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  • Cotton Candy – the Pink Fog of Cloying Sensitivity

    Posted by Ginny on August 20th, 2009 (All posts by )

    And paternalism.

    Chet Edwards phoned tonight, his taped voice inviting us to a telephone “conference” already half through when they got to our number. I listened – I didn’t want to clean the kitchen.

    The Democrats seem to be perfecting cotton candy speechifying. When given a captive audience that can’t speak back, they lean back, tell us they have our best interests at heart, and pontificate.

    Like Obama, Edwards answered questions at considerable length if not depth. He says what his audience wanted to hear – that we had the best system in the world. He then brought up the statistics that work against that observation – but he seemed to have only a vague grasp of either why we might be better or why we might be worse.

    Remarkably few points were raised because this approach led to a small number of vetted callers. He kept telling us he’d never sign a bill that wasn’t good for us; he’d never sign a bill he hadn’t read. But his grasp – or even curiosity about – the possible ramifications implied he read with little “creativity” about consequences. For instance, it is hard to credit his belief in competition with his complaints about health care. I don’t need a paternal figure. I figure we elect them to learn more than we could – that’s their full time job and that of at least some of their staff. This whole debacle makes me doubt they even see that as their duty.

    Of course, his experience was more pleasant than it would have been at a town hall. Creative minds must have watched those peculiar demonstrations against Bush and posited how they would handle people like themselves. Such a controlled venue as this must have been a solution.

    This isn’t very analytic; it isn’t even a very good report. Still – beware of the telephone conference – the one you didn’t know about until you picked up the phone and it was half over. It doesn’t get the dishes done nor inform. And I suspect cotton candy is not likely to be very good for our health.

     

    10 Responses to “Cotton Candy – the Pink Fog of Cloying Sensitivity”

    1. Jonathan Says:

      This whole debacle makes me doubt they even see that as their duty.

      One does wonder.

      But we shouldn’t let the 90% of pols who are venal jerks give the rest of them a bad name.

    2. onparkstreet Says:

      But we shouldn’t let the 90% of pols who are venal jerks give the rest of them a bad name.

      LOL

    3. Helen Says:

      You mean you have 10% who are not venal jerks? Gosh, what are you complaining about? The U S of A is doing fine. You should see our venal jerks, all 100% of them.

    4. Marty Says:

      Only 90%??? Maybe if you include the lowest levels of local officials who are in their first terms of office ever.

      By the time they get to Congress, fuhgeddaboudit!!! 100%, or so close the difference doesn’t matter.

    5. Robert Schwartz Says:

      “It doesn’t get the dishes done”

      We put a 25′ cord on the handst in the kitchen. I can, and often do, the dishes and talk on the phone.

    6. Lexington Green Says:

      Politicians mostly do what their constituents want, especially the most vocal ones.

      It is easy and fun to blame the politicians for the poor performance of the government.

      But if you read about politicians at any time in US history, they are not much different.

      We here in the USA have more power over our politicians than almost anyone, anywhere in the history of the world.

      The problem is the citizens. All of us.

      Far from being particularly malicious, politicians have an almost superhuman sense of how much the voters will take, how much they will put up with.

      They know us better than we know ourselves. That is how they keep getting elected.

      We despise them because they are a mirror that reflects what we as a people really look like, and really want, not what we say we are or what we say we want.

      Decrying politicians will not get us anywhere since we need politicians to get elected and do things differently from the politicians who are doing things we don’t like. We cannot NOT have politicians, not under the Constitution we have now, and not unless we end up with a dictator.

      So shoot me for saying so.

    7. onparkstreet Says:

      Lexington Green – Daniel Hannan had a post at his Telegraph blog saying almost the same thing.

      You are correct, but I still think it’s fun to make fun of politicians on the ole’ internets. However, we really should vote the bums out with more regularity – I mean, how many of those dinosaurs been in the Senate for, like, 100 years or more? Also, look what happens when more of us pay attention to bills and try and read them. There might be a lesson in there for all of us…..

    8. Lexington Green Says:

      There is a permanent government in DC. As Milton Freidman called it, it is an iron triangle. The three sections are (1) lobbyists, (2) bureaucrats in the executive branch agencies, and (3) “congress”. I put “congress” in quotes because we have a misunderstanding of who that is. To some extent it is the person who is elected and has his name on the door. To a more meaningful degree “congress” is the full time, professional support staff who have the knowledge and contacts with the other legs of the triangle.

      Term limits would only make sure that we had less experienced congressmen dealing with the members of the permanent government who are in the their branch (congress) and the other two as well.

      Term limits are not a solution to anything.

      The government is too powerful and is too big a player in the economy. There is so much money at stake that the current situation cannot realistically be described as “corruption”. It is a rational response to very powerful incentives.

      The only hope I have seen it deep tax cuts to deny the government money.

      But that is merely a speed bump in what seems to be a slow but terminal decline into a bureaucratic tyranny.

      And, hey, have a nice day!

    9. Andrew_M_Garland Says:

      The United States Government is of, for, and by the People. The public cannot participate in a government that runs on policies that are hidden. The government should be proud to release its carefully researched and supported policies. We deserve this as a free people. The press and public should be able to review these documents.

      I hope people of all parties and positions could agree that this is fundamental. It is non-partisan to demand that the President and all politicians show how they have carefully researched their proposals.

      It is not our job to read tea leaves and pick apart 1000 page bills written in Old English to figure out what the bills are really saying. The whole idea of “legislative language” is to obscure what is going on. Whatever I extract or infer, I am drawing my own conclusions, and the government can say that I am misguided.

      We need proposed results, expected evolution, methods, justifications, comparative studies, past successes of similar policy, funding sources, expected difficulties, the works.

      The government demands detailed, researched Environmental Impact Statements before starting a building. We should have Official Policy Impact Statements before our representatives change our society.

      The bills are not enough. They are implementation, not coherent policy. We have been directed to look only at the bills as a tactic to make the press and public scratch for the underlying ideas. Then, the government can deny that we have interpreted the bill in the correct way.

      Press conferences and town halls are distractions, keeping us from discussing policy. They cannot support detailed discussions, and so express confusion and anger. Then, the participants are accused of only presenting confusion and anger. I like the town halls for that, but this doesn’t put enough pressure on the government to reveal the thinking behing its bills.

      Did Obama (or any politician) start with such a policy study, or not?
      If so, then where is it? If not, then he is a fool.

      Would Obama legislate from some scribbles on a cocktail napkin?
      Would he say “give me anything, I’ll rearrange it later to do what I want”?

      We must demand: Where is the policy paper?
      If they refuse to release anything, then jeer: OK, so where is the cocktail napkin?

      A Few Words About Policy

    10. morgan Says:

      Maybe we should go back to the old spoils system where newly elected presidents brought in their friends to stsff the bureaucracy instead of the current “professional” bureaucrat. Yes, the spoils system was corrupt and inefficient but the Hatch Act protected bureaucrats, while probably not as corrupt, are still pretty inefficient. That would dent one leg of Friedman’s iron triangle. But I wouldn’t hold my breath waiting for this to happen.