Including “Happiness” on the National Spreadsheet.

Tight on the heels of my piece Freedom and Equality comes this bit of news out of France (via Eternity Road):

French President Wants to Include Happiness in Measures of Nation’s Economic Growth

Which means Sarkozy A) has no grasp of economics, or B) wants to deflect bad news by sleight-of-hand. You have three guesses, and one of them can be “all of the above.”

PARIS (AP) — What price happiness? French President Nicolas Sarkozy is seeking an answer to the eternal question — so that happiness can be included in measurements of French economic growth.

He’s turned to two Nobel economists to help him, hoping that if happiness is added to the count, the persistently sluggish French economy may seem more rosy.

“Seem” being the operative word here. And if two Nobel-winning economists are involved in it, they ought to have their medals revoked.

“It reflects a general feeling in Europe that says, ‘OK, the U.S. has been more successful in the last 20, 25 years in raising material welfare, but does this mean they are happier?'” said Paul de Grauwe, economics professor at Leuven University in Belgium.

Meaning “we envy the Americans their cars, their homes, their plasma TVs, their…”

“The answer is no, because there are other elements to happiness,” said Grauwe, once a candidate for the European Central Bank governing council.

And now you know why he didn’t get the job.

In terms of gross domestic product, the internationally recognized way of measuring the size of an economy, French growth lagged behind the U.S. throughout most of the 1980s and ’90s and in every year since 2001.

What?? In that socialist worker’s paradise which has the best universal health care system in the world??

How can that be?!?!?

Although recent turmoil in financial markets may hit the U.S. economy harder, the loss of speed in the world economy’s biggest player will also drag down growth in France. Economists say growth may fall short of the government targets this year.

Read that: “Growth may fall short of the already lackluster targets this year.”

Sarkozy’s move raised questions about whether he wants to ward off disappointing growth numbers as a rise in oil and food prices combined with a slowdown in the U.S. clouds the effect of his economic reforms.

He’s got nothing else up his sleeve.

Since his election in May he has sought to boost growth, notably by encouraging people to work longer than the much maligned 35-hour week.

A move I’m certain that has gone over about as well as changing the law to allow employers to fire slackers did.

Sarkozy has often appeared impatient with the French economy’s lackluster performance, once declaring: “I will not wait for growth, I will go out and find it.”

“And failing that, I will fake it!”

Frustrated with the what he termed Tuesday “the growing gap between statistics that show continuing progress and the increasing difficulties (French people) are having in their daily lives,”

…otherwise known as reality

Sarkozy said new thought should be given to the way GDP is calculated to take into account quality of life.

At a news conference Tuesday, Sarkozy said he asked U.S. economist Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel economics prize and a critic of free market economists,

…and free market economics

and Armatya Sen of India, who won the 1998 Nobel prize for work on developing countries, to lead the analysis in France.

Which is now relegated to the status of a “developing country.”

Sen helped create the United Nations’ Human Development Index, a yearly welfare indicator designed to gear international policy decisions to take account of health and living standards.

Would that include measures like ones that rank countries higher if their health care systems are paid for by the State, regardless of how well they perform?

Once the preserve of philosophers, measuring happiness has now become a hot topic in economics.

Where it absolutely doesn’t belong.

Heinlein again:

Expertise in one field does not carry over into other fields. But experts often think so. The narrower their field of knowledge the more likely they are to think so.

Obviously that never stopped anyone.

A recent report from the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development considers taking into account leisure time and income distribution when calculating a nation’s well-being.

Right. So if all the money is equally distributed and nobody works, that’s the best possible score?

And the European Commission is working on a new indicator that moves “beyond GDP” to account for factors such as environmental progress.

Words. Fail. Me.

Richard Layard, a professor at the London School of Economics and author of the 2005 book “Happiness: Lessons from a New Science,” said Sarkozy may be seeking recognition for policies, popular in Europe, that promote well-being but don’t show up in the GDP statistics.

Governments are rated on economic performance, and this influences policy in favor of boosting GDP, the value of goods and services produced over a calendar year, he said.

“But people don’t want to think they live in a world of ruthless competition where everyone is against everyone,” Layard said. “Valuable things are being lost, such as community values, solidarity.”

They “don’t want to think” it, eh? Sounds familiar. Over here they call themselves the “reality-based community.”

