Economics

Velma Hart: Still Supports President, Denies Getting Larry Summers Fired

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Velma Hart speaks.

Velma Hart, the woman who famously spoke up for the beleaguered middle class in a town hall meeting with President Obama Monday, spoke with Reason this morning. A partial transcript of our conversation is below, not including the part where we were both stumped as to the German translation of "hot dogs and beans."

Hart makes clear that she remains a supporter of the president, saying, "It takes a long time [to turn the economy around], especially when you only have four years, and I want him to have eight, so he can truly advance the agenda he's thinking about."

She says she believes the president did answer her question about what he is doing for the middle class, but adds, "I don't know if he really answered the part about, 'Is this the new reality,' which was really the heart of my question."

Hart, an Army Reserve veteran who is now CFO at a veterans organization, does in fact have a credit card (I misinterpreted her joke on that point with the president). But as you can see, the air of prudence and probity she projected on TV easily withstood ten minutes of questioning:

Reason: What's happened in your own situation? Has there been a comedown for you personally since the recession started?

Velma Hart: My organization's ability to give increases has been adjusted. We have to be more conservative in business. So my earning power has been slightly affected. And the concern for me is that the cost of other things are going up. The health care increase this year was a double-digit adjustment in what you had to pay. The 401(k) plan situation is certainly something that's done a little dip. But I think the most painful thing for me is the loss of value in my home. It's had a significant loss in value. And you know, we all work for that American dream. And when it's your most expensive asset and it drops as significantly as ours has, it's a little disheartening.

Reason: Do you mind my asking when you bought the place?

Hart: No, we bought in 2001, somewhere in there, 2002. We've been in this house almost ten years. We bought at a very good time. It was a great buy at that time and it appreciated in value very quickly. And not that we wanted to borrow all the money out of it, but it sure was great to have something that added so much value to your net worth. That's certainly been affected.

We have an extended family, and various members of my family are being affected by this in job loss and other things. And we're having to pitch in and help. And I think that's something that gets lost in this – that when those around us that we love are compromised, we have to help them. And that takes away from what we have available for our own use. Does that make sense?

Yeah, definitely. You didn't borrow against your house, did you?

Hart: No, we didn't get to that point.

So you're still ahead of the game. The house is worth more than you paid for it, and I'm assuming you're above water on your mortgage, right?

Hart:No, I don't know that I can say with surety that the house is worth more than we paid for it.

In Maryland?

Hart: Yeah, in Maryland.

Reason: I've got the same situation with a place I bought in Virginia, but like a golem I bought in the middle of 2006. According to Zillow, it's worth about 50 percent of what I paid for it.

Hart: That's about the situation we're in. It's bad. It breaks your heart. You think, "It must be wrong! Run the numbers again!"

Reason: In a way though, if you look at the way house prices have climbed since 1980, they've outpaced nearly every other thing in the economy. Maybe what we're talking about with the new reality is that for a good 15 years people have gotten accustomed to thinking of the house as a financial investment, and we all have to get used to the idea that the house is just the place you live in.

Hart: You might be right. I think we're at a milestone of reality checks for all of us, and that may be one of them. For me this may be one of them. Prior to this administration, we didn't hold people accountable and we didn't pay attention and we didn't ask the right questions of our officials and of the people sitting in positions, our elected leaders.

That's the turning point for me. I'm not going to stand on the sidelines and be silent. And when I have an opportunity I'll speak up. And this one was the greatest blessing of my life: To be in front of someone you admire, and to be able to ask something that's really near and dear to your heart, is a rare opportunity. It taught me that I'm gonna continue to ask tough questions, I'm going to be part of the political process, if for no other reason than for myself and those I love, for our preservation. We all need to be paying closer attention, and making sure we understand, so we don't, as you say, I guess, fall into the bubble and don't read the signs properly.

Reason: As far as the economic policies the president has enacted – and I'm gonna go ahead now and make the case against him:  Unemployment went up substantially after his economic team took office. Deficits have hugely expanded. The debt has hugely expanded. And as you and I, I think, agree, we're all in a situation where everybody has to get used to running up less debt and living within their means. And yet the government is not setting that example. So how do you feel about what he's been doing economically?

Hart: Well, I get the logic of it, and I can appreciate the fact that right now his intention is to try to stimulate spending, to build consumer confidence and consumer credit – in a painfully opposite situation. You know, when you don't have job – as he said himself – your reality is that you don't have a job. You don't want to spend if you have a little bit of savings, because you don't know where your next job is coming from. I have a friend who's been out of work for almost two years now, and she's highly competent, highly qualified.

So I understand the logic of it. And maybe it's the right answer. And maybe ten years from now we'll look back and say that was the right thing to do. I don't know what's right thing or the wrong thing to do. I just want smart people around the table having a deep discussion about what's the right thing to do, and then doing that with conviction. I have confidence that this administration can and will continue to do that.

Reason: I like to think he fired Larry Summers because of you. I like to believe he thought, "You know, Ms. Hart is right. I need to readjust or something."

Hart: I don't think there was a connection. I don't believe that.

