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August 01, 2005

"Non-Scandals" and Comparative Advantage in Politics

Halliburton. Enron. Gannon-gate. Plame-gate. World Com. Global Crossing. 9/11. 3/11. 7/7.

All Bush's fault, whether he had anything to do with it, or whether there was any corruption, or not.

But this scandal, involving Air America founder Evan Cohen embezzling $800k from an impoverished Boys & Girls Club organization in Queens, is supposed to fade away, without notice or comment. You will remember, I'm sure, that Air America was founded by Al Franken and a bunch of other lefties, with the express purpose of beating George Bush, and spreading the leftist gospel, on the assumption that only conservative views are ever expressed in the mainstream, corrupt, "corporate" media.

So there's nothing to see here, folks. Move along. Nothing to see. Move along.

Or should I say, "Move On"?

The DNC chalks up their losing streak in the last several national elections to the voters being too dumb to swallow the hyper-nuanced left / center left positions. That could be true. On the other hand, maybe the average voter just thinks that the public face of the party's base, people like Al Franken, Randy Rhodes, Evan Cohen, Howard Dean, and Nancy Pelosi are stark raving nuts, and that the pseudo-scandal cycle is simply picking at the motes in the Repubs' eyes, while ignoring a beam or two in the Dems' own eyes. I would urge my friends at the DNC to consider that possibility. Who would you want to live next to - who would make a better neighbor, in your mind? Bill Frist, or Ted Kennedy? Dick "Gitmo" Durbin, or Richard Burr? Rick Santorum, or or Cynthia McKinney?

I think in the end, the Republican advantage is marginal, but significant and across the board. Who would you rather live next to - a Ned Flanders, who is a little too nutty about going to church and trying to live the Good Book even though he falls short, or Mayor Quimby, chasing the interns around the back yard in his underpants? You don't need to love Ned Flanders. If enough people merely prefer him slightly to Mayor Quimby, or simply dislike Mayor Quimby more, then Ned wins.

I think the mainstream Republican leadership is marginally "more like us" to most middle class Americans, than the mainstream among the Democratic Party. I mean, my God, they make fun of Tom Delay for having been an extirmanator prior to running for Congress. Jeez, I dunno. It sounds to me like he made an honest living. I'll make fun of other lawyers and even myself, because most of us are dweebs who can't change the spark plug in our lawnmowers, which we hire Ecuadorean day laborers to operate. But I would never make fun of a man who makes an honest living, doing harder stuff than I do all day long. It strikes me as terribly tone deaf, and wrong to do so.

At the same time, the fringe of the Republican Party seems to try to act marginally less nutty than the Democratic fringe. Rick Santorum isn't too keen on gay marriage and man-on-dog sex (and he'll tell you about it, too) but at least he isn't spouting insanely anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Joooos being behind 9/11. As any economist can tell you, it doesn't take overwhelming superiority, to get an absolute win, when winning means catching 50.01% of the market share, as it does in voting. With all the pseudo-scandalmongering, once again, the R's come out in the lead - at least they have the courtesy to lie to us about their scandals, or to maybe even fire a lawmaker or two over them. In contrast, the D's can't even admit they have a problem (except to chalk it up to voters who are just too dumb to understand).

Maybe after they have a moment of clarity, I'll be free to love the Dems again. The relationship is pretty badly damaged, however, and it may take some doing. They could start by backing the inverse condemnation of Justice Souter's land, for one thing.

Posted by Blackavar at August 1, 2005 11:20 PM | TrackBack
Postscript:
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Comments

I like what you have to say about the DNC, they really do need a wake-up call and possibly some coffee to go with it. I mean come on, Howard Dean as the president of the DNC, what is going on? They had a much better choice in past US congressman Tim Roemer, why on earth would they want some fringe guy like Dean?

When I heard that Roemer had thrown his hat in the ring for the D's head man, I thought that finally they got it, but I guess not.

To bad actually, because sometimes the D's actually have some good ideas about running this country too.

Posted by: Bill Connors at August 2, 2005 02:45 AM

This has nothing to do with the substance of your post but isn't inverse condemnation where the property owner brings suit to force the acquistion?

Posted by: Dr. Fager at August 2, 2005 07:31 AM

Doc, you are on the right track. A suit to force compensation for a governmental taking *may* be affiliated with inverse condemnation, and sometimes a proceeding to force just compensation under the 5th Amend. U.S. Const. and state law may be referred to as an "inverse condemnation proceeding." In its narrow technical sense as I used it above, an inverse condemnation refers to a "regulatory taking" or an uncompensated physical taking by the government, either of which gives rise to a legal cause of action, usually called a takings claim or an inverse condemnation claim.

Regulatory takings occur when government rulemaking or administrative decisionmaking render land unusuable in some major way - either rendering it actually unusable, or unusable for the purposes for which it was purchased. For example, if you buy beachfront property that is zoned for a single family home, and the state comes along later and forbids any use of the land by a new regulation or by a serious of administrative decisions, other than as a beach access space, an inverse condemnation has occurred. You can commence the inverse condemnation proceedings that you mentioned above, to force the state to concede it has condemned your land, which in turn forces just compensation.

Clearer?

Posted by: Blackavar at August 2, 2005 08:09 AM

Thlali-Ra, you must be kidding on Delay. We have it on very good authority that no Republican has ever worked an honest day in his (or her) life. Hey, Dean's a doctor so he must know what he's talking about.

Posted by: megapotamus at August 2, 2005 01:39 PM
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