Barackalypse Now

As the stock market dives 634 more points over the United States government getting downgraded by Standard & Poors, President Obama is looking more vulnerable than ever.  Even some of his African American supporters—who are suffering most from unemployment—are getting disillusioned with him.  In addition to our economic woes are our foreign policy failures, including setbacks in the continuing wars in Afghanistan and Libya.  People are speaking of Barackalypse or Obamageddon.

I thought he was a shoo-in for re-election, but now I’m thinking he is assuming the mantle of Jimmy Carter.  And yet this time there is no Ronald Reagan in the wings.  I’m still not confident that any of the current candidates come across as presidential enough to beat him.

It looks like Texas governor Rick Perry is going to get in the race.  He has scheduled a big speech this weekend and then he is booked to go to New Hampshire and Iowa.  (Why else would he go to New Hampshire and Iowa unless he is going to run?)  He seems to come across well in the presidential gravitas department and could probably unite both tea party activists and establishment Republicans.

Both Republicans and Democrats need to remember that it is not enough to vote for a candidate just on the basis of his or her ideology.   Another consideration is, can this person govern?  If Republicans select a light-weight ideologue who is incapable of effectively addressing the nation’s problems, they will face their own Armageddon.  They will also drag the country down with them.

About Gene Veith

Professor of Literature at Patrick Henry College, the Director of the Cranach Institute at Concordia Theological Seminary, a columnist for World Magazine and TableTalk, and the author of 18 books on different facets of Christianity & Culture.

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure I’m very comfortable with all of these calls for a new “Churchill” that I’ve seen cropping up in the last week or so. They can easily morph into calls for a “Peron” or an “FDR” or a “Mussolini – at least he made the trains run on time”. I’m not convinced Perry has real gravitas, but seems to be one who has the typical political trappings of gravitas. All he had to do was say something to the effect of “What we need is prayer,” and many on the social conservative right fell neatly into line. Only Bachmann is seriously making a play for their vote right now.

    While I agree with many of there social stances, I don’t agree with turning most of them into law. At the same time, the social conservatives seem to have no clue on sound economic policy, or come across as complete nut jobs if they do. Combine that with an almost idolatrous fixation on Israel and a commitment to continuing any war we’re in and maybe expanding into several more theaters of operation and I’ve lost any interest whatsoever. That is not a prescription for addressing what ails us.

    If, Perry can show some independence, backs up his earlier calls for more power devolving to the states with constructive proposals, advocates curtailing our unaffordable foreign policies, puts forward some sound fiscal policies like actually cutting something, somewhere, and quits begging the Federal Reserve to ride in a bail everyone out (firing Bernanke at the next available opportunity would be one of the best things the President could do), then maybe he’ll start having gravitas. Until then, I’m not holding my breath.

    As I’ve said before, Obama is the weakest, most vulnerable president we’ve had (and I would say even weaker than Carter), yet the Republican have still not found anyone willing to run that has demonstrated the capability to be taken seriously by the people. We can argue that its because of media prejudice that tears candidates down and only trumpets weakness. However, the press didn’t like Reagan and were not particularly kind into him, but he had credibility with the people, and because of that, the press had to take him seriously and cover him seriously. There is almost no indication of similar media behavior with the current candidates (because of new media? Maybe, jury’s out on that).

  • SKPeterson

    I’m not sure I’m very comfortable with all of these calls for a new “Churchill” that I’ve seen cropping up in the last week or so. They can easily morph into calls for a “Peron” or an “FDR” or a “Mussolini – at least he made the trains run on time”. I’m not convinced Perry has real gravitas, but seems to be one who has the typical political trappings of gravitas. All he had to do was say something to the effect of “What we need is prayer,” and many on the social conservative right fell neatly into line. Only Bachmann is seriously making a play for their vote right now.

    While I agree with many of there social stances, I don’t agree with turning most of them into law. At the same time, the social conservatives seem to have no clue on sound economic policy, or come across as complete nut jobs if they do. Combine that with an almost idolatrous fixation on Israel and a commitment to continuing any war we’re in and maybe expanding into several more theaters of operation and I’ve lost any interest whatsoever. That is not a prescription for addressing what ails us.

    If, Perry can show some independence, backs up his earlier calls for more power devolving to the states with constructive proposals, advocates curtailing our unaffordable foreign policies, puts forward some sound fiscal policies like actually cutting something, somewhere, and quits begging the Federal Reserve to ride in a bail everyone out (firing Bernanke at the next available opportunity would be one of the best things the President could do), then maybe he’ll start having gravitas. Until then, I’m not holding my breath.

    As I’ve said before, Obama is the weakest, most vulnerable president we’ve had (and I would say even weaker than Carter), yet the Republican have still not found anyone willing to run that has demonstrated the capability to be taken seriously by the people. We can argue that its because of media prejudice that tears candidates down and only trumpets weakness. However, the press didn’t like Reagan and were not particularly kind into him, but he had credibility with the people, and because of that, the press had to take him seriously and cover him seriously. There is almost no indication of similar media behavior with the current candidates (because of new media? Maybe, jury’s out on that).

  • reg

    Republican’s don’t care. As long as they can deny Obama and the Dems a win who cares if the country suffers as collateral damage. Its all about winning, to heck with the country. The tea party right has cased this current meltdown with their intransigence on a “big deal” on the deficit and game of Russian roulette on a credit downgrade, but it was worth it in their view if they thereby can defeat their enemies. Pathetic! This from the party that wears its so-called patriotism on its sleeve. Every time I think I might vote more conservatively, these folks manage to cause me to recoil in disgust. Obama is not a great president, the Repubs are lower than [fill in the blank].

  • reg

    Republican’s don’t care. As long as they can deny Obama and the Dems a win who cares if the country suffers as collateral damage. Its all about winning, to heck with the country. The tea party right has cased this current meltdown with their intransigence on a “big deal” on the deficit and game of Russian roulette on a credit downgrade, but it was worth it in their view if they thereby can defeat their enemies. Pathetic! This from the party that wears its so-called patriotism on its sleeve. Every time I think I might vote more conservatively, these folks manage to cause me to recoil in disgust. Obama is not a great president, the Repubs are lower than [fill in the blank].

  • Carl Vehse

    The clymer press loaths conservative candidates even today, but now with the internet it is harder for the fifth column media to spread their hate propaganda among the sentient. Unfortunately, based on the 2008 election, about half the voters, including those from area cemeteries or with entitlement mentalities, are susceptible to leftist influence.

  • Carl Vehse

    The clymer press loaths conservative candidates even today, but now with the internet it is harder for the fifth column media to spread their hate propaganda among the sentient. Unfortunately, based on the 2008 election, about half the voters, including those from area cemeteries or with entitlement mentalities, are susceptible to leftist influence.

  • Joe

    I’m not gonna blame the press for a lack of a first rate candidate. The field is just not that strong. Perry had (and still has) an opportunity to take the lead and be the candidate. But he is intent on using the 2004 GOP playbook which said, “coddle up to the evangelicals.” To be sure they are still a GOP core constituency but their influence is not what it used to be. In my opinion Rick Perry could be the guy to beat Obama but he needs to get back to what made him of national interest in the first instance – his views on limited gov’t and federalism. If he continues to go out of his way to pander to the evangelicals he will lose the much of his broader appeal.

  • Joe

    I’m not gonna blame the press for a lack of a first rate candidate. The field is just not that strong. Perry had (and still has) an opportunity to take the lead and be the candidate. But he is intent on using the 2004 GOP playbook which said, “coddle up to the evangelicals.” To be sure they are still a GOP core constituency but their influence is not what it used to be. In my opinion Rick Perry could be the guy to beat Obama but he needs to get back to what made him of national interest in the first instance – his views on limited gov’t and federalism. If he continues to go out of his way to pander to the evangelicals he will lose the much of his broader appeal.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Perry is a total pragmatist. However, even when he was a Democrat, he was a brutal spending cutter. For him, the tea party is like his buddies from back in the day that cut, cut, cut.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Perry is a total pragmatist. However, even when he was a Democrat, he was a brutal spending cutter. For him, the tea party is like his buddies from back in the day that cut, cut, cut.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “If he continues to go out of his way to pander to the evangelicals he will lose the much of his broader appeal.”

    I don’t get this point. The press will ask him about his record which clearly shows he is one of them politically. Also, he will probably campaign on jobs, jobs, jobs. We got jobs in Texas and we can get y’all jobs, too. By the election, unemployment benefits will have run out for many. The folks who have lost their jobs, home and taken a hit to their pride will be ready to hear that.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “If he continues to go out of his way to pander to the evangelicals he will lose the much of his broader appeal.”

    I don’t get this point. The press will ask him about his record which clearly shows he is one of them politically. Also, he will probably campaign on jobs, jobs, jobs. We got jobs in Texas and we can get y’all jobs, too. By the election, unemployment benefits will have run out for many. The folks who have lost their jobs, home and taken a hit to their pride will be ready to hear that.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m not a particular fan of Perry, but I might almost be tempted to vote for him–a rare statement from me when confronted with Republicans. Only because there’s Obama blood in the water, however.

    Joe@3, evangelicals represent a full 25% of the American population, and probably a much higher percentage in Texas. I would expect a consummate politician to do no less than pander to such a large segment of the electorate. If he were to win the nomination, however, expect him to focus on “Texan exceptionalism”: whether by his own doing or not, Perry has governed a state that has weathered the recession better than any other, actually creating jobs, etc. He has the sort of executive experience that has served recent Presidents (Clinton, Reagan) well. He ain’t stupid.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m not a particular fan of Perry, but I might almost be tempted to vote for him–a rare statement from me when confronted with Republicans. Only because there’s Obama blood in the water, however.

    Joe@3, evangelicals represent a full 25% of the American population, and probably a much higher percentage in Texas. I would expect a consummate politician to do no less than pander to such a large segment of the electorate. If he were to win the nomination, however, expect him to focus on “Texan exceptionalism”: whether by his own doing or not, Perry has governed a state that has weathered the recession better than any other, actually creating jobs, etc. He has the sort of executive experience that has served recent Presidents (Clinton, Reagan) well. He ain’t stupid.

  • Joe

    Cincy – My point is that evangelicals already know he is one of them or can be made to know it without ridiculous events like the one he was part of last weekend.

    Also, while they make up 25% of the population this election is going to be about financial issues and over pandering to evangelicals is going to lose him votes among the more libertarian minded voters. And, when he goes on focus on the family radio and supports a federal marriage amendment it calls his previous 10th amendment support into question. If you really believe in federalism, you believe it even when it leads to results you don’t personally agree with.

  • Joe

    Cincy – My point is that evangelicals already know he is one of them or can be made to know it without ridiculous events like the one he was part of last weekend.

    Also, while they make up 25% of the population this election is going to be about financial issues and over pandering to evangelicals is going to lose him votes among the more libertarian minded voters. And, when he goes on focus on the family radio and supports a federal marriage amendment it calls his previous 10th amendment support into question. If you really believe in federalism, you believe it even when it leads to results you don’t personally agree with.

  • Cincinnatus

    Joe@7: While I wasn’t a particular advocate of whatever event he participated in recently, I didn’t think it was outrageous. Seemed par for the course in Texas politics.

    Look, Rick Perry is a partisan hack. But he’s also politically intelligent. If he wins the national nomination, I guarantee that he’ll run on Texas’s economic successes. In fact, he’ll be one of the only candidates from either party who can credibly claim to have “created” jobs. Pandering to evangelicals is just something he has to do to impress fellow Texans and, more to the point, primary voters. Aside from that, he’s probably up there with Mitt Romney in terms of broad, moderate appeal.

  • Cincinnatus

    Joe@7: While I wasn’t a particular advocate of whatever event he participated in recently, I didn’t think it was outrageous. Seemed par for the course in Texas politics.

    Look, Rick Perry is a partisan hack. But he’s also politically intelligent. If he wins the national nomination, I guarantee that he’ll run on Texas’s economic successes. In fact, he’ll be one of the only candidates from either party who can credibly claim to have “created” jobs. Pandering to evangelicals is just something he has to do to impress fellow Texans and, more to the point, primary voters. Aside from that, he’s probably up there with Mitt Romney in terms of broad, moderate appeal.

  • Van Edwards

    You missed “obamanation”.

  • Van Edwards

    You missed “obamanation”.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What about Obama’s ridiculous and shameless pandering to evangelicals? Any lost votes?

    My favorite image of Obama has him standing in front of a giant light bulb cross from his own Kentucky campaign materials:

    http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2008/05/obama-repackage.html

    Quote from Obama standing in front of the big light bulb cross:

    “My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I go out and do the Lord’s work.”

    Wasn’t George Bush criticized for claiming to know God’s will? Isn’t Obama basically claiming the same?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    What about Obama’s ridiculous and shameless pandering to evangelicals? Any lost votes?

    My favorite image of Obama has him standing in front of a giant light bulb cross from his own Kentucky campaign materials:

    http://www.moonbattery.com/archives/2008/05/obama-repackage.html

    Quote from Obama standing in front of the big light bulb cross:

    “My faith teaches me that I can sit in church and pray all I want, but I won’t be fulfilling God’s will unless I go out and do the Lord’s work.”

    Wasn’t George Bush criticized for claiming to know God’s will? Isn’t Obama basically claiming the same?

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I don’t understand. Obama is a weak leader, to be sure, but at the end of the day our financial woes are entirely the fault of Congress. They make the laws, they make the budgets. If I recall correctly, the White house presented a deal that cut the requisite $4B to retain our credit rating. Congress discarded it. It just seems silly to me to put any hope in electing a new President. We need to hold accountable those responsible first, or I suspect they will keep on doing what they have been doing for the last decade.

  • http://www.redeemedrambling.blogspot.com/ John

    I don’t understand. Obama is a weak leader, to be sure, but at the end of the day our financial woes are entirely the fault of Congress. They make the laws, they make the budgets. If I recall correctly, the White house presented a deal that cut the requisite $4B to retain our credit rating. Congress discarded it. It just seems silly to me to put any hope in electing a new President. We need to hold accountable those responsible first, or I suspect they will keep on doing what they have been doing for the last decade.

  • Cincinnatus

    John@11: Fair point, but recall that it was Obama who refused to compromise with a Republican Congress that did intend to make the necessary cuts. Obama even rejected the plan of his own deficit commission.

    But yeah, I essentially agree that we should nuke Congress from orbit. Just to be sure.

  • Cincinnatus

    John@11: Fair point, but recall that it was Obama who refused to compromise with a Republican Congress that did intend to make the necessary cuts. Obama even rejected the plan of his own deficit commission.

    But yeah, I essentially agree that we should nuke Congress from orbit. Just to be sure.

  • Steve Billingsley

    It’s not as if Obama’s lack of experience and leadership credentials were a secret. 18 million voted against him in the primaries (a virtual dead heat with Hilary Clinton).

