Witch burning
Posted by aogMonday, 06 July 2009 at 10:18 TrackBack Ping URL

I am severely disappointed that Sarah Palin is resigning as Governor of Alaska. I will skip background as any reader should already be familiar with it or can easily find such.

I think what we have seen with Palin is a modern witch burning. She was attacked, not her policies. The goal was not to discredit her political views but her person. In this effort nothing was spared — truth, accuracy, decency, rule of law — nothing restrained those wanting to politically burn Palin. I agree with those who say much of it was class based, that Palin’s very success invalidated much of their world view, such as the prestige of going to the proper schools. That attacks on her accent are a clear demonstration of both the pettiness and class resentment.

Many pundits are saying “that’s just hard ball politics” but look at the reaction from the same places when something as mild as claiming Obama made an obscene gesture based on a video of him making the gesture. Beyond that the attacks on Palin weren’t just the normal fringes from which one expects lunacy, but at the very mainstream of our political, journalistic, and entertainment establishments. Just consider Andrew Sullivan’s obsession with Trig Palin’s maternity. Or Charlie Gibson inventing quotes for Palin on national TV. Most of all, consider how well not firing back worked for President Bush. The rule that one faction (the MAL) should not be called on for such abuse is so nakedly partisan that I don’t see how any honest commentator can say it with a straight face. Representative Barney Frank gets called “Barney Fag” and it’s a national crisis. Palin gets called every obscene word for “woman” and attacked as a sex pervert despite being married and monogamous, and it’s “lay back and endure it”.

The entire episode also serves as a devastating indictment of Old Media. Not only did it stand aside while personal and financial attacks were made on Palin and her family, Old Media actively participated in those attacks, covering for those abusing the law to ruin Palin financially while promoting whatever lies about Palin seemed damaging. When the dominant political establishment wanted to crush an outsider, Old Media was right there in the front lines aiding and abetting. I can’t see any conclusion except that our political and civil life will be better when Old Media is finally destroyed. I resolve to increase my efforts toward that end.

A naive person might expect this kind of thing to die down now that Palin is smoking embers but I expect it to get worse. It worked, after all, and what price did any of the torch bearers pay? The vilification of former President Bush didn’t stop the effort against Palin — one might reasonably view that as practice. In the same way I expect the burning of Palin to serve more as a model than a peak or cautionary tale.

For Palin personally I suspect that what really ground her down were the lack of support and open attacks from her nominal allies like the McCain crew and the GOP establishment. Why suffer like that, sacrificing not only yourself but your family, for people who don’t like you and hope you fail?

Comments — Formatting by Textile
Bret Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 12:27

For me, as a parent, once they started going after my kids with incredibly derogatory, obscene and humiliating stuff, I’d’ve give up. I’m pretty thick skinned, but I don’t feel that I have a right to subject others, especially my children, to such stuff. Perhaps I’m projecting, but I’m guessing that Palin might feel the same way.

The other thing you didn’t mention was Alaska’s crazy ethics law regarding public officials and the personal financial cost to her of defending herself:

“You know, conditions have really changed in Alaska in the political arena since Aug. 29, since I was tapped to run for VP. When that opposition research — those researchers really bombarded Alaska — started digging for dirt and have not let up. They’re not gonna find any dirt,” she said. “We keep proving that every time we win an ethics violation lawsuit, and we’ve won every one of them. But it has been costing our state millions of dollars. It’s cost Todd and me. You know the adversaries would love to see us put on the path of personal bankruptcy so that we can’t afford to run.”

Again, it was dragging her family down and that was more than she was willing to accept.

erp Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 12:59

And speaking of witches, isn’t it funny how much Maureen Doud resembles this witch.

The worst part of it all IMO is that neither McCain nor any other Republican came to her defense.

Hey Skipper Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 13:30

The entire episode also serves as a devastating indictment of Old Media.

Who knew another indictment was needed?

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 13:35

Yeah, cause as we all know, nobody ever said anything unkind about Obama’s family.

erp Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 13:53

Harry, refresh my mind. What unkind thing was said about Obama’s family and who said it?

