The First Rule of Tautology Club

… is the first rule of Tautology Club:

  • Steven Landsburg checks out President Obama's speech at Carnegie-Mellon. Bemoaning runaway spending, the President advocated allowing the 2001 tax cuts "for the wealthiest Americans to expire". Comments Landsburg:
    Now as it happens, I've got this maple tree in my yard that's been growing much too fast for my tastes. In fact, it's been growing far faster than I have. But inspired by the president, I've found a solution. I'm going to stock up on E.L. Fudge Double Stuf cookies so I can grow faster than the maple.
    As a commenter points out: the only way to decrease spending is to spend less. If your local politician tries to obfuscate or fudge on the issue, try saying that to him or her very slowly, loudly, and repeatedly.

  • Another snippet from the President's speech, in which he offered sophisticated analysis of the political philosophy of the Republican Party:
    But to be fair, a good deal of the other party's opposition to our agenda has also been rooted in their sincere and fundamental belief about the role of government. It's a belief that government has little or no role to play in helping this nation meet our collective challenges. It's an agenda that basically offers two answers to every problem we face: more tax breaks for the wealthy and fewer rules for corporations.
    Has ever a bigger strawman ever been constructed by a sitting president? That's not even a decent caricature of libertarian "sincere and fundamental" principles. And the GOP is pretty far from being a reliably libertarian outfit; it's just closer, right now, than the Democrats are.

    I can't imagine what would be worse: whether Obama doesn't believe what he's saying, or whether he does.

  • At Cato@Liberty, Gene Healy has a must-read pair of posts detailing a couple of disturbing themes: people—allegedly grown people—desiring to see President Obama as a father figure, and the related demand that Obama be more openly emotional and empathetic in response to crisis.

    Of course, Obama is responsible for this, to an extent. Remember "this was the moment when the rise of the oceans began to slow and our planet began to heal"? In a country where rhetoric like that is not roundly ridiculed, and the speaker not hounded out of political life, it's little wonder that a lot of people started thinking Obama was more than just the usual phony pol, and began to imagine qualities in him that would satisfy their deep emotional needs.

    Healy notes especially this Maureen Down column that demands that Obama embrace and fulfill the "paternal aspect of the presidency." After all, what's the alternative for America?

    I don't know, maybe we could... grow up?
    Hope so. And soon.

Last Modified 2017-12-04 8:44 AM EST