As Rick Santorum attacked Newt Gingrich and Mitt Romney regarding which one most supported individual mandates, Ron Paul listened. Then at the end when Blitzer asked Paul who he thought was wrong -- Paul said all of them. Paul said the conversation shows the convoluted mess made by government intervention in the market. All three conceded that because government has been involved in healthcare that government will have to solve the problem by staying involved and intervening even more. Gingrich admitted that Paul had a point and that healthcare should be re-thought with the private sector in mind. Paul's influence is becoming obvious, even if Paul is not winning. The three candidates arguing over government solutions to problems created by government was revealing, and Paul, as always, was a breathe of fresh air.
Entries in republican debate (11)
On Morning Joe today they, of course, talked about the Republican debate. The guests were Donnie Deutsche, Peggy Noonan and Richard Haas. The consensus was that Newt Gingrich was great, Romney was off his game and Ron Paul was terrible on foreign policy. This is not true. Gingrich and the other candidates who lambasted Paul and the audience who jeered Paul were terrible on foreign policy. Yes, I know that readers of this statement will take a realist approach and say that Paul is running for President, and that if he doesn't please the crowd they won't vote for him, so Paul lost, even if his points have merit. No.
Morning Joe showed a clip of Gingrich at his righteous best describing how evil Osama bin Laden was, and how such a monster should be killed anyway, anyhow, anytime and anywhere. The problem with this approach is that it's emotional and reckless and dangerous to the security of the US. Perhaps in Hollywood and motivational speeches for troops it's appropriate to stir a visceral reaction, but the Commander in Chief, the POTUS, has to be rational, not emotional and carelessly vindictive. We don't need a President who will put on his Rambo gear everytime he's pissed off. The fact that bin Laden wanted to kill as many Americans as possible doesn't mean a President takes political advantage of this fact and stages an emotional operation that could have long consequences which put our troops or innocent citizens at risk. I'm not saying the bin Laden operation will put troops and citizens at risk, but the point is that international law and rational planning trump any yahoo, kill 'em all and let God sort 'em out strategy that Gingrich was proposing to get an applaud. No one has assessed the bin Laden operation thoroughly as far as I can tell, so we don't know -- but we should question it with courage and open-eyes.
Ron Paul was talking about doing the right thing. Paul is saying on a deeper level that just because bin Laden was a cold-blooded killer who cared nothing about liberal principles, that doesn't mean the US throws principles out the windw and becomes just as recklessly unprincipled and cold-blooded. America should do things the right way, the way of liberty and respect for law, or we lose our national soul and gain nothing but empty revenge. The audience has watched too many 24 episodes, and Gingrich is a pandering politician not a leader. Ron Paul is a principled leader who will use reason, not emotion, to deal with national threats. I'm sick of the faux-tough guy acts among the Republican candidates. The real tough guys who've been risking their lives and watching their friends die for a futile war have a different perspective -- they aren't itching to play Rambo anymore -- they've learned that war is hell. Our President doesn't need to feed into the blood-thirsty side of human nature in America -- our President should be strong and vow to defend America, but he/she should lead the nation to peaceful free trade with other nations not conflict, war and death. If war is absolutely necessary, then we go to war, but we don't invite it and we avoid it if humanly possible.
Great, bin Laden is dead, but could we have performed this operation differently? Does anyone care? Do we turn a blind eye and trust the all-powerful, all-knowing State to do whatever it wants to do whenever and wherever and however it wants to do it? If this is the American mindset, then Paul won last night and the nation lost.
I watched the first hour of Up with Chris Hayes. It was mostly an attack on Republicans using the debate last night as the material to make their case. Reihan Salam was on the panel, and he weakly attempted to present a a different perspective from the basically progressive perspective delivered by Hayes, Rebecca Traister and Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins. Lamkins insisted that Gingrich's recent comments regarding lack of a work ethic among the poor in inner cities were rooted in racism. The Left loves to talk about dog whistles, but their dog whistle claims are actually dog whistles themselves, or more like blaring horns. You can't have a decent debate about poverty when one side is called racist when they offer theories and solutions.
Most of the conversation was ordinary Leftist spin, but Chris Hayes responded to something Romney said which I found interesting. In the debate Romney praised the efforts of entrepreneurs which have helped raise the living standards of Americans across the board. Hayes didn't explain, but he countered Romney by saying he, Hayes, is an egalitarian. I assume, since Hayes is a big supporter of OWS, that Hayes is talking about the modern liberal/progressive deification of democracy as a path to equality. Equality can mean different things to different people, and, because Hayes has never promoted limited government, I take his egalitarianism as a call for government policy to enforce equality. What kind of equality? If Hayes means that government is responsible for ensuring equal treatment under the law, including the wealthy, and that all people should have the same rights, including the poor, then I'm on board.
If Hayes believes it's government's responsibility to remove economic inequalities among people, then I have a serious problem. The Progressive statist agenda to remove economic inequalities is not only morally offensive, it has a counter effect that winds up harming the very people Hayes proposes to help. Government economic interventions in the form of picking winners and losers and redistributing wealth suppresses economic growth and creates a situation in which interventions call for more interventions as unintended consequences are created by the interventions. Obamacare is a prime example of interventions calling for more interventions until all the interventions create economic stagnation and high unemployment. While Hayes will say that economic stagnation and high unemployment are caused by lack of demand, the main problem is uncertainty in the economy. Businesses are not sure what their operating expenses will be when Obamacare and other regulations are in full force, and consumers are uncertain how all the changes will affect their financial situation. Many companies have the cash to innovate, take risks, and offer new products and services, but they will not invest, take the risk and expand unless they are reasonably sure what their operating expenses will be.
