Calamities can affect approval ratings

August 28, 2011

COLUMBUS: President Obama’s approval rating has dropped lower than ever. He’s probably just as smart now as he was 3 or 4 years ago. The problem is, a candidate has to promise a lot of things he knows will never get done, just to get elected. Mr. Obama promised everyone a job, a house, and a chicken in every pot. That got him a lot of cheers. And votes.
But reality set in. The only new jobs are with the government, the house is worth less than the mortgage, and the chicken was bought with food stamps. Of course I’m exaggerating. But a President gets more credit than deserved when things go right, and more blame when they don’t.
A week ago, the President blamed bad luck for part of his poor showing. And that was BEFORE he was hit with an earthquake and a hurricane. The Virginia earthquake was fairly minor (there was no tsunami after) and Hurricane Irene probably caused less damage from wind than from flooding. Vermont floods might cause more damage than the wind did in New York City. Philadelphia was dealt a blow with about 20 inches of rain in the last two weeks.
Katrina hit New Orleans six years ago this week, and it was a few days later when we found out how bad it was. Like in that hurricane, sometimes people in charge deserve more blame for the resulting destruction than the hurricane.
We have to admit that sometimes we make dumb decisions. Now, getting flooded out by a 250-year storm in Pennsylvania can’t be blamed on the homeowner. But if you live on “Sand Dune Lane”, in a house built on a sand dune at the edge of an ocean, when it gets swept away in a storm you should not blame the President. And the rest of us should not have to pay for rebuilding it either.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:
“(Herbert) Hoover, (didn’t) go out, like the other Cabinet Members, to play Golf when they finished reading their weekly reports… Hoover, being a great Red Cross man, he picked up a few Tornadoes and Hurricanes to kinder help fill in his spare time, and now and again a flood to sorter keep his hand in feeding the destitute. The first thing you know he had made himself so valuable at it that it looked like we couldent have a Calamity till he could get there to handle it. A lot of Calamitys that would have happened, we had to hold ’em off just on that account, for the man was booked up.”
 How To Be Funny, Jan. 19, 1929

Farm vacation would beat Martha’s Vineyard

COLUMBUS: The President has been saying that Qaddafi’s “days are numbered.” Well, it appears that Qaddafi has run out of both numbers and days. The next question is, What will become of  Libya? And more importantly, what will become of their oil? Is Syria next?

The President is vacationing on Martha’s Vineyard. I think he got it backwards. He should have spent 3 days on a bus tour of that highfalutin island, and 10 days on a family vacation in farm towns of Minnesota, Illinois and Iowa. Every day his family would have been invited to a different farm for dinner, then spend the afternoon doing farm chores. Baling hay and milking cows beats golf any day. (You know, that million dollar bus could come in handy on the farm; if you cleared out the seats it would haul at least 200 square bales.) For supper, local churches would have been glad to organize a covered dish meal. And ten days in farm country could have picked up more electoral votes than Mr. Obama will ever gain from Massachusetts.

The Federal Reserve is meeting in Jackson Hole to figure out how to get us out of this economic mess. Is that smart when you’re already in a hole? Why not meet on Jackson Mountain or Jackson’s Mill, or even Jackson Flat. Anywhere but a Hole.

They already dropped the interest rate to pert near zero. Pretty soon, instead of collecting interest they’ll be paying you one or two percent just to take some cash off their hands. Bernanke is gonna print another Trillion dollars of bogus bills, no matter what Governor Perry says Texans will do to him.

Vice-President Biden went to China to assure the Chinese that we will never default on the Treasury bonds they hold, no matter what Congress does. This makes you wonder why the President refused to give the same assurance to Americans last month.

Of course China wants us to stay prosperous and growing. Otherwise where would they find new technology to steal?

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“There is two things that can disrupt business in this country. One is war and the other is a meeting of the Federal Reserve.” DT #837, April 2, 1930
 “Sell your house and lot this morning, for the Federal Reserve Board meets this afternoon.” DT #839, April 4, 1930
(Will Rogers pretending to be President Coolidge, on a radio broadcast. Read it as if you are listening to it.)  “I am proud to report, that the country as a whole is prosperous. I don’t mean by that, that the whole country is prosperous, but as a hole, it is prosperous. Now a hole is not supposed to be prosperous, and we are certainly in a hole.  In conclusion, everybody I come into contact with is doing well. They have to be doing well or they don’t come in contact with me.”

