Posted by: theoptimisticconservative | August 24, 2011

Is Perry the one we’re ready for?

Many comparisons are made between the situation of 2011 and the situation of the late 1970s during the Carter administration, when Americans were figuring out what a mistake it had been to elect a left-wing grammar-correcting bureaucracy zealot to the Oval Office.

But there is a big difference between the two situations, and it’s not that today there is no Soviet Union.  The difference is the character of the American people.  I’m not even talking about things like expectations for marriage and father-mother households: I’m talking about our expectations of government and society – or, as we used to put it, man and the state.  We no longer have the character and expectations of a free people, in the way Americans once did.

Before the ‘70s, Americans had not, by and large, bought into the idea of government as an agent of transformation for society or the planet.  In 2011, the evidence is that we have.  We think of government as children think of their parents:  as a source not just of food and shelter but of permissions, of ideas, of counseling and hope and the outlines of what is possible.  As parents transform their children from puling incompetents into people ready to assume a place in society, so government is now expected to both nurture and transform.

Although many warned at the time that government was getting too big and the American character was being undermined, there was still, in the 1970s, a much greater sense of self-reliance than there is now.  In comparison with 2011, there was almost nothing you did in life – for most Americans – that was a matter of “what the government would let you do.”  Constraints and restraints imposed by government were comparatively rare.  In most cases, they were crude and laughable, like Nixon’s wage and price controls in the early 1970s, or the regulation of air travel that prevented competition and kept ticket prices high (and discouraged the less well-off from availing themselves of the airlines, thus producing the wonderfully quiet, roomy, peaceful air-travel environment remembered so nostalgically by today’s senior citizens).

People in the 1970s could tell the difference between being regulated and not being regulated.  Regulation was overt.  It made the news.  Congress shouted and carried on about it – because back then, it had to be introduced and adjusted by Congress, rather than occurring as the result of bureaucratic processes in federal agencies that no more than 1000 average citizens in the entire country could locate on a map.

In 2011, Americans have no idea the extent to which they are regulated, and how much regulation costs them.  Regulation is the “new normal.”  People who can’t imagine dismantling the EPA, or OSHA, or the CPSC or the EEOC, because they vaguely fear that a bottomless pit with dragons lurks beyond the horizon of ever-increasing regulation, are not free citizens who have the mental liberty to make real choices.  Not understanding how much they are regulated, they also have no idea that a “normal” without today’s level of regulation might just be a great normal in which to live.

In the 1970s, Americans were still accustomed to greater freedom of action, and fought each new clamp on it strenuously.  In the 2010s, people don’t realize that the regulatory environment they regard as normal is what is narrowing their future by the day – and they have been trained to fear the very idea of life without incessant regulation.  They have been taught that the alternative to each and every form of regulation is destruction, despair, ruin, chaos, poverty, ignorance, injustice, disease, death, and the triumph of mean-hearted rich people.  As far as they know, there are two options, and only two: regulation, or an endless series of catastrophes.  There is no such condition as a satisfactory, unregulated outcome.  The unregulated life, to update Socrates, is not worth living.

A lot of Americans in 2011 would not elect Reagan, as their forebears did in 1980, because they don’t have the capacity to appreciate the level of genuine freedom voters wanted to return to when they put Reagan in office.  The truth is that when government has become – with our blessing – big enough to threaten Americans with federal prosecution if they resell a drop-side crib at a garage sale,* Americans have yielded up their important liberties, and are no longer eligible to exercise them.

I think Rick Perry looks like a pretty good guy.  If he’s the GOP candidate, I’ll vote for him.  But it’s important to understand that he’s more of a George W. Bush kind of good guy than a Ronald Reagan-type good guy.  He’s for business, for the middle class, for keeping taxes low and letting the people prosper.  But he doesn’t have a visceral antipathy to regulation and the enlargement of the discretionary scope of government.

It may be no accident that he and Bush have both been governor of Texas:  Texas, like much of “Red” America, has gotten to 2011 without having the reckoning with regulation that other states are having.  With its lighter regulatory load, Texas has continued to outgrow its regulatory environment, as California and New York have not.  Texas has been flying straight and level, rather than facing a painful stall-out – and what that means is that Texas’ leading politicians have not had to do the kind of serious rethinking of the trajectory of government that many among Tea Partiers and other right-wingers believe we need.

Don’t mistake me:  I’m a big fan of Texas.  The Blue states (and most of the Red ones, for that matter) should be so lucky.  But Texas is an example of the benefits of not letting things get too bad.  The important factor in Texas, moreover, is Texans.   What much of the country needs, however – not being populated by Texans – is a way back from things that have already gotten too bad.  It needs reversals more serious and fundamental than the gentle, marginal corrections to government that succeed with a more self-reliant citizenry.

The Reagan-era changes, important as they were, have been dwarfed by an unfettered explosion of government since he left office; what’s needed now is a reversal of the trajectory of government even more significant than that of Reagan’s legacy.  I’m not sure enough Americans are ready for that.  Rick Perry may, however, be just the man to hold the line against a worsening of our federal government’s incontinent profile, while the people get themselves sorted out.

He would unquestionably be better than Obama – and one thing I particularly like about him is that he seems to appreciate the scope of what he’s proposing to get into.  The next president’s term is going to be ugly; it’s unlikely to redound to the credit of anyone’s brilliant scheme of government-tweaking and economy-boosting.  Perry seems to have his head screwed on straight in the sense of not believing in more than government can actually do.  My main quibble would be that he hasn’t internalized the inherent danger to liberty posed by regulatory prophylaxis.

He may, with time, shift toward a more transformational political concept than he appears to have now.  Until a critical mass of the people does, the sentiments of individual politicians will have limited impact.  Perry as he is may not be the “Ronald Reagan” America needs today – but he may be as much of one as we are ready for.

 

* Actual advice from “Mom Houston,” a Houston Chronicle blog:

I want to throw out my old [drop-side] crib but am worried somebody may take it. What should I do?

Take your old crib apart and throw it out in pieces — one side one week, one side another week — so that nobody can rebuild it from the parts left on the curb or in the trash bin.

J.E. Dyer’s articles have appeared at Hot Air’s Green Room, Commentary’s “contentions,Patheos, and The Weekly Standard online.

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Responses

  1. Paradigm change, you say, rules. Well, what once was may be again. It is not irreversible and unavoidable. (And you allow for this in your last paragraph)

    What we teach our children sets the new paradigm. Merely wresting the education hegemony from the elites and idiots will restore a new paradigm, hope, and energy. Perry stands for that principle and does have a visceral antipathy to regulation as well else there would have been no stand against trial lawyers and the EPA.

  2. There may be a generational aspect to it. If a baby-boomer thinks of his parents, he might well remember a mom who stayed home and cared for him, and a dad who worked years at a job he didn’t much like to give his son a (materially) better life. But suppose instead a man remembers parents who were feckless, dope-smoking cowards who divorced back in ’76 when he was eleven. That’s got to color one’s understanding of government as parent.

    • Marcel , with respect. There is a growing permanent under class growing in this country. No education, no father, no self awareness, no propects except the Federal Dole. Millions of heartbreaking stories. It is an explosive situation.
      The Federal Welfare and Regulatory structures capture and maintain a captive voting block of people and businesses that are dependent on Federal largess. CONTROL.
      I grew up as poor white trash in the south in the 50’s and 60’s. My parents both had 3rd grade educations. We moved from place to place. Many homes with no indoor plumbing. etc.
      Both of my children will graduate from college and make something of themselves.
      We are just average people. We do not have any connections.
      We do have some back bone.
      I don’t whine about not going to Harvard or my parents didn’t have connections to keep me out of the Army, blah blah blah.
      Regards.

      • Note to J.E.: OU/Tulsa September 3rd. The Number 1 ranking is little over the top.
        Look for the Sooners to be vulnerable to the run (between the tackles) early in the season.
        The Florida State game could be a very tight fit.

        • No kidding. I’m not at all sanguine about that #1 ranking. I’m certainly not too worried about TU (full disclosure: my alma mater, and I love the Golden Hurricane to death, but I’m always realistic about their chances with the Sooners or Cowboys).

          The FSU game should be interesting. They’re playing in Norman, if I’m not mistaken. I’m not sure there’s a more intimidating stadium in North America to be a visitor in. (Although the Cowboys have that awesome T. Boone affair now, with its East-West orientation, so they can maneuver an opponent into facing the setting sun for at least one quarter.)

          More on these and related topics later. NCAA football is almost upon us. I may even overcome my disgust with the NFL and its recent shenanigans, and mention a thing or two about the NFC East and all those other miscellaneous, relatively unimportant divisions in pro ball. Just one teaser: is it time to require NFL players to paint their nails and groom their eyebrows yet? I mean, they’ve got them kicking off from the 35 now, specifically so that there will be fewer kickoff returns. What is this, little kids’ soccer? Show up, get a trophy, go out for milkshakes, just don’t get hurt?

          • The game is in Tallahassee. We thumped them in Norman last year.
            Tulsa is a first rate educational institution.
            By the way, the TU offense will put points on OU.
            I agree about the NFL. ( Long suffering Redskins fan)

          • I think that a lot of Americans gave up on the NFL when they started enforcing the felony-murder rule. Bad enough that after the Burress thing they couldn’t wear hand guns during the game.

  3. Read Bertrand de Jouvenel and Erik von Kuehnelt-Leddihn and realize that neither Rick Perry nor anyone else can push a reset button for the American political system.

