Only Republicans Need Apply

For the first time since 1952, the presidential field is completely open, with no candidate from either party representing the incumbent administration. We must decide which Republican aspirant will be the next president of the United States. We are lucky to have several candidates who would make excellent presidents. I will discuss: Mitt Romney, Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee & Duncan Hunter. [I am updating these links]

I plan to study up on the Republican leaders and write up some pros & cons in order to decide which to support. It is always better to make decision with the input of others and so I look forward to your comments.

I will start with Mitt Romney. I have already written something about him, but now that he is official I want to look more carefully. Mitt Romney will appear on ABC's This Week, so watch and we can talk later.

After that I will write about Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee & Duncan Hunter.

I will evaluate across seven criteria: leadership & management, intellectual gifts, substantive knowledge, communication skill, foreign affairs, economy & business, interpersonal skills, plus a special considerations category. This is the beginning of the discussion, not the end, but at the end of the series, I will decide and publish who I will support through the Iowa & New Hampshire primary, when we will have to reconsider relative potential to win.

We have to start early because the campaigns have already begun in earnest. It will be fun to have a good Watchblog debate.

I also welcome the always respectful comments from our Democratic & Third Party colleagues. As we all know, the Republican candidate will win the 2008 election and you guys can get a head start on hating him.

Posted by Jack at February 18, 2007 12:03 AM
Comment #208664

Wrong, Jack. McCain does represent the incumbent adminstration. Look at his voting record. The Bush party line nearly the whole way. Sure, his rhetoric was sometimes critical, but, his votes never were. He is a clever politician to disguise himself so well.

I used to respect McCain. You’d have about as much luck now getting me to vote for him as for reelecting Bush. Believe me, many of us Independents are looking for a non-Democratic candidate to vote for. We don’t want no steenkin’ one party government again. But, ya’ll are going to have to do better than Guiliani who doesn’t know what the word commitment means, and Romney who belongs to a faith that says the only way Blacks can enter heaven is as slaves and servants (sounds like Hell to me), and McCain who believes an arms race in space with China is the ticket to our future economic success.

Yes, you all are going to have to do much better than this. Sen. John Warner would get my vote. But, he ain’t running. Too bad too, because he has seen the ugly face of his Party and rejected its dogmatic ideology which defied and defiled the Constitution, its checks and balances, and its irrational exuberance for elective war.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 18, 2007 2:21 AM
Comment #208665


“…Guiliani who doesn’t know what the word commitment means…”

can you be more specific? (i’m not baiting, just curious.) guiliani is the only republican candidate i’m presently considering…

Posted by: Diogenes at February 18, 2007 2:51 AM
Comment #208666

It is a very difficult position for Republicans. Romney, Giuliani, & McCain could all put in a respectable showing against a Democratic candidate in a national electin, because all would hae at least a chance of attracting moderates. But none of the above are likely to carry the Republican base in the primaries. Between the religion of Romney, the three marriages with attending seemy circumstances surrounding Giuliani, and the fact that McCain is 72, along with the relatively moderate social positions of McCain & Giuliani, it is hard to see how any of these candidates can get past the primaries. None are capable of carrying the Republican base, particularly not the religious fundamentalists, who constitute up to 25% of the party core.

Brownback, on the other hand, can carry the base, but would be beaten like a crying child in a department store in a national election. He would carry the south & the midwest, and that would be it. McCain & Giuliani have the charisma which Brownback lacks. The other candidates are not worthy of attention at this point. Corruption charges will sink Duncan Hunter so deeply, he will never see the light of day if he puts himself in a position of being closely examined.

The corporatists money and the RNC are behind McCain. That, combined with his charisma, might be enough to carry him; but his age, his inability to fire up the base, and his woeful judgment on Iraq almost certainly doom him to an electoral debacle. So I will pick McCain, with Brownback as the real competition. But to be realistic, neither stands a chance.

