Home / General / Phil Gramm for Dummies

Phil Gramm for Dummies


Money matters a great deal in politics, but Prick Erry impressively demonstrates that it only goes so far if your backers have nothing to work with.

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  • c u n d gulag

    “Dumber than W” proves that we need to amend that old saying:

    It’s not just a fool, but also the ‘idiot’ and his money who are soon parted.

  • bobbyp

    An astounding political pratfall.

  • R Johnston

    Prick Erry may be an impressive demonstration of this fact, but in the end he’ll be nowhere near as effective a demonstration as Newton Leroy Gingrich will be.

    Sure, Newton won’t end up having raised all that much money, but the amount of money spent on his behalf in a spectacularly losing effort will be really, really funny.

    I’m still wondering why anyone ever thought Prick was anything more than Sarah Palin with a penis, and, and for Newton, I’m long going to wonder why anyone ever thought is was a good idea to back for President a guy who’s even crazier than Ron Paul but who never even bothered to develop an undeserved reputation for being principled.

    Let’s face it; thinking that moon bases are the solution to our problems is even more ridiculous than worrying about black helicopters and the one world government.

    • Incontinentia Buttocks

      “Even crazier than Ron Paul”!?!

      You’re not one of those Paul-Supporting Progressives I keep reading about, are you?

      • R Johnston

        Nope. I just recognize that Gingrich is that crazy. From moon bases, to men hunting giraffes, to women suffering from infections, to his ego which dwarfs that of all other politicians and even all CEOs, Newt’s nucking futs.

    • I’m still wondering why anyone ever thought Prick was anything more than Sarah Palin with a penis

      He’s got a record (in Texas). He absolutely spanked Kay Bailey Hutchinson (in Texas).

      • To Palin’s credit(?), she’s managed to keep the gravy train rolling. It’s almost an insult to her, comparing Perry to her.

        • R Johnston

          I think Palin may be somewhat of an exception to the Dunning–Kruger effect. She seems to recognize that she’s a lazy grifter and not smart enough or hard working enough to be President. I don’t think she’s any smarter than Perry, but she’s considerably more self-aware.

      • Glenn

        Which of course speaks volumes about Texas (and having lived there for many years, it speaks the truth)

        • I look at George Bush winning two gubernatorial elections, and I think, “OK, it’s a conservative, Republican state. They voted for the conservative Republican, even though he’s not that bright or able, because they believe in conservatism and like Republicans.”

          But KBH is a conservative Republican! The people who voted for Perry over her were doing so because of his personality traits.

          It’s just crazy.

      • Murc

        He’s got a record (in Texas). He absolutely spanked Kay Bailey Hutchinson (in Texas).


        To unpack it a little bit, Perry’s record in Texas is actually one of hard-fought successes. He managed to negotiate a party switch, something that many better Texas politicians than he tried and failed when Texas was undergoing its blue to red transition. Then he won a series of nail-bitingly close state level elections, which, again, isn’t easy to do.

        His actual record once in office was a long litany of things that teabaggers like but that weren’t extreme enough to frighten the money men. There was some heterodoxy, but everyone has some heterodoxy. He was a handsome man in late middle age.

        All of those things OUGHT to combine to make a decent primary candidate, given the prevailing political climate. It was a very simple calculus. The only possible cloud on the horizon was that Perry, since being elected Governor (i.e, one of the only statewide offices that people in any state actually pay attention to) had never been popular and got less and less popular as time went on, meaning voters liked him less the more they saw of him.

        I actually don’t understand people who DIDN’T see why there was a lot of fuss about him.

    • Scott Lemieux

      It made perfect sense to consider Perry the frontrunner; had he been an even minimally competent debater he would have won, and his history did not provide examples that he would be that bad. Sometimes you don’t know until you see it in action. (Looking at the initial threads, it seems worth noting that very few of the people who “knew” Perry had no chance were actually saying this at the time.)

      • R Johnston

        I’m pretty sure I was slagging on Perry from the beginning and that I explicitly noted bewilderment at how he’d been anointed as a serious challenger to Mitt by the press before he even got into the race.

        At the time I was pretty sure that he had nothing to offer that Bachmann didn’t have to offer and that aside from being a newly anointed shiny distraction his potential constituency was more-or-less the same as hers; she held slightly more appeal to the crazies, he would be able to get some votes from people who were natural Bachmann supporters except for being unwilling to vote for a woman, but mostly he seemed destined to fill the same role Bachmann did. That Bachmann’s campaign died as Perry’s picked up steam, and that Perry flashed in the pan and ended up, as he floundered, running a campaign based largely on hardcore gay baiting makes me feel pretty good about that analysis.

