Kurt Bills fails to give clear answers to basic questions

Kurt Bills

State Rep. Kurt Bills, the presumptive Repub nominee for the U.S. Senate, has begun giving interviews (although not to me, despite repeated requests, which I continue to send to his campaign), but Bills continues to avoid giving clear answers to basic questions about his issue positions.

Bills went on KTCA’s “Almanac” Friday where Kathy Wurzer led off by asking him – since he is known to be an admirer or Congressman Ron Paul and to have won the Repub endorsement largely on the basis of support from the Paulites who took over the convention — to specify the areas, if any, on which he differs from Ron Paul. The verbatim answer:

Rep. Kurt Bills: Yuh, I think you have to look at, again, you agree on fiscal and monetary policy. But you also have to look at foreign policy and be very thoughtful about it. But then also have to bring your own positions to the table as well. Having a strong national defense is very important to me. But then I think it also is to the congressman. And how do you look at foreign aid? And can we just cap foreign aid at some level like Senator Jim DeMint and Sen. Mike Lee and Senator Rand Paul put out? So it’s how can you work with people, stay at the table and keep discussing things.

Let’s pause here. That’s a full paragraph answer. What differences between his views and Rep. Paul’s has he specified? I score zero. For a second there, it sounded like he was going to declare some difference on military spending, but he ended up with the utterly vacuous statement that a “strong national defense” is “very important” to both himself and Rep. Paul.

Wurzer’s partner (in all things) Eric Eskola, did not point out in his follow-up that Bills had so far failed to identify any differences with Paul. Instead, he went for an area where Paul’s views might be politically awkward for Bills, namely the U.S.-Israel relationship.

Eskola: He’s for changing the U.S. relationship with Israel. I wonder what your view is on the U.S. relationship with Israel.

Bills: I think we’re a strong supporter of Israel when we don’t fund their enemies. When we don’t send foreign aid to countries like Egypt, we just sent $1.3 billion and a load of military equipment to Egypt last month. And that’s where I think we have to more thoughtful.

OK, we get it. Bills favors thoughtfulness (you’ll find that word in his first answer as well). The question was: Should the United States change its relationship with Israel? Bills says that he would cut off (or perhaps just reduce) the aid Washington sends to Egypt, a step that, so far as I know, Israel does not favor. And he identifies as one of Israel’s “enemies” a country that broke the Pan-Arab ban on peace and diplomatic relations with Israel in 1979 and has maintained a cold peace and semi-cooperative relations ever since.

For lack of an opportunity to ask a follow-up question, one might take this non-answer as an effort to avoid addressing the politically fraught issue of whether Bills would – as Ron Paul does – favor a dramatic reduction in U.S. aid to Israel despite the tremendous support on the Republican right for that relationship.

Anyway, in term of describing his position on how (or whether) the United States should change its bilateral relationship with Israel, I would have to score this one a nullity as well. But we did learn that he wants to cut off aid to Egypt.

By the way. I am not selecting questions and answers here to highlight Bills’ evasiveness. Those were the first two questions and answers. Here’s the third (and this time there actually was a follow-up):

Wurzer: Let me ask you a little about abolishing the Federal Reserve. The congressman wants to do that. And I’m going to ask you to clarify your stance. We’ve heard that back at an April forum you said that you would pass a balanced budget bill and would also end the Federal Reserve. Now you and I were talking earlier this week on Minnesota Public Radio and you told me  — you kind of stopped short of saying you would abolish the Federal Reserve. You were talking about reforming it. You want to clarify…

Bills: Sure. Absolutely. You hear a lot of people. Even the chants to “end the Fed.” And I think the first thing you have to do is understand that you’re part of a legislative body. There’s no one man or one woman who’s a dictator within that body, you have to work together with people and think the first thing we have to do is work toward ending the policies that the fed has promoted, specifically over the past four years.

Wurzer: An example…?

