Friday, 5 December 2003

Democratic candidates on steel tariffs

Paul Muller at Heretical Ideas asks for feedback from Democrats on the reactions of Democratic presidential candiates to the President’s dropping the steel tariffs. Here are some quotes from the AP article:

Former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean (news – web sites) said that despite Bush’s claims “the steel industry needs additional breathing room to get back on its feet.” Rep. Dick Gephardt (news – web sites), D-Mo., said Bush’s action demonstrated a “callous disregard for the workers and the communities whose jobs and livelihoods have been decimated by unfair competition.” Former Gen. Wesley Clark (news – web sites) said Bush needed to “listen to the 2.6 million manufacturing workers who’ve lost their jobs” while he has been in office.

I for one am extremely dissappointed in these three candidates. Well, Gephardt I expected it from, he’s Mr. Protectionist. But Dean and Clark are both smart enough to know that tariffs are not good for the American economy, and their pandering to the steel industry is just as pathetic as the President’s pandering was. (Although fortunately they can’t back up their pandering with real tariffs. Not yet anyway.)

It’s looking more and more like I’ll be sitting out the Democratic primary, assuming Lieberman drops out before the Tennessee primaries, and then voting Libertarian in the general election.

Here’s a question for the Constitutional Law experts out there. Article I, Section 8, of the U.S. Constitution grants to Congress the power "to lay and collect taxes, duties, imposts and excises". Article II does not grant the President any such power. How is it that the President has the power to impose tariffs on steel?

I’m guessing that some law passed by Congress granted this power to the President. But why wouldn’t that be an unconstitutional delegation of power? Have the federal courts ruled on this specific issue?

Keith Burgess-Jackson, armchair psychologist

Keith Burgess-Jackson attempts to explain liberal anger from his converative viewpoint. His specific targets are Brian Leiter and Henry Farrell, but he lumps all liberals in with them:

Deep down, liberals know that they have lost the battle for the hearts and minds of the American people. They control the media, Hollywood, the courts, and academia, but little else. They sense that all is lost—that what they perceive as rollbacks will be permanent. ... What we are seeing is a grown-up tantrum.

So how do you explain all the angry conservatives, Keith?

My suggestion to everyone out there, left and right, is to quit the armchair psychoanalysis of the political opposition. It’s a load of patronizing bullshit when liberals do it, and it’s a load of patronizing bullshit when conservatives do it.

Toasting the candidates

Fellow Ph.D. (gosh, it feels good to write that) Steven Taylor has the weekly update on the Toast-O-Meter, which now has a new feature—looking at the fortunes of the Nine versus Bush as well. After all, there’s now less than 11 months until Election Day! (Sick of the campaign yet?)

Meanwhile, Martin Devon joins the emerging consensus that Dean is virtually unstoppable at this point. Quoth Martin:

Even if Kerry and Gephardt lose early and withdraw from the race that still leaves four credible Dems spliting the anti-Dean vote. By the time two of the remaining four face reality it may already be too late for the survivors to win.

Sound familiar? I said the same thing three weeks ago.

Mike Hollihan of Half-Bakered has some predictions as well; I think he’s lowballing the Democrats and giving too much credit to the Greens (I can’t see the Greens getting 7% of the vote, especially if Howard Dean is the nominee).

I sense disbarment in this man's future

Amanda Butler of Crescat Sententia notes the rather inexplicable case of Michael Ravellette, who was prosecuted for burning an American flag, found guilty, and sentenced to two weeks in jail. There’s one minor problem: the statute is unconstitutional, and has been for fourteen years, per the Supreme Court’s decision in Texas v. Johnson.

Even more inexplicable, according to the Southern Illinoisian of Carbondale, Ill.:

Ravellette’s defense attorney, McArthur Allen, wouldn’t comment Wednesday.

One suspects Mr. Allen needs to find another line of work if he’s somehow managed to get his client jailed for doing something that is not, and cannot be, illegal.

Drive getting (slightly) longer

On Monday, the drive between my house and civilization will get several hundred feet longer (also see today’s Daily Mississippian), because the university wants to extend the runway at the Oxford airport by 900 feet—right across College Hill Road. They’ve been futzing around with this for almost a year now; I’m glad it’s finally done, even though it’ll be a little out of the way.

Progress and powder-blue helmets

Both Robert Prather (a Mississippi State grad) and Steven Taylor have noted the hiring of Sylvester Croom as head coach of the Mississippi State Bulldogs, and believe it is a positive step, a position I generally agree with—although, like Steven, I wish the reason why the national media was paying attention to my adopted state was due to something other than race. (Apparently, there’s a law that the only stories about Mississippi are allowed to be about race—directly or tangentially—or WorldCom, neither of which usually reflect well on us. Ex-governor Kirk Fordice’s now-abandoned slogan—“Only Positive Mississippi Spoken Here”—reflects that frustration.)

Of course, the inevitable comparisons between State and Ole Miss had to be trotted out, both by ESPN, as noted by Steven Godfrey in Thursday’s Daily Mississippian, and by others—even relatively local media—as Spencer Bryan notes in today’s DM. ESPN dragged out decades-old footage of Rebel fans waving Confederate battle flags at Ole Miss home games—dating from when Ole Miss was too cheap to paint the helmets that came from the factory—while failing to note the inconvenient fact that purple-and-gold faux Confederate banners adorning LSU fans outnumbered the genuine article at the recent LSU-Ole Miss matchup. On the academic side of the ledger, Ole Miss’ record of hiring and promoting minorities is far better than State’s. And if the Rebels had gone 2–10 instead of 9–3, I think there’s a good chance that Croom would have been introduced at a very similar-looking press conference here in Oxford this week instead.

Other takes are at Outside the Beltway, The American Mind, and StateDOG.