Campaigns/Elections

Economist Dodges Draft

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Mallard Fillmore has been on a quixotic crusade to draft the free-market economist Walter Williams to run for president. Here's a sample:

mallardfillmore

First: No, I don't get it either. Second, and more important: Yes, that is Williams' email address on the right-hand side of the first panel. It has appeared in several recent editions of the strip, and readers seem to have noticed it. "I've been inundated," Williams told Robert Stacy McCain of The Washington Times. But he says he still won't run:

The biggest obstacle to his own candidacy, Mr. Williams said, is his wife of 47 years, Conchetta.

"She said that if I ever thought about it seriously, she'd assassinate me," he said.

So who's he rooting for instead?

Mr. Williams' own '08 favorite is Rep. Ron Paul, Texas Republican and a 1988 Libertarian Party presidential nominee, who last month announced the formation of an exploratory committee.

"If the framers of the Constitution were somehow to come back, Ron Paul is one of possibly only three people in Congress that they'd even talk to," said Mr. Williams, adding that most politicians have a "generalized contempt" for the values of the Constitution.

Meanwhile, Mallard Fillmore creator Bruce Tinsley says he might back Newt Gingrich for the nomination. Gingrich or Paul…it should go without saying, but I think Williams has the better idea.

Update: Apparently it's an abortion joke. Très risqué!

NEXT: Wikipedia Versus Wisdom of Crowds

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  1. Howard Dean is afraid of the “Draft Walter Williams” movement?

    Holy crap, Mallard Fillmore actually contains a joke!

  2. “If the framers of the Constitution were somehow to come back, Ron Paul is one of possibly only three people in Congress that they’d even talk to.”

    What is Williams, a mind reader? Isn’t is just as likely that they’d ask why we spend so much energy being concerned with what a handful of guys were thinking 230 years ago?

  3. the joke might be that a D and C is a “dilatation and curettage,” aka a step involved in a surgical abortion.

  4. The only thing that occurs to me is D&C stands for dilation and cutterage.

  5. What is Williams, a mind reader?

    Better than that, he is an Economist.

    Now, with the news that Mrs. Williams has quashed Dr. Williams’ run quite early, I doubt that there will be a new broom and dust pan under her Christmas tree this year.

  6. OT: Has Ezra Klein or Dave Weigel linked Anna Nicole’s death to President Bush yet?

  7. If that’s what “D&C” stands for, I have to admit Tinsdale is a better-informed guy than I am. Not funnier, but better-informed. And, as you can tell by this post, I’m not very funny.

  8. I think Tinsley is DUI – drawing while intoxicated

  9. D & C = a dustin’ & a cleanin’

  10. I’d vote for Williams, espc since he’s a Reason Trustee.

  11. Isn’t is just as likely that they’d ask why we spend so much energy being concerned with what a handful of guys were thinking 230 years ago?

    No, I highly doubt it. These are men who lived through tyranny, or lived in a time that was not too far from tyranny. The Bill of Rights wasn’t just made up from some pie-in-the-sky fantasy world; the Restoration under the Stuarts was about a century before the Declaration of Independence, and the colonists had lived under a (somewhat) tyrannical regime themselves. To them, freedom of speech wasn’t an academic point to be debated; they had seen what actual censorship was like, and what an unfree press was like. Same thing for warrantless arrests and such.

    The Founders wouldn’t see the gradual erosion of our rights in the name of “adapting to conditions” for anything other than what it is: tyranny. Few of them would see most of the people involved in our government as anything other than petty tyrants, small men with small ideas running around trying to preserve their privilege by any means to hand. The Founders were men just like any others; they had their faults, certainly. But they also had the conviction of their beliefs, because they had seen what happened when people were unfree.

  12. I know D&C due to the circumstances of an ill-fated pregnancy, but this is that guy’s idea of a joke?
    Yeah, “Ha, ha! Oh boy, that takes me back to the miscarriage. Honey, get over here. You’ve got to read this Mallard Fillmore. You’ll laugh so hard you’ll cry, or something like that.”

  13. At least it’s not as god-awful as “day by day” You see that strip on a blog, and you can pretty much guarantee that the blogger is a complete moron.