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 14:01

So, Mr. Eagar’s logic is that if one person said one unkind (even if true) thing about Obama’s family, then there is no basis at all to complain about anything done to Palin? I find it interesting that Eagar takes sides against the outsider who is mostly an average citizen instead of the brutal Ivy League educated elites who torched her for not being one of them. So much for working class solidarity.

Bret;

The financial costs from the bogus ethics complaints is exactly what I meant by references to financial attacks on Palin. She has to pay the lawyers personally without any state funding, even if the complaint is dismissed.

Ali Choudhury Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 14:20

You need to stop with the gesture thing, the guy was scratching his face.

Huckabee has humbler origins than her but didn’t attract nearly as many flame attacks.

It’s probable McCain and the GOP got a good look at her during the campaign and realised she’s not worth spending capital over.

cjm Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 15:02

the thing is, political parties are on the cusp of obsolescence too (like the msm) only they are oblivious to it. they are middlemen that add no value, and in fact subtract value. AOG, if you are serious about changing things, drop me an email.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 15:25

Mr Choudhury;

I refer to a very mild accusation, which has at least some basis in reality, but you consider it outside the pale. Musing how Palin would be improved by being gang raped in Harlem is that just political discourse then? This contrast is precisely my point.

As for the McCain crew, they are in fact expending capital in order to attack Palin. There’s been at least some blow back from the Vanity Fair article. Even if they did come to that conclusion, it would still be stupid to not provide support for her — are you really claiming that McCain campaign staff was too stupid to realize that it’s not possible to damage a VP candidate without damaging the entire ticket?

Ali Choudhury Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 15:52

AFAIK the blowback’s been confined to a silly internet feud between Kristol and Steve Schmidt which probably nobody apart from blog readers is aware of.

I’m not sure the ravings of a Hollywood liberal count as political discourse.

erp Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 16:38

Huckabee wasn’t attacked because he wasn’t a threat to anybody.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 16:55

Mr Choudhury;

I think there’s more blowback than that, with regard to future employment, but suppose not — you’re evading the point of why go to any effort at all, if Palin’s just a waste of time.

What about the mental retardation party article published at the website President Obama considers a real journalistic endeavor? The point is not so much your reaction in particular, but your reaction as typical of a wide swath of people, who do not have the same reaction to these kind of things. Even you, though, felt moved to comment on that point rather than any of the rest of the post, e.g., “I don’t like Palin’s policies but that kind of abuse is too much”. No, it’s the gesture thing that is the truly horrible attack.

cjm Tuesday, 07 July 2009 at 18:55

3rd worlders are particularly vulnerable to obama’s demagoguery. probably because they are susceptible to that kind of governance in general.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 08 July 2009 at 11:55

I think this comment was interesting (the original post and much of the commentary is as well, but this stood out for me) —

The other thing is that it seems as though she is trying to give her Lt Gov the best possible chance of winning in 2010. She could have taken the route of lame duck, collecting her pay, dealing with a new ethics investigation daily, sucking up all the resources the state has and having little time to actually DO what she was elected to do. I mean, one of the guys who was instrumental in the whole troopergate farce just announced for the dem primary. Why give these dems any more time to destroy any chances of a republican victory next time? Is she expected to not only sit still while she is personally ruined, but also take out her party as well? Just so she can have the great title and earn the big bucks? Right.

One is reminded of UK Prime Ministers Blair and Brown and how, especially in the latter case, the government and the party would be better off with an early resignation. Those attacking Palin and much of the political establishment in Alaska were willing to burn along with Palin if that’s what it took. I doubt this was the only reason, and I think Palin’s “lame duck” description was poorly worded at best, but I do think it was certainly an important factor in the decision.

Harry Eagar Wednesday, 08 July 2009 at 12:58

I didn’t say anything excused anybody. But Glenn Reynolds claimed Palin and her family had been more abused than any other politician not holding national office, and that’s not so.