Reason: What do you think of the way the media – including people like Reason – have picked up on your comments? Many people have used this to say: Look, here's a classic Obama voter who doesn't seem to be content. Are you concerned with the way your comments have been used – maybe in ways you don't agree with?

Hart: Absolutely. But that's the price of seizing the moment. And that's what I like to think I did. I had been looking for the opportunity. I had been thinking about writing a letter to communicate with the man I helped to put in office and voted for. I wanted to talk to him about what's on my mind. And talk is cheap. I kept saying: I'ma write a letter, one day I'ma write a letter. And I was blessed to actually say it to him directly, and to get a direct response. That's unprecedented, and I think it will be with me forever.

Whether he's on the right course or not on the right course, I believe in the change that he wanted to advance. So there's a fight for that. It was radical change when he proposed it. It will be radical change when he tries to execute it. And I certainly understand the point of view that you have about government and personal responsibility, and I think that's very important as well. And that's why I'm willing to own some of the pain to get us though this difficult time.

I want to say a word about AmVets, my own organization: The economy's also having an impact on the military and veterans. We really need to get this problem under control, so we can make sure the people who are fighting for our freedoms aren't affected. Because they have been affected significantly.

Reason: Very nice talking with you. I appreciate your calling back. Hope you're enjoying your week of fame.

Hart: I was hoping for more like two days. I'm a finance geek. I'd rather be with a calculator at a desk.

NEXT: What the GOP's Pledge Has in Common With ObamaCare

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  1. not including the part where we were both stumped as to the German translation of “hot dogs and beans.”

    So what did the German publications finally do — replace it with the German-equivalent food, or do a literal translation with a parenthetical explaining that “hot dogs and beans” is generally recognized as poor-people food in the US? (FWIW, it’s also what I had Monday night.)

    1. They called hotdogs and beans Hotdogs und Bohnen. Trying to call hotdogs Wurst would be an insult to German sausage.

      1. Just as “Ballpark” is an insult to American hot dogs.

      2. heh heh. Hot dogs and bonin’.

      3. You mean the hot dogs which are also known as frankfurters?

    2. You don’t want to read the Die Presse article. I know there’s a lot of anti-American xenophobia in Europe, but the level in the comment thread (and the comment thread of one of the linked articles) was far worse than what I’m normally used to from Europeans.

      Worse than anything the Sweden Democrats (or similar parties in other countries) are accused of by their opponents.

    3. Threadjack:

      Pretty piss poor performance for a group that talks of freedom of speech and expression.

  2. This president, any president, needs more supporters like this, people willing dress him down when he screws up.

    Bush could have used people like this.

    1. He didn’t allow them. He had “Free Speech Zones” that were well outside where he could either hear or see dissenters. Not that he’d have paid any attention if a dissenter had been right in his face.

      1. That’s one thing I have to give Obama- maybe its sloppiness or maybe he actually wants to hear the truth (frankly Bush could be an aberration because I remember Clinton and Reagan taking shots from non-screened people) but he actually seems to let normal people talk to him- at this same event he let a hedge fund guy vent at him- Bush would’ve had secret service eject the guy as soon as he said his profession.

        1. Yeah but you have to admit, Bush handled the shoe attack expertly. Best moment of his entire presidency.

          1. Nah I give that to the unintentional comedy at virtually every major diplomatic event- he was good for one hilariously odd bit every time- be it weirdly massaging the German Chancellor, not being able to get out of a room, or randomly dancing when he meets an African leader it always brought a smile to my face.

          2. Letting Dana Perino take it in the eye?

            Come to think of it, I’d like to…

        2. “Hedge fund guy” from his Obama’s law school class + black woman who doesn’t look like she missed many helpings of hot dogs & beans = Obama was surprised as you were that he got any sort of antagonistic questions.

    2. There isn’t enough time in the day to dress down this clown when he screws up.

      1. Douglas Fletcher doesn’t have enough time to undress clowns.

        1. Go to your room, kiddo.

  3. Exhibit A: Prior to this administration, we didn’t hold people accountable and we didn’t pay attention and we didn’t ask the right questions of our officials and of the people sitting in positions, our elected leaders.

    Exhibit B: . I don’t know what’s right thing or the wrong thing to do. I just want smart people around the table having a deep discussion about what’s the right thing to do, and then doing that with conviction.

    Retard.

    Anyway, goddamn was everything she said a lot of empty headed blather. What the fuck? And this is supposed to represent some kind of educated concerned voter?

    1. She’s seems like a decent woman but it’s obvious from her comments that’s she’s a devout Christian, and therefore has a certain faith in humanity. It may not be wholly based on reality, which is why–after all that has happened and all he has said–she remains an Obama supporter.

    2. I am with the Sun. I am not normally kind to people who speak in empty platitudes, but her flaw is in believing that smart people can figure things out with enough thinking and discussion. And, as libertarians, we recognize that the problems are not going to get fixed that way – the problems are with the systems, not with the lack of thought of the people within the system.