Bills: As an example, end the dual mandate system. We currently have a central bank that has a dual mandate system of promoting full employment, which came in in the 1970s, and maintaining price stability. Currently there’s a Sound Money Act in the House and the Senate.

It came up this year. It’ll come up a little stronger next year. And what that looks at is eliminating that promoting full employment. Because in my opinion, and in my economics study, the Fed cannot handle full employment. The Fed can promote price stability. But when you have a Federal Reserve that’s willing to expand the money base by whatever degree to try to get you to that 5 percent unemployment, that’s dangerous.

So, it sounds like we may actually have a direct answer here. Unlike Paul and his most ardent followers, Bills does not favor abolishing the Fed, but would change its mandate. But if you read it closely, you’ll note that Bills didn’t actually say that he would keep the Fed. And Wurzer picked up on that and decided to see if she could get a clear answer.

Wurzer: So you would not abolish the Federal Reserve. You would tweak it and change it. Is that correct?

Bills: If we could have a different system to run, if we could have a system of where we could have the regional presidents of the Federal Reserve voting on the FOMC [Federal Open Markets Committee], which is also a part of the Sound Money Act, that would be an improvement. Abolishing the fed would take an incredible amount of work and it would also create an incredible amount of volatility at a time globally when I don’t know if financial markets could handle that right now.

Now it seems that Bills, who said in April that he favors ending the Fed, has backed off. But, again, if you read it closely, Bills didn’t quite say that, only implied it. I don’t pretend to be reading Wurzer’s mind, but this seemed to be one area on which she was not willing to settle for an implicit answer, and it turns out to be a good thing she didn’t because when she sought final clarity…

Wurzer: So it sounds like you’ve changed your mind from that April forum to now. Sounds like that’s been a bit of a change for you?

Bills: No, I also think that you can have free market banking. We had a Suffolk system from 1824 till 1858 in this country that worked. It wasn’t actually a system, it was a free market bank that handled the same characteristics that the fed has now, and instead of being the lender of last resort, the Suffolk system used market discipline to handle our monetary policy so I think we see a huge diversity within our United States history of money and banking that we could meld into if that’s part of the process over the next six years.

Now, one could try to construct a clear answer out of all this on Bills’ views on the Fed. If I had to, I would say he favors abolishing the Fed, but not right away when the world financial system is fragile. So he would favor a change in the Fed’s mandate to eliminate the current language that asks the Fed to use its leverage over the money supply to promote lower unemployment. But in the long run, he would work as a senator to create a different set of circumstances that would make it possible to do away with the Fed entirely and go back to something that existed in the mid-19th century. (By the way, the “Suffolk system,” operated only in the New England states, which I guess could be reconciled with the sentence: “We had a Suffolk system from 1824 till 1858 in this country that worked.” But that’s just a detail. This monetary policy stuff is way above my comfort zone.)

Well, I’m getting uncomfortable with the snotty tone of some of this analysis, but I do believe that the nominee of a major party for a U.S. Senate seat has to be able and willing to communicate his policy views.

There were just three more exchanges in the “Almanac” interview. But in hopes of sneaking away just before I totally wear out my welcome, I’ll just summarize.

Eskola asked about Bills’ ideas for reducing federal spending, but he answered with a complaint about excessive federal regulations and ended that non-answer with: “I think we’ve added too much government. So I think that’s one way to attack the problem is to look at those agencies that are burdensome to business.”

Eskola also brought up entitlement programs. Bills explained with some passion that looking into the eyes of teenagers (he’s a high school teacher) when discussing the unfunded liabilities of the big entitlement programs is “part of the reason why I’m here.”

“These young people want solutions and they want the — the plans are there. We’ve read the ‘Taking Back our Fiscal Future’ that was put out in 2007. My kids read and understand what the Simpson-Bowles group did. These plans are out there. We just have to start talking about them and not worry so much about the next election cycle but worry about that long-run solvency issue.”

Actually, we probably have to go further than just talking about the plans that are out there, like agreeing, maybe even across party lines, on some of them. But that’s just me.

