Thursday, June 30, 2011

Governor Rick Perry...

...of Texas is coming up fast along the rail. According to Fox News and Intrade, Perry places second behind only Mitt Romney.

But another poll, from PPP, tells a different story. President Obama leads the governor in the Lone Star State, 47% to 45%:

“Rick Perry may prove to be a strong candidate for President in other places,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But the home state voters who know him best aren’t showing a lot of support for a White House bid."

The cartoon of the day:

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

That other darling...

...of the Republican establishment, Chris Christie, couldn't even carry his home state of New Jersey. From Bloomberg:

More than half of New Jersey residents say they wouldn’t back Governor Chris Christie for a second term, disapproving of his choices on a range of policy and personal issues...

T-Paw, the darling...

...of the Republican establishment, is fading fast. In a new Suffolk University poll of likely voters in the New Hampshire primary, the former governor of Minnesota is the favorite of only 2 percent, down 3 points from the previous poll in May.

Mitt Romney still leads the field in the Granite State with 36 percent, followed by Michele Bachmann with 11. Everyone else is in single digits.


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

I had a "discussion" with...

...two of my neighbors recently about tax policy. When I suggested that the tax cuts for the rich in Paul Ryan's and Tim Pawlenty's budgets were misguided, one of them corrected me: "You mean the job creators?" (That's when I knew they both watched Fox, as if I needed any confirmation.)

Anyway, I wish I'd had the above chart at the time. It's from "Rich People's Taxes Have Little to Do with Job Creation," by Michael Linden.

Why do people yawn?

From today's Science section of the Times:

It is not entirely known. However, the most recent data suggests that it is part of a thermoregulatory response that helps cool the brain by shunting blood to facial muscles that act as radiators and offload heat from the redirected blood.

Tim Pawlenty is scheduled...

...to deliver a major foreign policy address today at the Council on Foreign Relations in New York.

Sarah Palin, meanwhile, will be in Pella, Iowa, to attend the premier of "The Undefeated," a documentary about her political career.

Which event do you think will garner more attention?

Stanley Fish, writing...

...in the Times today, reminds us that Jon Huntsman (and Mitt Romney) would have a better chance of winning a general election than the Republican nomination:

Does [Huntsman] have a chance, first to win the nomination and then to win the presidency? A better chance at the second than the first. In the current field of Republican wannabes Huntsman bears the liability of having worked for Barack Obama, in addition to the even greater liability of having refused to say harsh things about him. Huntsman is also somewhat more liberal on social issues than his competitors, is not, it would seem, a tea-party type, and has low name recognition and correspondingly low poll numbers.

This is a problem for the GOP. And like the Tories in Britain, they'll have to work it out for themselves. But in the meantime, I'm left to ask, why aren't Huntsman and Romney Democrats?

(By the way, I've read that Huntsman -- like just about everyone else, it seems -- can't stand Mitt Romney. Maybe, besides positioning himself for 2016, Huntsman is running to thwart Romney.)

Norma Lyon, arguably...

...the world's most famous butter sculptor, is dead at age 81.

Norma Lyon, a self-described dairy farmer’s wife and mother of nine who achieved fame well beyond the Midwest as the “butter-cow lady” of the Iowa State Fair, sculpturing tons of U.S. Grade AA salted butter each year into life-size figures of cows, famous people and, once, a diorama of the Last Supper, died on Sunday in Marshalltown, Iowa.

That's the legend herself working on a sculpture of Tiger Woods.

Whenever I get carried away...

...with all of the possible 2012 election outcomes, I turn to Intrade for a little grounding in reality.

And while the Irish betting Web site has Mitt Romney winning the Republican nomination, it also predicts that President Obama will be easily reelected.

Monday, June 27, 2011

The New Yorker cartoon of the day:

An article in one of this morning's...

...national newspapers (hint: it's not the Wall Street Journal) argues that the U. S. could look to Sweden -- yes, socialist Sweden -- for some answers to the current downturn:

This Scandinavian nation of 9 million people has accomplished what the United States, Britain and Japan can only dream of: Growing rapidly, creating jobs and gaining a competitive edge. The banks are lending, the housing market booming. The budget is balanced.