      1. Frankly thats a lot of Obama’s problem – in an attempt to be moderate and bi-partisan he allowed a ton of things to be compromised- admittedly its probably why despite his shortcomings he’s still a near-lock for re-election (and has higher approval than Clinton or Reagan at similar points in their Admins) but it also means he gets half-results and recieves little credit for it- take Healthcare where he essentially adopted the GOP Health Plan from 1993 but got called a socialist for it.

        1. Yeah…that’s not what I meant. Take your Obama apologetics and hosannas somewhere else.

        2. Right. And we haven’t won the Drug War because we just haven’t fought it quite aggressively enough. More of the same, and everything will get better.

        3. Frankly it’s not. I haven’t seen a less bipartisan President in my lifetime. Maybe that will change when he has to deal with a Republican House, we’ll see.

    3. Yes, she’s absolutely wrong to think that central planners (even really smart ones) sitting around a table can manage an economy better than its decentralized participant. But, have a little bit of civility and politeness. The woman might be reading these comments, and calling her a retard after she gave some of her valuable time to Reason for a phone interview is rude, and not likely to change anyone’s mind.

      1. Agreed. She struck me as a decent and intelligent woman. The fact that she has views about central planning that we don’t agree with doesn’t make her stupid, and calling her a retard is rude, uncivil, and above all, juvenille.

        1. rude, uncivil, and above all, juvenille

          Sadly and all too often, that’s the language of this place.

    4. She’s not a retard. She seems like a nice woman, she had a chance to tell her President that everything is not cupcakes and muffins. If she doesn’t have all the answers then so what. After asking a question, she becomes a media darling and the media wants to hear everything she has to say. I actually think what she said at the meeting was right on (if a little long winded). There isn’t any reason for her to say anything else.

    5. OK, ok, but lay off a bit huh? Being wrong does not make a person retarded. She seems like a sincere and thoughtful person who isn’t afraid to speak truth to power. If only more Democrats were like that.

      1. I’m sure there are lots of Democrats like that. You just don’t see or hear them on TV or read their trash in the blogs.

  4. It’s interesting how completely different people come to the same conclusions about things.

    My conclusion isn’t that Obama’s the answer, maybe he just needs to work harder on getting it right. Actually, I think Obama’s a big part of the problem.

    But you don’t have to fit any particular political philosophy to see that the way things have been run over the last few years isn’t the answer.

    1. I think he’s mitigated a lot of the damage that he inherited but hasn’t done enough to repair things. Healthcare is a mixed bag- frankly from an economic perspective we probably needed to go to single payer or something similar just so we could free businesses from their longterm healthcare liabilities.

      1. I think he’s mitigated a lot of the damage that he inherited

        Based on what, exactly?

      2. You do it, and let us know how it works out.

      3. Now Socraticsilence, we can all call a retard.

        1. Yeah, I’m with that. Do you think we should explain to him WHY he’s a retard, though?

      4. Socraticsilence would be well-advised to emulate his namesake.

        1. Corrupting boys or drinking hemlock?

        2. Actually, I hope Socraticsilence sticks around and becomes a regular.

          The rest of you can speak for yourselves, but I’ve never learned much from people who already agreed with me on everything.

          And I never hung around for long listening to people who wanted me to go away either.

          If we want more people to hear what we have to say, maybe it’s those of you who’d turn everyone away that doesn’t already agree with us that should think about going somewhere else. Maybe you’re the ones weighing us down.

          1. The rest of you can speak for yourselves, but I’ve never learned much from people who already agreed with me on everything.

            While that may very well be true, I have this sneaking suspicion you’re not gonna learn much from this guy either.

            1. At least he seems to be initiating a good faith argument without saying tea bagger or libertards or confusing anybody for being a Republican.

              1. Agreed, which is why I responded in kind. In fact, I responded with a question which, had he tried to answer it, would have increased his understanding. I think there’s even a name for the method which involves asking that type of question. Aristolic? Platonic? Don’t help me, I’ll get it eventually…

          2. What would you learn from his kind other than the source of his delusions?

            1. A lot of the things I’ve explained to people over the years have been explained while they were explaining things to me.

              If you don’t open up your ears and listen to other people, the chances of them listening to you are pretty much nil.

              I can point to a handful of regulars around here, who might even identify as libertarian now, and might not admit it, but they started out making posts just like this guy.

              People like that come here every day, and more of them would stick around if we weren’t so pointlessly hostile to them.

              It’s counterproductive.

              The first rule of winning converts?

              Don’t chase ’em out the door when they come to visit your church. A lot of ’em don’t know much about you at first. Make ’em feel at home. Hang out for a while. It sinks in eventually. They start to like it.

      5. we probably needed to go to single payer or something similar just so we could free businesses from their longterm healthcare liabilities

        *barf*

  5. ‘like a golem”??? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golem
    I don’t think that’s what you meant…..

    1. I’d love to see a Dragon Quest game that has hebrew characters on the mud golems.

    2. yeah.. huh?
      or do you mean Gollum? but he’d never buy a house…

    3. In Yiddish slang, calling someone a golem is saying that they’re slow in the head.

      1. Yiddish Momzers.

    4. He probably meant schmuck. Or yutz.

  6. Why couldn’t you get an interview with Daphne? She was allus the sexy one.

  7. Wachtelbohnen mit Mettwurst is probably how I’d manage a translation–cheap American dogs just ain’t to be had in the Vaterland. And because we’re Germans, you might toss on some Sauerkraut mit Wachholderbeeren und Speck. Po’folks food doesn’t have to suck unless you’re an unimaginative cook.