At least in this interview, Bills did not endorse any of the specific proposals in these documents, but he’s absolutely right that the documents do exist. I’d be particularly interested in his views on Simpson-Bowles deficit reduction proposal, since it recommended a mix of two-thirds spending cuts to one-third tax increases. I’d be honored to ask him whether he is open to a deficit/debt reduction plan that includes tax increases.

Lastly, Wurzer asked Bills about privatizing Social Security. He pretty much embraced the idea without any details of the kind of plan he would support and without mentioning the trillions of dollars of transition costs that would be needed to continue benefits for those already on or near retirement once you start allowing younger workers to put their Social Security tax payments into the new private accounts. But I’d have to say he came closer to a commitment to an issue position in his Social Security privatization answer than any of the others.

Oh, what the heck, here’s the full question and answer; you can decide for yourself whether he took a position:

Wurzer: Some people have talked about privatizing Social Security. Would you go for that?

Bills: I actually think that we need to start looking, especially for our young people, to get into a privatized account or something where we lock that money away where the government doesn’t have access to spend that money or mandating the purchasing of treasuries with that money. I think that we do have to have those accounts and I think it’s very important to our young people. Having spoken to them about some of the potential solutions, trust me, young people will let you know what they think the way forward is and that would be one of them.

You can watch the ”Almanac” interview here.

Comments (42)

  1. Submitted by Greg Kapphahn on 05/29/2012 - 10:33 am.

    Of Course “Bills” Bills Gave Evasive Answers!

    He can’t exactly come right out and say he wants to do whatever it takes to reduce the poor and middle class to total economic slavery in order to create even more opportunities for the over privileged rich to even more massively pursue their destructive, addictive pursuit of financial resources as a means to feeling happy and fulfilled,…

    (happiness and fulfillment which will forever escape their grasp since such things can never be accomplished through the pursuit of power and money).

    That Bills can’t (or won’t) come right out and say that this is his overriding philosophy reveals that he is nothing but a useful tool for the rich to use to pull the wool over the eyes of his ignorant or unwise supporters,…

    Using such meaningless (at least in the way he’s using them) as “freedom,” “liberty,” and “economics 101.”

  2. Submitted by Tom Clark on 05/29/2012 - 10:55 am.

    I feel sorry for Bills’ students

    for having to put up with his economic nuttiness in the classroom.

    • Submitted by Brian Simon on 05/29/2012 - 12:13 pm.

      a new quandry

      This is quite a dilemma. Would Bills do more lasting damage as one of a hundred senators, or as a high school economics teacher?

  3. Submitted by Eric Ferguson on 05/29/2012 - 11:49 am.

    And that wasn’ even the nuttiness

    That was the evasiveness, and apparently, we can include ignorance of anything outside his wacky economic beliefs.

    Does it not bother Republicans that this was the best they could do?

    • Submitted by Bill Schletzer on 05/29/2012 - 12:27 pm.

      apparently nothing much bothers Republicans…

      …as long as it opposes something Democrats believe or stand for. I would like to see Mr Bills take one of those tests the Republicans keep talking about to weed out incompetent teachers. This seems to be a case that cries out for correction to the seniority-first system of teacher tenure.

      Since his sole selling point is that he is a high school economics teacher, I’m afraid we’ll have to be hearing almost daily about his students and all their common sense answers. In keeping with Republican philosophy if he were teaching at the college level his class would be indoctrination rather than education. I’d like to hear his credentials beyond his teaching degree. Is he a teacher who teaches economics or an economist who happens to teach? That’s a rhetorical question for the literal-minded. I think I know the answer.

  4. Submitted by Jim Bernstein on 05/29/2012 - 12:08 pm.

    Expertise?

    Mr. Bill’s supporters – and he himself – often point out that he teaches high school economics and therefore brings “expertise” or that he is an “economist”. My question: is someone who teaches high school math an “expert” in mathmatics and should be titled a “mathmetician”? Is a high school physics teacher an “expert” in physics and should be called a “physicist”? A biology teacher is a biologist? A chemistry teacher is a chemist? A history teach is a historian?