Sweden was far from immune to the global downturn of 2008-09. But unlike other countries, it is bouncing back. Its 5.5 percent growth rate last year trounces the 2.8 percent expansion in the United States and was stronger than any other developed nation in Europe. And compared with the United States, unemployment peaked lower (around 9 percent, compared with 10 percent) and has come down faster (it now stands near 7 percent, compared with 9 percent in the U.S.).

Michele Bachmann is expected...

...to announce her candidacy (again) for president today in her hometown of Waterloo, Iowa. And Chris Cillizza, who has the best blog on politics, has a post this morning listing four reasons why the Minnesota Congresswoman should be considered the frontrunner in the Hawkeye State. (Intrade currently has Bachmann in second over all, behind Mitt Romney, in the race for the Republican nomination.)

Impressive, huh?

And yet ... I can't help thinking that today will be the day Ms. Bachmann peaks in the polls. Why? Because I watched her interviewed by Bob Schieffer on "Face the Nation" yesterday -- and while she handled herself well -- Bachmann just wasn't able to answer his questions about some of the wacky things she's said in the last few years.

For example, Bachmann didn't have a good answer for Schieffer's question about what, exactly, she meant when she said that President Obama had "anti-American" views. Or when she claimed that the president had approved of only one off-shore oil drilling permit when Schieffer said the number was actually 270.

The interview went on like this and Bachmann -- like Mike Huckabee, who once said that "Q & A" stands for "Question and Avoidance"-- was able to successfully avoid answering Schieffer's questions. But, unlike Sarah Palin, it won't be her answers that doom her candidacy -- it will be the questions. And for Ms. Bachmann, I'm afraid, they won't stop. She's just "on the record" with too many ridiculous statements.

So as much as I'd like to see her get the Republican nomination, I predict Ms. Bachmann's candidacy peaks today.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

What happened when President Reagan...

...raised taxes in his first term? According to Bruce Bartlett, a senior policy analyst in the Reagan White House (my emphasis):

Back in 1982, Ronald Reagan was persuaded that the deficit was such a severe impediment to growth that a tax increase to reduce it would be economically beneficial. 
___

Looking at real gross domestic product, it grew 4.5 percent in 1983 and 7.2 percent in 1984 – an exceptionally strong performance. The stock market had one of its best years ever in 1983 – both the Dow Jones Industrial Average and the S&P 500 Index rose 35 percent. There was no increase in the rate of inflation, which was exactly the same in 1983 and 1984 as it was in 1982. The unemployment rate fell from 10.6 percent in December 1982 to 8.1 percent by December 1983 and 7.1 percent in December 1984.

According to Intrade, there is now...

...a 78 percent chance that Tim Pawlenty will drop out of the race for the Republican nomination before the New Hampshire primary.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

The results are in...

...from the first Des Moines Register poll and the results are not good for Tim Pawlenty.

I know what you're thinking: who cares? Well, according to Chris Cillizza of the Washington Post:

The Register poll, conducted by the esteemed J. Ann Selzer, is widely regarded as the benchmark for where things stand in the Hawkeye State. A strong showing can help a candidate raise money and build momentum, a poor one can have the opposite effect. In short: the Register poll matters.
___

This is the poll that will be used to judge momentum (or lack thereof) in the Iowa campaign to come. Every time the Iowa caucus race gets written about, the first Register poll will be cited and used as a way to judge whether progress is being made. It’s the expectation setter. For someone like former Minnesota governor Tim Pawlenty — for whom a win in the Iowa caucuses is close to a necessity — the ideal would be a competitive second or third place in this first survey. That would keep expectations reasonable and allow him room to grow and claim genuine momentum going forward.

All right, so where did T-Paw finish, anyway? Sixth place, with 6 percent. That's behind Mitt Romney, with 23 percent, Michele Bachmann (22), Herman Cain (10), and Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul (7). Ouch!

According to Politico:

Pawlenty has spent 26 days in Iowa during this election cycle, has hired an A-list team of Iowa campaign operatives and was the first major candidate to air television ads in Iowa. "If I were the Pawlenty camp, I would be enormously concerned about this poll," said Jennifer Duffy of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report.

Don Diamond, who played...


...Crazy Cat (above, right) in that classic '60s sitcom "F Troop," died at age 90. (He appears in the video at about 2:00.)