His book shows that depression, alcoholism and crime have risen in the last 50 years, even as average incomes more than doubled.

And taxes have done… what, exactly?

Jean-Philippe Cotis, the former OECD chief economist who took over as head of France’s statistics office Insee two months ago, said Wednesday that a measure of happiness would complement GDP by taking into account factors such as leisure time — something France has a lot of.

Which explains why their growth is so slow.

And I’m not even an economist!

France’s unemployment rate is stubbornly high, and when French people do work they spend less time on the job — 35.9 hours per week compared with the EU average of 37.4.

And the American average of…? Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

Cotis said he looked forward to a “passionate” debate beyond the traditional realms of his science.

“Statisticians are also interested in happiness,” he said.

Especially since they are totally unable to quantify it.

And so, it would seem, are presidents.


Basking in the happy glow of new love with model-turned-singer Carla Bruni, Sarkozy showed on Tuesday that his concern for happiness is universal.

A president, he said, “doesn’t have more right to happiness than anyone else, but not less than anyone, either.”

I’ve seen pictures of his babe. YOWSA! You can bet HE’S happy.

But just remember one thing, Sarko. No matter how beautiful she is, someone somewhere is tired of her shit. (I kid! I kid!)


Via Dave Hardy. The Justice Department has filed a brief in the Heller case. The Justice Department is asking the Court to overturn the Appeals Court decision and allow D.C. to keep its gun ban. The grounds? The Appeals Court used a “strict scrutiny” level of review.

Apparently the Bush Justice Department is in agreement with the ACLU’s Nadine Strossen on this one:

(T)he fact that something is mentioned in the Constitution doesn’t necessarily mean that it is a fundamental civil liberty.

Now I know why my name is on a list.

Well, Hell, John. Why Not Make it $20? Or $50?

I just heard John Edwards on CNN tell Wolf Blitzer that the Federal minimum wage should be raised to $9.50/hr.

And this guy’s running for President.


Hey!.I’m On a List!

I’m in California. The company I work for has its head office here, and they flew in all of the satellite office people for the 2007 “Holiday” party. I just left the party.

But I learned something interesting. I’m on a TSA list. I couldn’t get my boarding pass electronically yesterday. I had to check in at the counter. Apparently someone at the TSA thinks I require additional scrutiny, or so I was told by the airline counter worker. If I want to do anything about it, I need to contact

That settles it. When I get home, I’m going to buy one of these.

Freedom and Equality

From each according to his ability, to each according to his need – Karl Marx, Critique of the Gotha Program – 1875

Sounds nice, doesn’t it? It sounds fair. It sounds equal.

I was reminded of this by a comment (again) by our lone Leftist, Markadelphia. Specifically, this partial line:

My point was that if you want to have true equality in this country…

Interesting point.

Interesting because I don’t want “true equality”.

That may shock some of you. Let me explain.

The Declaration of Independence states:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

All men are created equal. We are all born equal. It’s a fundamental founding principle of this nation and one I expounded on a bit in That Sumbitch Ain’t Been BORN! a while back. It’s the belief that no man, no matter how much he’s worth or how far back he can trace his ancestors is better than anyone else because of it. But this concept has been distorted by the philosophy of egalitarianism, coming out of revolutionary France and, at a guess, the writings of Rousseau. For far too many people, “egalitarianism” means equal in all things. That’s the meaning Mark has.

In a comment before the first one referenced he said this:

I would have no problem if the rich paid the same amount of taxes next year that they did this year. In fact, how about if they pay less? No problem….only it has to be a law that every taxpayer…and I mean EVERY FUCKING TAXPAYER…regardless of how much money they make gets the exact same level of legal and financial advice that the top 5 percent get.

So, Joe Smith, annual salary of 20k a year gets the same legal team and financial team that Warren Buffet gets as a buffer between anyone or any institution trying to take their money. Now, I know that you are thinking that I am thinking that the government should be pay for it…but no sir, not at all. All of the white collar criminals (lawyers, accountants etc) serving time in our prisons will be put to work, for time off their sentence, to help these people for free. It’s a win-win. And here’s the best part…

Joe Smith will be able to rip off the government, sneak around laws, fuck people over and end up with all the same perks that rich folk get. Well, what do you think?