  14. Ah, more evidence of the age-old “whose ox is being gored” principle! The fact is that D&C was a covert term for abortion in pre-Roe times and, by “Mallard Fillmore” standards (okay, admittedly a very low hurdle) the pun, as directed against the Democratic Party, is actually fairly clever.

    Now, who among you have proudly adorned your auto bumpers with those clever “Darwin” walking fish, utterly indifferent or oblivious to the thought that someone might take offense?

  15. “I’ve been inundated,” Williams told Robert Stacy McCain of The Washington Times.

    Every single one of the three people that read Mallard Fillmore must have emailed him.

  16. D.A. Ridgely,

    (In no particular order)

    4. I do not adorn my car with any crap that says “look at me, look at what I believe.”

    2. The strip makes a heavy-handed, unfunny reference to a Democrats, doctors, and abortions, conflating the three. It strikes me as distasteful and inappropriate for a strip that runs in family newspapers.

    1. Those Darwin fish do not conjure images of painful times in people’s lives.

    3. It is not “fairly clever” by any standard I am familiar with. Apparently, “Mallard Fillmore” has even lower standards than “According to Jim,” Jim Belushi’s sitcom, which, judging from the promos I have heard for that show, has a very low standard. I had not guessed that standards fell that much lower.

    I can handle anyone’s ox being gored. I can laugh at myself and I can laugh at things I find hateful. Sexist, racist jokes? Bring ’em on. Dead baby jokes? Let’s hear ’em. I may find the sentiments behind them disturbing or offensive, but humor will transcend that.

  17. The car adornment that always cracks me up is the Jesus fish. Like you have to keep it on the QT that you’re a Christian in the USA and you have to recognize each other with secret codes and such.

  18. Now, who among you have proudly adorned your auto bumpers with those clever “Darwin” walking fish, utterly indifferent or oblivious to the thought that someone might take offense?

    Why should I worry who might take offense? If conservative Christians can’t stand looking at a car where someone is challenging their beliefs, that’s their problem.

    For the record, I have both a Darwin fish and an Ichthys fish on the back of my car. I think that that causes more apoplectic reactions than just a Darwin fish. Conservative Christians just shake their head at the poor lost heathens with a Darwin fish. But someone who proclaims his belief in Christ and in evolution . . . that’s just crazy talk!

  19. All this fish talk reminds me that I need to get some of those mud flaps with the Anna Nicole silhouette on them.

  20. Now, who among you have proudly adorned your auto bumpers with those clever “Darwin” walking fish, utterly indifferent or oblivious to the thought that someone might take offense?

    I don’t have one, but I imagine that if I did, I would do it specifically to offend fundies.

  21. highnumber:

    As to your #4, good for you. As for #2, agreed — though I doubt the notion of “family newspaper” means anything like what it did when I was a kid reading the comics. As for #3, we must be familiar with different standards. Mind you, I did say the bar was low here.

    As for #1, I’d say cavalier attitudes toward other people’s religious symbolism is of a piece with a cavalier attitude toward anything that might conjure painful personal memories. As always, YMMV.

    grylliade:

    By your own description, you’re not the sort of person about whom I was writing. See, by contrast, the Seitz comment above. “Nuff said.

  22. “Isn’t is just as likely that they’d ask why we spend so much energy being concerned with what a handful of guys were thinking 230 years ago?”

    Those principals of individual freedom and small limited government are just as important today as they were to our Founders.

  23. “I don’t have one, but I imagine that if I did, I would do it specifically to offend fundies.”

    Good. It is a free country and you should be able to say what you want. Just don’t bitch and moan when they offend you.

    “1. Those Darwin fish do not conjure images of painful times in people’s lives.”

    Why? If abortion is a choice and a medical proceedure what is the big deal? Certainly it wouldn’t be a big deal for me to have a bumber sticker about abondectomies. It would be unfunny but it wouldn’t be offensive. Why is abortion such a special case?

  24. “Now, who among you have proudly adorned your auto bumpers with those clever “Darwin” walking fish, utterly indifferent or oblivious to the thought that someone might take offense?”

    I confess, but it’s not that I’m indifferent, it’s because I’m mischevious.

