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Archive for August, 2012

Predictions?

So, with the GOP in Tampa ducking a big wind storm and creating one of their own, I guess it has become time to ponder what will happen in November.  Does the president get to keep his job?  Or does the new guy come along and knock him out?

First of all, I have been following politics fairly closely throughout my life, though not as much during these last few years, and I have found that what seems obvious in hindsight is rarely that obvious ahead of time.  By December, whatever has happened will have begun to be seen as inevitable.  For now, the future is still fuzzy.  Always in motion is the future.

A few months ago, my thinking was that Obama would manage to squeeze back in.  He still might.  My reasons for thinking this were:

  • The press was and ever will be on his side – and they don’t even try to hide it.
  • Romney is – once again for the Republicans – fairly lackluster.
  • The blame for the current economy continually gets pointed at the government in general – for doing too little!  Only about a third of the population – no points for guessing which third – blame the continued bad economy on administration policies.
  • Romney was going to focus his campaign on competence.

Naturally, this could still happen.  Also, there is no telling what sort of event could throw out all previous assumptions: war in the Middle East, an assassination, a last-minute replacement of a VP candidate.

Still, my thinking now is that Romney will manage to squeak in and I guess my reason for thinking this is the Ryan nomination.  No, I don’t think Ryan will have much authority in a Romney administration nor do I think it signals any great change in Romney’s likely governance.  But I don’t think Romney would have made this choice unless his plan was to make government spending the centerpiece of his campaign.

If Romney keeps the campaign focused tightly on the economy and demonstrates how gargantuan deficit spending keeps the economy in chains, then he will win this election.  He needs a laser-like focus: “It is the spending, stupid!”

I doubt Romney actually believes this – or he doesn’t care – but if he thinks this strategy will win him office, he will use it.  I think the choice of Ryan signals that this is exactly what he intends to do.  If, on the other hand, the Ryan appointment was only meant to “fire up” the conservative base and Romney intends to campaign on his experience and competence, then it is just 1996 all over again and he will probably lose to the Glamorous in Chief.

But I do feel pretty safe predicting that, should Romney win and should the Republicans win both houses of Congress with comfortable margins, very little will change on the spending front.  Obama-care will receive only a token haircut, government will spend more in 2013 than it did in 2012, and the spending orgy will continue in a slightly different direction, while Paul Ryan stares out the windows at Observatory Circle and tries to figure out how to distance himself from administration policy.

Indeed, it is hard to imagine the circumstances that would ever convince official Washington to even slow the increase in spending.  The Depression didn’t, Stagflation didn’t, the current morass hasn’t.  What will, short of The Million Pitchfork March?  And how would you keep all those pitchforks aimed in the right direction long enough?

Of course, my most fervent hope would be for a Libertarian victory.  Johnson would do his level best to curtail the spending, I have no doubt.  He certainly has the best resume of all Libertarian candidates.  But I have always maintained that, for the LP to win the presidency, there would have to be such a sea-change of thought in the electorate that whoever won the election would find himself forced to cut spending and return to some prior level of personal freedom.  But I will caveat that statement a little by recognizing that a sufficiently charismatic candidate might himself cause just such a sea-change.

Is Johnson such a candidate?  No sign of it so far, but I remain hopeful.  Meanwhile, whether the next president is named Obama, Romney, or Johnson, life will go on, the beatings will continue, and wealth will be created.  All they can do is steal what we make, you see, and not all of it.  They can’t really stop us.

 

News by Category

Looked at a news site today and noticed the technology section.  The stories related to stock prices of various tech companies, a lawsuit, and Microsoft rolling out a new logo.  There was no news about actual technology in the Technology section.  There rarely is.

This is not just a technology thing.  Sports news, as little as I look at it, is often full of the private lives of sports figures, divorces, weddings, affairs, babies, murders, DWIs, statements on political topics.  So-called entertainment news is much the same.

Political news, of course, suffers greatly from this, with most of the stories being about the personalities, the horse-race, and the gotcha statements.  Rarely is there a story about the actual issues and even more rarely is the story written from an unbiased perspective.

Some of this is the media selling what it thinks sells – and they always underestimate the intelligence of their audience.  But much of it is just the result of the sad state of affairs in today’s journalism.  The people writing the stories often have no particular background in the subject they have been assigned to, so they cannot write a meaningful story on technology or sports or public policy.  But they know how to write about a racy divorce!  They know how to write a story about a stupid statement taken out of context.

So, we get to read the same interchangeable stories, again and again, with the serial numbers rubbed off and the names changed, and most of the stories are negative.  No wonder we always despair for the future.  Everybody is rotten – just read the news!

 

Categories: Pet Peeves, Trends

Up for Debate

So, Fox News ran an article yesterday about the Gary Johnson campaign.  It was the usual story that you can expect at this point in the campaign cycle, about how the spoiler candidate will end up helping the candidate that he is farther from.  Specifically, the article suggested that the Libertarian, Johnson, might draw enough votes in battleground states to deny Romney victory.  Anyone who would vote Libertarian, you see, would obviously otherwise vote Republican.

Sure, we have been hearing that for years, but it never pans out entirely.  The LP also gets plenty of votes from left-of-center types who are tired of the Democrats complicity in the drug war and overseas adventurism, not to mention those leftists to whom there really is such a thing as too much government intrusion and spending.

But I don’t really have to spend a lot of time speculating on this.  If the Libertarian candidate in any race was seen as a means of ensuring victory for the Democrats, would you not expect an outpouring of Democrat support?  Would you not expect, in this instance, George Soros and others to make major contributions to the Johnson campaign?  Would you not expect an extremely fair-minded Barack Obama to argue for the inclusion of Johnson in the debates?  Would you not expect NPR to give Johnson major air time?

This obvious strategy never seems to happen, so I would argue that political professionals know what pundits and likely voters apparently do not, that Libertarians draw fairly evenly from both major parties.  It is the only way to explain it.  After all, we are only talking about needing a few percentage points here to spell victory.  Well worth the time and expense.

Unless, of course, the major players are mortally afraid of what might happen if Johnson and other Libertarians got some major face time with the American public, an army of Goliath’s afraid of a little David.  It might ruin the game for everyone, Democrat and Republican.

Now that’s a happy thought.

 

Unfocused

Lots of things to write about, but very little to say just now.

My Mother-in-Law passed away last week.  We have mostly been dealing with all that followed.

Consequently, my own mother was in town, so we had a visit.  Went to see my aunt.

Funerals are like a final exam, where you get to see all the people you have sort of met over the years and attempt to remember their names.

Wedding anniversary yesterday – I think.

Work-related things got put on the back burner during all this.  Now they are back, full force.

The person in my house – can’t really call her a tenant, as she has not paid rent in four months – is being evicted tomorrow.

I understand something big is going on in London.  Not really watching.

Just starting to read Joseph Conrad’s “The Secret Agent” based on a recommendation.  It was recommended to me forty years ago, just getting to it now.  Think they made a movie out of it some time ago.  Anyhow, it is public domain, so the Kindle price is just right.

Writing?  Hah.  As I said, unfocused.

 

Categories: Oddities