    It seems to me that mastering a subject enough to teach it in high school is itself a worthy accomplishment but I’m not persuaded that it makes him an “expert” as Mr. Bills and his supporters seem to think he is.

    • Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/29/2012 - 12:44 pm.

      Probably not

      since those example titles you use are the titles used by professionals. And as well all know professionals don’t belong to labor unions.

      Nevertheless, I’d rather have a devout capitalist teaching economics to kids who are growing up in a capitalist society than a Marxist indoctrinating the children in a system that has never worked anywhere it’s been tried, which is the most likely scenario in the government schools.

      • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 05/29/2012 - 01:15 pm.

        That’s funny since supply side economics has never worked yet conservatives STILL insist it is the way to go.

      • Submitted by Dimitri Drekonja on 05/29/2012 - 01:30 pm.

        You do realize that Bills teaches in a public school, which is one of these terrible places staffed by marxists, don’t you? Presumably you know of some examples where these hordes of marxists are indoctrinating public school kids, and aren’t just spouting off nonsense. Or, maybe not.

      • Submitted by Robert Gauthier on 05/29/2012 - 01:56 pm.

        Devout?

        That implies religion and dogma, which is a violation of that Constitution thing.

      • Submitted by Logan Foreman on 05/29/2012 - 10:25 pm.

        I smell that

        Mr. Tester likes online education.

    • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/29/2012 - 01:45 pm.

      Expertise indeed

      Bills has a BA and MA in social studies education, not economics. This means he teaches economics out of a box, not from expertise. My impression is that he simply can’t comment on the Fed because he simply doesn’t understand the complexities of the banking system. His reference to Suffolk system completely ignores the fact that the 19th century was riddled with financial collapses or “panic” at they called them. The idea that private banking contained the risk or modulated the damage the same way the Fed has since the 30 is just silly.

      • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/29/2012 - 02:59 pm.

        Licensing

        Minnesota does not license high school economics teachers, just social studies teachers whose training includes economics as well as history, sociology, and a few others.
        At the most, Bills has an education degree in social studies with an emphasis on economics.
        An MA in social studies education includes a lot less study of economics than does an undergraduate economics major, which also requires some serious study of maths and stats.
        His background is about as strong as his arguments.

        • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/29/2012 - 09:05 pm.

          thanks for the clarification Paul

          Thanks for license info Paul. However, your information reinforces Bills lack of expertise and and points to a problem with our education system. Our teachers should posses more expertise.

          • Submitted by Sean Huntley on 05/30/2012 - 08:28 am.

            “Our teachers should posses more expertise.”

            Yet many people seem to think teachers are already overpaid. Want more expertise? Be ready to pay for it.

            • Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/30/2012 - 09:13 am.

              Agreed

              “Yet many people seem to think teachers are already overpaid. Want more expertise? Be ready to pay for it.”

              We’re too busy trying to figure out how to lay-off teachers. And the unions, my god the unions! I’m not trying to undermine our teachers or anything but earlier in the week the Strib ran a story about grade inflation at the U., and the College of Education had the highest degree of grade inflation. If we ever get round to actually doing something about the quality of education we’re going to have to increase the quality of instructors. Not by replacing them but by giving them better training, support, and pay. We could for instance set up a program so that econ teachers could go to the U. and take the B.A. coursework for an undergrad in economics, psych, whatever. We could increase their expertise without paying for another full degree. As it is they end up teaching subjects they may or may not be proficient at out of a box, while we complain about their labor contracts. It’s like trying to fix a leaky roof by mowing the lawn.

