Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

California Dreamin’

So President Obama is in California today making the rounds and reaching out to the people. He means to promote his "economic message" in much the same way that an author promotes a book or an actor promotes the release of a movie. There was the big rally yesterday in Orange County and tonight he’ll round out the trip with an appearance on Jay Leno. The Dallas Morning News is among those not impressed with the Leno appearance. But to hear the breathless and giddy coverage of the local media is to be transported in memory back to a misspent adolescence when adulation of this sort was much too freely given.

It is difficult to watch the "man on the street" interviews with Obama supporters. Usually, they are asked why they are willing to tent it for the sake of a chance to see their hero . . . what is it about this guy that has made him the hottest ticket in town? Their answers reflect incredulity at the question when they are not merely vacant. The lucky ones, decked out in their Obama gear like so many concert-goers, flashed their "tickets" before the camera with a triumphant air. A few, made suddenly conscious (if not quite embarrassed) of their fawning behavior, made pretense of coming armed with serious questions. Their questions had a common thread: i.e., "When do I get my bailout?" One guy wanted to know when he’d get medical insurance without having to have a job. One gal--a state worker now subject to furlough in bankrupt California--wanted to know whether she could get compensation from the Feds for that lost pay so she could make her mortgage.

It’s almost always a mistake to watch too much local news as it has a way of sucking you in. And this night, it did. But as I continued to watch it was near impossible to avoid making comparisons between the Orange County campers and the crowd gathered outside of the "Octomom" Nadia Suleman’s house. That crowd was hoping to get a glimpse of the just-released two of the famous eight. But this rowdy crowd had one thing over the OC Obama-maniacs: at least they were honest: "Look into the camera, honey!" shouted one star-struck (and clearly disturbed) mother when her young daughter scored an interview with the local FOX outlet.

I’m very glad not to be anywhere near Burbank this evening . . .

Discussions - 4 Comments

A bit too harsh Julie. Obama was pretty good on Leno...he picked UNC to win it all, and mocked the idea that his picks might have swing state implications: Indiana, Iowa, et al. He joked that his lack of a dog, was simply a campaign promise that had to be tossed under the bus(which given all that he actually has pushed for, is fairly impressive...clever of him.) He stayed hot and heavy on AIG(which is a firm that Jim Cramer has been drilling on MSNBC) while praising the work of Geitner, and expressing some confidence in the rest of the economy. In a certain sense Obama's message has reconcilled itself with Jim Cramer...zooming in on specifics without being arbitrarily harsh, or overbroad.

Garth Brooks was also excellent...had I been around to catch a Leno apperance live, I would have lied and told the damn camera man that I was there for Garth Brooks. But even an answer like that would be open to a pundit reaction...The President of the United States makes an apperance...and they let idiots in who are only hanging around for some honky tonk country music...where is the Gravitas? The Humanity!

As you suggest some folks do fall for easy adulation...still all things being equal if you are a tourist type willing to wait 30 minutes in line for any old Leno show...what is a few hours for Obama/Brooks? In some sense even waiting in line is its own reward.

Why do folks wait in lines for so long to be the "first"? Why are "first" editions of books more expensive? Why is the being there of an experience of a greater quality than watching it on TV?

In some sense watching it on TV may be more rational, all books read more of less the same, and the Star Wars flick won't undergo substantial changes if you wait three days for lines to die down.

On a purely sociological basis, I don't have any problems with comparing those who adore Obama with those preoccupied with the vulgar spectacle of the "Octomom"...but on this level I also have no problem with comparing the elements that make for great unit cohesion(Army/Marines) with the elements that bind gangs like Hells Angels. In the first case it is a sort of attraction to being around news/buzz, and in the second case something like Fraternity/an informal private law of friendship/shared experiences.

On some level we all know that even if roads are cleared a traffic accident will slow the pace of travel as everyone slows to turn and glimpse...something akin to that force is probably more at play in the case of the "Octomom"...as you note well you can get drawn into local news, and if it is in your neihborhood you have to understand the gravitation, even if the behavior is low class.

Now waiting for Leno tickets can easily be compared to waiting for Star Wars tickets, or Final four tickets...or just plain waiting for tickets as a phenomenon...the rogue economist way of looking at it is opportunity cost of time, in other words the opportunity cost of the time you spend waiting should be added to the cost of the tickets...this opportunity cost will vary from person to person. Donald Trump's is quite high and mine is quite low, I assume that for those waiting for Leno tickets, opportunity cost varied but that those who gave bummish answers, were generally poorer folk(which probably holds true for some of those caught up by Octomom)...in some sense the republican or economist answer is get a job, do something productive...don't mope around expecting handouts...fair enough, but this same argument/tension was ignited in the Unemployment/Papa John's Pizza thread...and eternally in similar situations/discussions forevermore....

