Patterico's Pontifications

11/10/2008

Who Will Be the Next RNC Chair?

Filed under: Politics — DRJ @ 7:26 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Allahpundit at Hot Air says it’s shaping up to be a battle between Newt Gingrich and Michael Steele, although Mike Huckabee is supporting his former campaign manager, Chip Saltsman.

I’m not a Huckabee fan so I don’t know anything about Saltsman, but I hope there’s room in some capacity for both Gingrich and Steele.

– DRJ

Reaganism Isn’t Dead

Filed under: 2008 Election — DRJ @ 5:16 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Scott Rasmussen says Obama won by reminding voters of an earlier eloquent, upbeat, tax-cutting candidate: Ronald Reagan.

– DRJ

Rivalries

Filed under: Sports — DRJ @ 4:45 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Today’s news includes two articles that involve sports rivalries:

Alabama-LSU football fans.

“A man and woman were shot dead after an argument that witnesses said started over an Alabama-LSU football game, but sheriff’s investigators said Monday they continued to investigate the motive.”

El Paso, Texas, high school dance squad.

“Dancers from Chapin High School allegedly laced brownies and cupcakes for the Andress High School team with Clorox, rat poison, two boxes of laxatives and other household products. The Chapin dancers planned to give the desserts to their rival team at a football game Friday night.

The students were stopped and the cupcakes were confiscated before anyone was hurt, but Andress High School parents said they plan to press charges against the Chapin students.”

Sports can make politics look almost tame.

– DRJ

The Economy and Obama’s New Deal

Filed under: Economics,Government — DRJ @ 1:59 pm

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama is preparing to tackle America’s economic problems by emulating the New Deal with a national stimulus package, government sponsored infrastructure projects, and invoking the leadership of FDR.

Amity Shlaes explains why emulating FDR’s New Deal is a bad idea:

“The historical model that the Democrats are choosing to hold up as they ponder our financial crisis isn’t Harry Truman’s Fair Deal or Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society. It is Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal. At least three economic reforms under discussion now were also central in the New Deal package. Trouble is, these reforms didn’t necessarily work well when they were first tried – and some failed outright.”

A stimulus package doesn’t work unless people spend the money but as recently as last year, Americans saved their stimulus checks instead of spending them. [Edit: Or they used the money to pay off credit cards, etc., that resulted in less actual stimulus. H/T JVW.] I suspect most Americans will be inclined to do the same this year.

As for infrastructure projects, Shlaes points out that FDR’s government-sponsored projects like the Tennessee Valley Authority displaced private businesses and thus prolonged the recovery time.

Finally, regarding the value of FDR’s leadership:

“Even more than specific New Deal projects, Obama and his fellow Democrats are evoking Roosevelt’s leadership style. In school, we learned that it was FDR’s personality that pulled the country through the Depression. If only, the suggestion is, we can have a strong enough leader, Americans will also find recovery again. We need some “bold persistent experimentation” of the Roosevelt variety.

There is evidence, however, that FDR’s very strength was a negative, because he used it to give himself a license to do true experimenting. In his second inaugural address, FDR said that he sought “an instrument of unimagined power for the establishment of a morally better world.”

No one knew what it meant, and markets were terrified. Everyone feared FDR would regulate or prosecute them next. Businesses refused to invest. The 1930s’ second half proved frustrating for the country: The economy was always recovering but never quite recovered. The Dow didn’t get back to its 1929 level until the mid-’50s.”

Sounds familiar, doesn’t it?

– DRJ

Obama’s Rocky First Steps

Filed under: Government — DRJ @ 11:16 am

[Guest post by DRJ]

Barack Obama is off to a wobbly start as President-elect. His first press conference was marred by an awkward and erroneous remark about Nancy Reagan. His first conversations with world leaders included a disputed discussion with Polish President Lech Kaczynski over the missile defense shield. And now his Change.gov website has been scrubbed:

“Over the weekend President-elect Barack Obama scrubbed Change.gov, his transition Web site, deleting most of what had been a massive agenda copied directly from his campaign Web site.

Gone are the promises on how an Obama administration would handle 25 different agenda items – everything from Iraq and immigration to taxes and urban policy – all items laid out on his campaign Web site, www.BarackObama.com.

Instead, the official agenda on Change.gov has been boiled down to one vague paragraph proclaiming a plan “to revive the economy, to fix our health care, education, and social security systems, to define a clear path to energy independence, to end the war in Iraq responsibly and finish our mission in Afghanistan, and to work with our allies to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon, among many other domestic and foreign policy objectives.”

A spokesman announced the website is being re-tooled. Perhaps the new, improved website will provide more clarity on Obama’s policies as President but, as usual, it’s hard to tell where Obama stands on issues. At some point he will have to take clear positions on specific issues instead of indulging his passion for flowery promises.

I’m not a fan of Obama’s liberal politics but I can appreciate an efficient organization. So, on the one hand, I’m encouraged by reports that his transition team has been working for months on proposed executive orders and personnel; that his first press conference had the foresight to display a “seal of the President-elect”; that he reportedly drafted his inaugural address before the election; and that the novel Change.gov website of the President-elect was up and running within days after the election. These actions show someone was planning ahead.

On the other hand, the fact that so many of these first acts have gone awry is not impressive. First, there were the missteps regarding Nancy Reagan and the Polish President. Then the Change.gov website had to be completely re-tooled just days after it began. The pre-election drafting of an inaugural address and the repeated use of faux seals suggests arrogance rather than preparing to lead. And the first hints of Obama Administration personnel – people like Jamie Gorelick for AG – raise rather than dispel questions about the judgment of the President-elect and his staff.

Obama obviously gets to pick his Cabinet and partisan picks are to be expected. However, Jamie Gorelick is not the only Democrat who could serve as AG but she may be the most controversial. To float her name as a first pick suggests the Obama Administration has a tin ear or feels invincible, neither of which work well in government.

– DRJ

The Al Franken – Norm Coleman Senate Race Recount Update

Filed under: 2008 Election — Justin Levine @ 10:55 am

[posted by Justin Levine]

As of 12:10 p.m. [Minnesota time]:

Norm Coleman -  1,211,560

Al Franken – 1,211,356

204 vote difference.

It would be funny if Franken ends up losing the race just because he was unnecessarily rude to a college student. With the margins this close, that could arguably be the case. But the recount is still ongoing….

- Justin Levine


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