ANY Republican nominee in 2012 will be "too dumb to be President" -- according to the media and the commentariat
The 2012 Republican presidential nominee-in-waiting is not very bright. In fact, dumb as a post is a more accurate if blunt assessment..
Does this describe Sarah Palin? Yes -- if you choose to listen to the Inside-the-Beltway elites. But just in case she doesn't run for or win the nomination, don't worry. Whoever the GOP nominates will quickly assume this "too dumb to be president" role -- bestowed by many of the same people.
Why? Because this "too dumb to be president" argument is precisely the same-old, same-old argument from liberal elites about Republican presidents or prospective presidents for decades. The argument is particularly relished when it comes to describing conservatives like the former Alaska governor. But even GOP moderates can never escape this tag once they morph from unannounced candidate (and therefore not a political threat to liberalism) to actual frontrunner, nominee or, God forbid, the actual president.
Barry Goldwater, the first modern conservative to win a GOP presidential nomination in 1964, would have been lucky to be tagged as being merely too dumb to be president. He was also said to be, according to Time magazine, "psychologically unfit to be president," "emotionally unstable," "immature," "cowardly," "grossly psychotic," "paranoid," a "mass murderer," "amoral and immoral," a "chronic schizophrenic" and "dangerous lunatic." One psychiatrist breezily announced Goldwater had a "strong identification with the authoritarianism of Hitler, if not identification with Hitler himself."
Reagan, also pegged as a war-monger, was called an "extremist" at the beginning of his political career and an "amiable dunce" just after his election to the presidency. They were a mere blip in the cascade of insults about his intelligence hurled in Reagan's direction over almost a quarter century as a serious American politician. This particular man who was "too dumb to be president" won the Cold War without, as Margaret Thatcher said, firing a shot. Not to mention launching the American economy on a path to creating some 50 million jobs over the next three decades.
But I digress. Perhaps the most instructive case of "too dumb to be president" is that of Gerald Ford. Elected to Congress in 1948, a man with a ready smile and outgoing personality, Ford had won rave reviews from the liberal press when he challenged the House Republican Old Guard following Goldwater's defeat, becoming Minority Leader. All the way through his House career, and on into his surprise accession-by-appointment to the vice presidency following the resignation of liberal bête noire Spiro Agnew, the moderate Republican Ford was pictured as good-ole smiling Jerry, the steady, smart House leader who had not an enemy in the world. He played golf with his old pal House Democratic leader Tip O'Neill. Just a nice, smart, swell guy, said the press.
Then a funny thing happened to good old Jerry Ford. In the wake of Watergate he became president with Nixon's resignation. Within a month he pardoned his predecessor, believing (correctly) that until the nation had rid itself of the Watergate/Nixon obsession he, Ford, would have an impossible time getting things done as president. Nothing dumb there.
Ford had no sooner announced the pardon and disappeared from the television air waves than the re-positioning of Ford by the liberal media had begun. The man who had graduated from Yale Law School and been the epitome of openness and hard work was, in the blink of an eye, dumb as a post and a conniving liar to boot. Up from the mists came a Lyndon Johnson quote saying that Ford the college grid star had played too much football without a helmet.
An on-camera tumble on the slippery steps leading down from the door of Air Force One led to the depiction of the most athletic president since Teddy Roosevelt as a bumbling fool. On a new program called Saturday Night Live, an unknown writer/actor named Chevy Chase rocketed to fame portraying Ford as dumbly prone to hilarious stumbles and dramatic falls over all manner of furniture. Chase anticipated the Tina Fey as empty-headed Sarah Palin routine by decades.
Then there's the Romney saga. That would be George Romney, not Mitt, George's son. George Romney was a liberal Republican, a spectacularly successful business executive as the chairman of American Motors. On the strength of his dazzling business career he was elected Governor of Michigan, where he became a popular political figure with both voters and the national press.
Then a funny thing happened to George Romney. In 1967 he began running for the 1968 GOP presidential nomination. The polls showed he was the man-to-beat for the nomination, the one man in the Republican Party who could take on and beat LBJ, the same LBJ who beat Goldwater in 1964 by a landslide. Then, returning from a fact-finding trip to Vietnam, Romney incautiously allowed as to how he had been "brain-washed" by the Johnson administration on Vietnam. And…. bam.
