Wednesday, December 31, 2008


The really new media:

On December 29th, 2008, the Israeli Defense Force launched its own YouTube Channel, and within one week it was driving all the News and Politics on YouTube. This was a brilliant Public Relations move in order to circumvent the Leftist Press. More importantly, this should be a model for Conservative and Libertarian bloggers to follow.

thoughts for GOP

Notes on conservatism and Republicanism:

The Jeffersonian yeoman farmer is still a powerful archetype for conservatives. But have even they gone beyond that? Consider "The pencil" -- conservatives argue it takes thousands of people to make a pencil.

But is this close to liberalism's picture of people needing to cooperate?


And trust busting. Was Teddy Roosevelt on to something? Must government act to keep companies from becoming too big, thus distorting the political scene, a la GM?


Economists are still arguing about the causes of the Panic of 1837! Not to mention the Great Depression. And no one one knows what's going on now.

But maybe it doesn't matter. Maybe at a certain point in the growth it doesn't matter. Something will tip over the structure.

Now, that may not be a bad deal. Twenty-some good years, a couple of bad ones.

But can GOP sell that to voters?


And is the real Reagan the hard money guy? Were tax cuts almost a diversion, like blockers sweeping left, while quarterback runs right?

Monday, December 29, 2008

Ammo for GOP?

Via Instapundit: Republicans need a message. Why not this?

Lawrence Lindsay writes that tax cuts rather than government spending will have a more immediate and long-lasting impact on the economy:

The relative advantage of tax cuts over spending is even clearer when the recession is centered on the household balance sheet. Some relatively minor changes, like making the current 15 percent tax rate on dividends and capital gains permanent, would not only help household cash flow, but also put a floor under equity prices much as their introduction did in 2003. This would help protect against further wealth destruction and balance sheet deterioration.

[T]he centerpiece of any tax cut should be employment taxes: in particular, a permanent halving of the current 12.4 percent Social Security payroll tax on the first $106,800 of wages, split evenly between workers and employers.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

What's next?

This is a great moment for the conservatives -- if we are willing to seize the moment.

Sure, the Democrats are running the White House and Congress. But the Blagojevich scandal is just the first of many juicy issues the party will be forced to deal with. Conservatives must be nimble enough to latch on to them.

The economy is a mess. But conservatives have the only answers that will work. That's why it's so important for conservatives to shape the picture of what's happening before it calcifies into a myth.

The news media's liberal bias has never been more evident. At the same time, however, the traditional media are self-destructing. Conservatives can dominate the emerging media if we act with determination and creativity.

Liberals seem to dominate the universities. But I'll hazard a prediction that the next unsustainable bubble that will that of the universities. Their endowments are shrinking, and parents just can't keep paying a hundred grand a year for Joey or Susie to student gender issues.

But ... can conservatives define themselves?

Sure, modern liberalism is coherent and conservative. But that doesn't make it right.

Ditto for libertarianism.

Can conservatism be clear in the sound-bite age?

Harbinger of change?

2008 -- year of reality?

Easily one of the most important stories of 2008 has been all the evidence suggesting that this may be looked back on as the year when there was a turning point in the great worldwide panic over man-made global warming. Just when politicians in Europe and America have been adopting the most costly and damaging measures politicians have ever proposed, to combat this supposed menace, the tide has turned in three significant respects.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

All sides can't face reality

Union deep in denial:

Friday, December 26, 2008

credibility, or incredible?

We were just jawing about credibility of journalism. But do we as an industry have much left?

Consider this:

In our view, Nixon was as guilty as sin of more things than were ever proven. Nevertheless, there is another side to this story. The FBI was carrying out espionage against the president of the United States, not for any later prosecution of Nixon for a specific crime (the spying had to have been going on well before the break-in), but to increase the FBI’s control over Nixon. Woodward, Bernstein and above all, Bradlee, knew what was going on. Woodward and Bernstein might have been young and naive, but Bradlee was an old Washington hand who knew exactly who Felt was, knew the FBI playbook and understood that Felt could not have played the role he did without a focused FBI operation against the president. Bradlee knew perfectly well that Woodward and Bernstein were not breaking the story, but were having it spoon-fed to them by a master. He knew that the president of the United States, guilty or not, was being destroyed by Hoover’s jilted heir.

This was enormously important news. The Washington Post decided not to report it.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Bad harbinger?

Science pick questioned by interesting commentator:

Does being spectacularly wrong about a major issue in your field of expertise hurt your chances of becoming the presidential science advisor? Apparently not, judging by reports from DotEarth and ScienceInsider that Barack Obama will name John P. Holdren as his science advisor on Saturday. [UPDATE: Mr. Obama did indeed pick Dr. Holdren.]

Bush's legacy

The jury is still out; even conservatives have doubts. Still ....

Monday, December 22, 2008

Painful adjustment

It's true we're in for a period of adjustment.

The Wall Street Journal points out that developers too are going broke. (That's a preview only.)

So we were making stuff we didn't need, to sell in too many malls. Now the party's over.

Here's the scary thought: what if deflation is inevitable if we're going to compete with the rest of the world?

Yet free trade is still essential.


Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Why militant unionism is a threat

Mickey Kaus and Michael Barone have very revealing dialogue on auto co. woes:

Mickey Kaus, pretty much alone among the commentators I've been reading, indicts "Wagner Act unionism" for the decline and fall of the U.S. auto industry. The problem, he argues, is not just the high level of benefits that the United Auto Workers has secured for its members but the work rules—some 5,000 pages of them—it has imposed on the automakers. As Kaus points out, unionism as established by the Wagner Act is inherently adversarial. The union once certified as bargaining agent has a duty not only to negotiate wages and fringe benefits but also to negotiate work rules and to represent workers in constant disputes about work procedures.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Brilliant and frightening essay

In finance, once you can have leverage, you must have leverage.

Friday, December 12, 2008

the real problem with a Detroit bailout

No car czar can address the real problem, more and more observers are saying.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

The bust

Fascinating piece:

A former Wall Street insider explains how the financial industry got it so badly wrong, why it always will—and why all of us are to blame.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Why Gates would be hard to fire

From Kausfiles:

On Warren Olney's To the Point, LAT veteran Doyle McManus says Robert Gates

is in the unusual position of not being a cabinet member who can't really be fired because if the president and the secretary of defense were to end up at loggerheads on an issue, that could be politically very damaging to the president. [E.A.]

This seems astonishingly wrong. Obama can fire Gates more easily because Gates is a Bush holdover, no? Obama won an election by opposing Bush's policies. ..


But .... isn't Gates hard to fire not because of political factors, but because he's widely recognized as being ... how shall I say it ... competent?

And it doesn't matter what Obama ran on. (Kennedy won on a "missile gap" that didn't exist.) He has to govern on what is, not what turns on the left. And Gates at least stands for successful policies. (Which are also Bush policies.)

Gates might be hard to fire because, for Obama to succeed as prez, he might have to listen to Gates.

Barack Obama and citizenship

On the brouhaha over Obama's citizenship, one issue is his residence in Indonesia.

As one source reports:

A 2007 Associated Press photograph taken by Tatan Syuflana, an Indonesian AP reporter and photographer, surfaced last week on the photographic website showing an image of Obama's registration card at Indonesia's Fransiskus Assisi school, a Catholic institution.

In the picture, Obama is registered under the name Barry Soetoro by his stepfather, Lolo Soetoro. The school card lists Barry Soetoro as a Indonesian citizen born Aug. 4, 1961, in Honolulu, Hawaii. His religion is listed as Muslim.

However -- I've been to Indonesia. It's a Third World country. And we're talking the early 1960s. Things are not as organized as they are here, and now.

So what if his stepfather put something down on a school record? It's Indonesia. "Official" records need to be taken with a grain of salt.

Ditto his grandmother's "recollection" he was born in Kenya. Grandmothers "remember" a lot of things.