Posted by: phx8 at February 18, 2007 2:58 AM
Comment #208668


how did i miss that? i guess it’s my propensity towards keeping my mind out of the personal affairs of others which ultimately blinded me to giuliani’s ‘extracurricular’ activities…

Posted by: diogenes at February 18, 2007 3:17 AM
Comment #208670

From a liberal view point..

I initilly I liked John McCain. Although I do not agree with him on all issues, but I thought he was a rare individual in politics that stood for up doing what he really believed was right and had integrity. He would stand up to his party. Then he sold out to the Bush administration and started backing down from his convictions to go tow the party line. so now I lost respect for him.

Rudy Guiliani is a surprise to me how much conservatives like him. He sounds like a NE liberal to me. He supports gun control, abortion rights, gay marriage and immigration rights. Why you conservatives like hime is a mystery to me.

Ginrich I do not undertsand why you conservatives like him too. He has a big mouth and constantly puts his foot in it. I know he is viewed as some conservative intellectual, but as a candidate he will self-destruct like Biden will. They both have big mouths.

John Warner is interesting to watch. He is taking a stand now against the Bush build up and I am seeing a thoughtful intelligent man. My eyes are on him.

Do not know enough about the others to comment.

Posted by: Stefano at February 18, 2007 8:50 AM
Comment #208671


As I wrote in my own post on this topic, the Republican front-runners all seem fatally flawed to me, as least as far as getting nominated. Of course, one of them will probably get the nomination.

John McCain is distrusted by conservatives. Also (I was way ahead of the curve on noticing this) he is relatively old and not in the best of health. He has really stuck his neck out the Iraq War, which will not help him unless things really turn around.

Rudy Giuliani is simply too liberal to get the GOP nomination. I was wondering why he polled so well, and saw another poll showing that most Republicans don’t even realize he is pro-choice. Some clever person pointed out that even though his strength is supposed to be national security he has never demonstrated any knowledge of national security. He made a couple of tragic mistakes in regard to 9/11. (I know that writing that is like spitting on a cross to some people, but it’s true.) Basically he is running on his personality. STILL, if you guys want to nominate him, he is probably the least objectionable to me of the GOP contenders. Which should tell you something…

Mitt Romney has several flaws, the biggest of which is that he is a shameless flip-flopper who make a deep realization about the sanctity of life just in time to run for President. OK, I am willing to believe that HE BELIEVES that he genuinely changed his mind, but it sure doesn’t look good.

Newt Gingrich: Blech. I hope you guys nominate him, because he’ll lose.

I don’t know much about the other guys except for Mike Huckabee. He was my governor. He is OK, but he is very traditional, a Southern Baptist minister who is big on things like “covenant marriage”. I like him as a person, but he is a very traditional type of Republican. Also his claim to fame is his massive weight loss, which is admirable but really has nothing to do with being president.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 18, 2007 9:14 AM
Comment #208673

David & Stefano et at

You guys like McCain because he was independent and courageous against George Bush. Profiles of courage come in all directions. McCain’s support of a troop surge certainly is NOT a craven thing to do. He certainly is standing up to the majority and saying what he has believed for a long time.

The reason you all have new found love for John Warner is only because he opposes George Bush on some issues. You define independence as not supporting George Bush. At this point, supporting George Bush is one of the most independent, against the crowd someone can do.


The reason you cannot understand why conservatives like Giuliani is because you do not understand conservatives, or more precisely you mistake them for the liberal caricature. No candidate fits all the criteria a particular individual could want. Most conservatives are pragmatic. We are often appalled by liberal dogma and intransigence. Try to bring up a conservative idea on a liberal university campus and you will see intolerance.


I will be happy to have your Democratic opinion. I will be taking the Republican side. I know we will agree on some points and disagree on others. That is probably why we vote differently but like each other anyway.