I do think Palin’s defenders are kinda dumb. The Letterman joke is a fine example. At most 3% of Americans heard that ‘joke,’ half o them were to drunk to know where they were and half of the other half probably thought it was witty.

When was the last time Letterman said anything funny? 1992?

Now they’ve blown it up into some sort of conspiracy and end up looking like they’re wearing tinfoil hats.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 08 July 2009 at 13:47

I didn’t say anything excused anybody. But Glenn Reynolds claimed Palin and her family had been more abused than any other politician not holding national office, and that’s not so.

You might consider writing slightly less opaque comments — it would never have occurred to me that you come here to make complaints about claims by Glenn Reynolds. He wasn’t mentioned or even linked in the original post or any prior comment. Do we have to track your online reading habits in order to decipher your comments?

Nevertheless, I agree with Reynolds. You should feel free to provide specific counter-examples.

I haven’t seen any “conspiracy” talk about the Letterman joke, unless you count claims of a general atmosphere and group think as “conspiracy”. Your track record on such unsourced claims is rather poor so I won’t believe this one without specific, relevant cites.

Ali Choudhury Wednesday, 08 July 2009 at 17:12

I think Harry was using an illustrative example. Has Palin really been that badly abused? She attracted a fair amount of criticism because she frankly seemed out of her depth. Fey’s impersonations did the most damage in that regard but were those abusive? Letterman keeps getting brought up but exactly how is he a mainstream commentator? The fact that he and fringe figures like Bernhard are being used as examples suggests there isn’t much to go on here.

Hilary’s probably had far more cumulative dirt thrown at her. The way the media Dems turned on her during the primaries, denouncing her as the second coming of Bull Connor was something to behold. Heck she had to deal with McCain publicly calling her daughter ugly when she was First Lady.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 08 July 2009 at 18:02

She attracted a fair amount of criticism because she frankly seemed out of her depth.

No, she seemed out of her depth because of the abuse. Given a campaign that featured Barak Obama and Senator Joe Biden as opponents, it’s laughable to claim that it was Palin who was out of her depth. For instance, the not knowing Africa is a continent claim which you fell for was a hoax and a perfect example of my point here.

Fey’s impersonations did the most damage in that regard but were those abusive?

Fey’s impersonations did little damage, except among people who were unable to distinguish between what Fey said and what Palin said (sadly, there are more than an insiginificant number of these). I personally thought Fey’s impersonation was frequently amusing and occasionally hilarious. You clearly have no idea at all what I am writing about if you think that’s even on the same planet as the real abuse.

Letterman is a mainstream commentator, he’s the host of the biggest, most mainstream television talk show in the nation. He’s more mainstream than Rush Limbaugh. He’s the opposite of fringe, and Bernhard still plays to the glitterati. For Bernhard, the key point is that the audience of glitterati thought it was funny. Let’s just consider what happened to Don Imus over something far less objectionable. One wonders why the NAACP didn’t get on Bernhard’s case about it. I also note you skipped over the Andrew Sullivan point.

As for not much to go on, check out the original post here which I linked to above, or start here for no small list of abuse. Or some of the other links I left in the original post or comments.

I think that then Senator Hillary Clinton certainly had a lot of undeserved abuse heaped on her during the primary. In many ways, one could consider that another step in the chain toward the abuse of Palin. I think a lot of this comes from the Obama team and Obama supporters who, after seeing how effective it was against HRC turned it up another couple of notches against Palin. But you’re missing the point if you bring up Bull Connor analogies — those may be harsh, but they are at least policy related to HRC. The things I am writing about are personal, sexual, and / or aimed at her children.

cjm Thursday, 09 July 2009 at 00:32

the anti-colonial subtext obama gives off really hooks the sub-continentals, from my talks with people at work. fools all.

Ali Choudhury Thursday, 09 July 2009 at 07:08

What’s all this about the sub-continentals?

Harry Eagar Thursday, 09 July 2009 at 12:40

I haven’t seen any “conspiracy” talk about the Letterman joke, unless you count claims of a general atmosphere and group think as “conspiracy”.

E.g., Tim Blair’s blog.