    1. Und Ve have valk in microwave ovens now.

  8. I just want smart people around the table having a deep discussion about what’s the right thing to do, and then doing that with conviction. I have confidence that this administration can and will continue to do that.

    A “finance geek” who is paying attention should not speak that second sentence.

    1. You know who else sat around a table, had a deep discussion, then acted with conviction?

      1. King Arthur?

        1. You know who else’s mama sat around the house?

            1. MY MOTHER WAS A SAINT.

              But, yes.

  9. I don’t understand this and it kind of makes me sad. Mrs. Hart really appears to be an intelligent woman but has somehow managed to fall for just about every leftist talking point when it comes to economics and government.

    1. I don’t understand. All of the smart people are leftists. Just ask them.

      1. This is why altruism is the most perfect of evils. Christians believe it is a good (“You are your brother’s keeper”) and keep trying to figure out ways to implement it.

        1. Altruism is fine, forced altruism isn’t.

          1. ^^THIS^^

          2. No, altruism involves sacrifice, which is never fine. You’re confusing it with charity. There’s certainly nothing wrong with charity, when it’s voluntary and uncoerced. Our government and its supporters on the left (and right) believe in forced charity, because they believe altruism (and sacrifice) is good.

            1. Sacrifice is never fine? Why the hell not?

              As long as we’re not talking human sacrifice, that is.

              And I reject the proposition that altruism always involves sacrifice anyhow. Altruism can be a great motivator for people to do truly wonderful things for fellow humans, and often there is no real “sacrifice” required. Even if there is, if the person acting out of altruism wants to make the “sacrifice” because of the good feeling they get from doing something for another person, why is that never fine?

              Charity and altruism are not the same thing, either.

              1. What BSR said.

              2. This- altruism has led to some of the truly great things about Humanity- it can go too far no doubt but to condem it as a universal wrong is just shortsighted.

                1. You probably think this is really deep and insightful, don’t you?

                  Look, we get this one-one-hand-but-on-the-other from Cathy Young. We don’t need your ambivalence here.

                  altruism has led to some of the truly great things about Humanity-

                  Name one.

                  And realize that sentence doesn’t even make any sense.

                  1. Schindler’s list. He didn’t have to do that you know.

                2. Is that your hand in my pocket or are you really happy to see me?

              3. Altruism is not the same thing as charity. It’s a distinction with a difference. Altrusim holds that it’s a virtue (and in its political application–communism–a duty) to sacrifice one’s own happiness for the happiness of another individual (or the state). Charity is wholly justifiable when the giving is a value to the giver. When the act of charity (through coercion or a sense of duty) becomes a nonvalue or a sacrifice, it stops being a virtue. Hope this helps.

                1. Who are you to decide what values individuals can have? Isn’t that up to the individual?

                  Remember that saying something is ethical, i.e. leading to a “good life,” is not the same thing as saying we all have a moral duty to do so. There is absolutely nothing wrong with altruism as an ethical value, as a personal choice.

                  If you believe in freedom, you should believe in the toleration of all ethical values. Values don’t have to be “justified” to any standards, they are part of the freedom of the individual.

                  1. If you believe in freedom, you should believe in the toleration of all ethical values.

                    Wow.
                    Herr Fleischer, I’ll be needing 12 more cattle cars.

    2. My personal impression: this woman is only dissatisfied because her “earning power has been slightly affected”, and if this weren’t the case she would be thrilled with just about everything that Obama is doing.

      1. Oh, come now. In the space of a short interview, she also mentions unspecified family, friends, and the veterans her organization works with.

    3. You don’t get out much, huh?

      1. And you don’t get out at all.

        Run along now and get some fresh air!

        1. We all know how much Tony’s Mom gets out.

          1. Tony’s mom gets out every morning. Tony duct tapes her rocking chair to a skateboard and wheels her freeze-dried corpse around the mall for an hour every day. On fridays they go to Denny’s for breakfast.

            Tony has a grandslam? and his mother eats nothing…because she is a mummified corpse.

            1. I was figuring she’d order the brains and eggs.

              1. You watch too many movies.

    4. Does the veterans organization she CFOs run on government subsidies?

  10. I don’t know what’s right thing or the wrong thing to do. I just want smart people around the table having a deep discussion about what’s the right thing to do, and then doing that with conviction.

    That’s pretty much the essence of the problem, isn’t it? People don’t know the answers, but somehow think these enlightened rulers do, despite all evidence to the contrary. Could it be, perhaps, that people really only know best about their own personal situations, and should be making decisions about only those things?

    1. They were the ones they had been waiting for.

    2. Several generations of Americans have now grown up under the leviathan of big government. They have never known anything else. They think it’s proper and fitting that their government should have so much power. It will be exceedingly difficult, if not impossible at this late date, to turn things around. America is like an enormous ship with a broken rudder, steaming into the unknown.