Bachmann and Paul clean up in Iowa

COLUMBUS: Iowa Republicans held a big fund-raiser, also known as the Straw Poll. Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann, kinda running as Iowa’s “Favorite Daughter” candidate,  rounded up over 4800 of her childhood friends and won the poll by 150 votes over Ron Paul of Texas. Just 17,000 bonafide Iowans drove to Ames to vote for a Republican for President. That may sound like a good crowd, but three times as many will drive there for a football game.
I know a few farmers in Iowa, and I bet any one of them could have gotten 5000 other farmers to take the day off and go to Ames and vote for ‘em. Well, another farmer, this one from west Texas, announced he’s running. Rick Perry says Texas is due another President.
Gov. Pawlenty got creamed in the Straw Poll and put himself out to pasture. He spent a million dollars for 2000 votes, and figured at that price he couldn’t afford enough votes to beat Obama. Other candidates want his 2000 supporters, but so far no one has offered anywhere near what they cost him.
President Obama heard his name mentioned so many times in Iowa he wants to see what the ruckus is all about. He’ll fly in on Air Force One and trade it for Greyhound One to tour along the Mississippi River in Minnesota, Iowa, and Illinois. What those folks want to hear is which of his programs he will cut to reduce the deficit, and which regulations he will forego so business can expand and hire more people. But what he’ll likely talk about is a new stimulus package, including a plan to install a gigantic culvert for the Mississippi to run through from St. Paul to St. Louis.
In Philadelphia, the mayor has cracked down on teenage hoodlums who are copying the violence and destruction going on in England. Police caught more than 50 one night, which sounds more impressive than it is. See, it ain’t hard for a policeman to outrun a guy carrying a 60-inch flat screen TV with his pants down around his knees.
The Obama health care bill got sent to the Supreme Court. A friend in Las Vegas asked for my opinion on being forced to buy health insurance. The quote below answers that question, sort of.

Historic quote by Will Rogers: (following a gall bladder operation in 1927)
One day I was a-laying in the hospital (recovering) and I just happened to have the only bright thought that had come to me in weeks.  “Say, this thing I’m doubled up here with comes under the heading of ‘sickness’.”  For wasn’t I getting well from an operation?
So I thought of those policies I had been paying on for years. This sickness is going to turn out all right, at that. I began to think how I could stretch it out into what might be termed a slow convalescence. So I was grinning like a moving-picture producer who has just thought of a suggestive title for his new picture. So when my wife called again I broke the good news to her.
I says, “If we can get a bonafide doctor to say that I have been sick and couldn’t spin a rope and talk about Coolidge, we are in for some disability.”
Well, I notice the wife didn’t seem so boisterous about this idea. Then I got to thinking: “Maybe I haven’t been sick enough, or maybe I haven’t got a bonafide doctor.”
Then the truth did slowly come out; she told me the sad story of cutting down on the insurance. It read like a sentence to me. She said my physical condition had misled them. Of course she said there would be some salvage out of our short-sightedness, but that the operation would be by no means money-making. Whereas if the original policies had prevailed I would have reaped a neat benefit.
So if you want to stay well, just bet a lot of rich companies that you will get sick. Then if you can’t have any luck getting sick, have the policy cut down, and before six months you’ll be saying, “Doctor, the pain is right there.”
 (From “Ether and Me”, 1927)

#667 August 7, 2011

For a glimpse of bright future, go to a State Fair

COLUMBUS: Well, after all the wrangling and arguing, Congress and the President agreed on a budget plan. It wasn’t a good plan, but it was the only one they could get. Did it please anybody? Not a chance. Stockholders sold their stocks, losing more than a Trillion in a day. Standard & Poor’s lowered our credit rating a notch. Congress’ approval rating is in the tank. Unemployment refuses to drop below nine percent. And how bad is it when one of the countries making fun of our economy is Russia?
The only person who says he likes our economy is Warren Buffett, and he owns so much of it he is just protecting his investment. Of course, I trust Warren’s opinion more than I do Russia’s.
President Obama turned 50 this week. Remember when Marilyn Monroe sang “Happy Birthday” to President Kennedy? With all the emphasis on cutting costs I think this president was left with either Roseanne Barr or Whoopi Goldberg. At 50, he is fit and trim, in great shape. But he probably feels ten years older than when he took office.
This is Fair season. The Ohio State Fair is wrapping up, and Iowa’s Fair starts this week. They both boast about their butter cow sculptures, and rightly so, but this year Iowa has the advantage. Every Republican candidate under the sun is in Iowa buttering up the voters for the Iowa Straw Poll on Saturday. They say it don’t mean anything, but any candidate who gets creamed in Iowa is soon put out to pasture.
The President is trying to round up more jobs. The harder he works at it, the farther behind we seem to fall. I think if he spent a few days at a State Fair he would get an inkling of the future of this country. I saw a whole slew of 4-H members competing the past two weeks in Ohio, and these young folks know how to give a speech, they know their subject, and they know how to navigate a tight course whether it’s driving a tractor, designing a robot, guiding a welding rod, or leading a young bull. You watch these bright young folks and you come away impressed that when they complete their formal educations, whether high school, college, or an advanced degree, they will be ready to step into a good career or create their own business. As teenagers, many already have.

Historic quotes by Will Rogers:

“It’s called the 4-H Club. Somebody was inspired when they founded that. It’s all over the country. By golly they are a great bunch of kids.” DT #2585, Nov. 18, 1934

“The only salvation I can see for the young is to increase the college term to an additional four years. That’s another one of my plans. You’ll say, “Well, what could they learn in another four years?”  Well, there must be some little something about making a living that they haven’t learned yet, and they could kind of work on that for the next four years.” Radio, June 2, 1935