The Politics of Hope


Every true leader in a democratic society knows that you can only lead by hope, inspiration and example. The use of fear, reproach and guilt are the tools of despots and totalitarians. In a democracy those who stoop to fear are usually short timers or Speaker of the House.

Those who do not have experience in leadership often succumb to their own fears and broadcast those fears in the form of despair and deepening crises.

Enter Barack Obama.

As a candidate for President he talked incessantly about hope and change — never defining either — but focused just as incessantly on a rapidly deteriorating economy. It was his campaign’s raison d’être — only he could save us from the excesses of George Bush and the Democrat Congress. And the voters bought it. Obama was elected, not on the issue of the war in Iraq as the Far Left would have us believe, but rather on a souring economy and a disgust that President Bush failed to warn about, act on, or solve the economic crises.

The economic crisis was created by a manipulation of the housing market. It started with Democrats in Congress insisting that the nation’s financial institutions lend money to persons who could not and would not repay it. This alone should have triggered concern in the national government but since the Democrats had triggered it, any investigation by the Congress was quashed and the Bush administration was so pre-occupied with the war in Iraq that it neither wanted the distraction of a fight with Congress or the alienation of desperately needed support for continuation of the war.

The availability of this money through subprime mortgages and other financial manipulations accelerated the demand for homes which in turn drove a rapid increase in home prices — far beyond the historic growth in value and this, again, should have triggered concern in the government — especially since it followed so closely a similar rapid and unwarranted acceleration in the dot.com industry during the Clinton years followed by a resulting catastrophic collapse. Again silence from the Bush Administration and the Democrat Congress.

But the greatest fault may well lie with the spurious financial instruments created by packaging loans and marketing them as securities, derivatives and other instruments that allowed the stacking and leveraging of specious securities to make a bad situation even worse. This stacking was the proverbially “house of cards” that collapsed almost immediately upon disclosure. The suppression of an investigation into Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac at the behest of Congressional Democrats and a failure of the Bush Administration’s Security Exchange Commission to ask hard questions was the moral equivalent of throwing kerosene on a burning house.

Okay, we all know that President Obama is not to blame for the current crisis, but that does not mean he is without blame. As a junior senator from Illinois he participated with his Democrat colleagues in demanding loans to those who could not and would not repay them and in suppressing investigation of the mortgage practices of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

But the important thing here — the important thing for demonstration of leadership — is not who is to blame but what are you going to do about the current situation. Obama knew full well what he was getting into. He ran on a platform that highlighted it. His party reveled in every sign of a worsening crisis as an omen of their eventual electoral success.

It’s not like this is that hand Obama was dealt, it is more like the hand he reached out and grabbed. And since he grabbed the hand, a compliant Congress has given him everything that he has asked for in record time — doling out over $2 Trillion in a bacchanalian frenzy of spending and political payoffs for past loyalty.

And yet, with the exception of his inaugural address, all we have heard from Obama is doom and gloom. That the nation is on the verge of a catastrophe from which it may never recover. That the crises is so great, so critical, so overwhelming that we must act without thinking, we must accept each and every proposal from Obama and his administration as the only choice. And that the country has suffered, is suffering, and will suffer for the foreseeable future. Obama’s rhetoric is not that of the nation’s great leaders but rather that of one of its most miserable presidents — Jimmy Carter and his national malaise.

Compare Obama’s dire warnings of impending catastrophe with those of previous leaders:

“. . . It is for us the living, rather, to be dedicated here to the unfinished work which they who fought here have thus far so nobly advanced. It is rather for us to be here dedicated to the great task remaining before us — that from these honored dead we take increased devotion to that cause for which they gave the last full measure of devotion — that we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain — that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth.”