    I don’t know if Clinton would have been any better (or for that matter if McCain would have been) – but it would really be nice to get actual leadership experience and a track record of genuine accomplishment in the White House.

  • Steve Billingsley

    It’s not as if Obama’s lack of experience and leadership credentials were a secret. 18 million voted against him in the primaries (a virtual dead heat with Hilary Clinton).

    I don’t know if Clinton would have been any better (or for that matter if McCain would have been) – but it would really be nice to get actual leadership experience and a track record of genuine accomplishment in the White House.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Unfortunately, Perry wouldn’t be able to bring the composition of the Texas legislature with him.

    One important thing though about Perry, he has been governor a long, long time. Texas governors are weak by design. They have little authority. However, they can still veto and they can fill vacancies. He has vetoed a lot of stuff. Perry has become accustomed to shaping policy by appointing his people throughout all of the Texas government. It would be interesting to see if Perry, like Obama, would literally fill the entire bureaucracy with his buddies. I am guessing he would. He sure seems to have played the power broker role as governor. I think Perry would replace every single person he could with someone loyal to him. Given the folks Obama has appointed, I would welcome the change. It would be especially cool to have Rand Paul types overseeing some of these agencies.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Unfortunately, Perry wouldn’t be able to bring the composition of the Texas legislature with him.

    One important thing though about Perry, he has been governor a long, long time. Texas governors are weak by design. They have little authority. However, they can still veto and they can fill vacancies. He has vetoed a lot of stuff. Perry has become accustomed to shaping policy by appointing his people throughout all of the Texas government. It would be interesting to see if Perry, like Obama, would literally fill the entire bureaucracy with his buddies. I am guessing he would. He sure seems to have played the power broker role as governor. I think Perry would replace every single person he could with someone loyal to him. Given the folks Obama has appointed, I would welcome the change. It would be especially cool to have Rand Paul types overseeing some of these agencies.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I think Perry has one big strike against him. He is a Texas Governor and there is still a sour taste from the last one we elected. Also, as sg noted, Texas governors are barely more than a figurehead.

    I will also say, I am not to excited about any of the candidates. But I do think this is the challenger’s race to lose. I think the only reason Obama will be re-elected is if the GOP nominates a total loser or if the independents and conservative base are split between several third party candidates.

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    I think Perry has one big strike against him. He is a Texas Governor and there is still a sour taste from the last one we elected. Also, as sg noted, Texas governors are barely more than a figurehead.

    I will also say, I am not to excited about any of the candidates. But I do think this is the challenger’s race to lose. I think the only reason Obama will be re-elected is if the GOP nominates a total loser or if the independents and conservative base are split between several third party candidates.

  • Jonathan

    Right now, only Huntsman and Romney are dangerous for Obama, and tea-vangelicals will have a tough time supporting either, though you never want to discount the raw hatred out there for our first black president. Obama will be reelected, comfortably, but the GOP can take solace from the lack of a post-Obama heir apparent in 2016. It sure won’t be Biden.

  • Jonathan

    Right now, only Huntsman and Romney are dangerous for Obama, and tea-vangelicals will have a tough time supporting either, though you never want to discount the raw hatred out there for our first black president. Obama will be reelected, comfortably, but the GOP can take solace from the lack of a post-Obama heir apparent in 2016. It sure won’t be Biden.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jonathan, I’m going to overlook your feckless attempt at race-baiting (yes, of course all of us think Obama is weak because he’s black. Yup, that’s definitely it) and ask one question: Really? Even the “mainstream media” is drawing comparisons to Carter, and Obama’s approval levels are dangerously low. He’s going to have a difficult time, moreover, shifting the blame for S&P’s downgrade to someone other than himself, even if it’s not entirely his fault.

    I think most reasonable observers at the moment are willing to admit that this is the Republicans’ race to lose: Obama is weak, and he has severely disappointed his own base (the strongest Obama critics I know are progressives).

    But obviously I wouldn’t put it past the Republicans to completely annihilate their chances by nominating someone like Bachmann.

  • Cincinnatus

    Jonathan, I’m going to overlook your feckless attempt at race-baiting (yes, of course all of us think Obama is weak because he’s black. Yup, that’s definitely it) and ask one question: Really? Even the “mainstream media” is drawing comparisons to Carter, and Obama’s approval levels are dangerously low. He’s going to have a difficult time, moreover, shifting the blame for S&P’s downgrade to someone other than himself, even if it’s not entirely his fault.

    I think most reasonable observers at the moment are willing to admit that this is the Republicans’ race to lose: Obama is weak, and he has severely disappointed his own base (the strongest Obama critics I know are progressives).

    But obviously I wouldn’t put it past the Republicans to completely annihilate their chances by nominating someone like Bachmann.

  • Jonathan

    @17 My comment about the role of hatred for Obama’s race in the 2012 election was directed at no one specifically. It’s a factor that will affect voting, same as Romney’s Mormonism. Some hate it, some like it, some are indifferent to it.

    Odd that you think I said that some here believe Obama’s weak becuase he’s black. To my knowledge, no one here thinks that. Funny you didn’t jump on me for explicitly pointing out, however, that some harbor anti-Mormon views.

  • Jonathan

    @17 My comment about the role of hatred for Obama’s race in the 2012 election was directed at no one specifically. It’s a factor that will affect voting, same as Romney’s Mormonism. Some hate it, some like it, some are indifferent to it.

    Odd that you think I said that some here believe Obama’s weak becuase he’s black. To my knowledge, no one here thinks that. Funny you didn’t jump on me for explicitly pointing out, however, that some harbor anti-Mormon views.

  • Cincinnatus

    Hm, well, I can’t jump on you unless you actually do something. By my reading, you were simply pointing out that Romney and Huntsman, as moderates (at best), would have a difficult time attracting the support of uber-small-government Tea Party types. This is true. But it’s also true that some will reject them because of their Mormonism. This is different from rejecting a candidate on the basis of his race: some folks might be of the opinion that certain Mormon religious tenets conflict with the principles of governance in a liberal democracy. I couldn’t say; I am not bothered by their Mormonism. Meanwhile, there is nothing about being black that would conflict with political involvement. Even my racist Southern relatives haven’t implied anything of the kind.

    There is no substantial evidence demonstrating that a statistically significant number of voters oppose Obama because he is black. There are a fair number who opposed him because they thought he was Muslim or that he was socialist. I’m not justifying those accusations, but racism simply hasn’t been a meaningful factor. I.e., what you were doing is race-baiting. Admit it.

    The most absurd statement is still yours in any case: “Obama will be reelected comfortably.” Ha! You are perhaps the only intelligent person in the world at the moment who believes this statement. Obama may very well be reelected, but there is a general consensus that he will succeed only if Republicans fail to provide a viable candidate. Remember, “generic Republican” is beating Obama right now in the polls.

  • Cincinnatus

    Hm, well, I can’t jump on you unless you actually do something. By my reading, you were simply pointing out that Romney and Huntsman, as moderates (at best), would have a difficult time attracting the support of uber-small-government Tea Party types. This is true. But it’s also true that some will reject them because of their Mormonism. This is different from rejecting a candidate on the basis of his race: some folks might be of the opinion that certain Mormon religious tenets conflict with the principles of governance in a liberal democracy. I couldn’t say; I am not bothered by their Mormonism. Meanwhile, there is nothing about being black that would conflict with political involvement. Even my racist Southern relatives haven’t implied anything of the kind.

    There is no substantial evidence demonstrating that a statistically significant number of voters oppose Obama because he is black. There are a fair number who opposed him because they thought he was Muslim or that he was socialist. I’m not justifying those accusations, but racism simply hasn’t been a meaningful factor. I.e., what you were doing is race-baiting. Admit it.

    The most absurd statement is still yours in any case: “Obama will be reelected comfortably.” Ha! You are perhaps the only intelligent person in the world at the moment who believes this statement. Obama may very well be reelected, but there is a general consensus that he will succeed only if Republicans fail to provide a viable candidate. Remember, “generic Republican” is beating Obama right now in the polls.

  • aletheist

    I am not ready to support Perry yet, but I am interested in learning more about him (and some of the other candidates). That said, I feel the need to point out that there is no inconsistency between supporting states’ rights under the 10th Amendment with respect to issues that are not currently settled under the Constitution, and advocating the adoption of new amendments that would settle some of those same issues.

  • aletheist

    I am not ready to support Perry yet, but I am interested in learning more about him (and some of the other candidates). That said, I feel the need to point out that there is no inconsistency between supporting states’ rights under the 10th Amendment with respect to issues that are not currently settled under the Constitution, and advocating the adoption of new amendments that would settle some of those same issues.

  • DonS

    It is now apparent that there will be no economic recovery of note to salvage Obama’s chances of re-election in 2012. The indicators would have to be in place by now, and they’re not. So, even if there is substantial improvement before November 2012, we won’t have evidence of it until 2013. This is exactly what undid George H.W. Bush in 1992.

    Obama’s approval ratings are hovering in the low 40′s. He is extremely vulnerable, and for good reason — his lack of experience and qualifications for the job have been exposed by the crises he has had to address. Moreover, he is too much of an idealogue, entangled in his notions of class warfare, to fairly and reasonably govern all of the people.

    The problem, of course, is the quality of the challenging candidates. Romney does nothing for me, and it has nothing to do with his Mormonism. It has to do with Romneycare, which is hard to distinguish from Obamacare, except for the fact that it is not patently unconstitutional, since it is a state program. How can a guy with his track record have the credibility to dismantle Obamacare? Bachmann and Palin are not credible national candidates, in my opinion, because of relatively high negatives (no point in getting into the unfair way in which they were achieved, but facts are facts). Huntsman is not conservative.

    That leaves Rick Perry as the best hope at this point in time for having a competent executive with conservative credentials in the White House. Combined with the near certainty of a Republican Senate, that would give us hope of at least holding one party accountable for turning things around and bringing some sanity to our fiscal disaster.

  • DonS

    It is now apparent that there will be no economic recovery of note to salvage Obama’s chances of re-election in 2012. The indicators would have to be in place by now, and they’re not. So, even if there is substantial improvement before November 2012, we won’t have evidence of it until 2013. This is exactly what undid George H.W. Bush in 1992.

    Obama’s approval ratings are hovering in the low 40′s. He is extremely vulnerable, and for good reason — his lack of experience and qualifications for the job have been exposed by the crises he has had to address. Moreover, he is too much of an idealogue, entangled in his notions of class warfare, to fairly and reasonably govern all of the people.

    The problem, of course, is the quality of the challenging candidates. Romney does nothing for me, and it has nothing to do with his Mormonism. It has to do with Romneycare, which is hard to distinguish from Obamacare, except for the fact that it is not patently unconstitutional, since it is a state program. How can a guy with his track record have the credibility to dismantle Obamacare? Bachmann and Palin are not credible national candidates, in my opinion, because of relatively high negatives (no point in getting into the unfair way in which they were achieved, but facts are facts). Huntsman is not conservative.

    That leaves Rick Perry as the best hope at this point in time for having a competent executive with conservative credentials in the White House. Combined with the near certainty of a Republican Senate, that would give us hope of at least holding one party accountable for turning things around and bringing some sanity to our fiscal disaster.

  • Cincinnatus

    The point is this: “It’s the economy stupid.” And with Obama yesterday calling for tax increases, comparisons with Bush I, our last one-term President, are probably just as valid as comparisons to Carter, the last one-term President before him.

  • Cincinnatus

    The point is this: “It’s the economy stupid.” And with Obama yesterday calling for tax increases, comparisons with Bush I, our last one-term President, are probably just as valid as comparisons to Carter, the last one-term President before him.

  • Jonathan

    @19, We’re talking past each other.
    I think Huntsman and Romney are the most dangerous for Obama because they’re accomplished ex-govs, unmoored to the far, evangelical right, and thus capable of appealing to moderates, independents. I suspect that disaffected progressives (unenthused to vote for Obama) won’t turn out to vote against Huntsman, Romney the way they will if, say, Perry is nominated. Thus, Romney, Huntsman may depress Obama’s votes, but the gain will be offset by evangelicals who simply won’t vote for a Mormon. There’s no such thing as a generic Republican anymore. The party’s purged itself of its ability to appeal widely, at precisely the time when Obama is perceived as weak. (Though no one seems to notice that his poll favorables/unfavorables have held pretty steady.)

    I do not expect Huntsman, Romney to win the nomination; the GOP is in full-throttled let’s-all-go-down-with-the-ship ideology mode, so the nominee will be a Bachmann-like candidate, who will scare 3/4 of the electorate, and galvanize progressives (and much of Obama’s 2008 base) to vote against that person.

    Race will figure into this. Tar baby, food stamp president, etc. That’s just this month. Spend a week listening to right wing radio, particularly Limbaugh. They will rally like mad behind a Bachmann-like figure and pull out all the stops. I don’t doubt your anecdotal evidence about race, but spend some time among black and hispanic folk. Let them explain the race baiting that many whites (a minority, to be sure) are listening to.

  • Jonathan

    @19, We’re talking past each other.
    I think Huntsman and Romney are the most dangerous for Obama because they’re accomplished ex-govs, unmoored to the far, evangelical right, and thus capable of appealing to moderates, independents. I suspect that disaffected progressives (unenthused to vote for Obama) won’t turn out to vote against Huntsman, Romney the way they will if, say, Perry is nominated. Thus, Romney, Huntsman may depress Obama’s votes, but the gain will be offset by evangelicals who simply won’t vote for a Mormon. There’s no such thing as a generic Republican anymore. The party’s purged itself of its ability to appeal widely, at precisely the time when Obama is perceived as weak. (Though no one seems to notice that his poll favorables/unfavorables have held pretty steady.)

    I do not expect Huntsman, Romney to win the nomination; the GOP is in full-throttled let’s-all-go-down-with-the-ship ideology mode, so the nominee will be a Bachmann-like candidate, who will scare 3/4 of the electorate, and galvanize progressives (and much of Obama’s 2008 base) to vote against that person.

    Race will figure into this. Tar baby, food stamp president, etc. That’s just this month. Spend a week listening to right wing radio, particularly Limbaugh. They will rally like mad behind a Bachmann-like figure and pull out all the stops. I don’t doubt your anecdotal evidence about race, but spend some time among black and hispanic folk. Let them explain the race baiting that many whites (a minority, to be sure) are listening to.

  • SKPeterson

    As has been noted, Perry’s main problem is not that he’s a governor, but that he is governor of Texas and George W. severely harmed the cachet that position once had. However, there aren’t any other governor’s or ex’s in the race, except for Romney. By the same token, Obama has dealt a severe blow to any candidate entering the fray with limited executive and/or legislative experience, especially one without any major legislative accomplishments. So we really have no one qualified to be President who is running. I’m also assuming that Obama is running.

    And I simply don’t trust Massachusetts Mormons. Something’s definitely wrong there. And Chicago, Illinois blacks. Nothing good can come of that except Good Times.