Well, what I think is that’s a raw and blatant example of the politics of envy. It’s also an example of someone with absolutely no grasp of economics (as other commenters proceeded to point out.)

But it’s apparent that Mark thinks the unequal distribution of wealth in this country is unfair, dammit!

In short, Mark is convinced that rich people are rich only because they “sneak around laws” and “fuck people over.” I hate to say it, but this is typical of my experience with people on the Left, especially ones who believe that they’ve chosen a career that’s meaningful and important (and woefully undercompensated because of RICH FUCKING REPUBLICANS!). Typically these people are journalists, teachers, Federal Park employees, etc. They believe they fulfill a crucial role in public life – in those examples, informing the electorate, educating the electorate, and defending the environment – that is underappreciated. It’s a sacrifice they’re willing to make for the betterment of society, but that doesn’t stop them from wondering why they can’t afford a 52″ plasma TV, or why the NEA can’t negotiate a better health care plan.

We’re all supposed to be equal, right?

Well, no.

You see, nobody seems to pay much attention to the last part of Thomas Jefferson’s immortal line.

We have, Jefferson says, inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That’s a modification of the inalienable rights list that philosopher John Locke wrote of in his Two Treatises on Government. Locke listed them as “Life, liberty, and property,” but I think Jefferson’s genius won out. In Dinesh D’Souza’s What’s So Great About America he writes:

In America your destiny is not prescribed; it is constructed. Your life is like a blank sheet of paper and you are the artist. This notion of being the architect of your own destiny is the incredibly powerful idea that is behind the worldwide appeal of America. Young people especially find the prospect of authoring their own lives irresistible. The immigrant discovers that America permits him to break free of the constraints that have held him captive, so that the future becomes a landscape of his own choosing.

If there is a single phrase that captures this, it is “the pursuit of happiness.” As writer V. S. Naipaul notes, “much is contained” in that simple phrase: “the idea of the individual, responsibility, choice, the life of the intellect, the idea of vocation, perfectibility, and achievement. It is an immense human idea. It cannot be reduced to a fixed system. It cannot generate fanaticism. But it is known [around the world] to exist; and because of that, other more rigid systems in the end blow away.”

More of that “jingoism,” eh, Mark?

An inalienable right to “pursue happiness” means freedom. “From each according to his ability, to each according to his need” means control. No one can tell you what will make you happy. You may, in fact, never find it. Your life may serve only as an example to others of what failure looks like, but you are free to pursue whatever you think might bring you happiness.

That freedom, that immense human idea, is what has made America what it is. It is responsible for the vast wealth we have made here. It has drawn the best minds from every culture around the world, fired their imaginations, and it has made people rich.

Instead of admiring this, instead of pursuing it themselves, the Left hates it, because everyone is not equal. Milton Friedman had something to say on the topic:

A society that puts equality before freedom will get neither. A society that puts freedom before equality will get a high degree of both.

Guaranteeing equality requires management. Someone must be in charge of determining inequality and righting it. It is, as I mentioned to Markadelphia, an old and well recognized problem. It is the Procrustean bed, and someone must take the role of Procrustes. Human nature being what it is, well, “Power corrupts. Absolute power corrupts absolutely.” But freedom? It merely requires people to get the hell out of the way.

There’s still a role for government. Enforcing contracts, settling disputes, establishing reasonable limits. Friedman had something to say about that as well:

The existence of a free market does not of course eliminate the need for government. On the contrary, government is essential both as a forum for determining the “rule of the game” and as an umpire to interpret and enforce the rules decided on.

But that government should be strictly limited:

Political freedom means the absence of coercion of a man by his fellow men. The fundamental threat to freedom is power to coerce, be it in the hands of a monarch, a dictator, an oligarchy, or a momentary majority. The preservation of freedom requires the elimination of such concentration of power to the fullest possible extent and the dispersal and distribution of whatever power cannot be eliminated — a system of checks and balances.

And we forget this at our peril:

Because we live in a largely free society, we tend to forget how limited is the span of time and the part of the globe for which there has ever been anything like political freedom: the typical state of mankind is tyranny, servitude, and misery. The nineteenth century and early twentieth century in the Western world stand out as striking exceptions to the general trend of historical development. Political freedom in this instance clearly came along with the free market and the development of capitalist institutions. So also did political freedom in the golden age of Greece and in the early days of the Roman era.