  25. Why? If abortion is a choice and a medical proceedure what is the big deal? Certainly it wouldn’t be a big deal for me to have a bumber sticker about abondectomies. It would be unfunny but it wouldn’t be offensive. Why is abortion such a special case?

    Read my first comment on the whole matter before jumping to your conclusions. It doesn’t make me think of an abortion.

  26. Those principals of individual freedom and small limited government are just as important today as they were to our Founders.

    One place where our public education system really has failed us is this widespread belief that a group of slaveholders cared about individual liberty. Obviously they cared about it for themselves, not for everybody.

  27. I offend alot of people with the bumper stickers on my truck. The Darwin fish offends Christians. I have a bumper sticker that says, “Life’s a Bitch, So Don’t Elect One” with a picture of Hillary crossed through. That offends Democrats. I live in Houston, so my OU Sooner sticker offends Texans and my Atlanta Braves sticker offends Houston Astros fans.

  28. John,

    And, for that matter, why does every medical procedure have to be treated the same as abondectomies[sic]? Is a procedure to separate conjoined twins that saves one’s life but kill the other the same? Is a hysterectomy or mastectomy the same? Might some procedures leave psychic scars?

    Are you just insensitive or are you a clod too?

  29. “2. The strip makes a heavy-handed, unfunny reference to a Democrats, doctors, and abortions, conflating the three. It strikes me as distasteful and inappropriate for a strip that runs in family newspapers. . . .

    “Dead baby jokes? Let’s hear ’em.”

    The “D & C” remark *was* a dead baby joke.

    “One place where our public education system really has failed us is this widespread belief that a group of slaveholders cared about individual liberty. Obviously they cared about it for themselves, not for everybody.”

    (a) I think there are public schools (not all, but lots) where the part about the Founders owning slaves does, indeed get mentioned.

    (b) The Founders were still a step above people in many other times and countries (like ours), in that they at least knew that freedom (republican institutions, trial by jury, right to bear arms, freedom of press, et. al.) was a good thing. There were also some, like Jefferson, who knew that what they were doing to the slaves was unjust, but feared to set them free lest it precipatate a race war. Self-serving rationalization, perhaps, but at least they realized the problem. Franklin, of course, was a non-slaveowning abolitionist, so you can’t lump *all* the founders together as slaveowners.

  30. “All this fish talk reminds me that I need to get some of those mud flaps with the Anna Nicole silhouette on them.”

    Hope you’re driving a dualie.

  31. “Are you just insensitive or are you a clod too?”

    No I am flippant. Of course it leaves psychic scars; it is killing your child. But of course we are not allowed to say that fact. We are all supposed to act like abortion is just this medical procedure like any other. Of course it is not and everyone knows it. If it really was just a choice and a lump of tissue, there would be no need to worry about the psychic scars it leaves now would there? Of course you can say that things like brain tumors leave scars to. But why? They leave scars because they are painful and life threatening. Abortions generally are not life threatening and therefore should not leave the same psychic scars that cancer or a brain tumor would. Yet of course they do.

  32. One place where our public education system really has failed us is this widespread belief that a group of slaveholders cared about individual liberty. Obviously they cared about it for themselves, not for everybody.

    Yet, oddly, they created a system that did more to advance individual liberty than any other in the world. And went to war to eradicate slavery, sacrificing over half a million of their fellow (white) citizens to that cause. Can anyone name a single other country that sacrificed so much in the fight against slavery? Anyone?

    Quite the conundrum, eh, joe?

  33. One place where our public education system really has failed us is this widespread belief that a group of slaveholders cared about individual liberty.

    Wow, you’re a moron. I mean, I’d always known it, but . . . I hadn’t realized the depths of your stupidity.

    The idea that all men are created equal is a radical idea, even if “men” only encompasses “white males who own property.” For almost all of human history, inequality has been enshrined in law and custom. The king was a white male who owned property, the same as the lowliest freeman. But that didn’t mean that they were in any sense equal before the law. Since the end of the Roman Republic, the idea of equality was a rarity in the world; sure, a few places in Renaissance Italy had tried it, and maybe some other places here and there around the world, but inequality was just accepted as the way of nature everywhere.