Posted by: Jack at February 18, 2007 10:27 AM
Comment #208675


When did I ever say I liked you? ;)

I’m with Stefano. Why is Giuliani considered a conservative? I don’t see much difference politically between him and Hillary Clinton. Honestly.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 18, 2007 10:36 AM
Comment #208681

Newt? Isn’t that something that crawled out from under a rock?

Posted by: gergle at February 18, 2007 11:06 AM
Comment #208686

Jack… I don’t think I have ever met a pragmatic conservative it’s my way or no way as in no debate. The senate under republican control and so on.

Posted by: Jeff at February 18, 2007 11:31 AM
Comment #208688

Whistling past the graveyard a bit aren’t we,Jack? The Dem bench is much deeper and do not forget that it is a toss up as far as the frontrunners actually getting the nomination.
Mc Cain’s future is tied to the Iraq war. If it turns out well(fat chance) he will do well. It must be frustrating for him.
For the independants concerned about Dem control of all branches,I would submit it is neccessary to repair the damage done by the Reps at least for a time.

Posted by: BillS at February 18, 2007 11:39 AM
Comment #208693

Mitt Romney? Flip-flop? They’re all called Politicians right?

Posted by: frank at February 18, 2007 11:53 AM
Comment #208695

The real heir to the Bush regime should be easy to identify. Just look to see who gets the most support from the oil industry. Anyone with current info?

Posted by: BillS at February 18, 2007 12:01 PM
Comment #208696

How rediculous it seems to be talking about a successor to this great leader. The American people should not allow a stupid little rule passed by the leaders own party deny them the benefit of such a wise and godly man. However, if we are going to be denied the benevolent leadership of this great one, the obvious successor is Jeb. Let the people raise their voices in unison until there is such a roar that Jeb shall have no other choice but to enter the arena.

Posted by: jlw at February 18, 2007 12:06 PM
Comment #208698

I wish I could help you on this issue but, there just has to come a time when we can touch on the “none of the above” icon at the voting booth. At this point I would chose Michael Smith above any one of those mentioned so far.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 18, 2007 12:14 PM
Comment #208699

Guiliani is seen as a conservative for cracking down on crime and getting people off welfare rolls. And he has an almost God-like aura from 9/11. Also, he has said that while he personally is pro-choice etc., he would appoint judges like Scalia, Roberts and Alito, which is really the only authority the pres. has over abortion and gay rights and gun control.

Posted by: Silima at February 18, 2007 12:15 PM
Comment #208700

jlw, Maybe they can get Cheney as Jeb’s running mate to complete the ticket. I think a draft Bush/Cheney campaign is in order.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 18, 2007 12:29 PM
Comment #208701
he would appoint judges like Scalia, Roberts and Alito, which is really the only authority the pres. has over abortion and gay rights and gun control


I think people with strong feelings on those three issues would strenuously disagree. For one thing, the president has veto power, too.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 18, 2007 12:34 PM
Comment #208702

Absolutly right. Bush-Cheney. Lets hope that the Reps do not think of that. If they do the Dems may as well not even run.

Posted by: BillS at February 18, 2007 12:49 PM
Comment #208703

BillS, just think what they could save on bumper stickers alone.

Posted by: j2t2 at February 18, 2007 1:06 PM
Comment #208704


How rediculous it seems to be talking about a successor to this great leader. The American people should not allow a stupid little rule passed by the leaders own party deny them the benefit of such a wise and godly man. However, if we are going to be denied the benevolent leadership of this great one, the obvious successor is Jeb. Let the people raise their voices in unison until there is such a roar that Jeb shall have no other choice but to enter the arena.”

Dang dude, I sure hope this is satire. Because if not I am wondering what you have been smoking and in what universe for the last six years.