  4. Megatron — I would agree that Perry sees clearly the problems with EPA excesses. I’m not sure he’s on board with the wisdom of the Founders about truly limited government. There are forms of regulation someone with a genuine antipathy would resist, even if he thought they might truly promote a positive outcome, just because the authority to wield that type of regulation is too much power for anyone to have over another.

    The Gardasil inoculation is a good example. It doesn’t inoculate against anything you can catch via public behavior in which the government has any business interesting itself. It doesn’t matter whether the inoculation is a good idea. What matters is that government has no business mandating it.

    Perry acted in that instance like a pre-Obama Republican who didn’t perceive the inherent danger of regulating the people to that level. My point is that it IS inherently dangerous to turn over that level of authority to the state. Period. There are no escape clauses. What Obama has been able to do with federal agencies in less than 3 years is a result of decades of pretending that there is no danger in giving government the kind of power over us that Obama is now using. The danger is always there, wven when it seems remote. The people who warn that government power will be misused have never, even once, been wrong.

    Again, I think Perry looks electable, and like someone I can agree with at least 80-85% of the time. And he looks like a man with a quality character to boot. I think he’d make one of the best presidents we could elect in 2012. But I don’t see him doing the hard things that really need doing, to move us away from the state of extreme vulnerability we and our liberty have fallen into. What he WOULD do is use the extraordinary power we have let the federal government accumulate with greater compunction and care for the people than we can ever expect from Obama — or, frankly, from any post-FDR Democrat.

    • I stopped reading the comment at gardasil.

      If people fail to tell the truth about it, then they are fools, because we know how to use the INTERNET. All credibility is lost when you spout perry smears that dance around the truth like a yappy puppy with no bite.

    • Opticon, your point on Perry is worthy but not finally descriptive, I believe.

      I think it really applies to someone like Romney much more than Perry, because Romney is a believer in fixing; I don’t think Perry is. With Perry, the explanation is different. People often forget Conservatives aren’t libertarians. Conservatives believe that without a moral system governing private affairs, a limited government is not possible. In Perry’s instance, because it was personal for him, it looks like the line became blurred between his self government and societal government.

      No matter what stance you come from, you’re going to have a weakness. For conservatives, it’s corrupting into theocracy. For socialists, it’s corrupting into tyranny. I see the former as not a necessity because a Conservative allows for the appropriate ideology to rule the appropriate sphere. Socialism, on the other hand, only
      allows one ideology, and, much like Islam, there can be no disagreement between state and individual.

      Perry shares the essential commitment to what is perhaps fundamentally best described not as limited government but as bifurcated government. That he slipped up (and admitted it) should not be seen as exposing a deference to nanny government, but as a non-defining incident where personal emotions overcame that rather artificial, yet so important, line between self and societal government.

  5. Marcel — I think you’ve got something there. It would have been a whole other post, however.

    cm — I agree, of course. There’s no one who can press a “reset” button for us. But I don’t think that’s the end of the story. The people can change — Megatron and Marcel suggest ways that’s possible — and thereby transform our political and civic expectations.

    That’s not going to happen in some random, unguided way. America certainly didn’t happen that way. It took a whole heap of talking about man and the state — centuries’ worth, from both sides of the English Channel and both sides of the Atlantic — for the American Founders to assemble their ideas all at the same time and start pulling in the same direction.

    It’s hard for us to separate the election cycle and the politics of the moment from the discussion of enduring political ideas — but we’ve got to do it. I take comfort from the fact that guys like Reagan and Goldwater spent most of their lives voting for politicians who didn’t meet all their standards — but without losing their own principles. It’s possible to be positive about Perry — which I am — but still recognize that America MUST make decisions he probably won’t make, if we’re to preserve liberty and honest self-government.

    I’m hopeful that someone like Perry — and very possibly Perry himself — will give us the breathing room to get ourselves in order as a people. We will still need a leader who will actually dismantle the overweening apparatus of the modern federal government, but all things being equal, I’d much rather do that over time, as the consensus of an electoral majority.

  6. “Man and the State” — I thought for a moment that I had that book in my library, but then I looked up and realized I had misremembered. The title is “Man Versus the State.” Original copyright 1892.

    The problem with Big Government (as Dr. Sowell says so much more eloquently than I) is that it proceeds on the assumption that people are too stupid or ignorant to order their own affairs without government coercion, but as soon as those people become elected leaders and unelected bureaucrats, they are capable of micro-managing both your life and mine.

    Is it possible to give Republican candidates a “Nixon Test” — to find out ahead of time if they are going to contribute to the expansion of government regulations?

  7. Perry, Palin, Romney, or even Obama, it does not matter. The sheer size of government, federal, state or local, has already carried us beyond a state that is reversible. In order to really change the direction of things, any of them would have to make massive cuts in government, and none of them can do that even if they wanted to. And even if they did by some miracle, it would only be in Federal Government, not in all the other layers, All of us know this, but we want to pretend someone can make a difference. Changes in quantity lead to changes in quality.

  8. And you are the optimistic conservative? Good points, all, but you hardly sound optimistic.
    Kidding aside, while I agree with the unprecedented size and scope of the problem concern, I think what we are seeing is a people who, like you, like me, want to change government. We want to roll it back. I think Perry’s tack will be different from RR’s. He will go for a federalist approach and push the nanny state down to the individual States to die quickly or slowly.

    • I’d have to agree with AHL’s observation that JD’s taking a somewhat saturnine view of the republic. Sadly, so do I, but what I draw hope from is that only a third of the colonists actively supported our revolt from England. (I’ve heard another third were Loyalists, the final third indifferent.) If we’re part of that active third this time around, and remain committed and determined even after the election, I’m hopeful America can get its second wind. Greece and Rome’s fortunes waxed and waned; it wasn’t all steady decline. I truly hope we’ll see a reaffirmation of liberty in response to government’s suffocating encroachments these 20+ years. The 21st century needs the “old America” back, and it’s ours if we’ll take it. Now’s the time.

  9. Perry is going to win. I would put money on that one. The question will be, are we ever going step out of our box of wanting a president savior? You know the one that will ride in on a sterling horse to make it all better.

    Texans are passionate about their politics and we get involved and stay involved. Texans are proud of our Republic and when the people speak, our politicians either listen or get the hell out of the way. Perry gets out of the way, and he does it well. That is why we like him.

    If the USA wants to save itself, then people need to get involved at the local level and make sure changes happen from the bottom up. Restore the Republic, and save your country. No king or king maker can do that from the top.

    It has to come from you first.

    • how much money?

      • you’ll soon be parted from it.

  10. Someday someone is gonna understand that having a massive hegemonic presence in the world and an enormously powerful military with incredibly advanced and expensive weaponry based on superior research and technology continuously upgraded at ever-greater cost requires a powerful and massive government and enormous taxation.

    Someone might someday connect some dots and see that what once was The President became the Leader of the Free World and then The Most Powerful Man on the Planet and figure out that there is some sort of transformation right there.

    Are there really a lot of examples of small-government empires?

    • Actually, defense is a clear federal Constitutional duty as expressed in the Constitution. Public schooling, universal healthcare, food stamps, excessive manpower needs/work-place inefficiencies, et al, are not. Instead these are the self-serving ruminations from the socialist penumbra that politicians from both (?) sides of the isle conduct in order to hedge their bets in the democracy ponies.

  11. Fuster,

    Your logic sounds persuasive but there is a well-known counterexample to it. It is (was) the British Empire. I can’t lay my hands on this book — http://tinyurl.com/3kox3tk — but I recall the author mentioning how the British Admiralty controlled the seas in the 19th century with a fleet of thousands, and a staff of 400. By the time Churchill took it over in the early 20th C, the staff had swelled to 4,000 and the ships less than a third of their earlier number.

    Commercial examples can be had as well — e.g., FedEx and UPS vs. USPS. Large scale doesn’t imply an engorged organization, unless one wishes to avoid risk, blame, and failure.

    • the fleet have have been small by today’s standards, but the colonial administration wasn’t.

      and in neither the colonies (when possible) nor at home was the there a limited and small government. you might recall from US history that the powers of the Crown were pretty extensive.

  12. Actually, there was a limited and small government at home during the height of the British Empire. The powers of the Crown over the American colonies were far more extensive than those at home, which was why the colonist felt completely justified in opposing them. Moreover, they were powers almost entirely aimed at controlling imports and exports, as well as a tax on official business (a sort of government use tax). Government rules for farms, factories, schools, apprenticeship and labor hiring were unknown.

    • —“Government rules for farms, factories, schools, apprenticeship and labor hiring were unknown.”—

      no, Margo. Parliament made laws restricting farm land for centuries before the 18th.

      laws about “factories” started in 1802 with the Factory Act, before then there were laws regarding “manufactures” in England from at least the early Tudors.

      more generally though, you’ll understand the rather large extent of “government” regulation a bit better if you consider that England was still emerging from the feudal system of laws (as well the canonical) and there was a vast body of local law as well still in place.

      much, much regulation and restriction of the general population was entailed in the power and privilege of the local lords temporal and spiritual.

      (BTW government expenditures for the poor, including the able-bodied poor, nearly trebled in England during the 18th c.)

  13. politicaljules — welcome, and my apologies for the delay in your comments appearing. There’s a one-time “approval” required to keep down the spam, but you’re “approved” now, so whack away as you see fit.

    AHLondon and tminus1 — I am indeed optimistic, but I’m not foolishly optimistic about the wrong things. That’s Pollyannaism.

