The GOTea -- A Two Book Party

"...Russ Feingold. He is running for a fourth term, in a very tough race against Ron Johnson, a plastics manufacturer and one of those rich political virgins who have been popping up in races across the country, waving a checkbook and a copy of “Atlas Shrugged.”

It’s ironic that Feingold, who is possibly the most independent member of the Senate, a Mr. Clean who votes against his party regularly, is among the incumbents in the most danger from an anti-Washington voter rebellion. Especially since Johnson is not all that impressive. Unless you like Ayn Rand and are yearning to see the country run just like a plastics business...."

Gail Collins
New York Times


Roadkill said...


I love to read liberal columnists classifying Russ Feingold as an "independant." Its a real laugher. The fact is, the only time that Feingold is an independent is when he's so far left ideologically that he finds himself voting against both parties.

He's a big spending, big government, social engineering type, just like most of the political class. His biggest claim to fame was his Incumbent Protection Act (a.k.a. McCain-Feingold), a classic example of the lengths to which the political elite will go in order to protect their jobs.

If this guy was such an independent, maybe he would have voted against the $700B TARP, or the $787B Stimulus, or Cash for Clunkers, or Health Care Takeover or the Financial whatever Bill or the last two budgets that have racked up $2.7T in deficit spending. But of course he did not. Cuz he ain't an Independent -he's a dyed in the wool liberal. And Gail Collins is too.

On the positive side, I did like the photo's in your post. Its interesting how a poorly-characterized novel written over 50 years ago remains so popular - and inspiring. Must be something in it that resonates with the tens of millions who have read it. Perhaps its the economics part...

Sunny Badger said...


Where does deficit spending come from? My guess is, if Obama came into office with a balanced budget in place, we would have still been seeing very high deficits and a growing national debt.

Other than a handful of economists who make a healthy living appearing on FOX News, few economists believe the Bush TARP and Obama stimulus spending packages where the wrong thing to do.

Cash For Clunkers helped bridge local car dealerships through a very rough patch and kept many in auto industry jobs employed.

Not sure what you mean by "health care takeover." Are you referring to the legislation of which major portions were written by the insurance companies and their lobbyists. Fact is it's pretty hard to see the changes that will come from the healthcare legislation. It will take years to roll out.

Feingold is a liberal and he sticks to his guns and principles. What you see is what you get. You would think the GOTea Partiers would get this. In fact, two TEA-ers told me the other day the Feingold needs to be voted out because he's been in there for three terms. When I said Mithc McConnell and John Boehner both need to go, they said no. Why? Because they are Republicans said the TEA Partiers. That seniority thing only applies to Democrats. So much for that independent grassroots myth about the TEA Party.

It is interesting that "Atlas Shrugged" is so popular. What I found interesting about that book is that it was obviously written by someone who has little or no experience in working in a business. Ayn Rand was Ayn Rand's business. I also find it interest that guys little Feingold's opponent Ron Johnson always like to roll out that cliche that their opponent has never run a business. Government isn't like private enterprise. The major focus of government isn't about efficiency' a major focus of business in a competitive market is gaining efficiencies.

I doubt that the economics of Atlas Shrugged is what draws people to that book. Most people that tell me they have read that book... especially recently... have never had Econ 101 and have actually read very few books. One 50-year-old guy told me it was the best book he had ever read. When asked what other books he liked, he said he could remember because it was back in high school.

Minimum wage, unemployment insurance, food stamps, PELL grants, etc. are not about efficiency. Business wants lower wages and that is why the Chamber of Commerce is silent about stopping the flow of illegal workers into the country. Free market efficiency would not waste company resources on feeding the poor or healing the sick or giving a rip about those let go from jobs.

Of course, "free market" businesses would not be lobbying Congress for subsidies and they wouldn't complain about foreign competition.

Maybe in a free market world Warren Buffet would pay the same tax rate as me and you.

Roadkill said...

"Feingold is a liberal and he sticks to his guns and principles."

My point exactly. Looks like more common ground for us, Sunny!

Sunny Badger said...


I'd be really disappointed if Ron Johnson gets elected. The thought of having two multi-millionaires representing Wisconsin. There are 99,976 millionaires in Wisconsin. That's one senator for every 49,988 millionaires. In other words, 4.5 non-million Wisconsinites would not be represented.

Of all those in the Senate, Feingold ranks 95th in net worth. He's worth less than me! He is somebody I can trust to represent me. I know he will vote for the death tax so Herb Kohl's heirs will get be required to spread the wealth around and give others a shot. Kohl is the richest senator. No one will run against him.

As I explained to a top member of the Wisconsin Democratic Party that Johnson getting elected would mean we'd have a Republican Herb Kohl and that would make two senators in Wisconsin I couldn't vote for. His face carried a look of confusion on it. In the small group meeting, it was assumed that you just circle the dot of Democrats on the ballot.

We need Wellstones, Feingolds, Ron Pauls and Dennis Kucinichs in the Senate and House. We need strong fiber in our political diet.

RK, aren't we supposed to meet for coffee some time?

Anonymous said...

Here's a couple of URLs you two lovebirds may find of interest.



Roadkill said...


