Questions for a candidate

I am one of the many bloggers asked by the campaign staff for former NevadaNew Mexico governor Gary Johnson, one of the Republican dark horses, to take part in a conference call later this week. Does anyone have any questions that they would particularly like me to ask? I have two or three related to the economy, but I thought I’d throw this out there to see what else might be of current interest to the Ilk.

Corrupt like a senator

Public Enemy had it right. Congress is shamelessly crooked. This also explains why they behaved in such a shamelessly slavish manner towards Wall Street when their supposed masters, the American public, were vehemently against TARP and the bank bailouts:

An extensive study released Wednesday in the journal Business and Politics found that the investments of members of the House of Representatives outperformed those of the average investor by 55 basis points per month, or 6 percent annually, suggesting that lawmakers are taking advantage of inside information to fatten their stock portfolios.

“We find strong evidence that members of the House have some type of non-public information which they use for personal gain,” according to four academics who authored the study, “Abnormal Returns From the Common Stock Investments of Members of the U.S. House of Representatives.”

To the frustration of open-government advocates, lawmakers and their staff members largely have immunity from laws barring trading on insider knowledge that have sent many a private corporate chieftain to prison.

It’s that last sentence that shows America is not only dead, but well into a state of rigor mortis. Congressman are not only breaking the law, they have openly declared themselves to be above the law as well. And they are getting away with it.

A humble man

And one with much about which to be humble, most notably his governance of Minnesota:

Tim Pawlenty is in. So far, he has been talking tough — although his response to Paul Ryan’s House budget a few months ago was to jam his hands in his pockets, shuffle his feet a little, and then point and yell, “Look over there, at the debt ceiling!” (Also, I am secretly worried that Pawlenty’s ex-mullet will now write a tell-all book about him.)  And while his introductory video is effective at positioning himself as a “truth teller,” it contains one of my foremost pet peeves in political commercials: the “I’m from humble beginnings” talking point.

I have no desire to go into the specifics underlying my contempt for Tim Pawlenty, but suffice it to say that to my certain and personal knowledge, he is a conflict-avoidant coward, a mediocre, hands-off manager of the executive branch, and moreoever, one with zero regard for the letter of the written law.  Republicans who hope to ride this bland dishrag of a pragmatist to the White House will almost certainly find themselves badly disappointed, as the man has even less principle and backbone than George W. Bush.

WND column

The False Hope of Herman Cain

For an activity that nominally purports to concern itself with leadership, politics is essentially a game of tail-chasing. In a two-party system, or more accurately, a bifactional single-party system of the sort we suffer here in the United States, winning national elections is usually considered to rely upon slicing off a critical two percent from the least-committed, least-principled, most moderate portion of the other faction’s supporters. Since the winner of the previous election succeeded in claiming critical center, it is customary for the losing party’s next candidate to in some way mimic the previous winner in an attempt to reclaim the crucial minority.

So, it should come as no surprise that after having been ambushed by Barack Obama’s unexpected defeat of an uncharacteristically inept campaign by Hillary Clinton, some Republicans have decided that they need a “magic negro” of their own.

This is modern "representative democracy"

It’s not as if the elections in Spain will actually change anything:

The Socialists, in power since 2004, are also looking likely to lose the next general election, which is scheduled for March 2012, but could come earlier if big losses on Sunday spark a leadership crisis within the party. After the euro zone debt crisis forced Greece, and later Ireland and Portugal, to take bailouts, Zapatero implemented round of measures to tackle a huge public deficit and persuade financial markets that it has the budget under control.

He is expected to maintain unpopular economic policies whatever the outcome on Sunday.

As we’ve seen with both the Obama White House and the Boehner-led Republicans in the States, as the Irish have learned in switching from Fianna Fail to Fine Gael, and as the Spanish are about to learn, it doesn’t matter for whom one votes. They will carry out the same policies regardless of what they promise their supporters; King Log replaces King Stork and yet nothing changes.

RINO down

I’d like to think I helped provide Gov. Daniels with some clarity on the matter last week. I don’t, actually, but I enjoy having the opportunity to do so. While it was nice that the Indiana governor too the message of last week’s column to heart, it rather more likely that it was the revolving door that knocked a little sense into him.

Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels said early Sunday that he won’t run for president because of family considerations, narrowing the field in the race for the GOP nomination…. A two-term Midwestern governor, Daniels had been considering a bid for months and was pressured by many in the establishment wing of the party hungering for a conservative with a strong fiscal record to run. He expressed interest in getting in the race partly because it would give him a national platform to ensure the country’s fiscal health would remain part of the 2012 debate.

Now if the dishrag and the ridiculous me-too from the Fed will only drop out of the race, we can see a clear and straightforward choice between Ron Paul and Captain Underoos.

A delusional world of his own

Newt Gingrich isn’t merely a joke candidate, he has either gone seriously off his rocker or he has his staff approaching near-Clintonian levels of shameless spin doctory:

“The literati sent out their minions to do their bidding,” Tyler wrote. “Washington cannot tolerate threats from outsiders who might disrupt their comfortable world. The firefight started when the cowardly sensed weakness. They fired timidly at first, then the sheep not wanting to be dropped from the establishment’s cocktail party invite list unloaded their entire clip, firing without taking aim their distortions and falsehoods. Now they are left exposed by their bylines and handles. But surely they had killed him off. This is the way it always worked. A lesser person could not have survived the first few minutes of the onslaught. But out of the billowing smoke and dust of tweets and trivia emerged Gingrich, once again ready to lead those who won’t be intimated by the political elite and are ready to take on the challenges America faces.”

Gingrich has been finished as a politician for more than a decade. It is a remarkable testimony to the myopic narcissism of the American political class that he is still in denial over it. It’s not the Washington elite that is opposed to Gingrich; they’re the only ones who still take him seriously at all. And they have no need to destroy a man who makes a habit of kneecapping himself. More importantly, the Republican grass roots are not in the least bit interested in a fat little double-talking adultererous Washington insider who completely fumbled his golden opportunity to effect genuine change in government 17 years ago.

Gingrich never had a chance in the first place, but with his self-destructive comments on the Ryan plan, he rendered himself an embarrassment and an absurdity. Gingrich isn’t merely done, he’s rotting in the political compost pile.