    I think Perry would make an excellent president, but the point is that I DON’T see him as a savior. No one will be a “savior,” per se, but when the American people have restored themselves, it will then take a set of political leaders with a new attitude to change the basis of government: peel back the near-century of encroaching statism we now live under.

    Perry comes from the old consensus, the one that says public benefits, politicized taxes, and regulation are nice little things we can domesticate, and do only as much of as the best kind of people think appropriate.

    That consensus, right there, is unsustainable. Perry wants to roll back certain kinds of regulation, and that’s good. He wants to shift back to a more federalized basis for the operations of government, and that’s good. But he’s not “radical” or anti-consensus in the sense of persuading people that we actually need to get rid of the EPA, even as a state-level entity. We should never have an EPA: not as it’s currently operated. Congress, or a state legislature, should have to vote on every new regulation or every new level of regulation. Unelected agencies should never be given discretion of that kind, nor should they have any unconstrained discretion in enforcement.

    I don’t pay a lot of attention to opinion polls. Trends can be discerned in them, but except for pre-election polls, for which the polling agency will be held accountable as to accuracy, it’s too easy for polls to be done either sloppily or with tendentious intent.

    That said, there has been a widely acknowledged trend in polling results regarding what people would be willing to see government cut back on. Granted, pollsters can game their questions to get the responses they desire, but this trend is so pronounced that I doubt it’s merely an artifact of biased polling. The bottom line seems to be that the vast majority of poll respondents can think of little that they would be willing to see cut.

    Until a majority of the people is willing to cut whole agencies, because the people understand the danger of even having those agencies — what it means about a flawed, unsustainable basis for “governance” — we will not respond to politicians who will would take such steps.

    I do think this is changing in the electorate. I also agree that motivated minorities change the course of history. Victor Davis Hanson wrote a couple of years ago that about 60 million people in America — the honest, productive, investing, tax-paying gainfully employed — carry the rest of the world on their shoulders; and there’s something to that. While there was a Pax Americana, it was always made possible by the self-discipline and success of the American middle class. Reclaiming our government for the middle class is a key part of the battle, and I see changes afoot that will make it possible.

    But merely making incremental reductions in the basis of government — the current basis, predicated on the old consensus — will not be enough. It would be foolish to be “optimistic” about the significance of doing only that. What I’m optimistic about is that we will reach the point at which the people recognize the need to do more.

    • Just out of curiosity, who do you support?

      • Bobby Peel is probably a hair too liberal…..maybe Randolph Churchill

      • Perry.

  14. Your info on Perry seems to be more of an opinion than a fact.

    A win for Perry could mean trouble for EPA

    http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/2767011/posts

    Perry challenges EPA global warming stand

    http://blog.chron.com/texaspolitics/2010/02/perry-abbott-staples-challenge-epa-global-warming-stand/

    Perry asks Obama to halt EPA takeover

    http://www.statesman.com/news/texas-politics/perry-asks-obama-to-halt-epa-takeover-715751.html

    Gov. Rick Perry Sues The EPA Over Greenhouse Gas Regulation

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/02/18/gov-rick-perry-sues-the-e_n_467576.html

  15. More facts about Perry’s stance against regulations, not opinions.

    Rick Perry Calls For Moratorium On All Regulations

    “Perry, the governor of Texas, proposed a plan for economic growth that he has repeated in his first week on the campaign trail: cutting spending, placing taxes as low as possible while still delivering essential services, making regulations fair and predictable and reforming the legal system to not accept frivolous lawsuits. He said President Obama wants to create a new agency for job creation but that will only add to the problem of an overbearing government.

    “We need new jobs. We don’t need new agencies,” he said. “We don’t need a government solution. We need the private sector getting to work and getting the government out of the way.”

    Perry praised New Hampshire legislators for cutting spending rather than raising taxes…”

    http://www.concordmonitor.com/article/274119/perry-decries-government-regs-questions-feds-true-goal

  16. I am not sure where you get politicized taxes from, nor does it make any sense. If helping the people of Texas with tax relief is politicizing them then, ok.

    “Governor Rick Perry has long championed property tax relief for Texans. In 1999, as Lt. Governor, he helped pass a record $2 billion property tax cut for Texas homeowners. In May 2006 Governor Perry signed a historic school finance reform plan that has since saved property owners over $16.4 billion in taxes.

    Governor Perry also recognized that rising property appraisals were also causing the tax burden property owners across the state to grow rapidly. In response to this issue, Governor Perry created the Task Force on Appraisal Reform to conduct a study and make recommendations on how to address Texans’ continuing concerns over increasing appraisals. The task force held hearings throughout the state and issued a report on its recommendations in January 2007. Since then several pieces of legislation have been passed to make specific reforms to the appraisal process.”

    http://governor.state.tx.us/priorities/economy/tax_regulatory_reform/property_tax_reform/

  17. I find it very un-conservative to state that incremental changes are not going to make a difference!!

    Our government was not designed to change quickly. Which is a big reason why obama’s hope and change are failing miserably.

    Our founders recognized that a Democracy where the popular vote can radically change the course of a nation, is a disaster in the making. We are a representative Republic, with a series of checks and balances to make sure we are on the right track and it is sustainable. It has not worked because radicals have gone and tried to turn us into a democracy, undermining the constitution at every level.

    We will turn it back, but it will take incremental steps and time. Possibly a lot of time, but it is the only way to make substantial and lasting changes one step at a time. To imply that incremental changes are not worth doing unless they are radical and broad sweeping is something I would expect to hear from the liberal side of the fence. They revel on sending this country bouncing from one guardrail to the other because they know the bounce back always happens in their favor.

    Asking a candidate to employ radical broad sweeping changes is a pipe dream and you know it. Even the most perfect candidate could not pass that purity test. When I hear arguments that try to hold a candidate up to the very purest of purity test, I know that is a losing proposition where they will find no candidate worthy.

    • pipe dreams are pretty much what’s on offer when the hostess hears ancestral voices prophesying impending disaster. doesn’t leave much scope for incrementalism.

  18. Not to change the subject, but Perry has been in the race for a handful of days and no one has voted for him.

    So here are some other thoughts:

    1. There is a possibility that the conservative movement will be strong enough that, if it is unhappy with the GOP candidate, it will nominate a third party candidate. It may be difficult/impossible to get on enough state ballots for 2012, but there could be a protest vote, and, when Obama wins as a result of the vote-split, a real effort to get a third party in place for 2016. After all, the CBO and others are now predicting that we won’t return to full employment until 2017 (the new Obama normal). Of course, it is possible that Obama will do so badly that the Republican would benefit from a plurality-decided race.

    2. There is a good argument that Obama and the Dems have so screwed up the economy that no one — not even Paul Ryan or Kinky Freeman — can do anything in four years to really turn it around. Which would lead to the worst of all results: the return of Nancy and the Dem big gov ghouls, led by Andrew Cuomo, in 2016.

    Given the likelihood that the Republicans will keep the House, even in the 2014 mid-terms, and the good chance that they might even get to 60 in the Senate in 2012, Obama will be doing nothing, other than appointing Supreme Court justices, in his second term. So all we have to do then is survive four more years of leading from behind.

    Then the conservatives can really come roaring back in 2016, just as Obamacare is in full force and we’re on our last legs. Margaret Thatcher redux.

    3. The least likely scenario I can picture is that Perry loses, conservatives really get dismayed and there is a movement for a peaceful dismantling our our union. The South, Arizona and the Mountain states. Let the misnamed blue states (so named by CBS because they didn’t want lib pols to be in the “red” states) tax themselves to death. The rest of us vote with our feet.

    Impossible? The libs don’t have the backbone to oppose a peaceful constitutional convention, etc. After all, they all “pro-choice.”

    On yet another topic: if Obama is right that he’s just a magnet for bad luck (the Japanese tsunami, the middle east spring, the earthquake, Hurricanie Irene, whatever), two thoughts come to mind. One, why vote for such a loser? He told us there’d be changes, but we didn’t think he meant that it would be raining frogs (no offense, Fuster). Second, if Lady Luck rules his life, why shouldn’t we conclude that his “getting” (i.e., watching the SEALS on closed circuit TV) bin Laden and the demise (or at least disappearance) of Gadhafi are equally attributable to luck?

    Maybe we’ll get lucky and he’ll resign, so he can assume his rightful place as the trend-setting facilitator (first among equals) of the international community..

    • DAN, are you thinking that Obama will be re-elected and, at the same time, Republicans will hold and even gain seats in Congres?

      Does that often happen?

      • The Dems gaining conrol of Congress in 2006 was unusual — they drafted whatever Dem RINOs are and hence lost seats that they’re unlikely to get back.

        My thought is that the Rs could nominate someone who, for whatever reason, appeared less attractive than Obama (hard to believe, but possible), so i think the presidential race will have no impact on the House or Senate races.

        And the Dems are in real trouble re many of the seats that are up for re-election this year.

        • DAN, I think I caught your idea about tanking the presidential race, but, while I don’t really know about such stuff, I do have the impression that winners in the pres race usually have “coat-tails”. Even if they’re sometimes really short, I was wondering if maybe tanking the top of the card might be a momentum-killer for the rest.

  19. The Obama Administration says it won’t deport illegals unless they’ve committed a really, REALLY serious crime. We have to prioritise in these difficult times, you know!

    So, what about telling the EPA to back off on all laws and regulations unless they catch somebody doing something that will result in fairly catatstrophic and immediate harm? Maybe we could enforce only those laws enacted before 1975 (I’m tempted to say 1965). We have to prioritise in these difficult economic times, you know! Instead, the EPA wants to start shutting down coal-fired power plants and imposing massive costs on the ones that can keep operating. That’ll kick start the economy!