In an environment in which small and medium sized businesses fear that government will confiscate their profits to socially engineer economic equality, they will not take risks. The attempt to establish equality of results destroys equality of opportunity. On a moral basis, government doesn't have the right to take money from some and give to others in an attempt to create economic equality. The fact that so many people in America are okay with redistribution of wealth shows how far we've drifted from "fairness". If wealth producers in the private sector choose to give a part of their wealth to people in need, then that's their choice, but government confiscation and redistribution are wrong on so many levels, it's amazing that so few see how wrong it is. The bottom line, though, is that poor people are ultimately worse off through this type of egalitarianism, although it makes wealthy liberals like Hayes feel righteous.
This morning on Morning Joe, the crew started off talking about the Republican debate on foreign policy and where the candidates are at in the polls. The guests were Michael Steele, Katty Kay and Major Garrett. The consensus among the Morning Joe crew was that most of the Republicans on stage blustered about foreign policy but didn't give any sophisticated answers. Scarborough praised Rick Santorum's position that we need to maintain a friendship with Pakistan no matter what.
Rick Perry's zero baseline approach to aid was framed by the Morning Joe panel, and many in the media, as ending foreign aid, but what Perry proposed was starting at zero and forcing the recipient countries to make their cases regarding foreign aid to ensure that aid isn't being wasted. This is how media involves itself in political spin rather than reporting the news as it happens.
Romney was criticized for saying he would stop Iran from getting nuclear weapons -- Romney really did say this. The Morning Joe panel laughed at the idea, and Katty Kay said it's impossible to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon because of Russia's support, which implied that if we can get Russia to go along, we can stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon. But no one believed we can give Russia what it needs to get their cooperation, so why are we even worried about stopping Iran?
Scarborough brought up Huntsman's call to get out of Afghanistan. The crowd cheered this proposal which makes me think that the Republican base is ready to end the war. The other candidates basically said everything needs to be on the table, whatever that means. Ron Paul's positions were not mentioned, of course.
I have to wonder why Santorum and Scarborough believe we need to maintain the same old position with countries like Pakistan. The idea is that Pakistan has nukes and extremists can gain control of the country and the nukes and then bomb NY. So, we pander to Pakistan, ignore their efforts to undermine us and give them billions in aid. Why are we afraid of Pakistan when Pakistan is on the verge of collapse?
India has more to be worried about than America. Is it believeable that even extremists from Pakistan would bomb America with a nuke? Why would anyone from Pakistan bomb America with nukes when it would mean certain obliteration? The Santorum position is an old mindset which ensures the military/industrial complex in America will thrive for a long time to come, and it ensures we will remain entangled in no-win situations in the mideast which are draining our resources.
Removing troops from the mideast is our best course, and then letting every country know that in order to protect our nation from attack, we'll do what's necessary, but we won't linger and nation-build. If you read the history of American involvement in the mideast, this blackmail from mideast countries has gone on from the time of Jefferson. Iran and Pakistan will implode if they don't change, and if we just leave the region alone. The mideast region has to solve its own problems -- all we've ever done is complicate the situations. The old rationalizations for our involvement as a Super Power needed to keep peace and protect our interests are beyond ludicrous.
If you're looking for up to minute reporting on the ups and downs of the Republican Presidential Primary and have little interest in other current news items, then Morning Joe's your huckleberry. However, if you are picky and require contextuality, then I suggest looking further than Morning Joe coverage. Morning after morning, Scarborough and his guests have misrepresented Herman Cain's positions, and they've fluffed Romney's pillow. I promise I won't go into a flurry of mixed metaphors. Romney has had a soft pillow, so far. Romney is the choice of the moderates. Although Scarborough insists he, Scarborough, is a "small" government conservative, it holds as much weight as my insistence that I look like Brad Pitt. But, then I don't understand politics, obviously.
Tina Brown was on this morning and she forced the other guests to admit that Cain has a great success story and deserves more than high school snark and ridicule. I watched S. E. Cupp's interview of Herman Cain yesterday, and Cain is a smart, good man who would do a good job in any position he's in, including president, even with a steep learning curve. Cain would do a better job than Obama has done. Having said that, I disagree with Cain on foreign intervention, and this to me is one of the most important issues facing our nation, and his statement that he will rely on the generals for guidance is not good enough, because generals will favor war. The military/industrial complex has become so big and powerful, it'll require an outsider coming in and auditing the situation and making radical changes.
I haven't seen a complete economic analysis of the 9-9-9 plan, but I know enough about it to know that Morning Joe hosts and guests have presented it out of context. As Bastiat revealed a long time ago, what you can't see in economics is sometimes more important than what you can see, so getting rid of hidden taxes, and the economic growth that would cause, changes the calculations of such a plan. Contextuality is critical when judging such an overhaul of the tax code.
So, John Meacham, Michael Steele, Sam Stein and a few other regulars all had fun ripping into the Republican debate, but these debates are meaningless. In the meanwhile, media minimizes Solyndra, Uganda, Libya, Fast and Furious, the European debt crisis, and, as Tom Colburn, who was on the show, reminded Scarborough, America's debt crisis as it relates to Medicare and SS, and what Colburn didn't mention, Medicaid. The Republican primary is a side story compared to the urgent issues facing America and the world, but most of the first two hours on Morning Joe, again, were focused on Republicans. There has to be a reason for this -- it can't be a huge demand from the public for such daily coverage.