So Mitt Romney has said some stupid nonsense regarding the London Olympics. Everyone who reads the London papers or the Drudge Report knows that the London Olympics have their problems. Mitt Romney, putative Republican nominee, spoke what had been commonplace in the headlines, and apparently now he needs to suffer. Doesn’t everyone know that organizing the winter Olympics in a backwoods like Utah is nothing like organizing an Olympics in a major cosmopolitan center like London? After all, London is a place that can endlessly play The Clash song “London Calling,” and this of itself will show its importance. There is no “Utah Calling” as equivalence. If you have problems, then you can always pull out your ace in the hole, viz. Sir Paul McCartney.
The President, in another story, tells us that business owners didn’t build it themselves, but someone else did. Your store was built next to the publicly funded highway. Ebay needed Al Gore to invent the information highway in the first place for it to become a viable business. The President now must suffer criticism regarding what the context was regarding the meaning of “you didn’t build that”. He says he is for the middle class, and that is why he wants to tax incomes above $250K—a tax in the name of the middle class. There are a lot of smart and hard working people out there he tells us, and none of them did it for themselves. Consequently, the President just wants to increase the taxes of that group who, regardless of intelligence and hard work, have made enough money by which they should be taxed more. To be fair, he only wants to raise the highest tax rates back to the Clinton era 39% from Bush era 35% cuts.
If the President really means what he says about the fair share of the rich, then why not a 90% tax rate? There is no “London Calling” here, but let me suggest The Jam’s “That’s Entertainment,” because this tax won’t have much to do with the questionable sustainability of the public fisc. Regarding public funds, we’re getting older and broker as we speak in terms of public obligations toward pensions (and other expenses), and meanwhile our bridges and electric grids rot. Of course, we also have wars in Afghanistan and Iraq abroad. In this light, one might as well bring up bases in So. Korea and Germany too (and elsewhere). It all costs money if you are so concerned about the bottom line.
Whether it is the stupidity of the London Olympics or the stupidity of current tax policy in the U.S.A., it seems that in public speech, whatever one says is held up to the most exacting of standards. For instance, I can say something in order to start a fight—why else would I want write something? (but I can think of a few others)—and that thing I say gets examined and criticized six sides sameways. This is not entirely true in these haunts of Postmodern Conservative, but even here the slightest criticism can mean the greatest of differences. Nonetheless, on a blog like this, we know that we can throw ideas out there to be tossed and kicked around. These ideas can be considered, even as we know our own commitments in defense of what is important. If such serious ideas appear in the form of casual speech, then perhaps that is the way that ideas get examined and analyzed on a blog in the first place. In this way, a blog is not a political speech or a peer reviewed academic journal. It is a casual way in which ideas can be presented in a conversation that allows for a benign indifference if need be. Sometimes people need to just let it loose in speech without being held accountable for each and every nuance and consequence of what they mean.
In my view, Romney and Obama’s gaffes are open game for deep analysis, but that analysis ought to likewise be given the benefit of the doubt regarding context and nuance. When I have conversations about important things with my friends, I think I say intelligent things, but then I speak loosely. I probably sound like an a**hole.
This post is in fact a precis in defense of saying whatever the hell I want to. Unfortunately, I have no idea of what I could say that would be truly of interest to anyone else.