      1. boats beating ceaselessly against the shore

        See the real deal on Rockville Pike

      2. I hope we don’t hit an iceberg.

      3. I don’t know I think the problem is economic illeteracy on both the left and the right- on the left it comes from those who don’t get that a properly regulated market for something like Healthcare is the answer (and despite the protestations of some of the left is what they use in Germany and Switzerland- government backstops premiums for the very poor but other than that market competition is what gives them a cheap superior system- its just that in the US the market is essentially broken as lack of information lets insurers overcharge since customers can’t really shift to cheaper plans) on the right it comes out most often in military spending (which somehow doesn’t count note even the most fiscally conservative Republican makes sure to preface freezes or cuts with the word “non-military”) and/or taxes (my favorite example is the WSJ talking point about how over the last 40 years tax revenues have increasingly come from the wealth- something which seems worrying until you realize the tax rates for the very wealthy have either stayed the same or dropped in the time span- its just that income has shifted to the top so of course they’d pay more % wise).

        1. james joyce lives, I guess

  11. Of course if this woman had identified herself as a tea partier half the news media would be digging through her trash looking for something to bring her down.

    1. That would be racist

  12. Prior to this administration, we didn’t hold people accountable.

    Oh bullshit, on several levels.

    1. I’m sure we can find instances before the Anointed One was elected, of people actually being held accountable.

    2. The statement implies that some radical new change in accountability has occurred as a result of Our Dear Leader’s elevation to his post of Big Brotherhood. If so, I ain’t seen it yet.

    Amazing, the seemingly otherwise decent people who appear to have just been totally blinded by His Greatness and Brilliance. As if Obama is anything other than a slick politician who talks a good game. And as far as I can tell, he doesn’t even do that with any particular mastery or skill – lots of empty platitudes and stretched metaphors, pretty much.

    1. Damn fake screen name…

    2. And floating abstractions. Don’t forget those. It’s one of his and his speechwriters’ favorite rhetorical devices. And people fall for them every time, because they’ve never been taught how to think.

  13. So, this woman is basically a community organizer who wants a bigger piece of government cheese for her “veterans organization,” whatever the hell that is.

    Hell, Tim, why didn’t you dig a little deeper into what this woman does for a living. It would, I believe, give you all the insight you need into her affection with Obama and how government is the answer to every problem. It seems that she gave you plenty of opportunities, but you didn’t. Maybe you were just being a gentleman, and if so that’s fine. I just think you missed a golden opportunity to teach this big-government fool a lesson.

    1. She identifies the organization – AmVets – http://www.amvets.org/

      1. Oops. Guess I missed that.

        AMVETS was given an “F” by the American Institute of Philanthropy because they spent over 70% of their revenue on trying to get more revenue through mail-solicitations. They consider this a “benefit,” though, because they send a sticker with the mailing.

        Charity Navigator rates them as the worst veterans benefits charity in America.

        They fail to meet 4 basic BBB requirements for basic charity accounting. They don’t even have an annual budget according to the BBB.

        ABC ripped their ethics in a 2007 story. NPR did the same in 2005.

        Sorry, but a CFO for one of the worst rated charities in America agreeing with Obama’s overall economic “plan” isn’t much of a surprise.

        Perhaps she needs to be asked some more pointed questions. I wonder what would have happened if she were a white conservative male. I’ve got an idea. Let’s ask Joe Wurzelbacher!

        1. You are obviously mistaken. She is the new me.

    2. Yeah! Hold this essentially random lady off the street accountable for her sins! Git ‘er!!!

      1. At some point in time, somebody’s gotta play by Team Blue’s rules. Of course, this lady’s black so any questioning of her will be labelled with the dreaded R-word.

      2. Team Blue never does that, do they?

        Of course, this woman is black, so anyone questioning her employer’s ability to run a charity worth a damn will be called a racist.

        Ooh, and they’ll also be “against veterans” as well.

        [Sloopy puts on tinfoil hat]
        This was the perfect plant by the Dems to question Obama. It makes him seem more human and the questioner is off-limits to Team Red scrutiny.

        Well played, O.

    3. Hang on, Sloopy! Sloopy, hang on!

  14. How can we be sure she’s not just a racist?

    1. She didnt ask to see his birth certificate.

      1. frog in a pot would be a birther if he was right-wing.

  15. Velma? If President Obama were cool and brilliant, instead of a complete tool, he’d have responded to her criticism with, “And I would’ve gotten away with it, too, if it weren’t for those meddling kids.”

    1. That would have been epic!

      1. The best part would’ve been this fictional Obama explaining the joke in an intentionally awkward and apologetic manner, then acting insanely pissed that no one gets the joke.

    2. That just might have gotten him my 2012 vote.

      1. Maybe. It depends on whether Newt Gingrich takes capitol l’s advice to change his first name from Newton to Newcular Titties. Because as cool as Scooby Doo references are in political discourse, nothing beats Newcular Titties. Nothing.

        1. Dude. Why doesn’t stuff like this actually happen? That would be fantastic.

          1. Don’t give up yet. Commenter capitol l sent an e-mail to Gingrich advising that he do exactly that.

            If it happens, I predict that 2012 is going to be one of the greatest years in U.S. history.

