Sunday, October 31, 2010

Rambling, mumbling, wondering

I've heard it from the critics of the current party in power over and over:

"Quit wasting our money!"

Sounds like the consumer reporter on Channel 5, who intones at the end of every segment, "Don't waste your money!"

Like fingernails on a blackboard.

In fact, it seems this country has whipped itself into a frenzy over the government spending OUR money to save us all -- get this -- from another Great Depression. Maybe, the correct tack would have been to let the financial institutions go belly up, let General Motors and Chrysler work out their own fates (die), and let those without jobs stand in soup kitchen lines.

We could have just pulled ourselves up by our bootstraps -- the American way.


With the Republicans poised to retake power on Tuesday in at least one of the and probably both houses of Congress, it's a pretty good bet that we'll see that kind of strategy in place in the near future.

I hope it works, because I can’t imagine what would have happened had all of the above been the reality.

Economists (I don't know what political party they belong to) say the Troubled Asset Relief Program of 2008 -- TARP -- actually worked and ultimately won't be nearly as costly as the initial price tag of $700 billion. Is $50 billion more palatable? Maybe not for some folks but then $50 billion is a lot of money to wrap your arms around especially when your private sector employer cut the match for your 401(k).

(By the way, George Bush was president in 2008.)

But back to the election.

The Republicans say they are not about compromise or working toward solutions with their more liberal Democrat colleagues in Congress. They will work, they say, to see to it that President Barack Obama is a one-termer. Compromise be damned.

Obama certainly isn't without blame here. Though he promised conciliation and compromise, we got a mostly liberal agenda that was pushed through in parts by one or both houses of Congress by the party in power. Compromise be damned.

Meanwhile, the next phase of the Great Recession is about on us. It's the government and health care phase. Both institutions -- if that's the right term -- are being crippled by falling tax bases and if you think Ohio's going to be a fun place to live in over the next few years, well, wait and see.

If the federal government turns off the stimulus spigot, it means Ohio will face the impending $8 billion deficit all by itself. And that means massive cuts in services, including our public schools and state universities. Meanwhile, hospitals are going broke providing services to people who can't afford to pay or don't have some kind of private insurance. And doctors? Well, they don't to want to service Medicare patients because the program's payments don't cover the cost.

It's a lot more complicated than that, but you get the point. Things aren't going to improve immediately just because we throw this set of bums out. In fact, it might get a lot worse before it gets better.

Just don't be surprised.

* * *
If Zack Space wins in Tuesday's election, he might want to take Constitution Party candidate Lindsey Dean Sutton out to dinner. Sutton promises to play spoiler in the election by siphoning votes from Republican challenger Bob Gibbs.

In other words, Space could win a plurality of votes on Tuesday, which would give him a third term in office. If that happens and the House turns to Republican control, Space then can have a little fun. (I think it's safe to say he is not having fun now.)

He can concentrate on constituent services, criticizing Republicans and, of course, attend a few hundred chicken dinners.

* * *
A certain former mayor of a certain city near Dover in Tuscarawas County seems to think that the editorial board of a certain local newspaper endorses candidates based on whether the street thinks certain candidates will win. That way the paper looks really good and powerful if the endorsed (popular) candidate wins.


I can't speak for the current regime, but that certainly wasn't the case under my watch. If I thought long and hard, I'm sure I could produce a sizeable list of losers endorsed during my 19-year stint. We endorsed after considerable thought, back-and-forths with editors and reporters, feedback from constituents and colleagues of the candidates, and after direct conversations with many candidates.

If we endorsed a candidate, it's because we thought he/she deserved it. Or we thought the alternative was unacceptable. In some cases, we thought both candidates were acceptable and said so. And both candidates subsequently vilified us for being non-decisive.

There is an exception in the process. Presidential (and sometimes U.S. Senate) endorsements usually were dictated by the paper's ownership.

* * *
I am fascinated by at least two people who have nothing to do with politics.

One is Bill Simmons,'s "Sports Guy." I think Simmons is a fabulous writer and I have to thank my son, Chris, for hooking me up with Simmons' body of work, which includes some hilarious pieces on his trip to Las Vegas with buddies.

The other person is LeBron James, the world's most misguided narcissist who is a favorite subject in Simmons' columns. Simmons offered his view of James' debut with the Miami Heat last week. Here's the

* * *
Addendum: Scout asked in the comment section whether newspapers should endorse candidates. I'll answer that with a question: Should newspapers champion any causes in a community?

 I think a good newspaper ought to lead in any number of ways.

It ought to make sure its community is creating an atmosphere of progress and prosperity. It should campaign for decent health care, housing, jobs and infrastructure. It should applaud the arts and support its schools. And it should attempt to uncover wrongdoing on any number of levels.

Should a newspaper examine candidates for political office and then offer its view on the races? On the issues? Yes, it should, in my opinion anyway.

That's not to say other publications, such as the Bargain Hunter, play a role. Certainly they do. But they don't lead.

Can a newspaper be unbiased in its news columns and still lead on its editorial page? Good ones do.

Just sayin'.


Scout said...

Good post, although I don't understand why people think the Dems haven't compromised. So many democrats are frustrated because they believe their representatives compromised too much, and promised legislation has been watered down to be less effective.

Also, I think you should write a post explaining why newspapers endorse candidates. Doesn't that make them biased?

Anonymous said...

Another good blog, or should I say column, look forward to more, will be interesting to see how the Republicans fix the problem since they had 8 years of the Bush administration to complete the job are were unable to balance the budget or cut spending then.

R. Everett said...

Good Blog Dick! We sure miss the "old crew" at the TR. They didn't hestitate to voice their endorsements. I looked for an endorsement in the Governor's race, but don't see one? I didn't see Ohio Senator either. Over the years, some endorsements I agreed with and some I didn't, but at least they made them.

Both times I ran for public office I didn't get the endorsement and won by a large majority anyway. Guess the theory of the "popular guy" getting the endorsement goes out the window? By the way, could that former Mayor of a town close to Dover be the same guy who "opened mouth and inserted foot" when he made a comment about a former FOP President in Dover stepping off the curb in front of his car? Some people NEVER learn. As they say, silence is golden!

Dick Farrell said...

Please see my addendum at the end of the current post. -- DF

Scout said...

Thank you, Dick. Your explanation makes sense. Most people think of newspapers (or any news sources) as story tellers, but having a local paper also providing leadership is a good idea. I suppose people vote for that leader by subscribing or unsubscribing.