Abraham Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address

“. . . This is preeminently the time to speak the truth, the whole truth, frankly and boldly. Nor need we shrink from honestly facing conditions in our country today. This great Nation will endure as it has endured, will revive and will prosper. So, first of all, let me assert my firm belief that the only thing we have to fear is fear itself””nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance. In every dark hour of our national life a leadership of frankness and vigor has met with that understanding and support of the people themselves which is essential to victory. I am convinced that you will again give that support to leadership in these critical days.”

Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s inaugural speech

“So it is not surprising that some would have us stay where we are a little longer to rest, to wait. But this city of Houston, this state of Texas, this country of the United States was not built by those who waited and rested and wished to look behind them. This country was conquered by those who moved forward–and so will space.

* * *

“We choose to go to the moon. We choose to go to the moon in this decade and do the other things, not because they are easy, but because they are hard, because that goal will serve to organize and measure the best of our energies and skills, because that challenge is one that we are willing to accept, one we are unwilling to postpone, and one which we intend to win, and the others, too.”

John F. Kennedy’s Speech on the Frontiers of Space

” . . . If we look to the answer as to why, for so many years, we achieved so much, prospered as no other people on Earth, it was because here, in this land, we unleashed the energy and individual genius of man to a greater extent than has ever been done before. Freedom and the dignity of the individual have been more available and assured here than in any other place on Earth. The price for this freedom at times has been high, but we have never been unwilling to pay that price. It is no coincidence that our present troubles parallel and are proportionate to the intervention and intrusion in our lives that result from unnecessary and excessive growth of government. It is time for us to realize that we are too great a nation to limit ourselves to small dreams. We are not, as some would have us believe, doomed to an inevitable decline. I do not believe in a fate that will fall on us no matter what we do. I do believe in a fate that will fall on us if we do nothing. So, with all the creative energy at our command, let us begin an era of national renewal. Let us renew our determination, our courage, and our strength. And let us renew our faith and our hope. We have every right to dream heroic dreams. Those who say that we are in a time when there are no heroes just don’t know where to look. You can see heroes every day going in and out of factory gates. Others, a handful in number, produce enough food to feed all of us and then the world beyond. You meet heroes across a counter””and they are on both sides of that counter. There are entrepreneurs with faith in themselves and faith in an idea who create new jobs, new wealth and opportunity. They are individuals and families whose taxes support the Government and whose voluntary gifts support church, charity, culture, art, and education. Their patriotism is quiet but deep. Their values sustain our national life.

Ronald Reagan’s Inaugural Speech

And finally, the most telling quote of all:

“I hope I have appealed to your greatest hopes and not your worst fears.”

Ronald Reagan’s Farewell Speech

This column is written before President Obama’s speech on the economy scheduled for Tuesday evening. I am not surprised by Obama’s conduct thus far since he has never had leadership experience prior to being elected president. However, it is my hope that he will learn quickly and stop seeking to fix blame and commence leading by hope, optimism and example.

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  • Sagano

    I know we have heard nothing but bad news from Obama. What else could he have said?

  • Unrepentent Independent

    Larry,

    I seem to recall the “preoccupied” Bush administration pushing for these reforms to the Housing Markets as part of their new “ownership society”.

    I also seem to recall (revisionist history notwithstanding) that the Democrats were in the minority when congress reformed the lending laws, and when they reformed the bankruptcy protection laws to harm consumers.

    Yes, these new rules passed with the support of the administration and with bi-partisan support in congress.

    You shatter your own credibility by not acknowledging as much — though in truth you accomplish the same when you choose to ignore Barack Obama’s call to action and call to hope.

    Consider yourself a poster child for the fact that Republicans still have not figured out the extent to which they are out of touch with voters in this country.

    People want commonsense solutions and to believe that our politicians are willing to work together to help bring our nation out of this mess.

    You can either lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way!

    Partisan. Hack.

  • dartagnan

    Yes, I knew all along that the Republicans would find a way to blame this disaster on Democrats and poor people instead of on the Republican policy of deregulation of financial markets and greedy, unscrupulous Wall Street wheeler-dealers.