  5. Submitted by David Broden on 05/29/2012 - 12:16 pm.

    Endorsing an Ideology vs. A Senatorial Candidate

    Cleary the Mn GOP action to endorse a candidate based on a biased ideology vs someone with understanding of the topics and issues to be addressed as a Senator has shaped the campaign to shallowness and lack of real dialogue on key issues of our nation and the world. Even if a ideological candidate were chosen that person must have depth of understanding and an approach to government other than the soft words and vague statements expressed in the article. The GOP endorsing contest is definitely a failure for the GOP but also a failure for the citizens of Mn –to govern effectvely the poltical process and that includes the actions of the parties must place priority not on ideology or correctness but on the ability understand and make decisions resulting in good government for and by the people.. The current biases and division in the poltical system has taken that focus away from those who vote and handed it to the biased ideological groups that represents a small minority. While our system must allow minority views we also must remember that when elected those elected represent all the citizens. The time has come for the GOP (likely the moderates) and the DFL (the moderates on that side) to consider alternatives to the caucus selection system and move to a primary in all races or a combined processs. Mn and the nation needed responsible,,understanding, and informed candidates for all elected offices -this year 2012 the MN GOP is offering ideologically driven candidates in far too many districts etc. Change must occur!!!

    Dave Broden

  6. Submitted by Dennis Litfin on 05/29/2012 - 12:30 pm.

    Well Written

    Mr. Black’s writing style is very catching and and if you read closely, a welcome reprieve from the bland ‘he said/she said’ of most reporting.

  7. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/29/2012 - 01:00 pm.

    If you do not see value in the structures of modern government, why then should you have have well thought out solutions for the problems in the system?

    After all, demolition is easier than remodeling or new construction.

    OHHH, NOOO Mr. Bills, look out for the subtleties….

  8. Submitted by Dennis Tester on 05/29/2012 - 01:03 pm.

    I’ll interpret

    for liberals reading this:

    1. “the areas, if any, on which he differs from Ron Paul.”
    National defense. Kurt Bills favors a strong military, Dr. Paul would scale it back considerably. Bills didn’t want to insult or offend Dr. Paul, who’s an air force veteran, by suggesting he is “anti-military” as some have labeled him.

    2. Now that the Muslim Brotherhood is running Egypt and is sharpening their knives as they ramp up their anti-Israeli rhetoric, de-funding Egypt would help Israel against what is now a new and serious adversary.

    3. Bills is not for eliminating the Fed but simply making them revert back to their original and limited mission, which is the most common position amongst conservatives who aren’t just looking for an applause line at a speech. It’s also the most likely political solution since the votes to eliminate the Fed aren’t there.

    4. The same with the question about social security. All we need to know is that conceptually, he is for gradual migration to a system based on individual accounts that invest in financial markets and that can managed by the individual citizen, not the government-run Ponzi scheme currently in place that a democrat will defend to their death.

    There, that wasn’t so difficult if you speak conservative.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/29/2012 - 03:03 pm.

      Unfortunately

      Mr. Bills’ comments were written in English, not ‘Conservative’, which seems somewhat related to Orwellian.
      Mr. Tester’s statements are not supported by Bills’ statements as quoted. If he wants to provide other, more explicit quotations, we would welcome them.

    • Submitted by Rachel Kahler on 05/29/2012 - 03:24 pm.

      “Speak conservative?”

      The problem is, he won’t give a straight answer. Unless you’re his spokesman, there’s no way that you could definitively say what Mr. Bills meant. I think we all agree that more transparency is better than less transparency. If this guy can’t provide any transparency BEFORE he’s elected, I would venture to guess that he will completely incapable of providing a straight answer afterward (and will probably use that for his own personal gain, too).

    • Submitted by Matthew Levitt on 05/30/2012 - 03:45 pm.

      Wrong

      Then why is it the Israeli government is begging the US NOT to defund the Egyptians? Can you answer that, Dennis?

  9. Submitted by James Hamilton on 05/29/2012 - 01:25 pm.

    Compulsory retirement savings?

    Strange thing for a Paul supporter to advocate.

    If libertarians think Obamacare was an unconstitional infringement on personal liberty, I can’t wait to see what they have to say about this.

  10. Submitted by Roy Everson on 05/29/2012 - 02:00 pm.

    Is that all there is?