Friday, June 24, 2011

I saw "Midnight in Paris..."

...yesterday and I couldn't help thinking of Willie Mays.

Huh?

You see, after Mays was traded to the New York Mets at the ripe old age of 41, he hit a most un-Mays-like .211 in his final season.

And just like Willie Mays, Woody Allen doesn't know when to retire.

"Midnight in Paris" is an embarrassing movie, almost like a "Saturday Night Live" parody of a Woody Allen film (when "Saturday Night Live" was still good).

The characters are hard to watch, the dialogue is stilted -- the whole thing is just a mess.

Compare it to "The Purple Rose of Cairo": an equally absurd premise -- an actor literally stepping out of a movie screen and falling in love with a member of the audience -- that worked, somehow, because it was funny and clever. Unfortunately, "Midnight in Paris" is neither.

And it's a shame, because watching a Woody Allen movie nowadays is like watching the "Say Hey Kid" back in 1973 -- depressing.

Apparently, failing is the best...

...qualification for managing a Major League baseball team (my emphasis):

Recycling managers is still a tradition in baseball — Buck Showalter, Jim Riggleman, Jim Leyland and Bob Melvin have run half of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams.

Jimmy Dykes (above), for example, managed five Major League teams over 21 seasons. He never won a pennant, his highest finish was third place, and his career record was 1,406-1,541.

But as a player, Dykes may be responsible for one of the best quotes in baseball history:

"I couldn't slide into second base. I carry my cigars in my back pocket and was afraid I'd break 'em."

According to an article...

...in Bloomberg this morning (my emphasis):

For all the concern about the deficit in Washington, bond market yields in the U.S. are lower now than when the government was running a budget surplus a decade ago. The yield on the benchmark 10-year U.S. Treasury note was 2.91 percent in New York yesterday, below the average of 7 percent since 1980 and the average of 5.48 percent in the 1998 through 2001 period, according to Bloomberg Bond Trader.

The storm is over...

...in Glenview and my power has been restored.

Blogging should resume shortly.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Don't believe all the Republican hype...

...about "repealing Obamacare." The Affordable Care Act will only be strengthened over time. (And we'll all be glad.)

My latest piece of evidence is from the American Medical Association (my emphasis):

The AMA's House of Delegates voted 326-165 to support the law's requirement that most people buy insurance. The coverage mandate is at the center of several lawsuits challenging the new law's constitutionality.

AMA President Cecil Wilson said the "overwhelming" vote shows that doctors still believe a mandate is necessary to achieving universal coverage.
 
He emphasized that the AMA — the country's largest trade association for doctors — backed the individual mandate before the debate over healthcare reform. 

When Republicans, like Paul Ryan...

...and Tim Pawlenty, talk about raising revenues by closing loopholes, it's fair to ask, which ones. (When pressed on the question, they punt.)

In his blog this morning, Ezra Klein lists the most significant tax loopholes (my emphasis):

According to the Tax Policy Center, the largest tax expenditures, in order, are the breaks for employer-provided health care, pension contributions, mortgage interest, depreciation of capital equipment, state and local tax payments, and charitable contributions. We're not talking ethanol credits here, and we're not even talking about tax breaks for special interests. We're talking about tax preferences for the middle class.

Which of these tax breaks do you think the middle class would be willing to forgo in order to give the rich another tax cut?

That "tough Jersey guy" schtick...

...of Chris Christie's may be wearing a litttle thin. In the Garden State, only 44 percent now approve of the job the governor is doing versus 47 percent who disapprove. (That's his lowest grade so far.)

And the Republicans want this guy to run for president?

Monday, June 20, 2011

The chart of the day.

(From Ezra Klein's blog.)

Paul Krugman lists...

...An Enquiry Concerning Human Understanding by the 18th-century British philosopher David Hume as one of five books he read in college that changed his life (my emphasis):

I was at that stage, a college sophomore or thereabouts, when you’re searching around, looking for belief systems. I think it’s actually a point when you’re quite vulnerable, because you are looking for someone who is going to offer you all the answers. Some people turn to religious orthodoxy, other people turn to Ayn Rand. One of my favourite lines – and I haven’t been able to find out who came up with it – is that “There’s an age when boys read one of two books. Either they read Ayn Rand or they read Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings. One of these books leaves you with no grasp on reality and a deeply warped sense of fantasy in place of real life. The other one is about hobbits and orcs.”