    This disaster was a long time in the making; its true origins date back to the administration of Saint Ronald Reagan, who initiated the policies of deregulation, deficit spending and redistribution of wealth via trickle-down economics that laid the groundwork. The disaster would have happened sooner if Clinton hadn’t temporarily restored some fiscal sanity by eliminating the deficit. But then the Republicans got control again and drove the economy over a cliff.

  • John in Oregon

    Larry, when you say > *”Those who do not have experience in leadership often succumb to their own fears and broadcast those fears in the form of despair and deepening crises.”*

    I can think of no better example than the Jimmy Carter malaise speech. Delivered from the fireside it infected the country with hopelessness. I saw that speech, Craters fear and helplessness was palatable.

    To my knowledge every other president projected hope, inspiration and lead by example. Even tho some may have felt overwhelmed by circumstances or took steps that were counterproductive.

    As I observe President Obama’s demeanor I see noting that suggests he feels fear, helplessness or despair. In fact his public image is of someone who feels in firm control and his statements carefully considered.

    So if Obama neither projects leadership by hope and inspiration as did JFK and Reagan, nor the hopelessness of Carter, what remains can only be a third possibility.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    Sure, Obama has said some gloom and doom, but little of that has been at all at odds with the situation we are in and most people know it. The key here is why he is doing it which I think most people have missed. Obama is no slouch when it comes to bold and forceful use of power, look at how he got into the senate. The current situation bears one strong resemblance to the Depression, it is a crises opportunity to consolidate power.

    This is not at all a new, or exceptionally brilliant tactic. Leaders have used it since time began. A crises is talked up to get people to go along with ceding ever increasing power of the leader. Thus, Obama walks a fine line, keep the crises going so as to accrue power, but be wary of the people noticing the freedom they have given up has done little to improve their lives.

    FDR did this and was largely successful. Under him we had massive expansion of the federal government with little or no results. Yet to this day FDR is largely remembered in a positive light. LBJ did the same thing, a massive war on poverty again with little or no results. Poverty remains largely unchanged and LBJ’s and his programs are remembered a little less fondly than FDR. Mussolini did the same and was largely regarded as a brilliant man. He went to far in throwing in with Hitler, and now is remembered as an idiot.

    So what will happen with Obama? Will he be able to consolidate more power for himself before people catch on to what is happening? Who knows, however we do have Rahm Emanuel’s words to remember:

    “never let a crises go to waste”

    And that’s exactly what they are doing, and doing very well….for now.

    My bet is they undeniable vote of “no confidence” from the stock market that we are seeing will eventually become quite apparent to all. One can’t have the stock market taking a dive every time someone in the administration opens his mouth before it starts to become a little bit of a joke.

  • Rupert in Springfield

    of the leader = to the leader

    • Davis

      Not to be picky….

      Crises = plural of crisis

    • spam i am

      “Little or no results?” Let’s add it up. Under FDR we got social security, unemployment insurance, FDIC, Countless dams, highways, and bridges, Timberline Lodge, the SEC, TVA, BPA, (cheap electricity we still use,) the repeal of prohibition, the right of workers to organize into unions, 58% economic growth during his first 2 terms, and winning of the 2nd World War as a few acomplishments.

      Under Johnson, we got the Civil Rights Act, Medicare, Medicaid, Food stamps, Head Start, the NEA, the NEH, the JFK Center for the Performing Arts, National Highway Traffic Safety Admin, a drop in the poverty rate from 22 to 12%, and on the downer side, bogged down in a war we could not win and should not have fought.

      Obama could do worse than these 2. He could follow the Bush model.

      • Rupert in Springfield

        Thanks for yet another attempt at diversion Dean, your debate skills remain, as always, quite poor. At some point I would love for you to show me the low brain power crowd that this sort of thing actually works on.