            1. UPDATE:

              No response yet, though I did find Mr. Gingrich’s assistant’s email address. Here is what I sent:

              Mr. Cassis

              I recently sent Mr. Gingrich am email through the newt.org email service in regards to his possible 2012 presidential run, and my support of Mr. Gingrich in this endeavor. I received a stock answer from you email squirrels, I was hoping for a response from staff. This is why I am emailing you.

              I mentioned how, as an anarcho-capitalist, I disagree with Mr. Gingrich on almost every issue, but that with certain concessions on Mr. Gingrich’s part i.e. the name change, I could throw my considerable support behind his organization.

              Since the email has been sent an upswell of grassroots support has started for Mr. Gingrich’s name change, a quick googling will set your mind at ease Mr. Cassis.

              To reiterate the condition of my group’s (NTSA) support of Mr. Gingrich and the easy path to the White House that we could provide: We would like Mr. Gingrich to change his name to Newcular Titties. That is all, nothing more. Our internal research and extensive polling have found that this small change would aid Mr. Gingrich extensively in his battle for The White House.

              capitol l

              Co-President NTSA

            2. I have found an email address for Mr. Gingrich’s assistant at AEI.

              Here is what I sent:

              Mr. Cassis

              I recently sent Mr. Gingrich am email through the newt.org email service in regards to his possible 2012 presidential run, and my support of Mr. Gingrich in this endeavor. I received a stock answer from you email squirrels, I was hoping for a response from staff. This is why I am emailing you.

              I mentioned how, as an anarcho-capitalist, I disagree with Mr. Gingrich on almost every issue, but that with certain concessions on Mr. Gingrich’s part i.e. the name change, I could throw my considerable support behind his organization.

              Since the email has been sent an upswell of grassroots support has started for Mr. Gingrich’s name change, a quick googling will set your mind at ease Mr. Cassis.

              To reiterate the condition of my group’s (NTSA) support of Mr. Gingrich and the easy path to the White House that we could provide: We would like Mr. Gingrich to change his name to Newcular Titties. That is all, nothing more. Our internal research and extensive polling have found that this small change would aid Mr. Gingrich extensively in his battle for The White House.

              capitol l

              Co-President NTSA

              Cross yer fingers, if we can turn Mr. Cassis, we’ll have someone on the inside who can make this happen.

            3. Update, I have sent Mr. Gingrich’s assistant an email. Here it is in its entirety:

              Mr. Cassis

              I recently sent Mr. Gingrich am email through the newt.org email service in regards to his possible 2012 presidential run, and my support of Mr. Gingrich in this endeavor. I received a stock answer from you email squirrels, I was hoping for a response from staff. This is why I am emailing you.

              I mentioned how, as an anarcho-capitalist, I disagree with Mr. Gingrich on almost every issue, but that with certain concessions on Mr. Gingrich’s part i.e. the name change, I could throw my considerable support behind his organization.

              Since the email has been sent an upswell of grassroots support has started for Mr. Gingrich’s name change, a quick googling will set your mind at ease Mr. Cassis.

              To reiterate the condition of my group’s (NTSA) support of Mr. Gingrich and the easy path to the White House that we could provide: We would like Mr. Gingrich to change his name to Newcular Titties. That is all, nothing more. Our internal research and extensive polling have found that this small change would aid Mr. Gingrich extensively in his battle for The White House.

              capitol l

              Co-President NTSA

              1. Newcular Titties has been in California.

              2. Awesome. If this happens, it will be thanks to your zeal and near fanatical devotion to the Pope.

              3. Holy shit you’re my hero capitol.

                1. No Rhayader, with your encyclopedic knowledge of all things the weed, you are my hero.

                  1. Stoopid joke tag.

  16. She says she believes the president did answer her question about what he is doing for the middle class, but adds, “I don’t know if he really answered the part about, ‘Is this the new reality,’ which was really the heart of my question.”

    The lack of an answer to that question should indicate what the answer is: YES.

    I am somewhat baffled by Ms. Hart. She seems very intelligent, yet despite the fact that Obama didn’t answer her point blank question, she still supports him sight unseen. She says she’s a “finance geek'” but she apparently hasn’t looked at the fiscal planning disaster that is Obamanomics beyond the anecdotal stories from her family. A finance geek would look at a graph like this and say “well, that doesn’t look good. Something should be done to stop such irresponsible budgeting.”

    Instead she wants to give him another four years.

    I don’t get it.

    1. People vote based on team colors and on celebrity. Not on competence, experience, character, history, logic, expertise, or any other useful or relevant characteristic.

      1. A quick hint: some people don’t agree with us. That disagreement doesn’t automatically mean they are stupid.

        1. I didn’t say ALL people. And some of the libertarians are silly this way, too.

          The problem isn’t stupidity. It’s inherent in letting the government get too powerful and authoritarian. As voters feel increasingly unable to change anything, they’ll stop trying and stop paying as much attention to the various lies they’re hearing. Which means that many people who do bother to vote are going in with very little real information on the candidates and issues. Which means votes based on other criteria.