Then I read Hume’s Enquiry, this wonderful, humane book saying that nobody has all the answers. What we know is what we have evidence for. We do the best we can, but anybody who claims to be able to deduce or have revelation about The Truth – with both Ts capitalised – is wrong. It doesn’t work that way. The only reasonable way to approach life is with an attitude of humane scepticism. I felt that a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders when I read that book.

Is Wrigley Field really...

...a "dump?" That's what sportscaster Peter Gammons said recently. And Rick Morrissey of the Sun-Times and Richard Rothschild of Sports Illustrated, among others, agreed.

Me? I'm not so sure. I like what Carlos Pena said in a piece in the Times this morning, "A Hallowed and Imperfect Ballpark":

“When I walked up through the tunnel for the first time, right before opening day, and you see the light at the end of the ramp, you think the gates of heaven have opened,” Pena said. “I don’t take this for granted, man. I’m playing in a cathedral of baseball.”

And that's exactly how I feel every time I emerge from the ramp and see the field again at Wrigley. In fact, the same thought always runs through my mind right at that moment: When I die, I want to be cremated and have my ashes sprinkled on this field.

As Jerry Seinfeld once said, "Fans don't root for the players; they root for the shirts."

And something similar could be said for Cub fans: We root for the home team at Wrigley.

Just as no one goes to Cellular Field to watch the White Sox, no one would watch the Cubs anywhere else.

I'm back on the junk.

I couldn't quit; I was miserable. Blogging should pick up, though...

Friday, June 17, 2011

How about a little Jerry Seinfeld...


...on a Friday afternoon?

According to an article...

...in Politico (my emphasis):

Not so long ago, Tim Pawlenty was praising Mitt Romney as an “unbelievably bright and nimble and gifted public policy leader in Massachusetts.”

“We have been studying, very diligently, the Massachusetts model, about how that would apply to Minnesota, some of the unique differences, advantages and disadvantages to Minnesota,” he said at a Minneapolis health reform forum in 2006, discussing fixes to the broken system.

At that conference, to the surprise of many, Pawlenty proposed that Minnesota “chart a path toward universal coverage,” starting with thousands of uninsured children. Pointing out that mandated automobile coverage still leaves a double-digit portion of Minnesota’s population uninsured, Pawlenty said “a mandate by itself is not much of a solution.”

There was some qualifying language: “In Minnesota as to the access issue, I believe we should move towards universal coverage. Everybody should be in a health plan of some sort. How we get there becomes important, I think a mandate by itself is potentially helpful, but is not an answer by itself.”

Then in 2007, he advocated setting up an insurance exchange — now a key piece of the federal reform that he now says interferes with the free market.

It was Ronald Reagan...

...who once famously said, "An economist is someone who sees something that works in practice and wonders if it would work in theory."

I wonder, sometimes, if the Gipper would say the same thing about today's rigid Republican ideologues.

For example, Paul Krugman's blog has a link to an interview in which Paul Ryan is asked, "If you're a fiscal conservative and you want to provide a safety net, why wouldn't you be for something like a single-payer health care system?"

The interviewer presses Ryan on the subject but essentially gets the same answer from the Wisconsin Republican:

Because it doesn't conform with my ideology.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The world's coolest library...

...is in Kansas City, Missouri.

Happy birthday Big Blue!

IBM is 100 years old today.

Lawrence R. Creatura...

...is a portfolio manager at Federated Investors.

Alan Haberman didn't invent...

...the ubiquitous bar code, but he "led the industry committee that chose the bar code over other contenders — circles, bull’s-eyes and seemingly random agglomerations of dots — in 1973."

Mr. Haberman died Sunday at age 81. His obit in the Times is unremarkable except for this paragraph (my emphasis):

Mr. Haberman’s committee comprised more than half a dozen type-A businessmen, and discussion could be fractious. At one meeting, in San Francisco in the early 1970s, as Mr. Brown’s book reports, Mr. Haberman found a spectacularly good way to smooth dissent. First he organized a dinner at one of the city’s finest restaurants. Then he took everyone to a local movie theater to see “Deep Throat.”