        Ill spell it out for you yet again, and real simple this time. We both know your next step will be to do Dean Weasel Number Two – Feigned lack of reading comprehension. Therefore the re-iteration of my point is not so much to allay any fears that you will actually address it, but rather to point out how foolish you are constantly trying this tactic that never seems to work here.

        1 – The New Deal programs were aimed at ending the depression, after seven years of no substantial effect it can safely be said they had little or no results.

        1a – by effect I mean on the economy, not effect on the price of building materials, flavors of ice cream or any other silly diversion you might dream up to show effect.

        2 – The war on poverty? Again, little or no results after trillions spent. The poor are still with us in not greatly changed numbers.

        The question is, if the left is so convinced of their arguments, why can they never argue them? Why is it people like Dean have so little to back up their beliefs that they constantly try inane diversions such as this, rather than argue the point?

        There are two answers – one, it is hard to argue against the truth, thus diversion must be employed. Or two, they are incompetent at debate and think silly diversionary arguments work. Whether this is born of insufficient debate skills or self delusion that they are fooling anyone is, of course, yet another question.

        >Obama could do worse than these 2. He could follow the Bush model.

        Well, given that “these two” were our two biggest spending presidents in history and got us into programs that ran up way more debt than Bush ever dreamed of, and given that LBJ got us into a war ( well, LBJ and Kennedy ) that was of way more questionable value than Iraq and given that way more people died in Vietnam you are right. I mean if you ignore the facts that is, sure, Bush was worse, I guess because he is a Republican and they were democrats and you will excuse anything by a Democrat.

        However lets face it, the market has tanked since BO took office and every time someone in the administration opens their yap the market tanks. So far BO hasn’t exactly out shown Bush.

        Well, except at one thing, spending money like there is no tomorrow. That seems to be the only idea your guy has. Sure seemed like you were against it when Bush ran up deficits, funny you seem to like them now.

        Oh well, never expect a lot of depth from a liberal!

  • spam i am

    Oy vey. Poor Larry and poor poor “conservatives.” Your tidy, simple, ideology has crumbled to dust before your very eyes…yet you don’t believe your eyes because “the media” has reported on the crumpling and therefore it can’t be true.

    Obama appears to have an adults grasp of the difficult, but not yet dire condition of America, and he appears to be treating us like adults by explaining the situation to us in whole sentences and paragraphs. He appears to have connected dots: most expensive, very ineffective health care system, global warming, dependence on declining foreign fossil fuels, expensive wars with no clear end in sight (the Middle East will be at war withitself with or without our participation,) economic decline, declining wages for the middle class, and political differences degenerating into shouting matches that accomplish nothing.

    So yes…he offered us newness, change, and hope. And maybe out of desperation or exasperation, people voted for him by a fairly significant majority. Now he deserves a chance to succeed. He has been in office a month, and given his relative inexperience has shown a remarkable ability to lead and remain cool in a firestorm of events.

    The great fear of conservatives is that he will succeed. I remember going through a similar internal struggle when Bush invaded Iraq. I thought…this is going to go badly. That part of the world does not like us, will treat us a colonial occupiers, and this will be bloody. But I hoped that the neo-cons were right. That a strong show of force and 1 toppled dictator would be the trigger to transform the Middle east. I hoped for this outcome even though it would have proved me and my fellow liberals wrong…because such an outcome would have been a good thing. Alas…it wasn’t so.

    Conservatives fear Obama is the newly incarnated FDR and that he will have government riding to the rescue of a failing free market. He will succeed at implementing a government driven universal health care system, a transformed energy system, and reinvigorate diplomacy over military solutions. How terrible would all that be? Oh my Gawd. Terrible! Peace….health…education…clean energy….eek! That would put the nail in the coffin of less government is best government…at least for a generation.

    I suggest getting over yourselves. Don’t fear success. And don’t hope for failure. Or even if you do, keep it to yourselves. If he fails then we fail, and you will get your chance to pick up the pieces.