But, of course, Letterman never, ever made any crude jokes about a Democrat. Did he?

Curiously, the most abusive remark anybody made about any politician’s family was Obama’s about his own grandmother.

erp Thursday, 09 July 2009 at 14:37

I’ve never watched Letterman, so he may be making crude jokes about Democrats every night, but if he has, so far as I, know they haven’t been featured in news stories in the msm.

Annoying Old Guy Thursday, 09 July 2009 at 14:52

I regularly read Tim Blair’s weblog and I don’t remember anything like that.

Suppose Letterman did make crude jokes about a member of Democratic Party. That would mean … what? I don’t think I have even cited that, much less held it up as the only or even a key element of the abuse. Once again you’re listening to your Narrative instead of reading what I write. Is it really that difficult to deal with my actual arguments?

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 11 July 2009 at 12:54

Note: Sotomayor backers urge probe of firefighter Ricci is an indicator of where this set of events has been leading.

Note: A good article on this, looking at modern American journalism.

Ali Choudhury Sunday, 12 July 2009 at 07:31

Peggy Noonan does my blog posts for me.

erp Sunday, 12 July 2009 at 10:30

Ali, did you forget the smiley face on your last comment?

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 12 July 2009 at 10:48

No, I think he’s probably serious. It explains much if he is taking the word of a Obama-phile about Palin. I will take his lead, though, and reply with someone else’s words who does a much better job of fisking that column than I could.

What’s astonishing is that Noonan can make ludicrious claims like Palin “doesn’t read anything” and people will still quote her seriously. As if you could rise up through political ranks to be a popular governor of a state without reading anything, based on a single biffed question in a single interview?

What I would ask Mr Choudhury is why that same standard doesn’t apply to Obama or Biden. Why only Palin?

erp Sunday, 12 July 2009 at 13:45

I only voted McCain/Palin because the alternative didn’t bear thinking about. Now that’s all I do — think about how much worse it is than my worst fear.

Critics say Palin isn’t lettered, doesn’t read anything, fishes and hunts, doesn’t put on airs and lives like most of the rest of us, so she should, to quote, Sally Quinn, stay home and be a housewife like Christian women are supposed to do … left unsaid is, and leave running the world to those of us who went to the right schools, read the right books and have the right ideas (and by right, I mean left). Talk about the pot calling the kettle black, nobody on left has ever read anything or heard a discussion of anything that conflicts with their pre-digested dogma.

I wouldn’t support Palin or any other fundamentalist Christian (or Mormon) if there were any other viable candidates, but if it comes down to it, I’d rather vote for somebody who loves this country than someone whose every thought is of destroying it.

A candidate’s personal life wouldn’t matter to me unless they were covering up for siblings ala Carter and both Clintons or who have developed nepotism into an art form ala Obama and practically every single Democrat congresscritter.

Also a little nagging voice is telling me that a lot of the criticism among women is jealousy (she has it all, brains, beauty, a good looking supportive husband, five kids and a great figure) and among men, it’s residual disapproval of a mouthy dame succeeding completely on her own without a powerful or wealthy man behind her like Hillary, Pelosi, Boxer and Feinstein.

Harry Eagar Sunday, 12 July 2009 at 14:23

I think you left out Jordan.

What I find amusing — and surprising — about this is that Reagan’s ghostwriter has been read out of (or possibly read herself out of) the cult. I quit reading Noonan long, long ago, so I was not aware of this.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 12 July 2009 at 15:35

I think you left out Jordan

I missed the ping pong ball again.

Harry Eagar Monday, 13 July 2009 at 17:40

I was being sarcastic. Barbara Jordan: black, crippled woman without a powerful man behind her. I knew racists who hated her, but I never met anybody who wasn’t impressed by her accomplishment.

erp Monday, 13 July 2009 at 21:35

I remember admiring Barbara Jordan for her quality of mind and character even though I didn’t agree with her politics, but don’t remember her personal particulars. As a Negro woman in her day, she couldn’t have made it without some powerful and probably white man behind her, whether a teacher or mentor of some type. Why not fill us in about her career?