Of course, if Obama produces the birth certificate, this goes poof.

Maybe he finds other embarrassing info on the form.

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Moab, Utah and Oil

I was down in Moab, Utah, for Thanksgiving.

Agreed: it's one of the most beautiful spots in America. I stayed at my father-in-law's house in Castle Valley.

No, oil wells shouldn't be put on the top of the arches, as one poster put it.

But there are thousands of square miles of land in which some oil or gas wells were be utterly inconspicuous, if you could find them at all.

Yes, drill, baby, drill.

I don't object to having spots in national parks that are off limits. But environmentalists won't accept any. Either people will see the wells -- or the land is unpolluted by humanity, so it must not have wells either.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Goodbye to the Gipper?

t's time for the GOP to say goodbye to the Gipper.

Not to Ronald Reagan, the president who faced down the Soviet Union and helped revive American morale. But Republicans should turn away from the Gipper, the president's sometimes glib, sometimes misguided. sometimes reckless alter ego.

And it should perhaps turn back to other icons of its history.

For the Gipper is far different from President Reagan. Reagan accurately assessed the danger and the weaknesses of the Soviet Union. As many have noted, he stood almost alone among American leaders in believing the evil empire must be resisted and could be defeated. Its demise in 1989 is a huge achievement.

Republicans rightly exult in that legacy. But that is from Reagan, the cold-eyed yet fearless strategist. He grasped the whole historical situation and the essence of communism. He was courageous, but — despite what his critics said — he wasn't reckless. Basically, he outwaited his opponent.

Consider in contrast the Gipper's feckless venture into Lebanon. There, in contrast, he presented a bold face, but he never understood the situation. That's why he sent U.S. Marines into a stronghold of fanatics, but wouldn't let them load their weapons.

When suicide bombers killed 241 American servicemen and 58 French servicemen, The Gipper and the U.S. cut and ran, emboldening Islamic militants. The Gipper was good for stirring words, and easy promises, but not so useful when it came time to hang tough.

Reagan helped revive the U.S. economy. But he did it by backing Fed chief Paul Volcker, who jacked up interest rates to choke off inflation.

The legacy of the Gipper, however, is that financial progress can be achieved without pain. But light of the financial meltdown, it may be time to re-evalute that.

Yes, Reagan helped restore American optimism. But did The Gipper make "pessimism" -- a.k.a. caution and prudence -- taboo in political discourse?

The Republican Party needs to rethink its fixation on the Gipper.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Not all doom and gloom

Don't give up just yet.

A bipartisan ticket

Run this guy with Sarah Palin and they might win in a landslide.

I am a professor of molecular biology and biochemistry at UC Irvine, and I have consistently refused, on principle, to participate in the sexual harassment training that the state and my employers seem to think is so important.

(Thanks to

The Gipper vs. Ronald Reagan.

The Gipper backed amnesty for illegal immigrants.

But was that wise? Did it encourage millions of people to come here -- to build shopping centers, condos and McMansions it turns out we neither needed or could afford?

Or to take care of the lawns and children of Wall Street hustlers who will soon be as extinct as dinosaurs?

Is this a case where we needed Ronald Reagan, and NOT the Gipper?

So the GOP needs to rethink where it stands on this.

Hard money, hard choices

And didn't Reagan -- unlike the Gipper -- take a tough stand by backing Volcker in raising rates to squeeze the crap out of the financial system in the early '80s?

And a tip of the hat to much-maligned President Grant, who vetoed inflationary legislation. Right now that sounds better than it has in years.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Goodbye to Gipper, welcome Abe back

It's time for the GOP to dismiss the Gipper, but turn its attention to Abe. And maybe Ike too.

It should continue to honor the achievements of Ronald Reagan, of course. But the party must wean itself from the mythologic Gipper.

Reagan defied the Soviet Union. Along with Margaret Thatcher and John Paul the Great, he led a successful stand. Soviet Communism couldn't take it.

But is excessive spending on the military also part of his legacy? Remember President Eisenhower, who warned against the military-industrial complex.

And the Gipper cut and run in Lebanon, after putting U.S. troops in an untenable spot.

Immigration? The Gipper signed the first amnesty. This encouraged millions of people to enter the country illegally.

The mantra is that they were needed. It's now becoming evident that many came here to build houses and shopping malls that weren't needed in the first place.

Or to take care of the homes and families of stock market hustlers who -- it is now evident -- were running financial schemes they didn't understand.

Yes, Reagan helped restore American optimism. But did The Gipper make "pessimism" -- a.k.a. caution and prudence -- taboo in political discourse?

Did the Gipper's tax cuts temporarily stimulate the economy, but also ignite what now seems like growth with a faulty foundation?

And note that his tax reforms removed millions from the tax rolls. These voters now, notoriously, are unconcerned with raising taxes.

Maybe that's why the party needs to turn back to Lincoln.

Monday, November 17, 2008


A persuasive look at the meltdown.

Well, it would be nice to have some hope for us journos too

With newspapers cutting back and predictions of even worse times ahead, Rupert Murdoch said the profession may still have a bright future if it can shake free of reporters and editors who he said have forfeited the trust and loyalty of their readers.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Debunking climate change

More lies ... er .... errors of global warming.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Mark Steyn on the tipping point

Why govt. health care is a terrible idea:

While few electorates consciously choose to leap left, a couple more steps every election and eventually societies reach a tipping point. In much of the west, it's government health care. It changes the relationship between state and citizen into something closer to pusher and junkie. Henceforth, elections are fought over which party is proposing the shiniest government bauble

A real test for Obama

Now this will be a real litmus test for Obama.

(From Kausfiles via Instapundit.)
Ronald Reagan is dead.

Good. He's overblown on the right.

Dreher has excellent comments. Some of my own:

-- Social conservatism isn't dead. But it may have concede some battles are lost, or are losers. Gay marriage may be one of them. Perhaps we have to let the states experiment with it and see the results.

-- I disagree on Iraq and Afghanistan in the long run. Freedom is a practical end, as well as an idealistic one.

-- The right needs a coherent picture. "Hamilton's Curse" berates that Founding Father's legacy. But is that right?

Does any party reject? Jefferson and Jackson did not. Nor did Wilson, Lincoln, either Roosevelt, or Reagan, when it comes to that.

Others on the right take a different view, a more Hamiltonian view.

Less government, but a strong nation? How to synthesize that?

Which brings up ....

-- The Big Tent has to be rethought. The right can't be a select coterie. But beware of those Republicans who can always be counted on -- to stab Republicans in the back.

Friday, November 7, 2008


What went wrong for McCain:

1. Wrong historical moment: Americans do want to get rid of the stain of racism, and this was a big and easy way to do something.

2. Obama's a great politician. The Reagan Revolution wouldn't have happened if Reagan weren't a great politician.

3. Meltdown.

4. McCain had no convincing answer, because, as he admitted, he doesn't know or care about economics. Perhaps a Third Way could have been staked out. Or, for a real gutsy move, if he'd fought the bailout, maybe it would have worked out. The bailout isn't doing much now, anyway.

5. Palin was rushed to the big leagues before she was ready. As Krauthammer notes, this took away from McCain's pitch.

6. And he shouldn't have run against Obama, but against Pelosi, Reid and Frank. Point all the things they could do to America, and how Obama couldn't or wouldn't stop them.

In a way, he's like Mr. Irrelevant, the last man drafted in the NFL: any Dem would be in the same spot.