    • why not only those before 1795?

  20. The reason I most fear Obamacare is not for the fiscal aspects of it and what it’ll do in regards to national insolvency (although that is an enormous worry). I fear more what it will do to the spirit of Americans. I feel that it is the final push that will make us mere wards of the nanny state (kind of like a metaphorical equivalent of the human “batteries” in The Matrix). We may have been on that path anyway with all the govt sponsored programs and regulations that had already been in place, but Obamacare could be the final push that plunges us into the abyss where the spirit of liberty that made this country so great dies. To me, that is the most important thing about the upcoming 2012 elections – getting someone in office who will get that bill repealed (if the SC hasn’t killed it before then).

    wreed, I too am a long suffering Redskins fan. Although I suppose I can’t complain too much as they’ve won three SB titles in my living memory. That’s not too shabby. For the past 20 years though, it’s been a pretty rough ride. Thank goodness fantasy football has been around!!

    • the skins look a lot better this year and are on their way to ending a decade of lousy play.

      I do worry that having a strong team based in DC will do more to make us all wards of the government than will Obamacare, which is merely a re-shuffling of the healthcare financing mess that is already in existence.

      • fuster, you have more confidence in the Skins than I. I don’t think that with Rex Grossman under center that they’ll be making too much noise this year.

        As for the healthcare financing mess, I’d much rather have that mess outside the auspicies of the state. I have confidence that if left to the market to sort out (with only minimal and not opressive and expensive regulations), the healthcare financing mess will improve a whole lot more than if the state takes the reins.

        • I’m not saying that this is their year (the rest of the NFC East stands in their way) but they’re making solid progress on the defensive side after years of being easy pickings.

          Progress also at WR and RB and Grossman won’t be their QB of the O-Line gets settled enough to allow time for Beck.—-

          The market doesn’t operate efficiently or rationally in health care because consumers NEVER have enough information to make optimal choices and the emotions are usually predominant when hard choices have to be made.
          Almost no one can pay the bills out of pocket when the situation turns serious and the insurers have no interest other than their own well-being.
          The government actually isn’t the best mechanism, but there isn’t any better one at hand.

  21. Ok… I understand what JE is driving at, and her instincts are good. Rick Perry is NOT the ABSOLUTE perfect candidate. He is absolutely the best candidate in the current Republican field, in my humble opinion, and also probably the best over all candidate available for the GOP nomination (again my humble opinion)….

    However, Republicans and Conservatives need to be smarter and more reticent than their “feel good, Hopey Changey Bandwagon Riding” opponents.

    No candidate is perfect. Perry flies with the Founders, on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of happiness. His stance on the global warming hoax is exactly correct. His staunch belief in ALL 10 amendments of the Bill of Rights is consistent and right down the Conservative ally…

    That does not mean that he hasn’t done some things that he might have thought better about, or might have done better. He is an active long term governor of a state that also qualifies as the 11th largest nation in the world. That feat will bring with it compromises, misjudgments, honest disagreements, and all of the other normal things associated with governance.

    I would prefer that Republicans, have clear heads and rationales in mind, before approaching the voting booth or caucus group. The primary and election season is only three months away. (Formal campaigns start in November for the primaries.) The primaries and caucuses light up for real in January.

    This is a painfully important presidential and congressional election. The socialist welfare state must be turned back before it chokes western civilization to death with its indolence, dependence, and oppressive government.

    Rick Perry is the best man for the job that we have right now, and in the foreseeable future. There are a raft of great people to help him…some of them running now.

    Cain would be a great Treasury Secretary

    Santorum could go to HHS… start clearing out the murderous PC insanity there..

    Bolton would be the perfect Secretary of State or National Security Adviser

    Bachmann could go to Commerce… or maybe even Romney

    Rudy to AG, or my personal favorite Andrew McCarthy…

    Lots of great folks that need to do important work… and there is no time to waste.

    Sending The One on a permanent golf and speaking tour, four years early, must be our priority.

    r/TMF

  22. Perry is merely another Republican non-entity, and the latest best hope for centrist Republicans who are agast at the prospect of their party being hi-jacked by an unelectable tea-party extremist like Bachmann. His only virtue seems to be that he isn’t malleable, Morman, Romneycare Romney.

    When you look closely at Perry and his record, what is revealed is distinctly uninspiring. In spite of the huge advantages of oil-revenues and Texas having escaped the sub-prime meltdown (Due entirely to tough state-government regulation of the mortgage-market) Texas has very iffy economic indicators. It still has high unemployment, and what jobs have been created have been predominantly low-skills and low-paid service-sector “mac-jobs” pinched from other states by diluting employment conditions. Needless to say, it is not a viable national economic strategy to have states compete against each other in a race to the bottom. A good indicator of the real effect of Perry’s policies is to look at how many Texans cannot afford private health-care. Most Americans would agree that working Americans should at least be able to afford to provide health-care for themselves and their kids. The statistics suggest that the “beneficiaries” of Perry’s minimum-wage jobs can’t.

    Perry certainly isn’t hopey changey for the right-wing extremists (the people the Opticon generously refers to as “we”). On his record to date, he isn’t much of a prospect for the majority of normal decent Americans either.

    I should comment on the Guardasil controversy.
    Most middle-class and rich American parents would unhesitatingly have their girls innoculated whether or not the government pays for the vaccine. The question then arises as to whether the government should pay for a vaccine for children whose parents manifestly can’t. The death of a young woman, whether rich or poor, is an equal tragedy for any family. I suppose, given the fact that there are behavioual issues in relation to the liklihood of getting the relevant strain of cervical cancer, we should tell the parents of the poor that the government isn’t paying up, and they should ensure their teenage daughters remain chaste, even though their rich counterparts have decided to afford themselves the luxury of protecting their daughters against the high liklihood of their not being chaste. What planet do these people inhabit?

    • “The death of a young woman,whether rich or poor, is an equal tragedy for any family.”
      Breath taking empathy there Paul.
      Finally, everyone looks good next to the immature, empty suit, street/community,union organizer.
      Oh, wait a minute. Maybe the statist, central govt planning, income re-distribution, war on business and energy production president is a complete seccess, I am just racist.

      • Okay racists can’t spell.

    • Professor Irwin Corey talks economics again. How does this ” what jobs have been created have been predominantly low-skills and low-paid service-sector “mac-jobs” pinched from other states by diluting employment conditions….” work? Are hotel maids in Houston cleaning rooms in Chicago, too? Do burger flippers in Memphis make a daily commute from Texarkana? Or do Texans eat more burgers and stay in more hotels than residents of other states?

      If the statistics you apparently analyze show that Texans don’t buy private health insurance, does that necessarily mean that they are too poor to do so? Perhaps some Texans would rather spend their money on cigarettes, beer and tattoos than Blue Cross. And even if it were the case that Texans are so poor that there’s no room in their personal budget for both health insurance and cable TV, wouldn’t less government influence in the health care business make it cheaper for the impoverished Tejanos you care so much about to remain healthy? Forty years ago far more Texans had private health insurance than had cell phones. Now those proportions have been reversed. Is that a sign of the apocalypse?

      • not the apocalypse, bit maybe a sign that lots of folks no longer have home phones and maybe a sign that folks might be living in shared housing.

  23. income re-distribution is good, according to some Jewish guy got a lotta ink long time ago.

    • Redistributing your own income is good, obligatory even. Redistributing another man’s income isn’t charity, nor even uniquely Christian.

      • it’s just good.

  24. cm — your point as follows is a nice one:

    “Forty years ago far more Texans had private health insurance than had cell phones. Now those proportions have been reversed.”

    What goes unstated is that 40 years ago, “health insurance” represented about the same dent in the wallet that cell phone service does today. It didn’t cost a sixth to a quarter of your income to be insured against medical emergencies. Regulation has driven up the price of health insurance tremendously. In many states, the monthly premium now costs more than a anything in a household budget except the rent or mortgage payment.

    fuster’s comment is priceless, and perfectly representative of the mindset of the statist:

    “The market doesn’t operate efficiently or rationally in health care because consumers NEVER have enough information to make optimal choices and the emotions are usually predominant when hard choices have to be made.”

    The market operates, period. It operates no more rationally in any other field than it does in health care, but it operates efficiently because that’s its nature.

    The left loves to claim that the market never operated as it should have until the left’s government programs/regulations started adding artificial rules, punishments, incentives, and disincentives to it. But the market always operates efficiently. If you don’t like the outcome, your problem isn’t with the market, it’s with people’s choices.

    WIth health care, there is no such thing as an absolutely “optimal” choice. If a patient would rather spend $100,000 having a back operation next week, but the state health regulators prefer to spend $15,000 and leave the patient all but immobile and in excruciating pain for 18 months while he waits for the operation, which choice is “optimal”?

    If the patient can arrange, through insurance and savings, to pay the $100,000, what is wrong with that? Why must the state become involved? How has the patient made a bad decision? If the operation can actually be done for less, someone will offer it for less — as we have seen with all kinds of elective procedures like cosmetic dentistry and eye surgery over the last 40 years. The market is always at work. If the back operation in question could be done for $75,000, and compensate everyone involved to a level that would attract him or her into the relevant career, then it would cost $75,000 in any given local economic conditions, and only Physicians to the Stars and the Fabulously Wealthy could charge $100,000 for it.

