had the good sense to embrace him. I join them in taking my stand with Joe the Plumber — in defiance of Horace the Poet.
Posted by JohnGalt at 3:36 PM | Comments (0)

October 10, 2008

Dear Obama Voter:

Not long ago blog friend Heretic penned "A case for Obama." This was in response to a comment question from my better half, dagny. She's used her feminine wiles to get me to post the following "open letter to Obama supporters." (It helped her cause that I fully agree with every bit of it.)

An Open Letter to Obama Supporters (especially Heretic since he may be the only one we have around here)

First of all the question that started this was how anyone could support the socialist economic policies of Obama. Heretic professes to support Obama on foreign policy grounds and not economic ones. I contend that this makes him highly unusual for an Obama supporter as Obama has always been said to be winning based on his economics while McCain had the stronger foreign policy command. This theory is supported by the fact Obama has developed a lead since the most recent Wall Street woes. Therefore the question of why anyone would support the socialist economic agenda of Obama remains open and I am still interested in any answers anyone has.

I believe in individual rights and free markets and the philosophical ideas that provided the founding of this country. I have never found a politician that I actually agree with on a regular basis. Therefore I normally vote based on which politician will have LESS success in taking away my individual rights. Lately that has been universally the Republicans. I believe in choice and gay rights as heretic mentions but with a Democrat congress, I see little threat to those ideas.

On the other hand, if Barack Obama is elected president with a Democrat house and senate to support him (don’t kid yourself, the Democrats will maintain control of both houses), this country will look like something from a George Orwell novel in 4 years.

We will have much higher taxes and still higher spending thus no deficit reduction.
We will have government mandated and controlled health care, thus lower quality, and at taxpayer expense.
We will have government mandating energy sources at taxpayer expense and serious limitations on what cars we are allowed to drive.
We will have government mandated and controlled retirement savings at taxpayer expense.
We will have government mandated and controlled pre-school, as pathetic as our current educational mess, at taxpayer expense.

The American taxpayer is the sturdy horse that pulls the wagon but it can only take so much weight. Note that, “corporations,” do not pay taxes (nor do 40 percent of the citizenry.) The customers, employees, and owners of corporations pay taxes.

On a side note – I discovered, as I prepared to send my 3 year-old to pre-school, we currently have a mostly free market in pre-schools. I had a dozen schools to choose from, utilizing multiple educational philosophies at various prices. I could choose the one I decided was best for my kid. Think what an improvement such competition would provide to public schools.

Finally, Obama with support from Congress will do his best to take our guns. For those of you who don’t own guns, this may seem minor but the second amendment to the constitution provides us as individual Americans with the ability to defend all the rest of our rights most importantly from government.

My gun is an equalizer (you believe in equality?). It allows me as a petite woman to defend myself and my family from a man no matter how much bigger he is than I or from multiple assailants or whatever is necessary.

Heretic – if you have any interest, you and your family are invited to Atlantis farm for an introduction to gun safety and utility.

Please Obama supporters, reconsider your vote based on the serious harm to individual liberty and the pursuit of happiness that an Obama presidency would undoubtedly entail.

Regards,

Dagny

P.S. What evidence do you have that Governor Palin is either vindictive or naďve? She could maybe be called inexperienced but less so than Obama and he is at the TOP of his ticket.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:06 AM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Dagny/JG, A very well crafted, thoughtful piece that gets Hosannah's from this side of the choir. Perhaps LatteSipper or JC or Clark could weigh in on Obamanomics from their perspective?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 10, 2008 11:22 AM

October 8, 2008

The Dr. is In

Some people around here seem to change their colors faster than the Dow 30 changes directions. "What's the use?" What's the use, BR? There's more at stake in this election than free-market vs. statist economic policies. Much more, that I won't bother to list at the moment. But if McCain can win in November by cloning just enough B.O. economics, isn't that a good thing?

Remember that McCain's chief strategist said he needs to go after the Reagan Democrats that would have gone for Hillary if the Super Delegates hadn't scuttled her campaign.

And read how McCain now plans to lure even more blue-collar democrats into the fold.

No, this populist economic crap is not in the GOP platform anywhere but we're going to have to stomach it for at least 26 more days.

Read two links and call me in the morning.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:48 PM | Comments (5)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee appreciates jg's concern for his health, but unfortunately isn't feeling much better.

"But if McCain can win in November by cloning just enough B.O. economics, isn't that a good thing?" With all due respect, the answer is 'no.' It's not a good thing; merely the lesser of two evils - and a close call at that.

Second, the Reagan Democrat link that jg provided is from May, 2008. Again, with respect, it obviously ain't workin'. And why should it? Reagan did not win these Democrats over with populist promises. He won them with old fashioned conservative ideas for smaller goverment, lower taxes and less spending. The Refugee thinks such ideas would win the day even now, but there are none to be found.

The Refugee also notes that McCain's poll numbers rose as he moved to the right and are now falling as he's moved to the center. One cannot prove cause and effect, but The Refugee discounts coincidence. At the very least, it can be said definitively that McCain's populism is not attracting moderate voters. McCain now behind in every single battleground state and is on his way to a 35 state loss. Life Rule #4: When there's little difference between a Republican and a Democrat, the Democrat wins every time. (Bill Clinton understood this better than any other politician, which is why he co-opted Republican ideas in order to win in 1996 and why Nancy Pelosi recruited moderate candidates to run in 2006).

Nevertheless, The Refugee will concede jg's point that there is more at stake, which is why The Refugee will still vote (e.g., US Senate race and state amendments/initiatives). The thought of Obama selecting Supreme Court justices sends shivers up The Refugee's spine (as opposed to chills up his leg). You can be sure that if Obama wins, The Refugee will be sending Vitamin C, cold remedies and coupons for free flu shots to every right-leaning justice.

Took the two links, still sick. Got anything stronger?

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at October 8, 2008 3:54 PM
But jk thinks:

I read 'em too, jg (even though the prescription was in BR's name).e

What has conspired to put us on the sides we're on? I had been arguing the other side of this with blog friend Sugarchuck just a few days ago. The problem is the future viability of liberal economics.

The Democrats claim that Deregulation is our only enemy. When we send President GreedAndCorruptionOnWallStreet to the White House, and everything falls further to %^$^%, the collectivists' case will be "proven." It might be better to have President Obama fail -- or succeed by discovering his inner Clintonism.

Like BR, I'm still voting and I'm still voting McCain. But BR is right that his "Democrat-Lite(r)" isn't going to beat the real thing. I'd be surprised if one moderate voter were converted for every ten Republicans that were turned away or demoralized last night.

Palin 2012! (Should the signs just say "Sarah!")?

Posted by: jk at October 8, 2008 4:09 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Would Starship have any objection to Palin using their song for her campaign?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 9, 2008 9:16 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Would Starship have any objection to Palin using their song for her campaign? Different spelling, I know, but imagine a crowd singing "Sarah, Sarah!"

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 9, 2008 9:17 AM
But Keith thinks:

Starship? That's too close to the Clintons using Fleetwood Mac. A better recommendation would be Heart.

I know people who are getting sick of me playing "Barracuda" over and over again...

Posted by: Keith at October 9, 2008 3:30 PM

September 18, 2008

Congress Tries to Fix What They Broke

"I scream, you scream, we all scream for - REGULATION!"

In contrast to the major media narrative on the current financial turmoil there are two articles that everyone must read.

The first is Congress Tries to Fix What it Broke, an editorial by Investor's Business Daily.

Regulation: As the financial crisis spreads, denials on Capitol Hill grow more shrill. Blame an aloof President Bush, greedy Wall Street, risky capitalism — anybody but those in Congress who wrote the banking rules.

(…)

In other words, nobody up and down the line — from the branch office on main street to the high-rise on Wall Street — analyzed the risk of such ill-advised loans. But why should they? Everybody was just doing what the regulators in Washington wanted them to do.

(…)

The original culprits in all this were the social engineers who compelled banks to make the bad loans. The private sector has no business conducting social experiments on behalf of government. Its business is making profit. Period. So it did what it naturally does and turned the subprime social mandate into a lucrative industry.

Of course, it was a Ponzi scheme, because they weren't allowed to play by their rules. The government changed the rules for risk.

In order to put low-income minorities into home loans, they were ordered to suspend lending standards that had served the banking industry well for centuries. No one wants to talk about it, so they just scapegoat Wall Street.

The other is Zachary Karabell's Bad Accounting Rules Helped Sink AIG, a WSJ editorial.

The current meltdown isn't the result of too much regulation or too little. The root cause is bad regulation.

Call it the revenge of Enron. The collapse of Enron in 2002 triggered a wave of regulations, most notably Sarbanes-Oxley. Less noticed but ultimately more consequential for today were accounting rules that forced financial service companies to change the way they report the value of their assets (or liabilities). Enron valued future contracts in such a way as to vastly inflate its reported profits. In response, accounting standards were shifted by the Financial Accounting Standards Board and validated by the SEC. The new standards force companies to value or "mark" their assets according to a different set of standards and levels.

The rules are complicated and arcane; the result isn't. Beginning last year, financial companies exposed to the mortgage market began to mark down their assets, quickly and steeply. That created a chain reaction, as losses that were reported on balance sheets led to declining stock prices and lower credit ratings, forcing these companies to put aside ever larger reserves (also dictated by banking regulations) to cover those losses.

(…)

Among its many products, AIG offered insurance on derivatives built on other derivatives built on mortgages. It priced those according to computer models that no one person could have generated, not even the quantitative magicians who programmed them. And when default rates and home prices moved in ways that no model had predicted, the whole pricing structure was thrown out of whack.

The value of the underlying assets -- homes and mortgages -- declined, sometimes 10%, sometimes 20%, rarely more. That is a hit to the system, but on its own should never have led to the implosion of Wall Street. What has leveled Wall Street is that the value of the derivatives has declined to zero in some cases, at least according to what these companies are reporting.

There's something wrong with that picture: Down 20% doesn't equal down 100%. In a paralyzed environment, where few are buying and everyone is selling, a market price could well be near zero. But that is hardly the "real" price. If someone had to sell a home in Galveston, Texas, last week before Hurricane Ike, it might have sold for pennies on the dollar. Who would buy a home in the path of a hurricane? But only for those few days was that value "real."

No matter what else you hear or read on this subject, keep these two articles in mind.

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:57 PM | Comments (5)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

The Refugee was about to rant that everyone seems to have forgotten Eliot "Stockings" Spitzer's now-discredited prosecutorial targeting of AIG and CEO Hank Greenberg. However, a quick Internet search proved otherwise.

Upon indictment, AIG stock dropped something like 45% and never recovered. This substantially hampered the company's ability to raise capital. An alternate universe does not exist to determine if AIG would have failed anyway, but it's worth contemplating what role prosecutorial abuse may have played. Right next to the calls of "Wall Street greed" let's put "political hubris." Spitzer can be the poster boy - from the waist up, please.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 19, 2008 4:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, everybody who is not doing Google® searches for "Spitzer, AIG, Screwed it up" probably has forgotten it.

We'll hear a thousand times about Phil Gramm revoking Glass-Steagall, but nobody is going to remind us of Fannie, Freddie, or "Client Number Nine."

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2008 6:30 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't be so sure, jk. Yes it's only the Limbaugh faithful hearing it but today (Monday, 9/22) he's trumpeting "all roads [in the investment failures] lead to Fannie and Freddie and their Democrat buddies - Chris Dodd, Barney Frank, Nancy Pelosi, Franklin Raines..." No mention of Spitzer yet though.

Posted by: johngalt at September 22, 2008 3:22 PM
But The Heretic thinks:

Gents - in this highly divisive political environment it is very easy to point to the opposite side for the present troubles. But before pointing fingers to Freddie, Fannie and the friends of the democrats, consider two things:
1: FRE and FNM until recently were Govt. sponsored organizations. Which means they had a govt. regulator appointed by a republican administration with the blessing of a republican congress for the bulk of the period of such excess
2: The root cause, cheap liquidity, can be tied down to the Greenspan Fed, a self proclaimed republican.
3: If not for FRE and FNM, could President Bush have touted "home ownership is at its peak" or something to that effect.

Posted by: The Heretic at September 24, 2008 1:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Heretic:

I'll concede the point on "highest home ownership;" without the bubble that would probably be true just by growth but would not have been dramatic enough to brag over.

I'm less interested in exonerating Republicans that free markets. Republicans frequently act against freedom (else we wouldn't bother blogging around here). But some free market forces, notably the WSJ Ed Page and (surprise!) Senator John McCain saw this problem developing and pushed or called for correction. Rep. Frank and Senator Dodd said everything was fine and cashed some big checks.

The GSE is a bad model and I'll happily a Republican who suggests it.

Posted by: jk at September 24, 2008 2:58 PM

September 17, 2008

Proof of Intelligent Design

A Boulder, Colorado astrophysicist has posted evidence on YouTube that he claims is "proof" of an Intelligent Designer of the universe. You may not be any more persuaded by his argument than I was but I'm sure you'll agree with me that the following leaves no doubt:

According to the United States Mint, the latest release in their well-known 50 State Quarters Program is the coin which commemorates the statehood of Arizona, home state of GOP presidential candidate John McCain.

AZ_winner.gif

The next state to be honored is ... Alaska, from whence we were graced with the GOP vice-presidential candidate Sarah Palin.

AK_winner.gif

Though the government website doesn't confirm it (imagine that - an unresponsive government entity) the Alaska quarters are already in circulation, as evidenced by the pair I received in change 2 days ago.

So not only do these coins come out in succession as Palin's place on the ticket succeeded McCain's, they are released immediately before the election that will surely place both of them in the White House just before the Mint releases the quarter commemorating ... Hawaii, home of the Democrat presidential candidate Barack Obama.

HI_winner.gif

(Dude sorta even looks like "The One" too, 'cept for the funny hat.)

Spooky.

Even more spooky is that the first state quarter ever issued, the "oldest" one as it were, is for Delaware.

DE_winner.gif

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:28 PM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Oddly enough, "ua mau ke ea o ka 'aina i ka pono" is Hawai'ian for "Vote Republican."

And in general Polynesian is means "Democrats want to raise taxes and kill babies. Republicans want to raise babies and kill taxes."

Either way, its three more I have to find for my kid so he can complete the collection.

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at September 18, 2008 9:17 PM

September 16, 2008

Don't know much about e-con-o-my

Remember the old "Mac-a-whack" game we used to play around here? I'm bringing it back.

Barack Obama has campaign commercials slamming John McCain for his ill-advised admission that he "doesn't really understand economics." Today, John McCain proved that he wasn't kidding.

Too many firms on Wall Street have been able to count on casual oversight by regulatory agencies in Washington. And there are so many of those regulators that the responsibility for oversight is scattered, unfocussed and ineffective. Among others, we've got the SEC, the CFTC, the FDIC, the SPIC and the OCC. But for all their big and impressive sounding names, the fact is they haven't been doing their job right, or else we wouldn't have these massive problems on Wall Street. At their worse, they've been caught up in Washington turf wars instead of working together to protect investors and the public interests. And we don't need a dozen federal agencies doing the job badly -- we need the best federal agencies to do the job right.

According to John it's all "Wall Street's" fault because those poor government agencies are just too fragmented, too powerless and too overworked to "do their job right."

Sarah, please straighten the poor man out - and be quick about it!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:16 PM | Comments (6)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

"The best federal agencies"? Let me know when there are ANY at all.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 16, 2008 4:22 PM
But jk thinks:

I mentioned my disappointment. As the blog pragmatist, though, I must repeat that Senator Obama is not championing a free market approach to equities either. This one is a draw and you move on.

Posted by: jk at September 16, 2008 7:12 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

There are too many other factors to abandon McCain, but he seems bent on reminding conservatives why they don't like him.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 16, 2008 10:49 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

And another thing: are these pols under the impression that a 96% haircut is just another day at the office? People who made bad investments are paying the price (as well they should).

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at September 16, 2008 10:52 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Putting jk's best possible spin on this, McCain is going "populist" to gain votes. The problem is that this blows the tires right off of the "Straight Talk Express."

Hence my plea to Mrs. Palin to remind the Senator that "too often, government is the problem rather than the solution."

Posted by: johngalt at September 17, 2008 12:15 PM
But LatteSipper thinks:

Right ... Sarah Palin that mavericky vp choice who frowns on too much government involvement http://egan.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/09/17/moo/.

Posted by: LatteSipper at September 18, 2008 1:07 PM

September 12, 2008

Lipstick on a Pig

This just goes to prove the old aphorism - "There's more than one way to put lipstick on a pig!"

ObamaMix1.jpg

(Just doing my part to help Senator Obama keep the phony outrage alive.)

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:57 PM | Comments (0)

Udall Ad

As a Pennsylvanian, I would have never seen this anti Mark Udall running in Colorado, if he hadn't freaked out over it.

"The offensive representations and slanderous image directly tie Mark Udall to the use and promotion of marijuana. This is an outrageous portrayal that finds no credence whatsoever in fact" [Udall attorney] Friednash wrote to [TV station manager] Cornetta. "Further, there is nothing in the Department of Peace legislation that authorizes the purchase of a van or that says one of the activities of the Department will be smoking marijuana in a smoke filled van."

Ok, so that last line was pretty good.

Posted by AlexC at 11:48 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

My press release in response to Udall's:

"As the owner and driver of a compact van manufactured more than fifteen years ago I am deeply offended by your outrageous and slanderous suggestion that the only cause of such a van being filled with smoke is smoking marijuana inside of it. Further, there is no component of marijuana or marijuana cigarettes that may be found within the oil pan of my van's engine."

"Perhaps you and your staff should re-view the commercial message which featured a smoke-filled van and consider just what part of your personal backgrounds caused you to presume that all smoke-filled vans are symbols of marijuana users."

Posted by: johngalt at September 12, 2008 2:51 PM

September 11, 2008

Lipstick

As soon as Sarah Palin delivered the punch line on her 'hockey moms are pitbulls' joke at the convention you just knew it was going to become a catch phrase in this election, didn't you?

Yes, "putting lipstick on a pig" is a well known aphorism.
Yes, Barack Obama used it in the context of criticizing his opponent's economic policy positions.
But Barack also knew it would be instantly associated with Palin's invocation of the power word in the 2008 election - Lipstick.

It's called a double-entendre and Barack used the Palin angle of it to energize his OWN base under the cover of "a well known aphorism" applied to John McCain and his "Bush policies." The talking heads have it all wrong though. Barack wasn't implying that Palin is a pig. Instead he's calling McCain (and his policy positions) a pig that's been "dressed up" by sexy Sarah, the Caribou Barbie. Palin herself is the metaphorical lipstick.

The problem for Barack is, even by this interpretation of his intent, the remark was sexist. (Palin was chosen only for her pretty face and to pander to women.) With people to whom sexism is offensive this episode hasn't made any points. He might as well refer to Joe Biden's opponent as "McCain's sweetie."

UPDATE - 9/11 15:53: Obama admits that my description is accurate as long as, you know, IF that is what he had INTENDED to mean. Letterman: "I don't know, you're way ahead of me." (audience laughs) [Wink, wink.]

Later he says he'd have gone after Al Qaeda and bin Laden in Afghanistan alright but instead of "spending a trillion dollars in Iraq" he'd have "focused on our energy problems here at home" because we really needed to "create the kinds of energy-efficient economy that will allow us to weaken the forces of terror." Also, "what are we doing in terms of giving farmers there [Afghanistan] an alternative to growing poppy, right, so narco-trafficking has funded terrorism in that region."

Maybe we could teach them how to build windmills.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:10 AM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

John, but it's the next line that seals the deal. "You can wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change. It’s still gonna stink. it's still gonna stink after eight years"

It's definatly about McPalin.

That being said, Palin should throw it back in his face at some point further down the road... the longer we dwell... the worse it looks.

Although it doesn't look like Obama is helping himself, trying to explain his way out.


Posted by: AlexC at September 11, 2008 11:50 AM
But T. Greer thinks:

To tell you the truth, I don't think Palin should be offended by this.

On the other hand, John McCain should.

Afterall, if Sarah is the lipstick, then John is a pig.

~T. Greer, in agreeance with AlexC on that last point.

Posted by: T. Greer at September 11, 2008 12:20 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Philip Terzian says get witty.

Posted by: AlexC at September 11, 2008 3:12 PM

September 4, 2008

Radical Right - a definition

According to Hillary (no, not that Hillary - CNN's Hillary Rosen) Sarah Palin became a "superstar of the radical right" last night. This morning I heard Jay "Jabba-the-hut" Marvin say that McCain and Palin are "fascists." Why? Did I miss the racism or nationalistic overtones in the Sarah-cuda's speech last night? Do liberals think that McPalin wants to incenerate all of them? Relax, people - they only want to incenerate your ideas.

What's different about Palin that brings out such a frantic 'cockroaches scattering when the lights come on' reaction from Democrats and those even further left? Confidence. Sarah Palin is no more conservative than anyone else on the national scene, but what she does differently is what her running-mate used to be known for - straight talk. A "radical right-winger" is therefore... a conservative who ignores political correctness.

But Ms. Hillary believes the Palinator should be opposed, not on experience or family vs. career, but on her message:

I don't care about how Sarah Palin or John McCain take care of their families. I care about how their policy choices affect my family and millions of other Americans.

Translation: "I care about how they will take care of my family and millions of other families."

And she calls Palin "radical?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:55 PM | Comments (0)

August 30, 2008

"The one we've been waiting for"

13-48_Sept-8_Cover_2x.JPG

That Obama guy's got some great lines. Now even Fred Barnes is stealing them to sub-head his column.

So Republicans were beginning to come together, but it was thanks largely to Democratic noisemaking. Republicans weren't on offense. Now, with Sarah Palin's elevation, they are. McCain couldn't mobilize the Republican base, but Palin can. Indeed, she already has. By 10 P.M. Friday, the day her selection was announced, the McCain campaign had raised $4 million online - more than six times its previous daily record.

Barnes also voices publicly what I was bold enough to share only with my brother - that Palin's youth coupled with the national prestige of a veep nomination position her as the GOP frontrunner in future presidential campaigns.

What if McCain and Palin win? As vice president, Palin would be next in line for the Republican presidential nomination after McCain. Assuming she didn't wander off the conservative reservation - an unlikely occurrence - she'd be hard to stop. And just to be clear about her conservatism: Palin is pro-life, pro-gun, pro-military, pro-Iraq war, pro-spending cuts, pro-tax cuts, pro-drilling for oil everywhere (including ANWR), pro-family, and pro-religion.

Republicans desperately need younger leaders. To paraphrase Democrats, the torch must be passed to a new generation. There are a number of impressive young leaders in Congress - Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Kevin McCarthy, to name three in the House - but they've been leapfrogged: If McCain loses, Palin will be the hope of the future. If he wins, she'll actually be the future.

And, as I said below, if her Democrat opponent(s) criticize her for any of her pro-(fill in the blank) positions they are merely being misogynists (that means 'sexist,' for those of you who hung around after commenting on the Anne Price Mills contretemps.) Feel the power of identity politics my fellow pragmatic individualists!

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:21 PM | Comments (1)
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

Very good points, jg. It highlights the fact that Obama's selection of Biden is the Democrats own version of the "bridge to nowhere."

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at August 30, 2008 1:39 PM

August 13, 2008

Energy Freedom Day

Sign the petition created by Senator Jim DeMint (R-SC) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (R-TX) calling on Congress to let the drilling bans expire on October 1, 2008.

The related blog page can be accessed here.

Hat Tip: Human Events via Wayne at jeremiahfilms.com

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:14 PM | Comments (0)

July 25, 2008

Obama-as-President

Mike Littwin, a liberal columnist for the Rocky Mountain News had this Obama cheerleading piece in today's Rocky. Forget the column, which is mostly fawning pap. The nut graf says it all:

If the idea of this trip was to let Americans see Obama as a would-be president, it was a grand success.

And, judging by Obama's performance, his presidential proclivities can be summed in a single word: feckless. Obama took strong stands for everything over which he will do nothing: Darfur, Zimbabwe, AIDs in Africa and the unification of Jerusalem. (Does anyone think that he will really send troops to any of these places?) On issues that he must tackle, such as winning in Iraq, he turns tail and runs like hell. While simultaneously admitting that the Iraqi surge worked and maintaining that it was a mistake, he calls for a similar surge in Afghanistan. Guys like Littwin lap it up - what a country!

The press also makes much of Maliki's "endorsement" of Obama and his 16 month plan. Assuming we can take this at face value, one must ask oneself why Maliki would prefer Obama in the White House. Could it be that he would rather negotiate with a relatively weak president than a relatively tough one?

Posted by Boulder Refugee at 2:00 PM | Comments (6)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

In fact, Maliki never endorsed Obama. Not at all. But the liberal MSM here would have you believe so.

Actually, what Maliki did is *agree* to a general timetable for withdrawing U.S. forces from Iraq. This withdrawal is possible only because of the, dum dum dum, MCCAIN "SURGE" STRATEGY! When Obama and other nutroots opposed the refocusing of U.S. fighting tactics, it was going so poorly in Iraq that any withdrawal would have been in the face of defeat.

By the Obamorons' logic, Satan endorses my pre-school teacher because they both agree that 2+2=4.

Goddamn liberals.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 25, 2008 2:53 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, I should also add, some Iraqi government spokesman said Maliki's remarks were mistranslated and misconstrued, and that they should in no way be taken as supporting any candidate. Consider also that the "source" of Maliki's supposed endorsement is Der Spiegel, which is Germany's equivalent of the New York Times.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 25, 2008 2:55 PM
But Terri thinks:

Just like any good lobbyist, Maliki is playing both sides. IF Obama wins, Maliki looks like the whole thing was his idea. IF McCain wins, same song.
Maliki is just singing to Obama right now.
Plus he has his own election to deal with and needs to look "strong" and not "needy".

Posted by: Terri at July 25, 2008 3:22 PM
But jk thinks:

BR, you're new around here and I don't expect that you have committed the ThreeSources Style Guide to memory. But I will call your attention to page 316:

Avoid redundancy and saying the same thing over again: Instead of "A liberal columnist with the Rocky Mountain News..." say "A Rocky Mountain News Columnist..."

Otherwise, superb!

Posted by: jk at July 25, 2008 5:56 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I don't recall Obama ever "admitting that the Iraqi surge worked." Instead he says, "Katie, as you've asked me three different times, and I have said repeatedly that there is no doubt that our troops helped to reduce violence. There's no doubt." There's a world of nuance between "helped to reduce violence" and "accomplished their mission."

And what exactly is this "16 month plan" of his? He can't say:

"As I've said before, I am not interested in a false choice between either perfect inflexibility in which the next 16 months or the next two years I ignore anything that's happening in Iraq. Or, alternatively, that I just have an open-ended, indefinite occupation of Iraq in which we're not putting any pressure on the Iraqis to stand up and … take this burden on. What I'm gonna do is to set a vision of where we need to go, a clear and specific timeframe within which we're gonna pull our combat forces out."

So what he said is, I'm gonna set a clear and specific timeframe within which we're gonna pull our combat forces out but it won't be something that's as inflexible as "within the next 16-24 months." Other than that though, it will be a clear and specific timeframe - at least, in his "vision."

Posted by: johngalt at July 26, 2008 4:03 PM
But Boulder Refugee thinks:

It's also worth noting that his 16 month mantra started 20 months ago.

Posted by: Boulder Refugee at July 28, 2008 2:48 PM

July 22, 2008

"The Obama Effect"

From www.hypemovie.com:

To roughly paraphrase Rush Limbaugh today, "Obama demonstrates how it is that totalitarianism can take hold. Not that Obama is a totalitarian but that he uses the same emotional appeals that bring tyrants to power."

Hat tip: johngalt's dad (again)

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:04 PM | Comments (0)

July 10, 2008

Hillary endorses McCain

At least that's what it sounded like to me.

Transcribed by yours truly from live coverage of this morning's address to a "women for Obama" fundraiser in New York:

"The Democratic party is a family. You know, sometimes a dysfunctional family, but it's a family. (laughter)

And we care about what's going to happen to the economy and healthcare and education. What's gonna happen in Iraq and Afghanistan and our young men and women in uniform. What's gonna happen with our energy policy and whether we ever take on climate change in a meaningful way.

We know that all of these concerns are ones that, you know, we get up in the morning with. We worry about. We go to bed at night still wondering ... will we ever start acting like Americans again.

Will we roll up our sleeves collectively and start tackling these problems. There is nothing beyond us once we make up our minds that this is the work we will do. And that work cannot be done if we do not have a Democratic president in the White House next year."

And some people wonder why there seem to be "two Americas." Once we, she says, the Democratic party, make up our minds that this is the work we will do, there's nothing beyond us - as long as the president is one of us, that is.

But since I don't want to work collectively - toward a leftist fantasy in energy, healthcare, education, national defense or anything else - this is a clear warning to me to do anything I can to prevent a Democrat president from taking office. Even if that means voting for McCain.

What does it sound like to you?

Posted by JohnGalt at 4:17 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

A good McCain ad, perhaps? Show the speech, then the McCain logo and "I approved this message..." We gotta think outside the box, it's a tough year.

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2008 5:46 PM
But dagny thinks:

The whole speech made me wonder why so many people in America today can't tell the difference between appropriate actions for a family and appropriate actions for a government.

I have a lovely FAMILY, thank you very much, I don't need the democratic party or any other government entity to be my family!

Posted by: dagny at July 11, 2008 6:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Dagny, I think it is the same people who cannot distinguish between things that would be nice to do and things that would be appropriate for government to do.

Posted by: jk at July 11, 2008 7:26 PM
But dagny thinks:

JK, I've given your comment some thought. Perhaps they can't distingiush between what is, "nice," to do and what is, "appropriate," for government to do because they don't understand that everything the government does ultimately requires force. Things that are, "nice," to do should not be done by force.

Think the government does things by any other means beside, "force." Try not paying your taxes, or your parking tickets for a while.

Posted by: dagny at July 12, 2008 1:44 AM

June 7, 2008

Why I can't vote Democrat

In the nation's most anticipated concession speech of the modern age, Hillary Clinton finally endorsed her opponent in the primary race. In doing so, she exposed exactly why Democrats are, as a group, the enemy of America's heritage of individualism and liberty:

"Life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness are rights that belong to each of us as individuals," she said. "But our lives, our freedom, our happiness, are best enjoyed, best protected, and best advanced when we do work together."

Whoa there, madam. Says who?

Certainly there are situations where we benefit from the assistance of others to safeguard our lives or defend our freedom. And happiness is always greater when shared with someone you love. But the work Miss Hillary wants to do in the cause of "advancing" our lives, our freedom, our happiness will, without exception, interfere with MY life, MY freedom and MY happiness.

"We all want an economy that sustains the American Dream, the opportunity to work hard and have that work rewarded, to save for college, a home and retirement, to afford that gas and those groceries and still have a little left over at the end of the month. An economy that lifts all of our people and ensures that our prosperity is broadly distributed and shared."

Let's dwell for a moment... Ensures that OUR prosperity is ... broadly distributed... and ... shared. Hmmm, sounds vaguely familar.

But the obvious question is, if prosperity is shared then how is hard work rewarded? (Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain, choosing and deciding from whom to who else and by how much.)

And now that Hillary has bowed out (for now at least) the 'man behind the curtain' in-waiting is Senator Obama:

"That is what we will do now as we join forces with Senator Obama and his campaign. We will make history together as we write the next chapter in America's story. We will stand united for the values we hold dear, for the vision of progress we share, and for the country we love. There is nothing more American than that."

And there is the reason I could never vote for a modern Democrat: The mere idea of equating Americanism with Egalitarianism is offensive to its core.

My, and The Founders' ideal of Americanism is more like this: 'The American' magazine

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:20 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Indeed -- and well said.

As my magazine (and blog reading) tastes have drifted a little more toward the libertarian, I remain shocked that liberty lovers cannot express a preference for Republicans. They have their faults and an incredible capacity to disappoint, but I find their core principles far more conducive to liberty.

(I recognize that you did not endorse the GOP in your post.) Little-l libs favor Republicans at the voting booth 75-25. Yet they all find it difficult to express aloud.

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2008 11:26 AM
But johngalt thinks:

And as I contemplate bumper sticker ideas for the coming season a circled donkey with a line through it has more appeal than an elephant. And I am a registered Republican, mind you.

Republicanism has done much to damage its "brand" as they say. Not just the profligate spending to keep up with the Democrat Joneses, but the bald-faced hypocrisy of opposing any and every abortion - even morning after pills or in cases of rape or incest - while at the same time claiming to be the party of individual liberty. They argue that the unborn has a right to life just as valid as the mother's, because without life nothing else matters. I argue that while human life does begin at conception, the mother's self-reliant life and liberty trump the unborn's in the closest of all of life's close calls; because as abominable as any abortion is, the prospect of 'the state' making these decisions for individual women is even worse.

I engaged this debate respectfully with two bright young fellow delegates at last week's state GOP convention. I think I did give them some small glimmer of a reason to rethink their positions.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2008 12:21 PM

April 27, 2008

Saved

Hillary and Obama were in a boat going down the river.

The river was extremely rough.

The boat capsized.

Who got saved?

CLICK 'CONTINUE READING' FOR THE ANSWER

AMERICA!


Hat Tip: Blog brother Cyrano

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:51 PM

March 6, 2008

Palin Definitely Not for VP

Unlikely that a new mom would be very aggressive on the campaign trail.

Gov. Sarah Palin announced Wednesday she is about seven months pregnant with her fifth child. Palin said she is due to deliver in mid-May.

The governor says she knows the sex of the child but has not told her other children yet. Sarah and Todd Palin have children ranging in age from 6 to 18.


Let's hope they don't watch TV or read the papers.

Posted by AlexC at 1:02 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

She would have been great, but I don't think McCain should steal the only honest Republican politician in Alaska.

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2008 11:11 AM

February 20, 2008

Barack Obama's "New Idea"

Barack Obama made a rousing speech in front of 20,000 Houston supporters last night. It went something like this:

'This is a crucial moment in the history of mankind!' Gerald Starnes [Barack Obama] yelled through the noise. 'Remember that none of us may now leave this place, for each of us belongs to all the others by the moral law which we all accept!'

Well, not really. That is a passage from the collectivization of the Twentieth Century Motor Company in Part 2, Chapter X of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged.

We had just voted for the new plan and we were in an edgy sort of mood, making too much noise, cheering the people's victory, threatening some kind of unknown enemies and spoiling for a fight, like bullies with an uneasy conscience. There were white arclights beating down on us and we felt kind of touchy and raw, and we were an ugly, dangerous mob in that moment.

This is today's Democrat party, at least amongst the Obamaniac youngsters.

What he really said was more like,

"We're spending nine billion dollars a month for a war in Iraq we should never have been in. (...) We are at a defining moment in our history. (...) We can't afford to wait. We cannot wait to fix our schools, we cannot wait to fix our health care system, we cannot wait to put an end to global warming, we cannot wait to bring good jobs with good benefits back to the United States, we cannot wait to end this war in Iraq, we cannot wait. (...) Every child is our child. (...) I'll do whatever it takes to defend this country."

Anything? Really? What if, hypothetically of course, it really DOES take a war in Iraq to defend this country. [Everyone knows it doesn't, of course, but just "what if" - would you spend 9 billion dollars a month to do it? Yeah, OK, maybe "anything" is too strong.

But this one really pissed me off...

When a CEO makes more in ten minutes than a good worker makes in a year there's something wrong in this country!

Because being a CEO is just another job, right Mr. Obama? And being President of the United States is just another exercise in "organizing."

Listen carefully and you'll hear that Barack is asking us to accept the same moral code that Gerald Starnes did. "I am my brother's keeper," says Barack. What does that code get us? Continue reading.

"Well, there was something that happened at that plant where I worked for twenty years. It was when the old man died and his heirs took over. There were three of them, two sons and a daughter, and they brought a new plan to run the factory. They let us vote on it, too, and everybody—almost everybody—voted for it. We didn't know. We thought it was good. No, that's not true, either. We thought that we were supposed to think it was good. The plan was that everybody in the factory would work according to his ability, but would be paid according to his need. We—what's the matter, ma'am? Why do you look like that?"
"What was the name of the factory?" she asked, her voice barely audible.
"The Twentieth Century Motor Company, ma'am, of Starnesville, Wisconsin."
"Go on."

"We voted for that plan at a big meeting, with all of us present, six thousand of us, everybody that worked in the factory. The Starnes heirs made long speeches about it, and it wasn't too clear, but nobody asked any questions. None of us knew just how the plan would work, but every one of us thought that the next fellow knew it. And if anybody had doubts, he felt guilty and kept his mouth shut—because they made it sound like anyone who'd oppose the plan was a child-killer at heart and less than a human being. They told us that this plan would achieve a noble ideal. Well, how were we to know otherwise? Hadn't we heard it all our lives—from our parents and our schoolteachers and our ministers, and in every newspaper we ever read and every movie and every public speech? Hadn't we always been told that this was righteous and just? Well, maybe there's some excuse for what we did at that meeting. Still, we voted for the plan—and what we got, we had it coming to us. You know, ma'am, we are marked men, in a way, those of us who lived through the four years of that plan in the Twentieth Century factory. What is it that hell is supposed to be? Evil—plain, naked, smirking evil, isn't it? Well, that's what we saw and helped to make—and I think we're damned, every one of us, and maybe we'll never be forgiven.…

"Do you know how it worked, that plan, and what it did to people? Try pouring water into a tank where there's a pipe at the bottom draining it out faster than you pour it, and each bucket you bring breaks that pipe an inch wider, and the harder you work the more is demanded of you, and you stand slinging buckets forty hours a week, then forty-eight, then fifty-six—for your neighbor's supper—for his wife's operation—for his child's measles—for his mother's wheel chair—for his uncle's shirt—for his nephew's schooling—for the baby next door—for the baby to be born—for anyone anywhere around you—it's theirs to receive, from diapers to dentures—and yours to work, from sunup to sundown, month after month, year after year, with nothing to show for it but your sweat, with nothing in sight for you but their pleasure, for the whole of your life, without rest, without hope, without end.… From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.…

(...)

"It didn't take us long to see how it all worked out. Any man who tried to play straight, had to refuse himself everything. He lost his taste for any pleasure, he hated to smoke a nickel's worth of tobacco or chew a stick of gum, worrying whether somebody had more need for that nickel. He felt ashamed of every mouthful of food he swallowed, wondering whose weary night of overtime had paid for it, knowing that his food was not his by right, miserably wishing to be cheated rather than to cheat, to be a sucker, but not a blood-sucker. He wouldn't marry, he wouldn't help his folks back home, he wouldn't put an extra burden on 'the family.' Besides, if he still had some sort of sense of responsibility, he couldn't marry or bring children into the world, when he could plan nothing, promise nothing, count on nothing. But the shiftless and the irresponsible had a field day of it. They bred babies, they got girls into trouble, they dragged in every worthless relative they had from all over the country, every unmarried pregnant sister, for an extra 'disability allowance,' they got more sicknesses than any doctor could disprove, they ruined their clothing, their furniture, their homes—what the hell, 'the family' was paying for it! They found more ways of getting in 'need' than the rest of us could ever imagine—they developed a special skill for it, which was the only ability they showed.

"God help us, ma'am! Do you see what we saw? We saw that we'd been given a law to live by, a moral law, they called it, which punished those who observed it—for observing it. The more you tried to live up to it, the more you suffered; the more you cheated it, the bigger reward you got. Your honesty was like a tool left at the mercy of the next man's dishonesty. The honest ones paid, the dishonest collected. The honest lost, the dishonest won. How long could men stay good under this sort of a law of goodness? We were a petty decent bunch of fellows when we started. There weren't many chiselers among us. We knew our jobs and we were proud of it and we worked for the best factory in the country, where old man Starnes hired nothing but the pick of the country's labor. Within one year under the new plan, there wasn't an honest man left among us. That was the evil, the sort of hell-horror evil that preachers used to scare you with, but you never thought to see alive. Not that the plan encouraged a few bastards, but that it turned decent people into bastards, and there was nothing else that it could do—and it was called a moral ideal!

"But his sister Ivy was worse. She really did not care for material wealth. The alms she got was no bigger than ours, and she went about in scuffed, flat-heeled shoes and shirtwaists—just to show how selfless she was. She was our Director of Distribution. She was the lady in charge of our needs. She was the one who held us by the throat. Of course, distribution was supposed to be decided by voting—by the voice of the people. But when the people are six thousand howling voices, trying to decide without yardstick, rhyme or reason, when there are no rules to the game and each can demand anything, but has a right to nothing, when everybody holds power over everybody's life except his own—then it turns out, as it did, that the voice of the people is Ivy Starnes. By the end of the second year, we dropped the pretense of the 'family meetings'—in the name of 'production efficiency and time economy,' one meeting used to take ten days—and all the petitions of need were simply sent to Miss Starnes' office. No, not sent. They had to be recited to her in person by every petitioner. Then she made up a distribution list, which she read to us for our vote of approval at a meeting that lasted three-quarters of an hour. We voted approval. There was a ten-minute period on the agenda for discussion and objections. We made no objections. We knew better by that time. Nobody can divide a factory's income among thousands of people, without some sort of a gauge to measure people's value. Her gauge was bootlicking. Selfless? In her father's time, all of his money wouldn't have given him a chance to speak to his lousiest wiper and get away with it, as she spoke to our best skilled workers and their wives. She had pale eyes that looked fishy, cold and dead. And if you ever want to see pure evil, you should have seen the way her eyes glinted when she watched some man who'd talked back to her once and who'd just heard his name on the list of those getting nothing above basic pittance. And when you saw it, you saw the real motive of any person who's ever preached the slogan: 'From each according to his ability, to each according to his need.'

"This was the whole secret of it. At first, I kept wondering how it could be possible that the educated, the cultured, the famous men of the world could make a mistake of this size and preach, as righteousness, this sort of abomination—when five minutes of that should have told them what would happen if somebody tried to practice what they preached. Now I know that they didn't do it by any kind of mistake. Mistakes of this size are never made innocently. If men fall for some vicious piece of insanity, when they have no way to make it work and no possible reason to explain their choice—it's because they have a reason that they do not wish to tell. And we weren't so innocent either, when we voted for the plan at the first meeting. We didn't do it just because we believed that the drippy old guff they spewed was good. We had another reason, but the guff helped us to hide it from our neighbors and from ourselves. The guff gave us a chance to pass off as virtue something that we'd be ashamed to admit otherwise. There wasn't a man voting for it who didn't think that under a setup of this kind he'd muscle in on the profits of the men abler than himself. There wasn't a man rich and smart enough but that he didn't think that somebody was richer and smarter, and this plan would give him a share of his better's wealth and brain. But while he was thinking that he'd get unearned benefits from the men above, he forgot about the men below who'd get unearned benefits, too. He forgot about all his inferiors who'd rush to drain him just as he hoped to drain his superiors. The worker who liked the idea that his need entitled him to a limousine like his boss's, forgot that every bum and beggar on earth would come howling that their need entitled them to an icebox like his own. That was our real motive when we voted—that was the truth of it—but we didn't like to think it, so the less we liked it, the louder we yelled about our love for the common good.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:10 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

It is interesting that the Democrats are running so unabashedly collectivist this year. Senator Kerry, and VP Gore, and even Governor Dukakis shrouded their big government thoughts and forced the opposition to crawl through their votes and old speeches.

All the Democratic candidates this year preached bigger government, more taxes, and bashed business. It will be fun to have a clear choice, but they obviously feel that a plurality of the electorate is ready for that. I am not at all certain that they are wrong.

Posted by: jk at February 20, 2008 10:55 AM

February 17, 2008

Obama's Achilles Heel

As the "O-mentum" rolls on approaching Hillary's "firewall" states of Ohio, Texas and Pennsylvania I'm taking this opportunity to reveal the secret to derailing Barack Hussein's support amongst the affluent white Democrats he so famously holds in his spell. While Barack shrewdly disclosed the vast majority of his personal shortcomings and past indiscretions in his own autobiographical book prior to seeking national political office, there's one important skeleton in his closet that none of his opponents has yet capitalized on. I can only conclude that they aren't aware of it for it is so completely devastating, without being a "negative personal attack," that it could make Obama's campaign literally go up in smoke. You see, Democrats pride themselves on their tolerance of the personal choices made by others but there are exceptions, and this is one of them. It is understandable that Mrs. Clinton's campaign is not yet aware of it since the story appeared on the front page of the Wall Street Journal. Should Hillary fail to secure the nomination by properly employing this critical information against Obama we can count on John McCain doing so in the general election campaign. The source of the scoop was not anonymous, it was the candidate's wife Michelle Obama. Perhaps it was her political naivete that kept her from realizing she should never let something like this slip - but she did. And now, to Barack's personal detriment but possibly also preventing an international embarassment for the United States, we know that a leading candidate for President of the United States is ... shhhhh ... a smoker. From the February 11 WSJ, page A1 (above the fold):

With the Democratic presidential race wide open, Mrs. Obama, a 44-year-old Princeton- and Harvard Law-educated hospital executive, is assuming the same dominant role in Sen. Obama's public life that she has in his private life. At home, she expects a lot of every family member, from having her 6- and 9-year-old daughters set their own alarm clocks to insisting her husband pick up his dirty socks. Her most recent directive to him: Stop smoking.

It's a Democrat political ad makers dream!

I also found something to be personally concerned about in this article:

On a conference call to prepare for a recent debate, Barack Obama brainstormed with his top advisers on the fine points of his positions. Michelle Obama had dialed in to listen, but finally couldn't stay silent any longer.

"Barack," she interjected, "Feel -- don't think!"

AAAAAARRRGH!

Posted by JohnGalt at 3:07 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I think I may have seen with a bottle of water once, too. Developing...

Posted by: jk at February 18, 2008 4:24 PM

February 15, 2008

VP Bloomberg?

There is a lot of talk that New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will run as a third-party candidate. However, I have a different theory: Bloomberg may be the vice presidential nominee of Barack Obama. They had a highly publicized meeting a couple months ago and despite his harsh criticism of the goverment's stimulus packages, Bloomberg has recently praised Obama for his plan to rebuild infrastructure.

Just a thought.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:05 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

That would be a clever move on his part and I do NOT underestimate Senator Obama's cleverness.

(When I read the headline, I thought somebody was suggesting him on the GOP side -- ohh noooo!)

But this plays into his "beyond-partisanship" narrative in that people will call Bloomberg a Republican. Brilliant. I hope they are not that smart.

Posted by: jk at February 15, 2008 10:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Last night I heard Bob Beckel predict that whichever Dem candidate wins the nomination will choose the other as her (or his) running mate. "This is the only way to unite this party that is split so evenly," he surmised. That may be true but I still don't see it happening.

Besides, the entire nation is split nearly evenly so my brother's theory of a McCain-Clinton co-presidency makes even more sense using that logic.

Posted by: johngalt at February 15, 2008 3:52 PM

February 14, 2008

Obama for President

Speaking of Hucksterbee, here is a heartfelt essay about his "conservative principles" from my dear valentine, dagny:

"This is the greatest country in the world. This is true because of IDEAS. The ideas of our founding fathers enumerating in our founding documents are the greatest invention that mankind has managed to date.

Chief among these ideas is the concept of individual liberty and all else flows from that. Anybody have any questions on where I stand?

Now, I have realized for all of my adult life that politicians of both parties in this country wish to infringe my individual liberties. Most of this stuff is included right in their platforms. The Democrats wish to:

1) Take my money (most people call this theft) and give it to those who haven’t earned it.
2) Tell me whether to smoke.
3) What to eat
4) What to drive
5) Indoctrinate me and my children in the ways of Multi-culturalism and Eco-nazism, both of which infringe individual liberties.
6) Refuse to defend the US from foreign threats due to their belief in above doctrines.
7) And perhaps most importantly, TAKE MY GUNS. The second amendment to the constitution is the ONE that is necessary to defend all the rest when times get tough.

The Republicans wish to:

1) Take almost as much of my money as the Democrats (this is known as compassionate conservatism)
2) Trade liberty for security (the Patriot Act). Those who would give up ESSENTIAL LIBERTY to purchase a little TEMPORARY SAFETY, deserve neither LIBERTY nor SAFETY.
3) Spend tax money on, “faith based initiatives.”
4) Include religion in the public schools. Did you know that, “Under God,” was added to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954 and was not part of the original?
5) Define marriage.
6) Tell me and my Doctor and my husband whether I can have an abortion and which birth control methods ought to be allowed.
7) Indoctrinate me and my children in the ways of God and faith.

Based on the above, you will note that I am what is normally called fiscally conservative and socially liberal. In fact, my philosophy is internally consistent and based on individual Liberty and the philosophies of both the Democrats and the Republicans are a mish mash of conflicting ideas.

I have always felt like the greater threats to, and successful infringements of my Liberty have come from the Democrats and working on the, “lesser of 2 evils,” theory, I have almost universally voted Republican. I find it extremely sad that I never remember having representatives that I wanted to vote FOR but always many, many, that I wanted to vote AGAINST. Under this theory I can probably cast a ballot in favor of John McCain.

This year, however, the Republicans have in the race and are talking about as a possible Vice President to McCain, Governor Mike Huckabee. Huckabee is wrong on at least 12 and maybe 13 of the points I outlined above (many more than Obama.) He represents the WORST ideas of both the Republicans and the Democrats and I will not vote for any ticket that has his name on it. As I believe it is important to vote, I will go and cast a ballot for a Democrat if Huckabee is our nominee.

At least if the disastrous collectivist economic policies of a Democrat throw us into a recession or a revolution, the blame will be placed on the real problem. If the collectivist economic policies of a Republican throw us into a recession, or worse, we will be told that, “capitalism doesn’t work.”

And so…Obama for President."

While I see where she's coming from I can't quite say I'm with her on voting for Obama (or Hillary) even in the extremely unlikely event of a McCain/Hucksterbee ticket.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:09 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

Happy Valentines Day all around.

I hope I will not have to make the choice that you describe, Dagny, and I agree it is pretty unlikely. Huckabee adds nothing to the ticket but his boyish charm. He does not bring a big home state and he does not unify the party.

McCain's social conservative bona fides are pretty good. He needs to calm the economic conservatives and knows the Governor is not the choice for that.

I am hoping for a VP choice that will make me happier -- I think we might get it.

Posted by: jk at February 14, 2008 10:10 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Don't forget: Democrats view government as the means to everything. Republicans (well, conservatives) will claim to believe in limited government, but only as a means to an end.

Lost to both parties is that government must inherently be limited, and greatly so, and that *that* is the end.

And by the way, the Pledge of Allegiance was written by a socialist Baptist pastor. I instead pledge allegiance, to the Constitution, of the United States of America, and to the Republic, which it set up, one nation, divided into many sovereign divisions, with liberty and justice for all.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 14, 2008 11:11 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oops, posted this under the wrong subject, sorry.

Anyway, I've been dreaming since 2005 of Condi running for president herself. What a woman.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 14, 2008 11:12 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Never mind, I did post it under the right one. :D

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at February 14, 2008 11:13 AM

January 26, 2008

A Serious Critique

Hugh Hewitt has made a lot of marginal complaints about Senator McCain (It's almost as if he might be pulling for Governor Romney a little bit), but I have to admit that this one is spot on. I'm glad he supported The Surge and General Petraeus, but his attacks of Secretary Rumsfeld go a little too far:

Only small-minded people think Rumsfeld is other than a great American and patriot, though of course a controversial one. He continues to deserve the respect and thanks of the American people.

I thus wonder whenever Senator McCain snarls out "Rumsfeld" as he does in debate after debate if others beside me find it unsettling and off-putting that there is so much venom there? Rumsfeld was an opponent of McCain's and as a result the contempt the Arizona maverick has for the former SecDef is complete, but it is also unseemly and not in the best traditions of American politics, especially when Rumsfeld has left the field.


I think Rumsfeld was right about modernizing the military and was right about smaller footprints and greater use of smart weapons. I'll concede that he facilitated the plan to wait out the increasing factional violence after the Golden Dome of Samarra bombing, but I don't know that he wasn't getting bad data and advice from the field.

I do get uneasy when Senator McCain goes after a man who has given this country honorable and intelligent service.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:41 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Rumsfeld was made the tacit administration scapegoat for everything bad that happened in pre-Surge Iraq. I think he knows and accepts that, and I think McCain uses the man's name to complete his own image as the "war fightin' expert" amongst the candidates. I believe Mac was right that more troops were required for the job but to assert that he had some kind of crystal ball is ridiculous.

And for anyone to blame Rumsfeld for how long it took to passify Iraq without first considering the State Department's role is myopic at best.

Posted by: johngalt at January 27, 2008 4:37 PM

January 25, 2008

Uh oh!

Hopefully, this isn't true:


Illinois Democrats close to Sen. Barack Obama are quietly passing the word that John Edwards will be named attorney general in an Obama administration.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:38 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

That will cheer up Art Laffer...

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2008 7:52 PM

Reject the Endorsement

I mentioned yesterday that the New York Times had graced John McCain with an scathing editorial endorsement. Today, Larry Kudlow suggested that McCain publicly reject the backhanded endorsement.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:26 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I agree. It would be comparable to Rudy!s bold rejection of Saudi prince Alwaleed bin Talal's $10M "donation" to 9/11 relief when the self-serving oil looter said the United States "must address some of the issues that led to such a criminal attack."

The Times' "praise" that "Senator John McCain of Arizona is the only Republican who promises to end the George Bush style of governing from and on behalf of a small, angry fringe" is analogous to the Prince's strategy of criticizing his supposed beneficiary.

Posted by: johngalt at January 26, 2008 5:46 PM
But jk thinks:

He was pushing that on his show Friday night. It would be an awesome move. It would heal some wounds with conservatives and yet it would still be there for any miniscule good it could do.

Posted by: jk at January 26, 2008 7:32 PM

January 24, 2008

The Kiss of Death

The New York Times has endorsed John McCain for the Republican nomination. Well, if you can call it that. The editorial begins:


We have strong disagreements with all the Republicans running for president. The leading candidates have no plan for getting American troops out of Iraq. They are too wedded to discredited economic theories and unwilling even now to break with the legacy of President Bush. We disagree with them strongly on what makes a good Supreme Court justice.

What discredited economic theories? Free markets? Low taxes? These are not discredited in the least. I would also point out that contrary to popular belief the Democrats have no plan for getting American troops out of Iraq and that is one of their stated goals.

Regardless of the content, this isn't likely to play well with conservatives who are already disheartened by Sen. McCain.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:35 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I'd hate to see what they said about the ones they did not endorse.