        2. That disagreement doesn’t automatically mean they are stupid.

          Of course not – it just means they are EVIL. 🙂

    2. See Hazel Meade’s post above.

    3. You dont get much.The rich were taxed at a 90% rate during Eisenhower and nobody called him a communist.It didnt stop innovation or business’s from succeeding either.

      Libertarians dont know history or much else either.”

      1. I hate to ruin your day, but when the published tax rate was super high, people in the higher income brackets had dodges that would make your eyes bleed. In fact, I bet the effective tax rate for many of the very rich was much lower than it is today. Much lower.

        1. Thanks for making my point.
          And you think it was lower than 17 %?Because thats the rate they pay now genius and thats without looking for loopholes.

          1. If the taxes on the rich are too low, why are the top ten percent of earners paying over 50% of all of the taxes?

            If you seriously beleive that raising taxes on the rich will “fix the economy” then you are an idiot.

          2. The loopholes today are much smaller and don’t have the kind of dramatic effect that they used to.

            And the nominal rate for the wealthy isn’t 17%. I’m not rich and I’m paying more than that.

          3. frog thinks anybody who has worked his way past the fries station is rich.

            1. I thought he was working the grill now.

      2. The rich were taxed at a 90% rate during Eisenhower and nobody called him a communist.

        Nobody? Are you quite certain of that?

    4. Although I am boiled and half eaten I still support Idi Amin.

      1. He may be a son of a bitch but he’s OUR son of a bitch. Er,except for the penis part.

  17. Well, I get the logic of it, and I can appreciate the fact that right now his intention is to try to stimulate spending, to build consumer confidence and consumer credit ? in a painfully opposite situation. You know, when you don’t have job ? as he said himself ? your reality is that you don’t have a job. You don’t want to spend if you have a little bit of savings, because you don’t know where your next job is coming from.

    Sigh. The sad part is that this woman is but one of millions of slack-jawed sheep whose sense of entitlement is so deeply ingrained that they heard every one of Obama’s ridiculous, conflicting, fantastical promises during his last State of the Union address — and not only astoundingly believed he could deliver on every last word, but felt they were entitled to have eternal prosperity fall out of the sky like manna, just because their brown Svengali said he could do it.

    1. You cannot stimulate spending from people who have no jobs, or who are worried about losing their jobs. And rightly so: here are some people who should not be spending anyone’s money, yours, mine, or theirs.

    2. Nowhere in the Constitution, or in any laws on the books anywhere, in any state, does it say residents are entitled to own a home, and entitled to see the home’s value appreciate steadily and satisfactorily throughout their ownership of it.

    3. The notion of what constitutes “suffering” has certainly changed. This well-fed, well-dressed, well-educated woman with kids in private school and a home of her own claims to be suffering. Poor people with whom I used to volunteer (until it made me sick enough) had luxury apartments with tennis courts, swimming pools, in-unit washer/dryers, and satellite TV. All on Section 8, Welfare, SSI, and food stamps. And they still bitched–of course, it was someone else’s fault they didn’t also have a new car and yearly trips to Disneyland.

    Andrew Bacevich was right. People see the President as Jesus-in-worsted-wool who’s gonna make sure the flow of cheap goods and good times continues uninterrupted right into their gaping pieholes and grasping hands. And they elect whoever sounds the most like he’s that guy. Obama was brilliant enough to style himself as Jesus H. Christ.

    1. So Richard Nixon is too liberal for you cretins now?Uh the reason poor people are living in subsidized apts. with pools and tennis courts is because its CHEAPER to put aside a portion of apts for them than building all low income complexes genius.AND its a better model than throwing all the poor in a ghetto with no interaction with any other class.

      1. So Richard Nixon is too liberal for you cretins now?

        Except for the whole War on Drugs thing. We loved that.

        For what it’s worth, zeroentitlement was decrying a shift in the cultural sense of what “suffering” means. He didn’t say a single thing about urban planning policy.

      2. Oh Froggy u funny.

        Uh the reason poor people are living in subsidized apts. with pools and tennis courts is because its CHEAPER to put aside a portion of apts for them than building all low income complexes genius.

        No, what’s actually cheaper (at least for the public) is to let the poor rot in the gutter until such time as they see fit to haul their own ass out of it. And then to let their kids see them rotting in the gutter, and say, “Hmm. I don’t want this life for myself, it sucks. I guess if I don’t want to live this way, I’d better stay in school and make better choices.”

        “Throwing” the poor anywhere, whether in a ghetto or in a gated apartment complex, is the problem. It results in a class of people who are content to pack their bags and be thrown anywhere as long as someone else is writing all the checks for their choices.

  18. Don’t worry, we’re on it. Just try to bear with us a bit longer, and everything will be fine.

  19. Interesting you dont quite get Obama inherited an international economic collapse and not only the TARP but both wars were off the books till Obama.Gee where did all that debt come from…..

    1. TARP? That bill that Obama voted for?

      1. Apparently, in froggy’s world, Senator Obama and President Obama are entirely different people.

    2. Yes, and look at how differently Obama has handled all these problems from Bush.

      1. Answer: Not very differently at all.

  20. This whole thing makes me a little uncomfortable. The only reason why this woman’s comments are considered newsworthy is that she’s black. It’s like, “Woohoo! A black person confronting Obama! Just the news bite we’ve been waiting for!”