    The market is at work regardless of state-imposed conditions, which is why artificially proclaiming that the back operation “shall cost $15,000″ produces shortages and lengthy delays. State regulation is the stupid party here, not the guy who can arrange to have the operation performed next week without the state’s involvement.

    • blind faith is priceless, too Kid.

      even in first year Eco, they teach that markets don’t operate well in some cases.

      “the market” doesn’t usually produce an effective navy right when you need one and government, regulations, inefficiencies and all, assume the burden.

      so your period is only your own.

      • You are quite correct, Fuster. Hayak, whose writings inspired the economic liberalism we associate with Thatcher and Reagan, conceded that the market didn’t work in the realm of health provision.
        And of course, American medical provision being the most market-driven on the planet, one might expect it to be the most efficient and affordable. On the contrary, it is less efficient in terms of outcomes and far more expensive than health provision in many comparable western democracies with far more government regulation and intervention.

        If the market was so efficient and government so inefficient, one would expect Somalia, with zero government intervention, to be paradise on earth, and Sweden, with very heavy government intervention, to be an absolute hell-hole of enslavement. The reality is that the market is only part of the story – and a subsidiary one at that.

        Now, in a perfect market, free of government intervention and collective-bargaining, what would the pension rates for retired military pen-pushers be, and what would be the retirement-age for the same superannuated pen-pushers? The answer to the first part of this question is the same figure as the number of Texans who had cell-phones 40 years ago.

        What is going on here is not some deep philosophical discourse on the social effects of government intervention in the economy, but a contrived argument by people who have income and medical security (often provided by the taxpayer) as to why they shouldn’t contribute towards those in their community who through no fault of their own, haven’t.

        • “no fault of their own” sounds nice doesn’t it? Its the kind of statement that really rounds out the implication of selfishness and cruelty towards others. It is tossed out frequently I notice. Of course it figures not a whit in the benefit world which makes the statement risable. If you think everyone drinking and toking their minds away before coupling on Wednesday night (every nights the weekend when you refuse to work) is bereft of health insurance because of forces in which they took no part you are deluded.

          Another implication that gets old is the idea that JE or any other public employee (like me- full disclosure) somehow signed away any legitimate voice in tax or public disbursement debate when they signed up to work for a package of salary and benefits. The all purpose jibe is “at taxpayers expense” or “provided by taxpayers”. Which is of course true but worthy of Dantes ninth ring in its misuse of reason. JE signed up for a package and (wait for it) WORKED to get the benefit as agreed. No work, no benefit. No benefit, and maybe she takes her talents elsewhere. She wasn’t a damned Janissary so she is entitled by agreement to what was promised. Just like the government is entitled by agreement to continue to enforce her silence on classified information. Another reason her voice should be undiminished is that, at least to the same extent as anyone else, she pays toward her own retirement both before and after receiving it. Year after year till she croaks. How many private retirees can say that? So how about stowing this ad-hominem trash talk?

          • And as a self-employed taxpayer, where can I get an equivalent pension package for a nominal deduction from my profits (such as they are)?

            And isn’t it just hunky dory that military pen-pushers have wrangled the same retirement age (at the prime of their working lives) that was originally designed to accommodate front-line troops who needed to be physically fit to do their jobs.

            Public employees don’t pay a fraction of the cost of their retirements. The reality is that public employees, even after their nominal pension contributions are deducted, are paid more than analogous private employees are paid before pension contributions are deducted. Public pensions are really funded by the taxpayer from current expenditure.

            I don’t really resent your good luck. However, it makes me nauseaous

            • How does luck figure into it? Police work, like the military, is open to anyone who meets some very minimal qualifications. If you got a peg-leg or a glass eye you might have to choose among the 50 gillion other jobs that have such pension arrangements. Of course you won’t get rich and someone might shoot you in the face but every gig has a downside.

              Yeah, I pay a fraction of my cost, 13% to be exact. Thats the rules and I follow them. Guess what else? I will be ineligible to collect social security because for about 20 years I don’t pay into it. Was I lucky there? Well not if you consider that I paid into ss for 15 years previous and will likely pay for 10-15 years after I leave the force. So does that make me lucky or just another guy paying into the system like you for something I may or may not get, but probably won’t.

              I don’t believe for one second you don’t resent me. Thats why you are nauseous. You entered into private business hoping to make a profit, and you may hit it big. Am I supposed to get nauseous if it works out? If I catch the golden BB should I have my widow post it on here so you can hold your lunch down again?

              Like your pen-pusher fixation- what dark place does that come from? You do know that things have to be written down right? You do understand that in the military world they DEEM you a pen pusher right? You seem completely unaware that there are physical fitness standards for all members and while maybe in the past they were a bit lax, they ain’t joking about it one bit now.

            • Priceless seems to be the word of the day. A Self-Employed Paul waiting for some one else to provide a pension is priceless.
              Perhaps you could get someone to make payroll for you and cover the rest of your overhead.
              All of your volume would be 100% profit. You could write a book on How To Profit During Hard Times.
              Get a job Paul. Demand a pension.

            • Scale back the crud about pen-pushers in the military part of public service.
              If you’re honest, you don’t get rich doing jobs that we all need done and which the society at large is no longer willing to undertake

  25. On the larger point about healthcare costs: The best way to reduce costs is to eliminate third party reimbursement. The closer to you get to ” i hand you my money and you do “x” for me” the faster and more fairly costs will decline.

    I giggle everytime I hear some politician or advocate talk about how costs go up because so many people go to emergency room care which is so much more expensive. Its like they are uninterested as to why its more expensive.

    At least they stayed out of Lasik or my eyes would cost 50k each.

    • TJ, why don’t you explain why it’s so much more expensive to have a department of emergency medicine in a hospital in comparison to a physician’s office ?

      In your “I hand you my money and you do X for me” would you explain if that’s likely for someone wishing to purchase a liver transplant?

      Assuming that the prospective purchaser has paid the costs attendant to being told that he/she needs the transplant, and then is accepted as a candidate for transplant and placed on the waiting list……..
      it then seems to me that there are hundreds of people gonna be doing the doing necessary to make the operation (and aftercare) a reality.

      Just how does the recipient go about handing out the cash?

      • Hospitals use ER services as a cost shifting mechanism. There is no inherent reason the services are more expensive on the whole, given the conditions that most people present upon arrival.

        You should see the ER managers eyes light up when a banged up felon is received who is in police custody. Ultra platinum care will be given since there is no worry about payment. None of that medicare or managed care hoop jumping either- cash on the barrel. Hey, its not like he’s in a hurry to get back to work. I once watched them put an ankle brace on a burglar. 95$ muttered the nurse, while we both bought ours at Academy sports for about 19$. They rounded out the show with an EKG on the presumption I guess, that even for a 23 year old who jumps fences like an alley cat, breaking into peoples homes is stressful. I was informed that it would probably be read 4 days later by a cardiologist for about 150$ who I suppose would have trouble conveying any findings since our young neer do well was out on bail (funny how cash can be found for necessary things), and likely not at home (well not at HIS home anyway).

        Now of course that little story can be read in many different ways. It could be an argument that he be covered by a state plan which gives one care at a set rate for simply breathing (because this guy, and legions like him, simply will not fill out any paperwork for anything that does not play music or involve someone putting cash in his hand).

        I think it would be better on the whole to take the 3600$ we give him annually for not working, (his tax “refund”) and credit an account that he can build up over the years from 18+. As he gets to the age where he’s more likely to need serious care, he will probably have a nice little pile of cash. By age 40 he should have close to 80 grand. To reward him for leading a healthy lifestyle he should start at some point to get some of it back. This will cause him to likely look askance at a 90$ sock. Of course he may need a liver transplant at 28 and only have about 45k. The balance could be borrowed against his future. Where does the extra money come from for the chronically ill and the unlucky? Well, lots of people die suddenly so thats one source.

        I get the point about catastrophic care but lets face it, thats not the driver of the true costs any more than are tort suits (a conservative canard in my opinion). The driver of the costs is a huge legion of people who simply refuse to prioritize their healthcare and expect others to do it for them.

        • It’s very partially a “cost-shift” TJ…..the overhead in an ER is many multiples that of an office.
          The supplies and the meds are marked way up, 10x what they would be in a chain store to reflect that overhead (and then some, fersure) but the skill and experience of the staff is marked up not at all.

          Come in with a bad guy sprained ankle and the you’re gonna get shunted to the least and lowliest, but bring a cop needs emergency thoracic work, the $15 bag of dextrose’s likely to look like a bargain.
          (I’ve worked with a hlaf-dozen ER managers….mostly their eyes are too tired to do much lighting up.)

          Some is simply ignorance and sloth, some is the ridiculously uneven distribution of quality office-based primary care.

          • If you know ER managers thats great. Ask them what the ER docs make per year compared with comparable GP’s (I’ll even be generous and not consider the other specialists). Ask what the nursing staff makes compared to Peds. Ask what the hourly wage is for the intake desk workers. Everything else, radiology, RT, hemo, EKG, laundry (a surprisingly large expense), maintenance etc. is drawn from the larger hospital and for most categories, pales in expense compared to ICU, peds, and surgery. running an ER isn’t cheap, but its not nearly what is justified by the charges, not by a long long shot. Witness the proliferation of ER in a box places which do 80% of what most ER’s do. Its a scam, and everybody involved knows it.

            • VERY wide range for ER Docs.

              Director of Emergency Medicine ………. makes real money…..has REAL qualifications and experience.