Posted by: jk at January 25, 2008 11:37 AM
But jk thinks:

Hugh Hewitt sez: "I hope very [sic] GOP voter with a ballot left to cast reads this telegram from today's left wing elite" It's not clear from Hewitt's website whether one of the current GOP field has attracted his support.

Johngalt wonders why I read Hewitt. Hugh represents -- intelligently -- a faction of the GOP which, whether I like it or not, has the numbers and energy to sway debate and elections.

Posted by: jk at January 25, 2008 2:32 PM

January 23, 2008

I have to ask

I do not understand how candidates do so poorly in state primaries that they do not contest or work toward. I can see your average Iowan or New Hampshireman getting teed off if you don't "work every county." But why did the whole pack do so poorly in Nevada? Why, when Mayor Giuliani was leading the national polls, did he rack up so many single digit finishes?

I know I am hopeless, but it seems that anybody who would bother to vote in a primary would look over all the candidates. Every four years, the masses vote for the tallest guy or the best hair. But primary voters? I know I am showing naiveté, and I've no doubt Bryan Caplan's book will soon be suggested (read it, thanks!) But I am stupefied.

It comes up in a comment thread debate on Samizdata. Dale Amon is happy to see Rep. Paul come in second. From his home in Belfast, Dale sees a glorious awakening of the Libertarians! NED be praised! The commenters swiftly point out that there were only two men in the race, and that Paul actually came in last. The Paulistas, and some Samizdats (Sounds like a Lerner and Lowe Musical...) rejoin that the debates are televised in Nevada and that several members were on the ballot. How can I explain to furreners why a guy who doesn't run ads will not get any votes -- I really don't understand it myself.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:01 PM

"Genuine Front Runners"

I certainly don't object to advocacy for a primary candidate on a blog, but Hugh Hewitt has gone from driving me nuts on immigration to driving me nuts with his being so in the tank for Governor Romney.

I've admitted flaws with my candidate. Grown up politicking to me is finding the best match on your most important issues, then tempering that with pragmatic concerns. It's not the height of idealism, but it keeps me out of the Kucinich caucus. Hewitt posts three to six rah-rah puff pieces a day on Saint Romney from the Commonwealth. I'd have to concede that it has turned me less favorable to Mitt!, whom I admire and have much common ground.

Today, Hugh links to an article on McCain's money woes with the line "Genuine front-runners don't have to crisscross the country with a tin cup days before a crucial primary."

Nope, "genuine" front runners write themselves a check for a bazillion dollars. Of course, others could find interested parties to fund their campaigns if it weren't for campaign finance reform. Whose fault is that? Oh, yeah...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:28 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Who's Hugh Hewitt? Seriously though, if he's turning you off to Romney then stop reading him. I'm going to try blog.electromneyin2008.com instead (now that Fred has pulled into the veep rest area.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 23, 2008 2:45 PM
But jk thinks:

I've softened to the Governor (The Northern one, that is) but he still trails Hizzoner and Senator McCain.

Do you disagree with my comment -- not my original thought -- that Mitt is a data-driven manager and not a visionary leader? He seems a good guy, but President GHW Bush was a good guy. I fear Governor Romney would participate in some bad ideas in the name of "getting things done."

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2008 3:04 PM
But Terri thinks:

I'm with you JK

I used to listen to Hugh on the way home, but his constant rah rah for Mitt was too much for me.
I don't dislike Mitt, but he is definitely not a visionary leader.

Posted by: Terri at January 23, 2008 4:45 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I still want to look closer at Mitt (and won't let either of your ad hominems dissuade me for now) because I'm desperately searching for a small government candidate who won't try to take American's guns from them. Damn Rudy and his subjective application of the Second Amendment! Were he not an "it depends" guy on guns he'd probably still have me in his camp (where I started out months ago).

Posted by: johngalt at January 23, 2008 7:36 PM
But jk thinks:

I believe my suggestion is pretty well supported by "RomneyCare."

Fair and balanced: I was intrigued to see that Rep. Dana Rohrabacher has come out for Governor Romney. (You should follow the link just to see the horse).

Posted by: jk at January 24, 2008 2:33 PM

January 22, 2008

Persuadin'

The vultures strike!

I seriously feel for the Fred!heads around here. One invests in a candidate (unless one's name rhymes with "Schmergeron") and I know your disappointment. My fondest hope is that it dissipates as quickly for you as my support of Rep. John Kasich did in 2000. I hope Senator Thompson's policy proposals carry on and I'd be happy to see him talked into a second spot on the ticket.

But super-duper-most-awesome-primary-tueday-ever Tuesday is on the way, and I would like to pitch Hizzoner as a fallback.


  • Mayor Giuliani has a deep appreciation of the War. His calling it "The War the Terrorists Declared On Us" lacks pithiness, but displays understanding. Senator McCain shares this depth of conviction, but I do not think he exceeds it. Governors Huckabee and Romney aren't Cindy Sheehans or anything but I do not hear their conviction to the work of our lifetime.

  • Mayor Giuliani has a deep appreciation for free market economics. He knows that what made cell phones cheap will do wonders for health care. He calls for lower taxes and less regulation. My Prosperitarian heart swoons. Senator McCain voted against the Bush tax cuts. I am glad he is a spending hawk, but we are pricing our country out of the global business market and I am not convinced Senator McCain understands. Governor Romney pushes his business experience and understanding (Ross Perot?) but I have not heard a lot about economics. His mandate for health care in Massachusetts speaks against him.

  • Senator McCain is an American Hero and would be a superb Commander in Chief. I am troubled by his stands on Global Warming, free speech, ANWR, Guantanamo Bay, and "torture."

  • Governor Romney has had a good career in the private sector and in government, but he is ultimately a tactician and manager -- not a visionary or ideologue. Washington has a nasty habit of turning those people into consensus politicians and the Governor's career shows a susceptibility to that.

  • Governor Huckabee has a [oh never mind...]


On the bad side, Rudy is squishy on guns. Reading the WSJ today, it looks like Bush messed up badly. I think Hizzoner would nominate conservative, constructionist judges (he told Larry that he would have been proud to come up with Alito and Roberts as picks -- that's a good sign) and hope he does a good job on Solicitor General. I don't see Romney, Huckabee, or McCain doing any better.

I know he's considered authoritarian by some folks. If you're an ACLU-er maybe he's not your guy. I'm comfortable with strong defense and intelligence. It is hard for me to see any of the others stacking up in security.

You can chuckle or chortle. I'm put at ease at ease by the fact that he is not a moralist. I don't think we'll see Faith Based Initiatives, or abstinence programs, or a marriage amendment out of Rudy. He's not going to throw stones out of his house. All the same, he's not a man who lacks integrity like a President Clinton.

Good foreign policy, good economics. decent on the proper role of government. Likable, electable, hard for his opposition to pigeonhole.

UPDATE: I don't link to Dennis Prager everyday but he has a nice endorsement for Rudy! on Townhall.com.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:15 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Full disclosure: the other bad side, the worse bad side is Hizzoner's belief in an Apollo program for energy independence. How many levels of yuck is that?

But an R&D boondoggle is far less dangerous than a carbon cap and trade (Senator McCain) or a heath care mandate (Governor Romney) or rewriting the Constitution to accommodate God's Law (Governor Huckabee) or a gold Peg (Rep. Paul).

Yup, still with Rudy!

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2008 11:38 AM

Say it ain't so, Fred!

So much for my general election prediction.

From Fred08.com, a Statement from Sen. Fred Thompson:

McLean, VA - Senator Fred Thompson today issued the following statement about his campaign for President:

"Today I have withdrawn my candidacy for President of the United States. I hope that my country and my party have benefited from our having made this effort. Jeri and I will always be grateful for the encouragement and friendship of so many wonderful people."

I guess $50 bucks each from dagny and I wasn't enough to keep that ol' red truck rolling into Florida.

UPDATE: 14:44 EST - 850 KOA Radio, Denver:
Republican Fred Thompson has quit the presidential race, according to a statement. Details at the top of the hour on 850KOA and at 850KOA.com.

UPDATE: 14:50 EST - WSJ NEWS ALERT:
NEWS ALERT
from The Wall Street Journal

Jan. 22, 2008

Fred Thompson dropped out of the Republican presidential race this afternoon after a third-place finish over the weekend in South Carolina's primary and poor performances in other early caucus and primary states. The former Tennessee senator did not say whether he would endorse any of his rivals.

Thompson's departure leaves behind a still-crowded Republican field, with John McCain, Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani and Mike Huckabee battling for the lead in Florida ahead of that state's Jan. 29 primary.

FOR MORE INFORMATION, see: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120103011452907237.html?mod=djemalertNEWS
READ THE TEXT OF THE THOMPSON CAMPAIGN'S STATEMENT at: http://blogs.wsj.com/washwire/2008/01/22/statement-thompson-quits-2008-race/

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:34 PM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

Damn! I've been split between Thompson & Romney.... now I'm with Romney.

Posted by: AlexC at January 22, 2008 2:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Sorry, jg. I know the disappointment. All the same, I'd like to invite you and ac to join Team Rudy.

Posted by: jk at January 22, 2008 3:02 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let the persuasion period begin! ;) Rudy is on my list .... somewhere. He isn't last though, at least while Shuckabee keeps hanging around.

Posted by: johngalt at January 22, 2008 3:45 PM

January 21, 2008

Bill Clinton Honors MLK with a Nap

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:44 PM

President Clinton Lied?

Say it ain't so, Senator.

“This has become a habit, and one of the things that we’re going to have to do is to directly confront Bill Clinton when he’s making statements that are not factually accurate,” Obama said.

Video.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:50 PM | Comments (5)
But tuesday thinks:

I think Barack hit the nail on the head. I'm glad he's choosing to set the record straight. The Clintons are using their long-established political machine to attempt to intimidate Obama. The man has much more fight in him than they anticipated. I think Hill and Bill are both in for a rude awakening--their words and actions will likely come back to haunt them, and rightfully so.

Posted by: tuesday at January 21, 2008 2:03 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"It depends what your definition of the words 'I'm not making this up' is. If my wife made it up and I just repeat it then I am not, in fact, misleading anybody. This is just hypothetical, of course. Hillary didn't make it up either. If she repeated what she heard from ..."

Posted by: johngalt at January 21, 2008 2:38 PM
But Tony Iovino thinks:

If he is going to confront Bill (the disbarred lawyer) Clinton every time Bill lies, Obama will be the busiest person in America.

In my lifetime I've had the privilege of watching Magic Johnson and Larry Bird and Michael Jordan play basketball, Wayne Gretzky play hockey, Muhammed Ali box, Tom Seaver pitch, Tiger Woods golf.

And I've heard the Clintons lie.

Greatness comes in many forms .

Posted by: Tony Iovino at January 21, 2008 6:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Don't stop believing, Tony!

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2008 7:12 PM
But AtTheWaterCooler thinks:

In short an attack on Bill is an attack on Hillary's experience. Honesty is what voters did not believe Kerry had in 2004.

How can Hillary claim to know everything Bill did in the White house except for the lies?

More can be read on my blog. Looks like I'm first in google for the words: clinton issue honesty.

Posted by: AtTheWaterCooler at January 22, 2008 4:07 PM

January 20, 2008

McCain Victory Speech

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:20 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

John! sounded like Fred! last night. If elected, I hope he retains his speechwriters to help formulate policy.

Posted by: johngalt at January 20, 2008 11:43 AM
But HB thinks:

Kudlow approves...

Posted by: HB at January 20, 2008 4:56 PM

January 19, 2008

Random Thoughts

  • jk, why on earth do you believe that Hillary will somehow be better than Obama? I see absolutely no difference in their ideology. (I do, however, see a difference in their rhetoric and in their campaign tactics.)
  • Dick Meyer asks: Obama's Age Gap: Is It Race? Yes.
  • Bill Clinton was a decent president (NAFTA, welfare reform, etc.), however, the things I disliked about him are slowly coming back into focus when watching him out on the campaign trail. The media has called him out for his ridiculous hissy fits, but these outbursts appear to be working.
  • Can Hillary really win the presidential election? Obama is the voice of the young and the optimistic. A Hillary victory would seem to stamp out the hopefulness of young Democrats.
  • My prediction (and therefore likely the opposite of what will actually happen) is that the Republican establishment will slowly get behind John McCain. He gave an excellent speech after his victory in South Carolina that included talk of less government, lower taxes, and a prosperous nation free of the "heavy hand of government." It was very Reagan-esque -- without the obligatory mentioning of the Great Communicator.
  • My views on which candidate to get behind have flip flopped more than Mitt Romney and John Kerry combined. At least -- as judged by the varying primary and caucus results -- I am not alone. Therefore, unlike some others here at Three Sources, I will not endorse a candidate.
Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:43 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I have obviously not made myself clear. I have no policy preferences for Senator Clinton. I find Senator Obama to be a better politician and without question more charismatic. Both are bad bad bad, but I fear Obama would have better chances at enacting his bad ideas. (Notwithstanding Senator Clinton's 35 years of experience.)

I agree 100% on President Clinton. I had been lulled into liking him a little while he was gone (Art Laffer voted for him twice, how bad could he be?) but now that he is back, my visceral internal antipathy generator has locked on. I watch the video of his accosting the Nevada reporter and it is 1998 all over again (although President Clinton looks about 40 years older).

There is enough "there there" with Senator McCain that I will happily support him if he gets the nod. I think Senator Thompson is in deep Tennessee kimchee after SC and that Hizzoner has but a single chance for a "hail mary" in FL. McCain towers above Governor Romney in my book and I think our pal from Arkansas is dead as well.

I've already quoted Gertrude Stein and used a sports metaphor, I'll close with a little John Maynard Keynes: "When the facts change, I change my mind. What do you do, sir?" The Colorado Caucus might be in the context of a McCain-Romney race. I'll not think twice.

Posted by: jk at January 20, 2008 2:34 PM

January 18, 2008

Huck-a-Whack, Other Candidate Edition

Fred! is right:

This morning I heard that one of the other candidates commented that the Constitution is a “living, breathing document.”

Frankly, I assumed this came from Senator Clinton or Senator Obama. It is identical to what Al Gore said when he was running for President in 2000, when he said he would look for judges “who understand that our Constitution is a living, breathing document, that it was intended by our founders to be interpreted in the light of the constantly evolving experience of the American people.”

Imagine my surprise when I learned that this statement actually came from my opponent, Governor Huckabee, in an interview with CNN this morning. Now I know Governor Huckabee was talking about amending the Constitution, but I don’t think he understood that he was using code words that support judicial activism.


Hat-tip; Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 5:34 PM

Obama: He'll Be Here All Week!

Obama is getting laughs on the campaign trail about the ridiculous statements made by John Edwards and Hillary Clinton at Tuesday's debate:


Obama began by recalling a moment in Tuesday night's debate when he and his rivals were asked to name their biggest weakness. Obama answered first, saying he has a messy desk and needs help managing paperwork - something his opponents have since used to suggest he's not up to managing the country. Former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards said his biggest weakness is that he has a powerful response to seeing pain in others, and Clinton said she gets impatient to bring change to America.

"Because I'm an ordinary person, I thought that they meant, 'What's your biggest weakness?'" Obama said to laughter from a packed house at Rancho High School. "If I had gone last I would have known what the game was. And then I could have said, 'Well, ya know, I like to help old ladies across the street. Sometimes they don't want to be helped. It's terrible.'"

"Folks, they don't tell you what they mean!" he said. Obama chuckled at his own joke before riffing on another Clinton answer in the debate, when she said that she is happy that the bankruptcy bill she voted for in 2001 never became law.

"She says, 'I voted for it but I was glad to see that it didn't pass.' What does that mean?" he asked, again drawing laughter from the crowd and himself. "No seriously, what does that mean? If you didn't want to see it passed, then you can vote against it!


I didn't watch the debate, but I saw some highlights and Hillary was particularly nauseating, invoking some of her husband's notorious double-speak tactics. jk may be on board for the Hillary presidency, but I am not, nor will I ever be.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:25 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Do you refute that an Obama presidency would be more effective at spreading collectivist ideas? Senator Clinton's "nauseating" personality is my exact reason for championing her. She'll get the least bad done. (The last sentence is pragmatism in a nutshell.)

Posted by: jk at January 18, 2008 2:00 PM

January 17, 2008

Huck A Whack, January 17, 2008

Take it away, Mister Leader:




Hat-tip: Club for Greed Growth

UPDATE: Stephrn Bainbridge takes a few whacks today as well.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:01 PM

jk Comes Out for Hillary!

In the Democratic Primary, I have changed my hopes and fears. I had said that for no other than personal reasons, I would prefer to hear good speeches while the last light of civilization and freedom was extinguished. On a more serious note, I saw Senator Obama as malleable -- that he would accept centrist positions once his ambition was sated.

Watching the debates the other night changed that. Senator Clinton was awful, Senator Edwards was frightening. Yet Senator Obama was no safe port. His ability to retain his smug pride at opposing the war in Iraq is not a cause for optimism. He loves to talk about uniting the country, but it is clear from his voting record and his rhetoric that it will be united on the left. He ain't crossing over.

The final nail was Kim Strassel's editorial yesterday (free, free, free, in Rupert's Wall-less Street Journal Ed Page). That eloquence I think I'd enjoy would be in the service of collectivism.

The Obama downside: He's an unknown, a change, a mental shift, for Republicans who'd been gearing up for Mrs. Clinton. He's skillfully tapped into a bitterness with the status quo, and his optimistic message of hope is tough to counter (just ask the tearful Mrs. Clinton). Is Obama-mania at its start, or its peak? The great fear of Republicans is that it's the former.

Mrs. Clinton has a ceiling on her support. No matter how great a race she runs, any victory will be unlikely to result in significant Washington realignment. But Mr. Obama? If he really has tapped into something deep in the American soul, and if he can keep tapping until November, it's conceivable he could bring with him a new wash of Democratic seats that could reshape the Washington political landscape for years to come. That's a big gamble.


If a Democrat is elected and they keep both houses, it will be all out war to keep any economic freedoms (I never claimed I was a uniter). President Hillary Clinton would be easier to oppose. Yaay Hillary! You go, girl!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:24 PM

January 16, 2008

Huck-a-Whack, January 16, 2008

Kerry Howley writes:


This is what Bill McIntyre is talking about when he quips “Mike Huckabee looks good from far but is far from good.” Anyone pining for a fiscally and socially conservative Republican is bound to be half-disappointed with Huckabee. In place of a Republican platform, Huckabee unleashed his own clean living, egalitarian enthusiasms on the people of Arkansas with the zeal of a personal trainer. He had an agenda for improving institutions: He poured money into public schools and raised taxes to fix the state’s dilapidated highways. But he also had an agenda for improving people: He signed the Clean Air act, banishing smoking from all workplaces just as he had banned it from his own, and launched a “Healthy Arkansas Initiative” to combat smoking, obesity and physical inactivity. He started ArKids First a multimillion dollar plan to insure poor kids. The governor, who plays guitar in his band, Capitol Offense, passed legislation providing arts and music education for every public school kid in grades one through six.

Huckabee clearly had a vision, and he did not endear himself to the state’s conservatives by jacking up taxes to make that vision reality. Randy Minton, a former Republican legislator from Cabbot, calls him a “pro-life, pro-gun liberal.”


Enough said.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:17 PM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

At least he's pro-gun. That's more than I can say for Rudy!

Posted by: johngalt at January 16, 2008 11:27 PM

A New Third-Party Candidate

260 idiots. . . and counting (presumably).

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

He could tap into that 1% of the electorate that Rep. Tacredo had. Pick O'Reilly as his veep.

I'm more worried about having a GOP nominee with a Lou Dobbs immigration position than I am worried about Mr. Dobbs.

Posted by: jk at January 17, 2008 11:13 AM

Huck-a-Whack, Push Poll Edition, Part 2

I announced here on Three Sources last week that I had received a push poll phone call that was pro-Huckabee and anti-Romney. It now appears that the Huckster is up to his old tricks elsewhere.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:03 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I'm on thin ice 'round these parts and should be careful about defending Men from Hope. But still...

Push polling is pretty obnoxious; I hate all things which lower the level of discourse in politics.

Yet it seems to be attaining a mythical level of disapprobation where I suspect candidates will soon be faking push polling against themselves to attack their opponents. I suspect this has already happened somewhere.

Also the McCain-Thompson-Feingold bill [Whack my guy, will ya jg?] has forced so much of campaigning into unaccountable 527s, I don't know how much to blame the candidate. To be fair, if I got a push poll that seemed to favor my candidate, I would not change my mind.

Posted by: jk at January 17, 2008 12:48 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Tomato fights are always more fun when the other guy fights back.

Posted by: johngalt at January 17, 2008 2:34 PM
But jk thinks:

'deed they are!

Posted by: jk at January 17, 2008 2:42 PM

Victory!


In the Michigan Primary, Johngalt's candidate (Fred Thompson 4%) plus my candidate (Rudy Giuliani 3%) beat the fringe, libertarian, come-home America candidate (Ron Paul 6%).

Yaay Team! Results:
Candidate Raw # %
Mitt Romney
337,847 39
John McCain 257,521 30
Mike Huckabee 139,699 16
Ron Paul 54,434 6
Fred Thompson 32,135 4
Rudy Giuliani 24,706 3
Uncommitted 17,971 2
Duncan Hunter 2,823 -
Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM

January 14, 2008

Rudy! on Guns, Flex-fuel, and Pharma

The Glenn and Helen Show interviews Hizzoner by phone on the campaign trail and gets some good answers for gun rights, against flex-fuel mandates (which Glenn is pretty high on), for private health care, not bashing pharmaceutical (or other) corporations. Good stuff!

The first eight minutes are Rudy! and the rest features Clinton-advisor Gene Sperling's Pro-growth, progressive economics (on which I am less keen).

Posted by John Kranz at 11:45 AM

January 11, 2008

Persuading jk

Here is Fred!:

Here is Rudy.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 2:53 PM | Comments (4)
But Terri thinks:

I have to say, the more I see them both, the more I lean towards Thompson myself.

Posted by: Terri at January 11, 2008 6:49 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll crawl over broken glass for Fred if he is indeed the nominee. He is awesome.

I still feel that Hizzoner might be the better candidate and that he has my kind of economic vision hardwired.

Here's my response to the video

Posted by: jk at January 11, 2008 8:53 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Rudy for Secretary of HHS!

But the following is too important to overlook: Rudy's fatal flaw.

Posted by: johngalt at January 12, 2008 10:51 AM
But jk thinks:

I have admitted that Rudy!'s weakness on the Second Amendment is my biggest concern. I can't ignore the video but I feel it is mitigated by the change in responsibilities. Hizzoner was pushing an übertough law enforcement policy and had some fiduciary responsibility to his constituents. It's still ill-advised, but I don't know that it is a precursor to weakness in a Giuliani Administration.

I would contrast it with Fred!'s cosponsoring McCain-Feingold (I am told it was once McCain-Thompson-Feingold).

They each take a mulligan and we move on. When the perfect candidate shows up, let me know.

Posted by: jk at January 12, 2008 1:27 PM

Pragmatism be damned

Four days ago I wondered aloud if conservatives should hold their nose and support McCain as the best hope of defeating the Democrat nominee (Obama in particular.) I questioned my assertion the day before that "only Thompson has the charisma to challenge Obama."

Today Human Events revealed their belief that the best GOP primary candidate to face the Democrat nominee would be - Fred Thompson.

Tell us how you -- rather than your opponents -- would be better able to beat either New York Sen. Hillary Clinton or Illinois Sen. Barack Obama in the fall. You told the Iowans you were, but you need to tell us all now. Why you, and not Mitt or Mike or Rudy or John? Preview your fall campaign by attacking the centers of liberalism as you did in Iowa, and connect each one of them to the liberals you’ll be running against.

Even before reading this I realized I should not be guided in my choice by fear of losing to the Democrat. If there's a candidate who nearly completely shares my principles he must receive my support. Human Events agrees:

We like the way Thompson unhesitatingly attacks the liberal ideologues and their activists such as MoveOn.org and the ACLU, and the way he reaches out to those we knew as the Reagan Democrats.

The question now is whether Sen. Thompson will do what he has not yet done: Take the advantages he is given by his intelligence, his principles, his political skills and this endorsement and make the best use of them.

As the primaries and debates speed by, we would like to see Sen. Thompson continue to invigorate his campaign to carry him successfully through Tsunami Tuesday and to nomination at the Republican convention.

Fred doesn't just agree with these principles, he's not ashamed of them or afraid to defend them. Liberalism is, in large measure, in retreat. Now is the time to go for the philosophical jugular.

If he loses and we get a Democrat instead then we can run around for four years with bumper stickers that say, THOMPSON TOLD YOU SO.

Posted by JohnGalt at 2:27 PM

Fred! Landslide?

Holman Jenkins has some kind words for Senator Fred Thompson in today's Political Diary, though he couches them (fairly) in concern for the campaign:

Fred Thompson is emerging as the policy intellectual of the Republican race, making all the sadder his lack of financing and organization.

His deconstruction of the country's health care woes was nothing short of impressive by campaign standards in the New Hampshire debate. Last night in South Carolina, he reframed the immigration argument with deft strokes, saying the problem of 12 million illegals would gradually solve itself if Washington gained control of the borders, gave employers a biometric way to confirm the legality of employees, etc. "If we did those things, we would have enforcement by attrition."

Translation: Stop worrying about those who are here. That's a backward-looking focus. His "high fences and wide gates," Mr. Thompson's expression of how immigration policy ought to be organized, hit just the right note.

His summary of the economy's current skittish state was also masterful and more complete than any other candidate's, concluding: "We would all be a lot better off if people knew that these tax cuts of '01 and '03 were not going to expire at the end of 2010, which they're scheduled to do."

Mr. Thompson's stage presence is what you'd expect from his risumi. His ability to speak persuasively about policy in paragraphs is the unexpected revelation. A focus group organized by pollster Frank Luntz for Fox News (which hosted last night's debate) began the evening with only two Thompson supporters. By the end, he was judged the winner in a landslide.


I was surprised at how firmly Thompson went after Gov. Huckabee last night. I'll agree he did well, but I do not see the landslide. He cemented his #2 spot on my list last night with a strong performance.

But Hizzoner showed some of the ideals that attracted me to him in the first place. To grow the economy by (he always counts on his fingers) "Reducing Taxes, Reducing Regulation, and Reducing Litigation."

The debate went a little over, and my TiVo cut out when he was giving his immigration answer. I'll assume it was bad, but my only choices are McCain and the Democrats. Thompson's "high fence and wide gates" is a good line -- I like the wide gates and the rest of ThreeSourcers like the high fence. The South Carolinians wanted red meat on immigration. My train has left the GOP station.

In the end, I see Mayor Giuliani and Senator Thompson as having supply-side economics sufficiently hard wired to ensure my support, Senator McCain doesn't get it. But he would be a great Commander in Chief, is a man of great integrity, and most closely matches me on trade and immigration.

Governors Romney and Huckabee continue to slip. Both have too much faith in government, and now Governor Romney is responding to Huckabee's success by becoming "Huck Lite," letting populism creep in to his rhetoric. Huckabee is hopeless, but got the biggest applause lines out of the crowd in Myrtle Beach.

I commented below about Rep. Paul. Who cares about the newsletters. I will be happy not voting for him because he is ready to throw Israel to the wolves. Yet he can't muster a libertarian position in immigration and thinks we are broke because we borrow.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:59 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

I'm on record in these pages as favoring both "high fences and wide gates" just like brother JK. And if Fred! is too (he said it, after all) then why isn't he your #1 JK, instead of #2? What's Rudy got on him but a dwindling front runner status and more money?

Posted by: johngalt at January 11, 2008 2:10 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't know about "more money" if he's not paying his staff.

To be honest, Fred! has closed the policy gap with me, they're pretty much tied. Now the pragmatist bug rears its ugly, scaly head. Who would be more likely to win a general?

We can both cite polls or pundits, but my belief is that Rudy! would do better because:
-- His muddled positions on social issues which threaten his GOP bid would help in November as he is a "non-scary" Republican (well, less scary anyway...)

-- The Democrats could paint Thompson as "Four More Years of W." It's not true and it is not fair, but they tied Bob Dole to Newt Gingrich in 1996 when the Speaker was in a popularity trough. Another laid-back, plainspoken Southerner is not in the electoral cards. If it were, I'd've drafted Jeb! Rudy! is the anti-W: Northern, cosmopolitan, socially moderate. The people want change say the polls. If the GOP doesn't offer it, they will find it in the Democrats.

Posted by: jk at January 12, 2008 1:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Naah, I don't think so. American voters often see through b***s*** when it's pointed out to them. Do you recall the infamous Reagan phrase, "There you go again?" Fred! could put his own spin on that one liner and reshape the electorate's desires.

I discuss Fred!'s electability above in Pragmatism be damned. A pretty strong endorsement from a respected conservative publication, yet no comments have been made to that post. (Must be 'cause I didn't mention NATALIE HOLLOWAY PICTURES.)

And believe me, Bob Dole's biggest problem wasn't Newt Gingrich, it was Bob Dole.

Posted by: johngalt at January 14, 2008 4:01 PM
But jk thinks:

Did somebody say "NATALEE HOLLOWAY...?" Oh, yeah, Fred Thompson.

It's hard to argue with you about Fred! because I do think highly of him. The Human Events endorsement doesn't grab me because I do not align myself very closely with that publication. The National Review endorsed Governor Romney and I took it more as further proof of my estrangement from the NR Editorial Board than as a call to support Mitt!

Their knock on Hizzoner is that "[T]he mayor’s pro-abortion, pro-gun control, pro-gay rights social views are more liberal than conservative." Hmmm, maybe I'm more liberal than conservative -- by Human Events standards, certainly.

Not many guys will agree to still fight the Dole '96 fight, and I'll admit that he was a flawed candidate against a popular incumbent. But if you remember, union groups flooded the airwaves for a month before the campaign with "Newt Gingrich and Bob Dole want to cook and eat your children" spots. Each had a huge picture of Speaker Gingrich and a small picture of Leader Dole.

It was comical in a way. But when the campaign got off the ground, a crafty politician and war hero, who also features a good wit, started 20 points down.

Parry Thompson might (now he thinks he's Yoda!) but if Letterman says it and Leno says it, a plurality will never hear the Senator's response.

Posted by: jk at January 14, 2008 5:14 PM

More on Ron Paul

Ron Paul vehemently distances himself from the newsletters on CNN:

Based on this appearance, I am more inclined to believe that he, indeed, did not write them. Nevertheless, he should still be condemned for allowing this stuff to be published in his name.

Meanwhile, Virginia Postrel writes:


Thanks to The New Republic, libertarians who weren't paying attention in the 1990s, don't read Texas Monthly, and didn't do their candidate research have now discovered that Ron Paul said--or, more likely, allowed to be said in his name (probably by Lew Rockwell)--nasty things in his newsletters. Much reaction can be found at Hit & Run, as well as Andrew Sullivan's blog and The Volokh Conspiracy. The disclosures are not news to me, nor is the Paul campaign's dismissive reaction a surprise. When you give your political heart to a guy who spends so much time worrying about international bankers, you're not going to get a tolerant cosmopolitan.

Also, respected Austrian economist Steve Horwitz's opinion is here. It is a fair and comprehensive take on this discovery.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:08 AM | Comments (3)
But Scott M. thinks:

What do I think?

I think that the GOP establishment has been trying to take Ron Paul down since he backed Reagan against Ford and the Rockefellars (who are the REAL racists.) I think they managed to get someone on to the newsletter staff, wrote some great things, built some trust, found Ron Paul really wasn't involved in the newsletter (a company approached HIM to create the newsletters and Ron Paul authored NOTHING in the newsletters at all) and took advantage of that and put this stuff in ONE newsletter. See, the originator of this crap IMPLIES that it happened for decades, but the only proof he offers is from ONE newsletter. You cannot find anything before or after that sounds even remotely like this.

I mean, seriously, just look at it. It is almost satire. Too perfect. It hits on every single category of racism. It is a charicture of a racist. It sounds like neocon writing. The name-calling, for example. Does that even sound like Ron Paul? When have you heard him talk like that?

As far fetched as it might sound, somebody set Ron Paul up, plain and simple. Now they are spreading rumors that it was Lew Rockwell. These people are the only ones that know who it really was.

It doesn't matter though. It will either be a successful smear attempt or it won't. I don't see the media covering Obama's endorsement by Farrakhan or Hillary hiring the La Raza chairman.

It is obvious to anyone that knows what is at stake if Ron Paul gets elected that there is an extrmely concerted effort to take him down.

It will either work or it won't. You either believe it or you don't.

Ask yourself this: If Ron Paul is telling the truth, what else can he possibly do? What if he really DOESN'T know who wrote this? How would YOU be able to defend yourself if someone did this to you?

It isn't the first smear campaign against Dr. Paul, and it won't be the last. Billions of dollars of taxpayers money and unbelievable power is as at stake for those he opposes.

What did you expect; that they were just going to give up?

Posted by: Scott M. at January 11, 2008 11:20 AM
But Scott M. thinks:

Not to mention that this newsletter was so obscure that only someone that already KNEW it existed would be able to find it. Did you read where it was found? In a library in Kansas. The TNR author isn't even IN Kansas.

What are the chances that he simply stumbled on this without someone telling him what to look for?

Exactly...

The question is this: do you believe in saving this country from the real evil enough? War isn't pretty and make no mistake, this is war. You are going to have to chose a side and stick with it to the very end.

Posted by: Scott M. at January 11, 2008 11:25 AM
But jk thinks:

Libertarians are incapable of racism? 67% of blacks are in prison? I'm not sure.

I agree on the Drug War and I agree that he did not write them. And I agree that he is not a racist. But to not care what the Ron Paul Newsletter says, to have no idea who was the editor, who wrote them and to not care is disturbing. But put me down with the blogger (sorry, can’t find who) who would rather not vote for Rep. Paul because of his positions rather than not vote for Paul because of perceived racism.

Paul's assertion in the debate last night that Israel can take care of itself without an implicit American is specious. It is a legitimate position to call for the US to abdicate our involvement in “World Policing” but I strongly disagree. I also dispute his assertion that "we're broke, and can't do it anymore” that “we have to borrow billion from the Chinese to keep up 'The Empire.'" Did he perhaps take out a loan to go to Medical School, or to buy a house?

I have some strong libertarian leanings, but this guy has failed to excite me at all.

Posted by: jk at January 11, 2008 12:16 PM

January 10, 2008

Huck-a-Whack, Push Poll Edition

Wednesday night I received a phone call. It was an automated poll regarding the Republican primary in my home state. The poll first asked my opinion of President Bush. Then, the call asked which issue I thought was more important, taxes or abortion? I answered taxes and heard the following:


"Are you aware that Mitt Romney did not support the 2003 Bush tax cuts? On the other hand Mike Huckabee has supported the tax cuts from the beginning. Given..."

I promptly hung up the phone. I was "push polled" by the Huckabee campaign. I am sure that when the local newspapers get wind of this, he will disavow any knowledge, but this is of little solace to me. Huckabee has run a sneaky, dirty, and populist campaign and it disgusts me. He pretends that his message is the future vision of the Republican Party and perhaps that is true, but that is not party that I will be a part of. While these Huck-a-Whacks began in playful jest, his campaign has successfully removed me from the sidelines to vote against him.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 8:57 PM

January 9, 2008

The Generic Edwards Speech

Random Thought: Every John Edwards speech has the same theme:


I believe that the government, not insurance companies, should deny your health insurance claim...

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 5:40 PM

Ron Paul Apologist

The Ron Paul Newsletter story fascinates. My first interest is in how little interest it has generated. I read it on ThreeSources (way to scoop, hb!) and did not see another word about until Glenn Reynolds linked to Ann Althouse at 3:21 PM. In an immediate gratification blogosphere, a story this big about the Internet's favorite candidate lies dormant for 15 hours? I thought it might be lack of credibility of TNR, but Brian Doherty suggests it might be Ron Paul.

This whole scandal is, for one thing, a sobering reminder to Paul fans exactly how little any of his opponents cared about him up until now, given that none of their opposition research brought any of this to serious public attention

Yeah, that Sen. Chris Dodd sex-with-turnips thing didn't attract a lot of press either...

Doherty’s post disappoints me with his readiness to defend something that seems pretty indefensible:

It is certainly worth remembering on this tense day for those who have admired Paul as a politician and as a voice in this campaign that, as his clear to anyone paying close attention to either his presidential campaign message (or his message through most of his congressional career) or to the concerns of the bulk of his current fans, that racial or anti-gay animus has zero to do with Ron Paul's campaign or its appeal [..] It is also worth remembering that every single other candidate is a fervent believer in policies that cause far more harm to far more innocent black people (the drug war) than old ghostwritten words that insult Martin Luther King, or insult rioters in racial terms, ever could.

He's sellin' but I'm not buyin'. I'd suggest that Doherty read an excellent book by [wait for it...] Brian Doherty. Radicals For Capitalism has 700 pages of this story -- and he doesn't get it. The liberty movement is a sequence of brave visionaries who had great ideas. But almost all of them had such extreme character flaws or communication deficiencies. They inspired a hundred cults, but not one of them inspired a movement. Compare William F. Buckley to Lew Rockwell.

I think the liberty movement can lay claim to great thinkers: I'll take Mises and Hayek and Bastiat against anybody in a Philosophy cage match. But, to go back to the Buckley example, Buckley chased the loonies out of the Conservative movement. Once the John Birchers were gone, there was comfort for a much larger group of less marginal thinkers.

I have zero invested in Rep. Paul and know he has some fans around here. But this really is the same story. He doesn't chase the 9/11 thruthers out of his "movement," he doesn't disavow the Nazis. Sounds pretty consistent with a guy named Ron Paul who doesn't bother to read what's said in the "Ron Paul Newsletter."

Hat-tip: Instapundit, who has a nice roundup.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:06 AM | Comments (8)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I don't know about Ron Paul, but Tom DiLorenzo is hardly racist. I've heard him speak, and I've had the pleasure of corresponding with him about "that tyrant" -- Abraham Lincoln. "The Real Lincoln" is required reading for anyone who wants to know the full story of that time period. It really opened my eyes to who's often called the greatest president, making me realize he was among the worst.

DiLorenzo believes, as I've come to as well, that the South *did* have the right to secede. As Lew Rockwell has put it, "The very principle of the American Revolution was the right of secession against tyrannical government. The founders understood that even the threat of secession would hold would-be governmental tyrants in check." That's why the national government in Washington had to tread so carefully in inter-state matters, as illustrated by U.S. history until the War of Southern Secession.

And I don't consider Rockwell a "crackpot" in the least. While we're at it, here's another "crackpot" quote:

"If there be any among us who would wish to dissolve this Union or to change its republican form, let them stand undisturbed as monuments of the safety with which error of opinion may be tolerated where reason is left free to combat it."

Ah yes, that Tom Jefferson dude was a nut, wasn't he? The context was that the Federalists, fearing the national government was too weak, had begun a secessionist movement of *New England*. Jefferson and other Republicans (not today's GOP, but the party at that time which believed in a weaker central government) believed that secession would be wrong, but only as a specific action. Jefferson and other believers in liberty knew that, after all, we'd fought our own *secessionist movement* just two decades before. Ironically, it was the Republicans' belief in "states' rights" that allowed them to support the principle of such dissent. Had the Federalists won, they wouldn't have tolerated Republicans' plotting secession.

Another irony is that Lincoln's desire, but not his methods, to keep the Union together saved it from being reconquered by Great Britain. This is where I disagree with DiLorenzo that the South would have peaceably reconciled with the North. The South became very friendly with Great Britain and might have eventually established peace treaties. If it didn't actually rejoin the British Empire, Southern cotton and agriculture would have strengthened GB's position to where the latter might have attacked the North.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 10, 2008 9:47 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I should add, believing in "states' rights" does not mean racism. DiLorenzo and I don't support the notion of slavery, not in the least. But we believe in *real* federalism, with individual states left free to govern their own internal matters. Slavery was simply not something over which the federal government had jurisdiction.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 10, 2008 9:50 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm not familiar with Tom DiLorenzo and I agreed that he seems to be getting a bad deal. Plus, I cede to no one in my enjoyment of seeing the post-Peretz TNR get whacked about. A bunch of adolescents claiming to be taken seriously because they have taken over a once respected American periodical.

I also share a lot of your concerns about our Sixteenth President. I'm researching a book on Chief Justice Taney (another man with a complex relationship to race in the United States, but I digress). Taney had a full time job convincing Lincoln to honor the Constitution at some level. I've always admired much about President Lincoln but I am definitely reassessing his tenure.

I do not, however, share your admiration for Lew Rockwell. I don't know how much you admire him but you say "he is not a crackpot" and I don't think I'll go that far. After I discovered the writings of Ludwig von Mises, I was excited to find the Mises Institute -- and then disappointed at the "crackpot density" I encountered.

I have ruffled feathers around here because I feel the same about Leonard Piekoff and the Objectivists. If you only knew Mises through Rockwell and only knew Ayn Rand through Piekoff, I think you'd be in a world of hurt.

Arnold Kling has a great column on TCS today about Politics and Cults. I would offer Rockwell and Piekoff as Exhibit A and B of cult leaders.

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2008 12:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'd lend you my "Real Lincoln" copy, but I lent it to a friend who similarly reacted, "Whoa, Lincoln did *that*!"

People think Bush today is "the worst president ever" and "stifles dissent," but Bush hasn't thrown 300 newspaper editors into God-awful prisons just for opposition editorials. Lincoln did. And as I pointed out a while ago in a comment elsewhere, Lincoln was the first president to institute a draft. And a national income tax.

He was also a mercantilist, believing the Republican Party should follow its Whig tradition of supporting "a high protective tariff." That's in fact what I heard DiLorenzo speak on. I bought his book but didn't want to stand in line to talk to him, and I regret that.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 10, 2008 12:57 PM
But jk thinks:

Life is complex. Lincoln expanded Federal government and rode pretty roughshod over civil liberties (those who can generate a heartfelt caterwaul over The Patriot Act should bone up on their history). But he preserved the Union, which I am going to have to put in the unalloyed good column, together with the 13th, 14th and 15th Amendments.

Like FDR's instituting horrible collectivist economics which we still bridle under -- and fighting for much more. Yet the same President defeated fascism and led the USA to military dominance.

And President Clinton signed NAFTA.

Posted by: jk at January 10, 2008 1:08 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

In line with my Protestant theology, I don't believe that good works can make up for a person's sins. A few good things might come about from an administration, but I won't give it a pass on the rest, or say "It was more good than bad." Yes, I demand a lot from elected officials and their appointed bureaucrats, but that's because they wield so much power over others' lives. When you have that kind of authority, there's no room for error.

I didn't notice what you said about Lew Rockwell. My only disagreement with him is his extreme anti-war stance. War in some cases is the only option (like with Saddam, I maintain). Other than that, where do you find him wrong? I'm not the most well-versed in his writings, granted, but things like his "30 days" are fantastic. A pipe dream, yeah, so "fantastic" in both senses of the word, but he believes in raw freedom.

Oh, I did stop linking to Mises.org and ceased reading it a while back, because a couple of their blog contributors are self-righteous putzes.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 11, 2008 1:47 PM

January 8, 2008

The Granite State

Hillary! Who woulda thunk?

But it's good. It's now a race between Hillary and Obama, and Hillary & crew have the long knives out for the candidate of change. So it's sure to get messy.

The GOP is wide open with McCain's victory over Romney. Romney should have won New Hampshire easily, being from a neighboring state and spending as much as everyone else combined there.

I wonder if the Obama loss is not due to the media hype of his lead. In New Hampshire's open primary, independents might have said, "f*ck it, he's gonna win, I'll vote for McCain instead."

I've been split between Romney and Thompson, (who didn't even come to play in NH), so it's disappointing to see neither pull it out.

Posted by AlexC at 11:53 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I try to stay rational, but I really don't know how many more of Senator Clinton's victory speeches I can stand. I didn't know Terry McAuliffe was her campaign chair -- having him on TV was a pretty unwelcome sight.

Tactically, you're dead right, ac, let them both bloody each other up and spend their war chests on each other.

But please, please, please, don't let her win...

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2008 10:28 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Don't let her win indeed, but Obama would be worse yet. At least Hillary said last night she would, "End the Iraq war the *right* way." B. Hussein O. said he would, "End the war immediately and bring our troops home where they belong."

I found it interesting that Edwards didn't mention Iraq at all in his speech: "There's no question about our goals. We need to work with the other nations of the world to address our common threats - terrorism and nuclear weapons, global warming and the environment, poverty and homelessness, and good paying jobs for every American." I'm paraphrasing slightly but it's frightening that terrorism and nuclear weapons didn't even rate their own sentence, without being lumped with the *horror* of hobos and hillbillies.

Posted by: johngalt at January 9, 2008 3:16 PM
But jk thinks:

There are a thousand quotes which support your point, jg. But here is where I leave the company of the "Rational Voter" (Bryan Caplan, call your office!)

One -- I think (surmise, assume, believe with no empirical evidence) that Senator Obama wants to "be President" (his Kindergartnal dissertation references this on page 27). Senator Clinton does not lack for ambition, but she has a track record of serious calls for collectivism that she cannot wait to establish. I envision an Obama presidency mirabile dictu as "Clinton 2.0:" some gridlock, some bipartisan initiatives, life goes on. An actual Clinton 2.0 would be a white knuckled endeavor to establish socialized medicine and the other 999,999 unaffordable ideas she once mentioned having.

Two -- Even more disconnected from reason, I just cannot watch and listen to Hill and Bill for another four to eight years. My Clinton fatigue dissipated on January 2001 and I looked back on the 90s fondly. Art Laffer brags that he voted for President Bill Clinton twice. That sounded sweet. Seeing and hearing those two, not to mention the reintroduction of the oleaginous Terry McAuliffe, and I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT ANYMORE [wipe back tear]I can't go back to that.

Three -- she might be better at national security, that’s the argument I always hear. But not better enough to matter -- either will follow the State Dept/U.N. line.

Posted by: jk at January 9, 2008 7:08 PM

Huck-a-Whack, January 8, 2008

Full disclosure: I have always been a big fan of consumption taxes. I gave a few small donations to CATS a few years ago, and I signed up on the FairTax email list. You can call me a flip-flopper (he'll never be President!) if you want, but I claim I have "grown." As I mentioned, if you gave me a time machine, I'd go back to the early 20th Century and tell them it would be better. But the existence of the 16th Amendment makes it a complete non-starter.

Blog Brother Harrison Bergeron linked to a Brad DeLong takedown of the fair tax. I join frequent commenter Perry Eidlebus in questioning Mr. DeLong. I will offer another devastating takedown of the FairTax. NRO columnist and often-times Kudlow guest Jerry Bower has a guest Editorial in the WSJ today called Fair Tax Flaws. He finds a few (paid link):

Small vendors often fail to withhold sales taxes. Buyers cheat on sales taxes now. They often fail to pay taxes on interstate catalogue sales. They buy some goods in black markets.

This doesn't happen much because sales taxes are much lower than income taxes, but if that were reversed, consumers would cheat more. Look at cigarettes. Organized crime sells smokes on the black market in jurisdictions that impose high cigarette taxes.

There is a large category of economic activity designed to avoid sales taxes -- it's called smuggling. We don't hear that word much anymore, because we're not a sales-tax or tariff-based system anymore. Increase sales taxes to a combined state and federal 30%, up from a state-based 6% now, and watch the dodging begin.

The immigrant stuff is nonsense on stilts. Let me ask you this: If they're here illegally, why won't they also buy and sell goods on the black market?

Then there's the complexity argument. You don't think the lobbyists and lawyers will get involved in this, looking for exemptions on houses, medical services and education? You're going to put a 30% tax on my home purchase, and my doctor visits and my kids' tuition? Yeah, great idea.
[...]
None of this matters anyway. We will never make this change. The 16th Amendment will not be repealed in favor of a tax vigorously opposed by an army of restaurants, pubs and retail stores. It's hard to get good ideas through the ratification process; imagine how hard it would be to push this stinker. In point of fact, the FairTax serves one main purpose right now: It gives Mr. Huckabee the chance to sum up his economic plan in one line. And that just doesn't seem, well, fair.


The idea that there will no enforcement required is truly disingenuous. I'd add a thought from Perry's comment to hb's post: the Income Tax was pretty simple when it was instituted, look what happened in a hundred years. Congress will seek money and power -- a simple change of collection points will not stop that.

UPDATE: Don't miss Arnold Kling's semi-fair tax

Posted by John Kranz at 6:15 PM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, I can't believe I forgot one more stupid thing about the "Fair" Tax: the rebate.

Supposedly it will work by giving a rebate directly to each person, deposited directly into a bank account. The first reaction any rational person should have is akin to, "Oh for the love of heaven!" The potential for fraud here is *huge*. Conservatives claim we're undercounting illegal immigrants now, but rebates will ensure overcounting. I'm fairly open on immigration, but "let's get real." Paco and Juanita will suddenly want to report themselves, plus their five children and maybe a few more that don't exist. And people of "legal" residence status will also have a temptation to borrow each other's families, create fake identities, etc. You might as well go to New Orleans and say, "OK, who didn't get a $2000 debit card, just raise your hand and I'll give you one."

And at best, so much for eliminating bureaucracy, because we'll need an apparatus to distribute the rebates. Moreover, just how will the rebate be calculated for different regions? The cost of living is very different in Utah, where I mostly grew up, and my home county of Westchester (one of the most expensive in the U.S.). You can still buy a nice house in Salt Lake City for $200K. In Westchester, that barely gets you an 800-s.f. 2-bedroom co-op apartment with a $700 monthly maintenance charge.

Even if people receive different sized rebates based on, say, zip code, and putting aside *that* potential for fraud, consider people's daily mobility. When I'm just across the border in Connecticut, which has a slightly lower cost of living, I try to do grocery shopping if I have time. Therefore I'd gain slightly from rebates adjusted for zip code or even general area, but then I'd lose a lot because I almost always buy breakfast and lunch in Manhattan, which has a higher cost of living.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 9, 2008 11:58 AM

Obamanevitability.

Blog brother johngalt is rightly concerned about the charismatic front runner of the Democratic Party in an obviously Democrat leaning year. I don't wish to instill complacency but I don't think it is yet time for despondence. (Keep watching this blog, we will try to tell you exactly when to panic.)

Senator Obama's victory over the Clinton machine is impressive if not quite complete. The tactician in me would like to see a protracted primary season where they both spend their war chests taking each other down. However, I tried the same trick in the ALCS, hoping that the Indians and Red Sox would tire each other. I regretted that too-clever-by-half sentiment before the Sox had evened the series.

This time I will be careful what I wish for. If Senator Clinton loses by 15 points tonight and quits in a fit of tears and four letter words, as one commenter on anothe blog said "pass the popcorn."

Yes, Senator Obama has energized primary voters. No, I don't want to take anything away from his achievement of 80,000 new voters in Iowa (which, one TV pundit pointed out, has "fewer black people than 'The Beatles'" But, in a general election, he will have a tough time portraying himself as a moderate. The antiwar applause lines will all become liabilities. The lead editorial in the Wall Street Journal today offers a look: (free link)

Over the past 12 months, U.S. troops in Iraq have risen every day and gone to work, dangerous work, implementing General David Petraeus's counterinsurgency strategy. The surge. Across the political spectrum, observers have announced the surge a success. This achievement must be a source of enormous pride to the U.S. soldiers and Marines who have pulled it off.

So what we take away from the four Democratic Presidential candidates' stunning display of misinformation and false statements about the surge Saturday evening is that they have simply stopped thinking about Iraq. They seem to have concluded that opposition to the war permits them to literally not know what the U.S. or the Iraqis are doing there. As the nation commences the selection of an American President, this is a phenomenon worth noting.

Barack Obama is of a sudden the front-runner, so his view of the surge merits the closest look. His first assertion echoed what has become a standard line by the war's opponents, that "we have not made ourselves safer as a consequence." What can this possibly mean? In more than six years there hasn't been one successful terrorist attack on the U.S., even as places elsewhere were hit or actively targeted.


He's got a lot going for him, but the things against him will not show up until he faces Republican opposition. Chins up people -- as the song says, It's a long long way from January to November (or something like that...)

Posted by John Kranz at 11:27 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

I think what you're saying is, "Don't worry about Obama. He's the Democrats' version of Duncan Hunter (albeit 'articulate and clean') and he can't draw enough unaffiliated voter support to win the general election."

But if the GOP nominates, say, Duncan Hunter then who has the advantage? Isn't this just more grist for the 'moderate compromise' mill?

Posted by: johngalt at January 8, 2008 5:07 PM
But jk thinks:

Rep. Duncan Hunter is a great man who has served his country well. I've even come to like him personally.

Having said that. Hunter got a lock on last place for me the day Rep. Tancredo dropped out of the race. If the GOP nominates Duncan Hunter, I will run as a third party candidate.

Beyond that , I'm not sure about the comparison. Obama will get a lot of "moderate" support. I was trying to point out that he will have a harder time in a general election than he is seeing in a Democratic primary.

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2008 5:35 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I only used Hunter as a proxy for a conservative partisan idealogue, for whom the reader could insert "Thompson" or, well, I guess there aren't any others in the field. Along with McCain I you'd have to consider Giuliani and Romney as moderate centrists, while Huckabee is a collectivist and Paul is an anti-war isolationist.

I suppose this answers the question of "if" McCain is the only GOP candidate with crossover appeal.

Posted by: johngalt at January 8, 2008 6:34 PM

January 7, 2008

Ron Paul Revealed?

From Hit & Run:


On Tucker Carlson's show 45 minutes ago, The New Republic's Jamie Kirchick alleged that Ron Paul called Martin Luther King a "gay pedophile," and stuffed 20 years' worth of "Ron Paul" newsletters full of "racist, anti-semitic, homophobic invective."

Kirchick, whose story for TNR (along with screen-shots of the newsletters themselves) are scheduled to go up at midnight EDT, said that Paul "called black people animals," and spoke at a "pro-secessionist conference." In teeing up the segment, Carlson, who was skeptical about some of Kirchick's claims, reported that the Paul campaign has apologized for the content of the newsletters to both Kirchick and Carlson.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 8:21 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I don't know about TNR. If it is picked up by a reputable media outlet, like say The National Enquirer...