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 14 July 2009 at 15:46

I was wrong. She wasn’t a crippled, black woman. She was a crippled, black lesbian. Not being interested in other people’s sex lives, I hadn’t known that.

No indication that she was sponsored by men, until she had created a career on her own, after which some supported her.

She got her start by running for the Texas Legislature. You don’t need a powerful sponsor to enter a state legislature. There is a classic statement about that in an old play by Booth Tarkington and Harry Leon Wilson, ‘The Man from Home.’

I have known a number of women who made careers in politics without any sponsorship from men. Roxanne Barton Conlin in Iowa, for example.

Ali Choudhury Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 07:07

“I will take his lead, though, and reply with someone else’s words who does a much better job of fisking that column than I could.”

I see a lot of ad hominenms and agit prop there, not much serious criticism. Doesn’t convince, sorry.

“What I would ask Mr Choudhury is why that same standard doesn’t apply to Obama or Biden. Why only Palin?”

What standard?

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 09:10

It has less ad hominem and agitprop than Noonan’s piece, yet you found that convincing. Again, you hold it OK to use that against Palin, but not for her. Why the double standard?

What standard?

That if someone messes up in an interview, we can take that as determinative of their intelligence and knowledge, if they’re a Republican. If they are, say, Senator Joe Biden then it’s of no significance. My question really is, will you dismiss Obama as a stumbling buffoon the next time he makes a major gaffe in public? I think that kind of thing is fine for mocking a politician, but it’s hardly substantive. It is, however, the kind of thing that makes up Noonan’s article about Palin and far more fact based. Why isn’t it more convincing to you?

Ali Choudhury Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 13:34

Most of the Biden stuff is the standard lying done by all politicians.

Who says I was judging Palin based solely on her interviews? She’d governed a state that had a smaller population than Fort Worth for barely two years during an oil boom. A state with little in common with the the rest of the country. Six years of her political experience were spent as mayor of a city of fewer than 10,000 souls. There was no sustained record of high achievement. No indication she’d had time to do anything but pursue her career in local politics and raise her five children. The best predictor of future performance is past performance. Little of what she’d done indicated she was somebody who could ably take over the presidency of the USA from a soon-to-be octogenarian. The highest national office is not for those with a part-time, small-time interest in politics. I couldn’t think of anyone on a GOP ticket going back to Lincoln-Hamlin who offered less, with the possible exception of Levi Morton.

erp Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 14:35

All true Ali about Palin’s experience and yet it’s still light years above Obama’s experience and accomplishments which are exactly nil. Yet he’s been touted as brilliant — accomplished - godlike — even though his performances other than at a few stage acted appearances have been embarrassingly sub par. His gaffes would be fodder for comics for decades to come if the media weren’t as far gone in hero worship as they are.

You yourself stated in another venue, that Obama is obviously intelligent, brilliant even, with absolutely no evidence to back up that statement other than he was an affirmative action acceptance at formerly prestigious institutions of higher learning. I say formerly because it’s becoming clear that AA has cheapened degrees from places like Harvard and Yale law schools and Princeton University among others.

Obama has spent millions in legal fees in his so far very successful effort to bar the release of anything substantive about his life, including high school, Occidental College, Columbia and/or Harvard universities transcripts, SAT and LSAT scores, applications for a passport and bar exams, or anything else that could throw light on his accomplishments.

One thing I’d like to know is why both Obama’s lost their law licenses only a couple of years after they got them. Gosh wouldn’t that be a fascinating story!

I think it’s fair to say that whatever Obama has taken such pains to keep hidden wouldn’t further the cotton candy fantasy he’s spun about his life.

Annoying Old Guy Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 17:42

Mr Choudhury;

First, I think erp’s response is spot on.

Second, are you really claiming that anyone with that sort of resume is the sort of person who doesn’t know Africa is a continent and “doesn’t read anything”? It is those sort of judgements that I wonder on what basis you made them.

