President Obama’s campaign film, “The Road We’ve Traveled”

April 1, 2012

Some encouragement for those who follow Santayana’s Ghost, and recall history; some information to change the minds of those who don’t:


Perry’s lack of business experience noted — by Republicans

August 17, 2011

If you followed at all the teapot tempest over the false claims that President Obama’s cabinet lacked business experience (also here and here), this headline must have made you guffaw:

Kay Bailey Hutchison won’t endorse Rick Perry for president, says she wants someone with private-sector experience

No love lost between Hutchison and Perry.  Hutchison opposed Perry for the Republican nomination for governor of Texas in 2010.  Perry was brutal in his criticism of her, and he defeated her in the primary.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry should not count on the support of his state’s seniority senator (and his 2010 Republican gubernatorial rival) if he decides to run for president.

(Polaroid photo by Sarah Tung/Hearst Newspapers)

Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Dallas, told NBC’s Andrea Mitchell today that she is looking for a Republican candidate with private-sector experience as her choice for the party’s 2012 presidential nomination.

Perry is a career politician who has held elective office since 1985.

“He certainly has got government experience,” Hutchison told Mitchell on MSNBC’s “The Daily Rundown” this morning, adding that “we need people who have been in the private sector, as well.”

The Republican senator’s comments hint strongly that she’d prefer one of the GOP candidates who has run a business: former Winter Olympics organizer (and venture capitalist) Mitt Romney, former Godfather’s Pizza CEO Herman Cain or former chemical company executive Jon Huntsman.

Hutchison said she has no immediate plans to endorse any candidate.


Will any Republican stand up for America?

August 12, 2011

Ezra Klein’s on-line column this morning worries me more — will any Republican stand up for America?

No, I don’t mean  lip service, I don’t mean flag lapel pins.  I mean, will any Republican stand up for the policies we need to steer through the shoals of economic woe we face in the next 60 months?

At Wonkbook Klein said:

The most telling moment of Thursday’s GOP debate wasn’t when Michele Bachmann cooly stuck a knife between Tim Pawlenty’s ribs, or when Rick Santorum plaintively begged for more airtime, or when Mitt Romney easily slipped past questions about his record on health-care reform. It was when every single GOP candidate on the stage agreed that they would reject a budget deal that was $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases. Even Fox News’s Bret Baier couldn’t quite believe what he was seeing. He asked again just to make sure the assembled candidates had understood the question.

Primary debates are usually watched for what they say about the candidates, but they’re generally important for what they say about the party. This one was no different. With the notable exceptions of Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman, the candidates didn’t disagree over policy. They disagreed over fealty to policy.

Bachmann didn’t attack Pawlenty’s policy proposals. She attacked him for past statements suggesting he might believe in other policy proposals, like the individual mandate and cap-and-trade. Pawlenty’s assault on Romney took the same form. This debate wasn’t about what policies the candidates believed in. That was largely a given. This debate was about which of the candidates believed in those policies the most.

The best policy in this debate wasn’t the policy most likely to work, or the policy most likely to pass. It was the most orthodox policy. The policy least sullied by compromise. A world in which the GOP will not agree to deficit reduction with a 10:1 split between spending cuts and tax increases is a world where entitlement reform can’t happen. It’s a world where the “supercommittee” fails and the trigger is pulled, and thus a world in which $1 out of every $2 in cuts comes from the Pentagon. It’s not a world that fits what many in the GOP consider ideal policy. But it is a world in which none in the GOP need to traverse the treacherous politics of compromise.

Policies discussed weren’t mainline, capitalist economic policies, either.  They’re so far out in left field they can’t even see the pitcher’s mound from where they are.  Plus, they’re looking the wrong way.

Over and over again, [Michelle] Bachmann misstated basic facts. She said that Tim Pawlenty “implemented” cap-and-trade in Minnesota. He did no such thing. She said “we just heard from Standard Poor’s,” and “when they dropped our credit rating what they said was we don’t have an ability to repay our debt.” Simply not true.

S&P has never questioned our ability to repay our debt. That’s why we remain AA+. They have questioned whether political brinksmanship will stop us from paying our debt. The downgrade “was pretty much motivated by all of the debate about the raising of the debt ceiling,” said John Chambers, head of S&P’s sovereign ratings committee. That is to say, it was motivated by political brinksmanship from the likes of, well, Michele Bachmann.

It’s fitting that the candidate best able to resist compromise is the candidate who seems least able to correctly explain the policies at issue and the choices we face. It’s a lot easier to take a hard line if you don’t understand the consequences of your actions, and a lot simpler to belt out applause lines if you’re not slowed down by the messy complexities of the issues. But where Bachmann is leading, the other candidates are following. Mitt Romney knows perfectly well that a deal with $10 in spending cuts for every $1 in tax increases is a great deal for conservatives. What he probably doesn’t know is how he’s going to explain why he pretended otherwise when he was vying for the nomination.

Winners in the debate?  Unclear.  Losers?  You, me, and every American.

Can any Republican explain where in the world they got these nightmare economic policies?  Are they being made up on the spot?


Sarah Palin will resign?

July 3, 2009

The only thing that comes to my mind is the old saw about how to survive in a tough neighborhood — act crazier than a hopped-up loon.  No one wants to cross the crazy guy.

Of course, neither will the neighborhood generally unite to elect the crazy guy to the city council.

Palin will resign, she says, at the end of the month.  Yeah, Larry Craig promised to resign, too.

Grandmother’s ghost said I should  check to see whether she’s been to Argentina lately.  Now she’s quietly singing “Don’t cry for me, Wasilla.”

At least she didn’t say “You won’t have Sarah Palin to kick around anymore.”  Since Richard Nixon, that line’s been better reserved for zombie movies.

Say what?


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