History suggests only that capitalism is a necessary condition for political freedom. Clearly it is not a sufficient condition.

I don’t want “equality,” but I’m not for going back to the days of serfdom, either. I want freedom, because with it can come a level of equality you can’t get any other way.

All people are born equal – squalling babies unable to care for themselves – but they don’t stay that way. America was founded as the nation where everyone gets to pursue happiness, to avoid having your life prescribed for you. It may not lead to “true equality,” but there is literally no such thing. There can’t be. “True equality” requires someone to decide what each person’s abilities are (put the peg in the designated slot, whether the peg wants to go there or not) and what each person’s needs are.

But who gets to be the “equal” of the person or people who make those decisions? Orwell understood that problem well. Some are, under that system, inevitably “more equal” than others.

UPDATE: Markadelphia responds. I reply.

Fred Kicked Ass.

It would appear that his South Carolina strategy has a chance.

According to pretty much everyone (but the Ronulans who stuffed the FoxNews electronic ballot box last night) Fred Thompson won last night’s debate. Examples:

I think it’s clear that Thompson ran away with the debate. His answers, after the first one, were decisive, appropriately aggressive, and clearly conservative.

I’m really not sure who came in second. I’ll just say everyone but Ron Paul came in second. Fred Thompson was the Only Important Man on the Stage tonight. The Sundries Shack

Fred … win, place and show.Mark Levin

Tonight, Fred Reminded Me of Roy Hobbs.

Winner: Thompson. This performance was so commanding, I wanted his last answer to echo back to the lights in the back of the auditorium, blow out all the lamps and spotlights, for the theme to “the Natural” to play, and for him to trot around the stage in slow motion while sparks showered down in the background.Jim Geraghty

Fred Thompson is not only winning this debate, he is giving the most commanding debate performance we’ve seen from any candidate in either party since the beginning of this endless primary process.John Podhoretz

Fred was trying to raise $540k by today for advertisements in South Carolina. He blew through that number this morning. The campaign changed the call to see if they could make $750k by midnight. As I write this, they show they’ve collected $754k, and there’s still time left.

It’s been a slow start. As Katherine Jean Lopez put it:

Okay, where has this Fred Thompson been for the last year? This is the man who published commentaries with us last year. This is the man who people wanted to draft. This is the conservative guy conservatives are attracted to.

Small “L” libertarians, too. But now we will see if he can build some momentum. South Carolina is not a “winner take all” primary state, so I’d say at a guess that Fred really needs to take second place if he is to retain a chance going into Super Tuesday. He’s going to have to do something to get the media to point cameras at him. Standing on that stage and describing Huckabee accurately was one thing. The very analytical Bob Krumm thinks Fred is playing a chess game, deliberately attacking the pieces necessary to clear a path. He makes a pretty convincing argument.

But without eyeballs on him, he’s just not going to have name recognition going in to the polls.

I really hope that he’s as much of a chess master as this game requires.

Opinion as News.

Remember my piece on the VPC’s report on “declining gun ownership”? Well, Reuters published a “news” story on that topic a short while ago. I meant to dissect it, but that’s not necessary now – others in the blogosphere have pulverized it.

Yesterday, Say Uncle noted that the story appeared to be just another VPC press release reprint, and proceeded to demonstrate that fact. Today, he notes, as I did in my piece, that the source material for both the Reuters article and the VPC paper comes from the National Opinion Research Center of the University of Chicago. What I didn’t know at that time (but suspected), however, is that the NORC is funded by the Joyce Foundation – a group that only gives money to people who help advocate for more gun control. That bit of information was part of a truly outstanding post at Free Constitution that I urge you to read. Take a careful look at the difference between opinion polling, and push polling.

Now, if we could only reach as many eyeballs as Reuters manages to…

UPDATE: Via SayUncle, Reuters pulled the piece from its original location and reposted it with this caveat:

Bernd Debusmann is a Reuters columnist. The opinions expressed are his own.

Hey! Even they recognized it as an opinion piece! Perhaps we’re reaching the media after all.

Blogburst for Fred

I’m a Fred supporter. Fairly obvious from the picture and link on the sidebar, but let me put it in a little more perspective.

