Writer of fiction, poetry and essays.

According to CNN, the Tea-Party-supported principles include:

  • Fiscal Responsibility.
  • Lower Taxes
  • States’ rights
  • National Security.

My opinion is that anyone who tries will find it very difficult to achieve principles #1 and #2 at the same time. The Laffer curve is not that powerful, if it even exists at all. And “National Security” is so far better under Obama than it was under either Clinton or George W. Bush after their first years. So I’m not sure what their movement would really do if given power. Even supposing that tax cut multipliers are much larger than economists think, they cannot balance the budget based solely on that.

As near as I can tell, the optimal strategy according to this movement would be “militaristic Keynesianism,” which would mean cutting taxes, and increasing government spending by vastly increasing expenditures on the military (to further National Security) while making cuts elsewhere. The resulting stimulus from these increased outlays would hopefully get the economy back to full employment, at which point the military spending would be curtailed as well, and the increased wealth produced by the hopefully-booming economy would allow for deficit reduction. (I can’t figure how states’ rights is involved. I suspect it’s a euphemism for overturning Roe v. Wade.)

 That’s the ideal scenario for the Tea-Party. Frankly, however, I really doubt whether the deficit can ever be eliminated altogether by this method.  I think that, at any time, they can have at most 3 of the 4 principles adhered to. 

So it’s produced the worst campaign ad ever. But what else is going on in the California Republican Senate primary? Any exciting charismatic candidates we should know about?

Not much charisma here at all. Polls favor Campbell. You see, this is what most elections are like. Nobody stands out, and the one who behaves least absurdly wins. Charisma doesn’t get to play a role.

…is what the Republicans say the Democrats are.

First of all, why is this news? The Republicans always say that. Second, while his policies seem to be weaker, Obama’s track record against Jihadism compares favorably with George W. Bush’s and Bill Clinton’s after their respective first years in office. 

I’ll agree his position on torture seems naive, and his foolish decision not to fire Napolitano immediately after the December 25th failed attack ought to be ridiculed. But these apparent flaws cannot negate his success in objective terms. The arguments against trying terrorists in civilian court are, in my opinion, fairly weak. 

As of this moment, the case against Obama himself as weak on terror is basically a joke. Now, the case against the Democrats in Congress, particularly Harry Reid, is a much better one. Reid is a weak person by nature, and his infamous assertion that the Iraq war was “lost” is one that should haunt him. 

The Democrats overall philosophy intuitively seems to be weaker, but that is not backed up by the data.

As you are all aware, Tim Tebow is in an anti-abortion ad that is set to air during the Super Bowl. This has sparked a vigorous debate over whether he has the right to be in this ad, or whether CBS should air ads with political messages at all, or if they should air other ones to be fair. Which debate you ought to have depends on who you talk to. 

It’s funny how people argue over things like “principles” and “rights”. I suspect both sides don’t give a damn about such abstract concepts except as they relate to helping them win the debate. Conservatives wouldn’t defend a pro-choice commercial on the grounds of “Free Speech”, and liberals wouldn’t oppose it on the grounds of “Bias”.

I don’t think the strategists for either side have principles–they just want to win. Framing the debate based on “principles” and “rights” is fine and dandy. But the important thing, to the people running the show, is who wins. 


That’s a huge exaggeration, I’ll admit, but a new poll shows that 52% still have a “positive impression of him.,” yet other polls indicate large majorities don’t believe some of his statements. 

How to explain this?

First of all, these are different polls, so it’s some different people responding, obviously. Secondly, there’s an issue of bias on the part of pollsters, which undoubtedly plays a role. The story sums it up by saying “People like Obama, but they don’t believe him.”

And that is how charisma works.

Obama has been making remarks that upset politicians from Nevada with his remarks about Las Vegas

I imagine it will go like this:

Harry Reid: Barack! You don’t talk about Las Vegas like that!

Obama: Harry, you’re the Senate Majority leader, and I love you. But don’t ever take sides with anyone against the Party again. Ever.

Explanation here.

Sarah Palin endorses Rand Paul, saying: “It’s time to shake up the status quo in Washington and stand up for common sense ideas.” Paul himself vows “I will strive to capitalize on the support of Governor Palin… and fight for liberty and limited government.” 

First of all, Palin isn’t a Governor. The proper term of address is “Mrs. Palin”, or, for very formal circumstances “The honorable Mrs. Palin.

The other point, of infinitely greater importance, is to note how quintessentially American it is for “common sense” and “limited government” to go together. This distrust of the government is by no means universal, but it is the dominant characteristic of the American voter.

Most politicians cast themselves as rebels against the government, crusading to fight the misdeeds of the current government. I wonder to what extent this behavior is rooted in the history of the country and the revolution.

Those who claim the Tea Party movement is at heart a revolt against Obama because he is black are wrong. There may be the occasional racist in the Party, but in truth it is much deeper than that. The Tea Party crowd is a manifestation of the distrust of government power, but so too were many of the protests against George W. Bush; accusing him of various plots to destroy the country. His most vocal opponents were those who feared he was attempting to gain dictatorial power. 

Anti-government sentiment is part of what this country is. The only force more powerful than this essential American trait is, of course, charisma. And charisma is a trait that applies to an individual, never a group. So it behooves a charismatic individual to be–or to pose–as a rebellious, independent opponent of governmental power.


It’s hard to judge as of yet whether he has the charisma to succeed at a higher level. He certainly has a charm about him that is very effective at diffusing partisan reactions.

We will watch his career with great interest.

(Note: I’m not comparing him to Palpatine or Vader. I just like the line.)

…and yet it’s the highest grossing film of all time. James Cameron is apparently some sort of genius at promoting stuff. I have to say it is a remarkably lame movie, yet somehow he has convinced everyone to go see the thing. He ought to be a marketer, not a filmmaker. 

As I write this, I see Avatar ranks #41 on the IMDb Top 250 movies list. This is insane. It’s one spot ahead of Lawrence of Arabia? Two spots ahead of Terminator 2, which Cameron made before he forgot everything he knew about movie making?

Madness. Madness. (It’s undeservedly ahead of that movie, too.)