    • Rupert in Springfield

      >Now he deserves a chance to succeed. He has been in office a month, and given his relative inexperience has shown a remarkable ability to lead and remain cool in a firestorm of events.

      Why? Bush was never given a chance.

      >That a strong show of force and 1 toppled dictator would be the trigger to transform the Middle east. I hoped for this outcome even though it would have proved me and my fellow liberals wrong…because such an outcome would have been a good thing. Alas…it wasn’t so.

      What a load. Dean, you forget, not everyone here is an idiot. We all remember how you said the surge wouldn’t work. We all remember how your failure to criticize Sen. Reed when he said “the war was lost”. Get over it, you hoped for failure from the get go. You loved the idea of losing a war to win the presidency and to this day you maintain that Bush somehow lied. You couldn’t even give Bush credit for changing course with the surge.

      >Conservatives fear Obama is the newly incarnated FDR and that he will have government riding to the rescue of a failing free market.

      No, conservatives fear the massive debt BO is getting us into that we will never get out of. Conservatives fear the rapid erosion of our freedoms under this man, such as massive taxation to pay for all this nonsense, card check and loss of freedom in health care.

      Some of us actually care about those things. You don’t. You want to be taken care of by government. You want a government that tells you to wash your hands before dinner and puts you to bed at night. Others would rather have freedom. You don’t care about that, fine. Please, don’t go saying you have an adult behaviour however. Anyone who wants the kind of nanny state you desire is the furthest thing from an adult there can be.

      Obama does have a very adult grasp of one thing, that is for sure. He has a great ability to appear to care about the needs of those who would prefer to live as children and forgo the responsibility of adulthood.

      >I suggest getting over yourselves. Don’t fear success. And don’t hope for failure.

      Oh gee, now you are saying this? How odd, you were praying for failure with Bush from day one, you couldn’t wait to lose in Iraq.

      Do you really expect for one second for anyone to all of a sudden give your side a chance in hell after the way you have behaved for eight years?

      Talk about needing to get over oneself. This is big boy time Dean, you don’t get to run around accusing the president of treason for a term and a half and all of a sudden think you are entitled to any benefit of the doubt.

      • spam i am

        Expecting failure and hoping for it are not the same thing. I’m happy as a clam at high tide that the surge and buying off the sheiks has given us some breathing space and lowered the carnage. Did I think it would work? Hell no. Did I hope it would fail? Hell no. You are projecting.

        Bush didn’t somehow lie. He lied. He said he had “no doubt” Saddam had WMDs at the ready. That was a lie.

        Why are you worried about card check? You have some unorganized workers who might unionize? I’m with you on the debt fear. Unfortunately the other choices are worse mathmatically. Higher debt to round off the bottom of the recession and prevent a depression is the only option available. It sucks, but this is what we are left with.

        I want a government that is functional, professional, capable, provides services, and a strong safety net with a tight mesh. Call me a weenie. But have you never heard of “Wagner’s Law?” It goes like this:

        As people grow more affluent they want more of what only government can provide: a strong military, public order, good schools, welfare benefits, clean water, sewers, transportation systems, peanut butter inspections, fraud investigations, etc. These are all services that citizens have difficulty providing for themselves. Wagner predicted in the 19th century that development of an industrial economy would result in an ever increasing share of public expenditure relative to the gross national product.

        He was right. That is the current you are forever swimming against. Affluence breeds more government, which is why taxes are higher in the US than in Sierra Leone. And interestingly, more government, up to a point, seems to breed more affluence, which is why Denmark is a darn nice place. I am not alone in desiring a high functioning state that provides economic as well as physical security. Try ending SSI and see how far you get.

        Freedom is great. I’m all for it. If some bureaucrat shows up here checking my fingernails before dinner then I will know it has gone too far and we will be allies.

        My side gets to make policy for the next 2-4 years, and if that policy works for some years beyond that. Take a deep breath and get used to it. I had to suck it up for a long while. Now its your turn.