  • SKPeterson

    As has been noted, Perry’s main problem is not that he’s a governor, but that he is governor of Texas and George W. severely harmed the cachet that position once had. However, there aren’t any other governor’s or ex’s in the race, except for Romney. By the same token, Obama has dealt a severe blow to any candidate entering the fray with limited executive and/or legislative experience, especially one without any major legislative accomplishments. So we really have no one qualified to be President who is running. I’m also assuming that Obama is running.

    And I simply don’t trust Massachusetts Mormons. Something’s definitely wrong there. And Chicago, Illinois blacks. Nothing good can come of that except Good Times.

  • SKPeterson

    forgot about Huntsman – he was governor of Utah. He’s out since it’s a small, inconsequential Western state.

  • SKPeterson

    forgot about Huntsman – he was governor of Utah. He’s out since it’s a small, inconsequential Western state.

  • Cincinnatus

    SKPeterson: I think you’re putting too much stock in the states of origin of these governors. I’ve honestly never heard anyone–casually or in news reports–claim that Texas’s reputation has been seriously sullied by Bush’s tenure. Clinton, meanwhile, was from Arkansas, an inconsequential Southern state. Being a successful governor is a fairly effective platform for presidential aspirations. The key term is “successful.” I’m not sure it matters so much which state one governed.

  • Cincinnatus

    SKPeterson: I think you’re putting too much stock in the states of origin of these governors. I’ve honestly never heard anyone–casually or in news reports–claim that Texas’s reputation has been seriously sullied by Bush’s tenure. Clinton, meanwhile, was from Arkansas, an inconsequential Southern state. Being a successful governor is a fairly effective platform for presidential aspirations. The key term is “successful.” I’m not sure it matters so much which state one governed.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincy – Agreed in principle. However, it will be interesting to see how this plays out for Perry. He does have the benefit of the Texas economy which has withstood the “Obama” recession better than the others. While he can point to the Texas economy, Obama and his supporters will play up the Bush-Perry Texas connections.

  • SKPeterson

    Cincy – Agreed in principle. However, it will be interesting to see how this plays out for Perry. He does have the benefit of the Texas economy which has withstood the “Obama” recession better than the others. While he can point to the Texas economy, Obama and his supporters will play up the Bush-Perry Texas connections.

  • SKPeterson

    Oh, forgetting about Huntsman (again). That was a gratuitous swipe on my part at the state of Utah, but really at those who think that governors of small states don’t have what it takes to be President.

  • SKPeterson

    Oh, forgetting about Huntsman (again). That was a gratuitous swipe on my part at the state of Utah, but really at those who think that governors of small states don’t have what it takes to be President.

  • aletheist

    Pawlenty is also an ex-governor (of Minnesota), although his campaign has been in free-fall for a while now. I have long held that no prior job can truly prepare someone for the presidency, but being a governor comes the closest.

  • aletheist

    Pawlenty is also an ex-governor (of Minnesota), although his campaign has been in free-fall for a while now. I have long held that no prior job can truly prepare someone for the presidency, but being a governor comes the closest.

  • Pingback: Experience Matters (HD) « YourDaddy's Politics

  • Pingback: Experience Matters (HD) « YourDaddy's Politics

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Since we are discussing candidates I can’t help but quote D. Adams

    The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
    To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
    To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job

  • Dr. Luther in the 21st Century

    Since we are discussing candidates I can’t help but quote D. Adams

    The major problem—one of the major problems, for there are several—one of the many major problems with governing people is that of whom you get to do it; or rather of who manages to get people to let them do it to them.
    To summarize: it is a well-known fact that those people who must want to rule people are, ipso facto, those least suited to do it.
    To summarize the summary: anyone who is capable of getting themselves made President should on no account be allowed to do the job

  • Lou

    Jonathan, #17 “Right now, only Huntsman and Romney are dangerous for Obama, and tea-vangelicals will have a tough time supporting either.” I basically agree with you on this statement. Although I’m not sure that Huntsman is a true contender yet. He was pretty weak in the first debate compared to almost all of the other candidates.

    As far as #24, you’re in good company with regard to Cincy.

    I agree with Gene on his original post. Our country needs leadership. I don’t think I’ve seen a Rep candidate that represents real leadership qualities. Don’t know enough about Perry, a little skeptical, but do want to like him. We shall see.

    As I’ve stated before in numerous comments, no matter who is elected president in 2012, it’s probably more important for Congress to change, as they are given the constitutional role of managing and overseeing the budget.

    What i want to know is where are the “Checks and Balances” on this particular arm of government? What can the Supreme Court do? Can they change the rules somehow?

  • Lou

    Jonathan, #17 “Right now, only Huntsman and Romney are dangerous for Obama, and tea-vangelicals will have a tough time supporting either.” I basically agree with you on this statement. Although I’m not sure that Huntsman is a true contender yet. He was pretty weak in the first debate compared to almost all of the other candidates.

    As far as #24, you’re in good company with regard to Cincy.

    I agree with Gene on his original post. Our country needs leadership. I don’t think I’ve seen a Rep candidate that represents real leadership qualities. Don’t know enough about Perry, a little skeptical, but do want to like him. We shall see.

    As I’ve stated before in numerous comments, no matter who is elected president in 2012, it’s probably more important for Congress to change, as they are given the constitutional role of managing and overseeing the budget.

    What i want to know is where are the “Checks and Balances” on this particular arm of government? What can the Supreme Court do? Can they change the rules somehow?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    It occurs to me that Veith’s predilection for American Idol parallels this electoral hullabaloo quite well. (I’m sure I’m not the first to notice this.)

    Last time I watched it, the opening episodes of Idol featured the teeming masses, all with theoretically equal shots at winning, literally trying to get their voice heard. Most of them, of course, are terrible — entertainingly so, in the modern sense — but simultaneously self-deluded enough that we don’t feel so bad for them. This is similar to the stage we now find ourselves in, politically. It’s circus time, and the clowns are out. Of course, eventually the field gets narrowed to a select few, who begin a much more intense course of training and trying to stay in the game.

    But what also struck me about both competitions is the reference to that indefinable quality that the ultimate winners possess — or, more importantly, are said to possess by the judges and voters. Many an Idol fan complains about how the “best” singer was kicked out too soon, while their seemingly less musical peers advance. Of course, Idol isn’t really a competition to see who’s most musically competent, it’s about searching for a pop star who will make for good TV and hopefully sell plenty of albums (though, best I can tell, they’re much better at the former than the latter). Besides, you don’t need to have the best musical chops these days to be a pop star. You have producers, auto-tuners, agents, and stylists to do most of the work for you. You just need … the “it” factor, whatever it may be.

    Similarly, in the field of politics, there is the all-important “presidential” (or, as Veith appended, “gravitas”) quality, whatever it happens to mean. What it clearly has not meant, historically, is having the most experience, the best ideas, and so on. Besides, the office of President comes with all sorts of advisors, speech-writers, and so on that will do their best to make up for your shortcomings.

    And while I feel that parallel works quite well, it’s also horribly depressing, because it really does feel like we’re electing political pop stars these days, without much of a concrete basis for doing so. Ideas, sure, they’re important. But many a man with good ideas has been dismissed out of hand as “unelectable”. Most of the time, such a label have proven quite accurate, after the fact.

    Of course, writing as I am to a presumably majority-conservative crowd, I really have to go out of my way to note that my observation applies not merely to the current administration. I see no reason to believe, based on the current crop of candidates, it won’t equally apply to the next administration, as well. Whosever that may be.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    It occurs to me that Veith’s predilection for American Idol parallels this electoral hullabaloo quite well. (I’m sure I’m not the first to notice this.)

    Last time I watched it, the opening episodes of Idol featured the teeming masses, all with theoretically equal shots at winning, literally trying to get their voice heard. Most of them, of course, are terrible — entertainingly so, in the modern sense — but simultaneously self-deluded enough that we don’t feel so bad for them. This is similar to the stage we now find ourselves in, politically. It’s circus time, and the clowns are out. Of course, eventually the field gets narrowed to a select few, who begin a much more intense course of training and trying to stay in the game.

    But what also struck me about both competitions is the reference to that indefinable quality that the ultimate winners possess — or, more importantly, are said to possess by the judges and voters. Many an Idol fan complains about how the “best” singer was kicked out too soon, while their seemingly less musical peers advance. Of course, Idol isn’t really a competition to see who’s most musically competent, it’s about searching for a pop star who will make for good TV and hopefully sell plenty of albums (though, best I can tell, they’re much better at the former than the latter). Besides, you don’t need to have the best musical chops these days to be a pop star. You have producers, auto-tuners, agents, and stylists to do most of the work for you. You just need … the “it” factor, whatever it may be.

    Similarly, in the field of politics, there is the all-important “presidential” (or, as Veith appended, “gravitas”) quality, whatever it happens to mean. What it clearly has not meant, historically, is having the most experience, the best ideas, and so on. Besides, the office of President comes with all sorts of advisors, speech-writers, and so on that will do their best to make up for your shortcomings.

    And while I feel that parallel works quite well, it’s also horribly depressing, because it really does feel like we’re electing political pop stars these days, without much of a concrete basis for doing so. Ideas, sure, they’re important. But many a man with good ideas has been dismissed out of hand as “unelectable”. Most of the time, such a label have proven quite accurate, after the fact.

    Of course, writing as I am to a presumably majority-conservative crowd, I really have to go out of my way to note that my observation applies not merely to the current administration. I see no reason to believe, based on the current crop of candidates, it won’t equally apply to the next administration, as well. Whosever that may be.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to Perry, it’s funny.

    Republicans are wont, at least in recent years, to claim that the only real preparation for the office of the President is “executive experience” — which, seemingly, always means having been a state governor*. This was certainly the argument in 2004. And it was an argument against Obama in 2008, although obviously not an argument for McCain.

    *Or having formerly served as our nation’s Vice President, although I’m not really sure how much “executive experience” that gives one. Guess it depends on which Vice President. Best I can tell, the last successful presidential candidate the GOP put forward that wasn’t previously a state governor or Vice President was Eisenhower, and he was Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, which presumably granted him sufficient “executive experience”.

    But I rarely see Republicans actually looking much into this vaunted “experience”. Case in point, Rick Perry and the office of Texas governor. As SG noted (@15), Texas governors aren’t terribly powerful. But does it matter? Or is it simply enough to note that the guy was governor of a really big (and, probably helping things, a really conservative) state? Does “governor of Texas” carry its own cowboy-tinged “gravitas”, regardless of the actual political facts? And as to Texas’ economic condition, how much credit does a “weak” governor get for that, exactly? Seems like David Dewhurst should be getting most of that credit, but, of course, he isn’t. Because he’s not running for President?

    Anyhow, I agree with DLit2C (@16). Perry isn’t merely a state governor. He’s the governor of Texas. And, fair or not, our nation remembers what the last presidential-candidate-cum-Texas-governor was like, and all that his “executive experience” brought about. I don’t think that comparison will be easy to dismiss, especially since so many Republicans have now vociferously distanced themselves from Bush’s “conservatism”.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    As to Perry, it’s funny.

    Republicans are wont, at least in recent years, to claim that the only real preparation for the office of the President is “executive experience” — which, seemingly, always means having been a state governor*. This was certainly the argument in 2004. And it was an argument against Obama in 2008, although obviously not an argument for McCain.

    *Or having formerly served as our nation’s Vice President, although I’m not really sure how much “executive experience” that gives one. Guess it depends on which Vice President. Best I can tell, the last successful presidential candidate the GOP put forward that wasn’t previously a state governor or Vice President was Eisenhower, and he was Supreme Commander of the Allied forces in Europe, which presumably granted him sufficient “executive experience”.

    But I rarely see Republicans actually looking much into this vaunted “experience”. Case in point, Rick Perry and the office of Texas governor. As SG noted (@15), Texas governors aren’t terribly powerful. But does it matter? Or is it simply enough to note that the guy was governor of a really big (and, probably helping things, a really conservative) state? Does “governor of Texas” carry its own cowboy-tinged “gravitas”, regardless of the actual political facts? And as to Texas’ economic condition, how much credit does a “weak” governor get for that, exactly? Seems like David Dewhurst should be getting most of that credit, but, of course, he isn’t. Because he’s not running for President?

    Anyhow, I agree with DLit2C (@16). Perry isn’t merely a state governor. He’s the governor of Texas. And, fair or not, our nation remembers what the last presidential-candidate-cum-Texas-governor was like, and all that his “executive experience” brought about. I don’t think that comparison will be easy to dismiss, especially since so many Republicans have now vociferously distanced themselves from Bush’s “conservatism”.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: Texas is the second-largest state the Union, with one of its strongest economies. Perry has presided over Texas as it has flourished even during a recession. I’m not a Perry advocate (he’s widely known for his hackery, like all politicians), but he has strong presidential credentials. Furthermore, it’s silly to question the notion that executive experience at the state level is better preparation than most other careers for presidential office. This is true both empirically–in that most recent Presidents since Carter have been state governors first–and theoretically–state governorships are really the only political position in the United States that offer the kind of executive experience necessary for a competent presidency.

    Good luck explaining to voters that Perry’s experience is irrelevant due to peculiarities of the Texas State Constitution which limit the powers of its governor when compared with the governors of other states.

    And, as I noted to SKP, I don’t see the Texas thing as much of a hangup. If voters are bothered, it will be because Texas is conservative, not because Bush was from Texas. But Perry, if chosen, will have a wealth of talking points to which he can refer in response: “Who cares? Our economy is thriving and yours isn’t.” The facts generally support these claims, and, as others noted above, this election will be (another) referendum on the economy and employment.

  • Cincinnatus

    tODD: Texas is the second-largest state the Union, with one of its strongest economies. Perry has presided over Texas as it has flourished even during a recession. I’m not a Perry advocate (he’s widely known for his hackery, like all politicians), but he has strong presidential credentials. Furthermore, it’s silly to question the notion that executive experience at the state level is better preparation than most other careers for presidential office. This is true both empirically–in that most recent Presidents since Carter have been state governors first–and theoretically–state governorships are really the only political position in the United States that offer the kind of executive experience necessary for a competent presidency.

    Good luck explaining to voters that Perry’s experience is irrelevant due to peculiarities of the Texas State Constitution which limit the powers of its governor when compared with the governors of other states.

    And, as I noted to SKP, I don’t see the Texas thing as much of a hangup. If voters are bothered, it will be because Texas is conservative, not because Bush was from Texas. But Perry, if chosen, will have a wealth of talking points to which he can refer in response: “Who cares? Our economy is thriving and yours isn’t.” The facts generally support these claims, and, as others noted above, this election will be (another) referendum on the economy and employment.