W? Is that you hiding behind those jlw initials. I get it now. J for Jeb L for Laura and W for yourself. :

Posted by: ILdem at February 18, 2007 1:16 PM
Comment #208709


Bill Clinton was a conservative democrat, who often ran into problems with the left wing of his own party. Remember when he put Sister Solja in her place and executed that retarded kid? Not very PC. He did a good job with the economy, welfare reform etc. He pushed free trade and market mechanism overseas. I do not know how Hilary would be. I do not quite like her personality. Bill was the charming rouge. Hilary is the harpy who pesters the charming rouge.

I think you can reverse your statement. Maybe we cannot see how Hilary is different from Ruddy and that is why you all should go Republican.

BTW - I will take it a step farther. Maybe Hilary is too conservative for Dems. She is having a lot of trouble with the Looney left.


That is your point of view, I guess. I find liberals a lot less pragmatic. We also are looking at the extremes. Take the abortion debate. Most Americans think abortion is a very bad thing that should not be illegal. On the one end, you have people who think all abortion is baby killing and should be illegal always. On the other end, you have people who want to treat abortion like a tooth extraction. They both are full of crap, but the Dems need to pander to one group and the Republicans to the other.


Yeah Dems have three senators, only one of whom has served more than six years. A couple of race baiters, & a lunatic dwarf. When you get down to the level of actual experience (Richardson & Vilsack) you have no chance of the nomination. I think we are better off.

Posted by: Jack at February 18, 2007 1:59 PM
Comment #208712
I think you can reverse your statement. Maybe we cannot see how Hilary is different from Ruddy and that is why you all should go Republican.

I could not disagree more. Their social positions are typical of the Democratic Party. You can look at the platforms.

The only “conservative” thing Hillary did was vote for the war. It’s funny really. People think Howard Dean was a crazy lefty because he opposed the war. But he was right (just not Right).

Rudy isn’t a conservative by my understanding. Maybe he is more of a Jackist. Jackists are the kind of people who would call Bill Clinton a conservative. Not many of you in the GOP.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 18, 2007 2:40 PM
Comment #208715


Jackists judge by observable effects, not by what people say or even by what they want to do.

Compare 1992 to 2000. We got welfare reform, NAFTA, a market friendly trade policy, the consolidation of the business restructuring of the 1980, an expansion of NATO and a president who said that the era of big government was over. These are things I like. In 1992 Democrats had the majority in the Senate & House and not by 2000. Can you think of any important liberal achievements during those years? If you didn’t know any better, what party to you think won in 1992?

Posted by: Jack at February 18, 2007 3:19 PM
Comment #208718


So… are you voting for Hillary?

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 18, 2007 3:32 PM
Comment #208724

I don’t like Hilary. Bill had a special bad boy charm and evidently no fixed values. This is often a bad thing, but in the case of a Dem president it had the good effect of making him drift with the wind that was usually coming from the right.

The experience we had with Hilary-Care proposals was not good.

Besides, we have at least four Republicans running who would be better presidents.

But Hilary is better than the other leading contenders. If you want a reasonable guy, you need to go to Richardson or Vilsack. They are more like Bill.

Posted by: Jack at February 18, 2007 4:15 PM
Comment #208732

Romney/Bush Vs. Hillary/Richardson Vs. McCain/Lieberman Vs. Nader/Clooney

Posted by: jlw at February 18, 2007 5:04 PM
Comment #208738

Jack said: “You guys like McCain because he was independent and courageous against George Bush.”

Wrong, Jack. I liked him because he stood up for common sense principles like campaign finance reform (which he no longer believes in, just look at his campaign), and because he sided with Gen. Shensecki until it became politically inexpedient to do so. However, what once appeared to be a sensible man of principle has morphed into just another Party hack. And I don’t like Party Hacks on either side of the aisle who side with party over principle and common sense representation of what’s good for America and her people.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 18, 2007 5:47 PM
Comment #208740

j2t2 said: “At this point I would chose Michael Smith above any one of those mentioned so far.”

Here, Here!

