Notes: The Gold Standard, Presidential Politics, Ron Paul’s GOP Destruction, Firing S&P, and VP Palin

Notes From the Conservative Underground is an ongoing section here at America’s Right, featuring the written manifestation of Ron Glenn’s observations on the conservative movement, gleaned from sources found everywhere between short-wave radio to mainstream commentary, between random discourse with concerned everyday Americans to planned discussions with people and officials plugged into grassroots organizations nationwide.  Off-beat? Perhaps.  Funny? Sometimes. Boring? Never.

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

August 15, 1971, is a day of economic infamy. President Richard Nixon took America off the gold standard and turned the nation into a paper printing machine. This last week, as Wall Street experienced record volatility, lots of Internet space was filled with commentary about this anniversary.

Interestingly, most of the essays denounced Nixon’s decision, a switch from my recollection of similar debates during the 1970’s and 1980’s. At that time, anyone who wanted to go back on the gold standard was considered as “behind the times” as someone who advocated a return to the horse and buggy.

People believed back then that unlimited money would bring unlimited wealth, and at that time the two greatest gold producers were the Soviet Union and South Africa. Not good. But in retrospect, with the 20/20 hindsight brought about by forty years of reflection, this one decision could be destroying the very foundation of America, which had enjoyed the greatest economy in world history. It would be ironic if, in spite of all the horrible things said about Richard Nixon because of the Vietnam War and the Watergate scandal, the single thing for which he will be scorned is his decision to go on a fiat money system.

The Press Picks the Candidates

Since Texas Governor Rick Perry has entered the Republican presidential contest, the mainstream press has set up the race as a contest between Rick Perry and former Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney. This has an obvious logic to it. For years the battle lines in the Republican party have been described as a struggle between the religious conservative wing and the moderate, more business-oriented wing. At this point one could argue these two men most notably represent these two wings.

There are other candidates, of course.  Michele Bachmann may also represent the religious conservative wing, but she is more of a newcomer than Perry is to the Republican national scene.  Ron Paul, according to conservative news commentator Charles Krauthammer, cannot win the Republican presidential nomination because he is libertarian, and the libertarians are a numerical minority within the party.  The rest of the field add to the discussion, but are unfortunately of no real consequence.

In terms of frontrunners Perry and Romney, however, both of these men have their weaknesses. Perry tends to shoot from the hip a lot, and it is not always clear if he is speaking from the heart or as a politician. Romney is the quintessential successful businessman, but he is seen as too liberal. (This sounds contradictory, of course, but he is after all associated with Massachusetts.) The fate of those two gentlemen, not to mention the party and the country, depend upon whether the emerging political force that is the Tea Party neatly fits into the religious conservative wing or is, in a sense, outside of it.

The Tea Party is a far more politically complex movement than it is given credit for, and this simple split between Perry and Romney shows that. My experience has been that the Tea Party is not big on social issues that concern the religious conservatives and, at the same time, is pro-business but against government bailouts.

In short, they fail the religious conservatives on social issues, they fail the business Republicans in the refusal to please the whims of Wall Street. Saying the Tea Party is just a far right political movement for far right white people is way too simple-minded.

Ron Paul Has To Go

Last week, Rush Limbaugh made the pronouncement that Ron Paul will destroy the Republican Party. The counterargument to that, of course, is easy — the Republican Party has already been destroyed by Rush Limbaugh and former President George W. Bush.

Arguments aside, it is safe to say the Republican Party wants Ron Paul to go away. He is having a huge effect on which topics are discussed among the candidates. What Rush Limbaugh is really saying comes to this– if Ron Paul got his way the agenda of the Republican party for the last forty years would be overturned. No Federal Reserve, fewer interventions overseas, and a severing of the “partnerships” between government and private business.

If Ron Paul is forced to remove himself from the race, the remaining candidates can stop doing the kind of thing Governor Rick Perry did this week when he said the Federal Reserve was bordering on treason. Without Ron Paul in the race, he could just say the Federal Reserve needs to do a better job.

Regardless of what Limbaugh tries to intimate, it is because of Ron Paul that the focus of the Republican Party has turned largely to the proper role, size and function of the federal government.  He pushed the GOP toward libertarianism.  In that, Ron Paul may have actually SAVED the Republican Party.

You’re fired!!

This is from an article that appeared on the MSN Money site on Thursday, August 18, 2011:

Don’t like what Standard & Poor’s has to say about you? Fire ‘em.

That’s what the city of Los Angeles did after S&P downgraded its $7 billion investment portfolio to AA from the perfect AAA rating. The city will no longer hire S&P to rate its investments, The Los Angeles Times reported.

“We have really lost faith in S&P’s judgment,” the city’s interim treasurer said.

This shows you one of the most fundamental problems in government: The rating agency Standard & Poor’s gave junk derivatives A+ ratings for years until 2008 and never had any trouble. However, they are fired by California for downgrading an investment portfolio that should have likely been downgraded years ago. California may be in the worst shape of any state in America.

What does this show? If you do your job incorrectly for the government, you can often be rewarded. Do it correctly, however, and you are fired. I have seen this in my job for years with appraisers who do work for banks. If they appraise the houses too high and let the banks loan lots of money, they are rewarded. If they appraise the houses correctly, too often they are let go. This is an example of the structural corruption in government and business, which is actually far worse than sending lewd pictures over the Internet, or dressing up in a tiger suit to entertain staff. The first is destructive, the latter is embarrassing.

What’s Up, Sarah?

Discussion about Sarah Palin’s future has fallen by the wayside lately. Rumor has it for months she will be Rick Perry’s vice-presidential running mate if he is nominated. Does anyone think this is a good idea? Should we call Senator John McCain and get his opinion?

 

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Comments

  1. JohnBoy says:

    Great article, Ronald. I love these little bits and pieces that you do from time to time. I will definitely be checking out your radio show.

  2. Linda says:

    No, I don’t think it’s a good idea to have Sarah Palin as Rick Perry’s running mate. I don’t trust Perry and I don’t trust that he won’t do to her what McCain and his camp did. I think Sarah Palin is best served where she is – speaking for the people. If anything, she should run for the Senate seat in Arizona now that she has a residence there. Let her shake the ranks from within in that position.

  3. Chuck Harrison says:

    Ronald,

    What’s your problem with Rick Perry? I think its refreshing to have a Republican admit that he doesn’t believe in science.

  4. Anonymous says:

    McCain the progressive lost that election.

  5. Randy Wills says:

    To “Chuck Harrison” @ 6:29 PM:

    What is this, “refreshing to have a Republican admit that he doesn’t believe in science”?

    I cannot speak for Rick Perry or anyone else, but I am a conservative Republican and an evangelical Christian, and I have spent most of my 50-year career in the techical and scientific world. Many of the brightest and most productive PhD’s in the hard sciences whom I have known and worked with over the years have also been conservative Republicans and evangelical Christians, so I have no idea what you’re talking about.

    People such as myself “believe in science”, and have made a career of utilizing the knowledege provided by science, but we also know what we don’t know and what can and cannot be proven empirically.

    I may be misjudging your comment, and if I am, I apologize, but the statement that a person “does not believe in science” usually comes from a secular/progressive who likes to intimate that only those who claim to believe in theories that are speculative and unprovable are intellectually capable of “believing in science”. My experience has been that those who would so claim are the least open to the “scientific method” of examining theories, whether they be relating to global warming or the creation of the universe. I have also observed that these professors of superior intellect are the most susceptible to ideological posturing.

    I certainly hope that you haven’t fallen prey to faux science in order to legitimize a personal/political ideology as so many others have.

    Randy

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