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Opening Arguments

The beat goes on

"Great comfort in small blessings" department:

I yield to nobody in my conviction that Barack Obama's presidency has been a disaster for the Republic. Last week, in this space, I even suggested that some of his offenses rose to the level of impeachable "high crimes and misdemeanors."

Yet, try as I might, I can't convince myself that the 2012 election is a "hinge of history," and it's "game over" for liberty unless he's defeated. If Obama wins, the fight goes on; if he loses, don't pop the champagne corks just yet.

Consider that, since FDR, few second-term presidents have been capable of great mischief. Obama may have done most of the real damage he's capable of already.

[. . .]

As others have observed, our government has become a runaway train—and presidential elections increasingly look like a struggle to determine who gets to sit in front and pretend he's driving.

The point is to derail this juggernaut, and no single election can do that. Whatever happens in November, the work will have to go on.

But even if he has "done most of the real damage" already, it still has to be undone, and that would be little easier with a Republican president and Congress. There's even less comfort in this article than I first thought -- he's right about the runaway train aspect. Everybody's getting so worked up over Paul Ryan's "draconian" budget proposal, yet that proposal is "weak tea."

Here we are, years into a governmental deficit situation that shows no sign of ending. How is it that Ryan and the Republican leadership cannot even dream of balancing a budget over 10 years' time? All of the discussion of reforming entitlements and the tax code and everything else is really great and necessary - I mean that sincerely - but when you cannot envision a way of reducing government spending after a decade-plus of an unrestrained spending binge, then you are not serious about cutting government. If Milton Friedman was right that spending is the proper measure of the government's size and scope in everybody's life, then the establishment GOP is signaling what we knew all along: They are simply an echo of the Democratic Party.

Sorry to link to two articles at the same site, but if you're talking about the need to tame monstrous government, it's hard to do better than Reason.


Wed, 03/21/2012 - 11:09am

"High crimes and misdemeanors"? After the outlaw presidency of W? Seriously? What has Obama done that is illegal? For that matter, what has he done at all? The Senate filibuster has rendered him incapable of doing much of anything.

If you're concerned about the budget, W lied us into an unnecessary war in Iraq and gave us a new Medicare entitlement, both of which were unfunded, with predictable effects on the deficit. He gave us torture and warrantless wiretaps, if you want to talk about impeachable offenses. And yes, I'm sadly aware that Obama is continuing those abuses.

I just don't understand the personal hatred of Obama. Republicans are, not surprisingly, blaming him for the price of gasoline. But during W's administration Fox News fell all over itself pointing out that the president had no control over the price of gas (over $4.10 at the time).

At any rate, Obama's faults are certainly no worse, even from a conservative perspective, than W's. But conservatives didn't have a personal hatred of Bush. You say it's not racism, at least in your case. But I can't think of any other explanation.

Bob G.
Wed, 03/21/2012 - 11:29am


Hey, you know the NEW catch-phrase being knocked around these days, right?

"One man's CRIME is another man's ENTITLEMENT."

(you may quote me...)

At least it HAS been for the last 3 years...lol.



tim zank
Wed, 03/21/2012 - 5:48pm

For God's sake Littlejohn, you're on a runaway train heading for a cliff and the current engineer  (The Anointed Won)) has the accelerator jammed to the floor with a 2x4 and your still  bitchin about the guy that was driving 3 years ago?  Do you people have no common sense at all? The train just needs to be stopped, period. 


Christopher Swing
Wed, 03/21/2012 - 6:36pm

Zank, you have a stunning ability to willfully ignore what's actually happening and what's being said.

If anything littlejohn is saying that Obama is just as bad as George W., and the question is why people are suddenly up in arms when one guy does it when they didn't do the same for the other.

Kind of like wondering why the catholic church kept its collective mouth shut about the insurance coverage thing for nearly 12 years. The timing is curious.

Tim Zank
Wed, 03/21/2012 - 8:18pm

Sorry Swing,  but 3 paragraphs out of 4 just ranting about W isn't really addressing anything (as usual) about the post at hand, it's simply whining. This is 2012, time to at least acknowledge the gravity of TODAYS situation.   