    Plus, is there any doubt that what she’s dissatisfied with is that Obama isn’t Obama-y enough? What’s the point in highlighting critics of Obama who want him to be more of what libertarians oppose?

    1. The only reason why this woman’s comments are considered newsworthy is that she’s black.

      Mmm, close. Thomas Sowell, Walter Williams, or Michael “Tyrone Biggums” Steele confronting Obama wouldn’t be any kind of news, and they’re all brothers. What you’re seeing is someone from Obama’s hardcore base – not a swing voter, not a Noonan/Brooks/Buckley type, not a white union guy – confronting Obama. To the extent that she’s part of a trend, I do believe that this actually is newsworthy.

      Obama’s been having trouble with centrist independents, but that’s not much of a big deal: swing voters swing, and he can bleed some of them off and still win reelection. The more troubling signs are if he starts to lose support from his base.

      I see his base in three basic areas:

      (1) Minorities
      (2) Upper-class twits
      (3) Middle-class twats
      (4) Gullible young retards.

      We already know that Obama’s support is eroding among the hedge-fund set. College kids can always be duped if you give them enough beer, pot, and Chomsky, but they’re losing enthusiasm now that they see that the Lord God Obama is a mere mortal. Women – well, middle-class women are heavily represented in the Tea Party movement for some reason. That leaves minorities as Obama’s super-stronghold. If they start to wane at least a little, that’s like Bush irking Evangelicals: big trouble.

  21. Godamnit. Too many people here are showing themselves to be smarmy assholes with no concept of how to be civil or deal respectfully with other human beings.

    1. You should see what Number 2 says about you.

      1. Heh. Number 2 was at least polite while trying to break me.
        By the way, he tells me that after our last talk, he feels (like)a new man.

        1. Or woman!

        2. I am not a number! I am a free man!

        3. WHO DOES NUMBER 2 WORK FOR??!!

        4. That’s good, I thought he might feel like shit.

    2. You do realize this is Reason mag’s Hit and Run blog comment section, right? And you were expecting … what?

    3. And enough of us told them to knock it off.

      Glass half full, huh? Come on!

  22. Ms. Hart, if you are reading this, people sitting around, deeply thinking, will not solve all these “problems”.

    Government is the problem. And the deep thinkers you are pinning your hopes on are part of that machine.

    Once you realize that you have it within your power to take care of yourself, it all follows from there.

  23. Well your half right.Government is the problem because WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT.People like you dont want it to work…..and vote accordingly.So it follows from there.

    1. Your still here?

      More cowbell, and more CAPS, genius.

      The fact that you destroy your own arguments with every comment is simply spectacular.

    2. So then you admit government will never work very well until we get rid of the political right, or at least take away their voter registration cards. Good luck with that. I guess the reason communism didn’t work out is because not enough people realized THEY WERE THE GOVERNMENT and voted the wrong way. Oh wait…

    3. I AM SPARTACUS

  24. WE ARE THE GOVERNMENT

    Not this again . . . .

    1. So I’ve got a trillion bucks to blow and my own nuclear arsenal? Awesome. There are going to be some changes at work, let me tell you.

    2. We do have a representative form of government, a republic. I blame us. We’ve blown it. We didn’t lose a war and have a government imposed upon us. There has been no coup d’?tat, no modern-day revolution. Every two years we vote for people who do our bidding.

      1. Every two years we vote for people whose bidding we do.

        1. Keep telling yourself that. It’s always easier to blame someone else.

          1. You realize, of course, that I can blame other people? I mean, I’m a libertarian. We’re not some sort of collective.

    3. I just pledged 2 billion dollars of our money on a statist reeducation camp. It seems a bit expensive but flying large cargo planes over volcanoes is costly.

  25. I just want smart people around the table having a deep discussion about what’s the right thing to do, and then doing that with conviction pulling the rabbit out of the hat.

    Velma, Velma, Velma…

    That trick never works.

  26. Every two years we vote for people who do our bidding.

    Whaddya mean, we?

  27. Its funny to imagine grizzled mountain men whining that Andrew Jackson wasn’t giving them enough land or whatever in town halls from 1830.

  28. It seems like the conversation hit a bump when Cavanaugh decided to ask about the housing price crash in the context of the 15 year run up.

  29. Velma Hart is getting what she deserves.
    She voted for all the Libs and now she doesn’t like the consequences.
    The rest of us are stuck trying to avoid getting what she deserves.
    BTW houses are still priced at well above what the market would be if foreclosures were not being withheld and the Feds were not supporting mortgages.

    1. My rent hasn’t gone up in three years. Thanks, stupid homeowners!

  30. i wanna get a better life,but life is not easy.there are so many so many difficulties and tragedies waiting for me to overcome one by one in every period of life.we have to and must to bear every disappointment about life,family,friendship,love and dream,until there is nothing and no one you can expectation but yourself.then you could realize life is your own business,and the only one can save you is yourself.

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