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 18, 2007 5:50 PM
Comment #208745

Hillery’s plan was identical in most respects to a plan Nixon proposed. I did not like it much because it kept insurance companies involved but the country would have been better off economically and healthwise if we had adopted her plan. Did you see the UNICEF report on child welfare. The UK was judged to be worse overall but the US was worst for child health and safety. Disgraceful.
I expect that Vilsack does better than you expect.Richardson also.
Your thoughts on H.Clinton betrays a distrust of powerful women. Would you call a male Senator a “harpy.”

There is nothing in “free trade” dogma that prevents labor protections from being included in treaties anymore than copyright protections. The experience of NAFTA and other treaties have taught us and you will see no more treaties without them. Is it too much to ask that we do not do business with child slavers or countries that kill or imprison workers who try to unionize? I think not.

Posted by: BillS at February 18, 2007 6:33 PM
Comment #208753


I saw that study and how it was done. A big part of the study is not actual welfare, but proxies such as size of government programs and perceived inequality. This is like measuring a person’s strength by asking him how much he spend on gym memberships instead of seeing how much he could lift or how fast he could run.

I hope Vilsack & Richardson do well, but I wouldn’t count on it.

Posted by: Jack at February 18, 2007 8:05 PM
Comment #208757

Jack, you state “The experience we had with Hillary-Care proposals was not good”. I’ll certainly agree with that if you are referring to the reaction to the proposals; all the money-interests, examples being health insurance companies, pharmaceuticals, HMO’S, doctors, medical/oxygen equipment suppliers, who saw the threat to their cash cow, lined up in opposition. I wonder how many times the stocks of these companies have doubled in value in the fifteen years Ms. Clinton developed these proposals?
What is laughable is that we are still suffering through this crisis and the very way out of it is essentially the same proposal that the commission came up with in 1993: A single-payer system encompassing all Americans, healthy or sick, rich or poor that provides care and care givers chosen by the patient.
When are you going to learn, Jack, that it is not about right or wrong, good or bad, what’s best, what’s efficient, or ANY kind of national interest.
It’s about money!!!!

Posted by: charles Ross at February 18, 2007 8:22 PM
Comment #208779

Look at that! McCain just said that if elected he’ll institute a forced breeding program for all American women!

Posted by: American Pundit at February 18, 2007 11:43 PM
Comment #208785


I disagree with McCain. Any woman who wants to have an abortion and does it is probably doing us all a favor.

You may have read in “Freakonomics” that the abortions of a generation ago are responsible for the drop in crime in the 1990s. Children resemble their parents in many ways. Some people should not have kids. A woman who would abort a healthy child probably falls into this group.

Abortion is a very bad thing, but it should not be illegal.

Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 12:15 AM
Comment #208797

Jack said: “Some people should not have kids. A woman who would abort a healthy child probably falls into this group.”

That seems to me a very narrow view which precludes timing. Some girls at 16 would make terrible mothers. But those same girls do prove to be marvelous mothers at the age of 24 or 28. I know two women personally who are fantastik mothers, after having had abortions in their teens.

Maturity comes slow in a society as complex and diverse as ours. Unless a young woman has a solid extended family or wealth to secure professional assistance in raising a child, abortion may save both fetus and mother from a poor, painful and harmful life together.

That same woman 10 years later, with education completed, a solid marriage, and middle class income may blossom to become Mom of the Year, year after year, and their child may reap the rewards of Mother’s timing on giving birth and undivided commitment to being a mother.

Posted by: David R. Remer at February 19, 2007 3:02 AM
Comment #208798
I disagree with McCain. Any woman who wants to have an abortion and does it is probably doing us all a favor.

This reminds me of many statements you’ve made, Jack — for instance, your blithe dismissal of Gitmo prisoners.

Sometimes you are very thoughtful, and sometimes you are ridiculously glib.