Happy Bloomsday.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Tim Pawlenty may not want...

...to knock "Obamneycare" too loudly, lest anyone compare his record in health care with Mitt Romney's. From today's Frum Forum (my emphasis):

T-Paw and Romney both assumed office in 2003, at which point 7.4 percent of Massachusetts residents and 7.2 percent of Minnesotans lacked health insurance. Both rates were well below the national average.

By the end of 2008, the proportion of uninsured residents in Massachusetts had dropped to 2.6 percent and has since fallen to 1.9 percent. Granted, Romney left office in January 2007, but almost all of the drop can be attributed to his healthcare reform. Minnesota is a different story: in 2009, 9.1 percent of the population was uninsured, a substantial increase.

What could Michele Bachmann...

...and Garrison Keillor possibly have in common?

They are both graduates of Anoka (Minnesota) High School.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

From what I've read...

...so far, it sounds like Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann won last night's debate. Could that be the 2012 Republican ticket?

Maybe, maybe not. But if Bachmann wins the Iowa caucuses and Romney takes the New Hampshire primary it might not seem so far-fetched. It would pair an Ivy League, East Coast Establishment-type governor with a Midwestern Evangelical populist tea party Congresswoman. That checks a lot of boxes.

My takeaway from last night's debate...

...is that while the Democratic Party focuses on policy (solving problems), the Republicans are only interested in ideology.

Bad news for beret lovers...

...everywhere:

The US Army is abandoning the beret, after a failed 10-year experiment.

The black beret, which proved deeply unpopular with American soldiers, will be replaced by a patrol cap for everyday wear, US Army spokesman Colonel Tom Collins said Monday.
 
The beret will still be part of the Army's dress uniform, but will no longer be worn in the field as soldiers complained that it was impractical, he said.
 
"It does not have a visor and doesn't shield the sun, doesn't absorb sweat well," Collins said.
 
But it looks so cool!

Monday, June 13, 2011

In just minutes after tonight's...

...Republican presidential debate in New Hampshire, Governor Rick Perry of Texas -- who wasn't even there -- has vaulted into third place on Intrade.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Yes, Medicare costs...

...are rising, but as this chart from Paul Krugman's blog shows, not as fast as private insurance.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

More evidence (to me)...

...that the GOP establishment is getting behind Tim Pawlenty: Jack Welch is on board.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Tom Tracy, the song of the day...


...is for YOU.

Jim Northrup, star outfielder...

...for the Detroit Tigers, died at age 71. In 1968 (my emphasis):

The Tigers, managed by Mayo Smith, won the World Series after falling behind, three games to one. They had had a dominant year, rolling to 103 regular-season wins behind the pitching of Mickey Lolich, the Series’ seventh-game winner, and Denny McLain, who went 31-6, the last major league pitcher to win 30 games or more.

Northrup, a brawny 6 feet 2 inches, set a major league record that year when he hit three grand slams in one week. He also hit a grand slam in the sixth game of the 1968 Series. In the same season, he hit a home run out of Tiger Stadium, joining a short roster of sluggers to have done so, and went 6 for 6 in a game, a feat not accomplished by a Tiger since Ty Cobb 44 years earlier.

Two items in the news...

...caught my attention this week. The first was from Politico (my emphasis):

South Carolina Rep. Joe Wilson is endorsing Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty for president, Pawlenty’s campaign announced Thursday.

Wilson, first elected to Congress in 2001, famously yelled “you lie!” during Barack Obama’s speech to a joint session of Congress ... is the first member of Congress outside of Minnesota to endorse Pawlenty.

The second was from today's Times article about the implosion of Newt Gingrich's campaign:

Former Gov. Sonny Perdue of Georgia, a national co-chairman of the Gingrich campaign, withdrew his endorsement and said he would support Tim Pawlenty, a former governor of Minnesota.

The Republican establishment may be making its move. Looks like they've given up on a White Knight entering the race and are now coalescing around T-Paw as the un-Romney. Even the Wall Street Journal is on board.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

The song of the day:

The Economist weighs in...