I’m not really happy with Fred’s support for McCain-Feingold, though he has since said that at least parts of it were a mistake. I’m not really happy with his social conservatism, since I’m more of a libertarian.

But of all the candidates running, his views most closely match mine, and on the things we disagree about, I don’t think it would be difficult to block any legislative moves in those directions he might want to take.

Above all, when the job of selecting Supreme Court nominees rolls around, he’s about the only candidate I trust – trust – not to give us another Souter. I don’t trust any of the other ones to do anything but make bigger, more intrusive government.

No matter who gets the (R) nomination, I will hold my nose and pull the lever for him, because I know if one of the Democrat frontrunners wins the White House, the Supreme Court will be more screwed that it was after FDR got through with it, and the lower Federal courts will be as bad if not worse.

The Courts may not save us, but they can certainly sink us.

Fred has a pretty large following in the blogosphere. Here’s some of what others are saying about him:

Fred’s my “Goldilocks candidate”: On national defense and foreign policy generally, on taxes (and, in particular, income tax reform), on spending, on judicial appointments, on immigration, on increasing the size and capacities of the military, and on a host of other issues, he’s “Just Right.” And not only do his present views and positions match my own, but they’ve been consistent views throughout his career, so I don’t have to worry that he’ll be easily talked out of them through some rationalization in the name of “expediency.”

Ironically, Thompson’s political spine has been most evident in some of the very same episodes that his detractors will try to spin as grounds for conservative alarm. As a senator, Thompson cast lonely, politically unpopular votes grounded on a genuine understanding of and reverence for federalism, for example, that his political opponents have characterized as being “anti-tort reform.” I could write for pages about all that, but let me boil it down to a sentence: Fred Thompson has far more in common with John Roberts (for whose SCOTUS confirmation he served as sherpa) than with John Edwards, and if you can’t tell the difference, you ought not be voting in the GOP primaries anyway. Beldar

If he is not already your top choice, Fred is probably in your top three. So even if not ideal, he is acceptable to almost every Republican. Beginning the general election season with an already consolidated Republican Party is a huge advantage when going against a Democratic nominee whose base will be nearly 100% united behind their candidate after eight years in the political wilderness. Each of the other candidates is strong in one or two of the three legs of the traditional Republican stool, but only Thompson has support from all three areas. No matter who the Republican nominee is, he will have enough trouble appealing to independents in the face of a hostile media onslaught. He doesn’t need the added distraction of also worrying about his base. Thompson also has the ability to connect directly with voters like he did with his YouTube response to Michael Moore and his “I’m not gonna play by your silly rules” retort to the Iowa newspaper editor. He has good instincts, and that will serve him well during the general election.Bob Krumm

My emphasis in this and other writings when it comes to political discussions has been on policy. I want a candidate who espouses small government, federalism, free markets, free trade, a brave and unabashed message of capitalism and consequential, weighty and creative solutions to the many foreign policy and national security dilemmas facing the United States.
That’s why I am supporting Fred Thompson for President.

Start with the issue of policy substance. Thompson has loads of it, as this editorial makes clear. Thompson has made detailed and specific proposals concerning the issue of entitlement reform, oftentimes in the face of overwhelming and widespread political fears that to mention the need for entitlement reforms is to kiss one’s chances at electability goodbye. There is something refreshing about a candidate for President willing to risk his electoral chances to speak some hard policy choices and Thompson is to be commended for his bravery. As the editorial makes clear, Thompson has also presented innovative and intellectually rigorous ideas concerning immigration and the size of the nation’s military. The Adam Smith Institute comes out with justified praise for Thompson’s tax plan and notes that Thompson has a very interesting and original idea on how the United States could be transitioned to a flat tax system. Anything would be better than the current “progressive” scheme and Thompson is one of the few Republican candidates who has come out with a workable alternative tax system for the United States to adopt.Pejman Yousefzadeh
A candidate for President should present to the voters a reasonably attractive personality, experience and evidence of sound judgment, a clear-eyed understanding of the challenges and opportunities our Nation faces, and an array of plausible, sound policy proposals. (Fundraising prowess and skeleton-free closets are nice, too.) He or she should also — and this is crucial — understand and appreciate the close, rich connection between the enjoyment of human liberty and the structural features of the limited government for which our Constitution is a blueprint.