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2008 11:05 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Besides your obvious point about TNR's credibility (which is even lower than that of See-BS!), race hustlers will allege racism in everything. Remember that the media made a big deal out of Ross Perot's "you people" back in 1992. Not that I'm defending his politics, but you see my point. If you don't hire a black person who's not the most qualified, oh, you're a racist. If you call someone an "animal" and he happens to be black, oh, you're a racist. When the public transit union went on strike a couple of years ago, Mayor Mike Bloomberg said that they're acting like "a bunch of thugs." The union is 70% minority, so they immediately branded Bloomberg a racist.

I'm not worried about Ron Paul being a racist. Unfortunately, enough people are probably stupid enough to believe the spin that the news will put on this. What "racism" was in Ron Paul's newsletters? Oh, that he wants to dismantle the welfare state, which will "disproportionately" affect ethnic minorities? Maybe ending affirmative action, which will restore equality under the law? Or is it that Ron Paul would end the War on Drugs farce? After all, that would put a lot of young black males out of work...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 8, 2008 3:12 PM
But jk thinks:

For the record, I was kidding about TNR. But I have not heard much about this. Ann Althouse has a post and Glenn links, but I don't think this story is getting any traction until somebody else corroborates.

Posted by: jk at January 8, 2008 5:54 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, are you familiar with the "fake but accurate" stories published in TNR a while ago? A Marine private, claiming to have been in Iraq though records later showed he was in Kuwait, made false allegations about Marines intentionally running over dogs and making fun of a civilian contractor with a half-burned face.

TNR didn't bother to fact-check his story at all; in their zeal, like Dan Rather, they took it completely at face value.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 9, 2008 12:01 PM

Huck-a-Whack, January 7, 2008

I listened to Rush Limbaugh today (something a bit out of the ordinary) and I was struck by the number of evangelicals who called the program to tell Rush that he was destroying the conservative movement and that Mike Huckabee was the conservative candidate. Rush called the litany of calls a strategic effort by the Huckabee campaign and perhaps that is true, but the phone calls really got me riled up.

The particular callers asserted two fundamental reasons why conservatives should vote for the Huckster. First, was the claim that he is the only true social conservative was Huckabee. I don't necessarily care about this, but in any case, they apparently have never heard of this Thompson fella.

The second point was that Huckabee wants to eliminate the IRS and create a much more "fair" tax code. This is preposterous. Huckabee's Fair Tax is a scam. I'll let Brad DeLong do the heavy lifting:


Huckabee says that the FairTax would mean a 23 percent sales tax rate on all items. First of all, the real tax rate proposed is 30 percent. The FairTax would add 30 cents to every dollar spent, but since 30 cents is 23 percent of $1.30, the FairTaxers call the rate 23 percent.

Second, and more important, both conservative and liberal economists believe the real rate would end up even higher. Estimates of the actual rate of taxation required for the FairTax to be "revenue neutral" (meaning for it to bring in exactly the same amount of revenue that the federal government collects under the current system) start at 30 percent and keep climbing. William Gale of the liberal Brookings Institution think tank says it's a de facto 44 percent sales tax. Calculations go still higher once you add in all the necessary and politically inevitable exemptions on big-ticket items -- like a new home or hospital care. Congress' Joint Committee on Taxation, which draws members from both parties and both houses, says the real rate would be 57 percent. (And this leaves aside the enormous federal outlay required by the "prebates," which even FairTax advocates say would cost the government $485 billion per year.)


I said the other day that I did not plan to vote. I am so enraged at the Huckster and his minions that I am considering changing my mind.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 4:29 PM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'll preface this by saying I am completely against the "Fair" Tax, in the way I oppose taxes on both income and consumption. But I will offer a defense of what Fair Tax proponents are saying, because Brad DeLong is a moron. He might be right on the "Fair" Tax, but for the wrong reason. As I'll point out later, there's a revenue problem with the "Fair" Tax. *That* is the real reason DeLong doesn't like it. Remember that as an avowed Marxist, he has a hidden agenda of high confiscatory taxes.

The idea is that the "Fair" Tax will reduce retail prices by greater than the added sales tax. Because businesses will no longer have to pay an income tax, they can pass that on to consumers in the form of lower prices. This isn't just theoretical, but reality: sellers cutting prices is an everyday occurrence because of competition. (I should mention that I'm a bargain junkie. I'm always checking techbargains.com to see what's on sale.)

So a $10 widget might drop to, say, $7. The same would apply to cars and homes, perhaps not with the same percentage, but similarly, because real estate brokers and car salesmen wouldn't have to pay taxes on their large commissions. Now, it's true that "Fair" Tax proponents are misleading, by talking about the 23% when they mean a percentage of the new total price. But even 30% on $7 is only $9.10. Consumption spending will go up, businesses will do better, and with no corporate income tax, businesses will want to relocate here (just as many multi-national corps set up shop in Ireland, lured by its low corporate income tax).

However, the price drop is assuming that "Fair" Tax theorists are correct. Economists can calculate price elasticity *near* current prices, but do we trust their prognosticative powers on such a wide swing, especially when "Fair" Tax proponents will have the bias of overly optimistic calculations? Impartial economists have a hard enough time calculating inflation based on product "baskets" -- and that's analyzing something *now*, not predicting.

If the "Fair" Tax results in less revenue, that's not inherently bad at all. "Fair" Tax opponents say that there will be a great incentive to go underground and not pay it, which I think is not bad, but *great*: anything so government gets its grubby hands on less of people's money. A government revenue shortfall is ideally *good*, because ideally, government would cut spending to match. But in the real world, we say, "Yeah right." Government will simply find another tax to raise and/or borrow more. Here in New York, selling more government debt each year is a tradition. NYC sells more bonds every year, as does my home county of Westchester, and the entire state.

Worse, a percentage tax always has the dangerous implication that it can be raised as government desires. Gale is correct. As I was telling a friend yesterday when we talked about the "Fair" Tax, look at the original income tax. It was a classic bait-and-switch: "Oh, it's limited only to the very top of wage earners, and even then only a small percentage."

The "Fair" Tax supposedly will allow us to abolish the IRS. Oh, the same way that 1994 Republicans wanted to abolish the Department of Education? Forget it: the beast not only won't die, no real efforts will be made to kill it, and it will come back even more powerful. I've heard "Fair" Tax apologists say that the collection apparatus already exists, because states collect sales taxes already, and it's just a matter of changing the percentage figures. That only means the IRS bureaucracy might be euphemistically be renamed the "Fairness Compliance Bureau," devoted to ensuring that the states are collecting *enough*, aka "their fair share."

The same aforementioned friend asked me yesterday what I think about Neal Boortz. I've met the man, and he's otherwise a pretty smart, very entertaining guy. But on the "Fair" Tax, as I said, "He's an idiot."

As for me, I'd choose a Thompson two-tier Flat Tax as the better of the two choices. But if I had my way, I'd go for a Milton Friedman head tax. Now, as a Randite who believes coercive taxation is theft, taxation should have the option of not paying, and then you'd be on your own as far as police, fire, sanitation, etc. There might be a free rider problem when it comes to national defense, but until the Civil War the federal government managed to get funded by a very modest import duty (applied uniformly as a matter of getting *revenue* and not for protectionism). That, though, leads to a topic for another time.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 8, 2008 2:57 PM
But positivesarcasm thinks:

I think the point that everyone is missing here is that it is MY money that the federal government is taking from me in the form of taxation. I have no problem with roads, schools, bridges and utilities for the welfare of the community. What I have a problem paying for is WAR and pork and income re-distribution. Enough is enough.

I believe I have a better idea on what to do with MY money then does the federal government. Before the 1920's/30's, income tax was against the constitution. Greedy bastards, not one cent more.

Posted by: positivesarcasm at January 10, 2008 2:18 PM

The Coveted Kemp Endorsement

I guess it is McCain day at ThreeSources: appropriate the day before New Hampshire's primary. And, perhaps, appropriate as some ThreeSourcers might be reevaluating their candidates now that the primaries are in full swing.

Larry Kudlow points to some serious supply-side endorsements for the Arizona Senator:

[Jack] Kemp would join former Sen. Phil Gramm as key McCain economic advisors. As I noted in an earlier post, Phil Gramm is the quintessential free-market advocate. He spent a career in the House and Senate limiting government spending, taxing, and regulating.

Both Kemp and Gramm are strong free-trade supporters. Gramm was also the original sponsor of the Reagan tax-and-spending cuts back in 1981 in the Gramm-Latta bill reported out of the House. That bill incorporated Jack Kemp’s original proposal to slash personal tax rates by 30 percent across the board.

Down through the years, Jack Kemp has been a tireless advocate of economic growth through supply-side tax reform and free trade. Getting him on board is a real coup for Sen. McCain.


In a recent political discussion, I was asked whom I would support for President if I were not limited to those running and I picked Phil Gramm. I have always been a fan of Kemp, though he did do some unsavory work for some Latin American despots a while back.

I don't think either of these are huge vote swingers in 2008, but they should not be ignored (especially by a Prosperitarian).

Posted by John Kranz at 2:00 PM

Mac-a-Whack?

Every time I think I can support Senator McCain because of his capacity to be Commander-in-Chief, I spill across something like this





I missed this but kept on hearing about how well Governor Romney did, so I dug this up on YouTube. McCain is probably the best on trade and certainly the best on immigration (for a Prosperitarian), but this is a deal breaker. If we want John Edwards to be President, get the real one -- he has much better hair!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | Comments (8)
But jk thinks:

You give John! a surprisingly generous free pass on this. The two quotes I would highlight are (from memory) "We don't have re-importation from Canada because of the power of the Pharmaceutical lobby" and, when Governor Romney says "Don't turn the Pharmaceutical companies in the big, bad, guys" McCain interjects "well they are."

He got the GOP buzzword of competition in there, but his entire speech was in opposition to free market forces in health care. He is obviously seeking more regulation of the sector. Close your eyes and you'll hear Senator Edwards giving the same speech.

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2008 1:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The best defense I can offer Mac for "well they are" is that it was a quip during a quick back-and-forth that he'd explain more fully if given the chance.

That explanation might be, "Drug companies charge higher prices for US pharmaceutical sales to compensate for artificial price limits in places like Canada. Allowing US consumers to purchase from Canadian pharmacies will force a market correction to this inequitable situation. You see, Canada can't afford to block re-exportation of pharmaceuticals or their softwood lumber exports are at risk (from a Congress determined to hold them accountable.) Drug company profits will be affected and they'll have to raise prices somewhere to compensate. Medicare and medicaid reform to ensure competition will keep those prices from rising in the US and they won't be able to afford Canada's arbitrary price ceilings anymore."

Of course, this is the pragmatic Mister McCain speaking, not the idealist johngalt.

For my part I'd just rather have President McCain than President Obama.

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2008 3:27 PM
But jk thinks:

And the generosity continues.

I will always be able to support Senator McCain. I just need to focus on his commencement address to the Midshipmen and try to forget this little exchange. I will likely support any GOP nominee over any Democrat. Huckabee vs. Obama would take some soul-searching. I would rather lose that one and try another time.

I just reject Mr. Baehr's assertion that McCain is more electable than the rest. "If" I were convinced of that, I would be well tempted to support John!

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2008 3:49 PM
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

There were two moments that I meant to mention in my debate comments that I simply forgot. This was one. The other was when Charlie Gibson scolded the Dems for being wrong about the surge.

McCain would not be my first choice (nor my second, and perhaps not my third) choice for the nominee and this is part of the reason. He has that little thing inside him that believes that the government can fix every problem. The media calls this "maverick". I call it "liberal."

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at January 7, 2008 4:29 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Is my pragmatism showing? Those 80,000 new caucus goers in 94% caucasian Iowa who chose Obama have got me spooked. Suddenly I'm not as concerned about the purity of the GOP nominee.

How about Fred! as John's veep?

(I might wake up in the morning and decide this was all a bad dream.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 7, 2008 7:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Your pragmatism is showing.

You have every right to be afraid, but I would keep in mind how dynamic these things are. A few weeks ago Giuliani and Clinton had things somewhat in the bag, and Gov. Huckabee was hb's bad dream.

Do you really buy the argument that McCain is the strongest candidate?

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2008 7:57 PM

John!

I half expected, half hoped that someone would challenge my assertion [first comment] that "...only Thompson has the charisma to challenge Obama..." In retrospect, I think that charisma appeals more to my vision of the average American than to the purple reality of such. This thought is buttressed by the American Thinker's Richard Baehr who writes, "Only McCain can beat Obama." Here's the money line:

Many Republicans are not enamored of the Arizona Senator, of course. He is, to be sure, an imperfect Republican. But if only McCain can win for the party in November, Republicans might want to really consider carefully if they want to choose a candidate with greater ideological purity and the President Obama that will go with it.

Of course the operative word here is "if."

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:18 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I was thinking of challenging you after watching the "Famous Frank Luntz Focus Group Show" after the FOX debate last night. The focus group really loved Gov. Romney. I thought he did well, but I was stunned by the focus group's appreciation (If I hear the Ed Rollins hair joke one more time...).

None of them was moved by Senator Thompson's "charisma." I'm not betting the farm on a focus group, but I really question his appeal (again, full disclosure, I've never seen him on TV and I know the show was very popular, I could be missing the star power argument).

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2008 12:38 PM

January 6, 2008

Colorado Caucusing

According to the Weld County Clerk elections page on the Caucuses:

Important Dates For Political Party Caucuses

December 5, 2007 Last day to affiliate with a political party in order to vote in the Feb 5th precinct caucus

January 7, 2008 Last day to register to vote in the precinct caucus

January 24, 2008 Last day to post signs for precinct caucus

February 5, 2008 Precinct Caucus Day

For more information contact your political party

Here is the Weld County Republican Party website.

Here is the Boulder County Republican Party website.

Here is the Larimer County Republican Party website.

Here is the Denver County Republican Party website.

Here is the Douglas County Republican Party website.


Posted by JohnGalt at 11:39 AM

Chuck Huck, Chuck

I've been a Chuck Norris fan since the debut of his 'Walker, Texas Ranger' TV series. In that show the Texas lawman relentlessly pursued criminals and his friend the attractive DA Alexandra Cahill locked them up and threw away the key. Now Norris has endorsed the anti-Alex, Mike Huckabee, who granted over 1000 pardons and commutations including 12 convicted murderers.

If I ever met Chuck I think I would say he's a friend of mine. And that's why now I say,

"How much Huck would a good Chuck chuck if a good Chuck could chuck Huck?"

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:15 AM

Thoughts on the Debate

No doubt many Three Sources readers and bloggers missed the debate as they frantically watched for the results of the Wyoming caucus last night. Okay, in all seriousness, for some reason I chose to watch the debates last night. Here are my thoughts:


  • Fred! won the Republican debate. More and more, I think he should be the nominee.

  • McCain's cheap shots at Romney made him look petty -- as did Huckabee's.

  • The Republicans swarmed Romney, apparently smelling blood in the water. Huckabee, McCain, and Giuliani went at him pretty hard. Ironically, I think that this made Romney look better because he was under constant attack.

  • Huckabee came across as likable. It is too bad that he is a populist, tax-and-spend hack.

  • Why does Ron Paul refer to the war in every question? He has a chance to be very strong on economic issues with conservatives, but he always circles back to the war. He did, however, have a great quote that was apparently aimed at our own jk:

    I'll be glad to answer that question because it's something I talk about all the time and it's a very important question. The Wall Street Journal yesterday had a very good chart that explains this. If you look at the price of oil in the last 10 years, if you look at it in terms of dollars, it went up 350 percent. If you look at it in Euros, it went up about 200 percent. If you look at it in the price of gold, it stayed flat. It's the inflation, it's the printing of money, it's the destruction of the value of the dollar.

  • It may take until the convention to find a Republican nominee.

  • On the Democratic side, Hillary looked desperate. She attacked Obama for trumpeting "change", but not having any beef behind the rhetoric.

  • Ironically, it was John Edwards who came to Obama's aid, criticizing Hillary as the "status quo".

  • Why is Richardson still there? He doesn't even perform well in the debates.

  • If Obama wins Tuesday, I don't think Hillary can recover.


My primary is coming up. I don't plan on voting.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:06 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

Let's recap the Cowboy GOP Caucus:

Romney - 67%
Thompson - 25%
Hunter - 8%
Huckabee - 0%
Giuliani - 0%
McCain - 0%
Paul - 0%

Did I mention Huckabee - 0%?

My neighbor state to the north supports only candidates I can get behind, cementing my belief that it's where I'll escape to if Colo. ever goes from purple to blue.

And, uh, what? You don't plan on voting? If you'd said, "More and more, I think [Paul] should be the nominee" I'd have let that slide but what happens if those of us who believe only Thompson has the charisma to challenge Obama stay home for the primaries?

In contrast, I'm making plans to "go a caucusing" for Fred! on Super Tuesday.

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2008 11:05 AM
But jk thinks:

I only saw about 20 minutes of the debates, but you'll be happy to hear that I saw the answer you referred to me. Heard it live and take it as concrete proof that I am right. Oil is clearly driven by unprecedented global demand and stagnations in supply and refining capacity. If gold is appreciating pari passu with oil, then I’m feeling pretty good.

Was it the same answer when Rep Paul expressed astonishment that oil went from $27-100 since the Iraqi liberation? He said we went to "take" the oil, and then corrected himself to say that we went to "defend" the oil. He clearly implied that if the price doubled twice, the war was a failure. He then told an outright untruth that oil production is at half of prewar levels when it is now slightly above. Sounds like Kucinich to me.

You have the Paul question spot on. If he usually talked about supra-Constitutional spending and occasionally mentioned Iraq that would be one thing. But if you ask him "Should we eliminate the Department of Education?" he'll say "Yes -- and end this illegal war in Iraq!"

Also may be with you and jg on Fred! Giuliani's superior performance in a Larry Kudlow interview a few months ago is being eclipsed by lackluster debate performance and a few downright fumbles. He said farm subsidies are important to protect the food supply and, last night, seemed to call for an Apollo program for energy independence "led by the President."

The kumbaya moment when they were trading places was pretty good TV.

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2008 11:53 AM

January 5, 2008

Huck-a-Whack, January 5

George Will delivers today's Huck-a-Whack in the pages of the Washington Post and his syndicated column. A friend called me this morning to make sure I saw it. You must read the whole thing, but here's a whetting excerpt, comparing Senator Edwards and Governor Huckabee:

According to Edwards, the North Carolina of his youth resembled Chechnya today -- "I had to fight to survive. I mean really. Literally." Huckabee, a compound of Uriah Heep, Elmer Gantry and Richard Nixon, preens about his humble background: "In my family, 'summer' was never a verb." Nixon, who maundered about his parents' privations and his wife's cloth coat, followed Lyndon Johnson, another miscast president whose festering resentments and status anxieties colored his conduct of office. Here we go again?

Huckabee fancies himself persecuted by the Republican "establishment," a creature already negligible by 1964, when it failed to stop Barry Goldwater's nomination. The establishment's voice, the New York Herald Tribune, expired in 1966. Huckabee says that "only one explanation" fits his Iowa success "and it's not a human one. It's the same power that helped a little boy with two fish and five loaves feed a crowd of 5,000 people." God so loves Huckabee's politics that He worked a Midwest miracle on his behalf? Should someone so delusional control nuclear weapons?


Will may actually lead the "Republican Establishment" he claims dead since the 1960s, but this is a fantastic column.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:49 PM | Comments (3)
But Rick Sincere thinks:

"Fantastic" is a good word. The word I used on my own blog is "masterful."

Posted by: Rick Sincere at January 6, 2008 4:24 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I did read the whole thing, and Rick Sincere's blog as well. Our "Huck-a-Whacking" seems to be paying off as first Rush and now Will are on board the Sink-Huck Express.

And Will shares JK's propensity for admiring Barack:

"Barack Obama, who might be mercifully closing the Clinton parenthesis in presidential history, is refreshingly cerebral amid this recrudescence of the paranoid style in American politics. He is the un-Edwards and un-Huckabee -- an adult aiming to reform the real world rather than an adolescent fantasizing mock-heroic "fights" against fictitious villains in a left-wing cartoon version of this country."

Will notices that Huckabee also caricatures America in an Edwardsesque left-wing style. Bravo.

Posted by: johngalt at January 6, 2008 10:30 AM
But jk thinks:

Welcome to the blogroll, Rick!

Posted by: jk at January 6, 2008 12:16 PM

January 4, 2008

Smile, Smile, Smile!

How can a co-Huck-a-Whacker find his sunny optimism when the good people of Iowa have given "the Parsin' Parson" a huge victory?

We haven't done enough Romneywhacking around here, but the author of RomneyCare is a danger to freedom lovers. His positions are more acceptable to me that Governor Huckabee's, but Governor Romney has an electoral viability I still don't see in the Man from Hope. I say the Huckabee win damages Romney and leaves the field open for Giuliani, Thompson, or McCain -- all of whom I rank far above Romney or Huckabee.

There is more danger of Huckabee causing a schism in the party than of his getting the party nod. I would not like to see him pile up delegates, but this one-off win in Iowa may be just the stumbling block needed to stop the Romney Juggernaut (that's the big truck with the dog on top).

On the Democrat side, a third place finish for the Junior Senator from New York has put joy, joy, joy down in my heart. Clinton will have to punch, scratch and veer left to get the nomination. She'll either not get it (my current prediction) or will be badly damaged.

A great day for freedom. Senator Obama is no friend to capitalism and made a huge lurch closer to the Presidency, but if we must have a Democrat, he's my choice. His victory speech was fatuous, but Edwards's and Clinton's were scary. Austan Goolsbee still has some of that Chicago drinking fountain water in him. The Republic would survive.

On to New Hampshire! I think JohnGalt needs to start the predictions.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)
But Terri thinks:

I'm with you JK.

Posted by: Terri at January 4, 2008 3:30 PM

Huck-a-Whack, Meaningless Win Edition

I had a dentist appointment this morning (quite ironic given the fact that the Republican caucus was somewhat akin to a root canal last night). Therefore I am going to outsource today's Huck-a-Whack to Stephen Green:


Dear Iowa Republicans,

I’ll put this in language even your tiny little Iowa brains can understand: What the f*** is wrong with you people?

The news coming out of Des Moines (literally, French for “tell me about the rabbits, George”) tonight is distressing in the extreme. 32 years ago, your Democratic brethren took one look at Jimmy Carter -- the worst 20th Century President bar Nixon, and the worst ex-President ever -- and declared, “That’s our man!”

Three decades later, and along comes Mike Huckabee. Same moral pretentiousness, same gullibility on foreign affairs, only-slightly-less toothy idiot’s grin. Then you so-called Republicans took a look at Carter’s clone and said, “That’s our man, too!”

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:31 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

Funny, but it's hard to top the lambada video.

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2008 12:00 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I think it's time to say something nice about the Arkansas governor... He's not an incompetent bass player. Sure his one-finger plucking technique is lame but at least he doesn't use a pick. The thumb thing is kind of weird but he doesn't do it much. And he gets way too much fret slap without even seeming to notice that it sounds like crap. But he knows what key he's playing in and didn't, the first time I heard him, play any bad notes. (Better than I can say for myself.)

I'm still "gettin' ta know the guv" though so I have to ask, who is that monstrous, slightly feminine person that often stands near him? Just askin'.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2008 3:04 AM
But jk thinks:

It hasn't been my experience that bass players are particularly good at policy, but I'm always willing to be convinced...

Not sure whom you're referring to, but I was wondering if the preternaturally attractive blond woman next to him during his victory speech was his daughter. It turns out to be Chuck Norris's wife. (Is Norris' like Jesus' or Moses' that doesn't require an 's for the singular possessive?)

Posted by: jk at January 5, 2008 12:17 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The rule of style that I learned was that any noun/pronoun ending in "s" needs only an apostrophe to denote the possessive.

Strictly speaking, literally, it should be spoken that way too. That means "Chuck Norrisuz wife" is superfluous. Again, that's the particular rule of style that I learned. The differences aren't even regional, it seems, just a product of most Americans wanting to use "s's" and say "suz."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 7, 2008 4:45 PM
But jk thinks:

Professor Strunk says to add 's to all singular nouns but makes exception for Moses' and Jesus' I once read a computer trade magazine where a writer suggested adding (Bill) Gates' to the pantheon.

The NY Times Style guide says to add 's but "By custom, the possessive of an ancient classical name omits the final s (Achilles' Heel, Euripides' dramas).

I thought in line with the current popularity of Chuck Norris jokes...

Posted by: jk at January 7, 2008 5:19 PM

And the "winners" are...

Some were so anxious to get Bushitler out of the White House they launched the 2008 race last January. For the rest of us, it begins with today's Iowa caucuses. And with 92% of precincts reporting the "winners"* are:

DEMOCRATIC CAUCUSES January 03, 2008 Iowa

Updated 10:45 p.m. EDT, Jan 3, 2008

Obama 940 38%
Edwards 744 30%
Clinton 737 29%

Richardson 53 2%
Uncommitted 3 0%
Dodd 1 0%
Gravel 0 0%
Kucinich 0 0%


REPUBLICAN CAUCUSES January 03, 2008 Iowa

Updated 10 minutes ago

Huckabee 38,656 34%
Romney 28,311 25%
Thompson 15,044 13%

McCain 14,759 13%
Paul 11,216 10%
Giuliani 3,860 4%
Hunter 499 1%

To some, the outcome was no surprise.

* I put winners in scare quotes because "Since the state [Iowa] jumped to the front of the line in 1972, only once has a winner in a contested race gone on to the presidency: George W. Bush in 2000." LA Times via FreeRepublic.com

Posted by JohnGalt at 12:40 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Awesome predictions -- hope you are playing on intrade!

Posted by: jk at January 4, 2008 11:56 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I would if I could find it.

Posted by: johngalt at January 5, 2008 3:07 AM

January 2, 2008

Huck-a-Whack 2, January 2, 2008

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 7:25 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Ow! Makes ThreeSources look like an official Huckabee for President site.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2008 8:18 PM

A Shill

There was much excitement when Senator Barack Obama picked Austan Goolsbee as a lead economic advisor. A Chicago guy in the Democratic Party! Big news.

Sadly, he is (or has become) a Democrat shill and an academic voice for conventional wisdom. Professor Mankiw links to this video where Professor Goolsbee is well challenged by CNBC staff (without Kudlow, no less!) but is happy to parrot the Democratic boilerplate of zero-savings rate, middle class squeeze, and readiness to impose a huge tax on the productive rich because "they're not the ones being hurt in this."

Kudos to the guy who says "Milton Friedman must be spinning in his grave!" It's indeed a pretty dark day for the storied Chicago Economics Department.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:38 PM

Huck-a-Whack, January 2, 2008

Lifted from the OpinionJournalPoliticalDiary: Brendan Miniter writes about "The Kidney Puncher From Hope," echoing a(n) Harrison Bergeron theme:

With his folksy demeanor and speeches peppered with biblical references, Mike Huckabee comes across as a politician above the rough and tumble of normal politics. But he's begun to show himself every bit as crafty in using a compliant media as another slick operator from Hope, Ark. -- Bill Clinton.

Journalists were central players in Mr. Huckabee's now-legendary backhanded hit job on Monday against Mitt Romney, and they knew it. When Mr. Huckabee told reporters at his press conference that he would show them an attack ad he had decided not to run, the room erupted in laughter. The ad hammered Mr. Romney on taxes and for creating a "$50 copay" for abortions in Massachusetts. At the press conference, Mr. Huckabee declared: "We told you we'd give you a copy of it. We are not." Instead he claimed he had decided to refrain from the negative campaigning that might turn off Iowa voters in his neck-and-neck race with Mr. Romney. Of course, the ad immediately was rebroadcast all over Iowa as part of the news coverage. It's available on YouTube too.

Bottom line: Mr. Huckabee didn't have to spend a dime while landing a punch designed to damage his chief rival with Iowa's socially conservative GOP caucus goers. At the same time, with the media's help, he burnished a faux image of being above such traditional brass-knuckle methods. Mr. Huckabee launched his campaign for president last year saying that no one knows the Clintons and their political tactics as well as he does. In Iowa this week, that became clear.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:44 PM

January 1, 2008

First Huck-a-Whack of 2008

Happy New Year! Time for another Huck-a-Whack.

No doubt, most of you have probably heard this story, but I was struck with how Clinton-esque Huckabee's attacks on Romney have become:


In a surprise move, Mike Huckabee said today that he won't air negative ads against Mitt Romney.

Claiming that he changed his mind this morning, Huckabee told reporters gathered in anticipation of seeing the spots that he would no longer attack Romney off the air, either, and would run a positive campaign in the final days before the caucuses.

But Huckabee still aired the ad he cut yesterday in which he criticized Romney on fiscal matters, gun control, law and order, and abortion.

Additionally, Huckabee spoke surrounded by five placards on easels leveling the same attacks in print on Romney.

Asked to explain the pledge to stay positive with his decision to still show the ad and display the oppo, Huckabee said his staff hadn't known of his decision until minutes before the event and that he only showed the negative spot to prove that he had actually cut one and had made this decision.


If you replace "Huckabee" with "Clinton" the narrative would still fit pretty well. Is there something in the water in Arkansas?

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:17 AM

December 31, 2007

Last Huck-a-Whack of 2007

It seems the Governor's play of "we have this awesome negative ad that shows what a lying, cheating, fornicating weasel my opponent Mitt Romney is, but we are way too nice to show it" has not been well-received.

I come to whack the Governor, not bury him. His response lists the positive things he stands for:

I believe in the Human Life Amendment and will work tirelessly for it's passage.

I believe the FairTax is the best way to unleash our economy in the 21st century.

I believe and have always supported the passage of a federal constitutional amendment that defines marriage as a union between one man and one woman.

I believe we must secure our borders, end amnesty and end sanctuary cities.

I believe our country must be energy independent.

I believe that we are currently engaged in a world war. Radical Islamic fascists have declared war on our country and our way of life.

I believe in the Surge.

And I believe that Americans aren't interested in politics that divide us, they want their leaders to focus on what will lift them up and make things better.

I almost forgot that today in the face of the withering barrage of criticism we have endured over the last few weeks from my rivals. I say almost, because our negative ad won't run.

I know we believe in the same things. It is these things, these ideas, that have bound us together in this campaign for President. These ideas are why you first became interested in me and these ideas are why I am running for President. Let everyone know, that we are campaigning for these ideas and that we are working overtime to lift America up.


  • I believe in the possessive version of "its" and will work tirelessly to promote it's [sic] proper use. (Cheap shot from a guy who types like me, but he has staff!)

  • I'll pass on the life Amendment. I'll work to overturn Roe v Wade, but then let's leave it to the States.

  • I believe consumption taxes would have been a better choice. If I get a time machine, I'll go back to 1908 and campaign for it. Considering the 16th Amendment, I give up. Maybe it's the way Governor Huckabee tells the story, but I find I have lost interest.

  • I believe government should be less involved in marriage, not more.

  • I believe the market should dictate energy use, I'm not going to grow my own food, I don't expect my country to generate all of its energy.

  • I believe that we are currently engaged in a world war. Radical Islamic fascists have declared war on our country and our way of life. And I believe in the surge, making me two-for-two with the Governor. Yet how does this comport with his claim that the chief prosecutor of the war and the ultimate commander of the Surge has "damaged this country with a bunker mentality?"

  • I believe I should probably lay off the Governor, and engage in a more positive and uplifting blogging experience.


Naaah.

Posted by John Kranz at 8:18 PM | Comments (6)
But HB thinks:

jk, this was like a Romney "attack" ad. Don't you realize that you are not allowed to contrast your opinions with those of the Huckster?

In all seriousness, this was a great takedown of Huckabee.

Posted by: HB at January 1, 2008 9:30 AM
But jk thinks:

Thanks for the kind words. The Governor assures me that he has some very compromising pictures of you from a Mexican vacation a few years back, but that he is seeking to elevate the tone.

Posted by: jk at January 2, 2008 6:06 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Let's correct the corrector-

"I don't expect my country's *energy corporations* to supply all of the country's energy from domestic sources despite the fact they could do so in spades (and at a fraction of current prices) if not for the bald-faced obstructionism of our federal legislative and judicial branches."

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2008 4:07 PM
But jk thinks:

A fraction of current prices, perhaps, but probably never cheaper than importing it -- would you disagree? I'm all for developing domestic production, but I find it hard to believe that we could supply all of our needs at a cost lower than importing it.

I think we're on the same team, here. The "energy independence" crowd is going to boost domestic energy through regulation (let me know how that works out for you, kids...) But you are the first person I have heard posit that we could supply 100%

It's another form of trade bashing that leads to subsidizing Ethanol to prevent buying oil.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2008 4:58 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Well, domestic sources of energy doesn't mean ONLY oil. Environmental regulations have blocked and, in at least one case, even prompted the DESTRUCTION of a hydroelectric generating station. The cleanest, cheapest, most sustainable and lowest impact method of energy production was dynamited solely so that poor fishes would not "be forced to use man-made ladders to return to their breeding grounds." I swear it makes me want to puke.

Nuclear is also a promising domestic source. Just ask the French.

Posted by: johngalt at January 3, 2008 11:52 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The idea of a nation being energy independent is ludicrous. There's no reason to buy energy from residents of other nations. Unfortunately, the goddamn Democrats started it (where the hell where they in the 1980s when *conservatives* started the movement?), and Republicans jumped on board.

http://eidelblog.blogspot.com/2005/10/democrats-new-myth-of-energy.html

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 4, 2008 12:59 PM

You Say You Want a Revolution?

Rep. Ron Paul graces the cover of Reason magazine this month, and the good Doctor gets a positive story inside by Brian Dougherty. The Wall Street Journal reports that the campaign raised $19 million in the fourth quarter.

I have been dismissive of the campaign, suggesting that the support has been quirky. I called the one-day fundraising records "gimmicks." After reading the Reason article, it occurs to me that I need to address why I will not be joining the Ron Paul Revolution. In a way, I have been waiting many years for such a candidate. "I don't want to run your life. I don't want to run the world." Shrink the government to its Constitutional size and purview. Why am I not onboard?

I guess my problem is the Constitution that Rep. Paul so ably defends. I agree with Paul on 80% of the issues. I agree with President George Bush on far less, I agree with Mayor Giuliani on less. Don't you pick the candidate with whom you most agree?

I'd open Ron's well-thumbed Constitution to Article I. The things with which I disagree most are clearly under Executive power. President Paul could close all our bases in the MidEast between Jell-O shots at the first Inauguration Ball. (This is not to say that he would drink Jell-O shots or close all our bases, but he could.)

President Nixon took us off Bretton Woods; I'm guessing that President Paul could put us back on a gold peg by Executive Order or indirectly through his nomination of a Fed Chairman. So, he takes a break from the nude Twister® game at the second Inaugural Ball, and he has already instituted the two policies I object to. We've withdrawn from the War on Terror and gone mettalist. And Sally Quinn is still sober! (This is not to say that President Paul would be playing nude Twister at an Inaugural Ball, but he could!)

The hangovers have worn off, and President Paul takes the rest of his ambitious agenda (the 80% I like) to the 111th Congress. He sits down with Majority Leader Reid and Speaker Pelosi and explains "we’re going to stop collecting taxes and paying welfare." "We're going to take all the young people off Social Security, Harry." "We're going to stop SCHIP, Nancy, It's not constitutional."

Am I the only one who remembers the howls from the AARP and the Republican controlled Congress when President Bush asked "Pretty please, could we take a couple of percent of young workers' withholdings for private accounts?" How about when President Bush wanted to expand SCHIP by only $35 billion." Dead. On. Arrival. He could veto some bills, but the 535 wanna-be-incumbents would plow him down.

All the stuff I don't want, none of what I do.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:10 PM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Of all the candidates who will provide gridlock, Ron Paul is the one who will. My friend Billy Beck is right to ask what will prevent Congress from laughing in Paul's face for four years. Meanwhile, Paul will have a serious face as he vetoes just about everything Congress sends him. Paul is the man who could finally give some Constitutional balls to the GOP, not only about spending, but about the extent of federal powers as a concept.

Odds are that Congress would override most of Paul's vetoes, laughing as they prepare to tell their constituents how much more bacon they're bringing home. If the American people then laugh at Paul's foolishness, very well. It will prove that we don't deserve the liberty that our forefathers fought for us to have. What's the alternative, a president like GWB who will "compromise" on just about everything, so that he'll avoid looking "weak" to the American people when the news continually reports on the veto overrides? Even Michelle Malkin understands the problem of compromise, which I've said before: compromise really means "watch your wallet."

Ron Paul isn't talking about returning us to a gold standard via executive power. He's talking about returning us to Constitutional money, which will require undoing what the executive branch has done, and Congress passing a law (which Paul has repeatedly introduced) to disband the Fed. Article I, Section 8 states that Congress shall have power "To coin money, regulate the value thereof, and of foreign coin, and fix the standard of weights and measures." There's no provision for a Federal Reserve, or any other quasi-private entity to whom we pay interest while it rapes our money.

Oh, and don't give Nixon too much credit. FDR was the one who started things by forcible confiscation of gold. By the end of WW2, it was evident that the world needed to return to sound money. But while Bretton Woods was a monetary system with a great basis on gold, it was so "managed" that it was the equivalent of NAFTA and free trade. NAFTA is freer trade, but not free trade.

As C-in-C, any president has every bit of discretion to close our military bases. Alternatively, Congress has the power to withhold funding from the military. (Charlie Rangel was right, but there's that old saying about stopped clocks.) That's how the checks and balances really work. It's not about absurd "compromise," but about one branch saying to another, "No, that's against the Constitution, so I won't let you do that."

The Founders' intent was that Congress pass *specific* bills about spending specific amounts on specific things, and the President could then veto such bills. Even if Congress overrode the veto, the President could still choose not to exercise the law. The Founders had great wisdom, knowing it's preferable to have government doing too little than a government doing too much.

Andrew Jackson reputedly claimed, "John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it!" This sounds similar to what I've expressed above, but it was actually unconstitutional. Jackson wasn't refusing to execute a law, but rather using federal powers that the legislative and executive branch decided they had, though the judiciary ruled they did not have such authority.

By the way, I've still never heard anyone provide a good explanation as to why we still have a military presence in Saudi Arabia.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 3, 2008 3:30 PM
But jk thinks:

The gridlock would be awesome. I'll gladly cede that point. My point is that the sweeping changes he promotes -- and that I support -- would have zero chance of surviving a veto.

I think Rangel and Company could use the purse strings to stop the military if they had the votes. But I don't see any way that Congress could oppose a President who wanted to bring the troops home.

Ergo, President Paul easily succeeds in ceding our hard won interests in the MidEast but has little chance of radical cuts in domestic spending. I'll change my close to "all of the bad and a little bit of the good" if it pleases you but I think my points hold.

Why do we have a military presence in a generally-friendly country with the world's largest oil reserves, tactical transportation advantages on the Suez Canal, in an extremely important part of the globe militarily, diplomatically, and financially, from whose shores a majority of the 9/11 attackers came, where there is a large potential for domestic unrest, which is very near to Syria, Iraq, and Iran? I don't know, let me get back to you on that.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2008 5:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry, I meant my last paragraph to be moderately snarky but not nearly as much as it sounds. Please reduce by a 0.5 snark coefficient.

Posted by: jk at January 3, 2008 5:35 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Oh, I agreed before you said it that Paul would never return the federal government to his constitutional limits. Congress would never go along on just about everything he proposed. But other than the gridlock, it would, as I said, prove that Americans don't deserve the freedom we once had. It will force us to take a stand: are we a nation of freedom, or a nation of sheeple?

"I think Rangel and Company could use the purse strings to stop the military if they had the votes."

Strangely enough, or maybe not so strangely, a majority of the American people now oppose the Iraq war and want to bring the troops home, but Dems still don't have the balls to do so.

As I pointed out in an older thread, Saddam is long gone. Saudi Arabia has no enemies now. Who is threatening it, Egypt? Syria and Iran wouldn't dare -- they'd be bombed back to the Stone Age, and with justification. The same would happen to the Suez Canal. Our deployment abilities today don't require a *permanent* military presence in Saudi Arabia to stage any counteroffensives. There's no military justification for us to stay there. Temporarily in case of action, like the first Gulf War, yes. But not a permanent presence.

We don't need American troops to stay in Saudi Arabia to cement their society. That's not our job, and even if it were, our presence only helps destabilize things by providing an excuse for terrorist leaders (more on this later). And are you suggesting that our presence might deter hijackers, or somehow provide intelligence about them? It didn't work before; we should have no expections that it will now or in the future.

If anything, Osama and other terrorist leaders use our presence there as an excuse to recruit impressionable young men. Once again, Ron Paul and I aren't saying that "blowback" is justified, but we're saying that it *happens*. Saudi teenagers look at the men with American flags on their shoulders, and enough believe that they're an "occupying force."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at January 4, 2008 1:30 PM

Predictions?

With the Iowa caucuses taking place on Thursday, I thought that it would be fun (ex post, with a great deal of laughing) for bloggers and readers to make predictions about the results of the Iowa caucus as well as the ultimate nominations. While I am usually pretty good at predicting presidential victories, I am terrible at these types of predictions and thus this should provide some entertainment. With that being said, here are my predictions:

Caucus results:

Dems:
1. Obama
2. Clinton
3. Edwards

GOP:
1. Romney
2. Huckabee
3. Thompson

(Upset special: Ron Paul will do better in Iowa than Rudy)

...with Clinton and Romney emerging as the ultimate candidates for their respective parties.

Post your predictions in the comments...

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:05 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Sure I'll play, though we sadly agree on 83%:

Dem: Obama, Clinton, Edwards
GOP: Romney Huckabee, McCain

I also agree on Paul beating Giuliani. My outsider prediction will be that Edwards loses badly enough to be mortally wounded. As the great political pundit Liza Minnelli says: If he can't make it there, he can't make it anywhere.

Next November? Giuliani v. Clinton v. Bloomberg

Posted by: jk at December 31, 2007 11:13 AM
But johngalt thinks:

I, for one, see things a bit differently:

Dummycrats - Obama, Edwards, Clinton
Publicspendicans - Huckabee, Romney, Thompson

I don't think Edwards is going away anytime soon with Hillary on such shaky ground.

And I'm still optimistic that Thompson can make a substantive impression on voters between now and Super Tuesday.

Out-on-a-limb nominee predictions - Edwards v. Thompson

(Yes it's a stretch, but not a lot less likely than any other pairing.)

Posted by: johngalt at December 31, 2007 1:52 PM
But HB thinks:

I think that Fred! has a better chance than Rudy! However, potential points to jk for including Bloomberg (although aides to Bloomberg have said that he will absolutely not run against Rudy because of their relationship and Rudy's endorsement).

Posted by: HB at January 1, 2008 9:07 AM

December 29, 2007

At Least it Wasn't Marlburos...

When is a scandal not a scandal? Maybe when a company provides advice to another company selling a legal product.

Mayor Giuliani was on Kudlow & Co, last night. Too bad for him, Larry is off this week. CNBC's John Harwood was auditioning for Chris Matthews's job, asking Hizzoner several questions about this NY Times report. Pretty damning stuff: "Under Attack, Drug Maker Turned to Giuliani for Help."

I think Purdue Pharma was just exercising its Constitutional right to PR (Article VIII, Paragraph xix). The Times, and Harwood, feel that some abuse of a painkiller precludes any responsible people working for the company. I had to go searching for this story this morning to see what he was talking about. Nobody else was talking about it because it is a non-story.

Bad enough to manufacture a scandal against a political candidate, it's part and parcel of the war against the pharmaceutical sector. People are in pain, and firms that develop and distribute products that help should be celebrated, not vilified. Even for the Times, this is bad.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:38 AM

December 28, 2007

Huck-a-Whack, December 28

Club for Growth (Club for Greed in Huckaspeech) links to the Politico Populist Quiz. Every question is multiple choice. Did Senator Edwards or Governor Huckabee say:

1. “No young person is more equal than another person because he has a higher IQ, or a higher net worth, or because he lives in a nicer home, or his clothes have a label of a designer that the other guy doesn’t have. That’s not what gives us equality.”

2. “There is unfortunately some disconnect between people who have never struggled and those for whom everyday life is a struggle.”

3. “The richest people in America are getting richer. The big corporations’ profits are going through the roof. What is happening to the middle class? What is happening to working people in this country?”

4. “Is it still possible that this country will elect a president not because he had the most money but because he really did represent the most of the ordinary Americans in this nation who understand what it’s like to live to work to try to raise a family? And for many Americans, it’s working with no net underneath us.”

5. “This election is about right and wrong. This election is about what is moral and what is not. … It is immoral to have veterans going to sleep under bridges. It is immoral to have children whose parents have to fend for health care at the hospital. This is not America.”

6. “I’ve been concerned for some time about the fact that the economic growth in the country seems to be completely concentrated at the top, with big corporations and the richest Americans, and middle-class families are struggling.”

7. “There’s nothing unique about me. Virtually everyone in this room has a parent or a grandparent who struggled and sacrificed, and they worked for you, and they did that for a reason. We can’t have that taken away.”

8. “For my family, summer was never a verb. We summered in hay fields and chicken yards and all kinds of stuff."


Answers and bonus holiday question at Politico. (I got six out of eight).

Posted by John Kranz at 4:27 PM | Comments (2)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Um,....all of the above?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at December 28, 2007 10:18 PM
But jk thinks:

Um,...I knew somebody was going to try that that. Nope, which are Edwards's and which are Huckabee's?

Posted by: jk at December 29, 2007 10:40 AM

December 27, 2007

Huck-a-Whack, December 27, 2007

Mike Huckabee is still giving paid speeches and he is charging up to $25,000 per appearance. When asked about the practice, Huckabee responded,


"Unlike the members of the Senate or Congress who continue to get their paycheck and get a taxpayer-funded salary, and unlike people who are independently wealthy, if I don't work, I don't eat."

Do I even need to offer my thoughts?

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 8:40 PM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I don't mind that too much. "Tradition" is not inherently right or proper, and nobody's being forced to hire him for a gig. What I find sad is that he has to defend the amount charged. Nobody should *ever* have to defend what they receive in a voluntary transaction. Those hiring Hucksterbee or others aren't being forced to pay more than they're willing; if they didn't want to pay $25,000 a pop, why did they pay it after all?

On the other hand, the sanctimonious f*** inserted another Biblical reference. It's another example of his pandering to evangelicals, who tend to be very familiar with scriptures (and where a certain phrase originated).

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 28, 2007 9:23 AM
But HB thinks:

I don't really have a problem with him giving paid speeches either. However, his justification for doing so is clearly lacking.

Posted by: HB at December 28, 2007 10:08 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I don't have a problem at all with his justification. His income is derived from purely voluntary transactions, whether or not the rest of us consider the cost worthwhile.

On the other hand, taxpayers are coerced into paying for the salaries and offices of elected representatives and bureaucrats they neither like nor want.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 28, 2007 1:09 PM
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

His justification is a blatant populist appeal to pity. If he had simply said that every man has a right to make a living as he sees fit, then I would have no problem with his response. However, his answer was an attempt to put down his opponents -- especially Romney -- as not being average Joes. His pandering is becoming increasingly tiresome.

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at December 28, 2007 4:12 PM

December 26, 2007

Huck-a-Whack, Evening Edition

There is a reason Fred Thompson has a rule against hats...

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:47 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

If you're going to do a "gun-totin' photo op" in December...

But it's worth the risk for Huck to display himself in *God's* creation working with one of *God's* creatures to hunt down and kill another of *God's* creatures with *God's* infamous gas-recoil semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun with synthetic stock and mossy oak finish. And he shows his common-man ethic by doing all this in the company of a pair of fellow non-primate descendent sons of Adam.

Well, at least he's not a vegetarian.

Posted by: johngalt at December 27, 2007 3:20 PM
But jk thinks:

Funniest. Comment. Ever. Well done, jg. Awesome post, hb. Not sure even Geri would look good in that.

Posted by: jk at December 27, 2007 7:16 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Let's see. The leading Democratic candidate says people should vote for her because she's a woman.

Now one of the new leading GOP candidates wants to look like a good choice because he can blow away a small bird?

I'm not a tree-hugger by any means, but I have a soft spot for animals, and I fail to see why killing such a creature is worthy of a "sportsman." My sister and her husband like to hunt bears, let Hucksterbee try that.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 28, 2007 11:22 AM
But jk thinks:

Without "*God's* infamous gas-recoil semi-automatic 12 gauge shotgun with synthetic stock and mossy oak finish." I'd spot him one of *God's* classic Bowie Knives with a Bakelite® handle...

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2007 2:13 PM
But jk thinks:

Bonus Whack: Bad hunting form

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2007 4:43 PM

Huck-a-Whack, Boxing Day Edition

I hope the Governor enjoyed his Christmas off. I thought of letting the spirit of Christmas pervade me and setting aside the Quotidian Huck-a-Whack® Then I saw this:

But as Huckabee now mounts his closing argument for the Iowa caucuses, he has moved full bore into the rhetoric of economic populism. "I am out to change the Republican Party. It needs changing. It needs to be inclusive of all those people across America for whom this party should stand," he said Sunday, on CBS's Face The Nation. On the trail, he speaks regularly of challenging the "Washington to Wall Street power axis." He frankly acknowledges the suffering of the stagnating middle class, and even offers up government as a part of the solution. "The President ought to be aware that the people struggle," he said in Muscatine on Friday morning. "He ought to be aware every time a decision is made — whether [or not] it's to raise taxes — how it's going to hurt the family out there, who can barely pay the grocery bill as it is."

At some of these events, if you close your eyes, you would think a Democrat was speaking — Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton turned southern Baptist. "I really think that a lot of people who are elected to government forget," Huckabee will say. "They are not elected to the ruling class but to the servant class."


Hat-tip: Hugh, who says The GOP does not need changing. I don't know about that, but I cannot argue with his follow up:
What the GOP definitely does not need is neopopulism, class warfare, and identity politics of the sort Mike Huckabee has been selling the last four weeks. Huckabee's lunge left may not have been premeditated, but it clearly displayed a candidate with no anchor in the GOP's tradition of fiscal restraint, free trade and low taxes and a very limited understanding of the world's most dangerous forces.

I also agree with Hugh's close. This may sell in Iowa, but this is not a winning GOP strategy.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:13 PM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Whosoever believeth the lies of the Hucksterbee, let him be damned.

And um, Hugh Hewitt needs a history lesson. The GOP now is for free trade, but it hardly has a tradition of it. Abraham Lincoln was a protectionist, touting the Republican Party's Whig heritage that favored a "high, protective tariff."

Which president signed Hawley-Smoot? Hint: the same one who tried to "fix" the Great Depression early on with massive tax hikes and work programs. NOT Franklin Delano Roosevelt -- FDR merely continued what was started before him.

FDR instituted rationing. Which president worked with the Fed to initiate the first-ever price controls?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 26, 2007 3:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, Hewitt is a little more generous toward the party than I am feeling these days. To be fair, I take that quote out of context, he sez:

The GOP does not need "changing." It needs reminding and it needs energy in its new leader. It needs to recommit to its traditional stand against excessive spending and the growth of government...

I will defend the GOP a bit. It has stood against "neopopulism, class warfare, and identity politics of the sort Mike Huckabee has been selling." It disturbs me that they are not more dedicated to free trade, but against Senator Clinton who wants to roll back NAFTA, they remain a far least-worse camp.

Posted by: jk at December 26, 2007 6:06 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Hewitt is such a GOP shill. That quote is even worse.

"its traditional stand against excessive spending and the growth of government..."

That's a load of horse****. The GOP came from the Whig Party, as I said, and started with a tradition of *big* government. Lincoln was "The Great Centralizer" who expanded the federal government far more than any of his predecessors (perhaps combined). As I coincidentally was telling a friend at lunchtime today, Milton Friedman once pointed out that the federal government until the Civil War functioned on revenues generated almost solely from a modest import tariff -- a uniform one that favored no nation over another, and whose purpose was to fund a minimal federal government. Well, Lincoln brought back non-commodity-backed paper currency, instituted the first income tax, instituted the first-ever draft, and suspended habeas corpus. Two of these were later found unconstitutional; it's a shame all four weren't. Scholar Tom DiLorenzo has also noted that Lincoln had 300 newspaper editors thrown into prison, because of their writings against the Civil War. (And people accuse Bush of stifling freedom of speech???)

You can read more in an older post of mine, "The big government traditions of the GOP." http://eidelblog.blogspot.com/2006/07/big-government-traditions-of.htm

Teddy Roosevelt was a "progressive" who liked government to start doing more for the people, such as the relative few to enjoy "national parks" courtesy of the tax dollars of the many.

Calvin Coolidge was the first supply-sider president, if only because he was only the second to preside under an income tax. Unfortunately, he hardly established a tradition of low taxes and limited government. Hoover's and Nixon's sins I already documented above.

It wasn't until Bill Buckley, and then Goldwater, that the GOP started shifting toward limited government. Even then, it was mostly only *talk*. Spending never decreased under Reagan or either Bush. The best we could hope for was a tax cut -- equivalent to hoping a mugger will only take your cash and leave you your credit cards.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 28, 2007 1:50 PM
But jk thinks:

Well, I'm a GOP shill and the only time I really care for Mr. Hewitt is when he is shilling.

I love history, Perry. I'm writing a history book. But I don't know the value of party history beyond academic interest. I shill for the Reagan and post-Reagan GOP. I don't accept TR, Hoover or Nixon policies any more than Speaker Pelosi celebrates the Dixiecrats who blocked civil rights legislation.

I'm not certain where the Whigs stood on identity politics, but I am comfortable backing Hewitt's claim that -- for all its flaws -- the Republican party of my voting years has clearly been the better party for those opposed to "neopopulism, class warfare, and identity politics of the sort Mike Huckabee has been selling."

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2007 2:06 PM

More Important Issues

We have talked about Hillary's cleavage and Obama's "blackness", so it is only fitting that we must now turn to Mitt Romney's hair:


Romney has all the advantages: money, organization, geographic proximity, statesman-like hair, etc.

Even Paul Krugman is tired of the main issue of the election:


It’s hard to feel sorry for Mitt Romney — and actually, I don’t. Still, he may be the first candidate to receive two “undorsements” that mention, as one of his flaws, that his hair is too good.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:42 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Reaganesque hair.

Posted by: jk at December 26, 2007 1:28 PM

December 24, 2007

Ho, Ho, Ho, Merry Huck-a-Whack

I'm prepared to take Christmas Day off, not sure about hb.