Posted by: Trent at February 19, 2007 7:24 AM
Comment #208812


They could have one later when they got smarter. I am not precluding it forever. It is just a tautology as it stands at a particular point in time. Any woman who would abort a healthy baby is would not make a good mother for that child anyway.

Aborting a healthy baby is a profoundly immoral thing to do. I do not, however, believe it should be illegal and I do believe in redemption.


There are some things I just see in simple terms and do not see much point in going too deep.

Let me give you a glib rule of thumb. When I am planning to buy something, I first decide whether or not I can afford to buy it. If the answer is no, I do not bother investigating its unique features.

There is also a management technique I learned a long time ago. When someone presents a problem, decide whose problem it is. If it is not yours, do not let them try to make you solve it.

These are sweeping techniques, rules of thumb, heuristics if you like the fancy word. I understand that it sometimes leads me to miss some potential opportunities, but it also allows me to address many more real ones.

On the subjects we are considering - yes it is possible that a good mother will abort a healthy baby, but the risk is small. The same goes for the Gitmo prisoners being innocent. In both cases the consequences of the opposite probability are serious enough to allow the decision criteria we use. As I wrote to David, this does not mean conditions can not change. Redemption is possible and we can be open to new information, but for now the decision is sound.

Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 10:15 AM
Comment #208825

“I will start with Mitt Romney.”
After that I will write about Rudy Giuliani, John McCain, Newt Gingrich, Sam Brownback, Jim Gilmore, Tommy Thompson, Mike Huckabee & Duncan Hunter.

We have to start early because the campaigns have already begun in earnest. It will be fun to have a good Watchblog debate.”

No debate needed. All these guys are losers who have supported the president.
What about Chuck Hagel, or Mike Smith who writes here for the Red column? These guys are actually conservative Republicans. If I were a conservative, those are the kind of guys I’d want to vote for.

Posted by: Adrienne at February 19, 2007 11:38 AM
Comment #208879

Chuck Hagel conservative? Wow some imagination or stretching.

Posted by: tomh at February 19, 2007 2:30 PM
Comment #208893

The Republican party needs to walk away from the religious right. Conventional logic says they need those votes to win when in fact alignment with the RR has cost them the Right end of the Democrats. Only by walking away from the RR will the Republican party be able to attract the center and more conservative democrats and build the big tent super majority they are capable of.

One thing that I usually seize on is party line votes, we just had a Senate vote where 7 Republicans voted with the Democrats. It seems to me that when you talk about partisanship, this is usually a pretty indicator of who votes party and who votes conscience, I have to give this one the Republicans.

At this point Guilliani would be my choice, although I do not agree with his immigration stance, most of what else I know about him is pretty well in sync with my views.

Too bad Tom Tancredo is not getting any play. He is my immigration night in shinning armor. He is perhaps too much of a one trick pony. I thought that he could get Democratic support because Rove told him not to darken to White House door ever again when he came our against Bushnesty.

McCain, I agree has sold his soul to the party, to bad, I supported him in 2000.

Romney, too religiously affiliated, I think the country will be wary about electing someone that wears their faith on their sleeve after W.

There are no other R candidates that I see having a shot, so I will use Jack’s logic about not being to afford them.

I agree with comments David has made about not going back to a sinlge party situation, at this point I don’t see any Republican that has the horsepower to win.

I hate to say this, I wish Al Gore would run.


Posted by: JayTea at February 19, 2007 3:04 PM
Comment #208897

The study methodology for thr “health and safety” portion gave great wieght to infant mortality rates among other factors. Look again. We did poorly.

I’ll make a deal with you. Whichever candidate from either major party proposes a workable method of stabilizing oil prices at a reasonably high level gets our votes. Deal or no deal,as they say?

Seems one of those things everyone knows should be done but none have the courage to do. We can probably agree we need some bold leadership about this.It would be wonderful if both parties came out for some form of it. The Reps could place a tax/tariff and use the money to offset more tax breaks for rich people(eg.AMT). The Dems could use the revenue to bolster SS and invest in alternatives.

