Monthly Archives: November 2011

The makers versus the takers

We don’t know who came up with the term “the makers versus the takers,” (it wasn’t Ayn Rand, though she characterized it well) but this is operative in describing President Obama’s coalition.  The New York Times had a telling quote today (“The Future of the Obama Coalition”):

“All pretense of trying to win a majority of the white working class has been effectively jettisoned in favor of cementing a center-left coalition made up, on the one hand, of voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment—professors, artists, designers, editors, human resources managers, lawyers, librarians, social workers, teachers and therapists—and a second, substantial constituency of lower-income voters who are disproportionately African-American and Hispanic.”

Look at whom Edsall defines as the coalition.  The “voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment” are comprised primarily of typical left-wing constituencies, but ignores the vast majority of “voters who have gotten ahead on the basis of educational attainment”—namely, white-collar employees of for-profit companies.

This statement betrays the author’s bias against—or, rather, his utter lack of understanding of—the private sector.  (Kind of like how President Obama used to refer to the “business community” as if it were just another niche special interest.)  What the author really means, we suppose, is voters in jobs in which the title is a function of a specific educational credential, which, admittedly (and appropriately) excludes most large and small business people and white-collar functionaries.

The hodge-podge of professions that made his list is curious and amusing (editors but not writers? physical or psychological therapists?).  The only exception to his exclusion is “human resources managers.” It’s even funnier that this is the only corporate sub-group that the article mentions—being a conspicuous niche of the corporate world that is sympathetic to President Obama’s leftist policies.  (It’s easy to characterize the subset of the corporate and legal professions that naturally fit into the Obama coalition:  those, like human resources managers and class-action lawyers, who jobs owe to market-distorting government mandates.)

It’s also telling that he didn’t include “journalists” on the list, though he probably consciously removed it because it would be too conspicuous to label his own ilk as part of the president’s core constituency.

There is an underlying logic to the article, however.  Since the start of the Obama administration, the electorate has become more and more starkly divided along relatively simple lines:  at-will employees whose job depends on providing value to a customer or employer are Republicans, and everyone else is a Democrat.  In pithier terms, which someone coined, the makers vs. the takers.

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Military officers are government bureaucrats, too (sometimes)

The military is the largest bureaucracy in the government (comprising some 20% of the total budget), ergo it is the organization with the most waste in absolute dollar terms.  Just because one supports Department of Defense’s purpose more than that of any other department does not mean that one shouldn’t look critically—and shouldn’t acknowledge that DoD is, like all government, a morass that could surely be cut intelligently.

Conservatives do themselves a disservice by considering any cut to defense as an argument-ender.  This Daily Caller article decries trimming the fate of Air Force majors, but substitute “Department of XYZ” for “Air Force” and “typical middle manager” for “major who has twice been passed over for promotion,” and we would be applauding some rare common sense by management in the government—­­thinning the ranks of excess personnel, as opposed to the usual coddling that job-for-life employees receive.

It seems that what the “military advocates” are proposing is that the passed-over should be allowed to skate by into a lifetime of benefits for the final six years of their 20-year tenure, which seems wrong in any organization.

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Draft John McCain

I have the perfect solution to our depressing batch of candidates:  Draft John McCain!  Though he was never my favorite candidate (by a long shot) and ran a disappointing campaign last time around, he brings many advantages, starting with a chance for redemption for voters suffering buyer’s remorse from 2008.  His campaign story would be easy to write and he could certainly put together the infrastructure this late in the race.  If I were him, I would pledge to serve only one term and possibly name Mitt Romney as my running mate.

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What’s controversial about the “birther” position?

Article II, Section 1 of the U.S. Constitution outlines the only prerequisites for one to be President of the republic:  “No Person except a natural born Citizen, or a Citizen of the United States, at the time of the Adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the Office of President; neither shall any Person be eligible to that Office who shall not have attained to the Age of thirty five Years, and been fourteen Years a Resident within the United States.”

Why wouldn’t one have to prove that he/she meets these requirements in order to get on the ballot?  It just seems natural that, in filing the paperwork, one should have to submit, as a matter of uncontroversial course, documents proving eligibility under each criterion.

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