    I’d argue that one of the places where public education has failed us is in emphasizing how different the world used to be. The Founders had more in common with modern America, even with their differences in whom they considered to be equal, than they had in common with the medieval societies that surrounded them. I cannot stress how much of a break with the past this was. Without the Founders believing in the equality of all white male landowners, minorities and women would never have been considered equal. Whatever their flaws in not abolishing slavery, they believed in equality before the law.

  34. The “D & C” remark *was* a dead baby joke.

    I thought jokes were funny.

    Assuming it was funny to someone
    (aw, crap, I just remembered what happens when you assume! hee haw! hee haw!),
    it was still distasteful and inappropriate for a comic strip in a family newspaper. If that had been in a Mark Steyn column, I’d say it was distasteful, but not inappropriate. I’m not outraged or anything, that strip just leaves an even worse taste in my mouth than a Mark Steyn or Jesse Jackson column.

  35. grylliade

    These are men who lived through tyranny, or lived in a time that was not too far from tyranny.

    If John Adams is any indication, nannystatism was alive and well in the 18th century.

    To them, freedom of speech wasn’t an academic point to be debated; they had seen what actual censorship was like, and what an unfree press was like.

    And of course lots of the individuals involved in that conflict were more than happy to pass and enforce the Sedition Act.

    The Founders wouldn’t see the gradual erosion of our rights in the name of “adapting to conditions” for anything other than what it is: tyranny.

    We’ve seen a gradual building up of rights as much as an erosion of such. This is across a broad spectrum of rights, from freedom of religion to speech to etc.

  36. grylliade,

    Since the end of the Roman Republic, the idea of equality was a rarity in the world…

    Be careful who you call a moron. Equality before the law (especially as practiced) and equality in daily life were not hallmarks of the Roman Republic. There are plenty of examples of why this is so in Cicero’s De Republica

  37. “Quite the conundrum, eh, joe?”

    Huh? Why are you addressing me?

    Anyway, that’s not a conundrum at all. Progressive politics are based on the idea of progress. Democracy is a journey, not a destination, and we need to constantly work to build a better world. Sure, the founders were back-asswards in so many ways – about slavery, economic class, women’s rights, and all sorts of other things. But they moved the ball down the field.

    The shortcomings of the founders are only a conundrum to those who wish to argue that their original intent is eternally right, and that all of the change since then has been negative. You know, conservatives.

  38. joe,

    Well, these days it seems that most originalists aren’t “original intent” advocates, they are “original meaning” advocates. In that case one is more concerned with the “meaning” it had in the language of the time as opposed to the intent of the writer. This, amongst other things, illustrates the importance of the ratifiers.

  39. “The shortcomings of the founders are only a conundrum to those who wish to argue that their original intent is eternally right, and that all of the change since then has been negative. You know, conservatives.”

    I would be interested in knowing some names — who are these people who argue that the original intent of the founders (the 18th century, guys, I suppose, not the framers of the the amendments) is eternally right. I’d also like to know some names of people who say that *all* change since the era of the founders has been negative.

  40. Back to Mallard Fillmore, dull as that is. He has been running this “draft Walter Williams for the GOP Nomination” strip for awhile.

    His most offensive strip on the topic had Howard Dean worrying that Walter Williams on the GOP ticket would get Blacks to vote Republican, and forget that Democrats “owned them.” An offensive suggestion, and also off the mark – as the recent election showed, Black Republican candidates did not cause defections among Black voters.

  41. I figured the joke was that Dean didn’t even know the name of the organization he heads, ie Dean is dumb. Reminding the aide that he is a doctor is his way of warding off any and all criticism, because he is an elite democrat and knows better than everyone. That would seem to make more sense, given this is Mallard Fillmore and all, but maybe I’ve just never appreciated this strip on the level Tinsley intended.

  42. I figured the joke was that Dean didn’t even know the name of the organization he heads, ie Dean is dumb.

    I thought that was it, to. Worth a faint “heh”, ala most jokes in, say, Mad, for anyone over 12.

  43. D.A. Ridgely | February 9, 2007, 1:07pm | #

    Ah, more evidence of the age-old “whose ox is being gored” principle! The fact is that D&C was a covert term for abortion in pre-Roe times and, by “Mallard Fillmore” standards (okay, admittedly a very low hurdle) the pun, as directed against the Democratic Party, is actually fairly clever.

