A Mind That Suits What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Thursday, October 09, 2003 :::
Another swamped day for A Mind That Suits.

Gentle memories of John Burton...Rummy gets a taste of his own

When A Mind That Suits was but a lad, he attended Cal State Sonoma for one year before decamping to a certain red-tile-roofed university further South. Not long ago, a young man looking for a room to rent answered an ad placed by yours truly, and in talking of this and that, the young man said that he had himself just graduated from the very same Cal State, only said august institution now fancies itself a university. When A Mind That Suits vouchsafed that he too had dwelt in Arcady, or at least in Rohnert Park, way back in '74, the young man blurted out, "Is it true that the students walked around naked back then?" Indeed it was, A Mind That Suits assured him, hastily adding that he himself had never done so. However, he also added that it was in the hairy, dirty, smelly era, when many did not take baths, so that it was nowhere near as much fun as it should have been.

A Mind That Suits brings this up because he finds it remarkable that John Burton is the President pro Tempore of the California State Senate. Now, so far as he knows, John Burton did not walk around naked on college campuses in 1974. Indeed, when A Mind That Suits saw him, he was incongruously dressed in a suit and tie, speaking before the assembled hairy, dirty, smelly hippie wannabes (and two or three nerdy young conservatives) who were taking an Intro to Politics class. The teacher himself, while clean, sported a pony tail, and was a devotee of John Stuart Mill and Henry David Thoureau. The professor, you see, was an ardent left libertarian, and spent much of class ranting about stuff, usually perpetrated by Republicans.

Now, given that he admired those two authors, it seems strange that the teacher was excited to have then-young Congressman Burton in his class.

Not that that was so clear at the time, one admits. Congressman Burton was then known primarily as the younger brother of highly effective, and highly leftist, San Francisco Congressman Phil Burton. Brother Phil died unexpectedly in the 1980's, while serving as the Democratic Whip, and John left congress at some point--one thinks he got unelected--having left no mark whatsoever. Apparently he has long since picked up his brother's mantle, and somehow learned to be an effective legislator on behalf of big government. That's why it now seems so odd that the hippie, get-your-government-out-of-my-drug-paraphenalia professor was so admiring of so Swedish a politician.

The papers this morning are full of questions about how the Democrats will take their overwhelming failure at the polls yesterday. A Mind That Suits bets that it will not be lying down, if for no other reason than that John Burton could never imagine not covering every inch of life with laws and regulations. Way back in '74, when someone asked the newly-minted Congresman if government really were the answer to every problem, he responded--and A Mind That Suits swears he is not making this up--that government existed to solve problems and therefore it made no sense not to have government try to solve them. A Mind That Suits has long since concluded that one of the principle hallmarks of both maturity and morality is knowning when to butt out, but he has to admit that he had to struggle, at the age of 17, with congressman's logic, if that is the wolrd he is looking for. Sen. Burton probably never struggled over the matter, not at 17, and not at whatever age he has attained today.

So, of course, the Wall Street Journal, which requires every staff member to read A Mind That Suits every morning religiously, or not, outlined in its lead editorial everything that Der Arnold should do, and, if they failed, be prepared to "take it to the voters," or words to that effect. As that is what this blog has advocated for all of one day, A Mind That Suits is happy to see that the Journal has now seen the light.

However, everyone should just forget about all this "have the Democrats learned" nonsense. The answer is no. For one thing, if you add up all the people who voted against recall and all the people who voted for Cruz Bustamante (who are probably distinct groups), the Democrats still have quite a strong base, and they are already reading the numbers in a way that would cause Pollyanna herself to urge caution.

So A Mind That Suits now revises his advice to Arnold thusly.

Year One: Press hard for a comprehensive agenda revising the entire business and tax climate in California, and, when thwarted, get the Republicans to unite behind it going into the 2004 elections..
Year Two: Resubmit the whole program immediately when the new legislature convenes, with a much smaller Democratic majority. When the Democrats prove they haven't learned, then submit two propositions to the voters, one on taxes, the other on business regulations.
Year Three: Having now been defeated by a rabid, unscrupulous, and merciless Democratic left, but by decreasing margins, romp all over them in the general election.
That means that the poor California voter will have undergo four serious elections in a row, but it about time he woke up, the poor fellow.
This plan has the beauty that at any point, the new Governor could win, but at no point could the Democrats rest on the assumption that they would.

That is what A Mind That Suits suggests.

Rummy Tastes Some of His Own Medicine

The only news that popped out was again about Donald Rumsfeld. Your humble correspondent was near the Metro yesterday when he saw a blaring headline in the Financial Times about our volatile Secretary of Defense. It seems the poor lad complained that he was not told about a memo circulated by Condaleezza Rice. It said that she was heading a new effort to coordinate all the various programs involved in reconstructing Iraq. Surprising that the American papers did not pick up on it yesterday, as the Financial Times is printed 5 hours before they are. The indispensable Journal did today, and everyone in the Administration swears Rumsfeld had been briefed. Perhaps he was upset that Condi "backgrounded" the New York Times. ("Background" as a transitive verb, or simply as a verb, recalls the regrettable linguistic gift of Bush 1: "to grow the economy.") In any case, “Rummy” comes off looking petulant, but this is a man known for firing people who disagree with him, especially if they are right. As it is his pet idea that we can do this for $30 and a bucket of paint, it is just as well that he is no longer the central figure coordinating it.

One doubts he will give up without a huge fight, but at least other people can come to the President and say, "see????" Deep in the story, the Journal buried a comment from other administration officials that heretofore their ideas about Iraq were not even acknowledged. Now, one hopes, they will be, and that the rest of us will be clued in a little earlier when we are asked for $87 billion.

But A Mind That Suits is going to lay off Iraq for a while--he wants to think about something.

A Mind That Suits is also, he is happy to announce, about to start translating a major book on the history of economic theory from Italian, and somebody else actually wants him to do it! That should not interfere much with the rest of life, as it will simply become what A Mind That Suits studies in the morning. Most importantly, it should not interfere with his research into the life of his beloved uncle, Allen Drury. It also adds a few dollars to the pocket and some more food for thought.

Have a good one...

::: posted by A Mind That Suits at 1:11 PM



Post a Comment


A Related Website on Christian Spirituality
The Fullness of Him
The Easiest Way to Keep Up With the News:
Best of the Web
Links to Web Friends
One Good Turn
A Dog's Life
Power Line
Rambles and By-ways

What doesn't kill me, makes me laugh... usually.

Powered by Blogger