Some quotes we ran across the past couple of days that caught our attention:
Here's Mike Huckabee who won the Iowa caucus back in '08 assessing the rhetoric of the current G.O.P. candidates:
“One of the reasons that I was so frustrated and decided not to get in the race was because it appears to me, and it still does to a large degree, that many of the Republicans are more interested in just defeating Barack Obama than they are in rebuilding America. Well, defeating somebody without a plan to really resolve problems, to me, is a worthless endeavor. You know, I want to see us really focus on how to get the country back to work. We’ve got 15, 16 million people that don’t have jobs that would like to have them. Let’s talk about that, not: ’Let’s spend our time talking about what’s wrong with one of the candidates we’re trying to defeat,’ and that’s unfortunately been the focus of this primary.”
Huckabee always seems like a nice enough guy while being interviewed or when he is part of a discussion panel but there has always been something that seemed a tad odd to us about the guy. To wit, is he saying that the reason he didn't enter the race is because he didn't like the campaign strategies of the other candidates? That's patently absurd as that, from a political standpoint, is precisely why you would want to enter the fray. I'll be the alternative to what the other candidates are offering. Isn't that precisely the message every candidate attempts to convey? Again, odd.
And while Huckabee has a good point with generating a message that conveys a positive way forward, there is an awful lot of overlap in that Venn diagram between defeating Obama and rebuilding America suggesting those two concepts are far from being exclusive of one another.
Here's KT on the canard of money in politics:
Getting the money out of politics assumes that money is somehow corrupting what the government does, that there is some best solution to whatever set of problems we're trying to drown with three-and-a-half trillion dollar bills. If we got the money out of politics, then our political leaders would make wise decisions that were best for all of us.
Sort of like Mussolini did. There wasn't much money in politics in fascist Italy.
But the best set of decisions depends on what you're trying to achieve. Over in Greece, they've pretty much done the things that Robert Reich has been suggesting for years and they're now starting to throw their poor and elderly out into the street. So much for finding wise political leaders who can make your decisions for you, eh Robert?
And what does "getting the money out" even mean? The government contracts out to private companies for much of its work. If there's a customer out there with $3.5T to spend it's utterly childish to think that marketing dollars aren't going to gush forth in pursuit of that prospect. (You can solve this problem by nationalizing all industries so that everyone is inside the government and no one outside. See also: Union, Soviet.)
The only way to get the money out of politics is to get the money out of the government. Given the track record of geniuses like Alan Blinder and Robert Reich, that's probably a good idea for lots of other reasons, too.
A favorite refrain of ours (which, honestly, we don't know whether or not we came up with or stole from someone else) goes something like this:
You will never remove money from politics until you remove power from government by corresponding degrees.
And here's B-Daddy at The Liberator Today on differing views of and just how to combat the near-universally loathed effects of crony capitalism:
The left sees crony capitalism and concludes that more regulation of business is required to prevent business from seeking ill gotten gains from government intervention. They forget problems of regulatory capture and the fact that regulation favors the entrenched business interests of today, against the entrepreneurs of tomorrow.
The right calls for less regulation, forgetting to tackle the problem that government is enriching corporations in the first place. The tea party answer, is for government to be stripped of the power to enrich corporations in the first place. In my opinion, such a theory is incomplete, because some opportunities for mischief, especially in financial markets are so great that after the fact prosecution is an insufficient deterrent.
Go to the link for some hopeful news that Western democracies will get this figured out.