Christopher Swing
Wed, 03/21/2012 - 10:13pm

Actually, littlejohn was addressing the subject of the post. All you're doing is trying to personally tear down littlejohn, Zank. And being childish about it when it's pointed out to you.

Thu, 03/22/2012 - 5:12am

"They are simply an echo of the Democratic Party." Consider Patrick J Buchanan, who has, for more than a  decades now, warned us that  .....   the two major parties are "two wings of the same bird of prey." 

The rot has fully set in.  We have a fiscal revolution or we collapse like European PIGS. Dont say it cannot happen here, those are often the last words in political economy. 

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 8:15am

You are right, it most assuredly can and will happen here Bryan. As any 5th grader can tell you if you sell lemonade for 5 cents a cup and it costs you a dollar a cup to make it you will go broke.  Liberals know this and would never actually do it with their own companies because they want to preserve their own money but they will zealously advocate it for government because they have been brainwashed into thinking the government has a money shi**ing unicorn that will always be there. Well, it won't.


Thu, 03/22/2012 - 9:22am

So, Tim, it's finally come down to brainwashing and unicorns, eh? Take this medicine and relax. The nice doctor will see you soon.

Christopher Swing
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 11:33am

Zank: so what you essentially have there is your opinion that "all liberals are bad and dumb, so there!"


And then we have Bryan Brown and his odd sudden thing against "European PIGS." I guess he feels they're more acceptable to demonize or something.

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 11:57am

What inquiring minds want to know is when liberals will finally admit 2+2=4? All the obfuscation, Bush blaming, conservative bashing etc really may be fun, but the sad fact is that simple math tells us our current path is one of sure failure. You can't mathematically spend more than you make and survive no matter how much you subscribe to "artful accounting".


You can't do it as a household, you can't do it as a business, and you can't do it as a government, math is math. Period. 

Christopher Swing
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 12:31pm

Just liberals?

What about Bush again?

"In 2001, the national debt Bush inherited was around $5.7T, give or take. Some of that debt in 2001 has to be attributed to Clinton, just as some of the debt in 2009 when Obama took office has to be attributed to Bush. When W. left office in 2009, the debt was nearly $11T. That’s an increase of 89 percent."

"Under Obama, the debt has increased from about $11T to about $15T, about 40 percent."

"And what’s behind that increase? Historically low taxes and historically low revenues — and the worst financial crash since the 1930s. There’s been no “binge” in spending, as Knoller wants you to believe."


Obama might not be doing a spectacular job, but he's not doing what you claim he's doing, Zank. I think it's about time you admitted that neither side is much different than the other.

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 1:02pm

Again, it matters not whose hair was on fire in 2006 or who spent what in 2003 or 2007. It is completely irrelevant at this juncture. Unless the administration that is currently in charge, in concert with the other socialist wannabes in the senate agree to quit writing checks we can't cash this system will collapse. It's not rocket science, it 5th grade math and liberals either cannot or will not admit 2+2=4. 


This is precisely why my analogy that democrats/liberals/progressives/whatever the hell they are and teenagers are on the same level emotionally is so appropriate.

To wit: Tell any teenager they can't do something and the first through 10th response is the same as Democrats "but so and so did it"......

Christopher Swing
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 1:43pm

So, in short, you're going to ignore the fact that the people in charge now are currently doing more to improve the situation than to worsen it. Pointing out the difference isn't saying "but they did it" in any case.

Which is really just you shifting your argument around, Zank. Your assertion in "What inquiring minds want to know is when liberals will finally admit 2+2=4?" has been shown to be nonsense, never mind you never provided any evidence for your assertion anyway.

Ah, and call people names. It's just not a Zank post without some attempted belittling.


Thu, 03/22/2012 - 2:16pm

I actually blame the GOP more than the Dems.  The latter are like  self-induglent children, lacking the ability to reflect or be mature.  The GOP, on the other hand, identified many of the problems as early as 1994, cried wolf, wolf, wolf, and then parties like the Dems for year after year, ending up in bed, happily with the wolves of K Street.  Thus the GOP has the greater culpability, Newt chief among them.