Monday, November 3, 2008

more thoughts on The One

Voting will finish up today, and may present us with an American first: A president who has flouted the spirit of the law, proclaimed his intentions to undermine the Constitution and our notions of the law, and shown his disdain for the moral awareness that must undergird any genuine law.
First, all the lawbooks, judges and courts are useless if people aren’t willing to respect both the letter and the spirit of the law. One telling example of this is Obama’s ruthless switch on campaign-finance laws. For liberals have long bewailed the supposed evil influence of money in politics, and backed strict campaign-finance laws. Obama sang in the same choir — until it became clear he could raise far more money that the $84 million he could get from the federal system.
He opted out of that law as fast as he could. So he has raised $640 million. Sen. John McCain, who sponsored the key campaign-financing law, has stuck to the $84 million limit, and has been clobbered by a deluge of Obama ads.
Beyond that, moreover, Obama has shown his contempt for all that campaign finance laws tried to address. Legally, donors under $200 don’t have to be disclosed. Obama’s campaign has kept those donors’ names under wraps — and they have given at least $218 million. Think about it: Obama has gotten two-and-a-half times as much from secret donors as McCain has gotten in total.
It gets worse. Obama accepts donations from prepaid credit cards, so the real payers may never be known. Some of the names that have come to light are obviously phony, such as “Doodad Pro” or “Es Esh.”
What other laws will he hold in contempt once he takes the oath of office? For the above is not a fluke. He has made it plain that he cares little about keeping the legal system fair for all people. He’s clearly stated that if he gains the White House, he wants to name judges with “the empathy to understand what it’s like to be poor, or African-American, or gay, or disabled, or old.”
Many people seem to think that sounds good. But only when the laws are clear and firm are people are free, because they can act accordingly. When the law becomes pliable, however, they can no longer predict what the judges will say; they must therefore shuffle meekly into court, and beg their black-robed rules for mercy. Arbitrary rulings from the bench, no matter how well intended, enslave us all.
This attitude goes as far as our nation’s fundamentals. In a radio interview that has recently surfaced, Obama lamented the “tragedy” that even the liberal Supreme Court of the early 1960s stuck to the traditional notion that “the Constitution is a charter of negative liberties. Says what the states can’t do to you. Says what the Federal government can’t do to you, but doesn’t say what the federal government or state government must do on your behalf, and that hasn’t shifted.”
First, it shows an utter ignorance of the power and rightfulness of “negative liberty.” For that is real liberty: having a sphere into which government can’t intrude. If there are things government must do for you, then there are things it can do to you.
For example, the First Amendment forbids the government from infringing on your freedom of speech. Consider, however, what might happen if President Obama appoints Supreme Court justices and federal judges who believe with him that the Constitution must say what the government must do for us. Will that require the government buy books and newspapers for you?
Maybe to some folks that sounds like a good deal. But beware: When the government buys, the government selects. Landing on front doorsteps each morning may be the Obama Times. Turn on the TV, and all the channels might be showing “Good Morning, America,” with its new hosts — Nancy Pelosi and Barney Frank. Flip on the radio, and you might find that Rush Limbaugh has been replaced, permanently, by Joe Biden.
If this above is a bit satirical, history paints of much sadder picture of what happens when a government expropriates too much power.
More troubling than all that, however, are the signs that Obama lacks a fervent sense right and wrong are basic realities of the universe — that we are truly “endowed by our creator with certain inalienable rights.”
The most revealing act is that as an Illinois state senator he fought against legislation to protect babies who survived late-term abortions because he did not want to concede that living infants, outside their mothers’ wombs, were in fact “persons.” When an identical bill came up in the U.S. Senate, it passed 98-0. Even zealous liberals in the Senate couldn’t stomach the picture of babies born alive being allowed to die in a hospital. But Obama could.
A human being who won’t act to protect babies lacks something more important that the recall of statutes or the ability to recite flowery phrases. He lacks some basic sense of right and wrong — of the moral law that must support humanity.
In all these ways, Barack Obama has showed his disdain for the law on all levels. By tonight, he may be set to become, as Abraham Lincoln used to say, the chief magistrate of the United States; in a few months, he may take an oath to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.”
That’s as disturbing as anything else that faces our nation in these troubled times.

Friday, October 31, 2008

A good, if bitter, laugh

Obama and the dictators

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Obama's intent, then and now

Re Kausfiles:

[T]he supreme court never ventured into the issues of redistribution of wealth and sort of basic issues of political and economic justice in this society and to that extent as radical as people try to characterize the warren court it wasnt that radical ... it didnt break free from the essential constraints that were placed by the founding fathers in the constituion at least as it has been interpreted and the warren court interpreted it generally in the same way that the constitution is a document of negative liberties

Since Obama is rejecting the idea of pursuing "redistributive change" through the courts, what difference does it make whether this change was narrow and procedural (Reich) or dramatic and substantive (Michelman)


But is he rejecting the idea? I read him as simply saying the Warren Court would not. It’s a pragmatic analysis of history, not a call to action in the future.

I don’t see any indication in this quote he thinks an Obama court shouldn’t or wouldn’t.

And I see plenty in other places that he would expect such action by justices he would name.

There he goes again

Somebody needs to tell Curt Bramble: "Senator, it's 2008. There are cameras everywhere. Deal with it!"

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Why govt. health care is deadly

Beware Obamacare:

Federal bureaucrats have announced that, as of this month, the Medicare program will no longer provide financial rewards to doctors and hospitals who harm patients.

That is not a typo. For more than 40 years, Medicare has provided financial rewards to providers when a patient requires follow-up care following a medical error.

Medicare is Americas experiment with universal coverage. Operated by the federal government, it provides health insurance to more than 40 million elderly and disabled Americans.

Chicago, Chicago

Kausfiles: What is it with Chicago? Is it Australia? Do they have to take anybody they can get there? I always thought L.A. was Australia.. ... 2:54 A.M.


I grew up, went to school, worked in suburbs of Chicago for 28 of the first 30 years of my life.

What’s really astonishing is that the national media haven’t pointed out that Obama is a tool of the Chicago political machine, the most corrupt and ruthless political organization in the country. (With all due respect to New Jersey and Louisiana.)

He has never even claimed to be a reformer. Not even his staunchest backers say he was a reformer, or even helped them. He is totally a machine hack.

The problem isn’t JUST Ayers or JUST Rezko or JUST Rev. Wright. It’s that Chicago is such a festering scab of moral and intellectual rot that in Chicaog they seem ordinary. Remember, Obama lived in Hawaii, Indonesia, and then elite collegiate enclaves: Occidental College, Columbia, Harvard, then he lived in Hyde Park, which is basically the U. of Chicago campus. He’s never seen real life, except in Chicago. He thinks far-left professors, wacko preachers and sleazy politicians are perfectly ordinary!

And why hasn’t anyone pointed out that Boss Daley would’ve been proud of the campaign Obama is running: with bucks flowing in from Doodad Pro and lefty thugs from ACORN registering anyone they can.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Maybe not.

Some hope:

McCain is not as good on television as Obama is. So the immediate impact of the debate was to help Obama.

But the tax-and-spend issue is the one that Republicans want at the center of the race, and McCain put it there.

So this may turn out to have been a turning point for McCain, after all.

This sums it up

Already the obits are coming in:

If John McCain fails in the next 19 days to catch Barack Obama, his slow response to the financial hurricane of 2008 will be Exhibit A.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008


McCain seems reassuring, principles, even compassionate.

Too late.


What difference does it make? It's a perfect storm, conservatives are mad, they want to punish someone. Gerson has a good piece. Events are in the saddle.

McCain is speaking well, making good points. Hitting him hard. So what? Obama could show up and wave photos of himself making bombs with Bill Ayers, etc.

Debate, Oct. 15

Oh, Christ, Americans are innocent victims of Wall Street and Washington!

Come on, talk straight!

McCain needs to explain markets, and why Obama is full of bs.

Pork barrel -- It's a place to start.

Obama's defending earmarks.

McCain: when have you defied your leaders? Really? that's the key question.

It's not his personal relationships -- ah, ACORN, now McCain is cooking with gas.

It's not his personal relationship.

BS -- Ayers as never repented, never paid his price!