    Now, who among you have proudly adorned your auto bumpers with those clever “Darwin” walking fish, utterly indifferent or oblivious to the thought that someone might take offense?

    since you asked, I don’t have nor have ever had a “Darwin fish” sticker.

    I’m offended by the Jesus fish eating the Darwin fish, but only because:

    1. it lacks humility, which I think is an important part of Christian philosophy (as actually preached by Jesus, not as practiced or preached by most modern Christians)

    2. it’s just pathetic

  44. That Mallard Fillmore. He really hates Mondays.

  45. also, I can’t believe there’s no love for my DUI joke above – Tinsley got arrested for DUI in December. come on, people, this is comedy gold!

  46. D&Cs are not always for abortions. They also can be used for surgical interventions after miscarriages. Y’know, when you’re carrying around a dead fetus inside you?

    Lots of laughs and giggles, I bet. Quite a knee-slapper, that Tinsley, huh?

  47. Factually incoorect commenters,

    D&Cs are not always for abortions. They also can be used for surgical interventions after miscarriages. Y’know, when you’re carrying around a dead fetus inside you?

    That is known as a “missed abortion”
    So the D&C is used for abortion. Albeit an un-elective one.

  48. Wow!

    I had to scroll up the page to make sure I wasn’t reading the humorless uninformed commenters over at Volokh.

  49. Progressive politics are based on the idea of progress.

    5 year Plans, Great Leaps Forward,Final Solutions

    gotta love progress

  50. His most offensive strip on the topic had Howard Dean worrying that Walter Williams on the GOP ticket would get Blacks to vote Republican, and forget that Democrats “owned them.” An offensive suggestion, and also off the mark – as the recent election showed, Black Republican candidates did not cause defections among Black voters.

    Well, it is offensive because it puts the almost exact words of Lyndon Baines Johnson, from the Johnson presidential tapes, into the mouth of Howard Dean.

    I agree, there is not much more offensive in print than misattribution of a quote!

  51. “If John Adams is any indication, nannystatism was alive and well in the 18th century.”

    Grotius,
    You make an interesting point but do you really believe that Adams support for the Sedition Act can be compared to the what passes as nanny statism today? While Adams certainly believed in a stronger government than the Jeffersonians, I think it is stretching it to label his political philosophy and policies as “nanny statism.” And didn’t his support for the Sedition Act come about when the Republic was in a fragile, infant state, when there was a widespread fear that it might not survive at all, to be overthrown by much more tyrannical forces than anything Adams represented? Burr and his supporters for example.

    On the other hand your point is well taken that we shouldn’t necessarily lump all the founders together, as though they were of one mind. The Hamiltonians even favored a stronger central government than did Adams and his ilk (though I doubt even Hamilton would be happy with the nanny statism of today: smoking in private restaurants and other businesses’ bans, helmet and seatbelt laws, the alphabet soup of agencies to control our actions in various ways: FDA, AMA, OSHA, etc., gun control, etc.).

  52. pompius blowhardius,

    You make an interesting point but do you really believe that Adams support for the Sedition Act can be compared to the what passes as nanny statism today?

    Actually, I wasn’t referring to the Sedition Act when I mentioned Adams. I had more in mind other measures that he supported, such as laws regulating dress and other areas of what we might call “lifestyle” today.

    …when there was a widespread fear that it might not survive at all, to be overthrown by much more tyrannical forces than anything Adams represented?

    Actually, the creation of the Alien and Sedition Acts illustrate a clash of worldviews during the early republic. For their part Adams, Hamilton, etc. represented a worldview which was much more in line with English notions of how gentry and subjects were supposed to interact. So it had as much to do with ideology and that ideology’s vision of the role of the subject as it did the events at hand.

  53. Grotius,
    Thanks, that was interesting. I didn’t know about the dress codes. What other sorts of ‘lifestyle’ regulations did he favor?

