Foreign Policy

The Not Your Job Prize: Meg Whitman and the Jewish Question


Here are some plain facts about politics: Carly Fiorina will not be able to overturn the Supreme Court's Roe v. Wade decision from the U.S. Senate. It is not President Obama's job to opine on New York City zoning regulations for religious non-profits. And there are even limits to the natural powers of Christine O'Donnell, who was last seen winning the scrapple faceoff against Chris Coons. No matter which of the Chrises wins the Senate seat Delaware voters once leased to Joe Biden (getting burned in the deal), your right to masturbate yourself – or, in this age of rapid technological progress, others – will not be infringed.

Most or all human commerce is outside the purview of politicians. And agents of the government operate for brief durations under specified authorities that are very clearly restrained—by the U.S., state and local constitutions, and by common sense. These points are intentionally buried during campaign years (now defined as "all odd years and all even years").

You can herniate yourself arguing, "Yes, but the county board of supervisors can't vote to end the war in Iraq," or "the president doesn't issue marriage licenses" or "how often will the secretary of commerce need to be up to speed on the principles of natural selection?"

But why fight it? The Not Your Job Prize honors the highest achievers in the race to politicize everything through radical upsizing of politicians' job responsibilities. The first NYJ winner comes from the current issue of L.A.'s Jewish Journal (whose piece on Jean-Luc Godard is the most disappointing cover story since The Atlantic promised us "The End of Men" as if that would be a bad thing). In a full-page ad on page 3, California's Republican candidate for governor makes clear that she will support Israel's right to exist when her post in Sacramento gives her authority over U.S. foreign policy:

Commerce with all nations, provincial-level diplomacy with none.

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  1. Good Morning Reason? This is like expecting Beauty Pageant Contestants to be smart and/or talented. If the contest is who is the best hottie and the job requirement is to cut ribbons, who cares?

    1. Banjos kick ass only if know how to play them. Otherwise they’re just heavy.

      1. Bela Fleck’s pretty damned good at it…

        1. Of all of those named after me, Fleck makes me beam the most with pride. Wished I had used more Banjo and Mandolin in my own music!

    2. Not really. Miss Australia’s answer to her question in the 2010 Miss Universe contest was brilliant. I would not except 99% of politicians to be as smart as a Beauty Pageant Contestant.

  2. I think you miss the point. She could buy all their good companies, like she did when CEO of ebay, except with a slightly larger budget at her disposal. If she could then move them to California, along with all the people that work in them, there would be more and better bagel shops and delis throughout the state.

    If she bought enough of them, they could just boobie trap the whole country on their way out and then let the Palestinians fight with the Arabs for eternity.

    1. Israelis don’t have good bagels or deli shops, trust me.

      1. This is true.

        But we do have excellent hummus.

        1. That’s true, although you stole all the good recipes from the Druze.

          BTW, my uncle tried to setup a H&H bagel franchise in Israel, but Israelis just can’t appreciate a good bagel.

  3. I’m running on a platform of ending the wars in Iraq and Afganistan, legalizing marijuana, and eliminating the university’s honor code on the grounds that it constitutes double jeopardy under the fifth amendment.

    1. Don’t get me started. I might launch a campaign in my local school district to legalize hats.

      1. A victory for civil liberty in our locale.…..d=11645847

        And, damn, what a cutie. I’m looking forward to this one swinging on the poles in one of my favorite strip joints in a couple of years.

        1. Ariana’s mother, Nikki Iacono, said she was told by the school principal that he had researched the family’s religion and didn’t believe Ariana’s nasal stud to be necessary.

          “I don’t think it’s fair that he can determine what’s necessary for our religion, for me and my beliefs,” said Ariana, a bright and well-spoken teenager.

          I am so glad I did not go that school. I’ve had enough people investigate my brit m’lah.

  4. Well. It’s at least marginally justifiable, maybe. On the outside chance eMeg actually manages to turn California around, wouldn’t she be a major contender come 2016 or 2020?

    Before you laugh too hard, consider that come the 2012 elections, the California legislative districts may well be generally competitive, thanks to the redistricting board. Toss in, say, a repeal of the Dill’s Act by initiative, and a general economic upswing, and by 2014 it might actually be possible.

    Not likely. But, possible.

    1. You’re right, and that I find even more offensive. If you want to run for president run for fricking president. Is it too much to ask that you use a campaign for governor to prove why you should be governor, rather than to establish your credentials for some future race?

      1. Hey!

  5. I didn’t realize that buying Israeli start-ups meant support for Israel.

    I guess I’ve been going after the wrong market after all.

  6. Most or all human commerce is outside the purview of politicians. And agents of the government operate for brief durations under specified authorities that are very clearly restrained — by the U.S., state and local constitutions, and by common sense.
    I must respectfully disagree with you, sir.