His school reform effort was a complete failure. C'mon, call him on it!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Why Obama's plans will hurt the nation

Economists reject his plans:

Barack Obama argues that his proposals to raise tax rates and halt international trade agreements would benefit the American economy. They would do nothing of the sort. Economic analysis and historical experience show that they would do the opposite. They would reduce economic growth and decrease the number of jobs in America. Moreover, with the credit crunch, the housing slump, and high energy prices weakening the U.S. economy, his proposals run a high risk of throwing the economy into a deep recession. It was exactly such misguided tax hikes and protectionism, enacted when the U.S. economy was weak in the early 1930s, that greatly increased the severity of the Great Depression.

(So why can't John McCain say this more plainly!!?????????)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

FDR's real legacy

This is why markets are spooked (as an Instapundit post says): they're afraid of what Dems will do in power:

After scrutinizing Roosevelt's record for four years, Harold L. Cole and Lee E. Ohanian conclude in a new study that New Deal policies signed into law 71 years ago thwarted economic recovery for seven long years.


In an article in the August issue of the Journal of Political Economy, Ohanian and Cole blame specific anti-competition and pro-labor measures that Roosevelt promoted and signed into law June 16, 1933.

"President Roosevelt believed that excessive competition was responsible for the Depression by reducing prices and wages, and by extension reducing employment and demand for goods and services," said Cole, also a UCLA professor of economics. "So he came up with a recovery package that would be unimaginable today, allowing businesses in every industry to collude without the threat of antitrust prosecution and workers to demand salaries about 25 percent above where they ought to have been, given market forces. The economy was poised for a beautiful recovery, but that recovery was stalled by these misguided policies."

Friday, October 10, 2008

Why "regulation" isn't the villain

As other bloggers have noted, this is an excellent column:

The claim that the financial crisis reflects Bush-McCain deregulation is not only nonsense. It is the sort of nonsense that could matter.

(As so often, Instapundit is original lead on this.)

Everybody take a deep breath

OK, I'm scared now. You can stop it.

Some reassurance from a trusted source:

Fortunately, there is also good reason to believe that the means are now available to turn the tide. Financial authorities, in the United States and elsewhere, are now in a position to take needed and convincing action to stabilize markets and to restore trust.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Our failure to "talk" made N. Korea and Iran seek arms?

He's just a fraud.

where or where is the kid who can't get into a college?

Yeah, it's been nothing but poverty!

back to liveblogging

Previous post shows why tax cuts are needed more than ever, contra Obama at 7:27.

Obama: a lot of you remember the tragedy of 9/11.


more "call to service."

Obama is just too slick. Little substance, excellent delivery.

Obama: people with higher incomes are living high on the hog. Duh.

McCain isn't bad, that isn't the point.

He's right: don't raise taxes now. That should be obvious.

Tax cut for 95 percent of Americans: a huge amount don't pay taxes!

Another Reagan problem.


Why not just say nuclear power?

McCain -- why doesn't he say that it's the small companies that will probably develop the green technologies?

I'm sick and tired of Obama's slick bs.

What a load of hooey -- that the government and Democrats will reduce costs, without reducing quality.

McCain's plan is better.

But can anyone say -- health care is getting more expensive, and the population is getting older.

I think it should be a right. Right! Then the pointless anecdote.

You can keep your plan -- but it's going to destroy those plans.

This is vital -- regulation vs. deregulation.

McCain: America is the greatest force for good in the history of the world. All right.

Good question: what is the Obama doctrine?

If we could have stopped Rwanda .... so what's the cost? Obama's hypocrisy.

He wanted to stand idly by as Saddam attacked.

We're not going to be everywhere all the time.

Darfur. We could be providing logistical support. But only if we can lead the int. community.

But what if they don't want to follow? You can lead a horse to water ....

Obama and Pakistan. That's the central front. No, he doesn't get it.

Geez, even we bloodthirsty neocons want to attack our enemies, not our allies.

McCain -- answers effectively, I think.

Bombing Iran and North Korea -- well, at least they're enemies.

Why are we talking? I don't care what Obama says. he'll tax the hell out of us, let radicals run amok here, and wimp out overseas.

McCain -- I'm no big fan. But.


It's not a depression. But what will candidates do?

From WSJ:

Yesterday's global stock selloff is best understood as the recognition by investors that the financial panic is world-wide, and moreover that it almost certainly means a global recession. As bad as the carnage is and will be, this isn't the end of days. It might even be clarifying if it causes economic policy makers to abandon some of the illusions that have guided them for the past 14 months.

liveblogging debate

7:14 -- This is the issue: how do we go from here?

Is the problem too much deregulating? Too much wrong regulation?

Why can't they admit no one knows.

Strengthen you as a homeowner? No the problem is some people can't. And a lot of people overbought.

We have a 20th century regulartory system for the 21st century. True.

Families stay in their homes? but what if they bought a house too expensive for them?

workers are the innocent bystanders.

Well, we the people (myself included) have overborrowed.

Clinton surpluses: well, the Internet bubble burst. And there's that Sept. 11 thing.

And why oh why didn't Bush rein in spending?

Obama is very slick. Hell, I'd vote for him if he wasn't so far left. That's the damned shame.

The Democrats can't cut spending. The Republicans might.

Monday, October 6, 2008

ride to the sound of guns

Our Sunday editorial made the same point as this:

Last week's passage of the rescue plan still leaves the economy as Issue One in 2008 - and this could give John McCain an electoral opportunity.

He needs to seize it.

The fact is Barack Obama's ties to the far left - to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, radical community groups and rapacious unions - are an objective threat to the nation's already wobbly economy.

McCain should say so - in detail and with vigor. He needs to tell the truth about Obama, his allies and their economically perilous plans.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Let's not pretend there wasn't greed

Greed is a problem.

"We see the excesses most starkly in the continuing crisis - that is not an extreme description - in our overleveraged, overly speculative banking and investment industries, and even in our two mortgage lenders, to say nothing of the billion-dollar-plus annual paychecks that top hedge fund managers draw down and the obscene (there is no other word for it) compensation paid to the chief executive officers of our nation's publicly held corporations - including failed CEOs, often even as they are being pushed out the door."

more sleaze from Obama

The media are all over Palin; let's see what they do about Obama's contributions.

I'm from Chicago -- Obama is a tool of the Chicago machine.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

more live blog

Hit the wrong button.

7:19 Biden to Palin

Slow down double in foreign assistance.

We can't slow up on education -- but is it the engine, as Biden says?

We are going to eliminate wasteful spending.

His fellow Dems won't let him do it.

7:22:  I had to take on the oil companies.

Palin -- how long have I been at that? Five weeks?  

Palin -- goes back to energy.  Does she come across as tense, or energetic?

Biden -- it's clearly manmade. What a crock it is.

We have a solution -- nuclear power.


Why should we care how he or she looks? Are they, and their parties, going to do the right things?

Palin she is forceful.

The problem is: will Obama, and his supporters, stand fast?  

This is a fundamental difference. 

Your plan is a white flag of surrender. OK, she's strong.  

Who would stand fast, McCain or Obama? Answer is obvious.

Biden: McCain voted not to fund the troops. Nobody thinks McCain would let troops down.

Biden:  must have been drilled to say fundamental.

Moderator seems OK to me.

She's warming up. She's got real intensity.

Biden -- do people seem him as a blowhard?

There have been huge blunders -- she says it just right.

Change is coming. Palin says it well.

I haven't heard how his policy is different from George Bush's .... all right, already.

7:56  God almighty. We only went an hour. Well, who can take any more?

8:02 --  So is he willing to send NATO to Darfur? Is that a commitment?

"Americans are craving the straight talk."  

Yeah, I voted for it, but wasn't really for it.

Biden: lines.  

At that time that country forfeits its rights to say you can't come in there. So he's going to invade 70 nations. 

As this goes on, at 8:07 is he forceful, or does his act wear thin.

