Thursday, November 10, 2011

Quote Of The Day

It's nice to know that not everyone is obsessed with style over substance. At Policy Shop, David Callahan makes clear that what's wrong the Texas Governor Rick Perry's debate performance last night wasn't a bit of forgetfulness:
Forget the fact that Governor Rick Perry had a "brain freeze" last night when asked at a GOP debate to name the three government departments he wants to ax. We all sometimes forget what we were going to say and one of the worst things about politics today is that people get ridiculed and attacked for being perfectly human.

What actually deserves attention here is the ideological extremism and intellectual laziness of Perry's proposal to kill off the U.S. Departments of Education, Commerce, and Energy. For Perry, the principle of just generally downsizing government is clearly more important than the details, and even if he were faster on his feet last night, you can bet that he would be pressed to explain why these departments should cease to exist and who, exactly, would take over their vital functions.

Point of Perry's Stumble: Hating Government is a Reflex, Not a Plan
Callahan goes on to point out the things that those government departments do, and what we would have to find some other way to do them if they were replaced. My guess is that if someone like Perry were elected, most of the function of those departments would merely be moved into other departments. The Department of Defense would take over at least part of the Department of Energy's function, since there's no way anyone in our government is going to say we can do without nuclear weapons. He might just end up giving them Commerce's job, too. Why not? I can see our new export support policy right now: "Nice trade policy you have there. It would be a shame if something were to happen to it."

Anyone who thinks that our government couldn't do with a little reorganization hasn't worked with it, I suspect. But simply saying that you're going to eliminate entire departments isn't a way of impressing me.


Marc Richter said...

I agree that Perry would be hard pressed to explain why he believes those departments should be axed, except that he's heard other conservatives call for their cessation as well.

All conservatives in this election need to be prepared to back up their political rhetoric in light of the intense media pressure the eventual candidate will receive against Barack Obama.

Cujo359 said...

Yes, although I'd also love to see more thoughtful questioning when candidates bring up that sort of thing. Asking the sorts of questions Callahan does is what a reporter should be prepared to do.