But this is Christmas Eve, and Larry Kudlow has shared some thoughts on Governor Huckabee which closely match my own:

[W]hen I had Governor Huckabee on, what was it, last week or the week before, I had a bout with him. I went at it. He wants to, if need be, have government regulate salaries. I think he’s crazy. I don’t think he understands the free market business system. He’s not good on taxing, he’s not good on spending, he’s not good on free trade. In other words, all the prosperity factors seem to be Mr. Huckabee’s weakness. I don’t think he understands it. He’s just out of tune with all measures of free market, supply side economics. You know, it isn’t his religion, and I admire his religion. I personally am a man of faith. I regard myself as an Evangelical, the fact is. But it’s not his religion, it’s his positions. Condi Rice came out of the State Department. Hell, I haven’t seen her in about a month or two. She came out and attacked him because of his [naiveté] on dealing in international affairs with Iran and others. He doesn’t seem to understand power politics, and that we are in a jihadist global war.

Other than that...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:01 AM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

And the worst that can be said of Fred! is being President of the United States isn't his life's ambition. Well, the worst thing a *conservative* can say, anyway.

Posted by: johngalt at December 24, 2007 6:38 PM
But jk thinks:

You about have me, jg. I'd love a lazy President, can we exhume Silent Cal?

Seriously, I have liked a lot of Senator Thompson's positions and would be very happy to call him "My President Fred!" The question becomes, if we give him the GOP nomination, will he give his all to winning the general?

A lazy President would rock -- a lazy candidate, not so much...

Posted by: jk at December 25, 2007 2:40 PM

December 23, 2007

Ron! Visits with Jim!

Just what the Doctor ordered. An aggressive host egging him on in a TV interview. Cramer makes Rep. Paul look quite reserved and presidential.





Congressional oversight from our 535 expert central bankers is the answer? I'll definitely choose a gold peg over that. The Fed Chairman is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate.

The longest tenure for a Fed Chairman is 18 years, 9 months, and 29 days (I'll take FOMC for 600 Alex), served by William McChesney Martin Jr. from 1951 to 1970. We were under Bretton-Woods the whole time, it's no wonder he was not exhausted.

The position requires a certain freedom from politics. More Congressional oversight? No thanks.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:23 PM | Comments (5)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

OK, I needed a reminder of why I can't listen to Cramer for more than 20 seconds, but I endured this because of Ron Paul.

Paul isn't talking about "oversight" in a perpetual sense, but an investigation -- an audit of the Federal Reserve. Why aren't Greenspan and Bernanke being held accountable for what they've done?

Actually, a gold standard is a necessity *when* you have a central bank. It is the only way to keep a central bank in line, especially when a Fed chairman was nominated on an apparently sound record but goes on to wreak havoc. In this wise, Bernanke and Greenspan are the Fed's equivalent of David Souter.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 24, 2007 1:03 PM
But jk thinks:

I liked Cramer when he was paired with Kudlow. And I was intrigued by the originality of his new show (and his encyclopedic knowledge), but you are right, I really cannot hack him anymore.

Okay, we do a one time audit. Which of our 535 central bankers will you trust to say "this was the right interest rate at this time?" Rep Franks probably understands it, but I do not trust his motives. How many others do you think actually understand what the FOMC does? You're going to give them all a whack at Chairman Bernanke, I can't think of one whose opinion I would prefer to "Helicopter Ben's."

Posted by: jk at December 24, 2007 3:52 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The audit wouldn't be done by Congress, but by independent experts in forensic accounting. The purpose of the audit has nothing to do with the Fed governors' choices of interest rates, but to gauge its performance, and to make sure every dollar is accounted for.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 24, 2007 4:30 PM
But jk thinks:

You think Bernanke and Greenspan are guilty of malfeasance? Tucking extra 20's in their underpants like Sandy Berger?

It seems Cramer wants Greenspan put in the stocks for having rates too low and Bernanke in for keeping them too high and then setting them too low -- all at the wrong time.

You have three or four economists on Kudlow & Co. every night giving four different versions of "coulda, shoulda." And each is smatter and less conflicted than 90% of Congress.

Posted by: jk at December 25, 2007 3:05 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You're still partially going by "oversight" and "audit" involving what interest rates should have been. That's not what I and other critics of the Fed are talking about. Embezzlement isn't the issue, but then again, no one should be assumed to be above reproach.

What we're talking about is things like the Fed's ability to create money by buying federal bonds: it creates new dollars and ships them to the U.S. Treasury in exchange for U.S. Treasury bills. This is one way that the FOMC controls (meaning "expands") the money supply. Are we simply going to trust that the Fed is sending everything over, especially in these days of electronic records?

And you realize, of course, that we pay interest to all holders of U.S. Treasury securities. The Fed is an arm of the federal government but yet keeps itself financially separate. Why the hell should our taxes pay an entity to reduce the value of our money?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 26, 2007 3:59 PM

Huck-a-Whack, December 23, 2007

Steven Stark writes:


George Will doesn't like him. Neither, apparently, does Rush Limbaugh. The Bush wing of the party now apparently distrusts him. He hasn't done well by Drudge (at least so far) and today even Peggy Noonan has her reservations.

The good news for Mike Huckabee is that he's doing one hell of a job of reuniting significant portions of the old Reagan coalition. The bad news is that it's increasingly arrayed against him.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 8:12 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

He's a uniter, not a divider. The establishment GOP (Will, Noonan), social conservatives (NR, Rush, Hugh Hewitt, Ann Coulter), and libertarian-leaners (CATO, Club for Growth) haven't gotten along this well in decades -- pass the fruit punch!

Posted by: jk at December 23, 2007 12:23 PM
But HB thinks:

If I was a Clinton, I would be inclined to think that this was part of some vast right wing conspiracy!

Posted by: HB at December 23, 2007 6:42 PM

December 22, 2007

Life Imitates The Onion

You may recall that The Onion recently reported that the top issue of the campaign is bullshit. Joel Achenbach apparently got the memo as he writes:


I heard the other day that Mitt Romney is so careful with his weight that he will pick the cheese off his pizza. Then I heard from another source that he eats pizza with a knife and fork. That's two sources, two angles: That's practically confirmation.

I just can't imagine the American people electing as president someone who does that to pizza. I'm not saying a president has to have a special knack for eating pizza - what you call "pizza talent" - but he or she has to respect the pizza, and look comfortable with it.

You want, as a voter, to be able to say, "He looks like he knows his way around a pizza."


I will outsource the commentary to Duncan Black:

There really is practically nothing worse about campaign coverage than Beltway elites imagining how "reglar folks" live and eat and then demanding that presidential candidates pretend that they're just like that!

Who the f**k cares how Mitt Romney eats his pizza?
Just kill me.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 7:48 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

I don't know that I'll abandon Mayor Giuliani if I find he eats his linguini with a spoon, but I am thinking that many Americans have a moderately rational aversion to elitism.

This blog was set up on a Philadelphia - Colorado axis, and we had some good laughs at Senator John Kerry's muffed cheesesteak order in the 2004 general election.

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2007 6:46 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Doesn't anyone remember that buffoon Jean-Francois Kerry trying to eat a hotdog, trying to prove he's a regular Joe?

Oh, and the proper way to eat a pizza: however you fricking want. The style here in New York is "the fold," which I dislike. It's not some damn panini. So my personal preference is to bend it sufficiently to hold it in my palm, eating it as fossil record of crust, sauce and toppings.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 24, 2007 10:20 AM

Huck-a-Whack, December 22, 2007

Huckabee panders to a seven year old (and fails):


"Who is your favorite author?" Aleya Deatsch, 7, of West Des Moines asked Mr. Huckabee in one of those posing-like-a-shopping-mall-Santa moments.

Mr. Huckabee paused, then said his favorite author was Dr. Seuss.

In an interview afterward with the news media, Aleya said she was somewhat surprised. She thought the candidate would be reading at a higher level.

"My favorite author is C. S. Lewis," she said.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 7:41 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Huck-a-Whack doesn't sleep. Huck-a-Whack doesn't rest on weekends. Huck-a-Whack is ever vigilant.

Posted by: jk at December 22, 2007 7:23 PM

December 21, 2007

Ruffini on Rudy!

Patrick Ruffini remains a shining star over at Hugh Hewitt's site. I like Hewitt but his (may I call it Nativism?) and his unabashed shilling for Governor Romney cause my eyes to roll and my heart to sink. Still, I think he represents a good sized wing of the GOP, and I'd rather hear it from Hugh than most others.

Ruffini gets the Gold Star for his Giuliani support in that hostile environment. But even Patrick has caught the Giuliani Ennui:

I hate to say this, but I don’t think Rudy wants it badly enough. He has a bit of a Fred Thompson problem about him. He hasn’t said anything particularly distinctive or memorable the entire campaign. His lows haven’t been very low, and his highs haven’t been very high. There is no one big thing his campaign is about — first, there were twelve, then there was a laundry list of his accomplishments as a Mayor; then, there were a series of issue spots that failed to move the needle in New Hampshire. You would think the guy who sparred with the media and his opponents on an ongoing basis in New York, who fundamentally got that leadership after 9/11 was all about projecting confidence and strength, would understand that Presidential contests are about narrative and confidence and conflict — not (primarily) about issues.

It's a comprehensive and smart piece, well worth a read in full. I haven't defected but his Fredness has moved into a razor-thin second place for me (Geri and the Fire hat!) But Giuliani is still resting on his superb Kudlow interview. I haven’t heard anything uplifting between that and his Christmas message. I still want him to win, but Ruffini is right, he has to give a reason more compelling than NYC crime stats from the 20th Century.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:27 PM

Huck-a-Whack, December 21, 2007

Can't let the people down, today's Quotidian Huck-a-Whack comes from WSJ's Kim Strassel. In addition to polity qualms, she suggests that the veteran of hardball Arkansas politics has not yet been vetted as closely as other names.

The obscure governor from Arkansas is, in contrast, a deep sea for media diving. Most recent have been stories about his pardons and commutations, as well as the news that R.J. Reynolds contributed to Action America. Mr. Huckabee -- who now wants a national smoking ban in public places -- responded that he never knew he accepted tobacco money, which has inspired a former adviser to claim Mr. Huckabee is being "less than truthful." What's next?

The GOP is still reeling from its financial scandals, which helped Democrats tag the party with a "culture of corruption" in last year's congressional races. A Huckabee nomination would also neutralize one of the biggest weapons against nominee Hillary Clinton -- her own ethically tortured past. If the subject came up at all, it would be a race to the Arkansas bottom. A matchup with Barack Obama could be worse, since the "politics of hope" senator has so far avoided scandal and could bludgeon Mr. Huckabee on his past.

Democrats know it. Here's an interesting statistic: Since the beginning of 2007, the Democratic National Committee has released 102 direct attacks on Mitt Romney. Rudy Giuliani has warranted 78; John McCain 68; Fred Thompson 21. Mike Huckabee? Four. The most recent of these landed back in March. GOP voters may not have examined Mr. Huckabee's record, but the left has -- and they love what they see.

So far, GOP voters do, too. Most appear attracted to Mr. Huckabee's image as a "sincere" and "genuine" guy. The former governor may be both of those, but he's also got a past. Voters are going to want to look before they leap.


If they'd look at all...

Posted by John Kranz at 3:22 PM

Never Mind.

Byron York wonders "Why Isn't Anyone Paying Attention to This?" The NYTimes, not exactly in the bag for Giuliani, now admits that the non-scandal is a non-scandal.

The headlines have dogged Rudolph W. Giuliani's presidential campaign for weeks. "Security costs for trysts draw attention," said one. The articles questioned whether, as mayor, Mr. Giuliani tried to hide his visits to Judith Nathan in the Hamptons by burying the associated security costs in the budgets of obscure mayoral agencies like the Loft Board.

The answer is not likely, according to a review of the city records originally cited as the basis for the assertion.


Personally, I think the Romney and Huckabee campaigns would be well served by admitting this. They would look very sporting emblazoning their web sites with: "GIULIANI USED LEGITIMATE FINANCING FOR NYPD ESCORTS ON INDECENT, EXTRA-MARITAL, LOVE TRYSTS!!!!"

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 11:05 AM

December 20, 2007

Huck-a-whack, December 20, 2007

Jonah Goldberg, on spotting the Arkansas Governor as another "compassionate conservative:"

One of my favorite movie scenes is from Jaws 2, when Roy Scheider (an underrated actor) is trying to convince the town council that he’s spotted yet another shark lurking off the waters of Amity. “But I’m telling you, and I’m telling everybody at this table, that that’s a shark. And I know what a shark looks like, because I’ve seen one up close. And you’d better do something about this one, because I don’t intend to go through that hell again!”

If you’re wondering why some of us have become so vexed by the sightings of Mike Huckabee’s dorsal fin above the choppy waters of Iowa-caucus polling and even out in the high sea of national polls, poor Chief Brody’s panic might help you understand. We’ve seen this before.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:52 PM

December 19, 2007

Rudy!




I liked it. Ann Althouse laughed through burning retinas caused by the vest, Glenn Reynolds was glad there were no floating crosses.

UPDATE: K-Lo at NRO Corner links to Senator Clinton's version, pointing out that "[a] Republican candidate could play the footage pretty much straight and have a negative ad."

UPDATE II: Insty also links to Ron Paul's. It's very good. But I kept expecting the kids to sing about the Gold Standard or the "illegal war in Iraq!"

Posted by John Kranz at 5:28 PM

Lock Up Your Daughters!

I know and appreciate that Americans are a forgiving people. But am I the only one who thought that a Bill Clinton - Magic Johnson show may not be the most female-empowering message that Senator Clinton's campaign can send?

Taranto links to this WaPo column. He is amused that the candidate is not mentioned until the third paragraph. I encourage any ThreeSourcers who do not value Senator Clinton's candidacy to read it. Were the Weekly Standard this dismissive, it would be called hate speech:

What's missing? Try kids. You might have expected that an event at the Boys & Girls Club would feature hundreds of screaming children running around singing Hillary victory songs. Except for a few young ones, it was a crowd, of Hillary supporters in the latter stages of life. A large number of them were members of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, a union that has endorsed Clinton.

"Look at the crowd here," says Dhirendra Vajpeyi, a 61-year-old political science professor at the University of Northern Iowa. "It's older than Obama's. I talk to my students and they have real reservations about Hillary and her sincerity. They don't have a good feeling."


On page two, they do mention past transgressions:
[B]oth men have suffered public moral lapses only to find redemption. When Johnson disclosed he was HIV-positive, it brought to light his private misdeeds, but in time he became an advocate for AIDS research and health. Likewise Clinton weathered the storm of the Lewinsky scandal and impeachment and has become involved in humanitarian causes.

I like redemption, don't get me wrong. I'm all for it. I'm just sayin'...

Posted by John Kranz at 4:49 PM

December 18, 2007

The Cackle

Just a thought. The more I hear Senator Clinton's "Cackle," the more I start to miss Governor Dean's "Scream.'


dyabyday121807.jpg

Posted by John Kranz at 5:07 PM

December 16, 2007

Defending Huckabee

For the Quotidian-Huck-a-Whack®, I'll refer you to "He destroyed the conservative movement in Arkansas, and left the Republican Party a shambles." But blogger Freeman Hunt allows that he's "A very nice man, yes." Her whole blog is well worth a look.

But I come to defend the Governor, not bury him. In a today-only special, I say that Instapundit and CBN.com go too far. It seems Gov. H told CBN:

"These are people that want to kill us. It's a theocratic war. And I don't know if anybody fully understands that. I'm the only guy on that stage with a theology degree. I think I understand it really well."

CBN (the Christians, not the Canadians, eh) disputes that he holds a theology degree and claims a gotcha. Governor Huckabee responds:
"I have a bachelor of arts in religion and a minor in communications in my undergraduate work. And then I have 46 hours on a master's degree at Southwestern Theology Seminary. So, my degree as a theological degree is at the college level and then 46 hours toward a masters -- three years of study of New Testament Greek, and then the rest of it, all in Seminary was theological studies, but my degree was actually in religion."

On no planet can I be called "in the bag for Huckabee," but I cannot imagine too many people becoming too excited about this. I'm prepared to accept a theology degree and religion degree as synonymous.

No doubt I am technically wrong on that, but for this to rise from imbroglio to contretemps to kerfuffe to scandal requires that a large part of the electorate believes that the Parson lacks the amount of religious education to be president or that he significantly overstated it.

I attended a Catholic high school and the two terms were used pretty synonymously. I give him a pass on this one.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:37 AM

December 14, 2007

Ron!

www.ronpaulblimp.com

Imagine.. the mainstream media is mesmerized as the image of the Ron Paul blimp is shown to tens of millions of Americans throughout the day (and throughout the month).

As GPS coordinates stream to the website a map shows the Ron Paul blimp's location in real time. The local television stations broadcast its every move. The curious flock together and make a trip to see history in the making. Emails with pictures are sent, then forwarded, then forwarded again. Youtube videos go viral and reach tens of millions of views. Ron Paul becomes the first presidential candidate in history to have his very own blimp. The PR stunt generates millions upon millions of dollars worth in free publicity, and captures the imagination of America.


Jay Cutler hoists the Lombardi Trophy, blue and orange confetti fills the air...

UPDATE: Fair and Balanced: John Stossel's interview.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:47 PM

December 13, 2007

Another "Pick my candidate for me 'cause I cain't" web toy

This ABC News "Match-o-Matic" gizmo accurately identified my #1 and #2 picks. (And there wasn't even a Second Amendment question!) I can't say it picked my #3 because I'm not that much of a pessimist.

The questions made me boil, however. Take 'Global Warming' (please).

What would be the best way for the federal government to deal with global warming?

- Seek voluntary reductions in carbon emissions.

- Set mandatory caps on carbon emissions.

- Implement a tax on fuels (...) also known as a carbon tax.

- Create a "cap-and-trade" system ...

- Invest in alternative energy sources.

- The federal government shouldn't get involved. Let the free market decide.

That last answer ain't bad but where is "- Global Warming is a hoax and people who seek to profit from it should be prosecuted for fraud."

Posted by JohnGalt at 5:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Bryan Caplan, call your office! Not only no Second Amendment, no free trade. So I find that I am a Rep. Duncan Hunter man, then Hizzoner, then Sen. Sam Brownback.

Color me unimpressed. (Besides, everyone knows I'm an Edwards man.)

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2007 6:15 PM

The Debate

I caught the last half, and I was fumbling for my Cyanide pill 15 minutes in. Dean Barnett has a superb recap in the Weekly Standard

I would be remiss if I left this analysis without dedicating at least a few sentences to Alan Keyes. If moderator Washburn was Nurse Ratched, Alan Keyes was a patient who went off his meds. I'm quite confident that he broke the presidential debate record for most frequent usage of the word "womb."

I used to think highly of Ambassador Keyes. He was a sad figure lat night. Barnett's piece is worth a read in full. He appreciates the retail politicking in Iowa and New Hampshire, but questions whether their local media deserve the quadrennial pedestal.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 1:41 PM

Efficient Markets?

Romney has trended down recently:

My advice: Buy the Romney contract.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:11 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

That does seem low. I wonder if this is not the final word on the efficacy of his speech.

Posted by: jk at December 13, 2007 11:36 AM

December 12, 2007

Daily Huckabee Whack

Endorsed by the NEA! John Fund reports in the Political Diary that it may not sell too well among republicans in New Hampshire:

The union's President Rhonda Wesolowski called a news conference to praise Mr. Huckabee for opposing school vouchers -- the only Republican candidate to do so -- and for his backing of a national mandate for arts and music education. Ms. Wesolowski acknowledged some differences with Mr. Huckabee on charter schools, but that was outweighed by his record in supporting higher taxes to improve public education. Along with the union's endorsement of Mr. Huckabee in the GOP race, she announced her group would be endorsing Hillary Clinton in the Democratic primary. In 2004, New Hampshire's NEA affiliate declined to endorse a GOP primary candidate and endorsed Howard Dean for the Democratic nomination.

The man is evil. Quod Erat Demonstratum.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:01 PM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

With the words "union," "praise," and "opposing school vouchers" in the same sentence, yes, we certainly know the person in question is evil.

"his backing of a national mandate for arts and music education"

"his record in supporting higher taxes to improve public education"

In other words, Huckabee's politics is about taxing you to support what he likes. **** him for promoting thievery, and **** him for his sanctimony.

Officially, I'm a Southern Baptist myself, like Huckabee. But I consider myself independent now, because so many Baptists (and those of other "Christian" denominations) see nothing wrong with using government as a weapon. "Christian charity" has been supplanted by the use of "law" to coerce others to living according to the "Christians'" standards.

I see absolutely nothing of my religion in Huckabee.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 12, 2007 2:14 PM
But jk thinks:

There's a great story in City Journal about the Religious Left (online free).

The mobilization to coerce actions which might be admirable if voluntary is frightening. That they are getting so much currency in the GOP is worse. I've come to accept a moralistic bent from the party as a pragmatist's price, but when "we" start support smoking bans and the NEA, I dunno...

Much as I enjoy the quotidian Huckawhack, I remain confident that he is not positioned for long term success in the primary season.

Posted by: jk at December 12, 2007 3:02 PM

The Trouble With Mitt!

Jeffrey Lord writes a guest editorial in the Wall Street Journal today that the Governor favors process over principle. He cites Romney's interview with Fred Barnes at The Weekly Standard, where he says he would analyze the data. Lord says "Uh oh."

Grabbing two of the great Republican Presidents, Lord states that the data would have shown President Lincoln to seek appeasement and President Reagan to abandon his tax cuts.

They are, of course, not viewed that way at all. The principles of Lincoln and Reagan carried the day precisely because each man was able to stare at the "data"--however gruesome or frightening they might be--and not blink. They are seen as great presidents and great leaders today because they understood at a visceral level that they should hold fast, refuse to yield to overwhelming demands from critics that they follow the data or that they adhere to a process that used something other than casualties or deficit projections as a measuring stick. Lincoln would not cave in on the principles of holding the Union together and the most basic principle of America--freedom. Reagan would not yield on the central conservative principle that tax cuts and less government spending were in fact the keys to America's future economic vitality.

In other words, in a battle between data and principle, both men rated recently in a poll as the top two greatest presidents in American history (Lincoln first, Reagan second) chose principle. They have not only been vindicated but are held out as treasured exemplars of what a president is supposed to be. Mr. Romney, already struggling with charges he has changed his principles on abortion and gay rights and indeed on when he decided it was OK to admit he was an enthusiastic Reaganite, is basing his entire campaign on the very notion that process is everything.

Gulp.


Gulp, indeed. I'm far closer to forgiving Senator McCain's full frontal assault on the First Amendment than I am to forgiving Governor Romney for his health care plan. McCain is wrong, Romney lacks a philosophical center. I can appreciate McCain's other, good positions but I cannot trust Romney when the data support collectivism.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:03 PM | Comments (1)
But Terri thinks:

I'm with you on this. A philosophical center, even if that center is a bit skewed is not going to get support from me.
(wavering on Rudy here)

Posted by: Terri at December 12, 2007 1:04 PM

December 11, 2007

John!

I've found my candidate for President in 2008 -- it's Senator John Edwards.

I've had my differences with him in the past, but if this opposition research paper from the Obama campaign is to be believed, he's my guy:

  • John Edwards Supported North Carolina's Right to Work Law

  • John Edwards Voted for Permanent Normal Trade Relations with China and Voted In Support of China Joining the WTO

  • Edwards Worked For and Invested In Company That Uses Offshore Tax Loopholes

  • ...And Voted Against Requiring Companies to Detail Overseas Operations

  • Invested in Whirlpool While They Were Closing Down Plants in Iowa


Right to work, free trade, anti-tax, anti-regulation, Schumpeterian. I have obviously been too hard on the Senator.

Hat-tip: Insty

Posted by John Kranz at 1:35 PM

December 10, 2007

Intrade vs. Polls

It seems to me there is quite a spread. Here's Intrade Republican Presidential Nomination 2008 right now. Bid price for a $100 contract:
-- Giuliani 40.7
-- Huckabee 19.3
-- Romney 18.6
-- McCain 8.2
-- Paul 5.2
-- Thompson 5.1

Here is the RCP Average 11/30 - 12/09:
-- Giuliani 24.5%
-- Huckabee 17.5%
-- Thompson 12.8%
-- McCain 12.5%
-- Romney 11.5%
-- Paul 4.0%

This isn't, of course, apples to apples, but I am intrigued that Governor Romney seems to do a lot better when money is on the line, Thompson worse, and it seems a miracle that Rep. Paul's Internet gremlins have not driven him up farther.

UPDATE: A new reader (welcome aboard!) asks what the hell an RCP is and what kind of questions do they ask. Real ClearPolitics website provides an invaluable average of polls from big media and polling corporations.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:38 PM | Comments (3)
But John thinks:

I believe the polls tracked and averaged by RCP are sentiment indicators, answering the question "Who do you want to win?". The Intrade markets force people to bet on who WILL win, not who do you want to win.

Remember, the Intrade results yield subjective probabilistic forecasts. "Giuliani has a 40.7% chance of winning".

Posted by: John at December 10, 2007 5:41 PM
But jk thinks:

Agreed. But they both attempt to perform the same function. Ideally the pollster's sample will reflect a probability of those likely voters who vote for those they want to win. As they are represent two methods to achieve the same result, a comparison seems legitimate.

I know the predictive markets performed better in 2006, and the Hayekian in me loves the theory behind a market. With sufficient liquidity, I think the markets are also harder to game. As pollsters have less and less access to large segments of the electorate, markets should get better as polls get worse.

Posted by: jk at December 10, 2007 6:51 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The prediction markets didn't just work better in 2006; they (at least, Intrade's did) predicted spectacularly. Every Senate race was called right, remember, even when popular opinion polls were going the other way.

Regarding prediction markets' exclusion of people who don't know or who don't bother to trade, that's actually another reason prediction markets work better. They require effort and desire to find, just like in real life when people must expend effort and have the desire to go to polling places.

Surveys might include "likely voters," but how many people say "Of course I'm going to vote" when they later won't? Perhaps they're too embarrassed to admit they weren't going to vote, because of this ridiculous "it's your civic duty" mindset people are brought up to have. Perhaps they'll simply get busy later on, or they might become disinterested. There are far more of those three types than those who will tell Zogby "Nah I'm not going to vote" and later decide to.

Disclosure: I freelance for Intrade, analyzing major political contracts.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at December 11, 2007 11:42 AM

December 8, 2007

Fred! (Lazarus!?)

Weekly Standard's Stephen Hayes says Senator Thompson is All In

Peter Robinson at the Corner, puts it into context:

On the one hand, Thompson displays energy, initiative, and principle in all matters of policy. He has forthrightly and unapologetically opposed Roe, arguing that abortion law should be returned to the states. He’s solid on health care. He has displayed more courage and honesty in addressing the need for entitlement reform than all the other Republican candidates combined. In his insistence on the need to achieve victory in Iraq and prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons, he has proven unflinching. And now he has proposed the most imaginative and far-reaching tax reform proposal of the entire campaign, calling for the abolition of the AMT and a voluntary flat tax. On the other hand, what has Thompson displayed in campaign appearances? Torpor. Lassitude. Indifference.

Until now.

As Byron York notes below, Stephen Hayes reports that Thompson now intends to climb aboard a great big bus, then spend every day but Christmas itself criss-crossing the great state of Iowa until the caucuses on January 3. With Romney stalled out and Huckabee under fire (a great deal of said fire originating right here on NRO), Fred has an opening—and, evidently, has chosen to seize it.

This is a big deal—or could be. Maybe—just maybe—Fred Thompson has finally realized that Ronald Reagan only made it look easy.


I agree with Kim Strassel that Senator Thompson has been the ideas candidate. If he ere to really push them, I could be persuaded to give him another look,

Posted by John Kranz at 4:37 PM

December 7, 2007

Mitt, the Speech, and Hugh Hewitt

From that title, either a brilliant segue or long-winded rant follows. I type. You decide.

I love political speechifying and carry fond memories of listening to President Reagan's "New Federalism" speech, Barack Obama's coming-out party at the 2004 Democratic Convention, even our misunderestimated President's speech in Whitehall a few years ago. Senator McCain's Commencement address to the midshipmen was deeply moving.

Yet I passed on Governor Romney's Mormon speech. Romney does not excite me as a candidate and it has nothing to do with Mormonism. I must confess, however, to enjoying the reaction. I'll have to find the speech and watch or read it as a student of politics. Here's a sample of the reaction:

Hugh Hewitt is in the tank for the Governor. In his first (of roughly 19) post explaining why this is the greatest speech since General Washington fumbled for his spectacles, I learn at last why Hewitt does not connect with me:

Mitt Romney threw a long ball today and scored. There can be no objective argument against that conclusion. Why? Because Romney is running for the GOP nomination, and his remarks, both in delivery and substance, were lavishly praised by Rush Limbaugh, Sean Hannity, Michael Medved, and James Dobson, not to mention Mark Steyn, Fred Barnes and Charles Krauthammer -and these were just the seven people I heard on a long drive south to San Diego and then in a hotel room before leaving to post this and give a speech.

What a list. That's the Republican Party to Hugh Hewitt. I like some of those people a lot, and I like a lot of those people some. But he is suggesting in that sentence that the speech is a hit if his version of The Secaucus Seven approve.

The most negative review I read was from Lee Harris in TCS

Kennedy shrewdly didn't say that the Vatican wouldn't try to interfere—something that his Protestant target audience would never have believed in a millions years anyway; instead, Kennedy said in effect, "I won't let the Vatican interfere." And many Protestants believed him—in large part, because no one really thought Kennedy took his religion seriously enough to affect his behavior one way or the other.

The Mormon church is not Romney's problem; it is Romney's own personal religiosity. On the one hand, Romney is too religious for those who don't like religion in public life—a fact that alienates him from those who could care less about a candidate's religion, so long as the candidate doesn't much care about it himself. On the other hand, Romney offends precisely those Christian evangelicals who agree with him most on the importance of religion in our civic life, many of whom would be his natural supporters if only he was a "real" Christian like them, and not a Mormon instead.


I think Harris points to a real problem with the Romney campaign. He cannot run the table with social conservatives or more secular libertarians. He has to take his 51% out of meddle, which will be perilous.

I have to credit Harris with avoiding Hewitt's mistake. Hewitt thinks that the talk show Republicans are the entire GOP; Harris knows that the Social Conservative wing exists, is important, and he tries to predict and understand their reactions.

Peggy Noonan is positive, The WSJ Ed Page is moderately supportive -- but I think the bookends capture the arguments on both sides.

UPDATE: Iowahawk parodies Hewitt. (Hat-tip: Instapundit)

Posted by John Kranz at 1:56 PM | Comments (3)
But HB thinks:

Putting substance aside for a minute (in an attempt to be like most prospective voters), I thought Romney came off as quite genuine for the first time in his campaign. For the first time, I heard this man speak with conviction rather than spout pre-determined talking points. Never underestimate the positives that come from a strong, emotional speech.

My prediction: The Republicans will nominate Romney and attempt to appease skeptical social conservatives by giving the vice presidential nomination to Huckabee.

Posted by: HB at December 8, 2007 11:10 AM
But jk thinks:

You do know how to hurt a guy, hb.

I won't say it won't happen but I am hoping that the party would not feature two religious candidates. This would insult the secular wing of the party which is not numerous but which seems to wield power.

Your ticket would give a lot of ammunition to the Democrats who effectively exaggerate the threat of the religious right in the GOP. I think that a real Southerner would better balance the ticket: maybe non-chuchgoin' Fred.

Posted by: jk at December 8, 2007 12:08 PM
But MF thinks:

I can't seem to shake the You Tube memory of Mitt's 2002 passionate line about his support of abortion since "the days of 1970." He displays his current defense of life with an equal intensity. Which one is the real Mitt?

I envision a Romney presidency to exhibit earnest expediency while we are Powerpointed-to-death with platitudes. Of course, this is fit in between sessions with the attorneys to determine foreign policy.

He may be a good man and an excellent manager, but he is not a leader. I want a leader for President.

Posted by: MF at December 8, 2007 2:51 PM

Headline of the Day

Boston Globe: Dukakis says Obama not capitalizing on grass roots

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:26 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Wait'll that picture of Senator Obama in the tank hits the papers...

Posted by: jk at December 7, 2007 12:17 PM

December 5, 2007

Huckabee!

Oh man, really?

The Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll for Wednesday shows a new national leader in the race for the Republican Presidential Nomination. While enjoying an amazing surge, Mike Huckabee has earned support from 20% of Likely Republican Primary Voters nationwide. Three points back, at 17%, is Rudy Giuliani. That’s the lowest level of support ever recorded for Giuliani in the tracking poll and represents a seven-point decline over the past week. Huckabee has gained eight points during the same time frame (see recent daily numbers).

Just as significant as the new leader is the amazingly competitive nature of the race. Five candidates are within ten points of the lead and all five could conceivably become the party’s eventual nominee. In addition to Huckabee and Giuliani, John McCain and Mitt Romney are at 13%, and Fred Thompson is at 10% (see recent daily numbers). In what could become a major moment in the campaign, Romney will give a speech on faith and religion Thursday. Huckabee recently declined to comment on Romney’s faith but did say it was appropriate to discuss religion in a campaign setting (see video).

Ron Paul is the only other candidate with measurable support and he currently attracts 7% of Likely Republican Primary voters nationwide.


Of course national polling isn't really an accurate presidential barometer. Iowa & New Hampshire are for now... and the rest of the early states.

Posted by AlexC at 1:04 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I still do not buy that he is a threat to win the nomination. Perhaps hb's fears of a veepship could be realized if he won enough delegates.

At the risk of stinking up the joint, I posit that Gov. Romney's and Mayor Giuliani's childish sniping over immigration have elevated Governor Huckabee to look presidential by comparison.

Posted by: jk at December 5, 2007 1:14 PM

December 3, 2007

Gov. Huckabee's Daily Whack

Harrison Bergeron might be busy today, allow me. John Fund and Brendan Miniter both write negatively about the second "Man from Hope."

When I first met Mike Huckabee, now the GOP frontrunner in the Iowa caucuses, it was 1993 and he had just been elected Arkansas's first GOP lieutenant governor in a stunning upset. He spoke glowingly at the time of his political consultant, Dick Morris. But Mr. Morris soon went back to his old client Bill Clinton, like Mr. Huckabee a man born in Hope, Ark., to help Mr. Clinton repair his battered presidency.

Flash forward 14 years: While Mr. Morris underwent a famous falling-out with the Clintons, he remains a favorite of Mr. Huckabee and Politico.com reports the two men "have been holding private conversations" on a regular basis. It's no surprise then that Mr. Morris has been extolling Mr. Huckabee's virtues in his newspaper columns and Fox News appearances. Just last week, he defended the former Arkansas governor against attacks on his tax record by the free-market Club for Growth. "Mike Huckabee is a fiscal conservative," Mr. Morris insisted.


Again, I see the CATO Institute and Club for Growth attacking Huckabee's record and Dick Morris defending it. Hmmm, which way should I go? Brendan Miniter suggests that his wit and temperament will not stave off the questions of fiscal conservatives forever.
Mr. Huckabee's easy style, quick wit and solid support from Christian conservatives have propelled him into serious contention for the GOP nomination. He's running strong in Iowa and within striking distance in New Hampshire. He now represents the biggest threat to Mitt Romney's strategy of winning the nomination by winning big in Iowa and New Hampshire. But to put the race away, Mr. Huckabee will need to unite fiscal conservatives and Christian voters -- the coalition that sent the last three Republican presidents to the White House.

That coalition could fracture, however, unless Mr. Huckabee quickly addresses his record on taxes. He likes to point out that as governor he cut taxes some 90 times. What he doesn't say, however, is that he also raised more than 20 different taxes for a net tax hike during his tenure of about $500 million. He also left it to his successor -- Democratic Gov. Mike Beebe -- to cut the state's hated sales tax, which Mr. Beebe did shortly after taking office.

When we pressed Mr. Huckabee on his tax record a few months ago, he said he "won't apologize" for raising taxes because he needed the money to repair his state's decrepit highways. Fresh asphalt always seems to appeal to Republican elected officials -- especially those who love earmarking federal highway funds. But it's not something that will win over fiscal conservatives. What Mr. Huckabee needs now is to offer a plausible explanation on why he won't raise taxes as president for similar reasons -- what he needs, in short, is a big tax reform commitment that can appeal to both wings of the Republican Party.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:47 PM | Comments (1)
But HB thinks:

In the interest of piling on:

Tax Hike Mike!

Posted by: HB at December 3, 2007 11:39 PM

Immigration Phonies

The WSJ Ed Page is harsher than usual on GOP anti-immigration. Their lead editorial Immigration Phonies (paid link) takes no prisoners.

When not fielding questions from Democratic moles at last week's GOP Presidential debate, Anderson Cooper and CNN had a grand time portraying Republican voters as Bible-thumping, gun-wielding Confederacy hold-outs. On immigration, however, the candidates didn't need any media help as they continued their descent into self-parody.

The last debate was pretty demoralizing for me. I posted my disappointment on farm subsidies, but the childish exchanges between Governor Romney and Mayor Giuliani left an even longer lasting sour taste. The editorial says "Normally, you'd have to seek out a high school cafeteria to hear such repartee."
This is reactionary populism masquerading as conservatism. And it's even more disappointing to hear it coming from Messrs. Romney, Giuliani and Thompson because all three have political histories that reveal more sensible immigration views.
[...]
The scale of this GOP flip-flop suggests they all know better and are posturing merely to appease the loudest restrictionist voices to win the nomination. Our view is that they're underestimating their would-be supporters, and harming their prospects next year if they do get the party nod. If trashing immigration was such a political winner, Tom Tancredo wouldn't be polling nationally at 2%.

I had the rare and wonderful treat of a political discussion with some good friends last night. Eight of us covered a broad spectrum, but I certainly anchored the right. I made my case for Hizzoner but before the debate I would have made it with a lot more conviction. Perhaps his old buddy, Larry Kudlow, can straighten him out a little on this.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:29 AM

December 2, 2007

Taxabee

Just an update on Mike Huckabee from the Arkansas Leader:


So which raised taxes more? It is hard to quantify. If you measured the increases in the revenue stream, the Huckabee tax cuts far exceeded Clinton’s but that would be unfair because the economy had grown and the same penny of tax would produce far more under Huckabee.

But if you look at the major taxes, I see the aggregate Huckabee taxes as greater, especially if you deduct the 4 cent gasoline and diesel taxes that Clinton vetoed in 1985 and that the legislature enacted over his veto.

[...]

If you counted all the tax benefits extended to corporations under the incentives enacted by the legislature under Clinton — and they were part of his programs, especially in 1983, 1985 and 1989 — the tax cuts would dwarf those under Huckabee.


Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 8:38 PM

December 1, 2007

Quote of the Day

A clarifying quote from Senator Hillary Clinton:

We can talk all we want about freedom and opportunity, about life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, but what does all that mean to a mother or father who can't take a sick child to the doctor?

George Will wonders "Well, okay, what does 'all that' mean to someone stuck in congested traffic? Or annoyed by the price of cable television? What does Mrs. Clinton mean?"

Posted by John Kranz at 4:58 PM

November 30, 2007

What Ails Fred, What Alis the GOP

Kim Strassel has a smart column today (not unusual). She further develops the questions about Fred Thompson's campaign. I linked to a Mark Steyn Corner post yesterday asking why the man with the ideas has no campaign. Ms. Strassel relates it to his plan for a "new campaign" which ignores the old rules.

While it isn't clear who set the "rules" for this manic election, they're set. Voters may only pay attention at the end, but having an infrastructure to make sure those voters hear you in the final months is the work of years. By sitting back, Mr. Thompson allowed his rivals to scoop up the well-connected policy wonks, committed state activists and aggressive fund-raisers that oil a campaign. His own refusal to "do" the media and public-event circus has muzzled his message, as the failure of his tax-plan announcement shows.

Think back to 1999, when Gov. George W. Bush -- who knew something about campaigns -- unveiled his own tax outline. His people had a dozen brainy conservative economists at the ready to blitz the media. Outside business groups stood by with glowing press releases. Average families were found to serve as real-life examples of how the tax cut would help. The campaign staff fanned out and joined local activists to manage the grass roots. The candidate himself devoted endless time to flogging his idea in public appearances and to every press person and editorial board around.

None of this happened in the wake of Mr. Thompson's Fox announcement. The campaign simply didn't have the stuff to pull it off. Worse, its own leader refused to do what is expected. A look at Mr. Thompson's schedule revealed not a single public appearance for three days after the release, right up to Wednesday's highly uninformative CNN debate.


Strassel takes it one more step to show that the loss is not only Thompson's, but it has shut ideas out of the GOP Primary campaign:
The GOP went into this race thinking itself the likely loser, and that fear has defined the primary. The candidates aren't vying to lead a wayward party out of malaise, or energize voters with new ideas. They're instead trying to be the answer to a question: Who can beat her?

That's made the race about biography, in particular on issues like national security and immigration, where Republicans hope a Hillary Clinton will be weak. Mr. Giuliani's campaign is about his past as a New York tough guy who can face down terrorists. Mr. Romney's, his past as an MBA who can manage our border. Mr. McCain's, his past as a Vietnam vet who recognized the problems in Iraq. There's no future in this present, and Mr. Thompson's lackluster delivery of his own agenda has allowed the front-runners to continue avoiding the big debates.


That's some harsh medicine, but she is 100% right. I love debates, I love politics, but the GOP debates have been the biggest yawn fests. There are no ideas. Gov. Huckabee has his Fair Tax, Senator Thompson says "I have a plan" (shades of another Tennessee Senator who ran?) but Strassel is right that there is no discussion of ideas.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM

November 29, 2007

Huckabee Wins Debate

I have not seen or read any punditry on last night's GOP debate. I have a superstition that requires I post my thoughts first, lest my pliant and malleable intentions are swayed.


  • I liked the YouTube format. It did provide tougher questions and it did give the evil folks at CNN opportunities to dive into areas where pro journalists might not. But hard is good.

  • My candidate, Mayor Giuliani, did not have a great night. I was disappointed that he agreed with Gov. Romney that farm subsidies were important "for the food supply" and "to level the field with more-heavily-subsidized Europeans." Ouch. He was okay on the other answers but I'm tired of NYC crime stats.

  • I'm also tired of the childish sniping. Romney struck a low blow with a reference to Bernard Kerik, and while the "Sanctuary Mansion" was a good laugh line, Romney has the high ground on that. Reagan’s 11th, gentlemen, Reagan's 11th...

  • Immigration will ruin this party -- did I mention that? The immigration questions seethed with hostility, the answers were not much better.

  • Lastly, yeah, Gov. Huckabee was affable, humorous, and statesmanlike. I quickly joined Harrison Bergeron yesterday in saying that if the GOP goes Huckabee's direction, I won't follow. (I would not abandon the party if he is a running mate). But, you have to appreciate those who can play this game, and the Governor was good. Scary good.


UPDATE: Always post first: planted questions? No!

UPDATE II: American Spectator wonders why Giuliani bothered to pander to the Farm Lobby if he's written off Iowa:

Romney's response was at least consistent with what we know about him, and has an electoral logic to it. He has a history of saying whatever is most politically convenient at the time, and winning Iowa is a central part of his strategy.

For Giuliani, however, it doesn't add up. One of his greatest appeals is that he is a blunt, no-nonsense guy who has the guts to say and do what others don't. When it was suggested that New York City raise taxes after 9/11, Giuliani responded that it would be "a dumb, stupid, idiotic and moronic thing to do." Had he said the same thing about farm subsidies last night, he would have become an instant hero among fiscal conservatives. But aside from that, it would have made political sense. Unlike Romney, winning Iowa is not central to Giuliani's strategy, so he doesn't need to pander for votes there. Much more important for him is winning New Hampshire. Had he come out firmly against farm subsidies last night, he would have had a great issue to use against Romney in the more libertarian Granite State.


Posted by John Kranz at 10:52 AM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The reason is simple, and I would have thought quite obvious to anyone writing for the AS. Giuliani cares because Iowans' votes can be very important in the general election. If he had come out against subsidies, how will he look when Hillary starts running commercials to exploit that? "Giuliani opposes farm subsidies that will keep America agriculturally strong. Vote Hillary for a food-strong America!"

There are also plenty of Americans outside the Great Plains who are dumb, stupid, idiotic and moronic enough to believe that farm subsidies are necessary. I blogged a long time ago about running into some goddamn idiot Laroucher who claimed that the U.S. imports "most of our food." I flatly told him it's not true, but he's so willfully blind that he would only say, "Goodbye, sir."

I didn't watch the debate. I haven't watched any of them yet. My fiancee is far more worthy of my time than any of those lying panderers.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 30, 2007 11:27 AM
But hb thinks:

I thought McCain won -- but I generally do. McCain always seems genuine, which cannot be said with all the candidates.

Rudy appears desperate. Say what you want about Mitt Romney and cheap shots, but he won the exchange and looked much more comfortable during their opening exchange.

Full disclosure: I must admit that when Huckabee said he would get rid of the IRS, it did bring a smile to my face.

If I had to guess today, I would say that Romney will get the nomination.

Posted by: hb at November 30, 2007 3:17 PM
But jk thinks:

Valid points all. But I would expect a Republican to at least express some concern about the abuses of farm subsidies. Either could have said "we want to protect our food supply and our farmers, but we need to make sure that we're not giving millions to big corporations and Manhattan land barons." Not as good as "let's abolish all subsidies and closed the USDA" but I'd have taken it.

Posted by: jk at November 30, 2007 3:56 PM
But jk thinks:

hb is perhaps right on Romney, I am still going for the social conservative split between Govs. Romney and Huckabee launching Hizonner to the nomination.

Posted by: jk at November 30, 2007 4:43 PM

November 28, 2007

Mike Taxabee

Just a quick rant:

According the latest Rasmussen poll, Mike Huckabee now leads the field in Iowa.

For better or for worse, I am a registered Republican and as I see it, this election is a watershed moment in the history of the party. Mike Huckabee represents a direction I will not follow and the support that he has received from not only prospective voters, but also so-called conservative pundits is a great source of frustration. The Republican party has always been a source of frustration (as is any given party), but increasingly conservatives are becoming a source of frustration.

Huckabee will not win the presidential nomination, but should he receive the vice presidential nomination, I will not vote for the Republican candidate. Period.

The party needs to return to its days of limited government and lower taxes, not kowtow to social conservatives...

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:23 PM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

Dick Morris disagrees.

Most impressively, when he had to pass an income tax surcharge amid the drop in revenues after Sept. 11, 2001, he repealed it three years later when he didn't need it any longer.

He raised the sales tax one cent in 11 years and did that only after the courts ordered him to do so. (He also got voter approval for a one-eighth-of-one-cent hike for parks and recreation.)
He wants to repeal the income tax, abolish the IRS and institute a "fair tax" based on consumption, and opposes any tax increase for Social Security.
Of course Morris is a Democrat, so maybe he's trying to tank the GOP. Posted by: AlexC at November 28, 2007 2:10 PM
But jk thinks:

Amen, hb. I was asked early on if I could imagine a pairing where I would vote Democratic. I thought of Gov. Richardson vs. Rep. Tancredo or Rep. Hunter. Then Richardson went so far to the left, I couldn't see that. Now my pair is Sen. Obama vs. Gov. Huckabee; I think I might pull the D lever if that's the choice.

However, I am still optimistic. Huckabee has done an impressive job in Iowa, I will not take that away. But I do not think he has the money or organization to play in the bigger states.

Being a Giuliani supporter, I look for Huckabee to take some support away from Gov. Romney who is far down my list and is far more of a threat to win. Huckabee's numbers come out of Romney's.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2007 2:10 PM
But jk thinks:

AC, I have heard both sides on a lot of the taxes, but when a Republican makes enemies of both the Club for Growth and the Cato Institute, something is wrong.

Governor Huckabee, whatever his record, talks too much of using government to help the middle class. I'd probably prefer his plans to Senator Clinton's but worry that they share the same belief in government.

Posted by: jk at November 28, 2007 2:14 PM

November 26, 2007

Obama Does It Again

Another classic comment from Obama regarding Hillary's "experience":


"I think the fact of the matter is that Sen. Clinton is claiming basically the entire eight years of the Clinton presidency as her own, except for the stuff that didn't work out, in which case she says she has nothing to do with it," Obama said, and added, referring to his relationship with his wife, Michelle, "There is no doubt that Bill Clinton had faith in her and consulted with her on issues, in the same way that I would consult with Michelle, if there were issues," Obama said. "On the other hand, I don't think Michelle would claim that she is the best qualified person to be a United States Senator by virtue of me talking to her on occasion about the work I've done."

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:55 PM

November 25, 2007

Clinton Would Boost Funding

HOLD THE PRESSES! The Junior Senator from New York has finally found something she thinks the government should spend money on: Autism.

"Driven by their love and devotion, mothers and fathers across the country have raised awareness, demanded funding, and opened our eyes to the needs of so many children," she told a crowd of hundreds gathered at the Jesse E. Marshall Boys Club of Sioux City. "It's up to us to reclaim the future for our children, and ensure that every child can live up to his or her God-given potential."

Seven hundred million does not sound like that much. I'd rather she smoothed the way for private funding, but this is possibly good policy -- and without question good politics. I just laughed when I saw the headline: "Clinton would boost autism funding." To call that a Dog-bites-man story is unfair to dog bite victims. It's more of a dog-licks-himself story.

Senator Clinton will surely seek more "Funding" (the AP did not call it spending) for every one of these soft, supraconstitutional endeavors. It's going to be a long campaign and, quite likely, a long four years.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:54 AM | Comments (2)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Or the more accurate news:

"Hillary Clinton announced another plan today to help the majority of Americans elect her, by enticing them with a proposal to take $700 million from the American minority that pays the bulk of taxes."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 27, 2007 3:15 PM
But jk thinks:

Here's where I have to nod to your (and JohnGalt) millenarian views. Put $700 million for autistic kids on the ballot in any state in the Union and it will pass 80-20. Add to that a steeply progressive tax rate -- most of those 80 aren’t really paying anyway -- and it is hard to see how classical liberalism ever wins,

Posted by: jk at November 27, 2007 4:37 PM

November 21, 2007

What Experience?

Quite possibly the most annoying thing about Hillary Clinton is the claim that she has some type of experience in the White House. She has repeated said things like, and I am paraphrasing, "the President of the United States is not a position where you want to see on the job training." This would ultimately limit our options for president in 2008 to Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush, Bill Clinton, and George W. Bush. Of course, according to her logic, this includes her as well.

Thus when she asserted her experience in dealing with economic issues, it was nice to see Obama respond to Hillary's baseless claims with this:


My understanding was that she wasn't Treasury Secretary during the Clinton administration. I'm not sure what experience she is claiming . . .

Here is the complete audio.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 8:57 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I love this! Pitting her eight years of hosting dinners and hectoring her husband against Senator Edwards's time suing Doctors and Senator Obama's weighty years on the city council. I cannot imagine that it holds a lot of sway with Democratic primary voters and it will certainly backfire in a general election, when she faces a Republican with actual experience.

Of course, she can always ask President Clinton to release records from the archive to show how much she contributed. And where the Rose Law Records were. And a few other juicy details, no doubt.

Posted by: jk at November 21, 2007 10:57 AM

November 20, 2007

Fred! on Larry

In fairness, I have to post that Senator Fred Thompson was superb in his interview with Larry Kudlow on CNBC last week. I should have captured some YouTube clips. I only keep two episodes and now it has been deleted. I was surprised to find nobody else posted any clips.

Fred! looked great, answering questions with conviction on tax cutting and regulation limiting. At the same time, he passed some opportunities to pander. When Lowes CEO John Tisch suggested lowering the corporate capital gains rate, Senator Thompson considered it without a knee-jerk acceptance that his interviewer and the other guest clearly wanted.

It was the best interview I have seen Senator Thompson give and it firmly cemented Fred's #2 spot on my GOP list.

Governor Romney was on the next night and I found him a lot less impressive. Both Hizzoner and Fred! spoke from deep conviction on pro-growth policies. Governor Romney seems much more political. I hate to use this adjective against a good Republican, but he seems almost Clintonian at times. In fairness, I should note that Romney's interview captivated Kudlow guest James Awad, who declared him "the best President for the stock market."

I also wonder if I need to subtract points from Mayor Giuliani -- I did not know that Larry was a key advisor during his tenure as mayor. I read this in the cover story of this month's Reason magazine. The campaign chose not to participate in the interview (wha?) but the author claims Kudlow was the architect of Giuliani's tax cutting. Assuming that's true, it's no wonder Rudy! would have so many of the right answers at the ready.

I'm still with Hizzoner, but I had to post this in fairness to the Fredheads around here. He was in top form last Thursday.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:14 PM

November 14, 2007

Quick Poll Results

This CBS News poll shows some bizarre results. In both New Hampshire and Iowa, Republican voters believe that Rudy is the most electable candidate. However, when asked who they would vote for, here are the results:

Iowa:

Romney 27%
Huckabee 21
Giuliani 15
Thompson 9
Paul 4
McCain 4

New Hampshire:

Romney 34%
McCain 16
Giuliani 16
Paul 8
Huckabee 6
Thompson 5

It is important to note that 14% of voters in each state are undecided.

Even more amusing is on the Democrats side:

The pollsters asked "Why Do You Support Your Candidate?"

Obama and Edwards receive support for honesty and agreement about the issues (which is what you would expect), however, Hillary Clinton's support is summarized as follows:

Right Experience 17%
Health Care 15
She's a Woman 13
Bill Clinton 9

Ah, the informed voting public.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 8:35 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I'm not sure it is irrational to vote for someone whom you do not consider the "most electable." Then again, if we're gong to vote for a candidate based on a spouse, sign me up for Team Kucinich!

Posted by: jk at November 14, 2007 12:28 PM

November 11, 2007

Fred! on SNL

Okay, I know that there are some Fred! people around here, but this is a great sketch:


Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:18 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Great? Really. I wouldn't even go so far as "good." They build an entire skit around a single slight, using the same joke over and over. Yawn. And the Jack McCoy impersonation is abominable.

Saturday Night Live - "Is that show still on?"

[Would I feel the same way if it were a Hillary spoof? I don't know, try me!]

Posted by: johngalt at November 13, 2007 2:20 AM

Just the Headlines

President Bush has been sharply criticized by Democrats for handpicking his audiences -- and rightfully so. Thus, it is quite amusing to read these headlines:

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:41 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Pretty good, but my favorite Senator Clinton story of the week is still tipgate. The link is to Daily Kos.