An eminent scholar of constitutional law, echoing James Madison and many other luminaries, has observed that “[t]he genius of the American Constitution lies in its use of structural devices to preserve individual liberty.” I agree. And, in my view, the candidate who seems most inclined, and best prepared, to honor this “genius” is Sen. Fred Thompson…. Sen. Thompson understands — as did the Framers — that (in his words) “[g]overnment must be strong enough to protect us, competent enough to provide basic government services, but limited by the delineated powers in the Constitution.” To achieve and maintain such a government — in a way that protects and respects human freedom — is, of course, no small challenge. Our constitutional response to this challenge reflects the considered belief that, as the Supreme Court has put it, “liberty of the person inheres in [constitutional] structure.” Put differently, and as Chief Justice Rehnquist observed, this “constitutionally mandated division of authority was adopted by the Framers to ensure protection of our fundamental liberties.”

These are not airy abstractions, far removed from real-world, “kitchen table” concerns. Our President must understand — and I believe Sen. Thompson does — the Constitution’s end (human freedom) and means (federalism, separation of powers, and limited government). This matters more, all things considered, than the extent to which his canned debate answers please dial-turning focus-group members. “Our Constitution,” he recognizes, “innovatively guarantees our liberties by spreading power among the three branches of the federal government, and between the federal government and the states.” – Notre Dame Associate Professor of Law Richard Garnett

Sen. Fred Thompson may be a professional actor, but it’s hard to find a more authentic conservative candidate in this campaign. He has been a consistent champion of fiscal discipline, national security, and government reform, among other issues important to the Right. As National Review recently editorialized, “Thompson has set a standard for specificity, conservatism, and soundness” yet to be matched by any other candidate. More than anyone else, he advocates a conservatism of the head that should appeal to conservative hearts. If the Republican nomination should go to the most principled and consistent conservative in the race, there should be little question that Fred Thompson is the man to nominate.

Some worry Thompson doesn’t want the presidency badly enough. In an era when politicians plan their political moves years, if not decades, in advance, Thompson is almost an accidental candidate: someone willing to run if the people want him on his terms. This may be his greatest liability — but it should also be an asset in wooing conservatives to his cause.

Thompson, after all, is not running a campaign of simple slogans or pandering platitudes. He is willing to take positions that risk offending potential constituencies. Witness his attack on the gluttonous farm bill and opposition to some business-favored federal tort reforms. He may have been unprepared to answer a media question about the “Jena 6,” but he can discuss the crisis in Pakistan, the threat of nuclear proliferation, regulatory bloat, or the future of entitlements with a level of nuance and detail that comes only from genuine intellectual engagement. If Republicans are looking for an “anti-Hillary” — a reluctant candidate with a commitment to limited government who will bring honor and integrity to the White House — it would be hard to do better than Fred.Jonathan Adler

He’s pro life, liberty, gun, constitution, originalist judges, federalism, small government, low taxes, economic freedom, secure borders, strong defense, national security, national sovereignty, etc.

He’s the most reliable conservative in the field and comes without the social liberalism, abortionism, nanny statism, open borders, gun grabbing, big government, big spending, big tax leanings and unstable knife in the back RINO baggage of Giuliani, Romney, Huckabee and McCain.

He doesn’t cater to the global warming, socialized health care, or open borders/amnesty crowds. Just say no to all this liberal garbage.

With Fred, we know we’re getting a solid, no-nonsense, commonsense pro life and liberty conservative who will defend the nation, secure the borders, defend the constitution, appoint originalist judges, defend the Bush tax cuts, work to simplify and flatten the tax code, keep social security solvent while providing alternative private accounts, reduce government and spending, and work to return states issues to the states. Imagine that.

In fact, he comes closest to being the conservative leader I’ve been praying for all these years. I don’t know about you, but I think it would be great to be able to enthusiastically support and work for a true conservative candidate whose principles and convictions match so many of my own.Free Republic’s Jim Robinson

It’s true I once called him “Punxsutawney Fred,” but his anti-candidacy has grown on me, and his backing of Federalist principles is a welcome break from eight years of big-government “compassionate conservatism.” Thompson might not be ideal, but he’s certainly better than we usually get, or even expect.Stephen Green

Those are pretty typical.

