Monday, May 21, 2007

Second Debates - Schumer's Surprise

"Intuitively, you would think volatility is increasing. But it isn't, which I guess shows that the American economy has always been very flexible."

"Oops," says Senator Chuck Schumer (D-NY). After teaming up with his colleague in liberalism Sen. Jim Webb (D-VA) to direct the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) to conduct a study on economic volatility, they were taken aback that the figure wasn't historically high. What the CBO classifies as economic volatility, the percentage of workers to see their income drastically change annually, rose slightly after 2000 with the recession, but it still well within historic norms. Once again, the US economy remains flexible and consistent.

The ten declared candidates seeking the GOP nod for President met again last week at South Carolina with Fox News' Brit Hume and Chris Wallace. Far superior to the style and management of Chris Matthews and MSNBC*, several factors were similar to the first debate, and others entirely indigenous.

The winners of the debate were the same as last time: Romney and Huckabee. Giuliani did better, helped by Ron Paul's outrageous 9/11 comments; after which he luckily had the floor. McCain had a poorer performance.

Tancredo did better. His appeal is the girl-next-do--I mean, the Republican-next-door, not an intellectual and strong Presidential appeal, was evident. His problem persists, however. Every horse needs water, and when your only horse is immigration, the Rio Grande dries up rather quickly. His comment that he'd "be looking for Jack Bauer" in the terrorist crisis was memorable and drew him a bit of attention.

All I could think of when Gov. Jon Gilmore spoke was that his ears made him look like an elf, and he loves to bloviate about his governorship. He should stick to writing emails for the party. Rumor does have it, however, that there is a photoshop file with his campaign logo somewhere. On a computer setting in some office. Too bad he doesn't have the money or staff to print it.

Tommy Thompson is just cruel for causing name confusion with our favorite, Fred Thompson. And his face looks like a catcher's mitt. This debate was his second strike, he can head to the dugout and save some embarrassment.

Ron Paul's 9/11 comment was poorly worded and shocking. Interestingly enough, he led the Hannity & Colmes "txt in" poll for a good portion of the show. Both of his supporters are quite active

Sam Brownback was dry. Like Tancredo, Brownback only has one horse: social issues. Abortion is important. But there must be another reason to vote for a candidate. Surely?

Romney was vivacious, as usual. I was disappointed to find a second issue that I disagree with him on, No Child Left Behind. That means we now have one major issue (gun control), and one moderate (NCLB) in disagreement, which keeps me from, by default, throwing support behind Romney if Fred doesn't run. Fortunately, he won't have any power with gun control, and NCLB is something I can live with. He also has Greg Mankiw as an economic adviser, to which I give props.

Fmr. Gov. Mike Huckabee was fantastic. The debates are his time to shine. He's charismatic, a fabulous orator; he's memorable, his phonetics always rhyme, his metaphors and analogies are delightful. He has an uncanny ability to strike cords with the values voter part of the GOP block in a pickup trucks, the soccer moms worried about terrorism, and the Wall Street Journal Republicans. If I lived in Iowa and not Arkansas, I would think he was a God-send. One might feel a little more confident about him if I thought he had a Karl Rove type behind him. President Huckabee still doesn't sound too bad. $500,000 does. Well, he can always start a Subway with that much and be his own Jared.

One thing that does have me concerned is the Michael Bloomberg/Chuck Hagel situation. Bloomberg is taking a third party run quite seriously, and is rumored to have discussed strategy with Ross Perot's campaign. A third party run with Bloomberg and Hagel would likely be disastrous for Republicans, a 2008 Ross Perot. However, one possible token of fortune would be Bloomberg and Clinton splitting New York, leaving an unprecedented thirty-one electoral votes from New York going to the GOP candidate (presuming it isn't Giuliani).

Parting thoughts:

“That people on the political Left have a certain set of opinions, just as people do in other parts of the ideological spectrum, is not surprising. What is surprising, however, is how often the opinions of those on the Left are accompanied by hostility and even hatred. Particular issues can arouse passions here and there for anyone with any political views. But, for many on the Left, indignation is not a sometime thing. It is a way of life. How often have you seen conservatives or libertarians take to the streets, shouting angry slogans? How often have conservative students on campus shouted down a visiting speaker or rioted to prevent the visitor from speaking at all? The source of the anger of liberals, ‘progressives,’ or radicals is by no means readily apparent. The targets of their anger have included people who are non-confrontational or even genial, such as Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush. It is hard to think of a time when Karl Rove or Dick Cheney has even raised his voice, but they are hated like the devil incarnate. There doesn’t even have to be any identifiable individual to arouse the ire of the Left... If it is hard to find a principle behind what angers the Left, it is not equally hard to find an attitude. Their greatest anger seems to be directed at people and things that thwart or undermine the social vision of the Left, the political melodrama starring the Left as saviors of the poor, the environment, and other busybody tasks that they have taken on. It seems to be the threat to their egos that they hate. And nothing is more of a threat to their desire to run other people’s lives than the free market and its defenders.” —Thomas Sowell

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