Tag Archives: John McCain

A Truly Great Phony – Thomas Sowell – Page full

The man was indeed a very talented phony. He could convince almost anybody of almost anything — provided that they were not already knowledgeable about the subject.

This is not the judgment of a national syndicated columnist about George “weapons-of-destruction” Bush or Dick “we-will-be-greeted-as-liberators” Cheney (who was associated with no-bid Halliburton) or Condoleezza “smoking-gun-mushroom-cloud” Rice or John “the-fundamentals-of-the-economy-are-sound” McCain. This is the judgment of Thomas “my-readers-are-so-dumb-they-think-I’m-smart” Sowell.

Thomas “easy money” Sowell calls Obama a phony for not being able to find enough “”shovel-ready” projects that would quickly provide many much-needed jobs” or referring to the Malvinas as the Maldives. You would probably be hard-pressed to find an instance where Thomas “robbing-conservatives-every-week” Sowell ever listed any of the public gaffes by that great non-reader George “I-didn’t-read-the-Bin-Laden-determined-to-attack-PDB” Bush. You probably never read a column by Sowell where he listed anything Bush said like:

“One of the very difficult parts of the decision I made on the financial crisis was to use hardworking people’s money to help prevent there to be a crisis.”—Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2009 – Bush

“In terms of the economy, look, I inherited a recession, I am ending on a recession.”—Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2009 – Bush

“I’m telling you there’s an enemy that would like to attack America, Americans, again. There just is. That’s the reality of the world. And I wish him all the very best.”—Washington, D.C., Jan. 12, 2009 – Bush

I’ve abandoned free market principles to save the free market system.”—Washington, D.C., Dec. 16, 2008 – Bush

“I remember meeting a mother of a child who was abducted by the North Koreans right here in the Oval Office.”—Washington, D.C., June 26, 2008 – Bush

Should the Iranian regime—do they have the sovereign right to have civilian nuclear power? So, like, if I were you, that’s what I’d ask me. And the answer is, yes, they do.”—Speaking to reporters in Washington, D.C., July 2, 2008 – Bush “Rarely is the question asked: Is our children learning?”—Florence, S.C., Jan. 11, 2000 – Bush
“Too many good docs are getting out of the business. Too many OB/GYNs aren’t able to practice their love with women all across the country.”—Poplar Bluff, Mo., Sept. 6, 2004 – Bush

Man, there is good, easy money available in that Republican Noise Machine for junk like the following:

Many years ago, I was a member of a committee that was recommending to whom grant money should be awarded. Since I knew one of the applicants, I asked if this meant that I should recuse myself from voting on his application.

“No,” the chairman said. “I know him too — and he is one of the truly great phonies of our time.”

The man was indeed a very talented phony. He could convince almost anybody of almost anything — provided that they were not already knowledgeable about the subject.

He had once spoken to me very authoritatively about Marxian economics, apparently unaware that I was one of the few people who had read all three volumes of Marx’s “Capital,” and had published articles on Marxian economics in scholarly journals.

What our glib talker was saying might have seemed impressive to someone who had never read “Capital,” as most people have not. But it was complete nonsense to me.

Incidentally, he did not get the grant he applied for.

This episode came back to me recently, as I read an incisive column by Charles Krauthammer, citing some of the many gaffes in public statements by the President of the United States.

One presidential gaffe in particular gives the flavor, and suggests the reason, for many others. It involved the Falkland Islands.

Argentina has recently been demanding that Britain return the Falkland Islands, which have been occupied by Britons for nearly two centuries. In 1982, Argentina seized these islands by force, only to have British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher take the islands back by force.

With Argentina today beset by domestic problems, demanding the return of the Falklands is once again a way for Argentina’s government to distract the Argentine public’s attention from the country’s economic and other woes.

Because the Argentines call these islands “the Malvinas,” rather than “the Falklands,” Barack Obama decided to use the Argentine term. But he referred to them as “the Maldives.”

It so happens that the Maldives are thousands of miles away from the Malvinas. The former are in the Indian Ocean, while the latter are in the South Atlantic.

Nor is this the only gross misstatement that President Obama has gotten away with, thanks to the mainstream media, which sees no evil, hears no evil and speaks no evil when it comes to Obama.

The presidential gaffe that struck me when I heard it was Barack Obama’s reference to a military corps as a military “corpse.” He is obviously a man who is used to sounding off about things he has paid little or no attention to in the past. His mispronunciation of a common military term was especially revealing to someone who was once in the Marine Corps, not Marine “corpse.”

Like other truly talented phonies, Barack Obama concentrates his skills on the effect of his words on other people — most of whom do not have the time to become knowledgeable about the things he is talking about. Whether what he says bears any relationship to the facts is politically irrelevant.

A talented con man, or a slick politician, does not waste his time trying to convince knowledgeable skeptics. His job is to keep the true believers believing. He is not going to convince the others anyway.

Back during Barack Obama’s first year in office, he kept repeating, with great apparent earnestness, that there were “shovel-ready” projects that would quickly provide many much-needed jobs, if only his spending plans were approved by Congress.

He seemed very convincing — if you didn’t know how long it can take for any construction project to get started, after going through a bureaucratic maze of environmental impact studies, zoning commission rulings and other procedures that can delay even the smallest and simplest project for years.

Only about a year or so after his big spending programs were approved by Congress, Barack Obama himself laughed at how slowly everything was going on his supposedly “shovel-ready” projects.

One wonders how he will laugh when all his golden promises about ObamaCare turn out to be false and a medical disaster. Or when his foreign policy fiascoes in the Middle East are climaxed by a nuclear Iran.

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A Truly Great Phony – Thomas Sowell – Page full

Pathways of Privilege

Being white and male gives you legacy advantages that you probably don’t realize you have, even in the age of Obama. John Kerry is obviously eminently qualified to be Secretary of State. It is the pathway to those qualifications, even in liberal Massachusetts, which played a role in his nomination. I might add that those pathways to qualifications have also greatly restricted African-American access to contributions to represenstation in the South (and to a lessor degree nationally when you take into account U.S. senators from Illinois and Massachuessetts) since the Redemption of the 19th century. Part of the foundation for this observation was the things like the following:

“After sustaining criticism from Republican Senators including John McCain, R-Ariz., Lindsey Graham, R-Ga., and Kelly Ayotte, R-N.H., Rice said in a letter to President Obama, “I am convinced now that the confirmation process would be lengthy, disruptive and costly– to you and our most pressing national interests and international priorities.”

Kerry, in contrast, began his confirmation process with a series of jokes to his colleagues. ”I don’t want this to affect your opening questions. But let me say I’ve never seen a more distinguished and better looking group of public officials in my life,” Kerry said to laughter. In a show of bipartisanship, McCain introduced “[his] friend Senator Kerry” along with introductions from Clinton and newly-elected Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren.” “““`MSNBC

The presence of Secretary of State Clinton and Senator Warren and many other women, along with President Obama is evidence that the pathways are multiplying and opening. This is evidence of the liberal evolution of the nation. But you’ll have to drag the South into this bold new world, because that Republican Southern Strategy intersected with anti-labor pro-corporate strategy that continues to assist in hurtling American labor on a downward trajectory in a fashion that has made certain that there has not been one black U.S. Senator or U.S. Representaive or Governor in places like Mississippi, Alabama, or Louisiana (places with substiantial black populations) since the Redemption. It is in this world that photo ID is used as a new access restriction device. Restrict the number and economic groups of people who participate in the democratic process and you can determine the gender and race of the representatives and the democratic content of the policies (including how widely prosperity is dispersed)that the government produces.