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 3:00pm

"So, in short, you're going to ignore the fact that the people in charge now are currently doing more to improve the situation than to worsen it."


Please explain to all of us how overdrafting your checking account (spending money you don't have) is improving anything? This is a very simple concept, how does writing what you know to be a bad check (which is exactly what this administration is doing) help?

As I've pointed out before, a 5th grader understands this, why don't democrats?

Christopher Swing
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 3:07pm

Sweet, Zank, we'll just turn off medicare/medicaid/social security and all the other things "we can't afford" (for whatever values of "can't afford" you espouse) instantly, full stop. Surely nothing bad would happen.

After all, most children probably would think that's an option that's a good idea, or even possible.

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 3:13pm

So to be perfectly clear, your solution is to spend more money that is not in the account. Correct?

Christopher Swing
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 3:17pm

I was thinking more along the lines of being an adult and realizing fixing this thing while it's running is going to take some patience and cooperation, not screaming about whose fault it was and making simplistic, demeaning attacks.

But you can keep trying the screaming/simplistic option if you'd like, Zank. Just don't be surprised when it doesn't help and people stop listening to you.


Thu, 03/22/2012 - 3:25pm

Christopher X, if you think your hero in the white house is fixing this meltdown in progress you are the one that should be on meds.  DNC paying the troll fees today?

Christopher Swing
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 3:36pm

And speaking of childish and simplistic, we have Bryan J. Brown here again.

"Christopher X?" "troll fees?" Cool story, bro.

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 3:37pm

Hmmmm...interesting...I don't think people will stop listening to me around here. The question is will people ever begin listening to you? My guess is they will not and you will have to move on to another conservative newspaper "target" pretty soon since you can't attack the News-Sentinel columnists any longer, only Leo and now just one or two commenters here.  Since there are not enough people on this blog to take your bait anymore, (except when we're in a playful mood) my guess is your employer will soon supply you with a another mid-market mid-west target to troll in.

Or are they going to keep you working here in hopes of reviving the OWS debacle again?  

Christopher Swing
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 3:38pm

"... you are the one that should be on meds."

Hold on, nobody was talking about anyone in this thread being on meds, were they? Or are you saying I should be on meds instead of you,Brown? You should clarify that.


Christopher Swing
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 3:48pm

Ah, it's good to see that even when Leo tries to clean up the place Zank eventually reverts to his old ways. Zank, you can't stay away from me. You never learn, after all.

You're precious though, Zank. Actually thinking I can be silenced. ;)

Tim Zank
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 4:31pm

Oh Chris, you'll be silenced here eventually in one of two ways, either Leo will cut you off for being an antagonistic troll with no purpose other than to disrupt his newspaper and his blog,  or (as has already happened to some degree) readership and comments here will dwindle off enough you'll have no one to pick a fight with .


Gotta give ya props for running off most commenters here already your bosses must be very proud.

Thu, 03/22/2012 - 4:35pm

Tim, I have to give it to you -- you are  a dedicated commentor here, sharing your thoughts for free and all.  Such a labor of love.  Christopher X -- well, ah nevermind.  

Christopher Swing
Thu, 03/22/2012 - 6:22pm

Huh, last time you made a prediction like that Leo pointed out you were the one doing the goading, Zank. Eager to go back to a time when you could personally attack people like you do littlejohn and not have to worry about getting called on it? Or maybe you just want to get Zankgief'd again?

Or maybe you hope Brown will have another screaming, crying, posting-in-every-current-thread fit when he gets satired and can't take it? Doesn't look like Leo is as interested in protecting him/giving in to his whining as maybe Leininger was.

Thu, 03/22/2012 - 7:45pm

One man's satire is another jury's libel.  Stay tuned for the exciting details.

Christopher Swing
Fri, 03/23/2012 - 12:07am

Yeah, you should probably stop making all those accusations about people being hired to post here, Brown.


Fri, 03/23/2012 - 9:02am

Great stuff to put in an answer, Christopher X.