If you want to say, based on her resume, she wasn’t ready to be President, fine. Reasonable people can come to different conclusions on that. That leaves the question of why you don’t think Obama was even less qualified to be President (and note that we are comparing a Vice Presidential candidate to a Presidential one — shouldn’t the latter be clearly more qualified?). But beyond that, is your view that such a thin resume justifies the sort of attacks described through out this post and comments? You can’t point to any thing she’s actually done wrong (and I think you miss some of her greatest accomplishments, including going up against a corrupt state political machine and winning) yet you’re prepared to believe she’s ignorant and stupid? Why?

P.S. Biden’s “lies” weren’t of the normal political sort, but of the sort made by people who are totally clueless. Biden’s lack of clue permeates his career and has been repeatedly demonstrated since he became Vice President.

erp Saturday, 18 July 2009 at 19:46

Thanks AOG, I needed that.

Harry Eagar Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 14:10

I haven’t noticed anybody going ga-ga over Biden, so if your argument is that there’s no much difference between them, you could say either 1} let’s raise our opinions of Biden; or 2) let’s lower our (or your) estimation of Palin.

So long as we’re comparing politicians, I’d compare her closest to Agnew.

We’ve had some pretty odd ducks as vice president, like Garner. It’s almost enough to make a voter think there is a god watching over America that they usually disappeared into the mists of history.

Biden is a worn-out wardheeler, but Palin — as her dishonest Twit about Cronkite showed (again) — is a nasty piece of work.

Annoying Old Guy Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 15:41

Actually, I think if you judge Biden or Obama by the standards applied to Palin, they would look much worse. My opinion remains that of the four people involved in the election (McCain, Palin, Obama, Biden) Palin was the most qualified and would have been the most successful for the nation as President. I think events subsequent to the election bear this out more all the time. I shouldn’t have to be explicit, but this judgement is not at all equivalent to judging that Palin was / is, on some absolute scale, qualified to be President.

But my point is not people went “ga-ga” over Biden, but that he, despite being (at best) no better than Palin, wasn’t abused, maligned, or slammed for incompetence like Palin was. People certainly went “ga-ga” over Obama and he’s clearly less qualified by the standards Mr Choudhury used to judge Palin.

Bret Sunday, 19 July 2009 at 17:02

Well, I think Palin is probably history on the national stage, but Instapundit links to something showing that the witch is still burning, well past when people really need to make up stuff about her (note: I haven’t verified this story, but heh, if Instapundit linked to it…):

Link.

Annoying Old Guy Monday, 20 July 2009 at 23:00

Bret;

Yes, amazing isn’t it, that Palin is so irrelevant yet all these months after the election, the MAL just can’t let go. Even the Clinton hating faded out very quickly after he left office, but the Palin hating just keeps going. One is left wondering, is it because Palin is in fact still relevant and dangerous, or are the MALists simply addicted to hate?

Cite: Baseball Crank’s take.

Bret Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 00:28

Addicted to hate, IMO.

erp Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 08:30

AOG, thanks for the great link. The crank certainly nails the issue.

I couldn’t agree more with this paragraph:

Palin closely followed and insisted on a response to every attack hurled her way. It’s the polar opposite of George W. Bush’s attitude, which for 9 years (including the 2000 campaign) was to ignore criticism almost entirely. The upside of Bush’s approach was confident and steady leadership; the downside was a complete abdication of the field of public debate to his enemies, and an emboldening of them (if no charge would be answered, there was no downside in making the most inflammatory or spurious of charges). Palin’s push-back-on-everything view, however, has its own costs, as it entangles the leader herself in personally absorbing every body blow. …

Neither Bush nor Palin has the support of the Republican party. The party should have been parrying the media blows presenting a united front and congressional Republicans should be supporting their colleagues instead of pandering to the media concerned only with their own re-election.

My own husband just can’t let go that Bush didn’t fight back and answer every slur and lie. The media were just waiting to sidetrack him and have his presidency devolve into just what Palin has experienced. I give Bush full credit for letting it all slide over his back while keeping his eye on the target of leading us and keeping us safe.

But, where is the next leader?