Within a media cycle the brilliant business executive and innovative Governor of Michigan had become -- you guessed it -- an idiot too dumb to be president. The dumb-as-a-post tag hung around his neck by a media concerned that old George was making just a little bit too much progress and that Tricky Dick, as they called Richard Nixon, would be easier to beat. Romney was finished. His last stint in government was not the White House but the Department of Housing and Urban Development, in Nixon days the equivalent of political Siberia.
What does any of this have to do with Sarah Palin? As the New York Times Magazine recently noted, there is a caricature now abroad in the land of the former Alaska governor "as a vapid, winking, press-averse clotheshorse." In other words, Sarah Palin is an idiot. Dumb as a post. Too dumb, but of course, to be president.
This mother of five with a successful marriage, the woman who, without benefit of a famous name or marriage, has been elected successively to positions as city council member, mayor, president of the Alaska Conference of Mayors, served as the appointed (by the then-governor) chairman of the Alaska Oil and Gas Conservation Commission before being elected governor herself -- this before becoming only the second woman to be tapped for a major party vice-presidential nomination, a successful author and bona fide TV star like Reagan -- this is the woman who is now presented by everybody from GOP Establishment types to liberal enemies as just a vacant Barbie-style version of other men who were too dumb to be president. Goldwater? Romney? Ford? Reagan? Kemp? Bush 43? Bush 41? Like them all, Sarah Palin is just too dumb to be president.
Todd Palin – “First Man”
I woke up this morning wondering how Todd Palin as the prospective first “First Man” would stack up against Michelle Obama the incumbent “First Lady” if his wife commits to running. I learned a bit about Todd when his wife was campaigning for the Vice-Presidency but caught a glimpse of the kind of First Man he would make on the TV show “Sarah Palin’s Alaska.
The first impression was the response he got when the family was introduced to the halibut boat captain they chartered to do some fishing. The captain, unaffected by the cameras and the hoopla, when introduced to the family blurted out “Let me shake the hand of the “Iron Dog Champion” as he brushed past Sarah to grab Todd’s hand. It reminded me that Todd was a man among men who had several times won the most difficult, competitive and challenging race in the entire world.
That will stand Sarah in good stead when push comes to shove at the ballot box.
The second impression was the character and focus he exhibited in the simple task of teaching his son the salmon fishing business. There was a flash of the command he has over his environment and his family - a flash that at the helm of a fishing boat in the treacherous waters of Alaska there is no room for error. Trip got the message – hell I was ready to salute.
Of all I know about the man I feel he has his ego under control and unlike Michelle “I was never proud to be an American” Obama he will be a plus in that equation. He clearly seamlessly floats between being a tough and tumble roustabout on the North Slope to changing diapers and washing dishes in Wasilla. Should she decide to run I believe his “First Man” persona will be a bigger factor in the election than any previous First Lady.
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Minimum Wages: Some more of that nasty reality
Walter E. Williams
How about this: The law of gravity is applicable to the behavior of falling objects on the U.S. mainland but not applicable on our Pacific Ocean territories Samoa and Northern Mariana Islands. You say, "Williams, that's lunacy! Laws are applicable everywhere; that's why they call it a law."
You're right, but does the same reasoning apply to the law of demand that holds: The higher the price of something, the less people will take of it; and the lower its price, the more people will take of it? The law of demand applies to wages, interest and rent because, after all, they are the prices of something.
In 2007, the Democrat-led Congress and White House enacted legislation raising the minimum wage law, in steps, from $5.15 an hour to $7.25. With some modification, the increases applied to our Pacific Ocean territories. Republicans and others opposed to the increases were labeled as hostile toward workers. According to most opinion polls taken in 2006, more than 80 percent of Americans favored Congress' intention to raise the minimum wage. Most Americans see the minimum wage as a good thing, and without it, rapacious employers wouldn't pay workers much of anything.