Replace regime change? But invade Pakistan?

She's starting to score. "goverment, get out of the way." 

This is a slugfest. She's loosening up.

Have people tuned out by now?

Now she seems a bit stiffer.

Exec branch:  John Adams, George Washington, etc. all saw the vp as more of a legislative office, and they ought to know.

Biden is wrong.

Her inexperience -- good answer.

Biden -- finally shows a bit of humanity.

No more, stop, please for the love of humanity. If I hear their sound bites much more, I'll scream.

I just don't trust Joe Biden. Just don't. 

The whole democrat blame game, the poor pathetic people who need our help.

Biden is proud of Borking!!!

He's proud of politicizing the Supreme Court!

Biden is a Democrat hit man! What chutzpah.

Thank God it's almost over. Maybe I've overdone the debates.

I'm sick of Joe Biden. Good night.

veep battle liveblog

Of course the moderator is biased. You should have seen her face covering the GOP convention.

Biden on bailout. The worst economic policies we've ever had? What a crock. 

Palin:  "You're going to hear fear." I don't know about this year, but she knows how to connect to people. She's a bit tight.  Gets into that McCain trope.

Biden: he's ignorable. "As many friends on the GOP side." Fraud.

Palin:  She's tight, nervous, by rote. But flashes of that connection.

Palin:  Corruption on Wall Street. She steals that. "We're taking responsibility."  "Never again will we be taken advantage of."

Biden:  regulation is savior.  If they succeed in implanting that meme, we're in trouble.

Palin:  Tax relief?

-- Aside, is hashing through votes a mess?

Biden -- I think he's full of crap, but will people see that.

-- The middle class is the economic engine.  

-- Palin is right: business is the engine.

-- Palin:  on health plan.  "unless you're pleased with the way the federal government is doing anything.'  Good jab

-- Artificial bounds on insurance. She's right. 


Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Let 'em go down?

From CNN:

Jeffrey A. Miron is senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University. A Libertarian, he was one of 166 academic economists who signed a letter to congressional leaders last week opposing the government bailout plan:

The obvious alternative to a bailout is letting troubled financial institutions declare bankruptcy. Bankruptcy means that shareholders typically get wiped out and the creditors own the company.

Bankruptcy does not mean the company disappears; it is just owned by someone new (as has occurred with several airlines). Bankruptcy punishes those who took excessive risks while preserving those aspects of a businesses that remain profitable.

In contrast, a bailout transfers enormous wealth from taxpayers to those who knowingly engaged in risky subprime lending. Thus, the bailout encourages companies to take large, imprudent risks and count on getting bailed out by government. This "moral hazard" generates enormous distortions in an economy's allocation of its financial resources.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

strategy vs. tactics

I'm sure people have weighed in on strategy and tactics. Tactics is what wins battles; strategy is what wins wars.

It's not a minor topic, really. George Washington wasn't a great tactician. I just read he never beat a British army one-on-one (without the French.) (That gibe doesn't seem to count the battle of Princeton; but maybe the writer is counting it as a draw.)

But he was a great general because he understood strategy: He understood that the Americans could win if he kept the continental army alive until he could deliver a crushing blow.

Ditto for Lincoln. At the very beginning he saw the Union could win if it strangled the South with a blockade, then Union armies moved in concert to attack the South, preventing the South from using its interior lines to move its armies back and forth to meet disconnected Union threats.

Same for FDR. He understood how a global war had to be fought and won.

I should add that it also includes all the political, psychological and financial factors. Woodrow Wilson's Fourteen Points were a strategic move; ditto for the Emancipation Proclamation, and FDR's Four Freedoms.

One could say Obama doesn't see the strategic problem: who is our enemy? How do we defeat them? Obama would say it's al-Qaida. But it might be Islamofacism. It might even be wider: the whole world that's being left behind (the Mideast, but also Latin America (from narco gangs in Mexico to Chavez) to Putin and Russia.

Anyway, it perhaps is the question.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Mississippi and Peoria

The debates showed the bankruptcy -- of the political class.

Jim Lehrer was begging them to educate the public on the bailout plan. Neither was willing or able to do so.

Both instead stressed their personal qualities and sniped at the other.

This is a start contrast to the speech that launched Abraham Lincoln's national political career. In 1854, the Kansas-Nebraska Act roused him from being in a sort of political sleep mode, and landed him six years later in the White House.

The Act that so stunned Lincoln overturned the Compromise of 1850, and left the decision on whether to allow slavery in the two territories to the vague promise of "popular sovereignty."

If that reminds you of the horror of high school history, perhaps that's why modern politicians are so scared of facts and history.

But in his "Peoria speech" of Oct. 16, 1854, Lincoln addressed the history, and future, of the nation. (He had actually given the speech earlier in Springfield, but better copies were made of the Peoria speech, so it gets the honors.)

Anyway, if the very mention of the Wilmot Provisio still fills you with dread, you might want to check out the Peoria speech. Lincoln begins telling the legal and political history of slavery in the U.S. that most teachers should envy.

I'd like to compare it to the public remarks of the candidates this year. I think the candidates' approaches are familiar. I don't mean to pick one over the other; their flaws seem evenly distributed.

First, Lincoln believes the past is an invaluable tool for understanding the present, and guiding us to the future. This may seem a truism, but note how often politicians duck talking about the past.

Even the soc-called conservatives in America in our era believe the past is dead and gone. They are forward-looking; indeed, that is a universal compliment.

But that leaves us marooned in the present, without understanding of how we got here, and bereft of clues for indeed moving forward.

Lincoln also eschewed the politics of personality. Though his family was one of those that fled Kentucky for the free states of Indiana and Illinois, he doesn't mention that directly. He doesn't tell anecdotes about splitting rails or living in a log cabin -- or, of course, having a Kenyan father, or field-dressing a moose, or being held prisoner.

His speech itself was the best display of the talents and traits needed for the job.

I couldn't help thinking McCain and Obama didn't show much. They showed they could repeat oft-rehearsed jibes. But they didn't show they understood the issues.

Lincoln, after reviewing the history, turned to the Kansas-Nebraska Act. He didn't focus on the traits or character of those behind it -- at least directly. He discussed why it was harmful to the nation.

More important, he discussed why slavery was wrong. To say that sounds odd to our jaded modern ears.

Candidates in our relativistic time dare not say so. A policy is misguided, or a budget buster, or it harms the economy, but they seldom say something is just flat wrong.

Lincoln's racial attitudes were less than admirable by our lights. But, as Frederick Douglass noted, to the white voters of his time, they were bold and even threatening.

Friday, September 26, 2008

It's on

live blog of first debate:

Obama already looks aged.

earmarking as a gateway drug == that's a good line.

Earmarks process has been abused, Obama agrees.

McCain is getting it -- earmarks corrupt.

Now, help for most folks is not a bad idea here.

At seven-twenty-six, I'm not sure where this is going.

We've got to invest in science and technology -- hold on to your wallet.

Fixed-cost contracts -- this is a good line, to me. Do others think so?

McCain -- spending freeze?

McCain takes on -- offshore drilling and nuclear power.

Obama looks presidential. Maybe that's all he needs.

Obama's trope on Iraq may be a political winner.

But so may McCain's rejoinder on the surge.

The problem with Obama's bravado on Afghanistan -- his party will never let him fight. MoveOn and the Senate liberals will never let him do anything.

No soldier dies in vain?

The flaw of the debate format: will Obama's party back his bold words? Of course not.

Will Dems back free trade to root out terrorism? of course not.

Can McCain actually marshal forces as president?

I found this dull, pointless. What would they actually do? Not just talk.

But Obama talks well.

Oh, he says he believes in missile defense, but his party won't back him!

Yes, all in turn. He won't be able to go boldly into Pakistan. Even if he means it.

We have weakened our capacity to project power .... by projecting it!

McCain projects "love" for vets. Powerful.

