Jens 'n' Frens
Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

"A strong conviction that something must be done is the parent of many bad measures."
  -- Daniel Webster

Sunday, January 06, 2008 :::

At Wendy's today, I saw a woman wearing a button that said "money and popularity are just things that people without talent use to keep score" (all quotes approximate). I thought to myself, "hygiene, too."

There's no shame in being poor, but as Tevye noted, 'tis no great honor, either. It's certainly not a mark of purity to anyone who isn't grasping for self-esteem based on the disparagement of those more successful than them. You should be able to take joy in the things you take joy in and value the things that you value without succumbing to the temptation to denigrate the Other.

Which brings us to the gnostic fantasies of John Edwards and Mike Huckabee, whom I can't tell apart without my glasses, and I don't wear glasses. I was pondering earlier today whether their portrayal of America as a society where there are rich people doing nefarious deeds to keep down the rest of us - the middle class and the poor - might hurt the poor by making the middle class think that the poor live like them. But middle-class life in America is much more like upper-class life in America than poverty in America. Medical care is adequate, our schools are safe and, if not brilliant, at least adequate. It's not as though the middle class has no financial worries, but, frankly, some of the rich find ways to stretch their budgets thin. Of course, you get more votes by pandering to the middle class than by pandering to the poor, but shouldn't we notice how unseemly their rhetoric is?

Up to a half-week ago, I was giving Huckabee the benefit of the doubt and assuming that he's just as simple as his rhetoric, but apparently he's gone to New Hampshire and started offering a defense of limited government. He got a little flustered when someone called him on it, but I'm starting to get ideas about people from Hope, Arkansas.

George Will wrote a terrific column today about Huckwards, with a slightly weird closing paragraph about Obama. He seems to have an army of brain slugs or something causing people to like him a little more than is healthy. Now, I don't deny that he's clean and articulate, and I noted a few days ago that his appeal for unity is preferably to Huckwards's appeal for holy war against Corporate Greed or the Special Interests or the Jews or whomever his scapegoat is. But comments like this make me worry, especially since — just between you and me — I started feeling it, too, the other day, while watching an Obama commercial. Then toward the end, I jolted awake with the realization that he hadn't actually said anything. He said a lot of nice things about coming together, but not a single actual policy proposal was mentioned in the commercial. If we could have him as figurehead president, but his only non-ceremonial duty was to turn on Mitt Romney in the morning and put him away at night after he had done the day-to-day work, we might have the best of all possible worlds.

::: posted by Steven at 8:53 PM

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Idle thoughts of a relatively libertarian Republican in Cambridge, MA, and whomever he invites. Mostly political.

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