The Iowa Debate

For Californians who watched the Republican presidential
debate in Iowa yesterday, they probably had a sense that former House Speaker
Newt Gingrich’s reality check on Congress’s super committee on debt reduction
struck a note of truth. 

Gingrich argued the Select Committee on Debt Reduction
should not substitute for an open, legislative process and said members of
Congress should not sit around while the committee does its work and then
presents a terrible choice such as, "We can either cut off your right leg or we
can shoot you, which one do you prefer?"

The reason Gingrich’s rant may feel right to Californians is
because he described the super committee in terms familiar to the Big 5 process
that produced a state budget for so many years here. The discussions occurred
behind closed doors then the final surprise package was presented to the
legislature for a pretty much up and down vote.

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Gingrich gained much needed attention with his attacks on
the super committee and the press, but former Massachusetts Governor Mitt
Romney will probably be viewed as the winner for he did nothing to hurt his
front runner status while appearing more presidential – as the pundits like to
say — than most of his rivals on the stage.

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Perry California

Not on the stage in Iowa was Texas Governor Rick Perry, but
his team put him into play by leaking that Perry would get into the race with a
speech this weekend.

The Texas governor already has set up a telephone conference
call with potential California supporters next week.

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FDR is Back

Much of the talk in dealing with the country’s economic
crisis evokes memories of how President Franklin D. Roosevelt dealt with the
Great Depression in the 1930s.

In a homegrown version of that discussion, Governor Jerry
Brown, a former presidential candidate himself, in referring to the budget
gridlock in both Washington and Sacramento, said, "We need a bold Rooseveltian
thrust forward and Republicans just don’t believe it. They believe government
is evil and to feed the beast is bad."

A truer view is that Republicans in the government I know
view the government as inefficient and out of control and want to stop the wayward
spiral. The goal is to discipline the critter so it works with the people and
does not become a Leviathan.

Brown mentioned his own ideas for a Rooseveltian thrust
forward, including high-speed-rail, but he should pause before he leaps on that
train, as I wrote
earlier this week

Recently, I had a word with President and Mrs. Roosevelt at
the FDR Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York. As you can see
from the picture, the president was happy to hear Gov. Brown was seeking the
stimulus by government approach.

I say, too bad. Tax reform is the way to spark the economy.
The Jerry Brown who spoke for a flat tax economic stimulus when he was running
for president is nowhere to be seen.