McCain ends well.

I hate having to read about how everyone else felt.

I don't think it's what you see; the real thing is behind the scenes.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

McCain move a winner


Marshall calls it 'the biggest 'dog ate my homework' in history." I do think there's something to that--McCain's debate-delaying move seems more than a bit immature and self-indulgent. (As a kid, didn't you used to think, 'Gee, if there was a huge disaster I wouldn't have to take that test'?')

a. Doesn't it work the other way around? Can't Obama be the one who doesn't want to come up with the goods -- action? (Kristol examines this well.)

b. McCain isn't a junior exec -- he's a U.S. senator! He's got a job to do!

c. Driving by a car wreck, McCain jumps out to help, Obama cruises in to the office for the meeting.

d. There's plenty of time for debates. Heck, as Bill Clinton pointed out, McCain wants more! Let Obama debate him more!

e. Let them debate on the Senate floor -- let's go back to the days of Daniel Webster! That is, if Obama has something to say!

f. What if an exec failed to deal with a crisis because he's looking for a new job?

McCain's move not a stunt

From Kaus files:

But he's not a hotshot exec; he's a U.S. senator.

What if a top executive couldn't attend to a crisis because he was seeking a new job?

I'm with Kristol: it's an action he should take, and makes Obama look like the lightweight he is.

Of course, McCain could blow it in Washington. But that's part of the job.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

live blog, president's speech

Bush's speech:

What's really convincing: he looks scared.

Not too convincing on causes. 

Well, maybe it's not a bad background. At least some facts.  7:06.

Jesus, he's scaring the beejesus out of me.

A spirit of cooperation -- that means BOTH parties are terrified.

(my thought: You want to care for your own health. But a knee blows out. Maybe it heals on its own. But maybe it doesn't. And until it gets fixed, you can't work out to rehab it and prevent future injuries.)

7:12.  I don't feel he's speaking from the gut.  Not a bad summary. I guess I have to agree.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Bryan = Palin?

To expand on earlier post:

It's becoming clearer that Sarah Palin's address to the Republican Convention can be compared, in its political impact, to William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech.

His speech to the 1896 Democratic Convention was a watershed in American politics. Bryan was just 36 when he called for silver to back currency, a way of helping debt-burdened farmers by, in effect, inflating the money supply. The delegates went into a frenzy, and he was nominated as the Democratic candidate, and again in 1900 and 1908.

He became the leader of a revolt against the rise of industrial power. Small-town America coalesced behind Bryan when he concluded, "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

In doing so, he changed his party. The previous Democratic president, Grover Cleveland, had followed the Jefferson-Jackson tradition of the Democratic Party in standing for the common man -- but by reducing the power of government. For instance, Cleveland famously vetoed a congressional move to aid drought-stricken Texas farmers.

But with Bryan, the Democratic Party stood for helpings average American by deploying the power of government on their behalf.

Palin's speech is similar in pitting Alaska against Washington, Wasilla against Washington. But it also pits Idaho State against Harvard. And it also pits the old Republican Party against one that is struggling to be born.

Bryan led ordinary people against the age's elite: the robber barons, bankers, Wall Street and the politicians in their pay. Palin is the figurehead, at least, of a popular tide of resentment against the reigning axis of power in Georgetown and on K Street in Washington, Wall Street and the Upper West Side in New York, and Marin County and Malibu in California.

Some might look askance at the Republican Party's representing average folk, but, as other writers have noted, the two parties have been trading places very quietly for years. Suddenly, the Republicans are on the verge of being the party of the people.

Evidence for this is the way that the pundits, professors and liberal politicians have foamed at the mouth since Palin's nomination.

The other key indication on the changing nature of the party is that Republicans have gotten excited about their candidate. Is it possible to even imagine Republicans of previous eras getting excited? But the GOP, once the party of the frozen chosen, suddenly is suddenly doing a lot more hooting and hollering.

Palin populism is no guarantee of victory, of course. Bryan never won the presidency, of course, and ended his career in the famous Scopes trial, which won him the derision of the rising class of intellectuals.

Nor is a populist strategy a guarantee of good policy. Bryan's silver policy would have caused inflation, which in the long run hurts ordinary people more than it does the bankers and financiers, who can game the system. Palin populism may not be any better than the elitist policies it decries.

Becoming more populist is hardly a guaranteed prospect for the Republicans. It would be a big change. Bryan asked which side Democrats would be on: "There are two ideas of government. There are those who believe that if you just legislate to make the well-to-do prosperous, that their prosperity will leak through on those below. The Democratic idea has been that if you legislate to make the masses prosperous their prosperity will find its way up and through every class that rests upon it."

It's obvious which side the Republican Party has been on in recent years. It may be wondered if the party can switch gears.

Yet Republican populism appears just as the knowledge elite are under assault. The Internet has shaken the status of the mainstream media. The debacle on Wall Street shows that the money brokers are less brilliant than lucky. The frenzied reaction of the pundit-professoriate-politico axis hints that it feels the heat.

If the "Lipstick Speech" doesn't have the same ring as "Cross of Gold," historians may look back on it as a similar moment, when Palin Republicanism began its ascent.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Job for Palin

Here's one thing she could do in a McCain administration: drive liberals crazy.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

the real problem with energy

Democrats, including Rep. Matheson, have long targeted speculators.

But a new report says:

In its report, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission said this year's spike in crude futures appears to be due to "an appreciation of the value of existing investments caused by the rise in crude oil prices and not the result of more money flowing into commodity index trading."

In other words, real supply and demand, not paper speculation.


IBD tells of dangers of a too-young president:

All told, the Clinton administration had at least 10 chances to get bin Laden but repeatedly could not make the decision to act. Too many departments were involved, creating too much confusion, and no leader was strong enough to make the tough call. All were timid and overly concerned about repercussions if they failed.

Mad dog left/

Maybe the left is just to unstable right now to govern.

"Salon's Cintra Wilson manages to make a similar point with flawless grammar:
Sarah Palin is a bit comical, like one of those cutthroat Texas cheerleader stage moms. What her Down syndrome baby and pregnant teenage daughter unequivocally prove, however, is that her most beloved child is the antiabortion platform that ensures her own political ambitions with the conservative right."

Putting it in perspective

Mr. Obama responded by comparing Wasilla's 50 city workers with his campaign's 2,500 employees and dismissed its budget of about $12 million a year by saying "we have a budget of about three times that just for the month." He claimed his campaign "made clear" his "ability to manage large systems and to execute."

Of course, this ignores the fact that Mrs. Palin is now governor. She manages an $11 billion operating budget, a $1.7 billion capital expenditure budget, and nearly 29,000 full- and part-time state employees. In two years as governor, she's vetoed over $499 million from Alaska's capital budget -- more money than Mr. Obama is likely to spend on his entire campaign.

Monday, September 8, 2008

the election.


Anyone who predicts with any certainty what will happen in the next eight weeks ought to explain how well they forecast what would happen in the past eight days.

Who benefits?

People think conservatives are cruel and heartless.

Maybe they're right.

But look how often programs meant to benefit working class people end up enriching the elite, and socking all taxpayers:

In its most dramatic market intervention in years, the U.S. government seized two of the nation's largest financial companies, taking direct responsibility for firms that provide funding for around three-quarters of new home mortgages.


With that, the U.S. mortgage crisis entered a new and uncharted phase, potentially saddling American taxpayers with billions of dollars in losses from home loans made by the private sector.


At Fannie, Herb Allison, who formerly served as chairman of the investment company TIAA-CREF, succeeds Daniel Mudd. Freddie's chief executive, Richard Syron, was succeeded by David Moffett, who has been vice chairman and chief financial officer of U.S. Bancorp.