    ALL of your commerce is mine.

  7. Actually, Whitman’s position on Israel is relevant, because the disinvestment campaign might ask her to disinvest the state pension funds from Israeli firms. I agree that foreign policy does not belong in a gubernatorial campaign, but Whitman is not the person who added Israel to the agenda. The disinvestment movement did that.

    1. Not a bad point from jtuf that the disinvestment movement can make a foriegn policy question a state/local question. I do think that it would be silly to equate disinvestment with the question of Israel’s very existence. If I refuse to do business with someone I don’t deny their right to exist…

      1. How dare you even entertain such a suggestion, you anti-semite.

      2. MNG, true. Disinvestment is not equal to denying the right to exist. But much of the literature distributed by the disinvestment campaign does question Israel’s right to exist, so whenever disinvestment activists come to town, Israel’s right to exist gets challenged. We would have to see what the disinvestors in California say at their rallies to judge the situation there. Anyway it is good to hear you affirm Israel’s right to exist, MNG.

  8. Cavanaugh, your general point is very true. Presenting topics to governing bodies that don’t have jurisdiction over them clogs the entire system with pointless debate. Last spring, my board of county freeholders (Bergen County, NJ) passed a resolution condemning the Arizona immigration law. I objected to it on jurisdictional grounds and suggested that they send a letter to our two congress reps instead. On Sunday, I heard that someone wants the the freeholders to condemn the Islamic Center at Ground Zero. Fortunately, my sign supporting the right to build fits in my satchel. I’ll just start bringing it to the meetings I attend so that I can pull it out if the topic comes up. 8-|

    1. “Presenting topics to governing bodies that don’t have jurisdiction over them clogs the entire system with pointless debate.”

      Yeah, jtuf, but it makes people FEEL GOOD and you can’t underestimate the power of the feel-good factor of any resolution, dead-white-girl legislation (Kylie’s Law?), or empty public condemnation to getting incumbents reelected.

    2. Do you recall, jtuf, how New Jersey towns like Hoboken voted themselves “nuclear free zones” in the 1980’s?

      The “not your job” approach to politics has a long history.

      1. Also see Berkeley City Council for a long list of unenforceable city ordinances.

      2. I resided in The Nuclear-Free Republic of Takoma Park during my fellowship at the OMB. I felt pure and in touch with Gaea.

        It’s no wonder that all levels of government–especially during campaign season–love to focus on things they can’t do anything about. Since most do it, there’s no downside to failure to solve the problem.

      3. Do you recall, jtuf, how New Jersey towns like Hoboken voted themselves “nuclear free zones” in the 1980’s?

        A town could exclude nuclear power plants from within its jurisdiction.

      4. Thanks for the history lesson, Number 2. It’s good to know.

  9. “Support for Israel” is the new code, replaces “Family Values”.

    1. Yeah. My adult website promotes family values. You can’t start a family without sex.

  10. The scrapple link is broken.

  11. The scrapple link is broken.

    1. Fixed. And if you click through you’ll see that O’Donnnell won the scrapple-loving contest through brevity alone:

      Coons: “My grandfather actually built heat processing plants for Smith Premium all around the country. My dad was in food, and made scrapple for us every week when I was growing up. It is an acquired taste.”

      ‘O’Donnell: “I LOVE scrapple! Didn’t do the sling, but I had some scrapple earlier.”

  12. Anyone else notice that Mike Bloomberg was on “Wait, Wait – Don’t Tell Me” this weekend to play “Not My Job?” I thought that was pretty funny, for obvious (and related) reasons.

  13. “masturbate yourself” is redundant.

    1. Even if it’s with your left hand?

      1. Then it’s racemically redundant. Which, of course, is alliteration. A two-fer.

    2. From

      : erotic stimulation especially of one’s own genital organs commonly resulting in orgasm and achieved by manual or other bodily contact exclusive of sexual intercourse, by instrumental manipulation, occasionally by sexual fantasies, or by various combinations of these agencies.

      From Princeton U:

      S: (n) masturbation, onanism (manual stimulation of the genital organs (of yourself or another) for sexual pleasure)

      In this age of the adult c2c and the teledildonic wii attachment, there’s a continuum between unprotected vaginal sex and jerking off alone in a room without any outside contact or media. Does emailing erotic stories back and forth count as asynchronous mutual masturbation? Does posting on Hit and Run count if you’re really passionate about your Libertarianism?

  14. This kind of campaign overreach is even worse with a lot of Libertarian candidates. “If elected State Representative for District 20, I will repeal all income taxes!”

    First of all, most Libertarian candidates are inexperienced. Second, because it’s so unlikely they’ll be elected, they don’t have to state a realistic plan for how they would handle being a lone Libertarian in the legislature.

  15. But she is Queen Meg. She can do anything her Royal Hinass wants.

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