Apologies to AlexC who hates the -gate suffix, but tipgate rocks on several levels. There's the purloining of "an average American" for the Senator's political purposes without the victim's consent, then the limousine liberal willingness to not leave a tip, then the trademark Clinton prevarication "we left a 66% tip, we just have no records." A thing of beauty.

Posted by: jk at November 11, 2007 10:56 AM

November 6, 2007

Edwards?

While trading tales with an electrican friend last night he said, "I don't think America is stupid enough to elect Hillary president."

"And I don't think we're stupid enough to elect Obama either," I replied.

But what about Edwards? He doesn't get the ink because the other two have raised more dough than Ron Paul, but who had heard of Bill Clinton in November of 1991? Other than his publicity and campaign chest deficits he's got many advantages over the two Democrat frontrunners - Charisma, low-negatives, experience from the '04 race, he's not a woman and he's not a minority - that bolster his "electability" argument.

But with Mrs. Clinton taking heavy fire from Democratic and Republican candidates alike, Mr. Edwards is trying to recast the race, brushing aside questions about his fund-raising (trailing Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Obama on that front, he is accepting public financing) and poll numbers (his early strength in Iowa has eroded as those two rivals have lavished time and money here) to assert that only he can assure a Democratic victory next November.

Be afraid - America just might be stupid enough to elect John Edwards.

Posted by JohnGalt at 7:50 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Perhaps you (and "Sparky") are right. I don't share your original premises. While Edwards would be my least favorite President out of the three, he would be my favorite Democratic candidate to run against.

I see the female and African American as possible (note weasely qualifier) plusses for an Obama or Clinton candidacy. Each will get their party's base easily and I see a lot of undecided moderates (the people who vote for the tall guy or the better hair) willing to make an "affirmative action" vote.

I think Edwards has been way off to the left, and those slogans that fire up Democrats in Iowa will bite him. I also think he would look inconsequential next to a Giuliani or Senator Thompson in a debate.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2007 10:24 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

This morning I was talking with an acquaintance, telling him about the 70%+ probabilities on Intrade that a Dem will win the presidency next year. He's surprised it isn't higher. He still thinks Hillary is "a shoe-in," even after the debate debacle, and he said it sounds crazy, but he hopes she'll win -- because the alternatives are Edwards and Obama.

He's a portfolio manager who covers the health care sector, and none of us should envy his job. It's no secret that that industry is counting on a Dem to win, and making plans for the inevitable train wreck that a Dem winner will produce. I can't say exactly what he did with his portfolio, but I'll just say he's counting on a Very Bad Scenario.

Maybe Bruce Bartlett wasn't so crazy a while ago to say that conservatives should support Hillary. Heaven help us, it used to be that we were voting for the least imperfect GOP candidate who would do the least harm!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at November 7, 2007 11:00 AM
But jk thinks:

When I am pragmatic enough to support Senator Clinton, I think I might give up pragmatism.

I hope your friend's shorts come out okay. She probably is the best of the Dems, although I can see Senator Obama becoming like President Clinton: a man who wants to be President more than advance an ideology. That could be better than Senator Clinton who lives to ruin our health care system.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2007 1:22 PM

The Ron Paul Revolution

Ron Paul raised over $4 million in one day. That is more than any other Republican candidate in the field. Of course, David Frum is unimpressed:


Amidst the excitement over Ron Paul's fundraising, it is worth recalling that in the much lower-intensity race of 2000, Ralph Nader raised over $8 million for his presidential bid.

Of course, that is $8 million total versus $4.3 million in one day, but Frum shouldn't be bothered with facts as he continues:

Of course I am saddened to discover that many thousands of Americans have rallied to a candidate campaigning on a Michael Moore view of the world.

With the exception of his stance on the war (which is hardly as radical in mainstream America as Frum believes), Paul's message is not even closely related to Moore. Rep. Paul's message is one of individual freedom and less government, something all Republicans used to stand for.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:44 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

The NY Times tells us that Paul supporters invoked the memory of Guy Fawkes to raise all that dough in one day.

"Mr. Benton clarified that Mr. Paul did not support blowing up government buildings. “He wants to demolish things like the Department of Education,” Mr. Benton said, “but we can do that very peacefully, in a constructive manner.”"

Huzzah!

(He's still wrong on the war.)

Posted by: johngalt at November 6, 2007 2:44 PM
But jk thinks:

Impressive. And I'm happy to see an interest in freedom. However, I have a couple of asterisks to place beside this impressive figure:

* Mankiw dismissed the 47 million uninsured figured by saying "[B]y masking tremendous heterogeneity in personal circumstances, the figure exaggerates the magnitude of the problem." I think the masking of heterogeneity here exaggerates his support. Ron Paul signs were very prevalent at the San Francisco anti-war march. I'm not thinking most of those are onboard to dismantle the Dept. of Education. It could have been the photographer, but I didn't see any of them demanding a return to Bretton-Woods. I would never compare Paul and Moore but suspect that some of his donors might.

** I'm not anti-gimmick by any means, but the $4.2 million (error fixed, it said 3.5) was a gimmick, as supporters purposefully withheld support to make for the big day. There are the same people who can overwhelm an online or text message poll to give Rep. Paul Husseinesque vote totals. Impressive, but not likely transferable to electoral success.

(Are you a metalist. hb?)

Posted by: jk at November 6, 2007 3:24 PM
But HB thinks:

I think I need to clarify a few things.

1.) I am not endorsing Ron Paul (although if I were forced to choose someone from the Republican field, there is a good chance that I would).

2.) Similarly, I am not expressing my belief that Ron Paul will win the nomination. My main point is that this is a fantastic achievement. Whether supporters put off donations until a specific day or not, this raises awareness of the campaign.

3.) Due to our political system, there is a great deal of heterogeneity for any candidate.

4.) I am not a metalist. However, I do like Paul's message about the depreciating dollar. The Fed was too loose with monetary policy in the early part of this decade and the recent rates cuts could be the subject of an entire post.

5.) Largely, this post arose out of frustration with David Frum and his unwillingness to give Ron Paul even the slightest bit of credit. Most candidates have to spend 30 cents (if not more) for every dollar that they receive. Paul's effort was remarkable because it cost him little more than transaction fees

6.) Finally, let me turn around your argument a bit jk. What does it say about the chances of the Republican party when a second-tier candidate with a very heterogeneous base of support can, with very little effort, raise more in one day than any other candidate?

Posted by: HB at November 7, 2007 8:14 AM
But jk thinks:

You've got me on the cost of fundraising. I used to do Marketing Communications in a former life and I am stunned at the dollar value of Republican mail I throw away every day. His profit percentage is truly impressive. The total amount is impressive as well, but gimmicky.

Maybe it's the evil debate format, but I have not heard one word out of Rep. Paul that was not metalism or isolationism. I know he believes in limited government and establishing a clear Constitutional purview. I would applaud those lines, but every time I hear him, he is going on about "this illegal war!" or the gold standard.

You have to look at what a candidate believes, but you have to really pay attention to what he/she chooses to talk about. I probably agree with Senator McCain on 90% of things, but in 2000 he talked almost exclusively about campaign finance reform. If Paul had isolationist and metalist views, I could look the other way as I do on Giuliani and gun rights.

As the pragmatist, I should also applaud heterogeneity, but Paul is making a coalition out of the two tails. I'm a long tail guy, but you cannot ignore the fat middle in electoral politics.

Posted by: jk at November 7, 2007 10:39 AM

November 4, 2007

He's Pretty Good

I don't think I'll be voting for the Junior Senator from Illinois, but you have to appreciate good stuff:




UPDATE: ThreeSources friend Extreme Mortman disagrees.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:08 AM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Nothing like a clean-cut, well-spoken black man to bitch-slap the queen bitch!

Cross-posting that one now!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at November 6, 2007 11:24 PM

November 1, 2007

Wait, I've Seen This Movie Before...

Senator Clinton has a strategy to counter those pointing out her miscues at the debate: Play the Victim! Get the sympathy vote. WaPo:

After a rare night of fumbles by Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, her rivals for the Democratic presidential nomination rushed to maximize the damage yesterday, even as her advisers argued that the "piling on" engaged in by an all-male field of opponents will ultimately drive more female voters into her camp.

Poor Little Senator, those men are so mean to her. At least there is more than a tacit admission of failure:
Clinton strategists grudgingly acknowledged that the performance in Tuesday's debate in Philadelphia was not her finest and they sought to contain the fallout. They worked to clarify her muddled response to a question about whether she supports giving driver's licenses to illegal immigrants -- she backs it, they said -- and quickly produced a video, titled "The Politics of Pile-On," splicing together in rapid-fire fashion her rivals' attacks from the event.

I fear life under Clinton is coming back, without the tech boom this time.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:15 PM

The WSJ Ed Page Piles On

Watching Senator Clinton dissemble at the debate (YouTube clips, I did not watch it live), I was struck by one word: "Clintonian." The bit with Tim Russert and Iran was stunning.

Surprise, surprise, my right wingnut buddies at the WSJ Ed Page saw it the same way (free link).

The political strategy is clear enough. Mrs. Clinton wants to roll to her party's nomination on a tide of "inevitability" while disguising her real agenda as much as possible. But Democratic voters ought to consider whether they want to put all their hopes for retaking the White House on Mrs. Clinton's ability to obfuscate like her husband without his preternatural talent for it. Aside from lacking her husband's political gifts, Hillary's challenge is that we've all seen this movie before. And performances like Tuesday's might be enough to convince voters to opt for a candidate who is his own man.

And that 's the good news for the day (Though Terri @ I Think ^(Link) Therefore I Err points out that Joss Whedon has a new TV show and al-Qaeda is defeated in Iraq). Somewhere on that scale, we must remember that she is not a natural politician, and that she has a history of extreme quotes and positions that will be harder to defend in the general than to Democrat primary voters.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:37 AM

October 31, 2007

Clinton Stumbles at Debate

I thought of posting this earlier, but I guessed that the good folks at Dow Jones might post the Political Diary free today, in lieu of Best Of The Web.

It's very good from cover-to-cover today, but I have heard from several sources that Senator Clinton was not at the top of her game last night. John Fund gives a blow-by-blow that makes her sound a little less inevitable.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:11 PM

October 29, 2007

Rudy! or Mitt!

Fred Barnes floated this idea on the Beltway Boys TV show this weekend. Now, he has a Weekly Standard column on it. Barnes claims it is a Two-Man Race

There are three things to keep in mind when evaluating the presidential race in 2008. First, national polls don't matter at all. Jimmy Carter, Bill Clinton, and John Kerry polled at 13 percent or less nationally before the primaries, then locked up the Democratic nomination a few weeks later. State polls provide a better clue of what may happen. Second, the primaries are a dynamic process. Win in the early states and you have a far greater chance of capturing the later primaries--and the nomination. Third, money is more important than ever in 2008. If a long shot like McCain or Thompson or even Mike Huckabee wins in Iowa (January 3) or New Hampshire (January 8) or South Carolina (January 19), there won't be enough time for him to raise the funds needed to compete effectively in Florida on January 29 and the 20-plus primaries on February 5. Television ads are expensive, but necessary.

Barnes pushes the idea of "scenarios." The national polls are misleading. It is comparable to ignoring the electoral college system -- multiplied by the time line.

This won't cheer up a lot of Thompson supporters in ThreeSources Land. And, to be honest, it doesn't thrill me. Watching the national polls, I had lulled myself into believing in a Giuliani or Thompson outcome. I could easily support either of those candidates fulsomely. Barnes does establish a credible scenario for Governor Romney to prevail. This would not drive me to the Clinton Camp, but he is way down on my list.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:09 PM | Comments (3)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Well,..if there's an upside to this, it looks like the US is ready to look past (or ignore, if you will) Romney's Mormonism.

And the Dumb-o-crats are the ones always touting multi-culturalism!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at October 29, 2007 10:30 PM
But jk thinks:

I'm glad they're looking past his religion, tm, I just wish they wouldn't look past RomneyCare.

Posted by: jk at October 30, 2007 10:55 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

My oldest friend from when I grew up in Utah is a libertarian Mormon. As he puts it, "I belong to the same church, but not the same religion."

Romney's religion is Big Government, nothing else. Many Mormons today (in Utah and elsewhere) are the same, eschewing the 19th century Mormon ideal of self sufficiency.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at October 30, 2007 11:01 AM

October 27, 2007

Senator Edwards Doesn't Want You to See This

Which is, sadly, good enough for me:





James Edward Dillard (the young man with only slightly less hair than the Senator) describes the contretemps on his blog:

Apparently, once Carla and Carolina Week put the piece up on YouTube, the Edwards camp asked them not so nicely to take it down. Like any good bright-eyed journalists, they refused. The Edwards camp then "intimated" (whatever that means) that this would jeopardize the campaigns' relationship with the University. Keep in mind that Edwards is both an alumni and a former employee of our nation's leading public university. Bizarre.

Pretty inconsequential criticism if you ask me, but if it bothers the populist Senator, I'm happy to link.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:04 PM

October 21, 2007

Another Day, Another Debate

Another day, another debate.

But it had this nugget, which NRO's Jim Geraghty calls "the best line of the campaign so far."

"Hillary tried to get a million dollars for the Woodstock museum. I understand it was a major cultural and pharmaceutical event. I couldn't attend. I was tied up at the time."

It gets a standing ovation.


F*ck yeah, that's a good line.

Posted by AlexC at 11:34 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I TiVoed the debate so I could flip between the ALCS game seven and the Broncos-Steelers. My recorder has two tuners, and this is the first time in the history of TV that there have been three good things on at once.

It is a great line and Senator McCain's appearance of FOXNews Sunday in the empty debate hall was very good as well.

Posted by: jk at October 22, 2007 11:45 AM

October 19, 2007

I'm Gonna Get In Trouble For This

Attila at Pillage Idiot has Rep Ron Paul explaining The Executive to a Cocker Spaniel.

"Doctor Paul": This President reads way too much into Article II. He thinks that when it says, "The executive Power shall be vested in a President of the United States of America," it gives him all sorts of warmaking powers.

Cocker Spaniel:

"Doctor Paul": That's plain wrong. All you have to do is read the Constitution!

Cocker Spaniel:


Posted by John Kranz at 5:25 PM

October 17, 2007

The Most Important Issue


Poll: Bullshit Is Most Important Issue For 2008 Voters

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:21 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Heh. Good thing we discuss important b******t around here!

Posted by: jk at October 18, 2007 11:48 AM

October 16, 2007

Mike!

He spouts off the best one-liners (though Governor Romney's concern that Jennifer Granholm was going to tax the debate was up there). But Governor Huckabee drops further on my list every week. The Club for Growth and WSJ Ed Page have hammered him for tax increases during his tenure as Arkansas Governor. He waffled -- badly -- of trade in the last debate. Now John Fund tells us he's joined the cappers-and-traders:

Mike Huckabee continues to demonstrate his populist, anti-free market bent. Fresh from a debate in Michigan where he showed skepticism about free trade and President Bush's veto of a budget-busting health care bill, the former Arkansas governor has now embraced a mandatory cap on global-warming emissions.

"It goes to the moral issue,'' he told a climate-change conference over the weekend in New Hampshire. "We have a responsibility to reduce greenhouse-gas emissions, to conserve energy, to find alternative forms of energy that are renewable and sustainable and environmentally friendly.''

Most disturbingly, Mr. Huckabee says he backs a discredited "cap-and-trade" approach that would apply to the entire U.S. economy. Used in Europe with completely ineffective results, the scheme would create an artificial market for buying and selling permits to emit carbon dioxide. Former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan used his new book "The Age of Turbulence" to throw cold water on the idea. "I have grave doubts that international agreements imposing a globalized so-called cap-and-trade system on CO2 emissions will prove feasible," Mr. Greenspan wrote. "There is no effective way to meaningfully reduce emissions without negatively impacting a large part of an economy. Jobs will be lost and real incomes of workers constrained."

But environmentalists in Mr. Huckabee's audience swooned. "I was impressed," said Larry Schweiger, head of the National Wildlife Federation, which supports cap-and-trade. "He's only the second Republican candidate [after John McCain] to say he supports cap-and-trade, which we believe is the real critical part of any effort to stop global warming.''

Many analysts believe Mr. Huckabee has a chance to sew up the support of social conservatives given the perceived liberalism of frontrunners Rudy Giuliani and Mitt Romney. His admirers note that Mr. Huckabee has been moving up in polls lately in both Iowa and New Hampshire. That may be so, but he clearly is taking positions that leave economic conservatives scratching their heads and wondering just which party's nomination this new man from Hope, Arkansas thinks he's running for.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:20 PM

October 15, 2007

Rudy!

Some amateur video from a New Hampshire event:





What's not to like?

Posted by John Kranz at 12:37 PM

October 14, 2007

The Numbers Aren't In...

...and we have a winner!

I really wanted to post a copy of the cartoon here too but elected not to since the linked image includes an instant online poll. When I clicked on "like it" the numbers went from 42 like - 58 don't like to 50-50. When all seven Threesources readers weigh in it should be 90-10!

Hat tip: Dad, who saw the print version in the Denver Post. He said the caricature made her look "like a witch." You mean, like this dad?

Posted by JohnGalt at 11:33 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Sixty Four. You presume all seven will like it?

Posted by: jk at October 14, 2007 2:38 PM

October 11, 2007

Select a Candidate

Easy peasy select a candidate quiz.

My "most alike" are Thompson, Hunter at 53 pts and McCain at 51.

Most unalike? Hillary and Obama at 5 pts.

(Tip to Blonde Sagacity)

Posted by AlexC at 12:34 PM | Comments (7)
But johngalt thinks:

Counting only candidates with a chance:

McCain 46
Thompson 41
Romney 40
Giuliani 35
Clinton and Obama tied at 17
Edwards 14

I declare this survey specious, however, since not one of the 11 questions addressed the Second Amendment. That would have pushed Thompson to the top of my list.

Posted by: johngalt at October 11, 2007 3:00 PM
But jk thinks:

And trade would have cleared Rep. Hunter off of mine. And a First Amendment question would have dropped Senator McCain for both of us.

I hate to read too much into a "goofy online poll", but I do like the format of this. You could double the questions and make it close.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2007 3:16 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I would have liked to see the importance interlocked... so you can't pick "very important" for every one.

Most were "important" or "Very"

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 4:37 PM
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

McCain: 32
Paul: 31
Tancredo: 25
Rudy: 25
Thompson: 24
Romney: 15
Hillary/Obama: 3

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at October 11, 2007 10:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Okay, I'm a little jealous of your Hillary/Obama 3; my lowest was a Kucinich 7.

Posted by: jk at October 12, 2007 11:16 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Seven?!

Isn't the "dirty hippie" threshold 6?

Posted by: AlexC at October 12, 2007 8:10 PM

Preserve the Old Ideas

Larry Kudlow has been asking Republicans "Where's the Beef?" He wants specific proposals for cutting taxes. I don't break with Mr. Kudlow too easily, but I like Don Luskin's idea: "We don't need new ideas, we need to preserve the old idea of keeping regulations low and keeping taxes low. That's what we heard over and over again and that is why I am so bullish."




Here's the spirited post-debate debate that Kudlow hosted. Luskin is on a roll all the way, though I will question his attack on Governor Richardson at the end.

And I will humbly have to add that that is where my candidate, Mayor Giuliani, did well. Lower regulations, lower taxes, and lower spending. That's a full Atkins® meal for me, Larry!

Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

I'm with Luskin too. But let's hear about cuts.

Cut things.

Cut things.

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 12:37 PM
But jk thinks:

But if you are dedicated to cutting everything (I like Giuliani’s idea of not replacing half the attrition of government workers) you do not attract the dedicated opposition of declaring: "I will dismantle the Department of Education!"

Cut everything seems like a good answer to me.

Posted by: jk at October 11, 2007 1:48 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I had not heard of the half attrition cut.

That's a pretty good idea.

Posted by: AlexC at October 11, 2007 4:34 PM

October 10, 2007

Rep. Ron Paul

I know Rep. Paul has some supporters around here, and I have no trouble finding parts of his platform to applaud. Yet, I think he exudes the "crazy-aunt-in-the-attic" vibe a little more every time he is out. His supporters have a fair gripe that he was not given a lot of time and attention at the CNBC debate last night -- but I surely did not find myself missing the additional hectoring about isolationism and mettalism.

John Fund thinks he might well be shaping up for a third party run -- and he has an interesting take on how it would affect the race:

Could Ron Paul be considering a third-party run for the White House after the GOP primaries are over? After all, in 1988 he left the GOP to run as the Libertarian Party candidate. He is just ornery enough to do it again.

A hint of his dissatisfaction came last night during the CNBC debate when Chris Matthews asked him if he would promise "to support the nominee of the Republican Party next year." Mr. Paul's answer was a flat no. "Not unless they're willing to end the war and bring our troops home. And not unless they are willing to look at the excess in spending. No, I'm not going to support them if they continue down the path that has taken our party down the tubes."

When I saw Mr. Paul last Friday after a speech he gave to Americans for Prosperity in Washington, he was clearly feeling his oats on the public reaction to his stand opposing the Iraq war. He rejected my comment that his anti-war emphasis was crowding out his free-market message "Everything is tied to the war. It threatens our financial security as well," he told me. I left our brief encounter with the clear impression he wanted to continue to talk about his message well into the future beyond the GOP primary race.

Despite his libertarian views, a Paul third-party run might hurt the Democrats more than Republicans. If he emphasized his support for pulling U.S. troops out of Iraq immediately, he would trump Hillary Clinton on the left. If he talked about his support for drug decriminalization, he would clearly appeal to a constituency ignored by both major parties.

The logistics of a Paul run are also there. The Libertarian Party national convention doesn't meet until late May in Denver, and becoming its nominee guarantees a spot on 26 state ballots immediately. Another 20 state ballot lines are fairly easy to obtain.

Mr. Paul could, of course, retire from the House if he ran for president. But Texas law also allows him to both run for president and seek re-election to the House, thanks to a statute rammed through by Lyndon Johnson. The GOP primary in which Mr. Paul is being challenged for his seat is held in early March, well before he would have to publicly announce any third-party intentions. Nothing prevents him from running as, say, a Libertarian for president and a Republican for the House at the same time.

It's also likely that Mr. Paul might be the rare third-party candidate who could actually raise his own money. He took in over $5 million in the last quarter, exceeding the fundraising totals of candidates such as John McCain and Mike Huckabee. A chunk of his money comes from liberals such as singer Barry Manilow, and he might find himself the recipient of some support in a general election from anti-Hillary Democrats who deplore the grip of the Clinton clan on their party.


Ron Paul and Barry Manilow -- that mightn't be a bad ticket...

Posted by John Kranz at 2:19 PM | Comments (2)
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

I have been known to praise Dr. Paul. However, I actually think that the lack of time that he was granted benefitted him in yesterday's debate because he was being excessively negative. I know that he is generally negative on the war, but many of his other talking points started to sound very pessimistic.

I was looking forward to Dr. Paul challenging fellow Republicans on what departments and agencies they would eliminate, what taxes they would reduce or eliminate, etc. However, he missed a golden opportunity to shine as the true candidate of limited government.

Other thoughts:

-- Fred was terrible. He had some good one-liners in regards to his personal life and others on stage, but very little was learned as to what President Fred would be like.

-- Mitt Romney had the great one-liner about Jennifer Granholm and taxes, but his health care program in Mass. has disqualified him from receiving my support and the nomination.

-- Giuliani was also not very impressive. Other than his remark about Canadians not having anywhere to go to get health care in HIllary were elected, he did not impress. Like Paul, this should have been Giuliani's time to shine because most Republican voters will identify with him solely on economic issues and the war. Unfortunately, he didn't produce.

-- As a Rudy fan, jk may laugh, but McCain was the star of the debate. He is the only candidate with a realistic outlook on immigration. He is always strong on defense. However, most importantly, in a debate that was to focus largely on economic issues, he was the only one speaking cognitively about trade and our ridiculous subsidies.

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at October 10, 2007 3:23 PM
But jk thinks:

jk's not laughing. (Well, my normal sunny optimism and cheerful worldview...) I agree on McCain. I had to keep reminding myself why I left McCain.

Giuliani did not shine last night but I thought he was allright: "Don't overtax, don't over-regulate" that was pretty strong. I mentioned here, that I have been disappointed by Hizzoner's switch on Immigration.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2007 3:32 PM

October 9, 2007

GOP Debate #235

Best round up. Ever?

Posted by AlexC at 7:28 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Probably so.

Man, I am as Republican as the next guy, but that one was a little too long. Two hours of debate and two hours of recap. Even with TiVo power-watching®, that was painful.

Posted by: jk at October 10, 2007 10:57 AM

A Picture is Worth A Thousand Words

Via Drudge

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:39 PM

October 5, 2007

Unlikeliest Headline Ever?

Democrats Rally to Defend Electoral College System

Not out of profound sense of history or respect toward the framers, of course.

A change might screw them.

Republican activists in California, the most populous state in the country, have set in motion a proposal to change the law to end the winner-takes-all electoral college system.

The change, if it went through, would effectively hand the next election to the Republicans.

California has gone Democratic in every election since 1992, providing a bloc of 55 electoral votes, about one fifth of the 270 needed to win the presidency.

The Republicans are proposing that instead of all the electoral votes going to the winner, the 55 votes be allocated on a Congressional district basis, which would give the Republicans around 20, almost certainly enough to secure the White House.


Snicker.

Posted by AlexC at 1:18 PM

October 1, 2007

Please Oh Please Oh Please!

This is Jay Cray, blogging with jk's account. The ThreeSources pragmatist has not read and does not endorse this message. But John Fund writes in OpinionJournal PoliticalDiary that James Dobson is looking to field a third party candidate if the GOP nominates Hizzoner. Though he says he won't , their best candidate might be Rep Tom Tancredo (R. Populismiasma)

A group of attendees at the Council for National Policy -- a supersecret quarterly gathering of prominent social conservatives -- broke off from the main meeting in Salt Lake City this weekend to pass a resolution warning that they might back a third-party candidate should Rudy Giuliani win the GOP nomination.

The resolution reads in part: "If the Republican Party nominates a pro-abortion candidate, we will consider running a third-party candidate." Supporters included Focus on the Family founder James Dobson, conservative fundraiser Richard Viguerie, the Family Research Council's Tony Perkins and Morton Blackwell, head of the Leadership Institute.

"The signal is out there that you nominate him and we walk," Paul Weyrich, head of the Free Congress Foundation, told Politico.com. Mr. Weyrich didn't attend the meeting that voted on the resolution, but was in broad sympathy with it.

Of course, threatening a third-party campaign is easier said than done. The task of securing a place on numerous state ballots would be very difficult after February, the earliest date when the identity of the GOP nominee would actually be known. In addition, a suitable alternative candidate would have to be found. One of the most promising, GOP Rep. Tom Tancredo of Colorado, has strong disagreements with Mr. Giuliani on both abortion and immigration. But he made clear to me last Friday he was having nothing to do with talk that he might bolt the GOP and run against a Rudy Giuliani ticket.

Mr. Tancredo admitted he had talked over the matter with Bay Buchanan, his campaign manager, who herself played a major role in convincing her brother Pat to leave the GOP and run against George W. Bush in 2000 as the candidate of Ross Perot's Reform Party. But Mr. Tancredo told me he had scotched the idea: "No, the obstacles are too great. I have no interest in it." Asked if that was a Shermanesque statement -- named after the Civil War general William Sherman who told supporters: "If nominated, I will not run. If elected, I will not serve" -- Mr. Tancredo told me, "Yes."

Anger from the social conservative wing of the Republican Party at the prospect of a Giuliani nomination is real enough, and it certainly could cost him in terms of voter enthusiasm among the party's base. But the chances look remote of finding a major social conservative to carry a third-party banner against him.


Dang. if Dobson and Tancredo bolted, I'd be pretty proud to call myself a Republican again. Jay Cray out, pragmatism will return shortly...

Posted by John Kranz at 5:36 PM

September 29, 2007

Dem Debate Recap

Jimmy P watches the Democratic debate, so you don't have to. His recap is titled Forget Clintonomics--This Is Mondalenomics.

1) Democrats do realize that America exists in a hypercompetitive global economy, right? Mentions of "compete" or "competitiveness," zero; "China," one; "India," zero; "Asia," zero; "innovation," zero; "productivity," zero; "technology," two.

2) Thank goodness for global warming. Without it, Dems would seem to be hard pressed to come up with a strategy to grow the economy faster. This from Dennis Kucinich: "I'm talking about a new WPA, a Works Green Administration, creating technologies for a green America—we have to believe in economic growth. We should raise the ceiling." (Here's why climate change and massive government spending may not be an economic plus.) A skeptic might say that global warming provides a handy excuse for more government spending.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:12 PM

September 26, 2007

Do You Know People Like This?

Those wacky Clintons. The folks they "truck with" never cease to amaze.

The WSJ (news pages, not the right wing cranks on the Ed page) detail a F.O.B. (Friend of Bill, in case you'd forgotten):

Two years ago, Mr. Band befriended a handsome and charming Italian businessman named Raffaello Follieri. The young Italian, now 29 years old, had moved to New York in 2003 to launch a business buying and redeveloping Roman Catholic Church properties. He claimed close ties with Vatican officials that would smooth the way for deals, according to business associates and material issued by his company, Follieri Group LLC. He also said he could help Mr. Clinton's wife, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, with Catholic voters during her presidential campaign, people in the Clinton camp recall.

As a gatekeeper to the former president's web of business and charitable enterprises, Mr. Band helped Mr. Follieri get into business with Mr. Clinton, according to people involved with the three men. In 2005, Yucaipa Cos., a Los Angeles investment firm where Mr. Clinton has been a partner and a senior adviser, agreed to invest up to $100 million in Mr. Follieri's church-property venture.

Later, Mr. Band helped Mr. Follieri secure several million dollars more from Michael Cooper, a Toronto real-estate executive and supporter of Mr. Clinton's humanitarian initiatives. Mr. Band received $400,000 from Mr. Follieri for arranging that deal. Mr. Band's connection to Mr. Follieri was reported in Il Sole/24 Ore, an Italian newspaper.

These days, the Clinton camp's relations with Mr. Follieri are in tatters. Yucaipa managing partner Ron Burkle, Mr. Clinton's longtime friend, has sued Mr. Follieri in Delaware state court for allegedly misappropriating at least $1.3 million. The lawsuit claims Mr. Follieri used Yucaipa's investment money to fund a lavish lifestyle that included a Manhattan penthouse, five-star meals and private jets for Mr. Follieri and his girlfriend, actress Anne Hathaway. Mr. Follieri has denied any wrongdoing. Mr. Cooper has demanded his money back.


Trust me, that excerpt does not do this long, lugubrious tale justice. If you don't subscribe, I'll mail it to you, but this must be read in full.

I'd call the constant appearance of guys like this, Hsu, Chang, Trie, Marc Rich, Hugh Rodham, ad infinitum to be more serious than cell phone etiquette.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:24 PM

Hold All My Calls!

The WSJ Ed Page agrees with hb and ac on Hizzoner's cell phone flap:

Most Americans understand it takes an extra chromosome to run for President, but there are some limits on odd behavior. Which makes us wonder what Rudy Giuliani was thinking last Friday when he accepted, and even flaunted, a phone call from his wife Judith in the middle of his speech to the National Rifle Association.

This was no emergency call. His cell phone rang in his pocket during his speech, which is itself unusual; most public officials turn theirs off during events, if only out of courtesy for the audience. Mr. Giuliani went on to answer it and carry on a routine "love you" and "have a safe trip" exchange with Mrs. Giuliani while the crowd (and those of us watching on C-Span) wondered what in the world that was all about.

His campaign aides spun the episode as a "candid and spontaneous moment" illustrative of the couple's affection. We might believe that if we hadn't heard stories of similar behavior by Mr. Giuliani as he has campaigned around the country. During one event in Oklahoma, we're told he took two calls, at least one from his wife, and chatted for several minutes as the audience waited. That episode followed Mr. Giuliani's eye-popping disclosure earlier this year that, if he's elected, his wife would sit in on Cabinet meetings. He later downplayed that possibility.

Mr. Giuliani has run an impressive campaign so far, especially on the issues. He has a record of accomplishment in New York, and he projects the kind of executive competence that many Americans want in a President. The rap on his candidacy, however, is that his personal history and behavior are simply too strange for someone who wants to sit in the Oval Office. Voters will decide whether that's true, but if nothing else Mr. Giuliani ought to be aware of this vulnerability and do nothing to compound it.

"That was just weird," one NRA audience member told the New York Post about the phone interruption. Mr. Giuliani doesn't need more weird.


The same crew, on their FOX TV show, played the clip and had the same debate we've had at ThreeSources. I think Paul Gigot played jk, saying it was an attempt to repeat a joke that had worked before. Today's editorial shows he was outvoted too.

UPDATE: free link,

Posted by John Kranz at 10:27 AM

September 25, 2007

Senator Obama's Social Security Fix

We've been awfully tough on the Junior Senator from New York lately; it seems only fair to take a whack at the Junior Senator from Illinois.

Greg Mankiw points out that he has a new plan to fix Social Security:

I do not want to cut benefits or raise the retirement age. I believe there are a number of ways we can make Social Security solvent that do not involve placing these added burdens on our seniors.

But he does not consider a 46.7% marginal tax rate an added burden on the rest of us.
One possible option, for example, is to raise the cap on the amount of income subject to the Social Security tax. If we kept the payroll tax rate exactly the same but applied it to all earnings and not just the first $97,500, we could virtually eliminate the entire Social Security shortfall.

Click on over to see the Harvard Prof do the math, twice.

Combine this with eliminating the Bush tax cuts, and small business owners and upper income Americans are going to be facing marginal rates well above 50%. I know that Austen Goolsbee is a whiz kid, but he has not made any progress converting Senator Obama from an average tax and spender.

Posted by John Kranz at 7:10 PM | Comments (7)
But jk thinks:

Opt out -- sounds great! And how is the weather on Planet Perry this morning?

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2007 12:03 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

No need for sarcasm when you misunderstand. I'm not saying it would ever happen, just that, strangely enough, it's the one reason I'd support removing the salary cap on SS taxes.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 26, 2007 1:34 PM
But jk thinks:

I got you (and meant my sarcasm in the friendliest possible way).

It is very possible that a future Democrat House-Senate-Executive will remove salary caps with no other reform. That would torpedo growth.

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2007 2:15 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There's one other reason to support higher taxes and for this one, the greater and faster the better: It will accelerate the impending Strike of the Producers. Talk about "processing and clearing" a bubble!

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2007 3:14 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Another excellent reform: eliminate the employer contribution and shift it to the employee. Let people see how much their base wages are, how much we're putting in, and the fact that so many of us won't see a penny of the money back. The system will still go bankrupt a mere 10 (no typo) years from now.

Imagine how much less Tiger Woods will play, and how much more time he'll spend with his wife and baby, when he has to pay 12.5% of every dollar he makes. I was telling a friend the other day how Tiger Woods adds all those millions of dollars of growth to the economy, which I'll get around to someday in a blog entry.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 27, 2007 11:43 AM
But jk thinks:

"The ThreeSources Millenarians" I should have some shirts printed. As a general rule, I don't subscribe to stressing systems so that we can rebuild the Earth in our likeness when it all crashes down.

I'm willing to consider it, however, on Perry's SS proposal. I think it could be made revenue and tax neutral, just add the employers' contribution to the FICA amount shown on the pay stub. Let people see what they are really paying.

Posted by: jk at September 27, 2007 1:40 PM

Queen Hillary

I know that Andrew Sullivan has been despised by the folks at Three Sources for a long time now. However, when one filters through his prose, there is a lot of truth to the his recent comments:


The conservative Washington Establishment is swooning for Hillary for a reason. The reason is an accommodation with what they see as the next source of power (surprise!); and the desire to see George W. Bush's invasion and occupation of Iraq legitimated and extended by a Democratic president (genuine surprise). Hillary is Bush's ticket to posterity. On Iraq, she will be his legacy. They are not that dissimilar after all: both come from royal families, who have divvied up the White House for the past couple of decades. They may oppose one another; but they respect each other as equals in the neo-monarchy that is the current presidency. And so elite conservatives are falling over themselves to embrace a new Queen Hillary, with an empire reaching across Mesopotamia...

There is a large block of neoconservatives that are warming to Hillary because they perceive that a Democratic presidency in 2008 is inevitable and thus they must get behind the individual who will most exemplify their ideology.

What strikes me as especially surprising, however, is that the Democratic Party and its members seem so intent on winning the presidency that they are willing to nominate and elect someone who is largely out of touch with the party on their biggest issue. Hillary is much more of a hawk than many Democrats believe (or are willing to admit). Perhaps they are blinded by their hatred of Bush-Cheney or their nostalgia for the Bill Clinton presidency. Either way, however, they should be careful what they wish for.

Unfortunately, I think that these neoconservatives are so blinded by a somewhat like-minded individual on foreign policy that they fail to realize how her would-be expansion of government violates their other conservative principles.

Overall it seems that somewhat strange bedfellows are emerging.

Aside: As a libertarian, I did like Sullivan's criticism of the would-be oligarchy of BushClintonBushClinton.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:39 PM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I guess it has been a long time, but I wouldn't use the word despise. Andrew was my favorite blogger when I started. I modeled my idea of blogging and my style on him. I still consider him a superb writer.

And yet, he has, let me be fair here, gone completely and totally insane.

This post of his does relay a truth. There is an establishment Washington that supersedes party. The Clintons are the archetype, and the second Bush term became an example as well.

I think Brother Sully goes off the rails when he says that a continuation of Iraq policy makes Senator Clinton some sort of Bush III. There are important foreign and domestic policy debates. I find it unsurprising that they do not come down across distinct party lines (I wish it were more so).

Serious Democrats see that a McGovern or McCarthy candidate will fare as well as McGovern or McCarthy. Senator Clinton may be a Faustian bargain on the war, but they get a candidate who tows the line on every other issue.

Establishment Republicans' consent to her candidacy is overstated by Sullivan. Those wicked neocons who run everything also pick the Democratic Nominee? I'm not convinced.

Aside back: Those who wish to escape ClintonBushCLintonBushClintonBush would do well to fight all manner of campaign finance reform. Let big donors fund candidates and we'll see more serious players outside of the establishment.

Posted by: jk at September 25, 2007 2:26 PM
But retrometa thinks:

Nearsighted commentators and farsighted alike: change your orientation. You're only confusing yourselves.

Allow me to let you in on a surprisingly secretive fact: there is NO CHANCE RodhamClinton will ever again be allowed to occupy the White House, your neo-con/looney-left axis conspiracy theories notwithstanding.

You cannot be chosen to serve as Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces during time of war, when among approximately 50% of the population -- men -- the overwhelming, vast majority will not seriously consider you for that role. It's out of the question!

Posted by: retrometa at September 25, 2007 4:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I tend to think Retro is right. I haven't voiced that sentiment much lately because it just sounds so pollyanish. No whistlin' 'round no graveyards here!

Furthermore, I'm willing to wager that even if Barack Osama is, by some twist of probability greater than the Rockies winning the World Series, elected President... even HE would not precipitously withdraw our troops and leave the place to the wolves. There'd be a "period of evaluation" while he actually acquainted himself with what the hell is going on in the world outside of Washington and Howard Dean's email threads. It's sort of like what happened when Harry Reid became majority leader. (They farted around with minimum wage and some other bogus crap for "100 days" before quietly capitulating on the angry left rallying cry.)

Posted by: johngalt at September 26, 2007 3:21 PM
But jk thinks:

Prob'ly right on the next Commander-in-Chief. But I cannot agree on the current Senate Majority leader. I don't think he was educated -- I think he was whipped.

Posted by: jk at September 26, 2007 5:28 PM

September 21, 2007

Another First Lady?

What's with the NRA and potential First Ladies?

Note the handling of this First Lady mention.

Note to Rudy... please please please turn off the cell phone when addressing a group that is generally hostile to you.

Posted by AlexC at 4:44 PM | Comments (2)
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

Unfortunately, this is not the first time this has happened:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_6NB6UW6zg4

Perhaps I am way out in left field on this, but I find this behavior to be nauseatingly disrespectful.

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at September 23, 2007 9:51 AM
But jk thinks:

Well, I guess I am in the pocket of "Big Mayor," but I watched both clips and plan to stay in the Rudy! fold.

Both are attempts at personalizing humor. I think the one hb links to works and is well paced. I am guessing Hizzoner tried to restage that in the clip above and the pacing seems poor.

Contrived perhaps, but I don't see disrespect.

Posted by: jk at September 23, 2007 11:21 AM

The Better First Lady?

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 4:22 PM

September 19, 2007

Tired Headlines

Headlines like this are starting to get old:


"Edwards' Wife Bashes Clinton Health Plan"

Which one of the Edwards' is running for President?

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:55 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

She has cancer dude... therefore she's untouchable.

"Stop Alex, the campaign won't stoop to that level."

No? John Edwards is the scumbag trial attorney who famously channeled a deadgirl during closing statements of a malpractice trial.

Posted by: AlexC at September 20, 2007 12:14 AM
But jk thinks:

I've been rather amused to watch Senator Edwards hide behind his wife's skirt.

I hope that his campaign is not serious. He seems stuck in third place and I have taken that to hope that even the Democratic Primary Voter can see through his phony populism and lack of ideas.

Of course, I've been wrong before.

Posted by: jk at September 20, 2007 10:44 AM

Fred! on HillaryCare

Fred Thompson has released on video on his website regarding HillaryCare. A great quote:

"To some Democrats choice ... is like a cross is to a vampire."

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:54 PM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

Fred! strikes me as a "thoughtful cowboy." What's not to like?

I really enjoyed, The Hunt for Red November. (video 4) Spread it around!

Posted by: johngalt at September 19, 2007 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I saw and enjoyed the video -- especially liking the vampire comment. It seems vampire comments are in vogue all of a sudden. Dennis Miller said that that if Senator Harry Reid had to look in General Petraeus's eyes, it would be "like a vampire seeing the sunrise."

The thing not to like about "a thoughtful cowboy," jg, is the cowboy part. Don't take this personally, but this country is dying for a change from President Bush. You and I can list a dozen differences, but the Democratic Operatives and a casual electorate will see "another cowboy" and say no thanks.

Too bad. Like it's too bad for Governor Jeb Bush. But I would put the urbane, big-city-new-yawker out there so that those seeking change don't look to something in a pink pants suit.

Harsh, Unfair. True.

Posted by: jk at September 19, 2007 3:54 PM
But AlexC thinks:

When it comes to abortion, then choice is sacrosanct.

Schools and health care, they've never heard of it.

Posted by: AlexC at September 20, 2007 12:19 AM

September 18, 2007

Zero Tolerance, Zero Consequences

Ha!

Democrat Hillary Rodham Clinton said Tuesday that a mandate requiring every American to purchase health insurance was the only way to achieve universal health care but she rejected the notion of punitive measures to force individuals into the health care system.

"At this point, we don't have anything punitive that we have proposed," the presidential candidate said in an interview with The Associated Press. "We're providing incentives and tax credits which we think will be very attractive to the vast majority of Americans."


I wonder if that proof of insurance will be asked for before or after the proof of citizenship?

Posted by AlexC at 7:45 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Incentives, tax credits and avoidance of prison will be very attractive to the vast majority of Americans. Sounds like a winner.

Posted by: jk at September 18, 2007 8:40 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Ah, but under her plan, you'll have to provide proof of insurance just to get a job (at least one the government knows about, otherwise you'll have to work underground like the illegals). And if you don't, boom, you'll be automatically enrolled.

Read her lips: no new bureaucracy!

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 20, 2007 1:16 PM

September 14, 2007

Asking the Tough Questions

Whether you are for the war or against it, one must acknowledge that the changing positions among the Democrats has been somewhat ridiculous. Ironically, it is usually those who support the war who are the ones to point out the hypocrisy when, in fact, it should be the opposite. One would think that those who opposed the war from the beginning would condemn candidates like Sen. Clinton for giving the president authorization and then changing her opinion when the war became unpopular. I suppose that they are merely excited to have someone join their side.

With that in mind, it was nice to see Bill Maher pose a tough question:

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 2:49 PM

September 13, 2007

Is Fred! Lazy? Does anyone care?

Is it just me or does it seem like the only criticism that has been leveled against Fred Thompson thus far has referred to his lazy and tired demeanor?

Not only does this line of attack seem rather weak, but, as a political cynic, I actually find this description of a lazy Thompson a bit endearing:


He had long complained that he found Senate life suffocating. "I don't like spending 14- and 16-hour days voting on 'sense of the Senate' resolutions on irrelevant matters," Thompson said in 1998. It was, he said, "very frustrating." He may have wished the Senate spent its time on more-important issues, but Thompson himself didn't have the patience, or the desire, to do the kind of ego stroking and horse trading it takes to get bills to the president's desk.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:44 PM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I would love 544 more men like Ron Paul, but 544 more like Fred will do. If they're all too "lazy," as his critics charge, to vote on all these matters...then so much less of their BS will pass.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at September 14, 2007 10:16 AM
But jk thinks:

Good point. Perhaps there's a shade of "Silent Cal" Coolidge in the Senator?

The lazy tag, however, is a little disconcerting for a partisan hack like me. Senator Clinton will pull no punches to win the general, and I might hesitate to support someone in the primary whom I thought would not give 100%.

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2007 11:25 AM
But johngalt thinks:

If Hillary "pulls no punches" and Fred! "pulls no punches" I like Fred!'s chances much better.

There have been other criticisms, by the way. He wears Gucci shoes to a country fair, has a too-attractive wife, replaces employees from time to time, at least once sponsored a campaign finance bill in congress (and shared his opinion on the matter with SCOTUS) and kept the MSM and hyperactive bloggers waiting far longer than they thought proper.

Such a load of baggage. How does he shoulder it all?

Posted by: johngalt at September 14, 2007 4:20 PM
But jk thinks:

JG, you are in the bag for the Senator. I thought I was bad.

McCain-Feingold was the most serious frontal assault on a basic Constitutional right in recent memory. I have already disqualified one GOP candidate over it (rhymes with Buck Train…) Senator Thompson cosponsored the bill, filed an amicus curiae brief over it, and stands by it to this day.

That may not be instant disqualification, but to compare it to a media meme of laziness, or campaign tactics seems out of character for you. Ideas matter -- and the Senator backs at least one terrible idea.

Posted by: jk at September 14, 2007 8:57 PM

September 7, 2007

No, Fred, No!

Well, that was quick. I fear Fred! has disqualified himself.

Speaking in Sioux City, Iowa, moments ago, Fred Thompson endorsed an amendment to the Constitution that would prevent state judges from altering the definition of marriage without the direction of their states' legislatures.

I don't think it would drive me into Senator Clinton's socialist arms or anything. But I have a hunch that this will be the first of many populist lurches from the Senator.

UPDATE: And he filed an amicus brief in McConnell v. FEC for the FEC!

Posted by John Kranz at 3:32 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

I doubt that will do it. But this might.

Posted by: johngalt at September 10, 2007 3:14 PM
But jk thinks:

Just to be safe, I am putting all my Gucci® loafers in the closet until after the election.

Posted by: jk at September 10, 2007 4:30 PM

"I'm runnin' for President of the United States"

With these words Fred! "stepped up" last night.

He had some good lines:

On taking so long to enter the race: "No, I don't think so. Of course, we'll find out. But uh, I don't think people are gonna say, you know that guy would make a very good president but he just didn't get in soon enough."

On John McCain: "He's a good friend and will be when this is over with. Unless of course he beats me."

On skipping the NH debate to appear on Leno: "I'm certainly not disrespecting them but it's a lot more difficult to get on the Tonight Show than it is to get into a presidential debate."

Fred!08

One of the greatest factors in my preference for Fred! over Rudy! is private firearms ownership. Fred! took an opportunity to amplify that difference late last month.

Posted by JohnGalt at 1:32 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

The band was better on the Tonight Show as well.

I'm game to give Fred! a good listen, but my buddy, Rudy!, has really impressed me by grabbing the mantle of supply-side, free market economics. If Senator Thompson can stay out of the populist patch, he has much to recommend him.

I agree with on the 2nd Amendment, but I have concerns about the 1st. Mary Katherine Ham interviewed campaign finance expert Bradley Smith who remembers when the bill was called McCain-Thompson-Feingold.

Posted by: jk at September 7, 2007 12:35 PM

September 3, 2007

Free to Choose?

Jon Henke asks:


Which one of John Edwards' two Americas gets a freedom of choice and privacy that extends beyond the uterus?

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:00 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Merciful Zeus! You have to click all the way through to the story. I loved this:

"The whole idea is a continuum of care, basically from birth to death," he said.

One more time, Senator: what is it that government does so well that you want them to take over health care -- including dental and vision?

You'll presumably have to floss and we'll need an enforcement mechanism. Bathroom cameras?

Posted by: jk at September 3, 2007 10:39 AM
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

jk, as we have learned from the Sen. Craig situation, the police are already in the bathroom. Their duties will simply be expanded under the Edwards administration.

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at September 3, 2007 10:47 AM

August 30, 2007

Quick Election Thoughts

Two candidate (one from each party) were in the news today.

First, John Edwards:


WASHINGTON -- Last week in Hanover, N.H., John Edwards shot off a rhetorical signal flare. "I want to go one step further," he said. Something new was coming. This wasn't going to be just another stump speech about the "Two Americas" -- one for the rich and one for everyone else. He was about to attack his own party, the Democratic Party, which he likes to call "the party of the people."

"The choice for our party could not be any clearer," he continued. "We cannot replace a group of corporate Republicans with a group of corporate Democrats, just swapping the Washington insiders of one party for the Washington insiders of the other."

Of course, he never named the fellow travelers targeted by his broadside. But he left plenty of clues, given Hillary Clinton's time in the White House and Barack Obama's record fundraising. "The American people deserve to know that their presidency is not for sale," he said, "the Lincoln Bedroom is not for rent, and lobbyist money can no longer influence policy in the House and the Senate."


There are usually two ways that a candidates runs for the primary. One can move as far to the fringe as possible and attack fellow party-members or one can run a centrist campaign and attack candidates from the other party. The Democrats, with the exception of Hillary Clinton, have been rather unique in that they have mostly moved to the left and run against President Bush. Given this pattern, the comments by Edwards seem to relfect the following:

  • The Edwards campaign has come to the realization that he must make some sort of change to improve his position within the party.

  • Hillary may be in trouble. The negative attacks are largely going to be aimed at her simply because she is the front runner and, quite frankly, there is more material. Elizabeth Edwards even stated that Hillary would do more to energize Republicans than any candidate with an "R" next to their name. Unfortunately for Edwards, this negative press aimed at Hillary likely helps Obama in the long run.


The second piece of news is that Fred (or Fred!) Thompson will announce his candidacy on September 6 on his website. The right-wing blogosphere is growing tired of Sen. Thompson because he is attempting "upstage" the fellow Republicans by appearing on Leno on the night of the Republican debate and the fact that he has delayed announcing his candidacy for so long. Nevertheless, I do not think any of the blogosphere's concerns are warranted. Here's why:

  • The blogosphere is filled with party activists and libertarian academics that are largely out of touch with the mainstream Americans (for better or for worse).

  • Thompson hasn't run a conventional campaign. I actually like this. Besides, more people will watch Leno than the R's debate.

  • Thompson has created the perception of being above the other candidates. He should try to maintain this as long as possible.

  • What purpose does it serve for Thompson to debate the likes of Huckabee, Brownback, Tancredo, and the other second tier candidates? There is plenty of time left before primary season.

  • Staying out of the race hasn't hurt him as much as the conservative pundits pretend. Thompson is still at or near the top of most polls.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:50 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

You've hit on the most tantalizing aspect of the coming election cycle, HB. Despite being the frontrunner, both within her party and generally, Hillary's negatives are so high and her baggage so weighty that not just the Republicans want to run against her - the other Democrats would rather run against her than against Republicans. The tantalizing part? Despite every Democrat knowing this, odds are they're still going to nominate her!

And on a related note, GO FRED!

Posted by: johngalt at August 30, 2007 11:42 PM
But jk thinks:

I see a different dynamic. I think that Senator Clinton has now opened a commanding lead in the primary and is already positioning herself for the General. Her team sees that Senator Obama has fizzled as a candidate and that she is positioned to swamp Obama and Edwards in front-loaded, big-state, big-money primaries. She can tone down her pandering to the left and begin pandering to the center.

I agree that Sen. Thompson has not been hurt by staying out, blogosphere (including AlexC) be dammed. The possible drawback is his lack of organization. That may or may not bite him.

Posted by: jk at August 31, 2007 10:56 AM

The Dems' Fox Debate

Something tells me that jk would love this:


I think that Fox should go ahead with the debate. Take that time you were going to allot for the Democratic Party Debate, and fill it with any empty stage with empty lecterns. Then every few minutes, put a title bar on the screen with different debate topics.

Such as:
"DEMOCRATS PRESENT IDEAS ON WINNING THE WAR" ...crickets...crickets...crickets...
"DEMOCRATS PRESENT IDEAS ON SAVING SOCIAL SECURITY" ...tumbleweeds...
"DEMOCRATS PRESENT IDEAS ON CUTTING PORK” ...cold wind...

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 5:03 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I don't know why people would thing that I would appreciate a cheap, partisan trick. Like I am some kind of hack or something...(crickets...crickets...)

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2007 7:50 PM

August 29, 2007

Fidel's Endorsement

From Reuters:


HAVANA (Reuters) - Ailing Cuban leader Fidel Castro is tipping Democratic candidates Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama to team up and win the U.S. presidential election.

Clinton leads Obama in the race to be the Democratic nominee for the November 2008 election, and Castro said they would make a winning combination.

"The word today is that an apparently unbeatable ticket could be Hillary for president and Obama as her running mate," he wrote in an editorial column on U.S. presidents published on Tuesday by Cuba's Communist Party newspaper, Granma.


Enough said.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 12:46 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Maybe Senator Edwards could still pull off a Robert Mugabe or Mahmoud Ahmadinejad endorsement to stem the bleeding.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2007 2:13 PM

Mitt! on Larry! (UPDATED: Tonight Too)

The former Governor of the Commonwealth takes some licks for his health care plan(s) around here, but he will be able to defend himself in a one-on-one interview with Larry Kudlow tonight. CNBC 5:00PM Eastern. It is an exceptional venue to hear the candidates’ economic ideas.