        I never accused Bush of treason. That was always your interpretation of my critique of him. But you excel at putting words in my mouth.

        • Rupert in Springfield

          >Bush didn’t somehow lie. He lied. He said he had “no doubt” Saddam had WMDs at the ready. That was a lie.

          Having “no doubt” is only a lie if you can prove Bush knew it to be untrue. Every time I ask you to demonstrate that, you fall flat on your face. So, let’s give you another try, please explain the following, which would all have to have logical explanation for Bush to have lied, rather than simply been wrong:

          Please also explain why his CIA chief, a Clinton holdover, said it was a “slam dunk” Saddam had WMD’s.

          Please also explain how Bush managed to convince virtually every intelligence agency Saddam had WMD’s

          Please also explain how Bush, if he knew Saddam did not have WMD’s, chose to look like an idiot when they didn’t turn up rather than plant the evidence. Surely a president willing to lie to get us into war would plant evidence.

          Please explain how Bush managed to fool Congress and how Bush managed to also fool Clinton in backwards time when Clinton went to congress for his use of force authorization. This one would be particularly amazing, since Clinton would have been in on the lie. How did Bush fool Clinton as well?

          I have asked you for these explanations before, somehow you never have an answer for them. You always drop the ball. Kind of like how you dropped your LBJ and FDR diversions.

          >Why are you worried about card check? You have some unorganized workers who might unionize?

          Because I understand something about the law, obviously you haven’t read up on it. You might want to. I also understand something about union thugs as I have had to hire them endlessly. It’s no secret the kind of abuse this will breed. Even George McGovern is against it.

          In addition you might want to watch yourself when it comes to implications about those who may work for me. We established long ago that although you are pro union, you do not pay anyone whom you might employ union wages, since you were unaware of them when discussing Davis Bacon law some time back.

          Nice try, but you kind of stepped in that one there. But hey, at the end of the day, I am not exactly pro union, so me not wanting one is no big deal. You, on the other hand, being all gung ho union and then not paying scale is the typical liberal hypocrisy. Don’t feel bad though, I have never once met a pro union liberal who ever paid union scale to those who might work on his house etc. In that regard you are quite typical.

          People who live in glass houses Dean

          People who live in glass houses.

          >I never accused Bush of treason. That was always your interpretation of my critique of him. But you excel at putting words in my mouth.

          If the president lied to get us into a war, that is in fact treason. Stop being a nitwit on that as I have explained it to you quite a few time previous to this.

  • Anonymous

    dean,

    You really are perfect demonstration of runaway insanity.

    That imaginary government you want exists only in your thoroughly delusional mind.

    Tell me where the government model you speak of exists?
    “a government that is functional, professional, capable, provides services, and a strong safety net with a tight mesh”

    Portland? The Region? The State of Oregon? California?

    I’d call you a “weenie” but that would be too kind.

    Like all left wingers you can’t even grasp the most basic framework of the debate over what government should be.
    Instead you follow the ludicrous, dishonest and contriving straw man approach your looney left brethren ALWAYS use.

    You concoct the inaccurate caricature of what conservatism is, what Republicans are and what policies have been advanced by both.

    As typical libs do you offer what is exceedingly obvious as some lesson for us non libs.
    That government can and should provide a strong military, public order, good schools and a host of other core functions which taxpaying citizens cannot provide for themselves.
    As if there is any debate there. Or “gee whiz, that’s all us liberals really want”.

    There is no debate on the need for working, professional goverment services.

    But that’s what you lying libs always do. You plug in your dishonest portrayal of Republicans as opposed to basic government as a substitute for the real conservative opposition which is, of course, to the burgeoning and out of control government that sways far from the basic government we all want.
    And while doing so become dysfunctional in delivering those basic core functions. We see this time and time again at all levels.

    While you loons are forever seeking things like social and environmental justice with mission creeping government bureaucracies, adequate management and oversight of basic services degrades and becomes essentially impossible.