Unless some new energetic Republicans with intestinal fortitude emerge soon, no matter how badly Obama fumbles, either he or another liberal will be in the White House for the long haul and we can say goodbye to the American dream.

Harry Eagar Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 18:30

The dream of working a long life and handing over the proceeds to some scamster from Wall Street is a dream well lost.

Annoying Old Guy Tuesday, 21 July 2009 at 19:54

You have some very odd dreams, Mr. Eagar.

erp Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 07:11

Harry, the American dream is what took a boy from a small mining town in West Virginia (you’ll get the reference, the youngsters probably won’t) and brought him to Hawaii.

Isn’t funny how Wall Street scamsters seem always to come from the left side of the political spectrum?

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 09:03

Isn’t funny how Wall Street scamsters seem always to come from the left side of the political spectrum?

By “scamster”, Mr. Eagar doesn’t mean just a Madoff-like confidence thief. In his words:

Productive Americans gave a large fraction of their earnings to fund managers, who are not going to give it back. The average 401(k), if opened 15 years ago, has a smaller value than if the same money had been stashed in a passbook savings account paying 0.5% interest; and for many prudent dopes who believed the Republicans, less value than if they had sewn it up in the mattress.

erp Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 10:36

By scamster I took Harry to mean that the big bad Republicans scammed their money when it’s clear that all the money boys and girls, big and small, are firmly of the left. Wall Street hasn’t been Republican for at least 50 years, if then.

Annoying Old Guy Wednesday, 22 July 2009 at 17:17

I was just wondering if Mr. Eagar has any basis for that claim. I opened my 401(K) 14 years ago and it’s done much better, even after this crash, than a passbook savings. And it’s certainly done better than pensions promised from bankrupt companies. Then there are state pensions run by morally upright people. Former President Reagan didn’t kill off defined benefit pensions, reality did. 401(K) accounts were simply an acknowledgement of that.

Harry Eagar Thursday, 23 July 2009 at 13:04

The claim is in Davis, ‘Managed by the Markets,’ with references.

There’s nothing wrong with a defined benefit pension, so long as it is adequately funded — pay as you go — and prudently managed. The looting of defined benefit plans (mine included) during the late ‘80s-early ‘90s was a scandal. A properly managed defined benefit plan pays off even if the company goes bankrupt.

Harry Eagar Friday, 24 July 2009 at 16:13

So, how many non-idiot VPs, in your estimation, have we had over the past, say, 40 years?

Biden, Cheney, Gore, Bush, Quayle, Rockefeller, Agnew, Humphrey. Not counting Rockefeller, who wasn’t elected, I’d have to go back further than that to find even one. Bush was perhaps the best of a sorry lot.

Bret Friday, 24 July 2009 at 18:09

I can understand not liking Cheney, but wasn’t he that evil genius puppet master behind Bush?

Annoying Old Guy Friday, 24 July 2009 at 18:18

Non-idiots from your list: Cheney, Gore, Bush, Quayle, Rockefeller.

Cheney, I think, was one of the best Vice Presidents we have had. I actually somewhat liked Gore when he was VP, I think he lost it after 2000 and turned in to the caricature we see today. I think Quayle got a bum rap, not that he was some sort of outstanding intellect, but he was hardly the utter dunce he was portrayed as. Rockefeller, meh, but I wouldn’t put him in the “idiot” class. Agnew - I agree with you on that one. I am not familiar enough with Humphrey to have a judgement. Of that crew, I think only Agnew was worse than Biden.

AVeryRoughRoadAhead Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 03:25

If we judged only by résumé, then Cheney was more qualified to be POTUS than, for instance, J.F.K., Carter, G.H.W. Bush, Clinton, G.W. Bush or Obama.

Of course, the same could be said of James Buchanan vs. any of the above, and look how THAT turned out…

Which is why we don’t pick our Presidents solely on the basis of their résumés.

Harry Eagar Saturday, 25 July 2009 at 14:01

I knew I was forgetting somebody, the very forgettable Mondale.

Bret, there weren’t any geniuses behind Bush.

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