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Political Ageism

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Byron York writes in The Washington Examiner Why is the 2016 Democratic field so old?

excerpts:

In 2008, Democrats had a 47 year-old candidate who mesmerized the party and ran away with the votes of Americans aged 18 to 29. Republicans, meanwhile, ran a 72 year-old man whose reputation was based on heroism in a war 40 years earlier. Youth won.

This time the situation is reversed. The average age of the Republican field is far below the Democrats, with every candidate younger than Clinton. The most senior is Jeb Bush, who will be 64 on Inauguration Day. Scott Walker will be 49; Marco Rubio will be 45; Ted Cruz, 46; Rand Paul, 54; Chris Christie, 54; Mike Huckabee, 61; Bobby Jindal, 45. Although Bush is in the older range, they’re all in the career sweet spot to win the White House.

What accounts for the Democrats’ dramatic change from the party of youth to the party of age?

“It’s the snuffing out of young talent by the strength and size and sheer velocity of the inevitable nominee,” says a well-connected Democratic strategist. “The Clintons took all the air out of the collective Democratic room. There are a lot of people who would be running who are much younger, but they’ve got their future in front of them, and they don’t want the Clintons to ruin it, in this campaign or after this campaign. So they’re waiting for a moment when there is enough oxygen to run.”

HKO

The Clintons have a monopoly of power within the Democratic party that excludes fresh and new ideas.

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Political Bud Lite

Don Boudreaux writes in Cafe Hayek Insipidness Guaranteed

Excerpt:

It’s intriguing that the people who most self-righteously criticize the likes of McDonald’s, Anheuser-Busch, pop rock, and builders of ‘cookie-cutter’ houses for being bland and failing to experiment with the Bold and the Edgy – those who condemn conformity, sneer at the crowds in Wal-Mart, and trumpet their devotion to diversity – are especially likely to be among those who glorify politics and to find in democratic elections the possibility of transcendence and of discovering and empowering the bold, the different, and the courageous trend-bucking leader.

No one should be surprised that candidates for the U.S. presidency transact mostly in platitudes and are forever performing deeds on the campaign trail that any self-respecting person with independent judgment and a genuine sense and appreciation of his or her uniqueness would never in a million years dream of doing.  And the closer a candidate gets to the political promised land, the more intense becomes the pressure for him or her to be the political equivalent of a Bud Lite.

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A Hillary Reality Check

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From Don Boudreaux in Cafe Hayek, Why Is This Politician Taken Seriously?

Excerpt:

So here’s a simple mental experiment.  Suppose you’re on the board of a successful corporation and the President & CEO of that corporation is about to retire.  You, as a board member, must help select the outgoing president’s replacement.  A seemingly sane candidate comes in one day for an interview and he announces that he was once in the midst of sniper fire.  That candidate then explains the hectic efforts that he and his companions took to avoid being mowed down, giving you the impression that his life was then in serious jeopardy before his fortunate escape from the attack.  You’re impressed by the man’s adventure!  You soon learn, however, that the candidate’s tale is a lie.  There’s not a shred of relevant truth to it.  You call the candidate and inform him that you have it on solid authority that no gunfire incident ever happened to him.  There’s a short pause.  He then replies, confidently, “Oh, yeah.  I misspoke.  Sorry about that!”

Do you need any further information about this candidate to immediately and unconditionally strike him off of the list of possible successors to the outgoing president?  Can this candidate possibly have any superior qualities that offset your certain knowledge that he is either a bald-faced liar or bat-poop nuts?  Surely not.

Let’s face it: no sane person misremembers being in the line of sniper fire when, in fact, that person never was in such a predicament.  That’s not the sort of non-event that a sane person comes to believe he or she actually endured.  How many of you, Cafe patrons, have ever recalled being in the line of sniper fire only to remember later that such a recollection is completely mistaken?

 

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ACA Flim Flam

From The Wall Street Journal Cliff Asness writes In Praising ObamaCare, They Bury It

Excerpts:

That more people would be insured was never in dispute. If you mandate that people buy something, penalize them if they don’t and give it away to some, more people will end up with it. The proper response to this is: Duh.

The real question is how many of those covered by ObamaCare were previously uninsured, how increased coverage is translating into more or better health care, and at what cost this comes both to public finances and personal liberties—all compared with what other alternatives? That is the stuff for serious debate.

Five years ago, opponents of ObamaCare focused on many questions. Can the government force people to buy a good or service? If ObamaCare is constitutional, is there anything the government cannot force citizens to do? Will government intrusion into the health-care market raise or lower the long-term quality of care? What will it do to innovation? Is the Rube-Goldberg structure of ObamaCare the right—or even a reasonable—way to go about this? Should we pass laws first, read them second and force the courts and agencies to fix the problems? The real issues are principles and long-term effects, not “voilà!” proof that allows one side, either side, to say “we win!” based on shoddy logic.

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Evil is Not the Problem

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from The National Review Online Kevin Williamson writes Black Hats and White Hats

Excerpts:

In popular culture, it is a commonplace that we could have cures for AIDS or cancer if not for the greed of doctors and pharmaceutical companies, that we could have cars that run off of sunshine and goodwill if not for the wickedness of the oil barons. Progressive media is entirely captive to the Evil-Man Theory of Everything, and popular left-leaning commentators such as Thom Hartmann are as crude in their illiterate moralism as any 1930s demagogue – indeed, as economic analysis, their views are indistinguishable from those of Father Coughlin.

The tendency festers in some quadrants of the Right as well. It is one thing to believe that Barack Obama, cookie-cutter Ivy League progressive that he is, broadly sympathizes with the critique of American power proffered by Edward Said or any of the other voguish leftists he would have encountered as a student and activist; it is another thing entirely to argue that the United States failed to prevent the emergence of the Islamic State because Barack Obama is a jihadist saboteur. Even if you believe that Barack Obama is a genuinely bad man – a black-hat-wearing SOB – that would not be a sufficient explanation for the defects of his administration or for the failures of American policy abroad.

But we have Republicans and Democrat(s?) announcing their presidential campaigns, so we must revert into pre-adolescence and spend a year and a half enduring black-hat/white-hat baby talk. Keep this in mind: Every time you hear a politician or activist explain that the world is the way it is because villainous so-and-so is the tool of unsympathetic thus-and-such while heroic so-and-so really cares about sympathetic thus-and-such, what you are hearing is about as meaningful as the croaking of poorly educated frogs or explanations based on the four humors, hepatomancy, astrology, or the keen insights of John Oliver, each of which is about as intellectually defensible as the next.

Satan, Snidely Whiplash, or Lloyd Blankfein: It is a comforting myth that the world’s worst problems can be explained by the presence of individual malefactors, because then the solution becomes simple: Burn the witches.

The unhappy truth is that unmitigated evil is not the problem – it’s far worse than that.

HKO

Politics has become a system of belief that requires adherence to a narrative more  than an accountability to results.  As a religion it has a greater need for a demon than a savior.

Populist notions center more on demons than solutions.