  • Cincinnatus

    And I’ve already committed to writing in Calvin Coolidge in 2012, so I have nothing to gain from defending Perry on any point. :-P

  • Cincinnatus

    And I’ve already committed to writing in Calvin Coolidge in 2012, so I have nothing to gain from defending Perry on any point. :-P

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@35), I think you’re trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, you tell me:

    Good luck explaining to voters that Perry’s experience is irrelevant due to peculiarities of the Texas State Constitution

    But then, on the other hand, there’s:

    state governorships are really the only political position in the United States that offer the kind of executive experience necessary for a competent presidency.

    If people are too stupid to understand the nature of any particular state governorship, then how is it that they’re able to grasp your latter argument in the first place? Do the masses only understand the idea of state governors at a general level, but are incapable of noting the differences between the states? How does this work out, exactly?

    Not that I necessarily find your conclusion inherently wrong. The voters aren’t all that smart, as they have shown in abundance in recent years to those of whatever political stripe.

    But it’s all a question of finding the right way to convey a message. If someone is leaning towards Perry mainly on his executive experience, then it shouldn’t be hard to explain to him that Perry’s experience isn’t really all that, with the repetition of the phrase “weak governor”. But if he can’t grasp the idea of what it means for a gubernatorial office to be “weak”, then I really don’t think he’s going to find that experience all that compelling in the first place.

    As to your “empirical” evidence, it doesn’t show what you say it does. You take the fact that we tend to elect state governors to the Presidency as evidence of that former office providing “better preparation” for the latter. But being elected to the President doesn’t mean that one is prepared for it — this is the main motif of present-day Republican talking points, after all.

    So, sure, those with gubernatorial experience are more likely to be elected in a Presidential election. But then, incumbent Presidents are also highly likely to be (re-)elected. If we’re just going to look at things at such a generic level.

    But then, if we are to (as Republicans want) reflect on the particulars of Obama’s Presidency, then maybe, just maybe, we can also reflect on the particulars of Perry’s governorship? Including what he actually had control over, and not merely what happened while he was in office?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus (@35), I think you’re trying to have it both ways. On the one hand, you tell me:

    Good luck explaining to voters that Perry’s experience is irrelevant due to peculiarities of the Texas State Constitution

    But then, on the other hand, there’s:

    state governorships are really the only political position in the United States that offer the kind of executive experience necessary for a competent presidency.

    If people are too stupid to understand the nature of any particular state governorship, then how is it that they’re able to grasp your latter argument in the first place? Do the masses only understand the idea of state governors at a general level, but are incapable of noting the differences between the states? How does this work out, exactly?

    Not that I necessarily find your conclusion inherently wrong. The voters aren’t all that smart, as they have shown in abundance in recent years to those of whatever political stripe.

    But it’s all a question of finding the right way to convey a message. If someone is leaning towards Perry mainly on his executive experience, then it shouldn’t be hard to explain to him that Perry’s experience isn’t really all that, with the repetition of the phrase “weak governor”. But if he can’t grasp the idea of what it means for a gubernatorial office to be “weak”, then I really don’t think he’s going to find that experience all that compelling in the first place.

    As to your “empirical” evidence, it doesn’t show what you say it does. You take the fact that we tend to elect state governors to the Presidency as evidence of that former office providing “better preparation” for the latter. But being elected to the President doesn’t mean that one is prepared for it — this is the main motif of present-day Republican talking points, after all.

    So, sure, those with gubernatorial experience are more likely to be elected in a Presidential election. But then, incumbent Presidents are also highly likely to be (re-)elected. If we’re just going to look at things at such a generic level.

    But then, if we are to (as Republicans want) reflect on the particulars of Obama’s Presidency, then maybe, just maybe, we can also reflect on the particulars of Perry’s governorship? Including what he actually had control over, and not merely what happened while he was in office?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, what was this all about (@35):

    Texas is the second-largest state the Union

    Golly, if that’s meaningful, then it’ll be even meaningfuller if a (former) governor of the largest state of the Union were to run! Imagine her (former, partial) executive experience!

    Admit it, you have a crush on Perry. Rick, Katy, whichever.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Also, what was this all about (@35):

    Texas is the second-largest state the Union

    Golly, if that’s meaningful, then it’ll be even meaningfuller if a (former) governor of the largest state of the Union were to run! Imagine her (former, partial) executive experience!

    Admit it, you have a crush on Perry. Rick, Katy, whichever.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m not sure I understand the thrust of your argument or your contentions, tODD.

    Put yourself in the mind of the average voter, if you are able. It’s difficult. The average voter is, to be frank, pretty stupid. But the average voter, I think, can recognize that the office of state governor is a close analogue to the office of national executive. But the average voter isn’t likely to care that some state governors are comparatively weak. What does that even mean? The average voter will be bored before you are halfway through your precise delineation of the executive powers prescribed by the Texas constitution when compared with similar prescriptions in other state constitutions. Such would make for a fascinating self-righteous editorial on Slate–oh, that’s already been done?–but, again, how many average American voters read Slate? So yes, I am confidently asserting that average voters are able to comprehend the importance of executive experience, but haven’t the patience for our elucidations of the specificities of the Texas governorship. Sad, perhaps, but true.

    As for the “empirical evidence,” it is simply a fact that most recent Presidents have first been state governors. To me, this demonstrates a number of things, not limited to the following:

    -State governors are more likely to have the charisma to gain popular attention.

    -State governors are already more widely known than the average Congressman, businessman, or Senator.

    -State governors have actual political and executive experience. While, unless they are Sarah Palin, who apparently was involved in regular diplomatic scuffles with Russia, they probably lack crucial foreign policy experience (but this won’t be a foreign policy election, anyway), they have tangible experience managing a staff, negotiating with legislatures, writing budgets, crafting legislation and overseeing its passage. All of this is important, and I’m fairly certain the average voter is generally cognizant of its importance.

    -Even if none of this were actually true, voters believe it is.

    State governors are to modern elections what war heroes/generals were in earlier decades/centuries.

    As for Texas being only the second-largest state, economically and otherwise, show me a viable candidate from California and we’ll talk. The point is that voters and pundits can’t write Perry off as the governor of a “meaningless” state like North Dakota.

    No, I have no crush on (Rick) Perry. Probably won’t vote for him. I’m merely claiming that he is fairly electable, which is probably all the Republicans will need next year.

    /my feelings for Katy Perry shall remain undisclosed.

  • Cincinnatus

    I’m not sure I understand the thrust of your argument or your contentions, tODD.

    Put yourself in the mind of the average voter, if you are able. It’s difficult. The average voter is, to be frank, pretty stupid. But the average voter, I think, can recognize that the office of state governor is a close analogue to the office of national executive. But the average voter isn’t likely to care that some state governors are comparatively weak. What does that even mean? The average voter will be bored before you are halfway through your precise delineation of the executive powers prescribed by the Texas constitution when compared with similar prescriptions in other state constitutions. Such would make for a fascinating self-righteous editorial on Slate–oh, that’s already been done?–but, again, how many average American voters read Slate? So yes, I am confidently asserting that average voters are able to comprehend the importance of executive experience, but haven’t the patience for our elucidations of the specificities of the Texas governorship. Sad, perhaps, but true.

    As for the “empirical evidence,” it is simply a fact that most recent Presidents have first been state governors. To me, this demonstrates a number of things, not limited to the following:

    -State governors are more likely to have the charisma to gain popular attention.

    -State governors are already more widely known than the average Congressman, businessman, or Senator.

    -State governors have actual political and executive experience. While, unless they are Sarah Palin, who apparently was involved in regular diplomatic scuffles with Russia, they probably lack crucial foreign policy experience (but this won’t be a foreign policy election, anyway), they have tangible experience managing a staff, negotiating with legislatures, writing budgets, crafting legislation and overseeing its passage. All of this is important, and I’m fairly certain the average voter is generally cognizant of its importance.

    -Even if none of this were actually true, voters believe it is.

    State governors are to modern elections what war heroes/generals were in earlier decades/centuries.

    As for Texas being only the second-largest state, economically and otherwise, show me a viable candidate from California and we’ll talk. The point is that voters and pundits can’t write Perry off as the governor of a “meaningless” state like North Dakota.

    No, I have no crush on (Rick) Perry. Probably won’t vote for him. I’m merely claiming that he is fairly electable, which is probably all the Republicans will need next year.

    /my feelings for Katy Perry shall remain undisclosed.

  • Cincinnatus

    And yeah, I meant largest by population, not size. And yeah, I didn’t claim that all governors are, by that fact alone, automatically electable. Your not-so-veiled reference to Palin is well-taken.

  • Cincinnatus

    And yeah, I meant largest by population, not size. And yeah, I didn’t claim that all governors are, by that fact alone, automatically electable. Your not-so-veiled reference to Palin is well-taken.

  • kenneth

    Barachapocalypse–Obamageddon seems to be the way it is. That should not be all that troublesome if we truly believe the last words of the book of Revelation. “Come Lord Jesus come!”

    Radical left ideology is hardly progressive politics and so the democrats are mainly pushing for a utopian nightmare. C S Lewis wrote eloquently on that senario.

    It is a shame this nation would not consider Bachmann because of her Christian faith. Though it does point up the the woes that this nation is suffering from. Rather like post-christian has progressed to hostility and need I say persecution in some quarters.

  • kenneth

    Barachapocalypse–Obamageddon seems to be the way it is. That should not be all that troublesome if we truly believe the last words of the book of Revelation. “Come Lord Jesus come!”

    Radical left ideology is hardly progressive politics and so the democrats are mainly pushing for a utopian nightmare. C S Lewis wrote eloquently on that senario.

    It is a shame this nation would not consider Bachmann because of her Christian faith. Though it does point up the the woes that this nation is suffering from. Rather like post-christian has progressed to hostility and need I say persecution in some quarters.

  • fws

    hey you are all missing something important!

    Obama is presiding over a far larger shrinking of government than bush and reagan combined.

    The states are throwing off government jobs at a rate so fast that it is depressing the national jobless rate. if you were to subtract those jobs that are being eliminated, the jobless rate would start to look actually hopeful.

    How many state jobs is Texas eliminating? I am willing to bet it is far far below the national average.

    SG? where are you when I need you?

  • fws

    hey you are all missing something important!

    Obama is presiding over a far larger shrinking of government than bush and reagan combined.

    The states are throwing off government jobs at a rate so fast that it is depressing the national jobless rate. if you were to subtract those jobs that are being eliminated, the jobless rate would start to look actually hopeful.

    How many state jobs is Texas eliminating? I am willing to bet it is far far below the national average.

    SG? where are you when I need you?

  • fws

    I thought the stock meltdown was properly to be called Obamageddon. what was I missing?

  • fws

    I thought the stock meltdown was properly to be called Obamageddon. what was I missing?

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: Since when was Obama presiding over state governments? While it’s not true to claim that the federal workforce has exploded under Obama (or a similarly hyperbolic verb), both the numbers and salaries of federal employees have been increasing steadily during his tenure.

    Meanwhile, Texas has laid off thousands of state employees, which is pretty huge (Wisconsin was in a tizzy when it was threatened that a few hundred might lose their work). And Texas has a fairly small state government in the first place.

    But I’m far too lazy to Google anything like a comparison chart. If I were a betting man, I would suggest that it’s places like New York and Illinois, in dire fiscal straits, who are refusing to do the hard work of austerity. Actually, the house (me) will win, because I know this for a fact.

    But are you too lazy to make actual arguments here, fws? :-p You’re just offering baseless speculations: “I bet Texas isn’t laying people off! Hey, Obama shrinking government faster than Bush.” Huh? Neither of these are true. Are you engaging in some kind of psy ops to plant incorrect ideas in our heads?

  • Cincinnatus

    fws: Since when was Obama presiding over state governments? While it’s not true to claim that the federal workforce has exploded under Obama (or a similarly hyperbolic verb), both the numbers and salaries of federal employees have been increasing steadily during his tenure.

    Meanwhile, Texas has laid off thousands of state employees, which is pretty huge (Wisconsin was in a tizzy when it was threatened that a few hundred might lose their work). And Texas has a fairly small state government in the first place.

    But I’m far too lazy to Google anything like a comparison chart. If I were a betting man, I would suggest that it’s places like New York and Illinois, in dire fiscal straits, who are refusing to do the hard work of austerity. Actually, the house (me) will win, because I know this for a fact.

    But are you too lazy to make actual arguments here, fws? :-p You’re just offering baseless speculations: “I bet Texas isn’t laying people off! Hey, Obama shrinking government faster than Bush.” Huh? Neither of these are true. Are you engaging in some kind of psy ops to plant incorrect ideas in our heads?

  • Cincinnatus

    But to keep myself honest, while Texas reportedly laid off 9800 workers last year, there has been a net gain of 34,000 state employees in Texas in the past couple of years.

    http://www.kansascity.com/2011/08/04/3054785/commentary-even-in-texas-government.html

    This is probably because the economy and population are actually growing in Texas, however, unlike almost everywhere else.

  • Cincinnatus

    But to keep myself honest, while Texas reportedly laid off 9800 workers last year, there has been a net gain of 34,000 state employees in Texas in the past couple of years.

    http://www.kansascity.com/2011/08/04/3054785/commentary-even-in-texas-government.html

    This is probably because the economy and population are actually growing in Texas, however, unlike almost everywhere else.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 42

    Texas is cutting some in public employment. However, much of the reduction is from attrition and not hiring replacements. It is very easy to fire people in Texas.

    I know it is the political thing to blame whoever is in office when the stuff hits the fan, but really it is absurd to label it Obamageddon etc. We don’t have kings who sit on a throne and dictate policy. The policies that led to these problems were in place before Obama’s parents were born. No individual is responsible for them. Same for Bush. The NYTimes, Kerry and Clinton were all gunning for the Iraq war, but then their fellow travelers hang the whole thing on Bush. Goofy.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @ 42

    Texas is cutting some in public employment. However, much of the reduction is from attrition and not hiring replacements. It is very easy to fire people in Texas.

    I know it is the political thing to blame whoever is in office when the stuff hits the fan, but really it is absurd to label it Obamageddon etc. We don’t have kings who sit on a throne and dictate policy. The policies that led to these problems were in place before Obama’s parents were born. No individual is responsible for them. Same for Bush. The NYTimes, Kerry and Clinton were all gunning for the Iraq war, but then their fellow travelers hang the whole thing on Bush. Goofy.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: Agreed.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: Agreed.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @45 The article states that nearly 3/4 of all hires were in local public ed. Not exactly discretionary. You can’t put 50 kids in a kindergarten class.

    This is a good time to remind folks that something like 10-12% of kids are not in the public system. Private school parents on average pay more in school taxes and then turn around and relieve the system of a fair percentage of students.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @45 The article states that nearly 3/4 of all hires were in local public ed. Not exactly discretionary. You can’t put 50 kids in a kindergarten class.

    This is a good time to remind folks that something like 10-12% of kids are not in the public system. Private school parents on average pay more in school taxes and then turn around and relieve the system of a fair percentage of students.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: Thanks. I’m on Texas’s side here.