Posted by: BillS at February 19, 2007 3:10 PM
Comment #208906


If someone comes up with a workable plan to keep oil prices high, he will get my vote and yours and that will make the total 2.

A carbon tax is the way to go, but it will need bipartisan support and lots of political cover. We probably need to do some stealthy way.

If we do have a tax, we should just use it to offset other taxes.

Re children’s health we have cultural differences too. I always say we should compare like to like. Compare Sweden to Minnesota and see how different the rates are. Or compare the entire EU to the entire US.

Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 3:50 PM
Comment #208907

I suspect more than 2.Maybe as high as 27.

Childrens health? Yes there are cultural differences. Our culture does not take as good a care of our children. That is my point. I believe it is our interest to do so.

Posted by: BillS at February 19, 2007 3:57 PM
Comment #208912


Culture helps determine how parents take care of kids. We have diverse subculures & lifestyles in the U.S. Some are very good at raising kids; others less. We steadfastly refuse to recognize this less than PC truth and instead treat the problem as an economic one. The European cultures that do such good jobs tend to be homogenous and they also tend to reach much farther into things we consider personal behavior decisions. In Scandinavia, for example, the state assigns the hospital where you will have your child.

That is the point of making comparision that are valid. You cannot compare Norway to the U.S. Norway is more comparable to an American state such as Minnesota. If you compare a big diverse place like the US, you have to compare to a big diverse place like the whole EU. AND we still have the bias in the study.

Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 5:08 PM
Comment #208913


Better not to give an opinion than to give a glib one. When you don’t care about a topic, you likely are uninformed about it. It’s why I either (1) keep my mouth shut about things I don’t know about or (2) admit my lack of expertise.

You have no basis for your abortion or Gitmo statements. They are the equivalent of saying that capital punishment should be legal because the accused probably are guilty. Although I have no doubt that is true in the main, it merely demonstrates a lack of concern for those who are innocent.

(Since when did “heuristics” become a fancy word?)

Posted by: Trent at February 19, 2007 5:15 PM
Comment #208919

So economics do not effect healthcare access,nutrition,education? Ah, the rosey glasses again. That report is bad news and should be taken seriously. The Brits sure are and rightly so.

Posted by: BillS at February 19, 2007 5:33 PM
Comment #208944


We spend plenty on health care and there is no particular reason why a smart and consequent person cannot get good care. The problem is the lack of consequent people.

I will repeat that I have three objections to this study. #1 is that some of the proxies make no sense. How much the government spends and how much inequality exists is not a useful proxy. It is like comparing educational outcomes to money spent per pupil. They are not closely related. #2 is culture. I lived in Poland, where they spend less and hospital & school conditions are way below U.S. standards. Yet they do okay with children because they have a strong family oriented culture. #3 is comparison. You cannot reasonably compare

We should take the report seriously, BUT we should not prescribe the wrong remedies.

In America we have the abiity to compare among our states and localities. We would be better served by finding the states the DO work best and trying to figure out why and if it can be copied.


Heuristic is a fancy word because it describes such an simple thing (rule of thumb) that consultants can sell if they use the fancier word.

Re Gitmo - We have no reason to believe that the people there are innocent. We have insufficient reason to believe they are all guilty. We know that conditions are humane. I do not know much about it. I wrote a post quoting an expert on the subject because so many people who seemed to know even less than I did were making authoritative sounding comments.

Re abortion - you do not need to know much about it. It is a moral problem. I believe abortion is a very bad thing to do. I believe it is worse to force a woman to go through with a pregnancy she does not want. Both are bad things. I judge that a woman who would abort a healthy baby is morally deficient but within her legal rights.

Again, lots of people have passionate opinions on this subject. They are based, as mine are, on moral interpretations. There are no experts on this and there are no definitive answers. That is why we continue to argue.