    That problem is everywhere and very obvious in our own backyard cities and state. in the face 100s of millions in deferred maintenance and crumbling core functions new programs advance to devour both revenue and the ability of government to function effectively.

    Your ultra revisionist history lesson on DC, Congress, administrations and policies is the stuff of radical partisan activism without regard for any integrity.

    Your fantasies have rendered you insane pal.
    Which is why you dream about a State that provides economic security for all.

    Yeah you got your social justice crusade on the march.

    But It has nothing to with functioning government.

    Quite the contrary. Your distorted vision erodes freedom and leaves our behemoth government floundering and incapacitated.

    Your childish excuses that pretend it has been “conservatism” that has weakened out country is the worst of your offenses. For it has been the abandonment of conservative and responsible principals which has delivered us to this year of reckoning.
    Although Reagan was able to utilize conservative approaches his era was not a conservative experiment gone wrong. Far from it.
    The parasitic beast of growing government and congress eventually overwhelmed his efforts and conservatism.
    Again in 94 and with W’s election conservatism attempted to right the ship. But as with the early Reagan years they were soon compromised and overwhelmed.

    Plainly said, the Geroge W Bush years were not conservatives in control.

    You libs like to attach conservatism to all things gone wrong in order to justify more of your liberalism but that’s just nonsense.

    Our own State has not seen any conservative guidance in recent memory yet you libs like to lecture how Republicans controlled the legislature for a number of years and that’s supposed to be the same thing as Conservatives running the State.
    What a BIG lie that is. Nothing could be further from the truth. But again that’s what you do.

    So here we are with Oregon as dysfunctional as ever, California on the precipice of collapse and you libs see them both as models for the country.
    And as long as a “bureaucrat doesn’t show up to check your fingernails before dinner” then your OK with the march towards government utopia.

    Yes your side gets to make policy for the next 2-4 years. But it’s nothing but a massive expansion of what has failed in Oregon and California.

    Yet here you are celebrating?

    That’s insane.

    • spam i am

      Well…if I am insane I have a lot of good company, including 53% of American voters, a majority of Congress, and our President.

      Look…”conservatism” is supposed to be about taking personal responsibility. From 1980 to 2008 we had 20 years of self-proclaimed conservative presidents, and 8 of a Democrat. The only years in there we ran a balanced budget was under the Democrat.
      From 2000-20006 we had a self-proclaimed conservative congress along with a self-proclaimed conservative president. At the end of that period they doubled the national debt and most Americans were worse off economically than before. That, and a war that did not go so well, is why conservatives were booted out of office.

      But the larger issue I raised is that wealthy democratic societies WANT big government that provides a wide range of services. This is why your conservatives could not or would not reduce services, and in some cases even expanded them (prescription drugs for seniors). And its why they will never be able to do so…at least not for very long. That is the reality you and other conservatives need to face someday. If you put serious government service cutbacks in your platform you will not get elected anywhere outside of the deep south. Deal with reality.

      As for well run governments….France, Denmark, Germany, Sweden, Norway Candada, Austrailia, and Finland to name just a few. Oregon’s is pretty well run as well. Perfect? No Well managed? Yes.

      As for your idea that our government is “run away” and over-large. The federal government has spent plus or minus 20% of our total GDP since 1950s to today. That is consistent. It is not run away. Reagan raised taxes on working people after he lowered them on rich people. He did not eliminate a single federal program of any size, and spending increased significantly under him. As did the deficit.

      Rupert…I’ll decline re-arguing the whole Bush thing. I presented my arguments and evidence to you on several past occasions, and given that you pretend I did not, there is no point in re-presenting them here, since you will just do the same thing with them. Your interpretation of what amounts to treason is not mine, so if you want to make the argument that if Bush lied to us he commited treason, be my guest. Just don’t put those words in my mouth.