  • Cincinnatus

    sg: Thanks. I’m on Texas’s side here.

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  • SKPeterson

    And many of those public school positions are the result of increasing migration to Texas, mostly from other states. While there is an illegal immigration problem in Texas, it has moderated a bit due to the slowdown in the national housing and construction boom for which Texas served as a conduit to housing markets in the East and Central states.

    One thing Perry might be able to do is what Bush had initially started doing prior to 9/11 – increasing our economic ties with Mexico and becoming more fully engaged in Latin America. We’ve largely turned a blind eye on our neighbors and trading partners to the South and been surprised at the growing crime epidemic along the border. Perry should be able to use that as a significant talking point against Obama, and if done skillfully, to not take it out on the Mexican-American population. A Texas governor may be able to appeal to that demographic and the broader public by addressing issues of crime, security and economic opportunity along the southern border that have been ignored under the current administration.

    By the way, Mexico has been fighting a vicious war against criminal drug gangs for the past several years, while not slipping into recession (avg growth of about 4% I believe and lowering unemployment) and receiving almost no assistance from the U.S., except in the form of some government-controlled gun smuggling operations.

  • SKPeterson

    And many of those public school positions are the result of increasing migration to Texas, mostly from other states. While there is an illegal immigration problem in Texas, it has moderated a bit due to the slowdown in the national housing and construction boom for which Texas served as a conduit to housing markets in the East and Central states.

    One thing Perry might be able to do is what Bush had initially started doing prior to 9/11 – increasing our economic ties with Mexico and becoming more fully engaged in Latin America. We’ve largely turned a blind eye on our neighbors and trading partners to the South and been surprised at the growing crime epidemic along the border. Perry should be able to use that as a significant talking point against Obama, and if done skillfully, to not take it out on the Mexican-American population. A Texas governor may be able to appeal to that demographic and the broader public by addressing issues of crime, security and economic opportunity along the southern border that have been ignored under the current administration.

    By the way, Mexico has been fighting a vicious war against criminal drug gangs for the past several years, while not slipping into recession (avg growth of about 4% I believe and lowering unemployment) and receiving almost no assistance from the U.S., except in the form of some government-controlled gun smuggling operations.

  • helen

    sg @46
    At UT libraries, it is probably true that more of the staff reductions have resulted from attrition (resigning, retirement) than layoffs. The result is a reduction of staff availability to students (fewer public desk hours for the reference people and other reductions) and a general “wearing of multiple hats” by many staff. Some things are just not getting done that will be regretted, long term.

    If you agree that the core problem is that too many people are out of work and not able to do the “consuming” that keeps the economy rolling, fewer jobs available, whether for tenured professors, teaching assistants or janitors, are not helping that. There are fewer jobs at UT; I don’t know where the “increased government employment” is …maybe in the unemployment offices.

  • helen

    sg @46
    At UT libraries, it is probably true that more of the staff reductions have resulted from attrition (resigning, retirement) than layoffs. The result is a reduction of staff availability to students (fewer public desk hours for the reference people and other reductions) and a general “wearing of multiple hats” by many staff. Some things are just not getting done that will be regretted, long term.

    If you agree that the core problem is that too many people are out of work and not able to do the “consuming” that keeps the economy rolling, fewer jobs available, whether for tenured professors, teaching assistants or janitors, are not helping that. There are fewer jobs at UT; I don’t know where the “increased government employment” is …maybe in the unemployment offices.

  • fws

    cinn,

    I am not saying that it is Obama that is laying off more govt workers. I am saying that all state and local governments are going through a rather massive and fundamental downsizing.

    I dont think it takes alot of mining of google data to know that this is a fact.

    This is probably the face of what a true government downsizing would look like in addition to closing targeted legislation and tax loopholes so that we can then have an honest debate about who pays all the taxes and what the real tax rates are vs the theoretical ones.

    And I dont hear republicans or any conservatives praising this development as the silver lining of the recession. I would think I would be hearing lots and lots about this. People in the public sector losing jobs while people in the private sector are gaining jobs.

    So the net job creation rate should highlight net public vs private sector jobs then right?

  • fws

    cinn,

    I am not saying that it is Obama that is laying off more govt workers. I am saying that all state and local governments are going through a rather massive and fundamental downsizing.

    I dont think it takes alot of mining of google data to know that this is a fact.

    This is probably the face of what a true government downsizing would look like in addition to closing targeted legislation and tax loopholes so that we can then have an honest debate about who pays all the taxes and what the real tax rates are vs the theoretical ones.

    And I dont hear republicans or any conservatives praising this development as the silver lining of the recession. I would think I would be hearing lots and lots about this. People in the public sector losing jobs while people in the private sector are gaining jobs.

    So the net job creation rate should highlight net public vs private sector jobs then right?

  • Cincinnatus

    fws:

    1) I can’t speak for all states, but Wisconsin Republicans have been cautiously celebratory about their ability to use the recession (and ensuing budget crises) as a (valid) excuse to shrink state and local budgets–cautiously only because unions and Democrats are quite upset about it.

    2) Since when was the private sector “gaining” jobs at any meaningful rate over time?

  • Cincinnatus

    fws:

    1) I can’t speak for all states, but Wisconsin Republicans have been cautiously celebratory about their ability to use the recession (and ensuing budget crises) as a (valid) excuse to shrink state and local budgets–cautiously only because unions and Democrats are quite upset about it.

    2) Since when was the private sector “gaining” jobs at any meaningful rate over time?

  • fws

    So my question would be this: what states are going through the greatest government downsizing measured by govt layoffs and not just attrition? and the results of this on the economies of those states is what? what happens to the tax rates of those states? what happens to private sector job creation?

    It seems that these states would be the laboratories that could prove conservative theories.

  • fws

    So my question would be this: what states are going through the greatest government downsizing measured by govt layoffs and not just attrition? and the results of this on the economies of those states is what? what happens to the tax rates of those states? what happens to private sector job creation?

    It seems that these states would be the laboratories that could prove conservative theories.

  • Rose

    Obama missed his calling. He would be an excellent teacher of oracy.

  • Rose

    Obama missed his calling. He would be an excellent teacher of oracy.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @53

    okay, going off on a bit of a tangent.

    Public vs. private employment. The main problem with public employment is that workers are also voters. Lots of folks don’t even show up to vote on school bonds. The last election for school bonds out of 150,000 only about 9,000 voted. The public employees of the school district are contacted by their union to show up and vote, but the rest… Well, the election isn’t much publicized so most folks don’t get out and vote. I heard Ron Paul on the local radio not too long ago explaining that Texas school districts have insane amounts of debt. Okay, you get the idea.

    Now the private sector. The private sector gets more efficient by the day. By that I mean they can produce more goods and services for less money, except in a few areas. Hence, we need far fewer farmers, and factory workers etc. But things like health care can’t be automated, so as a result of these efficiencies, the proportion of folks working in various jobs has changed dramatically. Now some yearn for the good old days when … whatever, but really there is nothing wrong with paying a higher percentage for health care and a lower percentage for food.

    I am going to make a point here.

    My concern is about how people feel about their work.

    How will people feel when the work they enjoy is now largely unnecessary because of technology and now the jobs are in fields that they are not suited to? Folks are adaptable but transitions tend to be messy.

    Which brings me back to the financial disaster. It seems that the debt problems come from the fact that we paid too much for goods and services, but maybe things aren’t really correctly valued. I mean, not everyone can be wrong. How is it some command high prices for stuff? I mean the houses got built and were lived in by folks who were doing jobs. It makes you wonder about the emotional component behind demand and how it affects pricing and what people are willing to pay for what.

    I started thinking about this after a discussion of the role of selection in the buildup to the industrial revolution.

    http://qje.oxfordjournals.org/content/117/4/1133.short

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1851251

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    @53

    okay, going off on a bit of a tangent.

    Public vs. private employment. The main problem with public employment is that workers are also voters. Lots of folks don’t even show up to vote on school bonds. The last election for school bonds out of 150,000 only about 9,000 voted. The public employees of the school district are contacted by their union to show up and vote, but the rest… Well, the election isn’t much publicized so most folks don’t get out and vote. I heard Ron Paul on the local radio not too long ago explaining that Texas school districts have insane amounts of debt. Okay, you get the idea.

    Now the private sector. The private sector gets more efficient by the day. By that I mean they can produce more goods and services for less money, except in a few areas. Hence, we need far fewer farmers, and factory workers etc. But things like health care can’t be automated, so as a result of these efficiencies, the proportion of folks working in various jobs has changed dramatically. Now some yearn for the good old days when … whatever, but really there is nothing wrong with paying a higher percentage for health care and a lower percentage for food.

    I am going to make a point here.

    My concern is about how people feel about their work.

    How will people feel when the work they enjoy is now largely unnecessary because of technology and now the jobs are in fields that they are not suited to? Folks are adaptable but transitions tend to be messy.

    Which brings me back to the financial disaster. It seems that the debt problems come from the fact that we paid too much for goods and services, but maybe things aren’t really correctly valued. I mean, not everyone can be wrong. How is it some command high prices for stuff? I mean the houses got built and were lived in by folks who were doing jobs. It makes you wonder about the emotional component behind demand and how it affects pricing and what people are willing to pay for what.

    I started thinking about this after a discussion of the role of selection in the buildup to the industrial revolution.

    http://qje.oxfordjournals.org/content/117/4/1133.short

    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1851251

  • Dennis Peskey

    I really hate to throw a bucket of cold water on the Perry for President parade but I did find these statistics from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) quite revealing (see: http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/default.aspx ).

    While Governor Perry seems quite pleased with his line item veto of three billion from the State of Texas budget, he makes no mention of the 11,451,970,000 (nearly 11.5 billion) his State has received and spent from the Federal government. I can not truly express how pleased I am to see my Federal dollars (real or otherwise) going to support the economy of Texas. Mind you, these expenditures are from April, 2009 to June, 2011 and generated 45,340 reported jobs in the State of Texas.

    When I listen to politicians decry Federal spending run rampant, I tend to ascertain just how deeply these same people contribute to the problem. Simply pointing one’s finger at Washington and crying wolf will not solve our problem when your State is busy engulfing large quantities of Federal funds. I wish I had found a State which did not participate in the ARRA; they alone could and should be the model for State’s rights and autonomy but, as my current ecclesiastical President rightly proclaimed, we have a perfect record of electing sinners and each State contributed to this condition.

    (note: the total funding for the ARRA, 2009 is 787 billion. This alone would account for over half the amount the November committee needs to find and cut. Cut ‘em loose and let them sink with Peter or walk with the Lord – time to sink, swim or walk on water.)
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    I really hate to throw a bucket of cold water on the Perry for President parade but I did find these statistics from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (ARRA) quite revealing (see: http://www.recovery.gov/Pages/default.aspx ).

    While Governor Perry seems quite pleased with his line item veto of three billion from the State of Texas budget, he makes no mention of the 11,451,970,000 (nearly 11.5 billion) his State has received and spent from the Federal government. I can not truly express how pleased I am to see my Federal dollars (real or otherwise) going to support the economy of Texas. Mind you, these expenditures are from April, 2009 to June, 2011 and generated 45,340 reported jobs in the State of Texas.

    When I listen to politicians decry Federal spending run rampant, I tend to ascertain just how deeply these same people contribute to the problem. Simply pointing one’s finger at Washington and crying wolf will not solve our problem when your State is busy engulfing large quantities of Federal funds. I wish I had found a State which did not participate in the ARRA; they alone could and should be the model for State’s rights and autonomy but, as my current ecclesiastical President rightly proclaimed, we have a perfect record of electing sinners and each State contributed to this condition.

    (note: the total funding for the ARRA, 2009 is 787 billion. This alone would account for over half the amount the November committee needs to find and cut. Cut ‘em loose and let them sink with Peter or walk with the Lord – time to sink, swim or walk on water.)
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Cincinnatus

    Dennis,

    Your complaints here are often insoluble, of the sort that nitpicks beyond all possibility of resolution. You regularly exclude the eligibility of programs or candidates that participate in anything that does not conform to your rigidly righteous view of the world, even if they are merely participating in something that is an inescapable “feature” of the system.

    While your ideological purity is to be admired, to some extent (indeed, it’s why I haven’t voted for a major presidential or congressional candidate in many moons), I can’t follow you on this one. All states accepted ARRA money. Few had a choice. Moreover, the responsibility of a state governor is to look to the order of his own house, not to ensure that the federal government is dispensing goodies responsibly. Only a foolish governor would have rejected stimulus money outright (if such were even possible: many of those funds were mandatory, on pain of losing other federal benefits, etc.). The real test is whether governors used those funds wisely: some governors merely used them as stopgaps to continue funding bloated bureaucracies and payrolls and programs for a few months. But smarter governors, like Wisconsin’s, have accepted what money they could (while rejecting frivolous programs like high speed rail) and used it to pay down debt or otherwise to help their states achieve financial sustainability.

    Your complaint, in other words is fairly meaningless. First, I don’t even see why it’s problematic to accept federal stimulus and put it to good use. Second, even if it were problematic, every state did it; in fact, proportionally, Texas took less than many/most other states. Check out California or Michigan. Most of that money is money that came from the states in the first place. Why refuse your own tax refund?

  • Cincinnatus

    Dennis,

    Your complaints here are often insoluble, of the sort that nitpicks beyond all possibility of resolution. You regularly exclude the eligibility of programs or candidates that participate in anything that does not conform to your rigidly righteous view of the world, even if they are merely participating in something that is an inescapable “feature” of the system.

    While your ideological purity is to be admired, to some extent (indeed, it’s why I haven’t voted for a major presidential or congressional candidate in many moons), I can’t follow you on this one. All states accepted ARRA money. Few had a choice. Moreover, the responsibility of a state governor is to look to the order of his own house, not to ensure that the federal government is dispensing goodies responsibly. Only a foolish governor would have rejected stimulus money outright (if such were even possible: many of those funds were mandatory, on pain of losing other federal benefits, etc.). The real test is whether governors used those funds wisely: some governors merely used them as stopgaps to continue funding bloated bureaucracies and payrolls and programs for a few months. But smarter governors, like Wisconsin’s, have accepted what money they could (while rejecting frivolous programs like high speed rail) and used it to pay down debt or otherwise to help their states achieve financial sustainability.

    Your complaint, in other words is fairly meaningless. First, I don’t even see why it’s problematic to accept federal stimulus and put it to good use. Second, even if it were problematic, every state did it; in fact, proportionally, Texas took less than many/most other states. Check out California or Michigan. Most of that money is money that came from the states in the first place. Why refuse your own tax refund?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Most of that money is money that came from the states in the first place.”

    Most?

    We borrow 40¢ of every dollar spent.