Potentially, Mr. Syron could walk away with an exit package totaling as much as $15 million, said David Schmidt, a senior consultant at James F. Reda & Associates LLC, a compensation consulting concern in New York. That includes a pension and deferred compensation, about $3.7 million in severance pay and a possible payment of $8.8 million to compensate for forfeiting recent equity grants. A Freddie spokesman said Mr. Syron had said he doesn't "anticipate receiving nearly that much."

Mr. Mudd's exit package, including stock he already owns, could total $14 million, Mr. Schmidt estimates.

Friday, September 5, 2008


Isn't there a contradiction between conservatism and "Country First"?

And is "maverick" reliable?

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A new "Cross of Gold"?

Could Sarah Palin's address to the Republican Convention be compared, in its political impact, to William Jennings Bryan's "Cross of Gold" speech?

It might -- but this might pose as many dangers as threats to the Republican Party.

This is to speak of political impact only. As Washington Post writer Robert Samuelson points out, neither party is addressing the real challenges: health care costs, entitlements and immigration.

But political impact counts too. Bryan changed his party, thus politics. Palin might have done the same thing. She certainly got Republicans excited, a feat somewhat like raising the dead. That counts for more than many thing.

Bryan was just 36 when he delivered his speech to the Democratic Convention in 1896, calling for currency to be backed by silver, rather than gold. It was a way of helping debt-burdened farmers — by, in effect, inflating the money supply. The delegates went into a frenzy, and he was nominated as the Democratic candidate.

More generally, he helped ignite a revolt by the older agricultural order — then still a huge slice of the population — in a revolt against the rise of industrial power. Farmers and those who felt they were being left behind coalesced behind Bryan and the resentments and fears he articulated when he concluded, "You shall not crucify mankind upon a cross of gold."

Palin's speech was a revolt against the media, the Washington elite, the intellectuals — against the knowledge elite that now dominates the economy just as the robber barons dominated the industrial economy that was swamping the agricultural sector in 1896.

Both text and subtext conveyed the message pitting the average American against the technocrats and CEOs who have really run the country for the past couple of decades. As many have written, we are in a knowledge-based economy. Palin, and those who respond to her, are challenging the reigning axis of power in Georgetown and on K Street in Washington, Wall Street and the Upper West Side in New York, and Marin County and Malibu in California.

Some might look askance at the Republican Party's representing average folk, but, as other writers have noted, the two parties have been trading places very quietly for years. Suddenly, the Republicans are on the verge of being the party of the people, which they have not generally been, at least since Abe Lincoln.

Moreover, this is not merely a conservative move. Take for instance an upset here in Utah's ultra-conservative Third Congressional District. Chris Cannon has represented the district for a dozen years, and garnered from conservative groups approval ratings in the mid to high 90s. But that wasn't enough. He seemed too distant, too focused on Washington. A political newcomer, Jason Chaffetz, running with no paid campaign staff, shellacked Cannon in the primary, and is the odds-on favorite to win in November.

So it is not so much a conservative shift as a populist one. It is not enough to be conservative, at least as the media and politicians usually measure it. The new Republican Party must connect with the people, not just dictating to them, but acting as a conduit for their dreams, and fears.

This is no guarantee of victory, of course. Bryan never won the presidency in three tries, and ended his career in the famous Scopes trial, which won him the derision of the rising class of intellectuals.

Nor is it a guarantee of good policy. Bryan's silver policy would have caused inflation, which in the long run hurts ordinary people more than it does the bankers and financiers, who can game the system. Palin populism may not be any better than the elitist policies it decries.

Yet neither should the potential of this new Republicanism be ignored. Palin mocked the media, for instance, and in fact the mass media's power probably crested years ago, and may be in decline. A fast-changing world may be tearing power away from New York and Washington, and moving it across the nation.

And it may be double-edged. Here's the core revelation: the Palin Republicans (and perhaps the Chaffetz ones) won't settle for just following orders. The Republican Party can't just use them; it's the other way around.

Take immigration. Say McCain tries the old switcheroo, and passes immigration "reform" this new base perceives as "amnesty." They won't just grumble and take it. They will explode.

And the Republican Party will join the Whigs and the Populists and the Know-Nothings and all the other political parties that are now just history.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Palin's on. 9:29

She's good, too. She's the best candidate McCain could have chosen, judging by Mitt, Huck, Rudy, et al.

Is this the day the Republican Party, and thus American politics, changes?

A speech is not only the words, but the situation and the delivery. Like a song or play.

It's coming together for her.

"we put the government of the state back on the side of the people."

My thought: that's the trope: not no government, not the government leading the people, but putting the government on the side of the people.

"that luxury jet was over the top" She put it on eBay!

Sarah Barracuda.

Got rid of the chef.

Those lips pressed together on the veto records.

9:51 -- Oil threat.

He's written two books but no laws. That's a key point: Obama is more a literary than political type.

She has fired up the Republicans, which I thought impossible.

She's got a rapier wit.

She's a hoopster too. Palin v. Obama, one on one.

"the American presidency isn't supposed to be a journey of personal discovery." Ouch!

10:03: Praise the Lord, she's raised the dead -- the Republican party.

Election won? Not by a long shot. But the game is on.

"If our state was going to build a bridge, we were going to build it ourselves."

More speakers

A smell of smoke in neighborhood. Really, ours


8:51 -- Crowd is chanting "zero, zero!"

Hawaii's governor says Palin will be a great vice president. Has anybody been a great vice president?

9:01 -- Giuliani on. "USA." McCain is a true American hero. Yes, but will he be the best president?

Lay off the story! They'll overuse it.

He's ripping Obama. Rudy is a little scary looking, but perhaps offensive.

When Dems gave up on Iraq, they gave up on America. Yes.

Does this signal a sea change in politics -- GOP as people's party?
The real battle is who the voters hate more: government or business.

We had a flight out of SLC on USAirways. Flight cancelled. They did fly us to Phoenix; we had to get up at 4:30 to catch the Phoenix-Pittsburgh flight.

The reason we flew USAirways was because it had a 1:30 flight so we didn't have to get up in the morning!

Then they make us pay for water! People need water so they don't get dehydrated in airliner cabins!

Of course, then we had to go through those idiotic security lines. We had to throw out four ounces of sunscreen. Three-point-four ounces was OK. But not four.

So who is more hated -- that's the question.

liveblogging -- Romney

Schools free of porn and drugs and promiscuity? Where oh where are they?

He's a clear, forceful speaker. Decent campaigner. Decent jab: Let's keep Al Gore's private jet on the ground.

I can see why McCain doesn't want to stand next to him on a podium.

But I can also see why McCain just plain can't stand him.

Romney has Barackitis -- he can't help basking in the glow of his own admiration.

8:26 Huckabee comes out.

He is affable; as they say, he seems sincere, and if you can fake that ....

He's very good. Sly wit, good line, "tackier than a costume change at a Madonna concert."

Respectful of Obama. Very good. Better than Romney's abrasiveness, here.

Quotes phony Lincoln line about what government can take.

"I didn't want to wait the rest of my life for the government to rescue me."

He's good. Too bad he's a sleazebag.

8:35 -- the McCain story. They have to beware of overusing it.

OK, the story about the teacher and the desks is corny, but it moved me. I'm a wuss, OK?
8:06 Romney on. He IS a little too slick. He's blasting the east coast elites.

Um, isn't he a venture-capital billionaire who was governor of Massachusetts?

And a little too handsome.

He's not a bad speaker. OK, he's a good one. But that question and answer schtick doesn't work.

Sarah -- and Jason?

Fascinating insights into Palin from the middle-left:

Former mayor? If you're going to skip over her job as governor and, before that, her job heading the commission that oversees production of the largest petroleum reserves in America, why not "former high school student"? Bah, what does it matter: She's just a small town mayor, just a hockey mom, just a beauty pageant queen. Palin has never shunned these belittling monikers, in part, I imagine, because the camouflage has served her so well. Soothed by the litany, her opponents tend to sleep too late, sneer too much, and forget who it is that hires them.