UPDATE I: Part of the interview will be shown tonight (Aug 29), including the discussion of health care. I'm a Giuliani supporter, so discount my opinion as you see fit, but I'd have to say that he was unimpressive last night. He swung and missed at some softballs. "Do we need a SarbOx for lending?" Governor Romney said no, but conceded that there might be a place for Washington to make sure that customers understood their loans.

Hugh Hewitt always talks about how clear and in command of the facts Romney is, and that once people see him, they are really impressed. He did not come across as in control last night, and he won’t find a friendlier interview until he is on Hewitt’s show.

UPDATE II: Here is the video:

Posted by John Kranz at 12:08 AM | Comments (4)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

There will be only one GOP candidate who's principled enough to say we *don't* need federal regulations or other oversight for home loans. Three guesses as to his name, but you'll only need one. And here's a hint: even Fred Thompson, if pressed, will say the federal government needs to legislate and/or regulate.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 29, 2007 11:39 AM
But jk thinks:

Mayor Giuliani has already said no regulation and he said it on Kudlow & Co. I'll go out on a limb and say that Rep. Ron Paul would demur as well.

Posted by: jk at August 29, 2007 11:45 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

He really did? I'm pleasantly surprised.

Unfortunately, American voters are probably stupid enough as a whole to make the issue into ammunition for Hillary. Just when we thought liberals had promised everything possible in previous campaigns...

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 30, 2007 4:04 PM
But jk thinks:

Be pleasantly surprised!

Posted by: jk at August 30, 2007 6:50 PM

August 21, 2007

Mitt!

The Club for Growth issues it's Mitt Romney report.

"Governor Romney's economic record contains a mixture of pro-growth accomplishments and some troublesome positions that beg to be explained," said Club for Growth President Pat Toomey. "While his record on taxes, spending, and entitlement reform is flawed, it is, on balance, encouraging, especially given the liberal Massachusetts Legislature. His record on trade, school choice, regulations and tort reform all indicate a strong respect for the power of market solutions. At the same time, Governor Romney's history is marked by statements at odds with his gubernatorial record and his campaign rhetoric."

Romney's strident opposition to the flat tax; his refusal to endorse the Bush tax cuts in 2003; his support for various minor tax hikes; and his once-radically bad views on campaign finance reform all cast some doubts on the extent and durability of his commitment to limited-government, pro-growth policies. His landmark steps in the healthcare arena also exhibit a mixture of desirable pro-free market efforts combined with a regrettable willingness to accept, if not embrace, a massive new regulatory regime.


Despite the reservations, they are OK with him as President.

Posted by AlexC at 12:42 PM | Comments (3)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

RomneyCare is based on forcing certain people to buy a service they don't want. Call it socialism, call it fascism, but it's completely anathema to the free market.

Either something is free market, or it isn't. There is no in-between. Ask yourself this: is someone being coerced?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 21, 2007 1:30 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll crawl over broken glass to get him elected over any of the Democrats I have seen, but he is easily my least favorite of the top tier.

RomneyCare is as bad as McCain-Feingold and Senator McCain's personal style is far more attractive than Governor Romney's.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2007 1:38 PM
But jk thinks:

Well said, Perry. When people ask me what bothers me I get into mandates and minutia, you've nailed the problem.

Somebody asked "isn't there anything in health care between socialism (HillaryCare) and Fascism (RomneyCare)?"

Rudy's got me on health care.

Posted by: jk at August 21, 2007 4:10 PM

Bloomberg is correct

Truer words have never been spoken:


"Nobody's going to elect me president of the United States," [Michael Bloomberg] told Dan Rather for a program that will air Tuesday on cable's HDNet channel.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:00 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I hope he shorted his Intrade contract before making that speech.

Posted by: jk at August 22, 2007 10:41 AM

August 17, 2007

The 08 Race

Zoinks... Senator Foot In Mouth is down by 30 points to Senator Former First Lady in California.

Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Rodham Clinton is expanding her lead in California as excitement for Illinois Sen. Barack Obama is fading among Golden State voters, a new Field Poll revealed Thursday.

The New York senator held a commanding lead over the Democratic field, with 49 percent support to 19 percent for Obama and 10 percent for former North Carolina Sen. John Edwards.

The survey of 418 Californians likely to vote in the Feb. 5 Democratic presidential primary showed Clinton leading -- and gaining support -- in every demographic category and California region measured.


On the GOP side, Mitt! won an Illinois straw poll.
Illinois state Republican party chairman, Andy McKenna, said Romney won the Illinois Straw poll at the Illinois State Fair. "Congratulations to Mitt Romney, whose strong showing today indicates he has begun to put together a strong statewide organization," McKenna said. "There's no question that Illinois' demographics closely match those of the United States and this could be an indication as to whom Illinois voters are leaning toward this coming February."

Romney secured an overwhelming victory with 40.35 percent of the vote. Former Senator Fred Thompson, who is expected to formally enter the race for the GOP nomination next month, came in second with 19.96 percent of the vote.


Rudy! came in fourth, seven point behind Ron Paul, of all people.

The other day, a friend told me that he thinks Fred! Thompson wouldn't be entering the race... certainly I'm getting tired of waiting. Though I will probably support the GOP ticket no matter what, I would be favorably disposed to a Romney/Thompson ticket, if he doesn't run, or a Thompson/Romney ticket if he wins.

If Hillary! trounces the rest of the field, does that adversely impact her choosing a VP from the also-rans? John Edwards toughed it out with John Kerry well into the primary season, possibly helping him secure the nod. (Being a southerner didn't hurt either)

Posted by AlexC at 5:13 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

After watching the Democratic debates, I cannot imagine a GOP ticket I would not support. Senator Clinton is a formidable candidate and I'm not sure she wants another big name on the ticket. I'm thinking of Little Richard firing Jimi Hendrix. The Clinonistas will want to own the message and the messenger.

Richardson is an FOB, but I don't see Obama or Edwards on the ticket. Better to grab an Evan Bayh or even a DLC type that can run more moderately in the general.

Do me a favor and watch the Kudlow-Giuliani interview. See if you cannot forgive him for a few differences.

Posted by: jk at August 17, 2007 5:27 PM

August 15, 2007

Who Said This?

We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.
*cringe*

Rudy!

Posted by AlexC at 2:09 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Yeah, Perry was beating me up about that around here last month. It is not my favorite quote, but I cannot disregard a candidate who is starting to excite me over a 14-yearold speech.

Posted by: jk at August 15, 2007 2:25 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Giuliani has never given any indication that he doesn't believe the proto-fascism of his speech, and I invite him to disavow what he said. Be careful about supporting someone who's talking right, because the person could, for all we know, be a Hillary "Say Anything" type. Believe not every spirit, but test each one to see if he's of liberty.

I can forgive statements and actions of the past if the person has sincerely changed. That makes all the difference. For example, Bob Barr voted for the Patriot Act when he represented Georgia in the House, being caught up in the post-9/11 hysteria. However, he later regretted his vote. Having met him a couple of times, I believe he's sincere.

I was a Marxist once upon a time.

Milton Friedman and withholding income taxes.

Bill Clinton and women.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at August 16, 2007 3:16 PM
But jk thinks:

Giuliani is an ex-prosecutor and a bit authoritarian for my liking, I don't expect him to refute or stand by every word he ever said. I'd accept an "I wished I had phrased that better" and expect I would get it.

As I defend him on this, I must confess I am deeply disturbed by his recent authoritarian push on immigration. Hello, Irony Department?

Posted by: jk at August 16, 2007 5:01 PM

Rudy!

Mayor Giuliani was in top form again on Kudlow & Company Monday night. Here is the segment on Health Care.

From the same interview:


Posted by John Kranz at 10:48 AM

August 13, 2007

Rudy!

Hizzoner will be interviewed on Kudlow & Co. tonight. I encourage everyone to watch. Giuliani gets the supply side thing and Kudlow is a great venue for him.

A good friend of this blog also sends along a link to a New Yorker piece on Giuliani in South Carolina. I am just a few pages in and the piece drips with venom for those back-ass-ward southern Republicans, but it looks good.

UPDATE: Whoa. I think I'd be safe calling that a hit piece. Enmity from a New Yorker writer could be a big asset to the campaign. Rudy Giuliani as "Mayberry Man," indeed.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:43 PM

August 10, 2007

Quote of the Day

"It's a waste of money" -- Rudy Giuliani, asked at a campaign event in Bettendorf, Iowa, why he wasn't taking part in Saturday's straw poll.
Now, that's fiscal conservatism. Stolen from OpinionJournal Political Diary.
Posted by John Kranz at 1:20 PM

August 8, 2007

"Jimmy P" on Democrat Campaign Economics

James Pethokoukis (Kudlow calls him "Jimmy P") watched the Democrats debate in front of organized labor the other night, and says Democratic Debate Spawns Weird Economics.

It is worth noting what a service to the world that US News and World Report provides by carrying Pethokoukis (and Michael Barone, of course). I always lumped it in with Time and Newsweek, but these are two thoughtful and talented writers.

Hat-tip: Instapundit

Posted by John Kranz at 5:46 PM

August 7, 2007

Racism and Sexism in Politics

Elizabeth Edwards thinks her poor, white husband just cannot catch a break:

"In some ways, [Web marketing is] the way we have to go," Edwards says. "We can't make John black, we can't make him a woman. Those things get you a lot of press, worth a certain amount of fundraising dollars. Now it's nice to get on the news, but not the be all and end all."

I don't know where to start, this is wrong on so many levels. So, I think I'll stop.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:52 AM | Comments (2)
But Terri thinks:

Since it seems to be the thing for the self repressed to do, maybe he could start a union.
"For the majority demographically stunted."
He could picket so that fundraising dollars/press could be more evenly distributed amongst him.

ROFL
Isn't he the doof who spoke with Hillary about disallowing also rans from being involved in the debates? Isn't at least one of them Hispanic? ROFL

Sorry - I had to try a level.

Posted by: Terri at August 7, 2007 1:50 PM
But jk thinks:

The only thing better would be if they had to shut down the campaign because of a frivolous lawsuit.

Posted by: jk at August 7, 2007 5:17 PM

August 1, 2007

Save the Debate

Everybody knows how much I love an online petition...

But I did sign, and encourage others to sign, Save the Debate, encouraging the candidates not to chicken out of a GOP You Tube debate.

<williamshatnervoice>Cupcake!</williamshatnervoice>

Hat-tip: Patrick Ruffini

Posted by John Kranz at 1:06 PM

July 29, 2007

Federalism's Comeback

When was the last presidential election where Federalism was even on the agenda?

I don't know either.

However, it seems to have been coming back this season.

First was Mitt Romney, whose term as Massachusetts' governor taught him some lessons on federal government's mandates.

Fred! has another opinion piece out discussing the topic at length and includes his experience in the Senate.

Federalism is not an 18th century notion. Or a 19th century notion. It retains its force as a basic principle in the 21st century, because when federalism is ignored, accountability, innovation, and public confidence in government at all levels suffer.

It is as true today as it ever was: the closer a government is to its people, the more responsive it is to the felt needs of its constituencies. Too often, however, state and local leaders have to answer to federal bureaucrats first and their constituents second. When the federal government mandates a program that states and localities are forced to implement, or when a federal grant program is created to fund a specific state or community need, it blurs the lines of accountability.

Who answers to the people if a program fails? The federal government will point to state authorities carrying out the program; the states will point to the federal government, which came up with the program in the first place. And in the end no one is more confused than the people the program is supposed to be serving, who can’t even say for sure who is responsible for what. This does not argue against all federal programs but it does require the recognition that there, indeed, are trade-offs.

Back in my days in the Senate, I found myself on the short end of a couple of 99 to 1 votes. They involved issues that had been under the purview of states for over 200 years. I asked why we should federalize what rightly were state and local issues.


Read it all...

It's also coming up as part of Fred!'s speeches on the "stump."

Addressing the American Legislative Exchange Council, Thompson didn't give the typical stump speech, The Morning Call's Brian Callaway reported. Instead, he told them exactly what they wanted to hear: states need more freedom to manage their own affairs. [and that's ok. -ed]

And he clearly didn't say anything too quotable: Neither Callaway nor Philly Inquirer reporter Larry Eichel used a full quote from Thompson in their stories.

Sound boring?

Some in the audience didn't think so. "I think he scored a lot of points," Roman Buhler, a conservative activist from Virginia, told Callaway after Thompson's speech.

Posted by AlexC at 12:01 PM

July 27, 2007

Edwards Drivel

John Edwards has officially lost his mind. This speech borders on conspiracy theory.

Also, I hate to trouble him with facts, but someone should tell Edwards that the top 25% of income earners pay 85% of all income taxes. Personally, I think I would classify that as more than their fair share. I wonder what he thinks they should pay. The populist nonsense rolls on...

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 4:32 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I make a lot less than $100 Million, and I hate listening to him too -- I must admit he's probably right about that part.

Posted by: jk at July 27, 2007 6:28 PM

July 24, 2007

The Dems Debate

David Weigel live-blogged the Democratic Party debate for reason. Here are some highlights:


7:10: Clinton abandons the word liberal, which "used to mean" you cared about the rights of the individual "back in the 19th and early 20th century." Hillary Clinton: Not A Hayekian! In case you were asking.

[...]

7:13: Chuck Hagel shoots his TV.

[...]

7:20: Dodd: Preparations for Katrina "should have been done ahead of time." Good thing you didn't vote to fold FEMA into the DHS, huh, Chris? I mean... uhm...

[...]

7:23: "I'm not running because I'm a woman." No, you're running because you're married to Bill Clinton.

7:24: "When I'm inaugurated it'll send a great message to little girls and boys around the world." That the U.S. is a two-family constitutional monarchy?

[...]

7:28: Kucinich and Dodd would let gays marry. They'll also legalize unicorns. Neither of them will win, everybody.

[...]

7:41: Joe Biden: "I'm so tired of this." The quote of the night. Also, has anyone not been to the Darfur refugee camp?

7:43: Good for Anderson Cooper, nailing down Hillary Clinton on whether she'd send troops to Darfur. She wouldn't, but it sounds like the reason is that they're in Iraq... and they're going to, *cough*, be there a while, probably.

[...]

7:50: I never feel so pessimistic about Iraq as when I hear Democrats talk about how they'll end it.

[...]

7:58: John Edwards, always handy with the chest-pounding answers to the questions no one asked.


There's more here.

More of the same from the Dems. Hillary thinks she's already won (she even said, "when I am inaugurated..."), Edwards keeps telling the same story to sell his points on several different issues, and Gravel is still pounding the podium to get us out of Vietnam.

Perhaps the greatest line was when Kucinich mentioned how no one was standing to the left of him and CNN's Anderson Cooper replied, "I don't think we could find anyone to the left of you."

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 3:09 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

As did VodkaPundit:

5:12pm I have to admit, Chris Dodd at least looks presidential. Unfortunately, he looks like the president of a midwestern Savings & Loan circa 1990.

Posted by: jk at July 24, 2007 5:26 PM

July 23, 2007

Bad JuJu

Fred Barnes expressed concern about two data:

1) Democrats Lead By $100 Million In Money Race (Paid link)

WASHINGTON -- With more than a year to go before the 2008 elections, Democratic candidates have raised $100 million more in campaign contributions than Republicans, putting them on track to win the money race for the White House and Congress for the first time since the government began detailed accounting of campaign fund raising three decades ago.

Democrats have taken the lead by exploiting widespread disapproval of President Bush and the Iraq war to develop a more robust online network of new, small donors, as well as to gain traction with deep-pocketed business contributors.


And, 2) Poll: 'None of the above' leads GOP field
More Republicans have become apathetic about their options over the past month.

A hefty 23 percent can't or won't say which candidate they would back, a jump from the 14 percent who took a pass in June.


Barnes put these two facts together and doesn't like the outcome. I saw Senator Even Bayh on FOX News Sunday and thought: there's the next Vice President of the United States. Wonder if there's an intrade contract for that.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:39 AM | Comments (1)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

You can always suggest new contracts, but it probably will be a while yet before there's enough interest to warrant Intrade putting up the contract.

I should be resuming my writing for them soon. Things have been a little busy and we're also hammering out some possible improvements for my newsletters.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 24, 2007 1:14 PM

Mitt!

Even if it is just rhetoric, you have to love the comments Mitt Romney recently made in New Hampshire:


"Hillary Clinton just gave a speech the other day about her view on the economy. She said we have been an on-your-own society. She said it's time to get rid of that and replace that with shared responsibility and we're-in-it-together society," Romney told the crowd. "That's out with Adam Smith and in with Karl Marx."

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 8:18 AM | Comments (6)
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Holey smokes! Of course, the Mormons are notorious for 'going it alone'. I learned a few lessons from them when I lived in Utah for 4 years. Look in my basement and ask how long I could go without critical services and then look in your own larder.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at July 23, 2007 9:21 AM
But jk thinks:

Should Mitt get the nomination, I will crawl over broken glass to get him elected, but I have to say that he really leaves me cold.

I enjoyed his remarks and I appreciate his tactic of fighting the Democrats in the primary. But. RomneyCare and his "hard line on illegal immigration" are in opposition to his claim of economic understanding.

Posted by: jk at July 23, 2007 10:56 AM
But Michael thinks:

I certainly wouldn't support him. I'm from Massachusetts, and his statements directly contradict what his administration did here with regard to health care. Read for yourself.

Posted by: Michael at July 23, 2007 1:11 PM
But jk thinks:

Michael. I appreciate the comment and the link.

I was complaining about RomneyCare because it is too much government intervention, not too little.

You say "Darn right we need to 'share responsibility' and be 'in it together.' If that's socialized medicine, why not?"

Because individualism has proven people like Ludwig von Mises and F A Hayek right by outperforming collectivism in innovation and efficiency. Governor Romney and Senator Clinton wish to inject more government direction into the system instead of less.

Your blog is well done, Michael though I disagree with every single post. We do enjoy different voices around here, please comment frequently.

Posted by: jk at July 23, 2007 2:53 PM
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

Hayek:


The peculiar character of the problem of a rational economic order is determined precisely by the fact that the knowledge of the circumstances of which we must make use never exists in concentrated or integrated form but solely as the dispersed bits of incomplete and frequently contradictory knowledge which all the separate individuals possess. The economic problem of society is thus not merely a problem of how to allocate "given" resources—if "given" is taken to mean given to a single mind which deliberately solves the problem set by these "data." It is rather a problem of how to secure the best use of resources known to any of the members of society, for ends whose relative importance only these individuals know. Or, to put it briefly, it is a problem of the utilization of knowledge which is not given to anyone in its totality.

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at July 24, 2007 10:51 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I mostly grew up in Utah. Though I never was Mormon, I'm as versed in the LDS Church's theology and history as any non-member, and probably more so than most of its members. And I can tell you that Romney is a disgrace to his church's tradition.

Mormonism doesn't say to not care for others in need, but it's about doing it as individuals and not relying on government. Look at its Relief Society and assistance programs; the latter is particularly admirable since it emphasizes frugality first. The Mormon faith has a strong tradition of individualism, almost libertarianism but not quite. They had no choice: far from being able to get anything from government (subsidies and other special favors were hardly unknown as the 19th century passed the halfway mark), Mormons typically were victimized by government as much as by individuals. Directly as a result of laws, indirectly when government wronged them by false jailings or refusing to do anything about their persecutors. There's controversy about the founder, Joseph Smith, sending his people to shut down a newspaper that was critical of him, but the Mormons as a whole had no government to depend on, save for whatever limited government they willingly formed among themselves, so they developed a very American spirit of rugged individualism.

So with Romney having proudly instituted the first step of socialized medicine in Massachusetts, I have to laugh bitterly *along with Mormon friends* at how he dishonors his faith's tradition. Sadly, he's not the only other Mormon who worships at the altar of big government. Utah politics has always been very conservative for the most part: not a lot of social programs, but a host of laws to enforce "morality," and government leaving everything else to individual people's discretion. However, the state has become more and more entrenched in big government conservatism, meaning it's delving into things that used to be decried as "liberal." But liberals are now so extreme that we don't bat an eye when conservatives propose their own huge (just not as huge) programs. Had Romney proposed his program in 1992, Newt Gingrich would have accused him of being a closeted Democrat.

These days there are various local governments in Utah who are selling bonds so that they can build fiberoptic lines to every house. While it will benefit many people, it's ultimately just the redistribution of wealth, because some will receive more benefit than what they paid in. In the late 1990s, voters were brainwashed enough to approve a small increase in the sales tax "for the arts," like the Utah Symphony. Why, so everyone could pay for the musical enjoyment of the few? When Salt Lake City intially launched its Olympics bid, businesses fretted, "What if it's a bust?" So, then-government Norman "Reverend Norm" Bangerter promised that the state government would cover any losses. With government's backing, anyone like me who opposed the Olympics was decried as opposing *business*. In fact, I was actually pro-commerce, not pro-business. Businesses want special favors from government, whether guarantees, subsidies, or targeted tax breaks. True commerce requires no such thing, leaving risk to the parties involved.

"When Salt Lake City initially launched..." See, we say such things as if a city or government is an entity unto itself. It doesn't take into account the individuals, or even just one individual, within the jurisdiction who wants no part, for whatever reason, of being taxed and seeing his money spent for the benefit of others.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 24, 2007 3:52 PM

July 21, 2007

Rudy! Caught on Tape!

Scandalous. Rudy Giuliani once said "bullshit" at a political rally.

The commentary from the left:

I thought it might tell us something about the reliability and temperament of this man who is asking us to make him our next Commander in Chief -- especially now that he's trying to win the support of GOP "values voters."

As a values voter, I can't say I'm really broken up by the occasional profanity. It's like salt n pepper for rhetoric, used sparingly, of course.

Examples:

VP Dick Cheney to Senator Lahey, "Fuck off!"

George Bush to Tony Blair: "See, the irony is what they need to do is get Syria to get Hezbollah to stop doing this shit, and it's over."

Tip to Ace, who writes...

Indeed, [Giuliani] does appear unhinged -- somehow the volcanic black anger burning inside of him like tumors of pure hatred is able to cause the video to suddenly jump-zoom on his face the moment he speaks The Forbidden Word of Ultimate Blasphemy. His very utterance of the word causes the video to zoom in frighteningly, almost as if someone had manipulated the tape for this effect.

For the love of God, the man is grinning when he says bullshit.

The new left. Not just pussies, but puritanical pussies to boot.

Posted by AlexC at 11:55 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

He said it, but he didn't exhale...

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2007 12:35 PM
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

This reminds me of Bob Krumm's recent comment:


"One difference I’ve noted between certain elements of America’s two political parties is that Republicans tend to criticize Democratic primary candidates as being “too liberal,” while Democrats criticize the GOP’s potential offerings as not being conservative enough.

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at July 21, 2007 2:49 PM
But jk thinks:

Grand Conspiracy Theory #127: they are trying to tie Giuliani, not to President George W. Bush, but to President Nixon.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2007 7:15 PM

July 19, 2007

Fred's Manliness

Michelle Cottle at TNR (free link) is worried about it:

But therein lies the irony. For, while the veteran actor certainly looks and sounds the part of the man's man in this race, there's precious little in either his personal or political history to suggest that he overflows with any of the attributes commonly associated with manliness, such as determination, perseverance, leadership ability, or garden-variety toughness. By his own account, Thompson is a not especially hard-charging guy who has largely meandered through life, stumbling from one bit of good fortune to the next with an occasional nudge from those close to him. It is, to some extent, part of his much- ballyhooed comfortable-in-his-own-skin charm. But it also raises questions about whether he has the gumption to gut out a presidential race when it inevitably becomes difficult, or mean, or plain old boring. In short, is Fred Thompson really enough of a man for this fight?

Unlike, say, Senator Edwards, or Senator Obama? Rep. Kucinich? I'm not in the Fred! Camp, but this seems like an unlikely avenue for attack.

Posted by John Kranz at 5:03 PM | Comments (5)
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

"Fred isn't manly enough." "Hillary is too manly." "Obama isn't black enough." "Edwards isn't poor."

Has the press run out of things to talk about already?

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at July 19, 2007 10:30 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Apparently. It's on national news that there was a 4.2 earthquake two miles east of Oakland.

I used to live in the Bay Area. A 4.2? Yawn.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 20, 2007 11:17 AM
But jk thinks:

Substantive coverage (lack thereof?) continues in the Washington Post:

Hillary Clinton's Tentative Dip Into New Neckline Territory

Posted by: jk at July 20, 2007 11:44 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Urrrghhh! Um,...(barf!) Dammit, jk! I was I just salivating over the beef post!

There goes my appetite for the rest of the day!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at July 21, 2007 11:55 AM
But jk thinks:

We have a public to inform at ThreeSources, Trek. I refuse to self-censor just because some images are disturbing.

Posted by: jk at July 21, 2007 12:45 PM

July 18, 2007

Rudy!

Calls for strict Constructionist judges and "Loser-pays" tort reform.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:41 PM

July 16, 2007

Bad Things Are Bad

The latest policy proposal from John Edwards is a winner (via The Onion):


In an effort to jump-start a presidential campaign that still has not broken into the top Democratic tier, former Sen. John Edwards made his most ambitious policy announcement yet at a campaign event in Iowa Monday: a promise to eliminate all unpleasant, disagreeable, or otherwise bad things from all aspects of American life by the end of his second year in office.

"Many bad things are not just bad—they're terrible," said a beaming Edwards, whose "Only the Good Things" proposal builds upon previous efforts to end poverty, outlaw startlingly loud noises, and offer tax breaks to those who smile frequently. "Other candidates have plans that would reduce some of the bad things, but I want all of them gone completely."

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 1:04 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

... wiping coffee off keyboard ...

Posted by: jk at July 16, 2007 3:03 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

He is smart,...S-M-R-T!

And to think,....Hillary wants to get rid of the also-rans to debate him???

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at July 16, 2007 11:25 PM

July 12, 2007

Rudy!

Perry Eidlebus questions my support for Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, and provides this link to a 1994 speech that contains this gem:

We look upon authority too often and focus over and over again, for 30 or 40 or 50 years, as if there is something wrong with authority. We see only the oppressive side of authority. Maybe it comes out of our history and our background. What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do.

Perry asks me how I "can vote for someone with this philosophy of liberty?"

I don't think I'd suggest that he put it on a bumper sticker, but I will not stop supporting Hizzoner over this. Reading the whole speech excerpt, I liked most of it. It's short, read it coast-to-coast. He says several good things. The NYTimes pulls this "authority" quote into the headline instead of "Giuliani says 'it's all about, ultimately, individual responsibility.'"

Giuliani was a prosecutor and a tough mayor. He's going to be more authoritarian than I, and if you dig up 13 year old speeches, I'm not going to agree with every word. For 2008, he "gets" the supply side better than anybody else, and his less than parsimonious life will probably keep him out of taking a role of moralist-in-chief.

Putting that speech in the context of his mayoral tenure is instructive too. NY 1994 was a city in decay and Giuliani brought back some rule of law. If the Koch-Dinkins years were your idea of a libertarian paradise, we really do have fundamental disagreements.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:37 PM | Comments (4)
But alec thinks:

Rudy Giuliani or Vampire Ghouliani?

Posted by: alec at July 13, 2007 10:42 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

The speech is illustrative of Giuliani's philosophy of freedom, or rather, his philosophy against it. "What we don't see is that freedom is not a concept in which people can do anything they want, be anything they can be. Freedom is about authority. Freedom is about the willingness of every single human being to cede to lawful authority a great deal of discretion about what you do." Such a statement is completely at odds with a philosophy that "ultimately" it's about personal freedom.

The fallacy of your argument is assuming that New York was libertarian prior to Giuliani's authoritarianism. Koch wasn't as bad as Dinkins, who oversaw a government operating much like Zimbabwe: socialist because it redistributed wealth, but it largely refused to enforce the rule of law.

Now, Giuliani "cleaned up" New York City, but at what cost? The NYPD gaining confidence that it can frisk, beat and entrap anyone when they think they can get away with it? That's trading socialist near-anarchy for tyranny. The answer is to let me have my own weapons, and I'll take care of myself.

"You have free speech so I can be heard." Could you seriously support someone who even thinks that?

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 13, 2007 3:19 PM
But jk thinks:

My support for Hizzoner is predicated on his tough stance against Islamist terrorism, his supply side economics, and this pragmatist’s belief that he is an appealing candidate who can get elected in what everyone agrees will be a tough year for the GOP.

A 13 year old speech is not going to dissuade me (nor vampire photoshops). If you really want to sour me on Rudy, link to his anti-gun stuff; that worries me quite a bit.

I have read posts on your blog which are critical of the NYPD. You're the New Yorker, would you really say that the police are worse after Giuliani? And if so, that it is not to a good trade for a little order? Flyover guy would think the NYPD to have some endemic structural problems as a public union-political machine organization with a somewhat constant level of corruption and problems. And that the strides the city made in order and livability would be worth an increase.

Posted by: jk at July 13, 2007 4:42 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Technically I'm not a "New Yorker" since I don't live in the city, even though I work and often play in Manhattan. I didn't live here before Giuliani's terms as mayor, but it went from a city plagued by criminals to a city plagued by the NYPD.

Again, you're going by "the lesser of two evils." The compromise didn't get rid of the criminals. It merely sent them underground, often into cooperation with corrupt cops. The solution was *not* to empower to the NYPD, but to repeal the gun control laws that forced people to rely on government for defense. I guarantee you that if Bernie Getz had been given a tickertape parade instead of six months in jail, the city would have had an immediate "Death Wish"-type plunge in violent crime.

Once I was taking the subway back from not the best part of Brooklyn. I'd have used a car service back, except that car services (let alone taxis) don't like going to that part of town, if you understand my meaning. Call me racist, but I couldn't see a single other light-skinned person, and what's more, I was an Asian-looking guy in a suit. The Rodney King riots showed us that lots of American blacks hate Asians, especially prosperous ones. At the above-ground subway stop, I stood in a tough position, watching everyone near, ready to do whatever it took to defend myself. Now, I'd have felt much better if I had been packingh. Actually, scratch that: even had I not been, the mere possibility that I could outgun a would-be attacker would dissuade him.

You have no idea the filth that Paul and his pals left on my blog, which I was deleting constantly for a few days. For the first time ever, I had to turn on comment moderation. Are they typical of the NYPD? Sadly, yes. They're self-righteous pigs who hide behind the blue wall of silence, who'll get indignant when you merely question them, who'll frisk and plant drugs on people they don't like, who'll blow a guy away with 50 bullets just because a fellow cop suddenly got trigger-happy, who'll burst into the wrong apartment and handcuff elderly people. My uncle is representing an elderly couple who speak little English, who were practically beaten after the NYPD broke down their door in a botched operation against a prostitution ring. The last I heard, my uncle couldn't even get the names of the officers involved. The NYPD merely ignored the court subpoena, and he could do nothing about it.

The age of the speech doesn't matter. What matters is that Rudy has not changed since then. Whether guns or freedom in general, do you really want a president who doesn't believe in the principles of freedom behind the Constitution he'll swear an oath to protect? His views are still so shockingly authoritarian that when the former president of the libertarian Foundation for Economic Education invited Giuliani to speak at an annual dinner (for a $30K honorarium), most of the attendees pulled out, and the trustees demanded the president's resignation.

Rudy isn't the only who will be tough on Islamofascism. Remember when Obi-wan told Yoda, "That boy was our last hope"? Yoda said, "No...there is another."

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 17, 2007 3:17 PM

Quote of the Day

Lance, at A Second Hand Conjecture, gives a good pitch for Fred!

He is of course most attractive to me because he has a hot wife with large breasts. That is important because it seems to set off all kinds of disagreeable and hypocritical types on the left. Most satisfying.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:33 PM

McCain Sings

Sen. John McCain's campaign is faltering. Perhaps he could use another SNL appearance:

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:50 AM

July 10, 2007

Not Libertarian Enough

Extreme Mortman lists ten reasons Ron Paul is not libertarian enough:


10. Ron Paul’s passport was issued by the U.S. government.

9. When the National Hurricane Center suggests Ron Paul take shelter, he does.

8. Ron Paul’s campaign bus has a license plate. It also uses the Interstate highway system, which has no toll booths.

7. Ron Paul’s name has too many letters.

6. Ron Paul accepts that Pluto is no longer a planet, but still says the other eight are.

5. A tie: Ron Paul’s TV picks up UHF channels.

AND

Ron Paul shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die. Oh wait, that’s Johnny Cash.

4. Ron Paul has yet to call either Nancy Pelosi or Abraham Lincoln a “statist.”

3. When the U.S. Postal Service raises the price of a stamp, Ron Paul goes along.

2. Ron Paul’s Social Security Number is not of his choosing.

1. Ron Paul’s water is fluoridated.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 3:46 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Brian Dougherty says that at a Libertarian gathering, the implicit contest is to say something that is so extreme that people leave.

The last one in the room is the real Libertarian.

Posted by: jk at July 10, 2007 5:54 PM

July 8, 2007

Ron Paul on This Week

Ron Paul was on This Week with George Stephopoulos this morning. The interview consists of the normal Paul talking points, but I was a little surprised at the lack of professionalism shown to Rep. Paul. Consider this exchange:


George Stephanopoulos: "What's success for you in this campaign?"
Ron Paul: "To win."
GS: "That's not gonna happen."
RP: "Are you willing to bet every cent in your pocket?"
GS: "Yes."

I think that we can all agree that Ron Paul will not get the Republican nomination, but I thought that this was a rude way to talk to a guest.

Here is the video:

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 4:45 PM | Comments (2)
But makbydesign thinks:

I always assumed that news reporters reported the news (past events of significance). I assumed that news commentators commented on the news (past events of significance). But, it seems that George can actually fortell the news. So, I have spent my morning e-mailing him, asking him hundreds of "news" questions, e.g. "Who will be the next president?" "When will the war end?" etc. I encourage anyone with a question about the future to e-mail ABC news.

Posted by: makbydesign at July 9, 2007 9:33 AM
But jk thinks:

That is completely out of line. I'm not supporting Rep Paul's Presidential bid. But he is bringing serious ideas to the table. He has won Congressional elections and deserves to be taken seriously.

Posted by: jk at July 9, 2007 11:00 AM

July 2, 2007

McCain: Stick a Fork In Him

He's done.

$2 million cash on hand.

$13 million spent for the quarter. (!!!) UPDATE: Actually, it's $14.4M.

They are considering taking public money.

Friends, this campaign is officially over. There is no way we are going to nominate someone who has to take public funding to take on Hillary Clinton or Barack Obama ($90M COH between them).


Maybe McCain skipped Pa's GOP meeting because he's trying to conserve money?


Also:

Senators Barack Obama, D-IL, and Hillary Clinton, D-NY, today turned presidential campaigning on its head when they announced that the combined $52 million in primary campaign cash they raised in the second quarter would be redistributed to less fortunate candidates like Delaware Sen. Joe Biden, Alaska Sen. Mike Gravel, and Ohio Rep. Dennis Kucinich.

In a joint news release, Senators Obama and Clinton said, “The fundamental principles of the Democrat party say that the rich and powerful have an obligation to help the poor and downtrodden.”


Senator Silky Pony is upset.

Posted by AlexC at 4:42 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

I actually feel sorry for the Senator. I didn't know that was possible. He is a great American. A true war hero. Stalwart on the war. Eloquent defender of freedom.

Not that I was gonna send him any money...

Posted by: jk at July 2, 2007 4:52 PM

Rudy!

I hope everybody was home all weekend reading the Wall Street Journal online content. In the rare event somebody missed it, they had an interview with Mayor Giuliani and posted both the transcript and a summary article by Brian Carney. I'd suggest reading at least the summation. I still find much to like about Hizzoner.

Mr. Giuliani is often referred to as a "moderate" Republican, which is true if it means simply that he doesn't follow the party line on certain issues, such as abortion. But there is very little else about him that qualifies for the label. "I am," he told us, "by all objective measures the most fiscally conservative candidate in the race." On domestic policy, he says he wants to shrink the government's share of the economy and increase the private sector's. Tax rates "should be lower" and our health-care system ought to be "move[d] away from the paternalistic model" that we have now.

I wish he would release his Kudlow interview as a campaign commercial -- it was loaded with principled, fundamental understanding and description of the role of the free market. Stephen Moore, who followed him as a guest/analyst, and I were a little verklempt in the gunuchtazoink. He not only appreciates free market principles -- he can articulate them. We have seen weakness on both sides in the Bush Administration.

On the War, he also understands and articulates: “I think the American people in November 2008 are going to select the person they think is strongest to defend America against Islamic terrorism. And it is not going to focus on--as some of the media wants it--just Iraq. I think Americans are smarter than that."

These, then, are the talking points. But in order to discover whether there was more to his national-security credentials than merely being "America's mayor" on 9/11, we pressed him on how a President Giuliani would handle a current foreign-policy crisis such as Iran. His answer revealed a discursive style that was on display throughout the meeting, and which can only be demonstrated by quoting from his reply at some length.
He started by explaining how he understands the problem, before getting around to how it ought to be handled: "Well, I think that if we've learned any lessons from the history of the 20th century, one of the lessons we should learn is [to] stop trying to psychoanalyze people and take them at their word.

"If we had taken Hitler at his word, Stalin at his word, I think we would have made much sounder decisions and saved a lot more lives. I don't know why we have to think that [Iranian President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad doesn't mean what he says. Therefore, the more cautious, prudent way to react to it is, he means what he says.


I remain impressed with this guy. I think that he has political strength because he is clearly not "four more years of W." His Northeastern lineage and his moderate social positions will differentiate him and attract new Republican voters.

He has the visceral response to terrorism that will prosecute the war and the rhetorical skills to lead the American people through the hard work. His New Yawk background gives him an understanding of the importance of the capital markets. I wish he were stronger on the Second Amendment, but I'll take the whole package. I had much deeper reservations about Governor Bush in 2000.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:32 AM

June 30, 2007

Freedom is Popular

I know that Ron Paul isn't very popular around these parts, but this speech about freedom and liberty is stellar.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 11:53 AM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I think Rep Ron Paul is very popular around these parts. I've been critical of his isolationism and think JohnGalt has joined me. This was a good speech but I find a few things worrisome:

1) Did I say "isolationism?" He asserts that we can lead the way just by following our principles and that others will see our wealth and freedom and emulate us. Did that trick ever work, Bullwinkle? The Cold war? Cuba? the Taliban? It is naive to think that the world will follow our example and dangerous to think that we do not need a vigorous defense. Like Mayor Giuliani, I think defense today requires a lot more offense.

2) I love the founders and consider myself a late-blooming history buff. I do not agree that we need only "ask the founders" for the solutions to current problems. I think the founders gave us the greatest gifts but I think that we have to apply the documents they gave us to the 21st Century.

This may be a quibble and, yes, I wish our legislators looked more toward The Federalist Papers and less toward MoDo. But I cite it as an example of oversimplistic reason to assert that the founders had us covered.

3) Freedom is very popular, Rep Paul. Popular with 9% of the electorate as I understand. In 1988, Paul, with no less zeal for liberty, attracted 432,179 popular votes (0.47%).

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2007 12:31 PM
But AlexC thinks:

I'm with JK.

Ron Paul makes a great trouble making Congressman. Where "Dr. No" is a fine appelation.

It's just that he's not suited toward the Executive Branch.... and isolationism is the biggest nail. "In a post 9/11 world..." etc. etc. etc.

Posted by: AlexC at June 30, 2007 1:35 PM
But Harrison Bergeron thinks:

jk,

I must quarrel with point number 2.

To claim that "we have to apply the documents they gave us to the 21st Century" is akin to what Robert Higgs calls the Modernization Hypothesis. According to this hypothesis, the expansion of government has arisen from the belief that the scope government must change in response to the increasing complexities of modern society. Both the proposition that world has become more complex and the assumption that only government can solve this increasing complexity can be called into question. Arguments for modernization will only lead to bigger government.

The beauty of the Constitution is that it limits the power of the federal government, separates powers, and most importantly is able to be amended.

Unfortunately, the federal government has reached beyond the scope outlined in the Constitution and much of this can be explained by this push for modernization and "interpreting" the Constitution. Anti-trust, health care regulation, and the federal minimum wage are prime examples of attempts to deal with modernization through federal policy not described in the document.

If the documents truly need to be adopted to the 21st century, then steps should be taken to amend the Constitution, not re-interpret it.

Posted by: Harrison Bergeron at June 30, 2007 1:52 PM
But jk thinks:

I may have to cut and run, here. On another listening, I can hear your interpretation of his remarks (1:30 - 1:00 before the end) and agree that was what he was saying. I heard something that is not in there and would withdraw point two.

I'll eat a bit of crow on my hasty comment but still think I'm batting .667..

Posted by: jk at June 30, 2007 8:37 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I still haven't gotten around to watching the video, but I will after I get back next week from vacation.

Today, I will say this as a general argument: Ron Paul's "isolationism" is typically mischaracterized. Ron Paul is a disciple of Bastiat, as I am, in believing that free commerce and non-interventionist foreign policies are the way for nations to prosper and exist peacefully alongside each other.

Ron Paul is not saying that if you're attacked, don't fight back. Likewise, he has never said that non-interventionism is a guarantee you'll never be attacked. He has never denied that bad guys sometimes attack you even though you never did them any harm. But if we leave others alone and set an example, it just might set off light bulbs elsewhere. At the very least, it won't provoke others who would have otherwise not become jihadis were it not for guys in camouflage uniforms bearing American flags on their shoulders. To rescu

Our Founders had much wisdom, and the Constitution was meant to be mostly inflexible for our own good. It could be amended, but only with great difficulty. Jefferson had written 11 years earlier that, "Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes." But for the most part, it had no need to be. It set up a very limited federal government, just enough to get things done between the states, and it left everything else up to the states and the people. After all, people can do things more "flexibly" within their own states if they decide, without dragging others down with them. Right, Robert Byrd?

The principles the Founders stood for still apply today. How much less strife would we have if we heeded Washington's admonition to avoid "the spirit of party," and to stay out of permanent alliances? How much less "blowback" if we heeded Jefferson's similar advice about trade? "Peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none." Well, since "blowback" is by definition that which comes back to you, we wouldn't have had any. Yes, we'd still be fighting jihadists, but we wouldn't have had all those Marines die in Beirut because we sent them where they didn't belong. We wouldn't be helping the jihadists recruit the next generation by giving them excuses.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at July 3, 2007 1:27 PM

June 29, 2007

Debate Expectations

I guess the Democrat Presidential candidates debated yesterday...

Above Average Jane makes an interesting observation.

Did I miss it or were the importance of strong families, encouraging small business ownership, lower interest student loans for college, more mentoring programs, and an emphasis on strengthening father / child bonds not mentioned? I did hear talk of quality affordable child care and good schools. These are good things.

In a Democrat primary debate? Is that the right forum to express these ideas?

Read the whole post.

Posted by AlexC at 11:32 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

You get the Mortman Award for that headline, brother ac!

Posted by: jk at June 29, 2007 1:30 PM
But AlexC thinks:

LOL... i wanted to say "a new novel by Charles Dickens" but I resisted.

Posted by: AlexC at June 29, 2007 2:53 PM

June 28, 2007

Meet John Cox

Chicago millionaire John Cox is running for president as a Republican. He has largely been ignored by the mainstream media -- until now. Matt Labash writes:


When you have a name like John Cox--a plain vanilla name, an achromatic name, a name that people with more distinctive names would choose if they'd committed a heinous crime and needed to start afresh on the lam--it's easy to feel like everyman and no man. Switchboard.com, the online directory, says that there are 1,979 John Coxes throughout the land. But there is only one John H. Cox. Actually, there are 66 of them. But there's only one who is running to be president of the United States of America.

That John Cox, the Chicago millionaire who was the first declared Republican candidate (as of March 2006), called our offices a few weeks ago. He sounded vexed. He sounded desperate. He sounded like a man who was tired of screaming into the void. He needed something that any self-assured, self-contained, well-adjusted person who enters the political arena needs: He needed the validation of people he'd never met.

A good Reaganite conservative, Cox has tried to be self-sufficient, financing his campaign thus far to the tune of $800,000. After 20 trips, he's been to all 99 counties in Iowa. He's been to New Hampshire 14 times, and South Carolina, 10. He's won a Republican straw poll outright in Aiken County, South Carolina, and finished fifth in total votes among all Republican contenders when three other counties were totaled. And yet, he's lucky if he ever gets mentioned in mainstream media candidate roundups. Meanwhile, doing interviews with the Small Government Times just isn't putting him over the top.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 10:22 AM | Comments (4)
But jk thinks:

I had read that in the Weekly Standard (not sure that counts as MSM).

Methinks Mr. Cox underestimates the importance of party apparatus. The article says "In the red flag department, he has run unsuccessfully for office in Illinois three times: in a congressional, senatorial, and Cook County recorder of deeds race." AT least Bloomberg is Mayor of New York.

He may be a good guy and principled player. The Presidency is not an entry level office.

Posted by: jk at June 28, 2007 2:06 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I'd rather take a political newbie who's principled and courageous in the Constitution than a seasoned player who considers the Constitution "a goddamned piece of paper." (Look up who said that.)

For instance, I guarantee that I and one of my friends could make far better SCOTUS justices, rendering decisions based on the real Constitution, than Breyer, Stevens, Souter, Ginsburg and the sometimes Anthony Kennedy (who ruled the right way today).

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 28, 2007 5:28 PM
But Michael thinks:

Sorry, this guy is a joke. He's a millionaire who likes to be seen and heard, but doesn't have the caliber or the common sense to be president. The article you quote exposes how he was thrown out of the "spin room" of the Reagan Library debate because he was impersonating a reporter to get in.

I've heard him speak and he's a good cure for insomnia. His ideas are just plain nutty.

Crank. Crank. Crank.

Posted by: Michael at June 29, 2007 1:57 PM
But James thinks:

Word is that Cox has raised only $13,000 or so during the last 17 months of his endless campaign. This is not a serious candidate.

Posted by: James at July 6, 2007 8:29 PM

Fighting Back

A stunningly lame attack by the Democrats and the AP on Fred!'s lobbying jobs has resulted in some return fire from Fred!

... and then he punched a dirty hippie for good measure.

I love it. It's totally red-meat, but it's nice to hear that kind of talk from a politician not a talking head.

Well, I sort of take that back.

There's this too.

Congressional Republicans changing "Shame Shame Shame" in response to a Democrat switcheroo.

Posted by AlexC at 1:04 AM

June 26, 2007

Socialized Health Care

Fred! looks at Canadian and British national health systems.

and pronounces them a mess.

Think about it. This is what we're supposed to copy? The poorest Americans are getting far better service than that. And there's nothing about Americans that would make us any better able to run a government health care bureaucracy than the Canadians or the British. In fact, we've got less practice at that sort of thing than they do -- and we might be a lot worse at it.

A downside of an early candidacy annoucement is that we'll replace these great radio chunks for stump speeches, which are by definition rather boring and repetitive.

Unless he keeps them frank and fresh.

Posted by AlexC at 7:01 PM

June 25, 2007

FredOn

I imagine by the hundreth time this would be obnoxious.

But not yet.

Posted by AlexC at 12:39 PM | Comments (7)
But AlexC thinks:

Pshaw! All that Fox watching you do, and you act like you haven't seen the original?!

Posted by: AlexC at June 25, 2007 2:35 PM
But jk thinks:

No, you got me there -- I have not seen the original. I thought all FOX ads were for "Restless Leg Syndrome." (I'm a TiVo power-watcher with "Restless Thumb Syndrome.")

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2007 2:41 PM
But johngalt thinks:

"Punch the hippies." :)

Posted by: johngalt at June 25, 2007 3:11 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Understand that the joke is now lost, but here's the original.

Head On

Posted by: AlexC at June 25, 2007 5:31 PM
But jk thinks:

Got it. You can imagine my not diggibng it right away.

Posted by: jk at June 25, 2007 5:52 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

That will eventually make its way to my blog!

Awesome!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at June 25, 2007 9:13 PM

June 22, 2007

Rudy Can't Predict the Future

The ability to predict the future is virtually impossible. We all like to try and we love to think that it is possible, but in reality we are mostly kidding ourselves. The media is especially good at predicting events -- after they happen, of course. Why didn't we see 9/11 coming? Why were the red flags of the Virginia Tech gunman ignored? Quite frankly, it boils down to our complete and utter inability to predict.

Nevertheless, Rick Moran believes that Rudy's inability to predict the future may hurt him in the election:


Herein lies the trap for Giuliani as he seeks to use his well-deserved reputation for leadership gained on 9/11 as a springboard to the presidency. Questions that were arguably glossed over by the 9/11 Commission, about the communications snafus that led to so many firefighters losing their lives, as well as a perceived lack of compassion for workers cleaning up Ground Zero will dog his campaign and actually be used against him by his opponents.

I have heard the discussion of the communication problems before. But perhaps it is my recognition of the fact that we can predict neither the events nor the ability of our infrastructure to hold up in an unlikely, yet catastrophic event that allows me to gloss over these "snafus."

So called "snafus" are not discovered when firefighters are waiting for a call, but rather when they are called into action. The inability to properly handle a catastrophic event properly given one's infrastructure cannot be discovered without a catastrophe.

Full Disclosure: Unlike jk, I am not in the Rudy camp.

Posted by Harrison Bergeron at 9:32 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Give him time to work his baldheaded magic on you, hb.

Politicians and company leaders are warned about something drastic two or three times a day. I'd guess the number for the Mayor of NYC is more like 100.

Part of their job is to filter out the noise and choose where to allocate scarce resources. The trick of producing an email or report that predicted 9/11 as a "smoking gun" is specious.

Posted by: jk at June 22, 2007 10:44 AM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

War and terrorist attacks are unpredictable, and as much as I dislike Giuliani for his fascist views of freedom versus government, he and his staff did the best they could, and extremely well.

"No one could anticipate." That still includes airplanes flying into the WTC, which the CIA had said was a possibility, but no one on our side seriously envisioned that would ever happen.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 22, 2007 2:49 PM

June 15, 2007

One-eyed Democrat

Because he has actually cut taxes in his life, NM Gov Bill Richardson is held out to be the "reasonable" Democrat. People really want to believe -- it's like a unicorn.ReviewJournal.com reports:

Richardson called for universal preschool and full-day kindergarten; more civics, language and arts instruction in schools; a $40,000 minimum wage for teachers; and a reform of the No Child Left Behind legislation. He said he would propose a "universal scholarship" to help every student attend college or vocational school.

Free Root Beer, Bill! Everybody loves free root beer!

Hat-tip Insty who linked to a TNR post because "an audience member had to remind [Ambassador] Richardson that France is a member of the U.N. Security Council."

Posted by John Kranz at 11:28 AM

June 11, 2007

The Fred! Bubble

When I start agreeing with George Will, it's clearly time to rethink my position.

Wait a minute, I love George Will. He writes well. He ties history into politics. He understands baseball. But you must admit that he is the picture of conservative conventional wisdom. When I broke with Peggy Noonan, one of the things that angered me was that she was somehow tuning into George Will, choosing to take a brave stand at an inopportune moment and poison the cause she champions.

Blog friend EverydayEconomist sends a link to a George Will column on Fred! There is much I agree with.

Some say he is the Republicans' Rorschach test: They all see in him what they crave. Or he might be the Republicans' dot-com bubble, the result of restless political investors seeking value that the untutored eye might not discern and that might be difficult to quantify but which the investors are sure must be there, somewhere, somehow.

I've said roughly the same thing, but Will knows how to spell "Rorschach."

The main point, that the Thompson Boom is just a bubble, is unproven. Will and I concede that there might be some genius in staying out of an early campaign season. That question remains unanswered, as does "why does every batter take on 3-0?" Actually, Will might know that one.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:40 AM | Comments (1)
But johngalt thinks:

Fred Thompson is probably a KGB plant to siphon GOP support from one of the leading candidates (who could actually make America stronger) and dupe them into electing a dimwitted yokel as our president.

Kidding! Personally, I'm waiting to see the Rudy! Mitt! Fred! debate(s). (And Fred is waiting so he doesn't have to share a stage with the GOP Lilliputians.) Those will test the meddle of all three of them.

Posted by: johngalt at June 11, 2007 2:54 PM

June 9, 2007

The Case Against Rep Ron Paul

Perry Eidlebus of Eidelblog directs me to a post suggesting that Mayor Giuliani’s famous takedown of Rep Ron Paul in the first GOP debate was not intellectually serious: Blogger Karol says "This is what Democrats do to end debate. They appeal to emotions and don't offer concrete rebuttals to arguments." Don Luskin also defended Paul's comments.

Leaving aside the correctness or lack thereof of Hizzoner's attack, I offer a much longer (much) version of my equally dismissive comment that "now is no time for an isolationist." "Why not, jk?" I'm glad you asked...

Professor Deepak Lal in his superb book Reviving the Invisible Hand, talks about LIEOs or Liberal International Economic Orders. He shows that human existence trudges along for millennia with abundance in the good years and famine in the bad without any consistent progress or what I would call wealth creation. Then when Pope Urban, or powerful Italian mercantilists get enough power to enforce contracts on a larger region, Adam Smith's principles kick in and people make lasting progress.

The major LIEOs he presents are what you might call "Pax Britannia" from Peale's repeal of the Corn Laws through the First World War, then "Pax Americana" from the end of WWII to the present. Nineteenth Century British naval power "policed the world" and enabled intercontinental trade which raised the living standards of much of the world. Innovations of that period are the foundation for much of today's prosperity. Likewise, American military might enabled the boom most recently in telecommunications and technology.

Between those two prosperous periods, we had worldwide recession, the US Great Depression and two world wars. At the risk of some oversimplification, that is what the world looks like when no one can or will defend the ideals of economic liberalism.

People tell me I "worship the market." I reply that I worship modernity, innovation and prosperity and that the free market has proven to be the best path [cue Kudlow & Company theme music...] The fact is that the growth of prosperity and innovation that I seek will not happen in an isolationist America that closes up its borders and lets the rest of the world prove the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Until a free and prosperous India is prepared to rule the world and keep the forces of darkness and anti-modernity at bay, we will have to do it or be much poorer, I don't want to be poorer.

UPDATE: As jg's comment details, I misattributed the quote in the original post, since corrected. ThreeSources regrets the air. (Do scroll down and read Perry's response.)

Posted by John Kranz at 10:41 AM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

The "Democrats end debate" quote you used came from the blogger "Karol." Perry's main thrust (in a comment to the original post) was that even morally justified military action in the mideast gives the mullahs something to point at to incite islamist passions. "Be careful what you do, lest you give someone an excuse," he writes.