    The stimulus was additional spending over and above the usual 40% debt dollars spent. I would say it was all borrowed. So, taxpayers will be paying it back with interest. I can hardly wait. But yes, proportionally Texas will be more than repaying commensurate with what it was given.

    note $787 billion stimulus dollars. Texas received $11.5 billion. However, Texas has 25 million people. That is about 8% of the US population but $11.5 billion is only about 1.5% of the $787 billion stimulus. So, no, Texas ain’t making out grand. It’s taxpayers will probably be on the hook for more like 8% of the stimulus plus interest which will be something like $300 billion in taxes if not far more if the debt is refinanced a couple more times. But hey, maybe they have a lot of confidence in the productivity of Texas that they figure they can get a $300 billion return on a $11.5 billion investment. Or maybe there will just be QE over and over till $300 billion is worth less than $11.5 billion.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Most of that money is money that came from the states in the first place.”

    Most?

    We borrow 40¢ of every dollar spent.

    The stimulus was additional spending over and above the usual 40% debt dollars spent. I would say it was all borrowed. So, taxpayers will be paying it back with interest. I can hardly wait. But yes, proportionally Texas will be more than repaying commensurate with what it was given.

    note $787 billion stimulus dollars. Texas received $11.5 billion. However, Texas has 25 million people. That is about 8% of the US population but $11.5 billion is only about 1.5% of the $787 billion stimulus. So, no, Texas ain’t making out grand. It’s taxpayers will probably be on the hook for more like 8% of the stimulus plus interest which will be something like $300 billion in taxes if not far more if the debt is refinanced a couple more times. But hey, maybe they have a lot of confidence in the productivity of Texas that they figure they can get a $300 billion return on a $11.5 billion investment. Or maybe there will just be QE over and over till $300 billion is worth less than $11.5 billion.

  • Dennis Peskey

    To Cincinnatus (#58) Perhaps I may be mistaken, but I’m fairly confident this post’s opening began, “As the stock market dives 634 more points over the United States government getting downgraded by Standard & Poors, …

    That you perceive my “complaints” as “are often insoluble“, ergo, “fairly meaningless” speaks loudly to our current national dilemma. I did review the statistics for California, Texas, New York, Michigan – even Wyoming (the least among the band of fifty).

    If you are correct in stating “participating in something that is an inescapable “feature” of the system” then I challenge you to propose real figures, real monies which can (and must be) trimmed from our Federal budget. If you can not see the problem with Federal stimulus money – what is your current view of our countries financial situation.

    Every State had the “choice” to reject the ARRA stimulus monies; every State participated proportionately. If you asked me for ten good reasons why you should give me a large sum of stimulus money – I would respond with one hundred meet, right and salutary reasons in the affirmative. But I choose the one negative response – we simply can not afford this expenditure for the long term stability of our country. I would not classify this view as “ideological purity“; rather, as simple, truthful view of reality.

    I waited fifty-six postings to see if anyone proposed realistic solutions to the situation we find ourselves in now. By your analysis, the problem runs much deeper than our Federal government. I reject this conclusion on this basis – the ARRA began in 2009. The recession began (according to the OMB) in 2008. My solution rejects the “borrow and spend” mentality in Washington; I much prefer the “tax and spend” with the caveat we spend no more than we tax. I don’t need a Balanced Budget Amendment to accomplish this task nor does Washington. What is needed is fiscal responsibility, both at the Federal, State and Local levels of government. This attitude, if enacted, should be a bit more pleasing to Standard and Poors or Moodys or our grandchildren when they come of age. Any alternative suggestions???
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To Cincinnatus (#58) Perhaps I may be mistaken, but I’m fairly confident this post’s opening began, “As the stock market dives 634 more points over the United States government getting downgraded by Standard & Poors, …

    That you perceive my “complaints” as “are often insoluble“, ergo, “fairly meaningless” speaks loudly to our current national dilemma. I did review the statistics for California, Texas, New York, Michigan – even Wyoming (the least among the band of fifty).

    If you are correct in stating “participating in something that is an inescapable “feature” of the system” then I challenge you to propose real figures, real monies which can (and must be) trimmed from our Federal budget. If you can not see the problem with Federal stimulus money – what is your current view of our countries financial situation.

    Every State had the “choice” to reject the ARRA stimulus monies; every State participated proportionately. If you asked me for ten good reasons why you should give me a large sum of stimulus money – I would respond with one hundred meet, right and salutary reasons in the affirmative. But I choose the one negative response – we simply can not afford this expenditure for the long term stability of our country. I would not classify this view as “ideological purity“; rather, as simple, truthful view of reality.

    I waited fifty-six postings to see if anyone proposed realistic solutions to the situation we find ourselves in now. By your analysis, the problem runs much deeper than our Federal government. I reject this conclusion on this basis – the ARRA began in 2009. The recession began (according to the OMB) in 2008. My solution rejects the “borrow and spend” mentality in Washington; I much prefer the “tax and spend” with the caveat we spend no more than we tax. I don’t need a Balanced Budget Amendment to accomplish this task nor does Washington. What is needed is fiscal responsibility, both at the Federal, State and Local levels of government. This attitude, if enacted, should be a bit more pleasing to Standard and Poors or Moodys or our grandchildren when they come of age. Any alternative suggestions???
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • SKPeterson

    The only caution on your posts Dennis is the veracity of the “jobs created” figure. It is highly questionable that the stimulus money funneled through the ARRA actually created any net jobs anywhere. It most likely shifted jobs between sectors – towards those sectors that are favored and away from those that are not. To the extent that those shifts can be sustainable (highly, highly questionable) the job gains will be permanent; to the extent that the jobs destroyed by the ARRA will be a long time coming back if ever, the job gains from the act will not be exceeded by continuing job losses.

    But, to your question on concrete steps to address our situation:

    1). Remove all automatic spending increases in the government budgetary baseline.
    2). Cap 2012 spending at 2011 or 2010 levels. This is simply a start.
    3). Eliminate or consolidate several government agencies and departments – Eliminating the Dept. of Agriculture and moving its land mgmt functions to Interior and market functions to Commerce. Eliminate Labor and move its labor law functions to DOJ and statistics to Commerce (which has Census). Eliminate Education and HHS. Eliminate DHS. Eliminate Energy – splitting market functions to Commerce and nuclear weapons to DOD and intell to DOD or other IC.
    4). Then really start cutting. Treasury, DOD, DOJ, SS and Medicare through eliminating agencies, programs or reducing expenditures.
    5). Privatize the West.
    6). Quit printing money.

    Not exhaustive, but a start.

  • SKPeterson

    The only caution on your posts Dennis is the veracity of the “jobs created” figure. It is highly questionable that the stimulus money funneled through the ARRA actually created any net jobs anywhere. It most likely shifted jobs between sectors – towards those sectors that are favored and away from those that are not. To the extent that those shifts can be sustainable (highly, highly questionable) the job gains will be permanent; to the extent that the jobs destroyed by the ARRA will be a long time coming back if ever, the job gains from the act will not be exceeded by continuing job losses.

    But, to your question on concrete steps to address our situation:

    1). Remove all automatic spending increases in the government budgetary baseline.
    2). Cap 2012 spending at 2011 or 2010 levels. This is simply a start.
    3). Eliminate or consolidate several government agencies and departments – Eliminating the Dept. of Agriculture and moving its land mgmt functions to Interior and market functions to Commerce. Eliminate Labor and move its labor law functions to DOJ and statistics to Commerce (which has Census). Eliminate Education and HHS. Eliminate DHS. Eliminate Energy – splitting market functions to Commerce and nuclear weapons to DOD and intell to DOD or other IC.
    4). Then really start cutting. Treasury, DOD, DOJ, SS and Medicare through eliminating agencies, programs or reducing expenditures.
    5). Privatize the West.
    6). Quit printing money.

    Not exhaustive, but a start.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus, several people have already given voice to the thoughts I had while reading your comment (@58), but, at the risk of piling on…

    All states accepted ARRA money. Few had a choice.

    I guess I really don’t see how you could say they lacked a “choice”, except in the common parlance of “well, I didn’t like the other option, so I had to choose this one”. Pretty sure that’s indicative of a choice.

    Moreover, the responsibility of a state governor is to look to the order of his own house, not to ensure that the federal government is dispensing goodies responsibly.

    And, I assume, the responsibility of a parent or spouse is to look to the order of his own house, not to ensure that the federal government is dispensing goodies responsibly. As such, he will make sure he gets everything coming to him from the government. Which is kind of where we find ourselves now, isn’t it? All for me, and someone else can worry about who pays for it?

    But that attitude ignores the fact that Perry is not solely a state governor. Consider his other vocations [+10 Veith points]. He’s also a citizen of this country, concerned about how the federal government spends its money. He’s also a parent, whose children will be paying for the debt incurred by his generation.

    Point being, what you and other conservatives seem to be urging American voters to do is to “foolishly” reject government “goodies” at some point, even if they only do so at the ballot box or by contacting their representatives. We have to restrict the flow at some point.

    Most of that money is money that came from the states in the first place. Why refuse your own tax refund?

    SG has already addressed this (@59), but it bears repeating. As long as we’re running a deficit, it’s not just “your own tax refund” — it’s also the taxes of future generations. That, certainly, is one reason to refuse it.

    I don’t totally disagree with you, as it happens. I understand the impulses you describe … at an individual level. But I guess I expect better of our political leaders, especially those with such, you know, executive experience. Most especially when they want to run our nation. We elect these people to make tough decisions — decisions we might not want to or be capable of making ourselves. If they have the same “get what’s ours, regardless” attitude that the electorate has as individuals, then we’re kind of screwed, no?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Cincinnatus, several people have already given voice to the thoughts I had while reading your comment (@58), but, at the risk of piling on…

    All states accepted ARRA money. Few had a choice.

    I guess I really don’t see how you could say they lacked a “choice”, except in the common parlance of “well, I didn’t like the other option, so I had to choose this one”. Pretty sure that’s indicative of a choice.

    Moreover, the responsibility of a state governor is to look to the order of his own house, not to ensure that the federal government is dispensing goodies responsibly.

    And, I assume, the responsibility of a parent or spouse is to look to the order of his own house, not to ensure that the federal government is dispensing goodies responsibly. As such, he will make sure he gets everything coming to him from the government. Which is kind of where we find ourselves now, isn’t it? All for me, and someone else can worry about who pays for it?

    But that attitude ignores the fact that Perry is not solely a state governor. Consider his other vocations [+10 Veith points]. He’s also a citizen of this country, concerned about how the federal government spends its money. He’s also a parent, whose children will be paying for the debt incurred by his generation.

    Point being, what you and other conservatives seem to be urging American voters to do is to “foolishly” reject government “goodies” at some point, even if they only do so at the ballot box or by contacting their representatives. We have to restrict the flow at some point.

    Most of that money is money that came from the states in the first place. Why refuse your own tax refund?

    SG has already addressed this (@59), but it bears repeating. As long as we’re running a deficit, it’s not just “your own tax refund” — it’s also the taxes of future generations. That, certainly, is one reason to refuse it.

    I don’t totally disagree with you, as it happens. I understand the impulses you describe … at an individual level. But I guess I expect better of our political leaders, especially those with such, you know, executive experience. Most especially when they want to run our nation. We elect these people to make tough decisions — decisions we might not want to or be capable of making ourselves. If they have the same “get what’s ours, regardless” attitude that the electorate has as individuals, then we’re kind of screwed, no?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Every State had the “choice” to reject the ARRA stimulus monies; every State participated proportionately.”

    In general only the legislatures could reject it. So, no, it is not Perry’s fault. Texas governors do not have that kind of power. That isn’t cheering for Perry, just a fact. And no, states did not participate proportionally. I showed that Texas with its huge population did not get commensurate $$ based on the figures Dennis supplied.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Every State had the “choice” to reject the ARRA stimulus monies; every State participated proportionately.”

    In general only the legislatures could reject it. So, no, it is not Perry’s fault. Texas governors do not have that kind of power. That isn’t cheering for Perry, just a fact. And no, states did not participate proportionally. I showed that Texas with its huge population did not get commensurate $$ based on the figures Dennis supplied.

  • DonS

    I wish I had found a State which did not participate in the ARRA; they alone could and should be the model for State’s rights and autonomy but, as my current ecclesiastical President rightly proclaimed, we have a perfect record of electing sinners and each State contributed to this condition.

    Hmm. I see this argument quite often from those tending to be more on the left-side of politics, applied both to red states and to individuals. It was recently applied to Bachmann in an effort to discredit her arguments for spending reform. It goes something like this — “Well, you don’t have to take the money (Medicare, Social Security, ARRA funding — fill in the blank) if you think it’s wrong. Just pay into the system, we’ll take ours because we believe in this program, and everyone will be happy and principled. Win-win”.

    That’s great, if we can also opt out of the part about funding these programs. But, we’re stuck with the system as a whole, while we work to change it. It doesn’t work, economically or politically, at either the state or individual level, if we are forced to fund a s0cial welfare economy, and then don’t even receive any benefits in return. But the fact that we are economically and politically forced to participate in the system as it presently exists doesn’t mean we cannot urge systemic change.

    Similarly, Dennis and tODD, we don’t see those on the left, who want us all to pay our “fair share” in taxes, paying extra or refusing, on principle, to take tax deductions and credits to which we are entitled. Do we? I mean, shouldn’t the “wealthy” on the left, who insist the wealthy aren’t paying their fair share, be contributing extra? Isn’t that the principled thing to do?

  • DonS

    I wish I had found a State which did not participate in the ARRA; they alone could and should be the model for State’s rights and autonomy but, as my current ecclesiastical President rightly proclaimed, we have a perfect record of electing sinners and each State contributed to this condition.

    Hmm. I see this argument quite often from those tending to be more on the left-side of politics, applied both to red states and to individuals. It was recently applied to Bachmann in an effort to discredit her arguments for spending reform. It goes something like this — “Well, you don’t have to take the money (Medicare, Social Security, ARRA funding — fill in the blank) if you think it’s wrong. Just pay into the system, we’ll take ours because we believe in this program, and everyone will be happy and principled. Win-win”.

    That’s great, if we can also opt out of the part about funding these programs. But, we’re stuck with the system as a whole, while we work to change it. It doesn’t work, economically or politically, at either the state or individual level, if we are forced to fund a s0cial welfare economy, and then don’t even receive any benefits in return. But the fact that we are economically and politically forced to participate in the system as it presently exists doesn’t mean we cannot urge systemic change.

    Similarly, Dennis and tODD, we don’t see those on the left, who want us all to pay our “fair share” in taxes, paying extra or refusing, on principle, to take tax deductions and credits to which we are entitled. Do we? I mean, shouldn’t the “wealthy” on the left, who insist the wealthy aren’t paying their fair share, be contributing extra? Isn’t that the principled thing to do?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Well, you don’t have to take the money (Medicare, Social Security, ARRA funding — fill in the blank) if you think it’s wrong. Just pay into the system, we’ll take ours because we believe in this program, and everyone will be happy and principled. Win-win”.