...on David Brooks's recent column on health care reform (my emphasis):

DAVID BROOKS had an op-ed in the New York Times yesterday that proclaimed the near impossibility of restraining costs in health care through centralised government efficiency evaluations, which is being justly ridiculed by people (Jon Chait, Jonathan Cohn, Ezra Klein) who note that every single one of the world's centralised government-regulated health-care systems is far cheaper than America's relatively decentralised private-sector one. Mr Brooks has surely had this explained to him a thousand times by now, and his failure to process the fact or incorporate it into his worldview seems to me most likely to reflect an absence of the ideological furniture on which the fact could sit. Mr Brooks doesn't seem to have an instinctive understanding of how it can be possible for unregulated free-market health-care systems to cost more and deliver inferior care than strongly regulated systems with heavy government involvement, and that's why, while he occasionally must have to acknowledge the existence of the French health-care system, he can't seem to retain it.
___

Health care is different from buying shoes. Which is why it wouldn't be at all surprising if a board of 15 experts could play a major role in reducing expenses and improving care outcomes in the American medical industry. That's what corresponding boards of experts in France, Germany, Britain, Canada, the Netherlands and so on do, which is why their health-care systems cost half what ours does, cover everyone in their countries, and generally provide better care.

Jonathan Bernstein, writing...

...in the Washington Post today, provides more evidence for an extreme Goldwater-type candidate to win the Republican nomination in 2012 (my emphasis):

Is there any idea too crazy for the 2012 GOP hopefuls? Is there any nutty idea that, once proposed, GOP presidential candidates won’t try to match or even top?

Looks like we’re about to find out. As Think Progress reports, Herman Cain (above) is now saying that as president he would only sign bills that were no more than three pages long. This would basically disqualify any piece of substantive legislation, including the George W. Bush’s tax cuts.
___

How will the rest of the field react if Cain presses them on this silly idea -- which may be totally gibberish, but almost certainly will test well with Tea Party voters? My guess is they'll jump on board.
 
By the way, wasn't it Cain that said he wouldn't hire a Muslim for his cabinet?

The CEO of Rentech,...

...a clean energy business in Los Angeles, is D. Hunt Ramsbottom. (That's him on the right.)

Can you imagine going through life with a name like that?

I can just see him meeting someone for the first time. "No, no; Hunt is my first name. My last name? Ramsbottom. R-A-M-S..."

Or walking into a crowded room and shaking hands with people: "Hi! Hunt Ramsbottom -- nice to meet you... Hello; I'm Hunt Ramsbottom... Hunt Ramsbottom -- glad you could make it..."

That's got to get old.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Barry Goldwater...

...was the Republican Party's nominee for president in 1964. His acceptance speech at the GOP convention was famous for this quote:

I would remind you that extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!

Goldwater lost by 22 points.

I'm reminded of this by the economic plan put forth yesterday by Tim Pawlenty. So far it's been met by, ahem, mixed reviews.

Andrew Pavelyev, a moderate Republican (yes, there are still some left), writes in Frum Forum today (my emphasis):

Pawlenty offered very ambitious tax cuts (once again trying to outdo Reagan by lowering the top marginal tax rate to an even lower level than Reagan did). Only in the first four years of the existence of the personal income tax was the top marginal rate even lower than the one Pawlenty has proposed: 25%. He has also proposed a big cut in corporate taxes and elimination of the inheritance tax and taxes on capital gains and dividends.

Meanwhile, Jonathan Chait ponders the political consequences of such a radical plan:

Alarmingly, Pawlenty's plan is being greeted by conservatives not as some nee plus ultra supply-side vision but as an opening bid. The Wall Street Journal editorial page asks, at the end of a glowing editorial, "Now that Mr. Pawlenty has laid down his marker, what do his competitors have to offer?" Once you've eliminated all tax on capital income and slashed the rates, how much further can you go? Romney hasn't come out with his plan yet, but he can't let Pawlenty outflank him. I hesitate to even think of where the bidding will stand by the time Michelle Bachmann unveils her proposal. Perhaps a negative tax rate on capital gains and estate transfers over a million dollars, financed by a tax on the unproductive poor?

And it makes me wonder: if the Republican candidates are this far to the right in June of 2011, how extreme will the eventual nominee be by the fall of 2012?

This is how Barry Goldwaters get nominated.