    I did know that that he, like Hamilton, believed in a natural aristocracy among men (as well as wariness of the dangers of democracy – popular, not well thought out, and immediate passions getting translated into law) but I wasn’t aware as much, beyond the Alien and Sedition Act, favoring an electoral college and other measures to restrict popular suffarage that he favored pushing this notion into law.

  54. pompius blowhardius,

    There was a class of individuals who thought that to get a properly running republic one had to have model, upright citizens. One way to get them would be to mold them by law. Now how many folks at the time supported this sort of thinking I cannot say, but I have read secondary sources which mentioned these sorts of efforts.

  55. John Adams was a Congregationalist, ie. a Puritan. As such he was of the control-freak bent of mind. He was, also, a lawyer – one who was instumental in the building and codifying of the early legal system of this country.

    Lawyers write the law and in doing so are extremely adept at increasing and perpetuating their power. Control-freaks brook no dissent nor disobediance. Thus the Alien And Sedition Acts.

  56. The ideological argument is powerful, perhaps more powerful than the contextual argument, but I would still argue that the context of the times – the fragile state of the Republic in its infancy, the very real danger it wouldn’t survive and would be overthrown by more tyrannical forces – has much relevance to Adams’s actions and policies.

    And the contextual argument is important more generally in considering to what extent the founders, individually or collectivelly, supported individual liberty. It would be naive to expect an 18th century thinker to embrace all of the more enlightened ideals of today. But this naiviety is all too common when you hear people, as Dan T. did, reduce the founders down to slaveholders. Joe said it best with his comment, “They advanced the ball down the field.” Not as much as we would all like, but they went forward. Had they lost yardage or been caught for a safety (all right all right, I’ll cut out the football analogies now:), then that reductionistic argument might make some sense.

  57. Grotius,

    “Original intent” was poor word choice on my part. I didn’t mean to refer to the school of thought on Constitutional interpretation, just the general sense.

    Mad Max, I was speaking in broad terms about the difference between left and right, but a review of some back issues of National Review would be a good place for you to start.

  58. “Mad Max, I was speaking in broad terms about the difference between left and right, but a review of some back issues of National Review would be a good place for you to start.”

    I did a check of National Review under the headings of “originalism,” “original intent” and “constitution,” and found far more links than I could possibly check. Maybe you could help me narrow the search?

    I looked at some of the articles, and none of them espoused the consitutional doctrines you attribute to conservatives.

    If you say that you were speaking “in broad terms,” allow me the privilege to reply in terms which are similarly broad:

    The irrelevance of original intent is a doctrine espoused only by those who wish to argue that Supreme Court justices are divinely anointed with the power to rewrite the laws of the United States and of the states, regardless of the law and regardless of what the citizens or their elected representatives actually want. You know, liberals.

  59. The problem with some professed conservatives is that they aren’t faithful *enough* to the original intent of the constitution. These professed conservatives use Earl Warren-style rhetoric to say (for example) that the President is free to ignore the clear meaning of laws because these meanings are outdated, unsuitable to modern conditions, and the like. This is what he see in the case of executive power, where some conservatives have taken what was traditionally the liberal position in favor of broad Presidential power.

    But all conservatives acknowledge that the Constitution of the US can be changed through the amendment process, so what’s all this about the constitution being “eternally right”?

  60. Mad Max,

    As I said, it was not my intent to refer to the docrtine of originalism in the interpretation of the Constitution. It was poor word choice on my part.

  61. Uh, pardon me for injecting a little bit of reality into this “The Founding Fathers Would All Be Members of the Libertarian Party” business, but plenty of the people who drafted or ratified the Constitution supported the Sedition Act several years later. (George Washington himeslf supported it in retirement.) And of course a lot of them in Congress had voted for Hamilton’s statist nationalistic economic program.

    It was not the framers of the Constitution but its *opponents* (or at least people who had originally been opponents) who came closest to being libertarians in the early years of the Republic.

  62. A D&C is not *necessarily* an abortion, folks! Listen to highnumber. As we discovered when my wife miscarried a few years ago, miscarriages are much more common than many people think, and a good number of end up with require D&Cs if things don’t pass naturally. It is not a pleasant situation for the woman involved. I would guess the author thought this was a funny jab at abortions, but assuming a D&C means an abortion is hurtful to people who would otherwise agree with you.

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