    Isn’t this essentially what private school parents do? They pay higher than average taxes because they generally have more income and assets. Then they don’t receive the services which they paid for. Then they pay again to get similar service elsewhere. Oh, and then they are criticized for giving their kids privileges that other kids don’t have!!!

    If you win, not by cheating, but by sacrificing and helping others, you will be despised by those you are trying to help. The world is fallen.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Well, you don’t have to take the money (Medicare, Social Security, ARRA funding — fill in the blank) if you think it’s wrong. Just pay into the system, we’ll take ours because we believe in this program, and everyone will be happy and principled. Win-win”.

    Isn’t this essentially what private school parents do? They pay higher than average taxes because they generally have more income and assets. Then they don’t receive the services which they paid for. Then they pay again to get similar service elsewhere. Oh, and then they are criticized for giving their kids privileges that other kids don’t have!!!

    If you win, not by cheating, but by sacrificing and helping others, you will be despised by those you are trying to help. The world is fallen.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “everyone will be happy and principled”

    Each will do what is right in his own eyes.

    I don’t think that is the path to utopia.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “everyone will be happy and principled”

    Each will do what is right in his own eyes.

    I don’t think that is the path to utopia.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Okay, one really important point.

    Does the availability of credit necessarily disrupt the efficiency of the market?

    I mean, if a person could not get a mortgage period, the housing market would be very different, right?

    How is the effect any different when it is governments, businesses, etc?

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    Okay, one really important point.

    Does the availability of credit necessarily disrupt the efficiency of the market?

    I mean, if a person could not get a mortgage period, the housing market would be very different, right?

    How is the effect any different when it is governments, businesses, etc?

  • Lou

    I haven’t delved into this discussion much yet, but i have been noticing a few trends in the discussion.
    Great contributions by Dennis @ 57 and @60 and tODD @ 62 and @33/34 -and DonS 64, and several from SG as well.

    I won’t say that Cincy hasn’t contributed some great comments to the thread, because he has, However, as I have taken the time to scroll through here, I am compelled to point out how Cincy continues to be condenscending and attacking toward everyone who has a different opinion (in other words, nearly everyone except SG).

    Here are just a few gems directly from him, “Put yourself in the mind of the average voter, if you are able. It’s difficult. The average voter is, to be frank, pretty stupid.” @39 “Your complaint, in other words is fairly meaningless.” @58 The “meaningless state of South Dakota” “Perry is a partisan hack” @9, “we should nuke Congress from orbit” @13, “I’m going to overlook your feckless attempt at race-baiting (untrue accusation) @19, ““It’s the economy stupid.” @23, “You’re just offering baseless speculations” @44.

    I’m not going to engage in a discussion of these observations. I am merely pointing them out for what ought to be perfectly obvious for all to see. Do as you wish with the information. You’ll get no response from me either way. God speed.

  • Lou

    I haven’t delved into this discussion much yet, but i have been noticing a few trends in the discussion.
    Great contributions by Dennis @ 57 and @60 and tODD @ 62 and @33/34 -and DonS 64, and several from SG as well.

    I won’t say that Cincy hasn’t contributed some great comments to the thread, because he has, However, as I have taken the time to scroll through here, I am compelled to point out how Cincy continues to be condenscending and attacking toward everyone who has a different opinion (in other words, nearly everyone except SG).

    Here are just a few gems directly from him, “Put yourself in the mind of the average voter, if you are able. It’s difficult. The average voter is, to be frank, pretty stupid.” @39 “Your complaint, in other words is fairly meaningless.” @58 The “meaningless state of South Dakota” “Perry is a partisan hack” @9, “we should nuke Congress from orbit” @13, “I’m going to overlook your feckless attempt at race-baiting (untrue accusation) @19, ““It’s the economy stupid.” @23, “You’re just offering baseless speculations” @44.

    I’m not going to engage in a discussion of these observations. I am merely pointing them out for what ought to be perfectly obvious for all to see. Do as you wish with the information. You’ll get no response from me either way. God speed.

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou, wow. Way to take almost all of those statements out of context. And pardon me for calling some of fws’s speculations baseless (which they were). “It’s the economy, stupid” is a direct quote from Bill Clinton’s 1992 election campaign.

    And at least half of those were facetious! For example, I don’t actually believe that North* Dakota is meaningless.

    But seriously, who doesn’t want to to nuke Congress from orbit? And who doesn’t believe that Perry is a partisan hack? Or that the average American voter can’t be applauded for his stunning intellect and grasp of the issues?

    Anyway, I’m not going to defend myself here, but what exactly are you trying to prove, Lou?

  • Cincinnatus

    Lou, wow. Way to take almost all of those statements out of context. And pardon me for calling some of fws’s speculations baseless (which they were). “It’s the economy, stupid” is a direct quote from Bill Clinton’s 1992 election campaign.

    And at least half of those were facetious! For example, I don’t actually believe that North* Dakota is meaningless.

    But seriously, who doesn’t want to to nuke Congress from orbit? And who doesn’t believe that Perry is a partisan hack? Or that the average American voter can’t be applauded for his stunning intellect and grasp of the issues?

    Anyway, I’m not going to defend myself here, but what exactly are you trying to prove, Lou?

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Lou, thanks for the compliment (@68).

    That said, I don’t really see the point of your comment. You said, “I’m not going to engage in a discussion of these observations,” and indeed, you haven’t. You’ve just engaged in a kind of meta-discussion of who’s written good comments and whose comments rubbed you the wrong way. But it hasn’t furthered the conversation, really. In fact, by your own admission, you are merely pointing out “what ought to be perfectly obvious” in the first place. So either we already noticed such things ourselves, or we are, in your estimation, sub-obvious observers.

    I don’t entirely disagree with your estimation of Cincinnatus — he is cocky, but lovably so. Maybe I’m only saying that because I’ve been known to be cocky myself (I leave it to others to determine my lovable quotient). But then, having read Cincinnatus’ comments for long enough, I feel he’s more entitled to his condescension (perceived or otherwise) than the average commenter — certainly more than I am. The guy knows a thing or two.

    Still, it kind of feels like you’re picking a fight. Or, perhaps, cherry-picking a fight. After all, you lambast him for saying (@39) that “the average voter is, to be frank, pretty stupid.” But then, all of two comments before that, I noted (@37) that “the voters aren’t all that smart”. Indeed, as Cincinnatus notes (@69), it’s hard to claim otherwise, unless you’re supremely happy with American politics (and if you are, then your intelligence is now in question).

    Point being, less meta-commentary, more engaging of the discussion.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Lou, thanks for the compliment (@68).

    That said, I don’t really see the point of your comment. You said, “I’m not going to engage in a discussion of these observations,” and indeed, you haven’t. You’ve just engaged in a kind of meta-discussion of who’s written good comments and whose comments rubbed you the wrong way. But it hasn’t furthered the conversation, really. In fact, by your own admission, you are merely pointing out “what ought to be perfectly obvious” in the first place. So either we already noticed such things ourselves, or we are, in your estimation, sub-obvious observers.

    I don’t entirely disagree with your estimation of Cincinnatus — he is cocky, but lovably so. Maybe I’m only saying that because I’ve been known to be cocky myself (I leave it to others to determine my lovable quotient). But then, having read Cincinnatus’ comments for long enough, I feel he’s more entitled to his condescension (perceived or otherwise) than the average commenter — certainly more than I am. The guy knows a thing or two.

    Still, it kind of feels like you’re picking a fight. Or, perhaps, cherry-picking a fight. After all, you lambast him for saying (@39) that “the average voter is, to be frank, pretty stupid.” But then, all of two comments before that, I noted (@37) that “the voters aren’t all that smart”. Indeed, as Cincinnatus notes (@69), it’s hard to claim otherwise, unless you’re supremely happy with American politics (and if you are, then your intelligence is now in question).

    Point being, less meta-commentary, more engaging of the discussion.

  • Dennis Peskey

    A note of clarification – the figures I quoted come from the U. S. Treasury recovery division as detailed in their heading: “Recovery.gov is the U.S. government’s official website that provides easy access to data related to Recovery Act spending and allows for the reporting of potential fraud, waste, and abuse.” I would not advise doing any percentile calculations based upon the current figures; the 787 billion is the total amount budgeted. The individual States are still deeply involved in spending up to their respective limits, i.e. it ain’t over yet.

    Which brings me to my sole inquiry for Cincinnatus: What will become of our States when they do reach the approved limits? The time limits of the “but everybody else is doing it” excuse will have run its course. I pray our Congress has learned enough not to continue with this ill-advised program. As to SKPeterson’s caution regarding the job creations, I did not invest sufficient time to study the particulars of how each State spent these monies and what jobs were created as a (alleged) result.

    I’m not sure how DonS(#64) placed my analysis on the left of somewhere, but I feel obligated to apologize for the “inside” LC-MS reference to our current President’s election and acceptance speech. His openning remark upon arriving at the convention podium was to reassure our Synod we had maintained a perfect record of electing a sinner to the office of President. Hopefully, this context will shed a different light on my remarks.

    My thanks to SKPeterson for engaging the real issue; in kind appreciation I offer the following response. Point 1 – Agreed; Point 2 – I would propose 2008 to avoid all the unnecessary stimulus expenditures in our current budget; Point 3 – My least sacred cow is Homeland Security – the last thing we needed was another department. The Ag, Labor and Energy departments would not be missed (nor would the productive output be diminished by your proposed transfers. HHS and Educ would be the battleground – oh, for the days when the voters elected the local schoolboards and held them solely responsible. Point 4 – This should have been accomplished yesterday. Point 5 – West of what or where – and would this include Idaho? Point 6 – Ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime – maranatha.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    A note of clarification – the figures I quoted come from the U. S. Treasury recovery division as detailed in their heading: “Recovery.gov is the U.S. government’s official website that provides easy access to data related to Recovery Act spending and allows for the reporting of potential fraud, waste, and abuse.” I would not advise doing any percentile calculations based upon the current figures; the 787 billion is the total amount budgeted. The individual States are still deeply involved in spending up to their respective limits, i.e. it ain’t over yet.

    Which brings me to my sole inquiry for Cincinnatus: What will become of our States when they do reach the approved limits? The time limits of the “but everybody else is doing it” excuse will have run its course. I pray our Congress has learned enough not to continue with this ill-advised program. As to SKPeterson’s caution regarding the job creations, I did not invest sufficient time to study the particulars of how each State spent these monies and what jobs were created as a (alleged) result.

    I’m not sure how DonS(#64) placed my analysis on the left of somewhere, but I feel obligated to apologize for the “inside” LC-MS reference to our current President’s election and acceptance speech. His openning remark upon arriving at the convention podium was to reassure our Synod we had maintained a perfect record of electing a sinner to the office of President. Hopefully, this context will shed a different light on my remarks.

    My thanks to SKPeterson for engaging the real issue; in kind appreciation I offer the following response. Point 1 – Agreed; Point 2 – I would propose 2008 to avoid all the unnecessary stimulus expenditures in our current budget; Point 3 – My least sacred cow is Homeland Security – the last thing we needed was another department. The Ag, Labor and Energy departments would not be missed (nor would the productive output be diminished by your proposed transfers. HHS and Educ would be the battleground – oh, for the days when the voters elected the local schoolboards and held them solely responsible. Point 4 – This should have been accomplished yesterday. Point 5 – West of what or where – and would this include Idaho? Point 6 – Ain’t gonna happen in my lifetime – maranatha.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • kerner

    Sorry, Cincinnatus and tODD, but here in Wisconsin, I’ve decided that the voters are a bunch of cotton pickin’ einsteins.

  • kerner

    Sorry, Cincinnatus and tODD, but here in Wisconsin, I’ve decided that the voters are a bunch of cotton pickin’ einsteins.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@72), then surely you approve of Obama and his actions, since they voted for him.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@72), then surely you approve of Obama and his actions, since they voted for him.

  • kerner

    tODD:

    even Einstein made mistakes :)

  • kerner

    tODD:

    even Einstein made mistakes :)

  • BS from Texas

    Wow! Perry for President? I have some difficulty trying to figure out exactly Gov. Perry has done that puts him in the top tier of candidates for the Rep. nomination. Let’s see – he has a degree in Ag Science (I believe), he is a Texas A&M former cheerleader and alum, he has good hair (my 21-year old daughter met him at UT and fell in love with his hair, and him), he has been the governor of our great state since right after the Alamo, and…what have I missed?

    I like Rick Perry and have voted for him since that first ballot after the Alamo. Let’s face it – his governorship is a prime example of being in exactly the right place at absolutely the right time. Texas is unlike any other state in the Union. I live in Texas and just about all of my business travels are in Texas. I have been from one end to the other, and from one side to the other. This is a huge place! We grow all kinds of crops, raise beef, pork, poultry, lamb, produce oil, gas, helium, electricity for every state in the Union, make beer and wine, harvest timber and make wood products, grow cotton, manufacture automobiles and trucks, computers, blah, blah, blah. The list is seemingly endless. And, as has been noted in this blog, everyone seems to want to move here. You know what that means…new subdivisions everywhere, new commercial developments spring up out of nowhere, schools being built, etc., etc.

    In addition to all of this, Texas is a draw for movie makers, professional athletics, singers, songwriters, yada yada yade. I was out in the vast, great divide of Far West Texas not too long ago, places like Ft. Davis, Marfa, and Alpine. Sadly, in my opinion, these places are going the way of once distinct areas like Santa Fe, NM. Hollywood and entertainment types are moving in, buying up land and other properties, and making these areas their little havens.

    I could go on and on. In fact, this doesn’t even begin to describe what it is like in this state. In my business, I drive 3 hours to my closest client, and a day-and-a-half to my furtherest client! And I never leave Texas! Although, I do change time zones! So where does Rick Perry fit in with all of this, and what has he done to make all of this possible? He has basically stayed out of the way and let Texans be Texans. Where and when he has, or has been able to, connect government “investments” and initiatives with economic development, it has been largely under the guise of public-private partnerships. Some of these have worked well, others not so well.

    Gov. Perry has been in the right place at the right time, as I’ve noted earlier. Has he been lucky up to this point? Perhaps. Perhaps he can find himself in the right place at the right time once again. Time will tell, obviously.

    Ya’ll have a great evening!

  • BS from Texas

    Wow! Perry for President? I have some difficulty trying to figure out exactly Gov. Perry has done that puts him in the top tier of candidates for the Rep. nomination. Let’s see – he has a degree in Ag Science (I believe), he is a Texas A&M former cheerleader and alum, he has good hair (my 21-year old daughter met him at UT and fell in love with his hair, and him), he has been the governor of our great state since right after the Alamo, and…what have I missed?