I'm with JK here, because it is impossible to conduct commerce outside America's borders without a willingness to forcefully enforce man's natural property rights outside those borders as well. It has been this way since President Jefferson sent the marines to pacify the Barbary pirates.

But even if they could, those pirates would not have been interested in the mass murder of Americans on the other side of the earth. Their purposes were material, not ideological as are the Islamists'. Our "infidels in the land of Allah" are not exclusively our soldiers, but our businessmen, oil field workers and their families, music, movies, fashion, educated women. To get all of these things out of the land of Allah requires that they be wiped from the face of the earth, for the youth of Allah find them as alluring as do the youth of the west.

This, representative Paul, is why 9/11 happened.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2007 2:36 AM
But Karol thinks:

I agree that Ron Paul-type isolationism is impossible. The point in my post was that Rudy can't silence criticism of American foreign policy with a "I was there on 9/11." We need a more reasoned response to the isolationists and he didn't provide one.

Posted by: Karol at June 10, 2007 3:27 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

No one has still addressed my question of why we still have a military presence in Saudi Arabia.

jk, I got to meet Lal earlier this year and hear him speak about his book. He was nice enough to autograph my two copies, but I found him a little aloof in person. Still, those 90 minutes were as much a history of capitalism as you could get in any course on free market/Austrian/libertarian thought. Now, please don't take offense here, but it's a far cry from the implications of what you said about economic benefits stemming from the military -- a leap I personally cannot make.

As you know, I'm a Bastiat disciple and support peaceful trade over war, when possible. So what bothers me is that you mentioned the British navy having "enabled intercontinental trade," but more so that the American military has sparked today's communications technology. That's too much worship of government's power for my taste, because it presupposes people would not have been as entrepreneurial were it not for government's stimuli. Again, don't take offense, but it sounds...Krugmanesque. The very principle behind Hayekian free markets is that government *never* has sufficient knowledge to propel advancements with the same efficiency or magnitude as private individuals acting on their own.

Thus I will support the idea that the British navy encouraged people to trade, but only to the extent that people can take greater entrepreneurial risks when government acts in its legitimate role, that of protecting them from force. It is, though, not a cry for the necessity of government, but for the necessity of entrepreneurs having some sort of confidence that they can ultimately enjoy the fruits of their labor. If bandits demand 10% to leave you alone, there is no difference between that and spending 10% of your income to hire police and a military to protect you. (I wrote about Chiquita's situation on my blog, which you can find with the search feature at the top.) Does it embolden bandits when you readily pay them off? Sure, just like it emboldens politicians when you re-elect them after they hike taxes.

Regarding American communications technology, remember that, at the very most, government spending facilitates only a perfect shift in markets. In reality, as the Austrian school of economics teaches, government's information is incomplete compared to the whole of society, so government's intervention introduces errors and thereby makes market processes less efficient than were the markets left to work on their own. In an alternate universe, transistor and microchip technology may have well emerged sooner and advanced faster were there no government demand: if our military hadn't given so much money to vacuum tube producers, someone might have leaped ahead, instead of merely creating better vacuum tubes. Today, with government skewing energy markets by subsidizing everything under the sun, there's far more incentive to produce corn-derived ethanol than an energy source that's truly viable. We can directly see how government production dampens production, but we cannot see its worse effect: it aborts the fetus of creative thought that leads to entrepreneurship.

On to the Muslim thing. jg, do not confuse Ron Paul's Constitutional isolationism with a Pat Buchanan ostrich isolationism. Paul has *never* said we shouldn't do anything internationally. His "isolationism" is based on the belief that we can trade peacefully with everyone, but we shouldn't entangle ourselves in alliances, nor should we meddle in other countries' affairs that don't concern us -- what George Washington advised us in his farewell address -- and in no way has he ever implied that we cannot defend Americans and American interests abroad. Just ask yourself this: are the interests really that of American individuals, or that of the American government meddling in someone's affairs?

I do personally feel Paul was a little short-sighted in ignoring Islam's total history of 1400 years. However, more than the last 50 years is beyond the scope his argument, which is simply that we cannot deny blowback. It was completely dishonest for Giuliani to put words in Paul's mouth, and Paul should have pinned him right then and there for it. I agree with Paul on principle, although I disagree with him specifically about the Iraq war. I still believe the war was justified, and that someday (as the Iraqi general wrote in his book) we'll prove that Saddam shipped a lot of his weapons and equipment to Syria. Not that the "international community" will listen... But most everyone forgets our most important reason: Saddam directly ordered the kidnapping of American citizens in 1990, and he had to pay for it. You get nothing but trouble if you let someone get away with seizing your citizens, hence Jefferson sending out our navy and Marines. Had we taken a stronger stance with Iran in 1979, it probably wouldn't have been so emboldened as to support international terrorism the way it has.

Personally, I feel we're losing in Iraq because we lack the will to achieve a true victory. We're fighting for a stalemate, the terrorists and insurgents know that, and they know they can eventually wear us down. We're so concerned about "collateral damage" and not destroying infrastructure that we're not killing enough of the enemy. The enemy places no such "gentleman warfare" restrictions on itself. We're not playing "last man standing" as we should be, but the enemy is. If we retreat or we all die, they win either way. We don't have to kill them all, but we have to destroy their will to fight on. It will be impossible, though, while we talk about a *permanent* military presence in Iraq and make other public admissions just as bad as mullah's biggest lies. The situation will keep feeding on itself, creating new recruits who want to blow up infidel American soldiers and maybe someday fly planes into more our buildings. It will stop when we crack down on the mullahs and their propaganda, instead of negotiating with al-Sadr types for the sake of "including everybody." There's nothing wrong with making a martyr out of someone, if you let his followers make martyrs out of themselves too. Crush them, and let the

Just for once, I'd like a brutal war where we'd fight with every neural synapse of resolve. Oh, it'll be bloody, and many of our parents will weep at the coffins coming home, but an actual war where we fight to WIN will be so horrible that people will think twice about sending our military anywhere. We're just so used to a sanitized war where we kill only bad guys and leave buildings intact, which is doomed to fail to crush the enemy. War should be so awful that voters and politicians will think of it as a definite last resort, and people will do everything possible to avoid it. Remember that Paul has said if we're so hell-bent (my term) on invading Iraq, then let's do it right and declare formal war. It will also leave no room for Kerry, Clinton and other hypocrites to wiggle.

Question for you, jg: you don't think that the Muslims who want to *conquer* the West are not also, to a lesser extent but still an extent, driven by the desire to acquire material things and people? Religion, yes, but wouldn't it be nice if they had the entire West as slave populations with tremendous natural resources? The ones carrying "Islam will dominate the world" signs, and their first forebearers in the seventh century AD, certainly preferred to convert (at the point of a sword, yes, but still convert) before resorting killing.

Now, Mohammed El Jihadist wanted to subjugate the whole world, but the West still enjoyed much trade for *centuries* with the peaceful segments of Muslim peoples. Do not forget that Muslims were among the greatest traders and explorers of their time. I have long since pointed out that the trade of goods and services inevitably leads to the trade of ideas, which is the greatest threat to traditional Muslim theocracy. But while a mullah or sheik can get a little reaction to Western "infidel" traders and their introduction of "immorality" into Allah's society, nothing riles up a crowd like pointing to guys wearing American flags on their uniforms' shoulders, carrying automatic guns. Will a Muslim view Americans marching around his city as trying to keep the peace, as helping the other religious faction, or as desecrating holy places? If you're an uneducated teenager, you can believe anything. Not to say the accusations are *right*, but not to say we're perfect either, and we need to accept that either way, our actions typically have unintended consequences.

Once again, why do we have a military presence in Saudi Arabia? Why did we have Marines as "peacekeepers" in Beirut in 1983, in the middle of a *civil war* that didn't involve us? Reagan has been villified by conservatives for "retreating" from Beirut, because Muslims are emboldened by retreat and Reagan only made us look weak, yadda yadda. Yet Reagan ultimately did the right thing by pulling us out of where we don't belong. We do not need a military presence in each of dozens of countries around the world.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 11, 2007 5:30 PM
But jk thinks:

Perry, I certainly don't take offense (It doesn't pay to be too thin skinned around here). I'm also jealous of your meeting Lal. The nearest I came was seeing him in the documentary "Mine Your Own Business."

If I come across as crediting government with entrepreneurial successes, then I miswrite or you misread. I do hold, however, that trade requires a base level of law: a belief that contracts will be enforced and that your sales rep will not be taken as a slave, Ensuring that base level of what Lal calls an Liberal International Economic Order constitutes a (gasp!) proper function of government.

I’d say asking government to provide this level of security to enable the benefits of liberalism is consistent with Lal, Hayek and the American tradition.

On your Saudi question: I was under the impression that Iraq has allowed us to reduce our presence there with the long term prospect of "redeploying" those forces protecting the kingdom to Iraqi bases.

Did we need troops in Beirut? Do we need them in Germany? I am comfortable spending tax dollars keeping the shipping lanes open for commerce. I doubt that it's done efficiently because government is doing it, but for a rare occasion, I do not challenge their purview.

Posted by: jk at June 11, 2007 6:14 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

As you know, Bastiat put it that our rights do not exist because we made laws, but we made laws to protect our rights. But with virtually every law today being a bad one, I've come to believe less and less in the necessity of law, and more and more in a priori rights and whatever necessary framework to secure them.

I disagree with Lal on any necessity of government for people to conduct business. Our fancy Western constructs of government work pretty well, but they've also gotten very perverted with all the additional powers they've picked up. Commerce eventually comes down to trust, whether you can trust your trading partner, and whether you can trust that the two of you can complete the transaction. Thus I don't ask government to give me any security beyond a promise that, for my extremely limited tax dollars, it will come whack someone for me when the person causes me harm.

Trade and even justice do not require "law" to exist. They work well for the most part in an orderly system of laws, but such a system is not inherently necessary. A trade partner will be honest with me because he can be prosecuted for fraud, or perhaps I will find him and blow his nuts off via a nasal-entry route; either works for me. Ultimately it is the basic threat of violence, whether by the state or by our own persons, that deters people from infringing upon our rights, and punishes those who still do.

We are presently talking about withdrawing our military from Saudi Arabia, which I will believe when I see it. I haven't heard that Iraq will "allow" (what a fine word!) us to reduce our presence there, in that manner or otherwise, but bluntly, what goddamn arrogance. "Allow," indeed! We'll reduce our presence there by bringing some home and replacing them with others? That's like a tax cut paid for by a tax hike.

On your Saudi question: I was under the impression that Iraq has allowed us to reduce our presence there with the long term prospect of "redeploying" those forces protecting the kingdom to Iraqi bases.

We did not need troops in Beirut. It was Lebanon's civil war, which did not impact the United States or its international commerce. Our Marines were sent as part of a "peacekeeping" force that should have never been sent. We wouldn't have had three decades of problems in Lebanon if Israel had been "allowed" to achieve a decisive victory (i.e. bring Syria, known for millenia as a country of thugs, to its knees).

We also do not need troops in Germany. If Putin does something, and I think he will, our presence there won't matter. Again, we're there not to keep commerce alive. We're there because we act as if the Cold War isn't over.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 13, 2007 3:22 PM

June 7, 2007

Extremely Fred!

Threesources favorite Howard Mortman is helping out Fred's! online efforts.

He writes about the effect on his blog.

How will this affect the Extreme Mortman blog? Simple. I will continue to ridicule the first and third “Die Hard” movies, but “Die Hard II” is now off limits.

Posted by AlexC at 3:37 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

I have never seen any movie or TV show that Fred Thompson appeared in. I'd love to do a poll -- does this make me less likely to support him or more? As I understand it, his main character he is known for is quite sympathetic.

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2007 4:14 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Never?

My opinion of Thunderheart is higher now too.

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2007 3:16 PM
But jk thinks:

I looked at the list and it looks like never. (I should get out more).

Posted by: jk at June 8, 2007 4:10 PM

Fred!

I give the former Senator from Tennessee good marks for his Kudlow & Company appearance last night.

I can't imagine anybody missing K & C under any circumstance, but Larry has some highlights of the interview posted on his blog today. Should we let the Democrats roll back the Bush tax cuts, asks Larry?

Well, it's a no-brainer to resist them with all of our power. It's the driving force of this good economy that we're seeing. We're raising more revenue with these lower tax rates than we've ever raised before for the federal government. It's clearly, for them, not about raising money for the legitimate functions of government, it's about redistribution of income and collecting votes. You set the rate where you think you can get the votes, and anything above that, you want to tax. So instead of trying to make the pie bigger, they're trying to concentrate totally on redividing the pie. And that just means less economic growth and a worse economy.

Thompson did a nice riff on Federalism where he was actually disagreeing with Kudlow (Thompson had voted against tort reform because he found it an unwarranted Fed intrusion into states' rights). That scored some points with me.

The rest of the interview, however, Thompson said the right things but he was frequently led there by his host. You get a feel for that in the section that's posted. I wish I still had the Giuliani interview, but Rudy drove the conversation toward freedom and the supply side. Stephen Moore and I got goose-pimply watching Hizzoner.

Thompson also gets to hide behind his non-announcement Admittedly, that may be smart but he can't talk tax cuts "'cause he's not that far yet" "He doesn't want to lay out a detailed plan at this time." Maybe that's okay, and I am not dismissing him or his candidacy. But I am likewise, not waiting for him.

As Buffy says of Faith in Enemies: "She makes Godot look punctual."

Posted by John Kranz at 12:09 PM

Personal Accounts

hmmm.... Romney is getting better and better.

Republican Mitt Romney yesterday praised the notion of personal accounts for Social Security recipients, a key aspect of the Social Security reform plan of President Bush that never made it out of Congress.

Romney said it would be a good idea to use the Social Security trust fund to allow personal accounts, which could earn higher rates of return for beneficiaries.

"Personal accounts would be a big plus," Romney said at the New Hampshire Institute of Art yesterday afternoon. Romney spoke to about 175 people in a town hall format where he took questions about civil unions, medical use of marijuana and weapons inspection during the run-up to the Iraq war.

Posted by AlexC at 11:29 AM | Comments (7)
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

Lately I've become very critical of all the candidates and hold them to exceptionally high standards. I'm really tired of the platitudes and one-liners that disguise the lack of will to do what's right, so much that I haven't bothered to watch the two debates. Well, I did catch the first, enough to see that Ron Paul won it by being the only candidate to point out the inflation tax.

Bluntly, anyone with a half-a**ed sense of REAL social justice should support personal accounts at the least. Now, they're a step in the right direction, but they're only a bandaid fix. The problem is what to do in 2017 (maybe 2016 when the SS trustees next recalculate, it was previously 2018 and readjusted to 2017), when retirees who haven't had personal accounts (to be fair, because they've been taxed to hell and back and couldn't save for themselves) will start collecting from the rest of us who are working.

When a candidate is brave enough to address this (maybe Ron Paul has, does anyone know if he's said anything?), I'll listen to him. To his credit, Bush tried. Most Americans just don't want to listen. They're too busy getting Six Flags season tickets, complaining about the mythical gouging by Big Oil, and not worrying enough about the real issues: the ramifications of personal and governmental long-term debt. The money we're spending on Iraq is pocket change compared to what Social Security and Medicare will cost us.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 7, 2007 12:02 PM
But jk thinks:

I'll quibble with one word of your comment: "lately." I've been reading your blog a year or so now, Perry, and think you hold candidates and leaders to exceptionally high standards.

Nothing wrong with high standards but I am the blog pragmatist 'round these parts and don't like to see the perfect being the enemy of the good. I hate Giuliani on guns, McCain on free speech, Romney on health care, Hunter on trade, Tancredo on immigration, Paul on isolationism, &c.

But I watched Sunday's debate and I watched Tuesday’s debate -- and I would crawl over broken glass to pull the lever for any one of those against any of the Democrats (okay, Richardson - Tancredo, no sharp shards).

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2007 1:24 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

There isn't a single one of those goddamned Dems I'd vote for, Richardson included. For all New Mexico's tax cuts and conservative-sounding economic policies (for which Richardson has received praise from conservatives, even GOP shills like Sean Hannity), he's just another proponent of the redistribution of wealth, and he's a coward when it comes to the global jihad threat.

Giuliani is talking an awful lot of free market economics, which makes me trust him even less. I consider him the authoritarian, much more so than McCain (who I consider a mere opportunist). Giuliani has said that freedom is all about people relinquishing their personal freedoms to authority, and such an absurd "social compact" notion is just thinly veiled fascism.

I guess I always have held politicians to higher standards, but more so now. I know I don't blog as often anymore, but soon I'm going to state who I'm supporting for president, and I'm going to answer McCain's "propose something better" immigration challenge. I've also been meaning to blog about why Ron Paul was right, and why Rudy was an idiot to mischaracterize what Paul said.

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 7, 2007 2:56 PM
But jk thinks:

-- but,but,but,but,but if you're going to trash every GOP candidate, you're going to help elect one of those Democrats, all of whom scare me very much.

I'll concede that Rudy did mischaracterize Paul's remarks but I will not in a million years concede that Paul is right. There is a nice YouTube running around (Don Luskin links) where Paul defends himself.

Our troops that so upset Osama Bin Laden were in Saudi Arabia defending that country and Kuwait from a Saddam Hussein invasion, with the explicit approval of the regime. I just can't line up for the idea that we leave them alone, they'll leave us and Israel alone.

Posted by: jk at June 7, 2007 3:39 PM
But johngalt thinks:

So unless Zell Miller or Joe Lieberman have plans we don't know about, we can count on Perry supporting a GOPer. Perry also doesn't seem like the type to "take his vote and go home" because a pro-choice Republican wins the nomination, so it's probably a safe bet that he'll VOTE Republican too.

I didn't hear Perry trashing Thompson, Fred Dalton (likely candidate) or Gingrich (unlikely). He said some nice things about Paul but I'm confident he's too smart to endorse that isolationist hippie (or to believe for a femtosecond that Paul has a chance at the nomination).

Posted by: johngalt at June 8, 2007 3:08 PM
But Perry Eidelbus thinks:

I would like to see the Dems tear into each other and weaken themselves, in the same way the Repubs will. We should take some comfort in that there is no single major candidate among the Dems either -- had there been in 2003-2004, Bush would have lost.

Paul was right in the same way a white person might "invite" being attacked in Harlem. It doesn't mean the attacker is actually justified, but the attacker will seize on any excuse. I posted more about this on a conservative friend's blog.

http://www.alarmingnews.com/archives/006066.html

Posted by: Perry Eidelbus at June 8, 2007 3:15 PM

June 6, 2007

Some disagreement on my debate scoring

Dean Barnett posts a YouTube clip of a FOX News interview with Republican pollster Frank Luntz.

Luntz gives high marks to Mayor Giuliani, but says that Gov. Romney did better, sending the positive line of his real-time meter "off the charts" when Romney defended his Mormon faith. Interviews with GOP voters provide the exact opposite of my opinion. "He answered the questions, no bull" says the first woman. Many praise his clarity.

Gimme that knob, Frank, I don't think your voters can handle it.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:07 PM

Debate Wrap-up

Parity is conserved. The unsettling powers of the Democratic debate which have kept me almost bedridden for two days abated as the brilliant and statesmanlike GOP candidates took the floor at St. Anselm's College last night. (I suggested that t might have been bad sushi, but Dr. AlexC is pretty convinced it was the debate.)

I've got quite a few high marks to give out. First, I haven't heard anybody else say it, but I thought Gov. Romney was the loser last night. John Derbyshire made fun of his bad math allusion, and I was disturbed all evening with his lack of clarity. He rambled on, invoking "a null set" when asked a direct non-hypothetical question: "If you knew now what you knew then, would you have supported the invasion of Iraq?" That's a great question. Romney dissembled for what seemed like an hour, was asked it again and started dissembling again. Mayor Giuliani followed with a direct -- and I believe correct -- answer: "Yes." (I paraphrase, but he was almost that direct.)

That established a pattern, with Romney over-talking and trying too hard to be clever. I thought "OMG, He's our very own Joe Biden!" Maybe nobody else was turned off. I haven't read much criticism of him, but he certainly did not help himself.

I said I'd hand out praise. Senator McCain was eloquent in describing the importance of the war and its consequences. I've a million things to disagree with the man over, but that alone will make him worthy of my support should he win the GOP nomination. Bill Kristol sounded the death knell for his campaign on FOX News Sunday, but the rumors looked greatly exaggerated Tuesday night.

No secret I'm in the Rudy! camp. I still must say my candidate acquitted himself well. He was funny when the lightning came down, he was emphatic in his war support, he was moving in his opposition to Rep Tancredo's suggestion of an immigration hiatus. I don't think he preps. I think he's quick on his feet. It opens him up to gaffes, but it sure works for me.

The also rans also ran pretty well last night. Gov. Huckabee squeezed another good joke off and made a touching defense for his disbelief in evolution, tying it to birthright liberty and distancing himself from the 6-days 6000 years ago creationism that frightens people. He's the star of his tier.

Rep Hunter did more China bashing and pushed the nativist angle, but he still raised himself a couple of notches.

Rep. Ron Paul appeared less crazy. I value his service in the US Congress and want more than anything to bring more Libertarians into the GOP, but his isolationism is naive and it is not the time for it.

Senator Brownback, Gov. Thompson, Gov. Gilmore - you're all good guys but I think I hear your mommies calling. Maybe it's time for you to go. An Apollo project on Cancer?

Our tent is big enough for Creationists, but not for one vocal denier of Deleterious Anthropogenic Warming of the Globe (DAWG)? I guess it is an election loser and I am prepared to bite my tongue. The Republicans get some props for pushing nuclear power, and domestic drilling, but you could have put Senators Clinton, Obama, and Edwards up there for the group hugs on alternative energy and energy independence. Couldn't Ron Paul have piped up and said "We import and burn oil because it's the best deal -- as long as it is the best deal, we'll do it." Nope, he had to tie it into foreign policy. This farmer stands alone I guess.

All in all, I'm diggin' being a Republican again. I saw the Dem debate (and have the dry heaves to prove it) and I saw the GOP. I know a lot of the party is disheartened, but I am not.

UPDATE: Fixed a few typos, most notably changing Huckabee's "belief in evolution" to "disbelief..." ThreeSources regrets the arrows.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:55 AM

June 4, 2007

And Here's To You, Mrs. Robonson

You can't say I don't know how to have fun.

I ate some bad sushi yesterday in the early afternoon. I was feeling poorly when the Democratic debates started, but I watched them all the way through. On cue at heir completion, I started the auditions for The Exorcist.

Bad octopus? Bad policy?

Posted by John Kranz at 11:41 AM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

I thought octopus was always cooked.

Sure it wasn't something else?

Like saying boycotting the olympics is tough foreign policy?

Posted by: AlexC at June 4, 2007 10:05 PM
But jk thinks:

Couldn't have been Homer's blowfish. I was the only one who had Octopus and I was the only one who got sick.

You're forgetting President Carter's muscular foreign policy when he kept the US teams from competing in Moscow. Devastating.

Posted by: jk at June 5, 2007 1:02 PM

June 3, 2007

Riots!

If we decided to start sending illegals back home, we'll have riots.

At one point McCain went back and forth with one audience member, who said he was upset that the immigration proposal before Congress is not tough enough.

The man asked McCain why the United States couldn’t execute large-scale deportations, as he had heard they did in France and other countries.

“In case you hadn’t noticed, the thousands of people who have been relegated to ghettos have risen up and burned cars in France,” McCain replied. “They’ve got huge problems in France. They have tremendous problems. The police can’t even go into certain areas in the suburbs of Paris. I don’t want that in the suburbs of America.”


Tip of the hat to Allah, who notes the real lessons of the French riots.
perhaps the real lesson of the French experience is that citizenship doesn’t guarantee assimilation. Or perhaps it’s the idea that if you doubt your ability to assimilate people culturally, be sure you can control how many of them are coming in.

Posted by AlexC at 5:24 PM

Tax Pledges

Pop Quiz.

How many Democrat candidates for President have signed the Americans for Tax Reform "Taxpayer Protection Pledge?"

That was easy.

0.

How many of the Republicans have?

Of the announced candidates, seven of ten.

Holdouts are Rudy! McCain and Thompson (Tommy, that is)

This is simple stuff... and should be easy to do....

The last three Republican presidential nominees - ex-president George H.W. Bush, Bob Dole and current President Bush - signed the pledge, the anti-tax group said.

But the elder Bush broke the pledge, raised taxes and lost his re-election bid.

The Giuliani campaign said signing the pledge was unnecessary.

"Rudy's got a record of cutting taxes and putting more money into the hands of people. His record is his pledge," said Giuliani senior campaign adviser Tony Carbonetti.

Giuliani cut taxes 23 times worth $9 billion as mayor and has cast himself as the most pro-growth, fiscally conservative candidate in the current GOP campaign.

But the former mayor's refusal to sign the pledge has surprised and disappointed economic conservatives, who agree that Rudy has a strong tax-cutting record.

"He's been strong on demanding that the Bush tax cuts be extended permanently," said John Kartch, a spokesman for Americans for Tax Reform president Grover Nordquist.


I believe McCain voted against the Bush taxcut.

Posted by AlexC at 4:46 PM | Comments (3)
But NH thinks:

I say Ron Paul is the only candidate on either side worth voting for.

Posted by: NH at June 3, 2007 8:26 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

Sadly, I agree with NH ... but I'll probably vote for someone 'near' my ideological zone that has a chance to win.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at June 4, 2007 10:58 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Just in time for this post to drop off the main page, I think it's important to state that (for the record) the unofficial position of Three Sources is that Ron Paul should be at the BOTTOM of everyone's list.

See The Case Against Rep Ron Paul above.

Posted by: johngalt at June 10, 2007 5:28 PM

May 30, 2007

Fred!

July the fourth.

Fred Dalton Thompson is planning to enter the presidential race over the Fourth of July holiday, announcing that week that he has already raised several million dollars and is being backed by insiders from the past three Republican administrations, Thompson advisers told The Politico.

Thompson, the "Law and Order" star and former U.S. senator from Tennessee, has been publicly coy, even as people close to him have been furiously preparing for a late entry into the wide-open contest. But the advisers said Thompson dropped all pretenses on Tuesday afternoon during a conference call with more than 100 potential donors, each of whom was urged to raise about $50,000.

Posted by AlexC at 11:51 AM

May 20, 2007

Fred! The Story Behind the Video

Salena Zito

On Tuesday morning, Mark Corallo, the undeclared Thompson's frontman, had clicked on to the massively popular Internet news aggregator, the Drudge Report, to find that Moore had challenged Thompson to a political duel, also known as a debate.

"Within the space of about five minutes we decided to do a quick video response," Corallo recalled from his Washington office. He called Thompson and asked if he wanted to "have some fun today" and respond to Moore with a quick video.

Thompson's response was "pure Fred," Corallo said:

"Give me a camera. I already know what I am going to say," said Thompson.

Two phone calls and one camera later, Thompson was ready to go. One "take" later -- with no script, no booking time in a studio and no opposition research or talking points -- Thompson was shot into cyberspace.

Thompson scorched Moore in his witty video, dangling an unlit (Cuban?) cigar alongside a civics lesson that pointed out the perils of Moore's collaborating with the fickle dictator Fidel Castro.

"His video response was all him," said Corallo; it was not written, prepared or massaged by anyone else. "It was literally Fred being Fred."


Nice.

Posted by AlexC at 11:29 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

OODA.

Posted by: jk at May 20, 2007 4:06 PM

May 16, 2007

Tommy! Ron! Duncan! Jim! Tom! Goodbye!

That was a great debate last night. I think FOXNews did a great job.

I also thought that my candidate, Mayor Giuliani, did a good job. The Instapundit online poll shows him with a commanding lead among those who actually participated.

Number me among those who hope the next debate, however, will have fewer participants. Just opinion, mind you, I'm all for the "vibrancy of more ideas and debate" and all. And I must confess that there is plenty of time. But if you gave jk the scythe, here's where it would fall:

  • Rep Duncan Hunter: I may have unfairly attributed somebody else's bad economics to him in my review of the last debate. I apologize but give it right back for his protectionist populism and China bashing. I was also annoyed -- yet another time -- by his assertion that his years chairing a Congressional Committee are somehow equivalent to Sen. McCain's heroic service. Rep. Hunter also served. Thanks for your service, Congressman. Goodbye.

  • Rep. Tom Tancredo: Rep Tancredo has won me over personally. I have been so opposed to him on his signature issue, I got a little personal on these very pages. Tancredo is a smart and principled man and I am proud to have him represent my party and my State in Congress. But he is not Presidential "timber." Not this year. TIMBERRRRRRRRRR!
  • Gov. Jim Gilmore: Good man. I think George Bernard Shaw once described somebody who, when they walked into a room, made people think that somebody of great charisma and energy had just left. Good job killing the car tax, Jim. Later.

  • Gov. Tommy Thompson: Somehow, I just don't think so. Maybe we're making the wrong decision but we are. Hasta Luego.

  • Rep. Ron Paul: You can stay around, Dennis Kucinich style, if you want Congressman Paul. But is that really what you want? Who's the LP running this year? Third Party?

Gov. Huckabee can stay or go. His "John Edwards in a beauty shop" line rocked. Scripted, but perfect. (honorable mention to Rep Tancredo for "Road to Damascus, not the Road to Des Moines"). I propose that Gov. Huckabee can replace the whole wind of second tier candidates, continue to attack Democrats in the GOP primary and perhaps land a VP spot.

I will get behind any of these guys to beat any of the Democrats (A Duncan Hunter - Bill Richardson race would hurt, but the Tradesports on that is about three cents). Gov. Romney bugged me a little with his assertion that he's pro-Second Amendment but supported the assault weapons ban. Makes Rudy look absolutely solid on abortion... Senator McCain was good but you can just feel it slipping away. Torture and Guantanamo are amazing weaknesses, considering his biography. Wrapping himself in the mantle of Gen. Colin Powell is not going to carry him in South Carolina.

Maybe Fred did win....

Posted by John Kranz at 10:56 AM | Comments (2)
But Brian thinks:

Duncan Hunter served in Vietnam with the 173rd Airborne Brigade and with independent Ranger Detachments. No one can debate McCain’s time in a POW prison, but Hunter was on the ground fighting. Check out wikipedia and Hunter’s website for more information.

Posted by: Brian at May 16, 2007 12:04 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Duncan Hunter is a great American, and I agree with him on most of his policy positions. JK's disdain for his "China bashing" emanates from Hunter's calling the commies on the carpet over their monetary policy, whereby they devalue their currency and hoarde U.S. dollars. This puts them in a position to destabilize the U.S. economy, built as it is on the scrip of a private bank (the Federal Reserve system) amounting to a too well respected house of cards.

All that being said, he's not the best hope of the GOP for President in '08. Like McCain, he's got too much legislative experience which acts to atrophy one's leadership skills.

Between Rudy, Mitt and Fred, the GOP field has strengthened greatly at this date.

Posted by: johngalt at May 16, 2007 4:18 PM

May 15, 2007

FRED!

You have to like this. Michael Moore challenges Senator Fred Thompson to a debate.

The Senator Responds:

He earned his exclamation mark today.

Hat-tip: Insty, who also links to a Bob Krumm post:

Imagine Thompson in a campaign against a hidebound Hillary Clinton who, like a typical candidate, runs every decision through polls and layers of staff. Thompson would be “inside her OODA loop” so quickly that serious Republicans won’t know whether to laugh at her or feel sorry for her by the time of next November’s election.

Posted by John Kranz at 4:40 PM | Comments (7)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

What's holding Fred back????

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 15, 2007 10:38 PM
But jk thinks:

From the Krumm post: "In certain military circles there’s this concept known as the 'OODA Loop.' OODA stands for Observe, Orient, Decide, and Act. The late Colonel John Boyd, a Korean War pilot, came up with the concept to try to explain why American pilots were so much better than their opponents in dogfights. He determined that through a combination of training, aerodynamics, and cockpit design, American pilots and their aircraft could more quickly observe a stimulus and respond."

Picture Senator Clinton with a big red cicle on her canvas wing...

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2007 10:46 AM
But jk thinks:

Don't get me wrong, I'm not fully onboard the Fred boomlet just yet, but you have to appreciate those who can play the game. This was a master's stroke.

I think Trek, that the Senator has found that he is able to stay in by holding back. By not announcing, he can still do his columns on NRO, finish his acting work, and avoid some of the expense of this preternaturally early campaigning.

He's been on a Sunday show, generated lots of buzz and is always in the top three in the GOP polls. He might be onto something. Sadly, he also retains the right to drop out anytime, leaving his boomlet folks without a candidate.

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2007 10:57 AM
But jk thinks:

Comment three times on your own post and you have a problem...

I just noticed that Instapundit's online poll shows a 34% plurality who felt Fred Thompson "won" the debate. An oft cited advantage of staying out is to not look lilliputian up there as a gang of 11 non-Presidents.

[NOTE: MS-Word disctionary suggests a Capital L on lilliputian. Do they think it's a real place or am I missing something?]

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2007 11:12 AM
But dagny thinks:

Note from Dagny, raised by english teachers so she can't help it: A place does not have to be real to be a proper noun. Consider Oz, Atlantis, or Eden. I think the capital L is warranted.

Posted by: dagny at May 16, 2007 1:39 PM
But jk thinks:

Good point, Dagny. I guess I felt that Lilliputian has become understood as its own little adjective without reference to the place.

I don't want to make a big deal out of it, though if I took it up as a cause "little-l for lilliputians" would -- you must admit -- make a great bumper sticker. Next in the series of "Hobbes was an Optimist."

Posted by: jk at May 16, 2007 6:04 PM

May 14, 2007

Rudy!

Pat Toomey writes about Rudy Giuliani's fiscal record in New York City.

Posted by AlexC at 9:28 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Awesome. As ThreeSources's Rudy cheerleader, I'll add a "read the whole thing!"

Posted by: jk at May 14, 2007 12:29 PM

May 9, 2007

I drank 946 Cappuccinos Yesterday

No, wait, really it was only two.

Sorry I said 946. I was tired.

UPDATE: I laugh to keep from crying on this story. Kansas's new Democratic Governor, Kathy Sibelius looks to join Louisianna Gov. Blanco:

Governor Kathleen Sebelius said much of the National Guard equipment usually positioned around the state to respond to emergencies is gone. She said not having immediate access to things like tents, trucks and semitrailers will really handicap the rebuilding effort.

TEN THOUSAND DEAD! ALL BUSH'S FAULT! Here we go again.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:46 AM | Comments (1)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

SO,...I wasn't the only one?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at May 9, 2007 5:55 PM

May 7, 2007

Mitt Romney Call In

This evening "conservative leaders" (I guess that includes me. ;) ) from around the state of Pennsylvania participated in a thirty minute conference call with Presidential Candidate and Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney.

After a brief introduction by Gary Marks, the Governor went into a brief stump speech centered around fiscal conservatism, and a theme he reitorated for the rest of the call. Federalism and states rights.

He said that "Washington is a mess" and he can turn it around. As governor, he cut programs and departments while lowering taxes. As President he'd like to see McCain-Feingold campaign finance reform repealed. He's opposed to amnesty for illegal immigrants and is for securing the borders. He's pro-life and would give the ability to regulate abortion law to the states.

In terms of polling, he says a new CBS poll has him in "a wide lead" over his opponents in New Hampshire. Which stands to figure, neighbors and all.

At that point, the Q&A section began, with the first question going to Ryan Shafik of the Lincoln Institute. Ryan asked if under a Romney administration would there be any entitlement bills with the size of Medicare part D. Romney's response was to say a bill of the size and scope was "shocking" from a GOP President and a majority Republican congress. Under his administration there would be needed reforms in Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security.

Colin Hanna from Let Freedom Ring had the next question. Paraphrasing, "would you sign the hate-crimes bill as is currently sitting on the President's desk." Romney went back to federalism, saying the states can be responsible for that, and even though he's not familiar with the details of the bill he'd veto it. (That's a very good answer) He also went on to say that the federal government shouldn't be jumping in to issues with a response. Let the states deal with it, if necessary.

Governor Romney then asked Colin for his opinion, who responded that it was not necessary, does nothing and would be an infringement. Romney said that he heard it might affect what preachers can say from the pulpit.

The next question came from Joe Sterns who asked, "if you could only get one thing done as President, what would it be?"

Mitt didn't give a preference to one, but listed, perhaps in no particular order, a reining of spending; entitlement reform; moving health care to a market based system; and in the foreign policy arena, he'd like to move Islam away from their extremists. He's also like to find away to reform the education system, but says that's not a job for the federal government, but the states.

I didn't catch the name of the next questioner, who was from Newtown Square. "How can you win the Philly 'burbs?" Mitt's answer was to go to the website get signed up and volunteer... and to give what you can. $10, $20, $50 bucks. If we got Hillary or Obama we'd be in for a sharp turn to the left who would appoint judges liberal judges.

The next questioner from North Huntingdon asked about education improvements. My call dropped out, and when I got back in I caught the tail end of "more parental involvement."

Pawatercooler contributor Ben Wren got the final question in about Romneycare. "What's the conservative argument for it?" The answer started with "The Heritage Foundation helped create it." There was a well polling referendum on the ballot in Massachusetts that going to setup a state run health care system, so the legislature had to act.

He gave a brief description of how it works.

  • Some research indicated that people who could afford health care did not get it knowing that they could get free services at the local hospital. Now, if you can afford it, you'll buy it, or pay the full ride come time.

  • The state went to insurance companies to find out how to lower premiums, which basically boiled down to fewer mandates. Governor Romney wanted to dispose of the all, but the legislature put a bunch in anyway. In anycase, this lowered the average premium from $350 / month to about $175.

  • For the poor, they pay what they can afford, still with private insurers. The state then makes up the balance. This costs less than the traditional state spending for "free care" saving the Commonwealth about $300 million per year. $1.3 billion vs $1.0 billion.

The time ran out, but I wanted to ask about his position on the fair tax or his energy policy.

I was pleasantly surprised to hear federalism. I suspect that's from bad experiences as governor and having to deal with mandates from Washington.

Prior to today, of the big three Romney was my least favorite, with Giuliani "in the lead." Given Rudy's recent social issue implosion and this conference, I'm now interested in Romney... I'm still very interested in Thompson, so I'll wait and see, but Romney I liked.

Posted by AlexC at 11:18 PM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Superb post, brother ac. All joking aside, you are a conservative leader in your state and I appreciate that.

RomneyCare remains the real dealbreaker for me with the Governor. The WSJ Ed Page complained at the time that he got NO relief on state mandated benefits.

The AEI and Art Laffer are both big on mandating coverage, so he can claim a good pedigree. But I think he is spinning a bit with his successes. If his figures are accurate, he might even get me in the fold.

Posted by: jk at May 8, 2007 11:15 AM
But jk thinks:

A conservative leader you may be. I, like my hero FA Hayek, am not a conservative. Sorry,

Posted by: jk at May 8, 2007 12:07 PM
But johngalt thinks:

I agree that Romney is a breath of fresh air. Every time I hear him I'm impressed by how literate and quick witted he is. Some would call it slick, but one can't fake it forever. I'm still watching.

Posted by: johngalt at May 8, 2007 3:04 PM

Gov. Romney Savaged

"Mitt" may have scored some points in the first debate, but he collects some bad press in the OpinionJournal Political Diary today. John Fund writes:

Presidential candidates often have to endure personal questions designed to elicit clues to their personality ("What is your favorite color?" "Who is your favorite philosopher?"). Most candidates come up with canned, safe answers that show off their leadership qualities.

Then there is Mitt Romney, who inexplicably named "Battlefield Earth," a science-fiction novel by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, when asked on Fox News what his favorite novel is. The book, which is not a bad read, was turned into a dreadful movie starring John Travolta, a high-ranking Scientologist.

The ex-governor's reading tastes became a source of great speculation in the Blogosphere. Was Mr. Romney trying to appeal to wealthy Scientologists? Was he signaling he was an Everyman reader comfortable in his own skin who eschewed the pretentious answers some candidates give to such questions? After all, President Bush was widely ridiculed when he named Albert Camus's dense intellectual volume "The Stranger" as his favorite book.

Even Hugh Hewitt, a talk show host who has written a highly laudatory biography of Mr. Romney, flatly says he found the choice strange and challenged Mr. Romney during an interview on his radio show last Friday.

Mr. Romney, feeling the heat from critics, abandoned the choice he had made only a week before. "Well, you know, that's really not my favorite novel," he explained to Mr. Hewitt. "Probably my favorite is Huckleberry Finn and I've read all of Louis L'Amour's books." Perhaps acutely aware that he could be accused of flip-flopping again, Mr. Romney was quick to shore up his science-fiction base. "There's some great science fiction out there," he told Mr. Hewitt, citing Ann McCaffrey's "Dragonflight" and Orson Scott Card's "Ender's Game."

But Mr. Romney's choices did not impress SF aficionados. "He has gone from an honest answer, however bizarre a book, to one that is suspiciously convenient," one fan told me. "Orson Scott Card is a fellow Mormon and Ann McCaffrey is from his home state of Massachusetts."

I concur. As a fellow science fiction fan, I found Mr. Romney's answer refreshing, although Hubbard is hardly a great writer. But the former governor wouldn't stick to it once he was ridiculed. Mr. Romney has had an impressive career, but I was hoping for a president with a bit more backbone in standing up for his populist choice against carpers from the literary establishment.


I'm not a sci-Fi guy myself, but I think that the Governor has to be careful of the "too slick" label. His perfectly moisturized skin and Edwards hair can be a real asset. Combined with recent accusations of serial pandering, however, he appears too much the politician.

Romney scored some points with me at the debate. This accusation, for some reason, sets him back.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:58 PM

May 4, 2007

Balls!

I'm lovin' this guy.

Sometimes I think that I'm the last guy around who still thinks term limits is a good idea. The professionalization of politics saps people's courage. Their desire to keep their job and not upset anybody overrides all else -- even if it hurts the country.

So the entitlement problem gets kicked a little further down the road. This action is based on the premise that our generation is too greedy to help the next generation. I believe just the opposite is true. If grandmom and granddad think that a little sacrifice will help their grandchildren when they get married, try to buy a home or have children, they will respond to a credible call to make that sacrifice -- if they don't think that the sacrifice is going down some government black hole.

I am going to quote my friend, Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma. I don't think he'll mind, even though it was a private conversation. He said, "People talk a lot about moral issues, but the greatest moral issue facing our generation is the fact that we are bankrupting the next generation. People talk about wanting to make a difference. Here we could make a difference for generations to come."

Posted by AlexC at 11:55 PM | Comments (4)
But johngalt thinks:

Thompson gives a lot of simple, common sense explanations for how to solve problems. But he doesn't say how he's going to save the world from global warming!

Seriously though, I think Bush would agree with everything FDT says but when the president has a chance to say these things he's so busy trying to sound smart that he's afraid to put it simply.

Fred's genious is in knowing that he doesn't have to prove that he knows what he's talking about. He says it - it agrees with reality and the voters' perceptions of it - they believe it.

F-D-T. F-D-T. F-D-T.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2007 8:47 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Fun FDT Facts.

Fred Thompson's favorite color is the blood of his enemies.

Does a bear @#$% in the woods? Only with signed notarized permission in triplicate from Fred Thompson.

You can safely view Fred Thompson using a shoe box with a pin-sized hole in one end.

Fred Thompson is a prime number.

Inexplicably, Fred Thompson receives a copy of tomorrow's newspaper at his doorstep every morning. He uses it to wrap fish since Fred Thompson doesn't care about either today's or tomorrow's liberal slant on the news.

Posted by: AlexC at May 6, 2007 2:57 AM
But jk thinks:

I'm concerned that Senator T has become a convenient tabula rasa onto which each can project his ideal candidate.

FDT is going to be tougher on terrorists than McCain, more solidly pro-life than Romney, more pro-choice than Rudy, more liberty minded than Brownback, more incandescent and charismatic than Huckabee...

As mentioned, I will give him a fair hearing upon his entry. But, after initial disappointment that no candidates have a four syllable first name, I am pretty pleased with the pack. I'm not going to slit my wrists if FDT decides to stay H-O-M-E. I fear some others are setting them selves up for disappointment.


Posted by: jk at May 6, 2007 1:42 PM
But johngalt thinks:

There goes JK again, always being the responsible one.

Just dream a little dream with me brother: FDT in a general election debate with Obama or Ms. Clinton, after a long-winded and perfectly vacuous explanation of whatever dream they have for America, gives his version of RWR's "There you go again" quip. Remember what it was like to win 49 states to 1?

Posted by: johngalt at May 6, 2007 9:07 PM

Fred! is a Bigot

Can we really expect anything different from a liberal media?

So can “Law & Order” actor and former Sen. Fred Thompson (R-Tenn.) become the first presidential candidate with this credit? Thompson played a white supremacist, spewing anti-Semitic comments and fondling an autographed copy of “Mein Kampf” on a television drama 19 years ago.

His colleagues say that he was just an actor putting everything he had into playing the role of a charismatic racist, named Knox Pooley, in three episodes of CBS’ hit show “Wiseguy” in 1988. “Do you call Tom Cruise a killer because he played one in a movie?” asked show creator and writer Stephen J. Cannell.


It's the other different side of the "moral authority" coin that is invoked when people like Martin Sheen must be listened to because "he played the President on TV."

The alternate reality of television is real. At least to some.

Though I must say, it's stunningly weak.

(tip to Hot Air)

Posted by AlexC at 4:34 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Stunningly, chrushingly, mind-bogglingly weak.

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2007 6:24 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Quoting from the article: "People who work out their politics on the Internet understand how potentially troublesome things like this can be. Like pebbles in a pond, you can't know where the ripples are going to stop — or what the gullible or the mean-spirited may make of them."

So which is it to write a "news" article in a major metropolitan newspaper headlined "Will Fred Thompson's racist role have political repercussions" and devote 8 full paragraphs to transcribing dialog from the first episode? Gullible or mean-spirited?

This proves one thing for certain... Fred Thompson is on the presidential campaign map and he's making a lot of people nervous.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2007 8:35 PM

Debate Commentary

What I am reading in blogs this morning does not seem to correlate with the debate I watched last night. For the most part, I hear everybody claiming that his or her candidate won, and that that candidate's chief rival imploded.

I come out of the evening, as I went in, a Gulianni Guiliani Rudy supporter. He certainly didn't "win." Yet it was a first debate and not a particularly good forum for Hizzoner. The forum introduces everybody well, but offers few points for a breakout. Everybody hopes for the big Reaganesque quip that lays the other nine to waste, but the reality is that very little moved last night. Most of the folks watching are either committed or professionally uncommitted,

I will give some good marks to the back benchers. I had written off Gov. Huckabee, based on Club for Growth attacks, and I had felt that Senator Brownback was nothing more than a social conservative. Both won my respect with sound economic answers last night. Gov. Thompson surprised me to the upside -- and mirabile dictu, Rep. Tancredo did well. I still disagree with him on his signature issue, but was good on everything else and a good presence.

Gov. Romney gained the most points. It is probably fair that many of his supporters are claiming that he "won." I was glad to hear him questioned on RomneyCare, the issue that separates us, and must admit he played it well.

Out of ten, I must hand out a few "down arrows." Rep. Hunter was wrong on immigration, wrong on trade, and makes a perfect poster boy for the GOP that lost its way in Washington. If there was a gaffe last night, I thought it was Duncan Hunter's. After Senator McCain talked about his war experience, Hunter compared his chairing the Defense Appropriations Committee. "You may be a war hero, but I swilled hundreds of Martinis with the heads of Raytheon!" (I may paraphrase a bit...)

Rep Paul was our crazy old aunt in the attic. Why are only 9% of American voters little-l libertarian? Exhibit A. I knew he was isolationist but that was the wrong time and the wrong crowd to wear it as a badge of honor.

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good to be a Republican. My satellite was still on MSNBC this morning (How come we gotta do Chris Matthews and they won't do FOX?) Tucker Carlson was interviewing "Mudcat," the Democrat who was featured in the Weekly Standard a year or so ago. Mudcat is working with Edwards and I woke up to hearing Carlson ask him "McCain's been around, he's a tough guy. Don't you think he'd spank Edwards like the bad girl he is?" My wife and I exploded with laughter and rewound it a few times. Ann Coulter must wonder how he gets away with it.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:06 AM | Comments (3)
But johngalt thinks:

While your opinion of Tancredo rose, mine fell: He was inarticulate and among the three candidates who raised his hand when asked, "Does anybody here NOT believe in evolution?"

My favorite Romney line was when Matthews asked if the candidates though it would be good for America to have Bill Clinton in the White House again. Romney was first to answer with an immediate, "You've GOT to be kidding!"

As for "Doctor" Paul, my opinion of him was higher after reading AlexC's conservatism primer and plummeted once the man opened his mouth. This is a big-L Libertarian. Rand called them "hippies." They give the little-l variety a bad name.

Posted by: johngalt at May 4, 2007 3:37 PM
But jk thinks:

Yeah, he ran as the big L Presidential candidate a couple of times at least. That would disqualify a serious candidate.

Too bad nobody warned you of possible inaccuracies in the conservative primer (Hint: uber-Catholic William F Buckley is not really king of the "it feels good, do it" crowd either).

Posted by: jk at May 4, 2007 6:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

Touche.

Posted by: johngalt at May 5, 2007 8:36 PM

May 3, 2007

Fidel!

No, not really.

How about Fred!

According to Forbes magazine, by the way, Castro is now personally worth approximately $900 million. So when he desperately needed medical treatment recently, he could afford to fly a Spanish surgeon, with equipment, on a chartered jet to Cuba. What does that say about free Cuban health care?

The other thing that irks me about Moore and his cohort in Hollywood is their complete lack of sympathy for fellow artists persecuted for opposing the Castro regime. Pro-democracy activists are routinely threatened and imprisoned, but Castro remains a hero to many here. According to human rights organizations, these prisoners of conscience are often beaten and denied medical treatment, sanitation or even adequate nutrition.

If Moore wants a subject for a real documentary, I would suggest looking into the life of Cuban painter and award-winning documentarian Nicolás Guillén Landrián. He was denied the right to practice his art for using the Beatles’ song, “The Fool on the Hill,” as background music behind footage of Castro climbing a mountain. Later, he was given plenty of free Cuban health care when he was confined for years in a “mental institution” and given devastating, repeated electroshock “treatments.”

There are many other artists and activists who have enjoyed similar treatment. I suspect we’ll see movies with sympathetic portrayals of terrorists held in Guantanamo before we ever hear about the torture of true Cuban heroes. Even Andy Garcia’s brilliant fictionalized movie about the real Cuban experience, “The Lost City,” was given the Hollywood silent treatment. My bet, though, is that we’ll hear lots about how Michael Moore showed that Cuba’s socialized medicine is better than ours.

So go ahead and start working on the Oscar speech, Michael.

Posted by AlexC at 3:16 PM

April 30, 2007

John?

Senator McCain gets interrogative punctuation instead of the supererogatory exclamation mark. I think he earned it.

McCain and his wife sat for an extended interview on FOXNews Sunday with Chris Wallace yesterday. It was all you needed to know about his candidacy, watchable in a half hour with TiVo. McCain was stalwart and eloquent on the war, reminding me that -- should he win the GOP nomination -- I will support him 100%.

Yet his other positions were open to view as well. Dean Barnett at Hugh Hewitt says he "fired serial bulls-eyes at both feet" and I cannot contradict: Here's Barnett's take:

McCain defended the salubrious effects of the McCain/Feingold abomination, and then added that the issue doesn’t really matter since no one really cares about free speech outside the Beltway. (I’m paraphrasing, of course.) He also strangely suggested that we close Gitmo and transfer the detainees to Leavenworth, apparently because the Kansas climate will do them good. Chris Wallace’s questioning forced him to implausibly maintain that although he was one of three Republicans who voted against the Bush tax cuts, he would resolutely defend them once in the Oval Office.

But his real misstep was on the matter of torture. Senator McCain addresses this particular topic from a unique vantage-point. Although I’m always wary of the Absolute Moral Authority™ argument, on this subject Senator McCain comes pretty darn close to having just that. But he’s still not right.


Barnett goes on to draw a superb comparison between the abortion debate and torture. I suggest the whole post.

I'd happily join Senator McCain, saying that "we don't torture" The moral high ground is valuable, and he is right to question its efficacy. But Barnett is right to suggest that a lot of flexibility remains in the language and its application. I would never, never, never, suggest that we put a human being through half of what the Senator was subjected to in Vietnam.

But sadly the McCain-Andrew Sullivan definition of torture is now accepted. I have zero problem having a female interrogate one of these backward 7th century people. I find it amusing that they are so bothered and I like to use our open-mindedness as a weapon against them. I think the panties-on-the-head at Abu Ghraib was unprofessional, but I still find myself able to fly the flag on holidays.

Loud rock music? It would work on AlexC... Cold temperatures? Waterboarding? I'd start to limit some of these to high value targets. But to expose somebody to discomfort with a very small chance of injury seems fair.

Thanks to Barnett's brilliant post, I have digressed. McCain called for closing Gitmo, recognizing global warming, and he strongly defended McCain-Feingold, saying that the side effects are failures of enforcement, not legislative flaws. And he said that nobody in town hall meetings ever brings it up. "They all want health care and entitlement reform," said the Senator, suggesting that only inside the beltway wonks cared about such things.

John? By all means, if we must.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:12 PM | Comments (2)
But AlexC thinks:

I don't think McCain makes it to the New Year... he doesn't have the "ummph" with the base.

Posted by: AlexC at May 1, 2007 1:39 AM
But jk thinks:

Bold prediction. I actually think he still gets the GOP nomination (though that's trading at 19.1 - 19.7 at Intrade).

a) Republicans tend to nominate the guy when it's "his turn" (cf. Bob Dole 1996) and McCain can claim that mantle.

b) I love Hizzoner, but one keeps waiting for another shoe to drop on his personal life. I wait for Imelda Marcos's whole closet.

c) Romney has some trouble with the flip flop charge. I'm not sure that's fair on abortion but the "lifelong hunter" was creepy in a VP Al Gore way.

d) His other opponents have not entered yet. That may be okay or even wise, but they might not enter or might not raise enough money.

e) All of the above. McCain is the pro in the race, for better or worse, he's done it before.

Posted by: jk at May 1, 2007 11:28 AM

April 26, 2007

Hillary!

Whoops!