      On the union issue, you don’t know who I hire or what I pay. You are just assuming. Assume away if it makes you feel better. The bigger issue is whether an increase in private unions would be good or bad for society. I think it would be good for society if Wallmart employees and other service workers could more easily organize and get themselves better pay and benefits. It allows them to be middle class and rely less on safety net services.

  • John in Oregon

    In an earlier post I said > *So if Obama neither projects leadership by hope and inspiration as did JFK and Reagan, nor the hopelessness of Carter, what remains can only be a third possibility.*

    Thank you Rupert for directly addressing the accumulation of power at which I only hinted.

    My greatest disappointment is the romantic version of history I see. The one of FDR the savior. FDR who won World War two.

    BULL S###T

    WWII was won by the likes of General George Patton, General Douglas MacArthur, Admiral Bull Halsey, Admiral Chester Nimitz, and General Dwight Eisenhower.

    WWII was won by men like my father who with his crew of women and elderly men built the aircraft for the war.

    WWII was won by men like my cousin Jimmy abroad the destroyer Blue. The Blue which put to sea with a skeleton crew and an Ensign in command. The destroyer Blue, all hands at battle stations returning fire at battle flank speed through the straits of Pearl Harbor.

    WWII was won by the Tuskege airman.

    WWII was won by Henry Ford who returned to Detroit at the age of 79 to clean up the mess the Government had made of the Ford motor company.

    WWII was won by the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard which in three days repaired and returned the carrier Yorktown to battle-ready to fight and win the battle of Midway.

    WWII was won by women like my mother who, wakened by the anti-aircraft guns, watched the Japanese over flight of the plant where my father was at work.

    I see the romantic view of LBJ. It is true that while President LBJ did engineer the passage of the Eisenhower Civil Rights Act and the Eisenhower voting rights act. Absent is the rest of the story, that while in Congress LBJ lead the Democratic Party opposition to both.

    As to FDR raising GDP from not very much to not much, a decade of unemployment speaks for its self.

    Recently I was looking at methods used by poling organizations. The Gallop pole is the oldest going back to WW1 era. One stray bit of information was that Gallop found a majority of Americans feared FDR’s government assuming what amounted to dictatorial powers. At the time I didn’t pay much attention, poling methods back then were in question. So let me relate something more concrete.

    One day in the late 30s, John Henry, my grandfather, was walking back from the field he had planted in peas and beans when he saw a shinny new black car and the sheriffs cruiser driving down the road. John Henry met them at the driveway, shotgun in the crook of his arm.

    The sheriff introduced the Federal boys from Washington who were there to check if John Henry had permission to plant the field. John Henry told them the field was crops for his family as old man Seers walked up, WW1 vintage carbine slung across his shoulder.

    The Federal boys were telling John Henry he needed permission from Washington to plant as the Pace boys drove up. The Cassia County Sheriff defused the confrontation by turning to the Federal boys he said “several of these men fought in the war, you are on your own but you might keep that in mind. The sheriff then drove away.

    So I have a question for Dean or anyone else that would like to answer.

    Dean you have an acreage. Can the Federal Government regulate a garden for your own use as Interstate Commerce?

    One other question, why did Democrats and Republicans both universally support the 22 Amendment?

    • spam i am

      John…the answer to #1 is I have no idea. So far they have not chosen to bother me. But I’ll let you know if they show up here and attempt to tell me what to plant or not plant. It would have to be a real slow day for them. (As it is I can’t plant marijuana….dang it all).

      On the 22nd amendment, are you saying the vote in Congress was unanamous?

      Apparently Ronald Reagan was against it. He said:

      “I have come to the conclusion that the 22nd Amendment limiting the presidency to two terms was a mistake. Shouldn’t the people have the right to vote for someone as many times as they want to vote for him”

      Of course FDR did not”win” WW2. He led the nation through that war to a successful conclusion. Your parents, my parents, and many others all played their parts. Its too bad you have such disdain for the man. Seems like he was pretty popular in his day.

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