As a conservative, I find Rand's hostility towards religion and altruism utterly repugnant. As a student of literature, I find her writing stilted, hectoring, and completely unrealistic.

I do find merit some of her political philosphy, however, particularly her appreciation of the dangers of tax happy, regulation spewing, and control mongering big government, which tends to enervate ambition, discourage innovation, and generally infantilize all Americans to the point of dependency on the political elite. Nothing could be further from what our founders envisioned for our country, and nothing could be more anathama to individualistic, self-reliant, and optimistic Americans.

But since I know that, like me, Sunny seriously dislikes Randian thought (albiet for the obverse of my reasons, I suspect), your links actually provide more fodder for our common ground.

You matchmaker, you.

Anonymous said...


Speaking of anathema,how can one adopt a philosophy whose very core is
against religion, God, and altruism, if one finds a Randian perspective on these topics repugnant? I would think that the rational answer to this is that one cannot avoid this contradiction of values.
As to stifling innovation, what kind of innovation are we talking about? Is the "innovation" of bundling toxic assets into inventive types of securities and slapping a triple A rating on them without the slightest investigation into these assets? Is this the kind of "innovation" we need to reinvigorate? How are banks stimulating innovation when they refuse to lend much of the billions of dollars given to them at the bequest of Secretary Paulson, who was nominated by one of the most conservative administrations in U.S. history?
How was Randist Christopher Cox, stimulating innovation when he refused to investigate the obvious and egregious violations of law like the Bernie" Madoff scandal?
I believe there comes a time in each individual's life when they come to the realization that they are incapable of living life by going it alone, by functioning as islands unto themselves depending only upon their own self reliance. Sooner or later rugged individuals will realize that are in some fashion dependent upon others, that they need to be part of a community or need the altruistic endeavors of those who Rand despised.
Ayn Rand died a bitter,alienated, depressed and lonely individual,a victim of her own self aggrandizing philosophy. I cannot see how one can limit adopting this philosophy to the economic realm without agreeing with the core values which it espouses, those being greed and selfishness.

Anonymous said...

It just hit me how funny that picture a woman on the back of a truck with the "Obama, read the Constitution" sign really is. The reason my funny bone is aching is because Obama TAUGHT
Constitutional Law at the University of Chicago. That fact, coupled with the continence of a woman who exudes Constitutional scholarship has my delirious with laughter.
Here's a quote from the Chicago Sun Times that really makes me question Obama's knowledge of the Constitution compared with that of the "Truck Lady".
"It certainly is an advantage that he (Obama) really knows the Constitution of the United States," said Professor Cass Sunstein. "I don't know if we have had a president that knows as much about the founding document as he does."

The buttoned-up University of Chicago Law School is best-known for producing conservative jurists like Antonin Scalia, who taught there before becoming a U.S. Supreme Court justice.

Roadkill said...


I don’t see what is so difficult about finding some element or aspect of a given philosophical framework more agreeable than others. Your take it or leave it approach would suggest that every complex formulation is a coherent and indivisible whole, and that any problematic feature irredeemably taints the entire construct. I find that position limiting and constrictive, if not downright anti-intellectual.

Look at any given body of work. Aristotle, revered as amongst the greatest of philosophers, advocated for slavery, the subjugation of women, and a peculiar natural science that postulated only four elements (earth, air, water, and fire). Yet are we to throw out all of his work on this account? Is it now impossible to be an Aristotelian?

Pick out other philosophers, from Lau Tsu and Confucius to Camus and Marcuse. Or scientists from Galileo to Einstien. All glimpsed pieces of truth, I think, while mistaking or misidentifying others. Should the identification of any disagreeable feature stigmatize the entire body of their work? Should we dismiss everything on account of some error of judgment or perspective? Should we throw the baby out with the bathwater?

Well, I think not. Rather, I think it better to “compartmentalize” when it comes to political philosophy, or history, or sports writing or automotive repair or a plethora of other subjects. Get a little insight here, get a little there, and gradually build a coherent perspective by gleaning the best (and leaving the rest) from many different minds.

Including that of Ayn Rand.

Anonymous said...

I found the following quote in an article (obviously biased against her ) but nontheless quite on target.

"In 1961 Sidney Hook wrote in the New York Times,

Since his baptism in medieval times, Aristotle has served many strange purposes. None have been odder than this sacramental alliance, so to speak, of Aristotle with Adam Smith. The extraordinary virtues Miss Rand finds in the law that A is A suggests that she is unaware that logical principles by themselves can test only consistency. They cannot establish truth.... Swearing fidelity to Aristotle, Miss Rand claims to deduce not only matters of fact from logic but, with as little warrant, ethical rules and economic truths as well. As she understands them, the laws of logic license her in proclaiming that "existence exists," which is very much like saying that the law of gravitation is heavy and the formula of sugar sweet.

Whether or not Rand read Aristotle, it's clear that he made little impression upon her, particularly when it came to ethics. Aristotle had a distinctive approach to morality, quite out of keeping with modern sensibilities; and while Rand had some awareness of its distinctiveness, its substance seems to have been lost on her. Like a set of faux-leather classics on the living room shelf, Aristotle was there to impress the company—and, in Rand's case, distract from the real business at hand.
I'm sure you'll scoff at the title but this article is very well researched.