Super Bowl of ModerationPosted: 6 Feb 11
While many folks, quite understandably, are focused on the Big Game (not to infringe on anyone’s trademark), today I’m writing about the Austin American-Statesman’s Opinion Section.
First, you can always tell when Ken Herman has had a strong hand in writing the main editorial. Today, the tell-tale sign was all the Roman numerals. I’m not taking any position on whether this is good or bad, I’m just saying his style is recognizable.
Second there were some interesting things in the letters. Brandon Burkman asks “…what good job market are you talking about?” The answer is the hidden job market; the one where you hear about a job from someone you know before it gets posted and maybe before the company knows they need someone. If Brandon’s layoff package included outplacement services as mine did, he’s probably heard of this concept. This is how I got my job, so the good news is that it does work. The bad news is that it took me 13 months, so it may only be slightly better than the other job market.
Also in the letters were some thoughts on the State Budget. I’ve already shared some of my thoughts on this, but let me add my voice to the chorus of people who are okay with having taxes raised for genuinely important priorities like education funding. As for the letter writer who published the address for the Bureau of the Public Debt, I have a few thoughts. One, I am in favor of people voluntarily sending money to the Federal Government to pay down the debt. Two, the Bureau of the Public Debt is, as previously noted, a Federal agency and has has exactly nothing to do with the Texas state budget or Texas state taxes, so this whole letter is one big non sequitur. Three, I wonder how many people who make such a big deal about the Federal Deficit and how horrible it is that we are burdening our children and grandchildren with debt have sent money to the Bureau of the Public Debt to help relieve their children and grandchildren of this burden? The ones who get air time spend a lot of time talking about not adding to the debt any further, but I haven’t heard a single one of them talk about how they’re going to pay down the debt they’ve already incurred. If someone can point me to evidence to the contrary, I’d like to see it.
There is another letter about Politifact and Obamacare. My thoughts on this letter are actually very tangential to the thrust of this letter, but I’m going to share them anyway. PolitiFact Texas recently delved into a statement from Gov. Rick Perry about how Texas pioneered space exploration and that even the first word spoken on the moon was “Houston.” PolitiFact Texas, for reasons that I don’t understand, decided that the most significant part of that statement was the “first word spoken on the moon” part. Personally, I think the United States really took the lead on pioneering space. They certainly paid the bills. I was really disappointed that Politifact Texas decided to fact check the least significant part of that statement.
Moving on, my third stop in the Opinion section is Ken Herman’s column, specifically the “roll call” at the Texas House where a few Representatives who are actually present go around pushing buttons to fraudulently mark their absent colleagues present. Does it bother anyone else that the House conducts business with an imaginary quorum? Another of Herman’s points is that the business they are conducting isn’t really all that significant at this stage of the session, still, for people who are so bent out of shape on voter fraud at the ballot box, they sure don’t seem to be too concerned about it in their own chamber. I say, the voting buttons legislators have to push have fingerprint readers in them. Vote fraud seems to be a lot more widespread inside the capitol building than it is outside of it.
Fourth, Gail Collins is a smart woman. “Remind me again why we aren’t fighting global warming? It’s win-win. Even if all the hordes of scientists are wrong in believing that human beings are causing climate change, the remedies would still be good for the environment and for energy independence.” Amen! The only thing that I would add, is that if global warming is a natural phenomenon, wouldn’t it be a great idea not to make it worse?
Finally, George Will. A few months ago, I was frustrated by a column he wrote on abortion rights where he claimed that in the Roe decision, the Supreme Court found a constitutional right to abortion in the penumbras of emanations of the Bill of Rights. I’m sorry, but that is just factually incorrect. Today, he says this: “If unemployment is above 9 percent in 2012, almost any Republican can win, and if there is a convincing recovery the party had better nominate someone who can energize the base.”
I think is wrong on this statement, too. Energizing the existing base is not going to be enough. Sarah Palin energized the Republican Base in 2008. That didn’t work out so well for the Republicans. Sarah Palin continues to energize what passes for the Republican Base today. Anyone who can energize the existing base of the GOP is going to scare away all the moderates, and if there is a convincing recovery, the GOP is going to need all the moderates it can get if they are to have any hope of winning.
Mr. Will supports his position with this fact: “Social conservatives are much of that base, are feeling neglected and are looking for someone like Santorum.” Let’s take that as true. Those social conservatives are not numerous enough to tip the scale, even if you “energized” them all into the voting booth. Republicans need a bigger base if they want to be a force in the future.
As a moderate, I can tell you that the Republican party is doing a lousy job of trying to woo me for my vote. The Democrats are doing much better.