"In the four years since the inspectors left, intelligence reports show that Saddam Hussein has worked to rebuild his chemical and biological weapons stock, his missile delivery capability, and his nuclear program. He has also given aid, comfort, and sanctuary to terrorists, including Al Qaeda members, though there is apparently no evidence of his involvement in the terrible events of September 11, 2001. It is clear, however, that if left unchecked, Saddam Hussein will continue to increase his capacity to wage biological and chemical warfare, and will keep trying to develop nuclear weapons. Should he succeed in that endeavor, he could alter the political and security landscape of the Middle East, which as we know all too well affects American security."

Posted by AlexC at 8:58 PM | Comments (2)
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Yeah,..but when she said that, what accent was she imitating?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at April 26, 2007 9:05 PM
But jk thinks:

I hope she did it in her David Niven voice, man I love that one.

Posted by: jk at April 27, 2007 2:36 PM

Rudy!

I promise to give Senator Thompson a fair hear hearing should he enter the race, but I remain pretty happy with Hizzoner:

The question is going to be, "How long does it take, and how many losses do we have along the way?" And I truly believe if we go back on defense for a period of time, we can ultimately have more losses and it's going to go on much longer. The power of our ideas is so great we'll eventually prevail. The real question is, "How do we get there?" Do we get there in a way in which it is as expeditious as possible and with as little loss of life as possible, or do we get there in some circuitous fashion.

I pulled that from a longer piece about Giuliani in Best of the Web. He is correct to assert that Democrats do not demonstrate an understanding of the enemy. And right about the consequences.

I was opining on a comment at another Colorado blog I frequent that we really need a Churchill at this time to energize a war weary nation. Much as I love President Bush, this is not his strong suit. I will be giving extra points for inspiring and clear rhetoric in the 2008 race. This has put Giuliani in the front for me, and kept Senator McCain alive.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:32 PM

Fred!

I'm digging that NRO posts Fred Thompson commentaries on their site.

America is a free country and we do not tell people what they can believe or say. We should realize, however, that there are people in America who are also telling their children that the Holocaust is a lie and that those who say otherwise are their enemies. We cannot prevent them from doing so, but we also cannot let them promote their agenda by claiming they are victimized by historical facts.

This would be a good place to quote an important British writer, George Orwell, who wrote, “Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past.” Even in America, our children are often taught a watered down, inoffensive, and culturally sensitive version of events ranging from the Crusades to the battle at the Alamo.

It’s time for people who believe that they have a stake in Western civilization and its traditions to get a little backbone — even if it offends somebody.

Posted by AlexC at 12:59 AM

April 17, 2007

Thomas on Thompson

Cal Thomas is pretty much behind Fred Thompson.

Yes, we made mistakes in Iraq, Thompson says. "We went in there too light, wrong rules of engagement, wrong strategy, placed too much emphasis on just holding things in place while we built up the Iraqi army, took longer than we figured. Wars are full of mistakes. You rectify things. I think we're doing that now."

Abortion? "Pro-life. . I think Roe vs. Wade was bad law and bad medical science. And the way to address that is through good judges."

Gay rights? "I think that we ought to be a tolerant nation. I think we ought to be tolerant people. But we shouldn't set up special categories for anybody. . Marriage is between a man and a woman and I don't believe judges ought to come along and change that."

As for "civil unions," Thompson thinks it should be left up to the states.

Gun control? Thompson is "against it generally."


Reagan comparisons are generally tiresome, but here's one anyway...
There's something else to like about Fred Thompson. He doesn't appear to be lusting after the job as if he needs it for his self-image. This, too, is much like Reagan, who knew who he was before becoming president and was the same after he left office.

Read it all.

Posted by AlexC at 10:48 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Dang, I really like Senator Thompson.

But if Cal Thomas is backing him...

Posted by: jk at April 17, 2007 11:38 AM

March 28, 2007

"Milton Friedman" Giuliani

I fell completely into the Rudy-Oh-Eight fold last Monday night. He appeared on Kudlow & Company and hit every question out of the park. Stephen Moore was also impressed, suggesting we might call him "Milton Friedman Giuliani." Larry was ready to throw in Mises and Hayek. There's a clip from the show posted on Reason Magazine - Hit & Run where David Weigel talks about the appearance and a rumor that Steve Forbes is signing on with Hizzoner.

It's easy to forget with the dulcet tones of Arthur Branch massaging our ears, but Rudy Giuliani is still the frontrunner for the GOP nomination. Two nights ago he appeared on Larry Kudlow's goofy CNBC show* and talked almost exclusively about economics, at one point sounding like he regretted his days as a grandstanding, trader-busting U.S. Attorney.

* Weigel explains: "*I like Kudlow's economics, but he's way too prone to linking movement in the stock market to things traders don't care about but right-wingers do. " I can see plenty of areas where a pure, big-L libertarian would break camp with Kudlow. But it is an astonishing aberration to have a show like Kudlow's on TV. Kudlow & Company is about the only place you're going to hear classical-liberal economics espoused.

Giuliani was outstanding on every question. My friends are enjoying the Sen. Fred Thompson boomlet, and I think highly of the Senator (though I have never seen his TV show). Thompson's continuing support of McCain-Feingold bothers me more than Giuliani’s unfortunate position on guns. It seems far more likely that the next President would be involved in campaign finance than in gun rights.

UPDATE: Forbes endorses Giuliani. and will serve as campaign co-chair and senior policy advisor. Hat-tip Instapundit

UPDATE II: Cultural illiterates like me will need to be told that Arthur Branch is "a fictional character on the long-running TV crime drama Law & Order, portrayed by former United States Senator Fred Dalton Thompson." -- Wikipedia.

Posted by John Kranz at 2:57 PM

March 23, 2007

Elizabeth Edwards

The crazy rightwing nut jobs on the WSJ Editorial Page hit the perfect tone in the Edwards' announcement:

In today's nasty and polarized politics, we weren't surprised to see some of the cranks on the Web criticize John Edwards for announcing that his Presidential campaign will continue despite the return of his wife's cancer. By these lights, he is supposed to retire from public life and tend to her full-time.

Shouldn't that be up to the two of them? By the look of their press conference yesterday, Elizabeth Edwards wouldn't want her husband to give up his pursuit of the Democratic nomination despite her diagnosis. They seem to be in it together, and to like each other besides.

The decision to continue also reflects the changing reality of cancer and its treatment. The spread of Mrs. Edwards's breast cancer to her bones means that she probably can't be cured in the sense of being declared cancer free. But with improving treatments and new, less toxic anticancer drugs, she could live her currently active life for many more years. "I don't expect my life to be significantly different," Mrs. Edwards said yesterday, in a demonstration of fortitude that is itself a lesson for the rest of us. God speed.


It is hard to think of a politician with whom I have more fundamental disagreements. But their announcement was classy and well done. I hope his candidacy gets pummeled to the ground in short order mind you, but I wish the two of them the best.

Posted by John Kranz at 10:35 AM

March 22, 2007

It Ain't Fair

First, a joke...

A man died and went to heaven. As he stood in front of St.Peter at the Pearly Gates, he saw a huge wall of clocks behind him.

He asked, "What are all those clocks?".

St.Peter answered, "Those are Lie-Clocks. Everyone on Earth has a Lie-Clock. Every time you lie the hands on your clock will move."

"Oh," said the man, "whose clock is that?"

"That's Mother Teresa's. The hands have never moved, indicating that she never told a lie."

"Incredible," said the man. "And whose clock is that one?"

St. Peter responded, "That's Abraham Lincoln's clock. The hands Have moved twice, telling us that Abe told only two lies in his entire Life."

"Where's Hillary Clinton's clock?" asked the man. [of all the questions to ask St Peter -ed]

"Hillary's clock is in Jesus' office. He's using it as a ceiling fan."


The Hill (not Hillary)...
Former President Bill Clinton yesterday complained that “it’s just not fair” the way his wife, presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), is being depicted for her controversial Iraq war vote.

Speaking to hundreds of supporters on conference call, the former president said, “I don’t have a problem with anything Barack Obama [has] said on this,” but “to characterize Hillary and Obama’s positions on the war as polar opposites is ludicrous.

“This dichotomy that’s been set up to allow him to become the raging hero of the anti-war crowd on the Internet is just factually inaccurate.”


Of all things that give me the chills about a second Clinton presidency, it's the aforementioned spinning.
He said he had re-read the Iraq resolution last week, and that his wife had voted only for “coercive inspections.” Clinton justified his wife’s refusal to apologize for her vote by explaining that she was acting out of concern that future presidents might need similar language authorizing “coercive inspections to avoid conflict.”

“It’s just not fair to say that people who voted for the resolution wanted war,” Clinton said.


Ahem... pardon my language.

The title of the f*cking resolution is "Joint Resolution to Authorize the Use of United States Armed Forces Against Iraq.

I guess you could technically argue that it doesn't say "invade Iraq," but it certainly says it's possible... and that's without even reading the text.

Besides, the only reason the coercive inspections were even happening were the thousands of American soldiers massing in Saudi Arabia.

Nobody called that 2002 resolution anything but the war declaration. Grr. Who is she kidding? Senator Kerry famously quipped "I voted for it, before I voted against it!" when defending his vote.

Who is fooled by the triangulation?

Posted by AlexC at 11:41 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Amen, the old 2-for-1 deal is more freighting today than it was in 1992.

Give her the escape hatch, even. What do these people think would have been accomplished with her coercive inspections? How can you possibly and plausibly describe a good outcome that does not involve coalition boots on the ground?

Posted by: jk at March 23, 2007 10:31 AM

The Rapidly Advancing 2008 Primary Date

Governor Rendell ought to amend his plan to move the Pa primary to February, because Florida is looking at end of January.

Hoping to muscle Florida into a pre-eminent role in picking next year's Democratic and Republican presidential candidates, the state House voted Wednesday to leapfrog almost all the other states and set a Jan. 29 primary, with an option to go even earlier.

One of these days, the political class is going to realize, we're all growing tired of a campaign season that's a year ahead of schedule.

Posted by AlexC at 10:59 PM

March 19, 2007

Maybe Sanford?

Hmmm...

Gov. Mark Sanford says he’s not running for president in 2008.

That’s the official line.

But nearly every week there’s another sign that Sanford might be running for something.


Real live pigs in Congress is what we'd get with a Vice President Sanford.

Read it all.

Posted by AlexC at 11:03 AM

March 11, 2007

HRC = JFK?

People and their inflated egos.

Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton invoked the campaign of the nation's lone Catholic president, John Kennedy, last night as she talked about her challenge in becoming the first female commander-in-chief.

"He was smart, he was dynamic, he was inspiring and he was Catholic. A lot of people back then [1960] said, 'America will never elect a Catholic as president,' " the White House hopeful told the New Hampshire Democrats' 100 Club fund-raiser here.

"But those who gathered here almost a half century ago knew better," she said. "They believed America was bigger than that and Americans would give Sen. John F. Kennedy a fair shake, and the rest, as they say, is history."


Yeah. Let's just pray a Hillary presidency would end better.

Posted by AlexC at 10:01 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

If she'd embrace his tax cutting...

Posted by: jk at March 11, 2007 12:58 PM
But jk thinks:

Heh. OandO asks Where's Lloyd Benson when you need him?

Posted by: jk at March 12, 2007 10:21 AM

March 6, 2007

Continued Lack of Introspection

I've long said that the modern liberal does not have a capacity for introspection, or deliberately snuffs it out.

Witness.

[Democrat candidate John] Edwards, in an interview with the Web site Beliefnet.com, said Jesus would be most upset with the selfishness of Americans and the country's willingness to go to war "when it's not necessary."

"I think that Jesus would be disappointed in our ignoring the plight of those around us who are suffering and our focus on our own selfish short-term needs," Edwards told the site. "I think he would be appalled, actually."


Former Senator Edwards then retired to his 20,000 square foot mansion, before stopping off at Al Gore's mansion for a suntan.

I don't be begrudge these men their wares... but c'mon. Look in the mirror once in a while without combing your hair.

Posted by AlexC at 11:24 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

Please, ac, he has people to comb his hair for him...

Posted by: jk at March 6, 2007 12:47 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Give the man some credit. He combs his own... but the people hold the mirror and spray fixative.

(see video, above, because i can't post a video in the comments)

Posted by: AlexC at March 6, 2007 4:46 PM
But johngalt thinks:

ROTFLMAO! (Make sure your sound is turned on.)

While I'm tempted to engage in a defense of Ann Coulter's recent comment, I won't (because I don't want to have to go into rehab.) Instead I'll remind readers that it's hard work being a wannabe.

Posted by: johngalt at March 6, 2007 7:40 PM

March 5, 2007

Clinton and Obama in Selma

I watched C-SPAN's "Road to the White House" yesterday. It's not that I have no life whatsoever. I had a bad drug reaction and didn't feel well enough to research 19th Century jurisprudence, so I watched the candidates.

Senator Obama was the best of the lot, but he was not pitch perfect by any measure. He gave a good speech, but wandered in text and timbre. At times he would find the prosody of the southern preacher, but the next sentence would come out introspective and overtly nuanced. Good, but not the singing performance we saw at the 2004 convention.

Obama scored some points with me by asking for more responsibility from the African American community. Yes, let's make the schools better -- but let us also teach our children that learning to read is not "acting white." Let us pursue equality in government -- but let us also realize that fatherhood does not end at conception. These were powerful applause lines in the southern, black church and they differentiate Obama from the crowd.

Senator Clinton gave a forced delivery. Many years ago, we all lost track of what the natural HRC looked or talked like. She speechifies instead of speaks now, and she felt that the Reverential Cadence was required. It's true that I'm a tough critic of hers, but I'll have to agree with John Fund, who wrote in OpionionJournal's Political Diary:

Mrs. Clinton also drew a standing-room only crowd, but her speech suffered from her delivery. At times, she sounded shrill or bombastic. Her stirring text made an appealing case for why she as a white woman saw herself as a "grateful beneficiary of Selma" and the progress it sparked, but the crowd reaction was much less than what Bill Clinton would have received. "In [Bill] Clinton's hands that speech would have blown the doors off of the church," one Democratic consultant told me. "It's just the latest example of how she has every asset in this campaign except charisma."

A couple of blogs have made sport of her fake Southern Accent but the whole thing was forced.

I was also struck by the religious pose struck by both candidates. Representing what I think of as the secular party, both took a tone that I cannot imagine a Republic trying. Senator Clinton began with "This is the day that the Lord has made, let us be glad and rejoice!" Senator Obama, in a nice riff, compared the 1965 civil rights marchers to "the Moses Generation" and his "the Joshua Generation" needing to complete the hard work the first have started. It made a good point, and it gave homage to the oldsters without pledging fealty to the Sharpton-Jackson-Mfume wing.

Yet I cannot imagine a GOP candidate trying -- or getting away with -- a parable as political speech. Rightly or wrongly, I think they'd be hung in the press.

From Alabama. C-SPAN took us next to New Hampshire, to a house meeting with Senator John Edwards. He was likeable. Of course, he spoke all the claptrap about the need for unions and the vanishing middle class, the need for universal health care (which he’ll pay for by [everybody sing] "rolling back the Bush tax cuts on the wealthiest Americans!") Somebody teed up a softball question for him on how his campaign will differ from Kerry-Edwards 2004. The questioner was giving him a chance to whine about how the election was stolen, but Edwards answered a better question. I won't talk about the other campaign, but I will talk about mine and you can draw the difference, said Edwards. Every American will know exactly where I stand on nationalized health care, I'm for it, raising people out of poverty, I'm against it [yes, he said that but the tone made clear what he was saying] and where I stand on Iraq.

I must struggle to say something nice about Senator Edwards, so I'll take that. He will stake out his positions more than his Democratic opponents. Yes, he's pandered a bit on Israel and Iran, but he won’t triangulate or nuance the electorate to death. People will know where he stands, and if the nation should vote for that, perhaps the nation deserves him.

No, I don't think I’ll be switching parties anytime soon.


Posted by John Kranz at 1:55 PM

March 1, 2007

Rudy's Judges

A good friend of this blog emails a Politico.com link: Giuliani-Appointed Judges Tend to Lean to the Left

When Rudy Giuliani faces Republicans concerned about his support of gay rights and legal abortion, he reassures them that he is a conservative on the decisions that matter most.

"I would want judges who are strict constructionists because I am," he told South Carolina Republicans last month. "Those are the kinds of justices I would appoint -- Scalia, Alito and Roberts."

But most of Giuliani's judicial appointments during his eight years as mayor of New York were hardly in the model of Chief Justice John Roberts or Samuel Alito -- much less aggressive conservatives in the mold of Antonin Scalia.

A Politico review of the 75 judges Giuliani appointed to three of New York state's lower courts found that Democrats outnumbered Republicans by more than 8 to 1. One of his appointments was an officer of the International Association of Lesbian and Gay Judges. Another ruled that the state law banning liquor sales on Sundays was unconstitutional because it was insufficiently secular.


I'm rather unfazed, for three reasons:

1) He was Mayor of New York, and was not elected with a conservative mandate. A good friend of mine registers himself as a Democrat in Boulder, although he is about as much a Democrat as is Karl Rove. He explains that that is the game in Boulder, and if you want to play, you play on that field. I think this applies to NYC judges as well.

2) I love Nino (Associate Justice Scalia) as much as anybody, but after Raich I realized that he is not the ideal justice (Clarence Thomas may be). I think Scalia legislates conservatism from the bench. My ideal justice interprets. And being an officer of the International Assn of Gay and Lesbian Judges does not preclude that. I concur that not selling liquor on Sunday is non-secular and likely conflicts with the New York State Constitution.

3) I don't like this one, but I am going to use it many times. Republican voters do not have the deep bench in 2008 that they did in 2000. If Phil Grahm decides to run instead of flacking for Senator McCain, I may switch. In the meantime, there is nobody else in the race who interests me at all.

Giuliani 2008. Though I will concede that judges -- irrespective of campaign promises -- would be the weak link in my support.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:19 AM | Comments (3)
But AlexC thinks:

Gingrich?

Posted by: AlexC at March 1, 2007 12:58 PM
But Terri thinks:

I'm with you JK. I would easily vote for Rudy. (actually, any of the Republican field over the Dems)

Posted by: Terri at March 1, 2007 1:48 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Rudy and/or McCain over Shrillary and/or Obama in Pennsylvania! Holy s**t, how did THAT happen??

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at March 1, 2007 9:55 PM

February 28, 2007

Why Rudy

I'm warming up to Rudy, more and more, despite the DAWG stuff.

But here's another reason.

Taranto recounts the story of professor at a prestigious university telling him, at a party, back in 1993 that someone needed to "assassinate" Rudy Giuliani.

If he drives liberals that sort of batshit, pro-assassination crazy, he can't be that liberal, can he?

There was a Giuliani Derangement Syndrome in NYC through the nineties. That fact alone should be somewhat comforting to conservatives fearing his nomination.


Indeed, I remember that. They hated him.

Posted by AlexC at 4:42 PM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

Welcome aboard! TNR has a story Giuliani: Worse Than Bush?" (To be fair, the text doesn’t live up to the headline). But it's fair to judge a man by the enemies he keeps.

On DAWG, we must remember that a true blockhead-Luddite- science-refutin'-denyer has not yet thrown his endangered white rhino hide hat into the ring.

Posted by: jk at February 28, 2007 6:57 PM

February 27, 2007

Golden in CA

Michael McClellan has a a good piece in TCS Daily "Why Giuliani Is Golden."

He encounters California Republicans who, like me, value McCain's military service and respect his dedication to the war -- but, also like me, don't trust him and cannot completely forgive him for past actions. I think this point captures it:

Given their disparate ascents to the national stage, Giuliani's enduring image is more conservative than McCain's. At the risk of oversimplifying, it is perhaps fair to say that Giuliani's image is loudly conservative and quietly moderate, whereas McCain's image is loudly moderate and quietly conservative. These disparate images have taken hold among California Republicans, and Giuliani's image is blowing McCain's out of the water.

I still stay up late at night worrying about what the Clinton oppo-research machine has on the non-parsimonious pol. But I m settling more on his candidacy every day.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:39 PM

February 26, 2007

I Cannot Support This Guy

Unless Hizzoner Mayor Giuliani comes out this week for Nationalized Oil, he has my support all the way. His competitors for the GOP 2008 nomination have disqualified themselves.

McCain's tiresome California rant against the Bush Administration sent me packing last week. I was going to purchase the domain readytosettleformccain.com but I'm not -- hit GoDaddy, it's up for grabs if you want it,

I don't care if Governor Romney is Mormon, Rosicrucian or Zoroastrian. But his --let me be fair, here -- insane health care boondoggle portends poorly for his belief in markets and liberal economics.

Sally Pipes writes in the WSJ Ed Page today (paid link) that RomneyCare is more than 150% over budget, not meeting its goals, and premiums are 150% of estimations as well.

When then-Gov. Mitt Romney, a Republican, introduced a universal health-insurance plan in the Bay State early last year, it was widely acclaimed. But less than a year after passage, RomneyCare is in the intensive care unit, soon to be wheeled into hospice.

The first signs of trouble appeared last August. In a filing to support general obligation bonds, officials projected that the new plan would increase state government health-care spending by $276.4 million in 2007. That's $151 million more than what the public had been told the plan would cost. Meanwhile, the state's new bureaucracy, busily signing up people for free care, has run into trouble finding affordable plans for those who have to pay. The premiums for subsidized plans would consume up to 6% of a person's income -- prompting calls from activists and echoes from politicians that they should be exempted from the individual mandate. So much for universal coverage.

Reality fully hit in late January of this year, when private insurers submitted bids to the bureaucracy that would administer the new program. The average premium for the unsubsidized plans was not $200 per month -- as Mr. Romney promised from the stump -- but rather $380. That's more than 15% of the target audiences' income -- and for a plan with a $2,000 deductible and a total cost


Yes, it's better than single-payer. But if we must have such government intrusion into health care, let's not put a Republican's name on it. Let's give libertarian-leaners a thread of reward for supporting the GOP.

Posted by John Kranz at 11:51 AM | Comments (1)
But Charlie on the PA Tpk thinks:

Having been born and raised in NYC, and still working in the greater NY area to this day, I saw a lot of Mr. Guiliani's efforts first hand.

I worked in midtown in the years between his predecessor and Mr. Guiliani's term, and the change in the city was more than obvious to the naked eye (and in regards to Time Sq, please excuse that pun).

So in comparison to the current declared candidates, Mr. G has my support.

But I do hope he doesn't call himself a Conservative... that's just wrong.

Posted by: Charlie on the PA Tpk at February 26, 2007 2:21 PM

February 24, 2007

Hope!

Fiscal HAWK Mark Sanford...

- South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford, who has yet to offer an endorsement in the 2008 Republican presidential contest, said today that he would not completely rule out accepting the number two spot on the ticket.

"Anybody who says they wouldn't look at something of that magnitude isn't being honest," Sanford said in an interview from his Capitol office.

Sanford, who won a convincing re-election last fall, cautioned that because of his four young sons (or "family dynamics," as he put it), he is unlikely to continue in elected office past 2010, but said he still wants to remain in the policy arena.

"We want to look for a way we can continue to advance ideas," said the former maverick congressman and wonk in an office that included a healthy stack of books.

Posted by AlexC at 12:52 AM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Mort Kondracke teased Fred Barnes on FOXNews's "Beltway Boys" that "[Barnes’s] heroes, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Mark Sanford, have both come out supporting man-made global warming."

All the same, sign me up for a Giuliani-Sanford ticket.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2007 12:03 PM
But jk thinks:

UPDATE: Sanford embraces the DAWG, but writes a smart piece calling for conservatives to enter the debate and not allow the left to enact top-down government heavy solutions.

It's a good read.

Posted by: jk at February 25, 2007 12:18 PM

February 22, 2007

McCain Chooses DAWG, jk chooses Giuliani

Blog brother AlexC was disappointed with Mayor Giuliani’s acceptance of global warming.

I looked for a brick to throw at the TV last night, when Senator McCain was waltzing around the Golden State bashing the President. The LATimes sez McCain slams Bush on global warming, Iraq policy

"I would assess this administration's record on global warming as terrible," McCain said, recalling that he got "no cooperation from the administration" at Senate hearings on the subject. He pronounced himself "very happy to see the president mention global warming and a renewed commitment from the administration to this issue." But he added tartly: "It's long overdue."

Overdue Senator, is my endorsement of your opponent in the GOP primaries.

He can believe what he wants, and he can certainly criticize an unpopular president in the geographic locus of his unpopularity. But the grandstanding, self-righteous McCain was on display yesterday -- and I really don't like that guy. I will, of course, support Senator McCain should he win the GOP nomination, but I will not support him in the primaries.

Giuliani 2008.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:36 PM

February 19, 2007

Sinking Hillary

Somehow I think this idea is going nowhere.

If Hillary Rodham Clinton wins the presidency, some top Democrats would like to see her husband, former President Bill Clinton, appointed to serve out Hillary’s unexpired Senate term.

“As a senator, he’d be a knockout,” said Harold Ickes, who was once a top White House aide to Bill Clinton and now gives behind-the-scenes advice to Hillary. “He knows issues, he loves public policy and he’s a good politician.”

Some Democrats and political analysts say Bill Clinton would thrive in the world’s greatest deliberative body, much like Lyndon Johnson did before he became president.

“President Clinton would excel in the Senate,” said Paul Begala, who helped Bill Clinton get elected and served in the White House as a top aide.

“Why not?” Begala added. “He excelled as attorney general and governor of Arkansas, he excelled as president and he’s been a model of the modern Senate spouse.”

Posted by AlexC at 9:28 AM | Comments (3)
But jk thinks:

If the other choices are Andrew Cuomo and Robert F. Kennedy, Jr. let's bring back Bill.

Kind of funny that Mr. Begala forgets the "disbarred" bity.

Posted by: jk at February 19, 2007 11:04 AM
But AlexC thinks:

Disbarring is no big deal. This is from the party that put Congressman "Icebox" Jefferson on the Homeland Security panel.

Posted by: AlexC at February 19, 2007 11:48 AM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

Slightly OT, but here in Sillydelphia, a man under Federal indictment is running for mayor. And the current mayor is his brother, who was/is also under the federal microscope!

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at February 19, 2007 8:20 PM

February 18, 2007

McCain vs Roe vs Wade

Too late.

Republican presidential candidate John McCain, looking to improve his standing with the party's conservative voters, said Sunday the court decision that legalized abortion should be overturned.

"I do not support Roe versus Wade. It should be overturned," the Arizona senator told about 800 people in South Carolina, one of the early voting states.

McCain also vowed that if elected, he would appoint judges who "strictly interpret the Constitution of the United States and do not legislate from the bench."


It'd be nice to have Senators who strictly interpret the Constitution too. But we're talking about Campaign Finance Reform. Constitution be damned.

Posted by AlexC at 10:21 PM

February 13, 2007

A Crush

When a candidate can tell you something you don't want to hear, it could be good or bad.

Rudy gives more fealty to the DAWG than I'd like, But I enjoy hearing the man speak.

It's a good test case for the kind of crap we'd have to endure during a Giuliani campaign/administration. I can take it.

UPDATE: The commenters on Pajamas Media are not so forgiving as I. This could be an unfortunate litmus test in 2008.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:14 PM

February 11, 2007

Two Americas, Two McCains

The WaPo takes a whack at Senator McCain today in a prominent, bylined story: McCain Taps Cash He Sought To Limit.

John Solomon reports on the Senator's decision to eschew public financing limits, then delivers a sequence of McCain the reformer vs. McCain the candidate comparisons.

McCain the reformer relentlessly argued that six- and seven-figure "soft money" checks that corporations, wealthy individuals and unions were giving to political parties to influence elections were corrupting American politics. "The voices of average Americans have been drowned out by the deafening racket of campaign cash," he warned just a few years ago.

McCain the candidate has enlisted some of the same GOP fundraising giants who created and flourished in the soft-money system, including Bush's fundraising "Pioneers" and "Rangers," who earned their designations by raising at least $100,000 or $200,000 for his campaigns.


Ouch. But it is not undeserved. It makes him look hypocritical to those who don't know him, and reminds those of us who do that his signature issue was to restrict free speech.

The buzz this weekend is all about HIzzoner the Mayor of America. I think I may be ready for the Rudy bandwagon. Good on the war, good on economics. He might be able to sell this "I am moderate on social issues but will pick good SCOTUS justices" to the conservative side of the party.

I am fearful of what the Clinton opposition machine will turn up on the not always cautious or parsimonious pol, but this weekend finds me in the Rudy camp. He's the hawkish-libertarian's candidate.

Posted by John Kranz at 12:10 PM | Comments (5)
But AlexC thinks:

JK, i'm in the same boat. I'm leaning towards Rudy.

I can forgive his social issues, if we get good judges.


McCain I can't trust. Maybe as Giuliani's SecDef....

Posted by: AlexC at February 11, 2007 2:10 PM
But jk thinks:

I like the SecDef plan.

You are the ThreeSources social conservative (not the most hotly contested appointment), AC. If you're willing to play...

It looks like The Weekly Standard folks are giving him a serious opportunity, though the National Review staff, especially the online people is pretty staunchly opposed.

JG had made a pretty good point that a year before the primaries is a pretty good time to be splintered. But we do not have a deep bench this year, and I hate to see any credible candidate litmus-tested out.

Posted by: jk at February 11, 2007 5:24 PM
But sugarchuck thinks:

Darn! I thought I was the ThreeSources social conservative. I should have contested the appointment.

Posted by: sugarchuck at February 11, 2007 8:04 PM
But mdmhvonpa thinks:

It seems to me that we never really get what we read on the package label. I think that the last honest sale we got was Regan (please come back and bring the Duke with you). Rudy, however, is so damn arrogant he would probably do exactly what he said. Surviving a bush with death tends to make you a bit more immune to the vicissitudes of life. Really, I like that in a leader. I would like it even more if he got elected and bitch-slapped Nancy P.

Posted by: mdmhvonpa at February 12, 2007 10:26 AM
But jk thinks:

RE: ThreeSources Social Conservative.

Cage match? The two of you enter an Octagonal ring with a copy of Edmund Burke's "Reflections on the Revolution in France" and Russell Kirk's "The Conservative Mind." Last guy standing takes the crown.

Posted by: jk at February 12, 2007 10:31 AM

February 7, 2007

jk agrees with Hugh

It happens. We have a common, internecine, enemy. Both Hugh Hewitt and I have read NRO Corner's disparagement of Mayor Giuliani with a mixture of bemusement and fear.

Hugh invites Human Events' Terry Jeffrey onto his program to pin him down. You don't like Hizzoner Rudy, whom would you support? Jeffrey waffles a little and suggests Rep. Tom Tancredo. I have sworn off Tancredo jokes, for the time being, but must agree with Hugh that Rep. Tancredo is not a serious candidate, and that the splintering of the Right this soon is not a good sign.

This answer is an ominous one for the GOP. Tancredo is not a serious candidate, but Jeffrey is a serious opinion-leader on the right. Jeffrey's willingness to publicly bless a protest candidate signals that many on the right would rather fight doomed battles than get to the business of electing a nominee who can be elected president. The irony is that in our conversation Jeffrey points to the importance of the Supreme Court's likely vacancies in his critique of Rudy, but then in effect endorses the sort of fecklessness in politics that almost guarantees that Hillary gets the SCOTUS appointments from January, 2009 to October, 2012.

Mr. Hewitt and I disagree on many things but I think we are united as pragmatists. I'll be giving The Mayor of America a good long look, myself. He is absolute in his support of the war, and his squishier social views may attract moderates. I wish he were more solid on the Second Amendment but it is hardly the issue of our time.

UPDATE Commenter "Enlightenment" in not a big fan of the mayor and left a long comment questioning the conventional storyline of 9/11. I cut it from the comments to save space, but you can click "Continue reading" for the umm, errr, enlightenment.

Ah, Rudy Giuliani. Here's a great campaign slogan for him: "Giuliani for president, because on 9/11 I put on a N.Y. Fire Dept. baseball cap and walked around". Speaking of 9/11...

One thing that struck me as odd in the days after 9/11 was Bush saying "We will not tolerate conspiracy theories [regarding 9/11]". Sure enough there have been some wacky conspiracy theories surrounding the events of that day. The most far-fetched and patently ridiculous one that I've ever heard goes like this: Nineteen hijackers who claimed to be devout Muslims but yet were so un-Muslim as to be getting drunk all the time, doing cocaine and frequenting strip clubs decided to hijack four airliners and fly them into buildings in the northeastern U.S., the area of the country that is the most thick with fighter bases. After leaving a Koran on a barstool at a strip bar after getting shitfaced drunk on the night before, then writing a suicide note/inspirational letter that sounded like it was written by someone with next to no knowledge of Islam, they went to bed and got up the next morning hung over and carried out their devious plan. Nevermind the fact that of the four "pilots" among them there was not a one that could handle a Cessna or a Piper Cub let alone fly a jumbo jet, and the one assigned the most difficult task of all, Hani Hanjour, was so laughably incompetent that he was the worst fake "pilot" of the bunch, with someone who was there when he was attempting to fly a small airplane saying that Hanjour was so clumsy that he was unsure if he had driven a car before. Nevermind the fact that they received very rudimentary flight training at Pensacola Naval Air Station, making them more likely to have been C.I.A. assets than Islamic fundamentalist terrorists. So on to the airports after Mohammed Atta supposedly leaves two rental cars at two impossibly far-removed locations. So they hijack all four airliners and at this time passengers on United 93 start making a bunch of cell phone calls from 35,000 feet in the air to tell people what was going on. Nevermind the fact that cell phones wouldn't work very well above 4,000 feet, and wouldn't work at ALL above 8,000 feet. But the conspiracy theorists won't let that fact get in the way of a good fantasy. That is one of the little things you "aren't supposed to think about". Nevermind that one of the callers called his mom and said his first and last name ("Hi mom, this is Mark Bingham"), more like he was reading from a list than calling his own mom. Anyway, when these airliners each deviated from their flight plan and didn't respond to ground control, NORAD would any other time have followed standard operating procedure (and did NOT have to be told by F.A.A. that there were hijackings because they were watching the same events unfold on their own radar) which means fighter jets would be scrambled from the nearest base where they were available on standby within a few minutes, just like every other time when airliners stray off course. But of course on 9/11 this didn't happen, not even close. Somehow these "hijackers" must have used magical powers to cause NORAD to stand down, as ridiculous as this sounds because total inaction from the most high-tech and professional Air Force in the world would be necessary to carry out their tasks. So on the most important day in its history the Air Force was totally worthless. Then they had to make one of the airliners look like a smaller plane, because unknown to them the Naudet brothers had a videocamera to capture the only known footage of the North Tower crash, and this footage shows something that doesn't look like a jumbo jet, but didn't have to bother with the South Tower jet disguising itself because that was the one we were "supposed to see". Anyway, as for the Pentagon they had to have Hani Hanjour fly his airliner like it was a fighter plane, making a high G-force corkscrew turn that no real airliner can do, in making its descent to strike the Pentagon. But these "hijackers" wanted to make sure Rumsfeld survived so they went out of their way to hit the farthest point in the building from where Rumsfeld and the top brass are located. And this worked out rather well for the military personnel in the Pentagon, since the side that was hit was the part that was under renovation at the time with few military personnel present compared to construction workers. Still more fortuitous for the Pentagon, the side that was hit had just before 9/11 been structurally reinforced to prevent a large fire there from spreading elsewhere in the building. Awful nice of them to pick that part to hit, huh? Then the airliner vaporized itself into nothing but tiny unidentifiable pieces most no bigger than a fist, unlike the crash of a real airliner when you will be able to see at least some identifiable parts, like crumpled wings, broken tail section etc. Why, Hani Hanjour the terrible pilot flew that airliner so good that even though he hit the Pentagon on the ground floor the engines didn't even drag the ground!! Imagine that!! Though the airliner vaporized itself on impact it only made a tiny 16 foot hole in the building. Amazing. Meanwhile, though the planes hitting the Twin Towers caused fires small enough for the firefighters to be heard on their radios saying "We just need 2 hoses and we can knock this fire down" attesting to the small size of it, somehow they must have used magical powers from beyond the grave to make this morph into a raging inferno capable of making the steel on all forty-seven main support columns (not to mention the over 100 smaller support columns) soften and buckle, then all fail at once. Hmmm. Then still more magic was used to make the building totally defy physics as well as common sense in having the uppermost floors pass through the remainder of the building as quickly, meaning as effortlessly, as falling through air, a feat that without magic could only be done with explosives. Then exactly 30 minutes later the North Tower collapses in precisely the same freefall physics-defying manner. Incredible. Not to mention the fact that both collapsed at a uniform rate too, not slowing down, which also defies physics because as the uppermost floors crash into and through each successive floor beneath them they would shed more and more energy each time, thus slowing itself down. Common sense tells you this is not possible without either the hijackers' magical powers or explosives. To emphasize their telekinetic prowess, later in the day they made a third building, WTC # 7, collapse also at freefall rate though no plane or any major debris hit it. Amazing guys these magical hijackers. But we know it had to be "Muslim hijackers" the conspiracy theorist will tell you because (now don't laugh) one of their passports was "found" a couple days later near Ground Zero, miraculously "surviving" the fire that we were told incinerated planes, passengers and black boxes, and also "survived" the collapse of the building it was in. When common sense tells you if that were true then they should start making buildings and airliners out of heavy paper and plastic so as to be "indestructable" like that magic passport. The hijackers even used their magical powers to bring at least seven of their number back to life, to appear at american embassies outraged at being blamed for 9/11!! BBC reported on that and it is still online. Nevertheless, they also used magical powers to make the american government look like it was covering something up in the aftermath of this, what with the hasty removal of the steel debris and having it driven to ports in trucks with GPS locators on them, to be shipped overseas to China and India to be melted down. When common sense again tells you that this is paradoxical in that if the steel was so unimportant that they didn't bother saving some for analysis but so important as to require GPS locators on the trucks with one driver losing his job because he stopped to get lunch. Hmmmm. Further making themselves look guilty, the Bush administration steadfastly refused for over a year to allow a commission to investigate 9/11 to even be formed, only agreeing to it on the conditions that they get to dictate its scope, meaning it was based on the false pretense of the "official story" being true with no other alternatives allowed to be considered, handpicked all its members making sure the ones picked had vested interests in the truth remaining buried, and with Bush and Cheney only "testifying" together, only for an hour, behind closed doors, with their attorneys present and with their "testimonies" not being recorded by tape or even written down in notes. Yes, this whole story smacks of the utmost idiocy and fantastic far-fetched lying, but it is amazingly enough what some people believe. Even now, five years later, the provably false fairy tale of the "nineteen hijackers" is heard repeated again and again, and is accepted without question by so many Americans. Which is itself a testament to the innate psychological cowardice of the American sheeple, i mean people, and their abject willingness to believe something, ANYTHING, no matter how ridiculous in order to avoid facing a scary uncomfortable truth. Time to wake up America.

Posted by John Kranz at 6:11 PM | Comments (2)
But johngalt thinks:

The Second Amendment is as close as I come to being a one-issue voter, at least on domestic policy. I still prefer Rudy to McCain.

I'm not sure I agree though that "the splintering of the Right this soon is not a good sign." Splintering is a natural part of competition, and is to be welcomed. And the earlier the better. What you should worry about is splintering after a consensus has already been built.

Posted by: johngalt at February 8, 2007 3:29 PM
But jk thinks:

I don't question its importance, I'm just a bit cocky with recent victories. The gun control lobby seems to be in remission of late. Democrats have not found it a winning issue, and there will be some serious trepidation taking peoples' guns in perilous times.

A squish on guns might be tolerable in '08. Especially if the other choices are "No First Amendment" McCain and "Massachusetts Health Care for All!" Romney.

Posted by: jk at February 8, 2007 5:23 PM

February 1, 2007

Sen Hagel for Shoe Czar!

Deputy Editor Mark Lasswell, of the Wall Street Journal has a little fun with Senator Chuck Hagel's recent soundbite-of-the-week, lambasting his fellow Senators "If you want a safe job -- sell shoes!"

Lasswell finds the comparison quizzical. Checking police statistics, selling shoes has a nonzero robbery rate. Schumpeterian gales and consolidation make the career choice not completely safe for job security. Lasswell points out, deftly, what I suspect we all thought when we saw it. There cannot possibly be a cushier job than U.S. Senator.

But then as now, senators will find a way to make their views known. One of Sen. Hagel's neighbors from out West, for instance, Sen. Mike Enzi, a Wyoming Republican, voted for the resolution on Iraq in 2002 and doesn't need to be dared to express his support for the president's war policy in 2007. The senator simply posts it on his Web site: "President Bush is making strategy adjustments in order to improve stability. We're not talking about just Iraq here. We are trying to prevent a catastrophic blowup that would not only be traumatic for the Middle East, but would send reverberations throughout the world." As it happens, before Sen. Enzi got started in politics, he was a small-business owner with stores in Wyoming and eventually one over in Sen. Hagel's home state. What sort of business? Selling shoes.

Posted by John Kranz at 1:11 PM

January 30, 2007

Two Americas, Nine Bathrooms

I'm heartbroken that a nice, sincere, serious man like Senator John Edwards is in such hot water over his new home. John Fund writes about the populist firebrand's new digs in OpinionJournal Political Diary:

Former Senator John Edwards continues to wow crowds with his famous "Two Americas" speech, in which he knits together populist themes in a rousing call for an updated form of class warfare. The bottom line: Corporations must be curbed and the rich taxed more heavily.

But Mr. Edwards is running into a surprising amount of flak over his own lifestyle. Reporters have noted that the former trial lawyer amassed a fortune in personal-injury cases and now is proudly living on the pretty side of the tracks. Also press accounts have noted that, despite his stump speech portraying himself as the "son of a mill worker," Mr. Edwards was actually the son of a middle manager.

The scrutiny has extended to his new house. The Raleigh News & Observer, the most influential paper in his home state of North Carolina, says Mr. Edwards is facing questions about whether "there is any contradiction between" his ownership of 29,000 square foot estate in nearby Chapel Hill and his supposed identification with the poor and downtrodden. His home comes complete with a basketball court, a squash court, a swimming pool and a four-story tower. It's been dubbed "a plantation" and "Uncle John's Cabin." Comedian Jay Leno has been unsparing in his needling of the self-appointed tribune of the working class: "I guess we know which of the two Americas he lives in."


I think folks are making a big deal of nothing. I hear the squash court is not even regulation size...

UPDATE: It's a cheap shot, but a funny cheap shot: Dean Burnett brings us a link to that YouTube of Edwards fixing his hair. You know you want to see it again, cick on over. Go ahead.

Posted by John Kranz at 3:26 PM | Comments (1)
But AlexC thinks:

He's a phony... and Barnett's post nails it.

Posted by: AlexC at January 31, 2007 11:15 AM

January 23, 2007

Romneycare Going Down?

I was happy to see Wal*Mart win one in court last week because I love to champion the forces of mercantilism over the needs of low-wage workers. I've shilled for Big Oil and Big Pharma on these pages, why not Big Retail (with Big Customers who eat lots of Little Debbie cakes)?

Seriously, the Maryland law was an insane government intrusion into a private business, comically picking a single private business with which to interfere.

The news is better than I realized at the time. The WSJ Ed Page points out (paid link, sorry!) that this ruling spells trouble for Gov. Mitt Romney's Massachusetts and Gov. Schwarzenegger's California health care coercions mandates.

Judge J. Frederick Motz wrote for that court that "The Act violates Erisa's fundamental purpose of permitting multi-state employers to maintain nationwide health and welfare plans, providing uniform nationwide benefits and permitting uniform national administration." Last week's Fourth Circuit ruling affirmed that decision, and it could spell trouble for the California and Massachusetts schemes.

Leave aside that the plan muscled into law by Maryland's Democratic legislature was far less ambitious. The basic similarity is that all three plans feature employer mandates or taxes aimed at changing employee-benefit plans -- in this case by requiring employers to provide health insurance.

Like the Maryland law, the California plan is explicit on the point, and would require all firms with 10 or more employers to provide health care or pay a 4% tax. This would seem clearly illegal according to the reasoning of the Fourth Circuit, which also said that the ostensibly "voluntary" nature of the Maryland tax was irrelevant from the standpoint of Erisa. No reasonable firm, it said, could be expected to choose to pay money to the state to avoid changing its employee-benefit plan.

Mr. Romney's Massachusetts scheme is slightly different, since it doesn't feature the same kind of percentage tax. But not only would Massachusetts charge a $295-a-head fee to employers that don't provide insurance, it would also make them liable for the catastrophic medical costs of uninsured employees. Again this is likely to fall afoul of Erisa, says one legal expert with whom we spoke, because these penalties are aimed at changing employee-benefit plans that are supposed to be voluntary according to federal law.


AlexC was mentioning the weak GOP Presidential field in 2008. I was looking at Romney before his health care plan. The same editorial says:
This week brings one other piece of bad news for proponents of the Massachusetts model, by the way. Early bids suggest the soon-to-be compulsory insurance policies that will pass muster under the scheme will be expensive -- starting at a whopping $380 per month, or $4,560 a year, for an individual. That's hardly surprising when you look at costs in other states that overregulate their insurance markets, such as New York. But it's more evidence that the better way to get people covered is to mimic the practices of less-regulated states such as Connecticut, where a 35-year-old man can get covered for as little as $50 per month.

Dukakis, Kerry, Romney: like a bad horror movie, another "Commonwealth" pol always springs up...

Posted by John Kranz at 12:20 PM

January 22, 2007

McCain In

The sun rose in the east this morning and John McCain says he's in.

    There's no question about it: Sen. John McCain is running for president in 2008, the Arizona Republican said today in an interview with the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

    While his presidential exploratory committee still must decide the right time for a formal announcement, McCain said unequivocally that he's in the race.

    "There's no doubt," McCain told the Trib. "But, right now, the Iraq issue ... is taking a lot of my attention and effort away, and I think that's appropriate. I'm still a United States senator. I've got to perform my duties."


McCain, Giuliani, Brownback, Ron Paul, ???? nobody appeals to me. At all.

Posted by AlexC at 9:47 PM | Comments (5)
But johngalt thinks:

Here's a GOP contender idea for you: Joseph Lieberman. Imagine the "bipartisanship" campaign spots showing the would be Republican president "working so hard to engage with mainstream Democrats that he actually was chosen as the vice-presidential candidate by party standard bearer, Albert Gore Jr."

How does Hillary top that? Claim that she illegally rifled through the FBI files of just as many Democrats as Republicans?

Posted by: johngalt at January 23, 2007 2:05 AM
But jk thinks:

I am thinking of buying the domain readytosettleformccainyet.com. I think I am.

A friend of the blog emails that he's looking at Gov. Huckabee of Arkansas. The Gov has received very poor marks from The Weekly Standard on Taxes.

I'm keeping a spot for Mayor Giuliani, but I am ready to settle for McCain. Our enemies will still be at war with us in January of 2009, whether we will be at war with them is the question. I hope SCOTUS stomps on his anti-free-speech signature bill, but I cannot imagine anyone better as C-in-C (even Principal Wood).

I'm ready to settle. I've done worse.

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2007 10:30 AM
But jk thinks:

JG: While Senator Lieberman would also be good on the war, his other votes are pretty standard-issue Democrat. ADA gives him a 70% rating, ACLU 83%, National Taxpayers Union 14%. Here are key votes from 2000-2004 from the Almanac of American politics:

1. Ban Drilling in ANWR Y
2. Approve Bush Tax Cuts N
3. Medicare/Rx Bill *
4. Bar Overtime Pay Regs. Y
5. Energy Bill N
6. Support Roe v. Wade Y
7. Ban Partial-Birth Abortion N
8. Assault Weapons Ban Y
9. Ban Same-Sex Marriage N
10. Ban Bunker-Buster Bomb Y
11. Fund Iraq War Y
12. Restrict Missile Defense N

There are worse, but I don't see Sen Joe as the great GOP hope.

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2007 11:18 AM
But johngalt thinks:

Fair enough brother. Would you be so kind as to share McCain's votes on the same 12 issues?

(It was meant to be tongue in cheek anyway.)

Posted by: johngalt at January 23, 2007 2:47 PM
But jk thinks:

Harrumph. Not a lot better. McCain gets a 77% from the NTU, 35 ADA, and 22 from the ACLU.

1. Ban Drilling in ANWR Y
2. Approve Bush Tax Cuts N
3. Medicare/Rx Bill N
4. Bar Overtime Pay Regs. N
5. Energy Bill N
6. Support Roe v. Wade N
7. Ban Partial-Birth Abortion Y
8. Assault Weapons Ban N
9. Ban Same-Sex Marriage N
10. Ban Bunker-Buster Bomb N
11. Fund Iraq War Y
12. Restrict Missile Defense N

Posted by: jk at January 23, 2007 3:05 PM

January 21, 2007

Left Field

Cato @ Liberty looks at the field of Democrat contenders, and is underwhelmed.

But who’s left in the race? Barack Obama, whose only stated campaign position so far is that he is in favor of hope but who votes for even more spending than Hillary. As does John Kerry, who is turning his hearing aid up higher and higher, listening for the clamor for him to run again. And John Edwards, who in his second campaign is embracing more crank economic nostrums than Huey Long.

And maybe the aforementioned Al Gore, the Lord Voldemort of liberty.

The Republicans are offering independent, centrist, and libertarian voters to the Democrats on a silver platter. And Democrats are about to compete to see who can do the most effective job of driving them away.


On the right, I heard that Ron Paul is interested in running for the Presidency, but man, he's a long shot. Real long shot.

Posted by AlexC at 11:18 AM | Comments (1)
But jk thinks:

That last line about "handing [them] to the Democrats on a silver platter" is what a friend
of mine calls "the crux of the biscuit."

Two thousand Eight, like 2006, will be a tough year to be a pragmatist. The story linked in the story you linked is the pragmatists nightmare. Libertarians handed the Democrats the Senate in '06 and might give them the White House in '08. I just don't see where liberty is served.

Ron Paul would cut and run faster than John Edwards, although his motives are purer. No thanks.

Posted by: jk at January 21, 2007 12:02 PM

December 28, 2006

The Religious Test

I "joined" the New Republic so I could see the blue-on-blue violence of Martin Peretz vs Daily Kos. But now I get their emails every couple of days.

Here's the latest.

    When Massachusetts Mitt Romney announces his bid for the Republican nomination, the race for the White House will suddenly include a Mormon. Romney's presence has led the political theorist Damon Linker to ponder the political implications of Mormonism. Is there any reason to fear a Mormon commander in chief? How should religion enter our calculus for selecting presidents? Linker takes a view that might not seem very politically correct. He argues for taking religion--and its stated beliefs--with the utmost seriousness. Such seriousness would lead a voter to reject an orthodox Mormon presidential candidate. If Romney enters the race, he'll be forced to answer the important questions that Linker poses.

Ugh. Really, haven't we as a country grown beyond this?

Clearly some on the left haven't.

Posted by AlexC at 1:28 PM | Comments (5)
But jk thinks:

I promise you heartbreak and consternation every week from TNR. But it's a fair trade for items like Peretz's Audacity of Hope, Arkansas where he speculates about Senator Clinton's perspective in facing Sen. Obama:

Hillary and Co. prepared for Mark Warner and John Edwards, Bill Richardson and Joe Biden, Tom Vilsack and the really impossible--no, deluded--dreamer John Kerry. She probably had a strategy against Gore, too. She was confident and contemptuous. And then, suddenly, she found herself running against a latter-day Martin Luther King Jr.

Posted by: jk at December 28, 2006 2:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

More relevantly, why not take the stated beliefs of ALL candidates "with the utmost seriousness?" Why should such an approach be limited only to religious candidates in general, or conservative religious candidates in particular?

Posted by: johngalt at December 28, 2006 2:49 PM
But TrekMedic251 thinks:

First, I hear ya, John.

Second, the Pope didn't take over after JFK,..why should we expect Coke, Pepsi, coffee and tea (there goes that graph, jk!)to be banned if Romney wins?

Posted by: TrekMedic251 at December 28, 2006 10:13 PM
But johngalt thinks:

The real issue here for the progressives who ponder this religion factor is not that religion is contrary to their beliefs, per se. What worries them is that religion endorses values that are more or less invariable. Modify God's law with a healthy dose of "it depends" and you'll find much less hostility from the progressives.

Posted by: johngalt at December 29, 2006 10:34 PM
But dagny thinks:

JG brings up an interesting contrast here. He is correct to point out that the progressives problem with religious politicians is that religion provides more or less invariable values and a system of right and wrong.

I don't have a problem with this as I believe in a value system of right and wrong. However, the problem with, "God's Laws," being the basis for such a system is that God's laws are only available to us on earth as interpreted by some man or other. Here I find I have some sympathy with the progressives. We clearly do not wish to be governed by God's Laws as interpreted by the islamofascists. So tell me, Mr. Romney, what government actions are taken in regards to God's laws as interpreted by a Mormon?

This seems a legitimate question to ask any political candidate.

Posted by: dagny at December 30, 2006 1:00 AM

December 16, 2006

Ditka-Norris '08

I'm really disappointed with the current crop of Republican candidates.

So I'm proposing, Ditka-Norris '08.

Ditka is a self-described ultra-ultra-ultra conservative. We're not represented in the currently announced candidates.

In Mr Norris' corner:

  • When the Boogeyman goes to sleep every night, he checks his closet for Chuck Norris.

  • Remember the Soviet Union? They decided to quit after watching a DeltaForce marathon on Satellite TV.

  • Chuck Norris is currently suing NBC, claiming Law and Order are trademarked names for his left and right legs.

Ditka vs Hillary: Ditka by 48 states.
Ditka vs Obama: 52 states, Guam and Puerto Rico join the union.
Ditka vs Indianapolis Colts: Ditka by 3 touchdowns.
Ditka vs a Hurricane: Unless the hurricane is Hurricane Ditka, it’s a blowout, no pun intended.

With Chuck Norris as his VP candidate, the electoral votes from British Columbia, Alberta and Saskatechwan are a lock.

ditka-08.jpgnorris-08.jpg

The UN will vote on a resolution of surrender in January of 2009.

Posted by AlexC at 3:03 PM | Comments (2)
But jk thinks:

Best reason: at press conferences, David Gregory will have to call him "Coach."

Posted by: jk at December 16, 2006 3:36 PM
But AlexC thinks:

Ha! ... and David Gregory, will apologize to HIM!

Posted by: AlexC at December 16, 2006 4:17 PM