Here are some of the man’s own words that I especially liked. When asked what he would do for Iowa’s farmers by a local reporter (obviously a leading question regarding the annual Farm Bill) he responded:

I would continue to enjoy the fruits of their labor. I’ve been looking all over Iowa for a bad steak and I can’t find it. Been trying my best. It’s not a matter of what I would do for the farmers. Farmers are not looking for a president to hand them something. Farmers want fair treatment and a chance to prosper in a free economy and that’s what I would help ensure. There’s a lot of programs we’ve got out there, some of which are good programs, some of which are not. And I think that we need to work our way through that and make sure we’re doing what’s good for the country, not just the farmers, not just the people of Iowa, not just the people of Tennessee. But good for the country. A sound policy that makes sense. I think there’s a lot more that we could do for the working farmer in terms of ecological programs and environmental programs – land conservation, soil conservation – that would be fair and it would be beneficial to the nation and to Iowa and to our country. We’re going to have to phase out the corporate welfare system we’ve got, however. There are extremely rich people living in skyscrapers in Manhattan that are receiving subsidy payments. I think that’s wrong. I’d put a stop to that if it was within my power. That still continues in this latest Farm Bill and it’s not right. There ought to be a cutoff at some level and it’s not right ot have millionaires receiving farm subsidies.

Didn’t hear that on the Nightly News, did you?

When asked in Iowa whether he would stay in the race, he responded:

That is a very good question… Not because it’s difficult to answer, but because I’m gonna answer a little bit of a different way than what you might expect. In the first is wanting the opporunity. I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t. I wouldn’t be doing this if I didn’t. I grew up in very modest circumstances. And I left government and I and my family have made sacrifices for me to be sitting here today. I haven’t had any income for a long time because I’m doing this. I figure if you’re gonna be clean, you have to cut the [unintelligible] off. And I was doing speaking engagements, and I had a contract to do a TV show, I had a contract with ABC radio like I was talking about earlier and so forth… I guess one would have to be a total fool to do all of those things and to be leaving his family, which is not a joyful thing at all… if you didn’t want to do it.

But I am not consumed by personal ambition. I will not be devastated if I don’t do it. I want the people to have the best president they can have. (applause) When his talk first started it didn’t originate with me. There are a lot of people around the country and both directly and through polls… liked the idea of me stepping up. And of course, you always look better at a distance, I guess. (laughter) But most of those people are still there and think it’s a good idea.

I approach it from the standpoint of a deal… Of kind of a marriage. You know, if one side of the marriage has to be really talked into the marriage, you know, it’s probably not going to be a very good deal for either one of them. But if you mutually think that this is a good thing — in this case, if you think this is a good thing for the country, the you have the opportunity to do some wonderful things together. I’m offering myself up. I’m saying that if I have the background, the capability and the concern to do this and I’m doing this for the right reasons… but I’m not particularly interested in running for president, but I think I’d make a good president…. If what people really want in their president is a super type A personality, someone who has gotten up every morning and gone to bed every night and been thinking about, for years how they can be president of the United States… someone who can look you straight in the eye and say they’ve enjoyed every minute of campaigning… (laughter) I ain’t that guy. (more laughter) [To questioner] So I hope I’ve discussed that, or I haven’t talked you out of anything. I honestly want… I can’t imagine a worse set of circumstances than achieving the presidency under a false pretenses, especially if you feel the way I do. I’ve gone out of my way to be myself, because I don’t want anybody to think they’re getting something they’re not getting. I’m not consumed by this process, I’m not consumed with the notion of being president. I’m simply saying I’m willing to do what’s necessary to achieve it if I’m in sync with the people. And if the people want me, or somebody like me, I will do what I’ve always done with everything else in my life. I will take it on and do a good job. You’ll have the disadvantage of having someone who probably cna’t jump up and click their heels three times, but will tell you the truth. And you’ll know where the president stands at all times.

Fred is running hard for a good showing in South Carolina heading into Super Tuesday. He’s trying to collect $540k by tomorrow to run ads in the state, and it looks like he’s going to make it.

Throw the man some money, would you? It would be a nice change of pace to have a President who is not consumed with the notion of being President, and who has policy positions and core values that align pretty much with mine.