              ER residents (who, along with the interns, do the bulk of the work)
              make a whole lot less than private practice GPs, while working a hell of a lot harder and longer.

              Interns are slave labor.

              There’s a 24 hour cleaning crew that has to be assigned to a busy ER and a dedicated imaging room and crew.

              Wages for the clerical staff and the unskilled labor is just about enough for food, clothing and shelter ……. and a cell phone .

              Oddly, the skyrocketing cost of medical insurance for the employees has kept the wages from rising beyond inflation adjustment for more than a dozen years.

              Only the skilled labor, nurses and techs, have seen real raises.

              • So we have an accord it would seem on the salaries. ER docs work like beasts and get paid significantly less and the deficit can’t be attributed to lack of skill. Thus we wave goodbye to salaries as a justification for all this “overhead”. Its been a while but I worked in 4 different large hospitals in Dallas/Fort Worth. Parkland, Presby, Baylor and Harris. None had a dedicated imaging room for ER. In fact, you couldn’t even have a dedicated imaging room if you wanted to because there is such a wide variety of equipment and its so expensive you can’t simply set up a whole radiology wing when theres one right down the hall. As to crew, one has to admit that night radiology does the bulk of their work on ER patients, but its certainly not exclusive by any means. At a big hospital you have radiologists available 24/7 but when they are not looking for bullets, they are reading all the tests that backed up during the day, so thats a wash.
                As enjoyable as this discussion is I feel like I am leading us out into the weeds since I have no idea how Rick Perry figures into this. Anyway, we can take heart that we probably want the same things, decent healthcare, reasonable sustainable prices and an absence of mangled sick people wandering around with no care at all. Probably differ mostly on how to get there and who ought to bear what proportion of the weight.

  26. Woopie! I’ve just seen the stats.

    During the course of the Perry regime in Texas, private employment has actually declined and state public employment has increased. The latter has mainly been paid for by federal remittances and supports. Is this how Perry proposes to run USA inc. if elected Chief Executive? And if so, who does he expect to subsidize the nation – the Chinese? (or more likely, the working poor and middle-classes, given that he has resolutely defended big tax-breaks for the mega-rich bankrollers of the Republican Party).

    p.s. The source of these subsidies and remittances rather make Perry’s threat to seceed from the Union look somewhat ridiculous. I mean, who would support an independent Texas?

  27. Paulite: What is your source for your claim that “private employment has actually declined” during the course of Perry’s “regime”? David Axelrod? ACORN? Obama’s Uncle Omar?

    While it is true that state employment in Texas has increased, your claim about the decline in private employment is nonsense.

    The San Antonio Express-News reported that, during Perry’s tenure, there has been a 10 percent increase in private-sector jobs. Moreover, since the U.S. recession officially ended in June 2009, Texas has added almost 297,000 private-sector jobs, a 3.5 percent increase.

    How does that compare with the Obama “regime”? Or is the increase in unemployment (even after Obama hired every mouth-breathing, obese ACORNer to “work” as one of the Thousands Standing Around harassers at the airports) during Obama’s regime — from 7.6% in January 2009 to 9.1% in July 2011 — just another example of Obama’s “bad luck”?

    Yeah, yeah, we’ve all heard the demonization of Perry: he’s stupid and the people of Texas were foolish enough to re-elect him, even though he did such a terrible job, blah blah blah. But no matter how prejudiced the MSM coverage of Perry is, it can’t offset the reality: Obama is a complete incompetent. He’s also a far Left ideologue, a leader-from-behind, a hater of all things capitalist, a racist and, as Mark Halperin so well put it, a duck (or something like that). But there are two things that will cause Obama to lose the election. The first is his silly/pathetic belief that the government can create private sector jobs, much less prosperity. The second is that Obama is now simply mockable and mocked, day after day.

    He’s circling the drain, Paulite, whether the MSM likes it or not.

    • DAN, Obama is very beatable……but the R’s don’t have anybody can beat him.
      They’ve been too busy purging moderates and even moderately conservative folk. Plus they’re stupid enough to be going around debating whether a Mormon in the White House puts Christian souls in peril.

      • I wonder what Sarah would say? LOL

        • something stupid, most likely

  28. I think that what R. Perry is demonstrating right now is that there is a great desire in the non-left for fielding a clearly conservative leader that is not afraid to say what needs to be said. Whether that leader is Perry or not remains to be proven, hopefully when he is sitting on the big chair, but he seems to embody the most conservative position to date and he has already demonstrated that he will speak out on issue that are important to the real conservative mind set.

    I believe that these attributes are, precisely, what has catapulted Perry to the top of the GOP contender list.

    If he is succesful in knocking out Romney, he will inherit a significant chunk of both voters and campaign contributors change.

    Look for claims of insufficient intelligence and/or experience from the left as he gets more and more attention from and further gains in the polls. Not that any of that stuff actually made any difference when it applied perfectly to Obama…

    “Who…Perry…? Nah, he has no gravitas…besides, he is a pretty stupid ‘cowboy’ and a religious freaking zealot to boot.” All of which, at least from where I and many others stand on issues, is pretty good advertising.
    :-)

    • People on the left can’t make a case for “insufficient intelligence and/or experience” with Perry the way that they can with Palin or even Bachmann.

      • Interesting that Big Brain Carter and allegedly Big Brain Obama were and are failures.
        Amiable Dunce Reagan was effective on many levels.
        Perhaps the vision concerning the role of the Federal Govt. by the so called dunce is far superior to the statist central planning circular thinking of the two Democratic really really smart guys.
        Personal attacks instead of clear and concise arguments (facts) show serious weakness coming from the Big Govt. Left.
        The left has a product that doesn’t work, but it is the only product they have. Think of the Chevy Volt, millions of shovel ready green jobs, more govt. spending, more regulations, on and on.
        The lefts worthless and dare I say it, outdated mantra doesn’t work. Obviously the rest of us are stupid if we don’t pretend they have viable ideas.
        The left is stuck in the early 20th century. But it does put them 13 centuries ahead of Islam.
        I think Sarah would agree.

  29. how interesting that intelligent people don’t always succeed, but a president who was of average intelligence, and as you say quite amiable, was able to perform effectively. Reagan was even able to convince quite a few people that his performance in office was above average, when the evidence suggests otherwise.

    I wasn’t sure if you meant to have us conclude, based on these few examples, that intelligence was therefore unnecessary or unimportant until you invoked Sarah Palin….suggesting that you mean intelligence to be not only unnecessary but undesirable and downright suspicious and probably unAmerican.

    • Results. Not dogma. Not everyone gets a trophy. The complete failure of in-experienced academics is clear for all to see.
      Real world experience, common sense, and a broad experienced view of the world is quite handy.
      Someone that retains what is positive and effective and discard (quickly) what does not work is the Intelligent trait in a public leader.
      By the way, just for fun. Sarah would succeed. She would be the second amiable dunce to drive the super intelligent left wing to distraction.
      All of her betters (sitting on the sidelines) would endlessly write as to why she never be invited to their parties.
      The economy would start to turn upward in the 4th quater of 2012 and really start to roll the second quater of 2013.
      She would get the credit (un-deserved) and Obama would continue to be painted (richly deserved) as a highly intelligent incompetent dogmatic fool.
      I bet Sarah could calm the rising tides and she is really cute.
      Just to include a point about J.E.s topic. Perry could also do quite a bit of damage to liberal left. Perry can win. Make no mistake about it, he scares the left.
      Texas, along with southern and sunbelt states (non union) are doing well. Rustbelt states (union/democratic crony capitalism) no doing so well. The results speak for themselves.
      Even a person of average intelligence can can see how things work in the real world.

  30. Why Perry may not be the one we are waiting for. As usual, the redoubtable Frank Gafney hits it on the head regarding the invidious and pernicious diabolical plans of the Muslim world.

    http://townhall.com/columnists/frankgaffney/2011/08/30/rollback_the_muslim_brotherhood

  31. Gaffney, (along with Steyn and McCarthy) isn’t worth a old boot full of second-hand beer.

    Did that idiot Gaffney actually write that Europe has succumbed to sharia????

    “….. America will go the way of Europe and others before it, succumbing to an insidious totalitarian doctrine known as shariah…’

    (The sentence is too imprecise in its hysterical asininity to be sure whether the idiot meant that Europe is already conquered or merely gasping out it’s last free breaths.)

  32. The clever cheerleader for the utopian Dems, Ruth Marcus, explains the problems with Rick Perry: http://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/rick-perry-by-the-book/2011/08/30/gIQAJJsbqJ_story.html And based on his own testimony, too. Right there in his book. Advocating something as seditious as repeal of the 16th amendment. And the direct election of senators. In fact, Marcus’ review of “Fed Up” makes Perry look even better than ever.

    • chuck, does Perry mention how the national government would manage without 40 or 50% of current revenue? He advocated disbanding the DoD and returning to the days when veterans couldn’t collect their pensions?

  33. Compare tea party and Christian events to the “religion of peace” events:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/blog/2011/08/riot_at_amusement_park_over_no_hijab_rule.html

    Hopefully, Perry will issue a strong statement that would expose the CAIR propaganda that Muslims are suffering from Islamophobia. The latest survey shows Muslims are happier in America than in their 57 states. (Obama doesn’t know this yet since he’s not sure whether or not he is a Muslim or Christian.) The actual hate crime stats show it’s Muslims (and other mental nut jobs) attacking Jews which constitute the bulk of hate crimes.

