Saturday, December 22, 2007

Geniuses and preachers

Bill continues to lay it on thick and heavy with regards to wifey:
Clinton lauded his wife for her early work for the Children’s Defence Fund, her efforts to improve education in Arkansas when he was the state’s governor and her work in the US Senate, repeatedly and forcefully calling her an agent of change.’
Well, to be fair, as first lady in Arkansas, Hillary did chair a committee charged to improve Arkansas's dismal national performance. She apparently helped to shepherd through a raise in the state sales tax to pay for the reforms, meaning the very people that most needed the help were stuck paying for it. But let's not get ahead of ourselves in the genius department. Here is an excerpt from Mike Huckabee's 2003 State of the State address to Arkansas citizens whereupon he discussed education:
You probably have now understood what I have understood. Every legislative session, every decade, every governor, every General Assembly gathers just as we have, and they talk about their constitutional responsibility to provide the kind of education that our Constitution says we must provide. And minor changes are made. And people go home having congratulated themselves for minor adjustments to a system that for 100 years at least every single governor and legislator has said is broken.
In other words, still broken after the genius touched it. By the way, political junkies might recognize this as the underlying rationale for the revenue increases he waxed eloquently about (devilishly snipped by the Club for Growth).

But back to Hillary. What changes came about during her tenure as first lady? Other than firing the travel office staff, hiding the Rose Law Firm documents or cussing out subordinates or talking about the VRWC, nothing immediately jumps out. As to her career in the Senate, well, she did vote for the Iraq use of force resolution and was strongly in favor of dealing strongly with Saddam. Again, Bill said anything she touches turns out better, so maybe that's why the surge is working!

It might be prudent to ask whether Bill's training as an attorney and his penchant for parsing words didn't come into play here. By using the term 'an agent of change' did he specifically mean for good changes or bad changes, or just changes? It's really all about perception.

Speaking of which, let's return to Huckabee for a moment. One thing people really want from their government (and especially the president) is a sense of trust. Bush had it then lost it with Iraq (liberals can take it from here) but as for Huck, well, nothing says trust to the average God-fearing tax paying American than a man of the cloth.

Discounting the notorious Christian televangelic frauds the notion of being a true Christian is a powerful subliminal message of trust but at the same can be abused by shrewd businesspeople, especially down south and in the midwest. The "anything to get people in the door" paradigm does a great disservice to those who genuinely operate by the Golden Rule and teach it to their kids.

Not to imply that Huck is using a scheme, but it should be obvious why he's gained traction in the heartland. Here's another line from his State of the State that few would disagree with:
And no matter how much money we spend and what kind of teacher pay we set and what kind of buildings we build and how strenuous an academic curriculum we establish, nothing will replace the most important component of education, and that's still mom and dad.
Here, here, but words are fanciful things. In the end, all the voter has is a track record. Or if you like, on a broader scale consider the fact that despite the presence of the 20th century's best politician and his genius wife, and a former man of the cloth, it's still Arkansas.

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