"No experiment can be more interesting than that we are now trying, and which we trust will end in establishing the fact, that man may be governed by reason and truth. Our first object should therefore be, to leave open to him all the avenues to truth. The most effectual hitherto found, is the freedom of the press. It is, therefore, the first shut up by those who fear the investigation of their actions." --Thomas Jefferson to John Tyler, 1804.

Carlson: Reflections behind and ahead

Chris Carlson
Carlson Chronicles

As 2011 closes, some disparate items of passing interest:

Best apocryphal item. Heard that a prominent businessman had bumped into Jesse Jackson early one morning just after breakfast in a downtown Chicago hotel earlier this year. He asked Jesse what he was doing up so early? Jesse replied he’d just come from a private breakfast with the next president of the United States——Mitt Romney! Given Chicago politics, and Jackson’s personal pique at not getting his due for paving the way for Barack Obama, it’s plausible.

Best GOP challenger to the President. Hands down it is former Utah Governor Jon Huntsman, Jr. Fiscal conservative with compassion who knows there is a proper role for government in people’s lives and the only one who understands the growing threat of Chinese plans to dominate the world by 2050. Unfortunately doesn’t stand a chance of being nominated. The process is driven by the extreme right of his party—folks more concerned about ideological purity than having a moderate win because of an ability to attract the independents. Only plausible scenario for Huntsman is to wait. If Ron Paul forms a third party independent candidacy, Huntsman should follow suit. He could win a four-man race.

Best GOP challenger from the D standpoint. Hands down, Newt Gingrich. Most women voters hate him. If they know one thing they know he went to the hospital bed of his dying, cancer-stricken first wife to tell her he was divorcing her. “You can’t win a horserace with a dog.”

Best small college in the nation you’ve never heard of. Helena’s Carroll College, and not just because of its incredible string of NAIA national football championships. This small, diocesan-owned college continues to produce outstanding graduates with well-formed character, values and a solid work ethic along with creative minds capable of adapting to the changing economy in a dynamic world. Only the NCAA bias against NAIA schools has kept Carroll football coach Mike van Diest from taking his winning ways to a larger school where his formula would work its magic as well.

Institution most likely headed for a major fall. The aforementioned NCAA. Too many inconsistencies exist for it to last. The joke that is the BCS system is going to be changed to a play-off either by congressional or judicial mandate. The NCAA’s ability to maintain the fiction of scholar-athletes is going to be exploded and the rights of collegiate athletes to profit from the use of their name and image will be upheld by the courts. Collegiate athletes will be paid above the table in a market-driven manner. Schools in major media markets will be the winners and those in minor markets will be the losers.

Saddest commentary on American life. Most people will care more about all that meaningless sports stuff than the harder to grasp more life-threatening social and political issues swirling about them. A perfect storm is converging on a frightened body politic that takes refuge in the opiate of sports because it is at a loss to understand the complex forces driving change. Nor does it grasp the significance of greed and selfishness at play in an ever-increasing survival of the fittest Darwinian world. Rather than try to understand those forces too many take refuge in simplistic political bromides that only exacerbate issues and rarely deliver solutions.

Political predictions for Idaho in 2012:

1) Governor Butch Otter quits “mailing it in.” Citing health reasons, he resigns, which passes the governorship to Lt. Gov. Brad Little.

2) Senator Jim Risch comes home for several weekends in a row. Have you seen the junior senator lately, tried to get an appointment with him or an endorsement from his office? Lots of grumbling but hey, he and Senator Mike Crapo have the two safest Senate seats in the nation.

3) President Obama, knowing he has nothing to lose in Idaho, uses the Antiquity Act as recommended by former Governor Cecil Andrus and establishes a Boulder/ White Clouds National Monument, which Congress then undoes by passing at long-last Rep. Mike Simpson’s well-crafted wilderness bill. In the process Senator Risch’s hold is over-ridden and he is exposed as Albertson heir Joe Scott’s toady.

4) Senator Mike Crapo and Rep Mike Simpson are two critical cogs in crafting a congressional compromise to the budget/deficit/spending challenges we face and embrace a solution remarkably like the Bowles/Simpson Commission report that President Obama failed to get behind.

5) Wayne Hoffman discloses all of his Freedom Foundation contributors.

God’s blessing and grace to you and all yours from mine and me this holiday season.

CHRIS CARLSON is a former journalist who served as press secretary to Gov. Cecil Andurs. He lives at Medimont.

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  1. TonyC said:

    We should all be glad that President Obama didn’t “get behind” the “solution” that the Bowles/Simpson Commission tried to foist on the country. And thank goodness the Commission couldn’t issue a formal report, as that document failed to gain the necessary votes. Most of the Commission members had little grasp of the factors that have led to our present economic crisis, and instead proposed austerity measures that would have fueled the recession by further weakening the lower and middle classes and enriching the upper classes. Along the way millionaire Alan Simpson revealed a profound ignorance of the way Social Security works and an appalling disdain for what he called the “lesser people” who rely on it. As Paul Krugman noted, Obama should have fired him on the spot.

    December 22, 2011
  2. TonyC said:

    And for some more apt comments on Bowles/Simpson and the US economic situation in general, see Jeff Madrick’s “The 10 Worst Economic Ideas of 2011” at New Deal 2.0 for 12/22/11.

    December 23, 2011
  3. fortboise said:

    You had me going with the predictions until I glanced down and saw #5, and realized you were just making funny stuff up. I enjoyed the question of whether I’d “tried to get an appointment with him or an endorsement from [Risch’s] office.”

    Um, no. Appointment with my Senator? Endorsement? I guess some people do such things, but if Mr. Risch were to give me the time of day, I’d be stunned.

    I’m also curious what you could mean by saying Huntsman “could win a four-man race.” As in, Obama, Newt Gingrich, Ron Paul and Jon Huntsman? Love to see the race, but Huntsman would not come out on top, as deserving as he may be.

    December 23, 2011

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