And, by the way, does her big win over an incumbent remind anyone of Jason Chaffetz?

GOP spin

Don't tell me the Republicans can't work the media.

First, they ditch Bush and Cheney because there's a storm near Louisiana.

There's always a storm this time of year there.

As for N'awlins, IT'S BELOW SEA LEVEL.

Then they get the soap opera going. It's kind of fun seeing Republicans get excited. About anything.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Bonanza or boondoggle?

For $100M, great. $700M? Utah has greeted it enthusiastically.

But, like the first iPhones, is it overpriced?

Nowhere man

The more I read about Obama, the more I think of the Beatles' Nowhere Man.

Or T.S. Eliot's the Hollow Men:

Shape without form, shade without colour,
Paralysed force, gesture without motion;

This of course is not surprising for a modern politician. Some have noted already Robert Redford in "The Candidate."

But the danger is that, like others, Obama has tried to fill the void with the energy and drama of radical politics.

Worse, he would inherit a left-wing Congress.

Friday, August 29, 2008


Joe Pyrah (my Daily Herald colleague) thinks the pick is a bust and McCain is done.

Others are more sanguine.

I see it as a bit of a Hail Mary, sure. But he can't just run even with Obama; the trends are against him (as is the media.)

McCain plainly was playing to the demographics. It's not as if Hillary backers will vote for him; but if he can get a chunk of them to stay home on election day ...

And Palin is fresh, new. Too far right? Too inexperienced?

Will Biden pound her? Or can he? Will she highlight his mad dog style?

I think it was an understandable pick. Romney, Pawlenty, etc., have negatives too.

And with this McCain grabs the "change" mantle from Obama.

But I agree we'll have to see how it turns out.

Morning after

Obama's speech:

Flat, mediocre. I'd like to look at it as an editor would. Especially for what is not there. That's the hardest thing.

Slate's Dickerson said it sacrificed rhetoric for substance. But that is what it lacked. He says it was passionate. But it was forced passion. I'm not saying faked. But forced. He summed the passionate tone and feeling, but attached it at random to the words.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The speech -- liveblogging

The speech has to be a relief after all that slop.

Maybe they made it lousy on purpose.

Can't they shut up? Can't he even control his own crowd?

Matheson showed great insight by staying home.

We're hearing a lot about Biden's Amtrak train. Not so much about his Iraq policy, his obstructionism in filling judgeships.

The actual time, Mountain Time, is an hour behind what is being posted.

Bills you can't afford to pay -- so make more or spend less.

Cars you can't afford -- well, so that's George Bush's fault?

"lets vets sleep on the streets" -- so is Obama going to round up all the troubled people who once served in the military?

He's ripping McCain. We've become "a nation of whiners." Well, at least there's one stadium of them.

He's trying to link McCain to Bush and an aide. But what about McCain?

Tax breaks for corporations and oil companies -- well, who do you think might hire people?

I'm not blogging much because this is just much.

Bush, Bush, Bush. Why not talk about Hoover or Lincoln?

He's like a comedian who's run out of material.

I am my brother's keeper -- but heaven help any teacher who tries to teach that in school!

Changes in tax code -- which ones?

He will eliminate capital gains taxes on small businesses.

But they don't make capital gains -- until they become big ones.

We will finally end our dependence on oil for the middle east -- OK, how?

Drilling is a stopgap -- gets big cheers. OK, that's fine.

I will help auto companies retool -- How?

I'll invest $150 billion in renewable energy. Why don't private companies?

Why does he think govt. is better investor?

He will ask for higher standards and accountability. But can an Obama do that? Can he defy the teachers unions?

Affordable, accessible health care. It will lower your costs -- but raise taxes!

More sick days and leave! And more jobs going overseas!

How he'll pay for it -- by closing loopholes. I will go through budget line by line and eliminate obsolete program.

But how can the party of government do that?

Intellectual and moral strength? Each of us must do our part.

"Programs can't replace parents." But can he make the Democrats do this?

All this runs against the essence of the party he will be leading; and plainly he doesn't have the backbone to defy them, the bold remarks to the contrary.

"We are the party of Roosevelt, of Kennedy .... " No, not of them, not on foreign policy. And note that he didn't mention Truman.

He says he will fight if need be ... But what about Darfur?

New partnerships? How will diplomacy work?

He's straining now, like an actor with bad or tired lines, hoping emoting will take the place of content.

Aside: (Yes, I'm having trouble paying attention): Michael Medved (thanks to Real Clear) has summed this up: there's a contradiction.

Back to Obama: now he's pretending there are no real differences.

Narcissim or circular logic: people like my campaign so my campaign must be right.

He's like a pop singer who had a couple of hits and can't follow up.

The video

The dawning of a new day. You know, even for political speeches, there's a remarkable lack of content. (Durbin's speech.)

Obama and Biden "will lead us to a new place."

Now he's Moses too!

The video. "A promise ... " that we can make our own lives.

But the Democrats' actual promise is that we can't make it on our own.

Grandparents "weren't complainers." But his followers sure are!

Please explain to me why his wife is relevant in any way? Why does anyone care?

OK, the story is powerful. That's the tragedy -- he could have done something. But he sold out to the left.

And who cares about his family?

more ordinary people at Dem Con

I am a lifelong Republican, but I can't afford four more years of this.

Yes, Obama will cure all their ailments and pay all their bills.

"Come to Jesus."

"I'm going to put country first" a hard luck guy says. But he just laid out a scenario wailing about his problems -- he puts himself first.

Brooks and Shields are fawning over them.


An ex-general -- I didn't catch the name, McClellan, Hooker, Burnside, something like that -- is gassing along about Obama.

He is committed to solving Darfur crisis. How? I'd be interested. Does he want to send U.S. troops. I'm not necessarily against that. Just let Obama say that.

Biden gassing along, stridently, bitterly.

Ordinary people speak -- but with that same condescending tone.

"I ... hold ... a ... doctorate ... in ... education."

That same tone that says: you are a pathetic moron, but the government will condescend to save you.

You don't have to be in the elite to have the same contempt for ordinary people -- even for one's self.

What complete tripe. Hillary's supporters are there: the same strident, hectoring tone.

And I'm not sure "yes we can" in Spanish will be a big hit.

"I'm xxxx from xxxx." Another tale of woe.

Ms. Eisenhower's speech

More condescension: explaining who Dwight Eisenhower was, what Gettysburg was, etc.

More on unity. Jawhohl!

What we need is division. The opposition provides the resistence needed to build any side.

And some retired military men. Yes, the great generals: Westmoreland, McClellan, and Benedict Arnold.


Obama compared to Stevenson. Yes, a well-meaning fellow. Stevenson was at least sensible, if ineffectual.

A coherent convention? That is, wholly liberal?

Peniel Joseph of Brandeis -- He says delegates have "come to Jesus" and will be voting for Barack. Unfortunate metaphor.

Brooks points out that veep pick doesn't matter all that much.

Brooks on Romney: bad choice, because they just don't like each other.


Gore a complex figure? Shields says so. "He's walked away from politics."

Al Gore emotionally healthy?

And Brooks says Gore should have spoken more from the heart, as he does on global warming.

To much psychobabble. Doesn't anyone think about what is right? What is true?

Guess not.

Some young guy is in. "All we've suffered during the past eight years" as Americans.

Like full employment? Smashing al-Qaida? I admit it would be amusing to see Barack and liberals take over.

the real contest

The real contest: what do Americans hate more: big business or big government?

Just flew on US Airways. Flight canceled.

Then got mugged by TSA.


Rubin is fawning all over.

The speech from Mount Obama

Media are interviewing Dem policy hacks who are well-trained and well rehearsed. And the softball questions. "How do Democrats think the convention is going?" Jiminy Christmas, is this a freaking infomercial?

My own fault for watching on public TV -- KBYU.