Friday, July 14, 2006
Personal Asides: Topinkas GOP Support Down Since Primary This Blog Went for Birkett at the Conservative Summit, Remember?...Birth Control, a Favorite Philanthropy for the Well-Off, is Bad Economics Even it Gains Adulation for Buffett and Gates
Unsurprisingly, Judy Baar Topinkas Republican support has dipped since she narrowly won the March 21 primary because the social conservative vote was divided. In the primary, exit polls showed that of her vote, 75 percent called themselves Republicans, the remainder Democrats and independents. But in the Rasmussen poll released yesterday, 65 percent of her supporters call themselves Republicans. Statisticians have always believed that in order to win the election, a Republican candidate should ordinarily receive at least 85 percent of the base party vote and supplement it with Democrats and independents.
That her GOP vote has shrunk is unsurprising because of her history of thumbing her nose and what she has contemptuously called ultra-conservatives. Nancy Kimme, her political guru has told many that whenever she is assailed as not being sufficiently Republican her popularity swells from an influx of Democrats and independents. Well, they ought to really be pouring to her aid now since social conservatives have all but decided to ignore the governorship category. All the while, Topinkas people are trying to round up conservative leaders for a lets forget the past pow-wow. The early strategy was to have them meet with Joe Birkett, her conservative lieutenant governor running-mate, but conservatives know where Joe stands, its Topinka theyre worried about.
Some respondents to this Blog, angered at its criticism of Bill Brady for not getting out of the primary when it was clear he would losethus handing the nomination to Topinkahave said: Well, you voted for Brady at the Summit. No, as the Blog reported at the time, it voted for Birkett and indeed was the only Summiteer to do so. When the motion was made to make it unanimous, it voted for Brady along with seemingly everyone elsebut the crucial vote was for Birkett. Nor was it a case of I voted for it before I voted against it. In the arguments on the floor, this Blog said that Birkett as a prosecutor would have the best chance of bringing the fight to Blagojevich. There wasand isnothing fundamentally wrong with Bradys philosophy or votes which led this Blog to join with all the others after the vote was taken to present a united front.
If one wanted to draw a caricature of the trendy rich, he would have them jogging, drinking white wine, nibbling brie and diet crackers, extolling Samuel Beckett, quoting Tom Friedman, talking off-handedly of escaping to Hobe Sound for the Christmas holiday, condemning Bush for the war, carrying an ACLU membership card, shopping for neckties at Stuarts on Michigan avenue, working out at East Bank, subscribing to public radio, denying existence of absolutes, tucking an Obama for President button on the reverse side of a lapel so as to flaunt it proudly at the Urban League board meeting but hiding it discreetly at meetings at company-union negotiations, opposing the U. S.s failure to sign the anti-pollution treaty at the Tokyo Summit, going to Fourth Presbyterian Sundays where the sermons call for the economy to be more humane, believing that Creative Design is mythology, subscribing to the New York Review of Books, contributing to Common Cause, mooning that Hilliary is losing all respect because of her abject pragmatism, supporting gay marriage, thrilling to Al Gores film An Inconvenient Truth, insisting that the feds right to tape phones means the twilight of personal liberties, reading and loving the autobiography of Bernard Schorr, believing deep inside that if the Palestinians only got more understanding and if Israel were not so confrontational, the Middle East problem would be solved.
Extolling meditative Yoga, taking a course in Finding Ones Inner Self, believing that Ramsey Clark has been sorely misunderstood, insisting that Rich Daley fundamentally put his trust in the wrong people and was ill-served, still holding out hope for the Cubs, expressing an inability to really get worked up about the White Sox, frowning on bowling, polka clubs and amen storefront churches in poor black areas, believing Fred Hampton was a misunderstood spiritual leader trying to alleviate poverty, insists no Illinois lawmaker, except possibly Lincoln, ever approached Paul Simon in intellect, despising neighborhoods where, seemingly, taverns are on every other corner, mystifying that Reagan is so admired when he over-simplified, believing Dan Rather and Mary Mapes were on the cusp of discovering how Bush faked it in the Air National Guard. All these things and--. What have we left out?
Oh, yes, a fervent belief in population control and a growing warm feeling, akin to a man wetting his pants surreptitiously in a blue serge suit, for the Gates-Buffett philanthropic merger becauseand put this in italicsas we all know, population control is really really the big problem, isnt it? Not so but as an Upper Crust dont let reality disturb you since population control is really the big BIG THING is it not? And Buffet & Gates billions are solely needed now that many Third World countries have birthrates below the replacement level and in a few years most will have socially suicidal birthrates, not producing enough children to maintain their populations long-term. Most Third World countries now are facing rapid population aging with fewer young people on hand to work and pay taxes and without First World wealth or safety net systems. Gates and Buffett do much good work and will continue.
But here is Billy Gates prattling the same old population control nonsense and bestowing it as guru on his old admirer Buffett. The one issue that really grabbed me as urgent were issues related to population reproductive health Gates told PBS. And maybe the most interesting thing I learned is this thing thats still surprising when I tell other people which is that, as you improve health in a society, population growth goes down. You know I thought it was before I learned about it, thought it was paradoxical. Well, if you improve health, arent you just dooming people to deal with such a lack of resources where they wont be educated or they wont have enough food?
You know, sort of a Malthusian view of what would take place. Thus Gates favors reproductive health programs because they reduce population as the major goal with boosted health as a side benefit. The age-old view that the fewer of us there are in the world, the more for the rest of usrather than seeking to improve the lot of a growing population especially in the Third World. Thats why Buffett helped launch the human pesticide RU-486. And Buffetts biographer, Roger Lowenstein, has written that Buffett has a Malthusian dread that overpopulation would aggravate problems in all other areassuch as food, housing and even human survival. Will anybody have the guts to break it to him that Malthus was proved wrong? In the late 18th century this Anglican minister predicted that population growth would outstrip food production leading to massive famines and death. More than 200 years later, massive famines have not come true. But whats needed are funds to improve health, spur agriculture and improve conditions to accommodate population growth of particular importance to the Third World. But thats not trendy.
Soccer matches, polo, horse-breeding, yacht-racing on Lake Michigan, informal dress on Fridays at the office etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.