Stuff I wanted to blog about today and didn’t

Busy day today.  Worst part is, out over $400 for a new washing machine.  Plus, $75 to find out that our washing machine would be so expensive to repair that we just needed to buy a new one.  Anyway, lots of stuff I really wanted to blog about today and realize I’ll probably never get around to, as the next few days look quite busy as well.

  • Making the rounds throughout the liberal blogosphere, this chart that shows what incredible folly it would be to raise the Medicare eligibility age.  Just dumb, anyway you look at it.  I hate that Obama was willing to bargain on this.  Also shows what a moron Joe Lieberman is for pushing it.  Here’s Drum’s post on it.
  • Steven Pearlstein on the absurdity that is our patent system.  Just read it.  Seriously.  He also links to the absolutely fabulous This American life on the topic.
  • Meta quote of the day.  I actually like Kevin Drum’s quote in response to Felix Salmon, better than Salmon’s:

As a general rule, anybody who thinks that anything about education reform is “simple and obvious” is wrong.

Words of wisdom. It’s not unions, it’s not teachers, it’s not the curriculum, it’s not funding, it’s not charter schools, it’s not poverty, it’s not testing, and it’s not poor parenting. It’s all those things. Anyone who gets too obsessed with only one or two pieces of the ed system is just guaranteeing that they’ll never understand what’s going on.

  • Yes, Virigina, the stimulus really did work.  It’s old news, but Jon Cohn has a nice post emphasizing this very essential point.  It’s not liberal economists who say so, it’s Wall Street economists.
  • Okay, just read the Felix Salmon piece Drum quotes from.  Really nice summary of the issues of school quality and Brill’s new book that I’m going to write a longer blog post about some day.  Read it.

Now back to your regularly scheduled blogging.  Maybe.

Fed Up

This campaign season just keeps getting more fun.  Now Rick Perry is disavowing his book, Fed Up, that’s been out not a year, and which just last week he was telling people to read on the campaign trail.

Last November, Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) published Fed Up, a 240-page ode totentherism, which argues that everything from child labor laws to the Clean Air Act to Medicare violates the Constitution. As it turns out, however, claiming that America’s entire social safety net is unconstitutional isn’t a very popular position — so Perry’s now trying to take it all back just one week into his presidential campaign:

[Perry’s] communications director, Ray Sullivan, said Thursday that he had “never heard” the governor suggest [Social Security] was unconstitutional. Not only that, Mr. Sullivan said, but “Fed Up!” is not meant to reflect the governor’s current views on how to fix the program. […]

In an interview, Mr. Sullivan acknowledged that many passages in Mr. Perry’s “Fed Up!” could dog his presidential campaign. The book, Mr. Sullivan said, “is a look back, not a path forward.” It was written “as a review and critique of 50 years of federal excesses, not in any way as a 2012 campaign blueprint or manifesto,” Mr. Sullivan said.

The campaign’s disavowal of “Fed Up!” is itself very new. On Sunday evening, at Mr. Perry’s first campaign stop in Iowa, a questioner asked the governor to talk about how he would fix the country’s rickety entitlement programs. Mr. Perry shot back: “Have you read my book, ‘Fed Up!’ Get a copy and read it.”  [emphases in original]

Fed Up is not some 20-year-old graduate school thesis that Perry wrote before he served in elected office. It is a substantial, nationally published manifesto that Perry was proudly signing at book tours just a few months ago. Indeed, as recently as last Monday, Perry was on the campaign trail citing Fed Up for the unusual proposition that “I don’t think the federal government has a role in your children’s education.”

Here’s the thing I realized about Fed Up.  You would simply never write this book if you had an intention of winning a general election for President of the US.  It’s probably a solid document if you want to try and win the Republican primaries, but Perry practically calls for the elimination of the US government except for the military.  He truly is an extremist.  These are simply not positions you can expect to win a general election with.  For one thing, this suggests to me that Perry, unlike most candidates, really has not been aspiring to the presidency for a long time.  If he had been, surely there would have been more caveats, etc., to weaken the extremity of the message.  I don’t think this is going to be a hindrance in the GOP race, but if he wins the nomination, plan on hearing lots about Fed Up.




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