Posted by: Jack at February 19, 2007 7:32 PM
Comment #208969


I don’t object to evoking morality in issues such as abortion (or Gitmo, for that matter). They are in essence issues of morality. What rubbed me the wrong way was the implication that abortion, though wrong, was tolerable because of economic/crime issues. I prefer to frame it as a struggle between conflicting “rights.”

I see your point about words such as “heuristics.” Whereas most of us in the humanities know the word as an ancient and useful one (related to “eureka,” after all), in the business world it must seem strange and impressive. It sounds like jargon so it must be good. However, some useful words don’t make that grade. I remember when I first entered the corporate world and was given the task of writing a management report. At one point I used the word “sanguine” because it was the correct word, but the client, a very bright lady, said to me, “Trent, do you really think these executives know that word?” I had to learn to dumb things down quite a bit, and at the same time, master some truly ridiculous jargon. I shudder at the things I wrote.

Posted by: Trent at February 19, 2007 11:06 PM
Comment #208977
Chuck Hagel conservative? Wow some imagination or stretching.

At what point did the definition of ‘conservative’ become kow-towing to President Bush? Bush is the epitome of a big-government liberal and his foreign policy is Wilsonian to the core.

If you’re a real coservative, then you can’t support what Bush is doing. I applaud Hagel for being so dedicated to traditional conservative principles.

Posted by: American Pundit at February 19, 2007 11:45 PM
Comment #209066

I dislike the word sanguine because I always get it mixed up. I wrote a paper re Chaucer when I was in college. Evidently the word back then was closer to the original means i.e. full of blood.

You know that most people use only about 20% of the words we have. The goal it to be understood and that means explaining the way they will hear it.

I am not sure “dumbing down” is the proper way to express it. As you know, I am overcoming the disability of a classical education. Much of the way I learned to write was needlessly complicated. My goal now is to write at the most common level I think communicates my message. I occassionally throw in the “big word” if I am too dumb to think of a simpler one.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 1:41 PM
Comment #209075


I agree that the simplest way to express an idea is the best. That’s just good style. But when we can’t use the exact word that conveys our intent, we are forced to use less precise ones. For example, take our word “heuristics.” “Rule of thumb” doesn’t really capture its meaning. And it is three words — longer and less precise than “heuristics.” Yuck.

Posted by: Trent at February 20, 2007 2:44 PM
Comment #209079


I understand, but heuristics is too esoteric.

Besides, it kind of hides a lot of smoke and mirror decision making. If I say rule of thumb, you know that I do not really know why it works or that it is a short cut. Heuristic makes it sound more like I am an expert.

It is like when someone calls something an expert systems when he means a checklist.

Posted by: Jack at February 20, 2007 3:01 PM
Comment #209102

I think what you are objecting to is the use of the word as jargon. You’re right. If the word came up in a document produced by my former company, it would be a smoke screen.

It’s a shame. Interesting phenomenon, though. Not only does business create jargon, it produces jargon out of perfectly acceptable words. I was asked to be “pro-active” because, you know, being active wasn’t enough. I got “tasked” to do all sorts of stuff. My colleagues spoke of “dialoguing” with clients. “Converse” or “talk to” just aren’t impressive enough. It makes you want to puke.

Posted by: Trent at February 20, 2007 6:37 PM
Comment #209137
We have no reason to believe that the people there are innocent.

Wow. Have you ever read Kafka’s The Trial?

You are embracing the logic of the police state. If someone can’t prove they are innocent, they must be guilty.

Personally, I “have no reason to believe” that you aren’t a serial killer. I mean, you seem like a nice guy and all. But that’s what the neighbors always say. And you are a fairly intelligent white male, which fits the profile. You do have a family, as I recall, but you probably involve them in some sort of disgusting satanic ritual.

Clearly, the police should bring you in and interrogate you for a while. It’s just for public safety.

Posted by: Woody Mena at February 21, 2007 8:41 AM
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