    Everyone should get a bumper sticker that reads “Muslims lie” and “Mohammad was a pedophile” and park their cars next to a Muslim mosque.

    • And while you’re at it, why not sponsor a hate campaign that concentrates on the crimes of Bernie Madoff and any other person of the Jewish faith who was involved in the recent financial shennanigans in the financial services sector to insinuate that there is a massive conspiracy by Jews to undermine the Western economy?

      Oh sorry……….The Nazis already did something along those lines, and look where it led. If I was an American Moslem I would be very very worried if people like you ever got near the levers of power.

      (I am intrigued that the Opticon hasn’t bothered to raise even a whimper against some of your views. I presume that she is much too concerned about our poor being coddled by public assistance and her other important obsessions, to care)

      Now please tell me what is the difference between fomenting hate against American (or any other) Moslems, and fomenting hate against American Jews? Oh I know the answer …. fomenting hate against the former is now jolly good sport and tremendously popular in extreme rightwing circles. Just like Jew-hating was popular among the exact same set pre WWII.

      Plus ca change………….

      • You make a good dhimmi and will be appropriately rewarded by your masters with second class citizenship.

        If there is a hate climate, why do Muslims report they feel as safe as ever? Why are all the attacks from not against Muslims?

        As the beautiful, talented, intelligent, and industrious Pamela Geller says, Truth is the new hate speech.

        People like me are the levers of power. We’re gonna pull a whole lot of them and elect a tea party President who will support Israel and preach the true facts of Islam and demand Islam begin to really reform itself.

        As to Opticon censoring speech: I suppose she has and will when it comes to spouting mere hateful opinion. But I spout facts:

        True or not: Mohammad was a pedophile. Taqiyya is the practice of deception to non-Muslim infidels. Jihad is war against infidels.

        We must take this facts and aggressively educate the public and Muslims about them.

      • Oh, sure. THAT makes a lot of sense…

        Geez…!

        The religious Jew fanatics, as we all know, have declared religious war on the US and have attacked this country in the name of Jehovah.

        Bernie Madof is a religious leader of Jews and he speaks and acts on their behalf. Just like Al Sharpton makes all blacks tax cheats and Maxime Waters makes Thomas Sowell a socialist.

        • And notice the immediate call for censorship.

          People like Fuster and Paulite t are so programmed they don’t see their own hypocrisy. The answer lies in getting to children when they are young so we can program them properly.

          • Might I suggest adult literacy classes (Presuming you are an adult).
            Please tell me where I called for anyone to be censored.

          • Meg, stop being a liar your own self, eh?

            “people like fuster” have never called for censorship and I sorta resent that one…try not to include my name in a non-truthful manner while you’re ranting.

            if you look back at the previous posts here, and can reason even a little bit, you’ll notice that I’m opposed to European-style speech crimes.

            I’m in the camp of those in favor of letting people hear lunatics and liars peddling their garbage so that folks can become familiar with just how ugly and lame their ideas are…..

            so please keep talking

            but try not to be too frequent a liar, leastways about my own little green hypocritical self.

            (so…after Gaffney and Geller….you going to go Orly Taitz next….or is it straight to Stormfront?)

      • P, you are not correct about our hostess’s lack of disagreement with Meg.

        Anyway, silence does not equal consent or agreement…..sometimes it’s just other things, such as tolerance, a disinclination for censorship, or even good manners.

        There’ve been more than one or two comment s written by “people like fuster” (and that’s a set comprised on a single entity) on this blog that might have deserved and drawn censure on other sites, but did not.

        I’ve never seen the opticon publish more a single rebuke

        and that was to Meg..,

        and you would do well to consider that a single exception argues for a significant distaste

        There’s a fair bit to argue about, but there’s also some slight measure of respect due

        • Opticon and Megatron fly together, if not by style, at least in substance. I’ve never read anything of Opticon’s of which I could impart more than a nuance of disagreement, including her rebuke to me. She’s a great lady of significant value in the fight against PC, multiculturalism, jihadism, and the decline of Western values and culture. Her aim is education; mine is too, but with provocation. And might I add, you are behaving nicely and predicatively. Thank you.

  34. Americans are tasked to expose the truth of Islam and cause it to reform. That includes revealing what jihad, taqiyya, and the perverted sexual practices of its founder were. It includes publishing the facts, such as the one below:

    FORMER “SCHOLAR IN RESIDENCE” AT RIFQA BARY’S NOOR MOSQUE IN OHIO CALLS TO KILL ISRAELI AMBASSADOR AND TOURISTS IN EGYPT

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/08/former-scholar-in-residence-at-rifqa-barys-noor-mosque-in-ohio-.html

    As to Perry and his Aga Khan relationship:

    http://atlasshrugs2000.typepad.com/atlas_shrugs/2011/08/here-is-aga-khan-perry-curriculum-scrubbed-from-web-cached-scrubbed-from-google-today.html

  35. Just a note: to pay for US defense activities in FY2011, the federal government needed $768 billion for operations and procurement, and $141 billion for Veterans Affairs (disability, pensions, medical facilities).

    Total: $909 billion

    US federal revenues in FY2011 have been $2.26 trillion as of 31 August (on pace to be $2.44 trillion by end of FY on 30 Sep).

    Although nothing Perry did would reduce federal revenues by 50%, all DOD activities could be funded with half of the 2011 revenue.

    • of course, nothing Perry DID would reduce fed revenue at all…since he hand no say in the matter, but we were discussing his flirtation with eliminating the income tax,,,,,which WOULD immediately reduce fed revenue by 40 or 50%.

      so it’s possible that we could keep the military at present levels without income tax revenue……as long as we scrapped the rest of the government to which the military is presently subordinate.

      sounds like a plan?

      • No, I meant nothing Perry “might do” would reduce federal revenues by 50% (or 40%). “Nothing he did would [do x, y, or z]” is a correct construction for a speculative proposition about the future. It’s not a dodge invoking what Perry has already done.

        Repealing the 17th amendment isn’t an attempt to cut federal revenues by 50% from their 2011 level. Nor would it have that effect, if it were coupled with, say, the implementation of a national sales tax (not a VAT, but a literal tax on goods at the point of sale, like the 18.4-cent/gallon federal gas tax). Perry’s not a moron: he knows that the US government has to meet its Treasury debt and pension/Medicare obligations. There will have to be sources of revenue.

        But the income tax is a revenue source that effectively relieves government of the obligation to prioritize and justify its spending. Income tax is collected independently of what government needs at any given time.

        The BASIS for collecting it has nothing to do with government’s spending needs: the feds don’t collect $170 billion from us per month because they need to spend $170 billion per month. They collect $170 billion because our incomes, corporate and individual, yield that amount of revenue for Uncle Sam. The decisions about what percentage of our incomes “ought” to go to the federal government are made almost entirely based on political and ideological, not fiscal, considerations.

        The United States financed the federal government without an income tax for more than 100 years. Another discussion, but it’s absurd to suggest that having a federal government doing federal-government stuff is impossible without an income tax.

        At any rate, Perry doesn’t propose to change only one variable — income tax — and leave everything else to implode. It is a misrepresentation (WaPo’s) to suggest that he does. Repealing the 17th amendment would be part of a package of policies to get federal spending and federal programs back on a sound, accountable footing. One of the irreducibles in that equation is meeting our Treasury debt and SS/Medicare obligations, as well as ensuring a robust national defense.

        • it wouldn’t reduce revenue by 40 or 50% if it were coupled with U S Treasury geese laying golden eggs either or any of a lot of things. I asked if Perry offered alternatives,

          but sure we could offset the income tax by imposition of other taxes…..a national sales sounds really intriguing if you’re fond of regressive taxation. anybody whose income doesn’t stretch much beyond the cost of monthly purchases would be taxed on about all their income and those whose income far exceeds expenses, like, you know, wealthy people, wouldn’t be taxed on all their disposable income if they bank it.

          in technical economic terms, this is known as “the rich get richer and the poor stay poor……it works wonders as a redistributive scheme.

      • The trick was that instead of hiking state taxes Perry just took all the federal largess he could get his paws on to create lots of state jobs.

        His other trick was to reduce the employment conditions of those at the bottom of the economic food-chain, thereby incentivizing the movement of low-skill jobs to Texas. Needless to say, this isn’t a long-term prescription for reviving the national economy because every state cannot undercut every other in a race to the bottom (Unless we all want to have Chinese living-standards for Chinese wages)

        Perry’s politics can be summed up as socialism for the rich, macjobs for the poor, with a dash of opportunism, creationism and climate-change denial thrown in for the gratification of the Republican grass-roots. In short, the perfect Republican Party candidate.

  36. Dana Milbank (he who, scoff, scoff, actually thinks Obama is smart) thinks Perry is a theocrat. Well, there’s one good reasons to think Perry is the one were waiting for:

    “By his own account, he is a cultural warrior, seeking to save marriage, Christmas and the Boy Scouts from liberals, gay people and moral relativism.”

    Good. He’ll work well with Clarence Thomas and restoring constitutional Originalism. We’ll revitalize the 10th amendment and then rollback the unconstitutional New Deal programs. The young people, who don’t think it fair that they should pay into a retirement program they’ll never partake of, especially might see Perry as the one were waiting for.

    All in all, I like Palin better. Her political genius and commitment, principle and intelligence, smarts and experience, definitely propel her heads and shoulders above anyone.

  37. So…what you are saying is that wealthy people are more “citizen” than less wealthy people, right?

    I mean, they take on more of the general burden because they are wealthier so, that being so, then they are, indeed, the better players in our society. Is that what you are implying?

