Notes & Asides

Posted by By at 11 April, at 11 : 48 AM Print

Notes and Asides, April 11,2011. Or you can just call it the 411 on 4-11

Let the midnight special, shine a light on me…So maybe history isn’t repeating itself, as the GOP managed to avoid the folly of Gingrich and Co. in the mid 90s and accepted victory as an answer.

Victory, you ask? Well, I think so. Considering that it has been a dog’s age since the federal government actually spent less in real dollars than the year before – and the fact that these are real cuts in real discretionary spending – its hard not to see this as part of a larger pendulum shift toward lower spending. I grant, $78 Billion total (these are the cuts since the 2010 elections) when staring down a $1.6T deficit, or $14.3 T in debt seems paltry; but a journey of a thousand miles must begin with a single step. Likewise,the path to fiscal restraint starts with acknowledging that waste exists, and that cuts are not just desirable, but wholly unavoidable.

In the end, the skirmish to complete the work shamefully left undone by the last (Democrat controlled) congress was just a proving ground for the war to come. So far the President and the Senate have shown they have teeth, but also that those teeth can be drawn. Next stop: debt ceiling and budget resolutions.

AU H2O saw it coming — again. Hanging on the wall of my office is a letter from the father of the modern Conservative Movement, Barry Goldwater, to my father after winning the 1986 National Championship in Barry’s home state. There is a passage that is prescient in light of recent events: “The sport (college football) has become too materialistic, too money important. It is under too much supervision by the idiots who run the television system of this country.”

Consider the NCAA basketball tournament we just watched; the newly crowned national champion Connecticut Huskies, as late as February of this year, weren’t even sure that they would be eligible to compete in the postseason because of admitted recruiting violations. Never fear – with one of the most exciting players on one of the country’s hottest teams, the NCAA went toothless and suspended the head coach for three games NEXT year, added some minor slaps, and let the TV product be protected.

Not that we should be surprised – this is, after all, an institution that engaged in unbelievable moral gymnastics to keep Heisman winner and ESPN Favorite Cam Newton eligible and to make sure the ESPN televised Sugar Bowl wasn’t more Splenda than sugar by letting the “Tat Five” from Ohio State play. In both cases, the conduct is not refuted – Newton’s dad has never denied what the NCAA determined he did (attempt to sell his son for $180,000), and the Ohio State players were known to be ineligible as early as April of last year by their head coach.

Bluntly, if the NCAA had teeth, these are 6 players that would have missed some time IN THE SEASON IT WAS CAUGHT but for “too much supervision by the idiots who run the Television system of this country.” AU H2O, right again.

The truth “stinks.” This past week the Governor was asked about whether he had answers for the problems facing the Allegheny Port Authority. In a moment of political candor most of us never get to see in the open, the Governor admitted he did not. He added “Let’s be frank, I could B.S. you. I don’t want to do that. I’m looking for $4.3 billion.”

I must admit, I have my criticisms about how the Administration has handled certain issues, but this one made me smile. What is so bad, after all, about admitting one does not have an answer as of yet? And even better – why aren’t we more willing to hear that once in a while?

I know, I know, politically speaking admitting to no answers is like admitting that you believe in aliens (hey, think about the odds.). But the truth is there may not be answers at the moment. But that absence does not change the reality – we need to cut spending by $4.3 billion BEFORE any solution can truly be attempted.

Put another way – there may be answers, but they likely rely on resources we just don’t have right now.  So, just as necessity is the mother of invention, we now have cuts as the stepmother of reform. You hate her because she isn’t your real mom, but she is still in charge and you need to find a way to exist with her.

El Tigre Fini. I have spent far too much time in my life watching people compete – in all kinds of sports and venues. I am especially drawn to people who are pure outliers – guys like Jordan and Rice and some Old Guy named JoePa – and yes, Tiger Woods. I was a Tiger Woods fan – now I just miss the guy. Not the serial adulterer but the competitor, the dominator, the – forgive the pun – Tiger.

For the first 11 years of his career, Tiger stalked a golf course like his namesake stalked prey; it was only a matter of time before you stumbled just enough for him to take you. His last win in a Major – and given recent events, maybe his last win in a Major ever – was the stuff of legend; he won essentially on a blown knee in a game where torque on your knee is by design. It was so remarkable that it’s only peer was Jordan in Game 5 in the 1997 Finals. The same will to win and compete in Tiger was obvious in 2008. He was in complete control, just waiting for his prey to stumble.

That was then. A year later he gave away a Sunday lead for the first time to Y.E. Yang. And in the 18 months since his life became a cautionary tale, the Tiger has looked more and more like a house cat. Three ties for fourth and two finishes in the 20s are all he has to show so far – worse yet, he is no longer feared on the course.

There was a point Sunday when you could see the difference. Tied for the lead at 10 under heading into Amen Corner you could see Tiger shrink. Three years ago he would have gutted the people around him like fish. But he pressed, tried too hard, and looked almost like he expected everyone to fall away – a stark contrast to how unheralded Chral Schwartzel grabbed the green jacket by the throat.

Tiger will probably win another major – he may even catch Nicolas. But the Tiger we all watched in awe is probably gone forever – a man whose injury and fall from grace swallowed up and left us with a guy who is still among the best in the world. Imagine saying that even two years ago: “Tiger is among the best in the world;” back then the fight was over #2.

And finally…Some quick hits: found it odd that Santorum could crush a straw poll in South Carolina and yet come in a tie for fifth in Pennsylvania…Not trying to pile on, but someone needs to tell David Plouffe that “winning the future” sounds like he is quoting Charlie Sheen – NOT a positive…still find it funny that people are “shocked” by legislative salaries every year when the trend has been fairly obvious. Angry? Fine – but “shocked?” Where have you been the last 6 years when these are released…Does anyone remember Martha Burke throwing a hissy fit over Augusta’s all-male policies? Looks like Hootie Johnson – whose ironic name could be slang for both male and female genitalia – won that fight…Kudos this week go to congress for passing a budget that allowed the re-enactment at Fort Sumter to go on as planned Tuesday, marking the 150th anniversary of the start of the War of Northern Aggression (that is how it will be portrayed in SC)…Jeers to Congress as well for only passing a budget more than half way through the fiscal year – no wonder your unfavourables are in the 60s!

This post was written by:
- who has written 77 posts for Rock The Capital
Scott Paterno is an accomplished policy analyst and political consultant based in Hershey, PA. Mr. Paterno, never one to sit still, has practiced law, run for a house seat, and worked as lobbyist in Harrisburg and Washington. Paterno is Vice Chairman of the Sustainable Energy Fund and is currently pursuing a master’s degree in Political Science. He is happily married with three children. - Email scottp

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