On the eve of the 2007 minimum wage increase, someone got 650 of my fellow economists, including a couple awarded the Nobel Prize in economics, to sign a petition that read "We believe that a modest increase in the minimum wage would improve the well-being of low-wage workers and would not have the adverse effects that critics have claimed." At the time, I wrote that I felt embarrassment for them, but at least the petition was not signed by any George Mason University economists.
According to a Sept. 30, 2010 American Samoa government press release, "Governor Togiola Tulafono today expressed his sincere gratitude to President Barack Obama for signing legislation that will delay the minimum wage increase scheduled to take effect in American Samoa for 2010 and 2011." My question to you is why would a Democrat-controlled Congress pass a measure (HR 3940), and a Democrat president sign it, that would postpone the enactment of something as "wonderful" as an increase in the minimum wage law.
The fact of the matter is that increases in minimum wages have had a devastating impact on American Samoan workers. In my "Minimum Wage Cruelty: Update" column of May 26, 2010, I wrote: "Chicken of the Sea International moved its operation from Samoa to a highly automated cannery plant in Lyons, Ga. That resulted in roughly 2,000 jobs lost in Samoa and a gain of 200 jobs in Georgia. StarKist, the island's remaining cannery, announced that between 600 and 800 people will be laid off over the next six months, reducing the company's Samoan workforce from a high of more than 3,000 in 2008 to less than 1,200 workers." According to SamoanNews.Com, in August, 300 workers received layoff letters in phase one of Starkist's downsizing plans.
Stephen Dinan, The Washington Times staff writer who wrote "Territories snared in wage debate," (10/18/10) said, "A number of those involved with the minimum-wage issue appeared not to want to talk about it. The White House didn't return a call seeking comment, nor did the AFL-CIO, the chief umbrella group for labor unions."
Does the law of demand that we've seen applying to American Samoa also apply to the U.S. mainland? It does and particularly for teenagers and especially black teenagers. In 2007, the unemployment rate for all teens was 15 percent; today it's 25 percent. For black teenagers, in 2007, unemployment was 26 percent; today it's over 50 percent. Overall unemployment is a little over 9 percent. Those who argue that the minimum wage has no effect on labor markets in the U.S. but has an effect in American Samoa are either liars, lunatics or idiots, and that includes those 650 economists who signed that petition suggesting that a "modest increase in the minimum wage would improve the well-being of low-wage workers."
The Conquering Bureaucracy
A new history of the FDA shows how regulators entrenched and extended their own power. BOOK REVIEW of "Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA", by Daniel Carpenter
After spending months in the Amazon sometime in the early 1960s, a young pharmaceutical salesman just wanted to cross an airstrip and board a plane to begin his long journey home. But a Brazilian soldier had a different idea: “You can’t come in.”
The salesman pleaded, “I gotta come in!” The soldier pointed his rifle at the young American, unlocked the safety, and repeated, “You can’t come in.” The drug rep relented: “Oh, now I got it. I can’t go in there.”
In 1985 that salesman, G. Kirk Raab, was named the president of Genentech, which has since become one of the leaders of the modern biotech industry. But early in Raab’s tenure Genentech was dealt an almost crippling blow at a critical stage of its development by the formidable Food and Drug Administration (FDA). In the spring of 1987, a mere suggestion that an advisory panel to the FDA was entertaining doubts about approving Genentech’s first blockbuster drug was enough to send the company’s stock plummeting, wiping out a quarter of its value overnight. When talking about the incident and its implications, Raab liked to recall his jungle encounter with state power. “The FDA is standing there with a machine gun against the pharmaceutical industry, so you better be their friend rather than their enemy. They are the boss.…They own you body and soul.”
The FDA is one of the oldest and most powerful regulatory agencies in the United States. In his massive, magisterial Reputation and Power: Organizational Image and Pharmaceutical Regulation at the FDA, the Harvard political scientist Daniel Carpenter provides both a history of the agency and an analysis of how it gained and flexed its most important regulatory power, the ability to keep new drugs off the market. Carpenter carefully documents the ways FDA bureaucrats have worked to exploit opportunities to expand their influence and reshape how the drug industry and the medical profession operate.
Much more HERE
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