    I like Rick Perry and have voted for him since that first ballot after the Alamo. Let’s face it – his governorship is a prime example of being in exactly the right place at absolutely the right time. Texas is unlike any other state in the Union. I live in Texas and just about all of my business travels are in Texas. I have been from one end to the other, and from one side to the other. This is a huge place! We grow all kinds of crops, raise beef, pork, poultry, lamb, produce oil, gas, helium, electricity for every state in the Union, make beer and wine, harvest timber and make wood products, grow cotton, manufacture automobiles and trucks, computers, blah, blah, blah. The list is seemingly endless. And, as has been noted in this blog, everyone seems to want to move here. You know what that means…new subdivisions everywhere, new commercial developments spring up out of nowhere, schools being built, etc., etc.

    In addition to all of this, Texas is a draw for movie makers, professional athletics, singers, songwriters, yada yada yade. I was out in the vast, great divide of Far West Texas not too long ago, places like Ft. Davis, Marfa, and Alpine. Sadly, in my opinion, these places are going the way of once distinct areas like Santa Fe, NM. Hollywood and entertainment types are moving in, buying up land and other properties, and making these areas their little havens.

    I could go on and on. In fact, this doesn’t even begin to describe what it is like in this state. In my business, I drive 3 hours to my closest client, and a day-and-a-half to my furtherest client! And I never leave Texas! Although, I do change time zones! So where does Rick Perry fit in with all of this, and what has he done to make all of this possible? He has basically stayed out of the way and let Texans be Texans. Where and when he has, or has been able to, connect government “investments” and initiatives with economic development, it has been largely under the guise of public-private partnerships. Some of these have worked well, others not so well.

    Gov. Perry has been in the right place at the right time, as I’ve noted earlier. Has he been lucky up to this point? Perhaps. Perhaps he can find himself in the right place at the right time once again. Time will tell, obviously.

    Ya’ll have a great evening!

  • DonS

    BS @ 75: “He has basically stayed out of the way and let Texans be Texans”

    That is a great qualification for our next President! Stay out of the way and let Americans be Americans. How refreshing would that be? And exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

  • DonS

    BS @ 75: “He has basically stayed out of the way and let Texans be Texans”

    That is a great qualification for our next President! Stay out of the way and let Americans be Americans. How refreshing would that be? And exactly what the Founding Fathers had in mind.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Perry for President? I have some difficulty trying to figure out exactly Gov. Perry has done that puts him in the top tier of candidates for the Rep. nomination.”

    “he has good hair (my 21-year old daughter met him at UT and fell in love with his hair, and him),”

    “his governorship is a prime example of being in exactly the right place at absolutely the right time.”

    Sounds like you just answered your own question.

    Let’s face it, Barack Obama is just as guilty of being in the right place at the right time (with different folks and criteria) and appealing to college kids.

    Also, everything you said about Texas could be said of California and more. Which goes to show, folks can screw up anything.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg

    “Perry for President? I have some difficulty trying to figure out exactly Gov. Perry has done that puts him in the top tier of candidates for the Rep. nomination.”

    “he has good hair (my 21-year old daughter met him at UT and fell in love with his hair, and him),”

    “his governorship is a prime example of being in exactly the right place at absolutely the right time.”

    Sounds like you just answered your own question.

    Let’s face it, Barack Obama is just as guilty of being in the right place at the right time (with different folks and criteria) and appealing to college kids.

    Also, everything you said about Texas could be said of California and more. Which goes to show, folks can screw up anything.

  • Dennis Peskey

    To BS from Texas (#75) Tell me, can a Lutheran buy a beer in a bar in northern Texas. The last time I drove through your State – the answer was NO. A wee bit less than hospitable I concluded – alright, downright barbaric. Might as well drive to Utah – the scenery is better. At the very least, one need not drive longer than ten minutes in Wisconsin to find adequate refreshment. Besides, Wisconsin in home to the Superbowl Champs – it’s good to have the Lombardi trophy where it rightfully belongs.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To BS from Texas (#75) Tell me, can a Lutheran buy a beer in a bar in northern Texas. The last time I drove through your State – the answer was NO. A wee bit less than hospitable I concluded – alright, downright barbaric. Might as well drive to Utah – the scenery is better. At the very least, one need not drive longer than ten minutes in Wisconsin to find adequate refreshment. Besides, Wisconsin in home to the Superbowl Champs – it’s good to have the Lombardi trophy where it rightfully belongs.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Dennis, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I say that as a Lutheran, a beer drinker, and a former denizen of North Texas.

  • http://Www.Toddstadler.com tODD

    Dennis, I have no idea what you’re talking about, and I say that as a Lutheran, a beer drinker, and a former denizen of North Texas.

  • SKPeterson

    tODD – I think he’s talking of the far northern panhandle – that dead zone north of Amarillo. I college friend had his first teaching job in the thriving metropolis of Perryton in Ochiltree County. It was a dry county and for most residents easier to drive to Liberal, Kansas to buy beer than head down towards Amarillo. I’m not sure if that’s changed in recent years, so maybe a Lutheran or even a Baptist could get a beer up there.

    Unfortunately the way things are going the Lombardi will not be back in its rightful place in North Texas until JJ has moved on. So, I root for the other Texas team – the Tennessee Titans.

  • SKPeterson

    tODD – I think he’s talking of the far northern panhandle – that dead zone north of Amarillo. I college friend had his first teaching job in the thriving metropolis of Perryton in Ochiltree County. It was a dry county and for most residents easier to drive to Liberal, Kansas to buy beer than head down towards Amarillo. I’m not sure if that’s changed in recent years, so maybe a Lutheran or even a Baptist could get a beer up there.

    Unfortunately the way things are going the Lombardi will not be back in its rightful place in North Texas until JJ has moved on. So, I root for the other Texas team – the Tennessee Titans.

  • Dennis Peskey

    To tODD (#79) My apologies to our gracious host for this brief diversion from the stated thread. The year was 1973, I was enroute from my home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to San Diego, CA to reenlist for my second tour with the USMC. Following I-40, I passed through Oklahoma in northern Texas as evening approached and stopped to refuel.

    The dude pumping the gas (self-serve had yet to be invented) was fascinated with my Goodyear studded tires insisting someone had hammered nails into the tires (while illegal in most States, the UP had yet to discover salt, ergo Goodyear was kind enough to position 144 ice-gripping studs in each tire). I was thirsty (OK is a bit of a stretch) so I asked the guy, “Where’s the nearest bar so a guy can refresh?” This neanderthal kept repeating “Ain’t no baaar in this part of Texas!” Having grown up on the Michigan/Wisconsin border where the bars were properly positioned one every two blocks, my brain could not fathom (nor process) his response.

    Finally, I changed the question to “Where is the nearest bar (pronounced properly)?” “Oklehomea” he replied! Paid for the gas, reversed course and ten minutes later, exited I-40 and found paradise (I thought). A hugh, country bar serving proper refreshments coupled with a bartender whose english was a bit more comprehensible – this was meet, right and proper.

    I sat in the middle of a lengthy bar; then I noticed the patrons coming in would veer to the right or left – but did not comingle. Then I realized the bar was a mirror image; each side had a pool table, an assortment of tables and chairs and at no time did the right side cross over to the left (an vice-versa). After a hour elasped, my curiosity peaked and I motioned to the bartender; “What’s the deal?” I asked. Half go to that side, half go to the other stating the obvious.

    Pointing to the right, he stated, “De folks are the good old boys from Oklehoma”; and when I pointed out the left, he responded “Dems from Texass.” Oh boy, in less than sixty seconds I knew this was not the place to be on a Friday night. To wit, my last inquiry; “Why do the Texans drive here to drink?” Seems all the “bars” in northern Texas were “private” clubs – by invitation only as a justification to “keep out the riffraft”. Riffraft translated poor, black or yankees (my category). The only good country bar existed on the OK/TX border in Oklahoma.

    Well, I drank my fill, thanked the bartender for his hospitality, fired up the Pontiac and headed west. Never went back to northern Texas – far too uncivilized for my taste buds. But I do have a bit of a problem forgiving Texans for there pharisaic treatment of visitors which my color my perceptions of the second largest State in our Union which is yet another reason for me to oppose Perry.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To tODD (#79) My apologies to our gracious host for this brief diversion from the stated thread. The year was 1973, I was enroute from my home in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan to San Diego, CA to reenlist for my second tour with the USMC. Following I-40, I passed through Oklahoma in northern Texas as evening approached and stopped to refuel.

    The dude pumping the gas (self-serve had yet to be invented) was fascinated with my Goodyear studded tires insisting someone had hammered nails into the tires (while illegal in most States, the UP had yet to discover salt, ergo Goodyear was kind enough to position 144 ice-gripping studs in each tire). I was thirsty (OK is a bit of a stretch) so I asked the guy, “Where’s the nearest bar so a guy can refresh?” This neanderthal kept repeating “Ain’t no baaar in this part of Texas!” Having grown up on the Michigan/Wisconsin border where the bars were properly positioned one every two blocks, my brain could not fathom (nor process) his response.

    Finally, I changed the question to “Where is the nearest bar (pronounced properly)?” “Oklehomea” he replied! Paid for the gas, reversed course and ten minutes later, exited I-40 and found paradise (I thought). A hugh, country bar serving proper refreshments coupled with a bartender whose english was a bit more comprehensible – this was meet, right and proper.

    I sat in the middle of a lengthy bar; then I noticed the patrons coming in would veer to the right or left – but did not comingle. Then I realized the bar was a mirror image; each side had a pool table, an assortment of tables and chairs and at no time did the right side cross over to the left (an vice-versa). After a hour elasped, my curiosity peaked and I motioned to the bartender; “What’s the deal?” I asked. Half go to that side, half go to the other stating the obvious.

    Pointing to the right, he stated, “De folks are the good old boys from Oklehoma”; and when I pointed out the left, he responded “Dems from Texass.” Oh boy, in less than sixty seconds I knew this was not the place to be on a Friday night. To wit, my last inquiry; “Why do the Texans drive here to drink?” Seems all the “bars” in northern Texas were “private” clubs – by invitation only as a justification to “keep out the riffraft”. Riffraft translated poor, black or yankees (my category). The only good country bar existed on the OK/TX border in Oklahoma.

    Well, I drank my fill, thanked the bartender for his hospitality, fired up the Pontiac and headed west. Never went back to northern Texas – far too uncivilized for my taste buds. But I do have a bit of a problem forgiving Texans for there pharisaic treatment of visitors which my color my perceptions of the second largest State in our Union which is yet another reason for me to oppose Perry.
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To SKPeterson (#80) I attempted old Route 66 through Kansas; ten minutes convinced me our pool tables in the UP had more contour than that forsaken State. No wonder Dorothy caught the first tornado leaving town – so would I.

    You may want to reconcile the departure of pro football from Houston; Tennessee is a far more beautiful area and they are fanatics. I would mention the new facilities Los Angeles has authorized – they are in the market for a pro team and I would not put it beyond JJ to grab for all the gusto (think green, as in cash) this move would generate. Daily, I thank the Lord for the people’s team, the original and still one and only America’s team – the Packers!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • Dennis Peskey

    To SKPeterson (#80) I attempted old Route 66 through Kansas; ten minutes convinced me our pool tables in the UP had more contour than that forsaken State. No wonder Dorothy caught the first tornado leaving town – so would I.

    You may want to reconcile the departure of pro football from Houston; Tennessee is a far more beautiful area and they are fanatics. I would mention the new facilities Los Angeles has authorized – they are in the market for a pro team and I would not put it beyond JJ to grab for all the gusto (think green, as in cash) this move would generate. Daily, I thank the Lord for the people’s team, the original and still one and only America’s team – the Packers!
    Pax,
    Dennis

  • kerner

    BS from Texas:

    1.) ditto to what Don S said. Getting out of the way and letting Americans be Americans is the best qualification for president there is. And after what we’re gettng from Mr. Ivy League, and Co., an Ag degree from Texas A & M is looking pretty good to me.

    2) What you make in Texas is not beer…not really.

  • kerner

    BS from Texas:

    1.) ditto to what Don S said. Getting out of the way and letting Americans be Americans is the best qualification for president there is. And after what we’re gettng from Mr. Ivy League, and Co., an Ag degree from Texas A & M is looking pretty good to me.

    2) What you make in Texas is not beer…not really.

  • BS From Texas

    Hey Kerner – try Shiner Bock the next time you’re down our way.

  • BS From Texas

    Hey Kerner – try Shiner Bock the next time you’re down our way.

  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • http://www.biblegateway.com/versions/Contemporary-English-Version-CEV-Bible/ sg
  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@83), having lived for over a decade in the Pacific Northwest, I’m here to tell you that most of the stuff you guys drink in Wisconsin isn’t all that, either. Admittedly, my analysis is based on a weekend in Sheboygan a few years ago, but in general, everything I’ve learned about the Midwest indicates they enjoy drinking weak sauce over there.

    And, as to BS’s note (@84), please, everyone else, do not try Shiner Bock. It is by far the most overhyped beer I have ever encountered, and it is only hyped by Texans who have not bothered to taste actual good beers from outside their state. It’s probably better than Coors or Miller, but that’s not saying anything.

    Shiner Hefeweizen may, in fact, be worth trying out — I can’t say, but I’ve heard better things about it.

    For my money, the only Texas beer I’ve tried and would give a second chance comes from St. Arnold. But then, I’m biased, as the founders are both Rice grads like me.

  • http://www.toddstadler.com/ tODD

    Kerner (@83), having lived for over a decade in the Pacific Northwest, I’m here to tell you that most of the stuff you guys drink in Wisconsin isn’t all that, either. Admittedly, my analysis is based on a weekend in Sheboygan a few years ago, but in general, everything I’ve learned about the Midwest indicates they enjoy drinking weak sauce over there.

    And, as to BS’s note (@84), please, everyone else, do not try Shiner Bock. It is by far the most overhyped beer I have ever encountered, and it is only hyped by Texans who have not bothered to taste actual good beers from outside their state. It’s probably better than Coors or Miller, but that’s not saying anything.

    Shiner Hefeweizen may, in fact, be worth trying out — I can’t say, but I’ve heard better things about it.

    For my money, the only Texas beer I’ve tried and would give a second chance comes from St. Arnold. But then, I’m biased, as the founders are both Rice grads like me.

  • kerner

    OK, I have to admit I was thinking of Lone Star. And I myself don’t drink Miller (unless I’m afraid of insulting my host or something).

    But Wisconsin has a host of great Kraft brews, which I stick to whenever possible. The most mass produced thing I drink is a couple of the offerings from Leinenkugel’s.

    And being a hefeweizen kind of guy, I promise to try the Shiner version if I come across it.

  • kerner

    OK, I have to admit I was thinking of Lone Star. And I myself don’t drink Miller (unless I’m afraid of insulting my host or something).

    But Wisconsin has a host of great Kraft brews, which I stick to whenever possible. The most mass produced thing I drink is a couple of the offerings from Leinenkugel’s.

    And being a hefeweizen kind of guy, I promise to try the Shiner version if I come across it.


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