If the rational choice theorist are right you could predict that in a down economy opportunity cost is lower therefore ceterus paribus lines should be longer(this entered into Papa John's because college students ceteris paribus have lower opportunity costs/tighter budgets)...in a good economy not only would folks not be hanging around wanting handouts, they would actually have more valuable time and wouldn't tolerate such long lines...but here again I think the rational choice guys aren't quite right, and that culture has a place...So even talking about waiting in lines gets complicated...even in economics you have to consider that maybe the time spent in lines isn't dead time or unenjoyable time...there may be bonding, comraderie, and in waiting for a pizza getting one super cheap might make it more delicious, there may be principles and human motivations involved and at work that just aren't reduceable. Certainly back when Gas had a higher price folked shopped around for it more...which given opportunity/cost of time is a demonstrated economic faux-pas, which basically means folks are acting irrationally according to the predictive laws of the microeconomist...I actually posited but never completly proved(I am not fully sure how I would) that these sorts of economic faux-pas might as a group be corrolated to elasticity of demand(which works well for the gasoline example and might work for an economics of line waiting)

In this sense folks who wait in lines(quite an important topic if you pay attention to Restaurants) develop a habit or diminished sensitivity to doing so(or vice versa depending upon cultural milieu/occupation) that becomes a habit and carries foward framing how they act(even when they have reached an economic level where time is more valuable)

I don't have all the answers, but a well developed economics and sociology of american habits towards waiting in line, would likely disclose that it isn't universally considered dead time(Cedar Point makes a good portion of its sales in this time) no matter how much some might harp about our fast food nation(which I am willing to also consider, along with fork usage...a whole sociology and economics of waiting in line...

But I digress, and ironically I have lost track of time...without the added bonus of moving foward in a line, towards my main objective...In fact I will discredit the idea that one can reflect much in a line, without holding up a line and causing those behind you to cut or nudge...but this is all part of being in a line... I could probably write enough on the topic of being in a line, for an episode of Important Things with Demitri Martin...being in a line really is a shared cultural/habit experience...some folks are busy and impatient...others make out(Cedar Point)...some talk sports...religion, politics...life goes on, and at different points you are the different people in that line...maybe you are rightfully harsh because of your misspent adolescent adulation...but it always is a slightly different experience at every stage of life...it is always different live...and while never giving up a clear answer for why it is rational...my best answer if that it is just as rational as attending the democratic or republican national conventions...on a lower budget and with less partisan interest/commitment...plus in the interest of dignifying one's mundane life it is possible to stoically enjoy/make the most of waiting in lines...plus it is no crime to enjoy Leno or Garth Brooks.

Plus no matter what any politician says, it is always california livin'...how can you take anything seriously when it is so nice and mediterranian over there...no wonder you are always scolding northern folk about humor.

If you live in California everything is water off your back, or at least that is what your governator makes it look like in his California "Board Meeting" commercials...but if I say Montesquieu was right, Ren will use it in his drinking game(while waiting in line for Obama to speak? a little pocket flask action?)

Holy Crap that was much longer than I intended...with several spelling mistakes, and not much on the topic of Obama...I got out of line...quick prediction: Market countinues rally to 8500...Obama honeymoon not over yet...stock market falls back to 7700 then Obama honeymoon over...either that or honeymoon over when Obama finally get dog (am I speaking steriotypical Chinnese?) Maybe just Cramer...watch for confluence between Obama-Cramer tend to move market when Cramer say good thing about Obama and sink otherwise. Short Term Market Watch only Cramer's opinion really count...long term fundamentals...long term we be dead...or finally out of line.

I like how John apologizes for the length of his first comment by adding to it.;)

The current "Obamulation" is eerily familiar to the hype that surrounded both the Clinton and even Kennedy presidencies – usually in spite (or perhaps because?) of the significant personal issues of both men. What is it about liberals that inspires this kind of FANaticism? Is it the (mistaken) notion that they are “rebels”- with a cause?

That is an intersting point about star struck zombies. Mabye the fema camps will have cameras up around and the people will be told they are on a reality show. Domenstic survivor, Aushwitz 2.0 could be possible names. I am looking forward to finding out now that missouri considers me a domestic terrorist. Please don't compare Obama to JFK, Clinton is fine. I will believe Obama is like JFK when he enforces this.

On June 4, 1963, John F Kennedy signed Executive Order No. 11110. This gave the U.S. Treasury the power "to issue silver certificates against any silver bullion, silver, or standard silver dollars in the Treasury." This meant that for every ounce of silver in the U.S. Treasury's vault, the government could introduce new money into circulation. This gave the U.S. government back its power to issue currency, while stripping the Federal Reserve's power to loan money to the government at interest. If enough of those silver certificates were to come into circulation they would have eliminated the demand for Federal Reserve notes. Executive Order No. 11110 is still valid.

I doubt Obama has to worry about driving too slow through Dallas anytime soon regardless of the misdrection he is doing about AIG. Why is anyone concerned about a 150million when we are out 6trillion or more already.

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