        • Scott Lemieux

          You didn’t make this point in any of the pre-debate Perry threads here, anyway.

        • stevo67

          Judging Perry by the (admittedly low) standards of the last Texas governor who got into the White House it’s easy to see why some folks thought he could be front-runner material: Good Hair, the manly (and authentic!) Texas drawl that doesn’t end up in a sarcastic whiny sound when he’s pissed off, an appropriate number of executions to his credit (not too little and not too much), with the bonus that one of them may have been innocent. He beats George W Bush on three counts, by any Right wing measuring stick. What Perry did not have, that W. did, was access to Poppy Bush’s rolodex. That’s where the real money came from, and in the 2000 race, the early money that W. amassed in his war chest was what determined who won the Repub primary.

          • Murc

            What Perry did not have, that W. did, was access to Poppy Bush’s rolodex.

            This is true, but its also irrelevant to Perry’s loss. Had he been able to fake his way through the debates (and political “debates” in this country take place at a sufficiently devolved level that a smart high school student would be capable of faking their way through one) he’d be the nominee now. The lack of parental access that W had that he did not was and is irrelevant.

  • Scott de B.

    I’m still wondering why anyone ever thought Prick was anything more than Sarah Palin with a penis,

    I assumed that’s why people supported his candidacy in the first place.

    • R Johnston

      Yeah, but why did supposedly legitimate political analysts think he had any lasting power, and why were people with money willing to back his campaign? That he was bound to make himself look phenomenally ridiculous on camera as soon as anyone asked him a question as tough as “what newspapers do you read?” was obvious.

      • Malaclypse

        To be fair, a year ago I would not have assumed being phenomenally stupid disqualified someone from being the Republican candidate.

        • R Johnston

          What about being phenomenally stupid and phenomenally lazy in comparison to George W. Bush?

          • Malaclypse

            I would have believed that there was no bottom to this particular barrel.

            • This goes to eleven.

            • Holden Pattern

              Yeah, any analysis which includes any form of “even the contemporary Republican party wouldn’t X” is a priori flawed.

            • R Johnston

              Okay, it’s certainly not disqualifying, but it seems likely that at some point being even more stupid is a hindrance to seeking the Republican nomination rather than something that improves your odds. Republicans may like lots of objectively stupid ideas and be rabidly anti-intellectual, but it seems to me that most of them still want to pretend that they’re not stupid or anti-intellectual. At some point a candidate for President is stupid enough that the pretense can’t readily be maintained.

      • UserGoogol

        Texas has quite a bigger population than Alaska does, so at first glance you might assume that he would have been better tested by that. But, well, Texas is a weird state.

  • Incontinentia Buttocks

    Lloyd Bentsen, John Connolly, Phil Gramm, Rick Perry…

    What do these four have in common?

    • Devolution?

    • BigHank53

      Without samples to analyze, I’m left with only photographs to examine. I will go with “bilateral symmetry” as a common factor.

    • rea

      I knew Lloyd Bentsen. Lloyd Bentsen was a candidate of mine. And believe me, Connolly, Gramm and Perry were no Lloyd Bentsen . . .

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        I was thinking of his 1976 Presidential run. I’ll assume you didn’t support then because, as far as I can tell, nobody did.

        • Incontinentia Buttocks

          (Incidentally, I was a staffer on the Dukakis campaign in ’87-88. The one time in my life I’ve ever driven in a motorcade was on VP announcement day: I drove the van with Sen. Bentsen’s staff from Logan Airport to the State House. Good times!)

    • Bill Murray

      At one time or another they all were Texas Democrats

      • Incontinentia Buttocks

        Heh…I hadn’t even thought of that!

        I just found it interesting that four of the most spectacularly unsuccessful presidential campaigns of all time were run by Texan Senators and Governors. Two of them (Connolly in ’80 and Perry in ’12) raised and spent a huge amount of money and got nowhere. The other two–Bentsen in ’76 and Gramm in ’96–didn’t even do well enough to burn through a big pile of money.

    • wengler

      You forgot Giuliani in 2008.

      • Tcaalaw

        A spectacularly unsuccessful primary candidate, yes; a Texan, no.