    Alrighty then…

    So, forgetting all that BS about “equal under the law” we should, in return for their heftier and more substantial contributions, give wealthier people some sort of special treatment from the government…what? After all, they are the better customers, no?

    How about an invite to a national Bar B-Q or something like that…?

    NO? Too expensive…?

    OK, so, instead, how about if government gives them some well deserved respect and the less wealthy some deep felt appreciation instead of the constant envy fueled, of course, by the constant demonizing that the left so gleefully endorses? How about a “thank you, Sir” every once in a while instead of “Nope, It ain’t nearly enough and we want more…and more…and more…? I mean, that wouldn’t cost anything would it?

    PS: No need to answer. It’s all done in sarcastic and rhetorical fun, don’t’cha know…?

    • rafa, it might be argued that the rich folk in this country have traditionally been afforded appreciation in the form of a greater than proportional share of government service

  38. I get it that it “might” be argued because, after all is said and done, anything “might” be argued. But, I ask, is that what you are arguing?

    • I said “might” because i believe a good case could be made, but, given that you weren’t looking for an answer, didn’t know if I would make the effort……

  39. You read minds too. Cool.

    • not minds, rafa, words……

      — “PS: No need to answer.” —

      caused me to suspect that you weren’t keen on an answer.

      • And you were right. Best to leave it at that.

    • Here is what I think:

      When some big league pitcher pitch a no-hitter the news media goes bonkers, the “house” goes wild with applause and they are loved, even worshiped by the adoring fans. When hitters hit a home run the whole stadium stands up to applaud them. when they hit some home run record the whole world seems to come to a stop and the stars align themselves in celebration.

      When a football player scores touchdowns or hits passes or whatever it is that football players do for a living, they are worshiped by the adoring, drooling fans that wouldn’t think twice about wearing their numbered Tee-shirt to bed and posting their favorite athlete’s pictures in their acreen savers, their living rooms and, even, their bedrooms.

      When Serena Williams wins a tennis tournament, she is, again, applauded and granted all sorts of status and privileges as the star that she has become to her adoring fans. She is like a goodess of tennis and she is bowed to by all her fans.

      All of that is fine and dandy because these athletes are the cream of the crop.

      But that doesn’t necessarily follow when it comes to being succesful in business or to making money legally.

      The same people that worship these athletes ignore the effort and talent that is present in the financial “athletes”. Instead these “athletes” are hated, vilified and sought upon. The dogs are let lose and they are persecuted, and made the object of their envy, their hatred and their disgust. This odd tendency to love a runner or swimmer but to hate a manager or CEO is spurred on by ruthless politicians, mostly from the liberal left, who make a living out of fomenting class hatred among the people that they are sworn to represent.

      This odd form of illness of terminal abivalence has been made so pervasive and has been made to be so ingrained in the American psyches (as well as everywhere else, I might add) that it has become almost a pastime in and of itself. And yet, these business achievers are the ones that carry the weight of the nation on their shoulders. They are the ones that provide the needed resources that make it possible for the do-nothing, earn nothing, know nothing politicians to blatantly purchase the votes of the majority of voters who, stated in simple sports terms, didn’t play well enough to make the big leagues.

      I am not a financially rich man by any stretch of the imagination but I do know that there is something terribly odd about this picture. That the American public is able, happy and willing to bless, accept and justify the millions of dollars that go to somebody that just manages to hit the ball better than others and, on the same breath, balk, bitch and complain about the millions of dollars made by those that actually contribute to the wealth of the nation is beyond my comprehension.

      Actually, let me say it the way I feel it, I think that this odd penchant is rather sick.

      I also think that this particular contrived illness is what will prove to be the undoing of our great nation.

      Thank you socialists, liberals and other idiots and, before I forget, thank you democracy.

      • some folks might argue that athletic excellence is a demonstration of human potential and takes nothing away from anyone else.

        there’s a tradition of respecting and also resenting intellectual superiority in this country that contributes to the scorn directed at the those who grow rick, but, in the main, disdain for the rich is an ancient prejudice. You can find examples of it in the New Testament, I do believe.
        European history between the N T and the Enlightenment, it might be argued, contains much that suggests that amassing wealth was vanity and to be disdained as a burdensome misapplication of our time on this world.
        The emergence of the middle class and its threat to the aristocratic order lead to further scorn for the new men and their lack of breeding and nobility that lingers still in Europe, and even increased when the “uncultured” Americans started buying up Europe at the close of the nineteenth century and intensified as Europe was shattered in the world wars and as the USA was feeding Europe post-WWII.

        the monotheistic religions other than Christian also teach that amassing wealth is less than ideal, it also might be argued.

        • Fuster:

          As predicted, you are justifying and rationalizing athlete worship when you say this: “some folks might argue that athletic excellence is a demonstration of human potential and takes nothing away from anyone else.”

          By the way, I agree and am fine with your assesment. But, what you fail to also note is that human potential is demonstrated in many other ways as well. Excelling in business is one of those ways. Which is why I also called business people “athletes”.

          Oh, and by the way, before you go there, success in legal and honorable business does not take anything away from anyone. In fact, it provides opportunities that would not otherwise exist.

          I understand and don’t necessarily dissagree much with the rest of your post as well. But, one of the things I was talking about is the penchant of politicians to pitch one class against the other in order to sepaerate, divide and confuse the electorate and to stroke the fires of envy and greed.

          We no longer live in the middle ages or during the industrial revolution. The US is not a nation of aristocrats, at least not in the traditional European style that you alluded to. And, although history is what history is, one would have thought that these fallacies would have been put to bed in the Land of Opportunity.

          And there is also this: We are a great nation by any standard of measurement that we choose. The US has risen to a heigth that other nations have not even come close to, some of these with as much or even more natural resources than us.

          I believe that our success is due to two principal factors, that we started our national life, were designed by our founders to be and, actually, once were a real Republican form of representative government. The other reason for our greatness is that, from the start, we as a people embraced capitalism as our economic engine.

          The sad part of our history is that both of these national socio-political driving forces have been targeted for destruction by those that refuse to acknowledge the inherent failure of their own chosen systems and have taken it upon themselves to destroy that which made us better, by far, than they ever were or hoped to be.

          Ironically, perhaps our greatest and probably our only weakness has been to concede to our oponents the right to bring down our house by the hypocritical use of our own values. The conundrum has been and remains to this day that our belief in liberty and freedom is, precisely, what is being used against us.

          So, in the words of some great poet or other “Ain’t that a “beach”…?

          PS: I guess that you meant “rich” and not “rick” and that you weren’t taking a cheap shot at Perry when you said that… :-)

          • actually, I enjoy watching athletic games but think that it’s pretty dumb to make o’ermuch of the athletes. their excellence is more physical than anything else in most cases and the years of dedication to excellence in a single thing tends to preclude a more general excellence.

            I loved watching Michael Jordan play, but don’t give a darn about which brand of underwear he endorses any more than I care if some guy who plays rock guitar well urges me to vote for Jerry Brown.

            by the same token, I don’t share the idea that growing rich (or even “rick” ….I’m a world-class failure as a typist…actually expelled from typing class in junior high) deserves condemnation.

            and while socialists and liberal may think differently, i wanted tp suggest that they’re not alone in it and certainly didn’t invent the notion.

            • No. You are right that they didn’t invent the notion but they sure do exploit it…

  40. Some even might have argued “…The amassing of wealth is one of the worse species of idolatry. No idol more debasing than the worship of money.”

    and, worse, gone on to say “…the man who dies thus rich dies disgraced.”

    some might argue that the man who might have said that amassed enormous wealth, but his real claim on our admiration is rooted in what he did after that.

  41. Rafa, and fuster: I’m sure you have noticed that if a person grows rich through athletics or some other pop-culture medium, the public does not begrudge his mega-million dollar compensation. But if you get even moderatly rich by producing a product or service other than entertainment, you are more despised than honored.

    • Cv, a fair point but not so sure about the lack of “begrudge”

      the outlandish earnings of athletes leaves an undercurrent of resentment that surfaces pretty often when the performance falters or when a local hero leaves for the bigger money elsewhere.
      pretty common to here boos when the local guy returns to town with the new team and pretty common to hear the term “mercenary” applied.

      it’s been that way almost since athletes started getting paid the big bucks……..

      —-” Reporters asked Ruth why he should be paid more than President Hoover. Ruth reportedly said: “Why not? I had a better year than he did.” …

    • Cuz: I do notice that. In fact, that was one of the points I tried to make here: “That the American public is able, happy and willing to bless, accept and justify the millions of dollars that go to somebody that just manages to hit the ball better than others and, on the same breath, balk, bitch and complain about the millions of dollars made by those that actually contribute to the wealth of the nation…”

      Rapers, athletes and entertainners that amass millions are fine but, if you make millions as a businessman then you are seen as greedy and exploitative. Invariably you are made the target of envy and hate mostly by the politicians in government.

      Go figure…

      • I think that “Rapers” pretty well balances out “rick”

  42. Picky, picky, picky…

  43. […] wrote last year about Rick Perry as a candidate of the “old consensus” – my term for the modus vivendi adopted over the last 60 years by Democrats, who were […]

  44. […] wrote last year about Rick Perry as a candidate of the “old consensus” – my term for the modus vivendi adopted over the last 60 years by Democrats, who were […]

  45. […] for one, don’t intend to talk about SSM in “old-consensus” terms anymore.  The old consensus has already passed from among us.  There can be no […]


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