  • Jesse Levine

    Sorry to butt in with irrelevancies, but now that Leon Panetta has proudly discussed the murder of Anwar Alaki on network TV, it’s no longer a hypothetical. Are you goinhg to discuss this in a separate post?

    • Were you under the impression that we weren’t sure who killed Anwar Awlaki?

      Let us know if you come across any breakthroughs about the “murder” of Admiral Yamamoto.

      • rea

        Most of the people going on about the “murder” of Anwar Awlaki are so ignorant of conditions in Yemen they think the local government could have sent someone with an arrest warrant after him.

        • Jesse Levine

          Not likely to have an arrest warrant, since the USA never even bothered to charge him with anything. Anyway, waiting to hear Scott’s Ron Paul free analysis of due process free assassination.

          • he USA never even bothered to charge him with anything

            Like Admiral Yamamoto.

            • Jesse Levine

              When did Yamamoto obtain American citizenship? Before or after Pearl Harbor? And by the way he was killed in a combat mission.

              • So the same killing become murder when it’s an American citizen who gets killed, but it’s perfectly legal when it’s one of those dirty foreigners.

                Got it. I can’t tell whether I’m more impressed by the legal knowledge or the progressive principles demonstrated in that statement.

                And by the way he was killed in a combat mission.

                And btw that’s completely irrelevant to both the legal and the moral status of killing an enemy commander in wartime.

                • mark f

                  So the same killing become murder when it’s an American citizen who gets killed, but it’s perfectly legal when it’s one of those dirty foreigners.

                  Seriously. If someone’s got a due process complaint about the Alawi killing then that, while possibly wrong, is totally valid. But saying “blargle blargle American citizen blargle!” is just the flip side of the (fundamentally incorrect) “teh Constitution don’t matter fer foreigners” coin that rightwingers play when it comes to trials for KSM and the like.

                • rea

                  Killing Yamamoto was of course, legal, because he was Japanese, Killing Albert Sidney Johnston, on the other hand, was clearly murder.

          • rea

            Once more, it’s not murder to kill someone in arms against the US or its allies on a battlefield. And if you don’t realize he was killed in al Qaeda-controlled territory in rebellion against the government of Yemen, then you haven’t paid much attention to what’s going on in Yemen.

            • Glenn

              Oh, so it was all about protecting the Yemeni government from its enemies now, was it? Jesus you people can’t even get your lies straight.

              • rea’s comment didn’t deal with what the killing was “about.” It was a statement about the legal situation which, yes, is influence by the existence of an ongoing conflict.

                It’s really difficult to take seriously a criticism of an argument not being “kept straight” from someone who is demonstrably unable to follow that argument.

              • rea

                Yeah, if the guy had been in London, then having a drone shoot him down as he rode through Trafalgar Square would, indeed, be murder. It’s only because he was in a place were there could be no relief from the local court system that we can talk about this being “on the battlefield.” This distinction comes from Civil War era cases–it’s not something I just made up.

        • Why would they get an arrest warrant? He was just some guy, and there wasn’t really any evidence that he was involved in terrorism. I know, because people on the internet told me.

          They just picked some brave dissident and murdered him because they’re just that evil.

          • Jesse Levine

            Joe: Let’s try to deal with the core issue. See if you can steel yourself to read GG’s column and watch the embedded Panetta interview. Then tell us whether you think what Panetta described fits your notion of the limits of executive power.

            • Bill Murray

              Joe and think go together like Katherine Heigl and good movies

              • Dumbledore says it’s easier to forgive someone for being wrong than for being right.

                Perhaps that’s why I’ve never felt the desire to try to pre-discredit you as you argue with someone else, while you do so pretty regularly.

                Maybe this has something to do with how our disputes tend to turn out. For you.

            • Since you don’t seem up to stating it, I can’t even tell what you’ve decided the “core issue” is. First, you seemed to be claiming that that the killing was legally murder. Then, you seemed to be claiming that the nationality of the military target was legally relevant. Now you’re throwing out the phrase “executive power” all by itself.

              If you aren’t willing to even try to articulate the argument you wan to advance, I’m not inclined to chase around looking for links that make it for you.

              • Jesse Levine

                I surrender. Just waitng for Scott’s take on it.

  • It was Perry’s way of redistributing wealth, the lousy socialist

  • Halloween Jack

    Turns out that, if your campaign strategy is to put all your money in a big pile and torch it, it doesn’t matter if you make the pile bigger. Who knew?

  • I can see how someone could get fooled by Perry on paper, but he’s just not a clutch guy.

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