    It seems impossible that there isn’t any GOOPer with an already established constituency considering jumping into the primary. Or one of the higher profile Indep. party has-beens. Come on, Shelly, come on, Jesse.

  11. Submitted by Michael Jacobs on 05/29/2012 - 02:05 pm.

    After the Election

    Headlines read “Amy returns to Washington by a land slide. Bill’s position cut due to funding.”

  12. Submitted by Ray Schoch on 05/29/2012 - 04:11 pm.

    The problem…

    …with “speaking conservative” is that, while not exactly a dead language, it’s one with a quite limited vocabulary. As a result, “conservative” as a language gives expression to a very limited set of ideas, virtually all of which have been tried over the preceding millennia in other human societies, and discarded as ineffective or simply wrong. Among the current crop, the notion of a “free market” is the most persistent, as well as the most perniciously incorrect.

    Over my 30 years in high school classrooms, I was assigned classes in quite a few subjects for which my level of expertise, while certainly greater than that of my students, never approached a level I’d label as “expert.” Never having taught here, I can’t speak to Minnesota teaching credentials, but where I DID teach, a high school economics teacher would hardly be an “expert” in economics – unless s/he had a Ph.D. in economics and was doing penance for choosing the dismal science by spending a few years in high school classrooms, making adolescents miserable while being much more poorly paid than if s/he were writing position papers for a Washington think tank.

    The notion that Mr. Bills will bring “Econ 101” to the nation’s capital is both ridiculous and an interesting conceit. Republican or Democrat, Federalist or Whig, named Obama, Bush, Truman, Reagan, or Eisenhower, every single president of this country has had access to the best, and best-trained, economic minds of their era. When Mr. Bills wins a Nobel Prize in economics, or is simply nominated for the honor, THEN he’ll have demonstrated a mastery of economics sufficient to give him some credibility in “bringing Econ 101 to Congress.” Lacking that, what I’m seeing and reading is dog-whistle posturing to the lunatic fringe on the right. In order to articulate a position, Mr. Bills would have to HAVE a position that goes at least a little bit beyond ideological sound bytes. So far, I see little evidence that that’s the case.

  13. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/29/2012 - 04:54 pm.

    Further clarification

    Mr. Bills’ degrees are in education, not in economics.
    He has probably taken fewer economics courses than I have, which is three actually taught in economics departments by people with doctorates in economics.

  14. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/29/2012 - 07:37 pm.

    Hopefully final comment

    Eric’s quotations above from the Bills interview sound a lot like his Web site.
    He’s obviously well scripted by someone.

    • Submitted by John Binkowski on 06/03/2012 - 09:32 am.

      That was my impression as well.

      Also unsurprising was the policy statement on his website re: the Fed – ending the dual mandate and so-called currency debasement has little to do with protecting the interest income and purchasing power of what he calls “working class people”. I’d suspect it has much more to do with what goes unsaid in his policy statement – ensuring that current creditors (read: large donors) aren’t repaid in “cheaper dollars” via moderate currency inflation. We are a consumer economy which needs to engage in massive consumer deleveraging in order to regain demand sufficient to put underutilized resources back to work. Moderate inflation would help serve that purpose, but then again, those who would benefit most from it aren’t the same folks who can write large contribution checks.

      Mr. Bills would also like to focus more on exports and reducing the trade deficit. Any economist will tell you that the most immediate assistance you can provide exporters is a weaker currency. Exporting our “great qualities of freedom and liberty” sounds fine, but I have to imagine that the effects accrue on a delay.

  15. Submitted by Joe Rico on 05/29/2012 - 08:36 pm.

    I Like Bills

    I agree with Dennis, Kurt Bills had perfectly reasonable answers.

    1) Non-interventionism and avoiding nation building is not weak. “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” why do we still only think this applies to Americans?

    2) Egypt on a national level may be at peace with Israel, but there are one too many arms smuggling tunnels in the Gaza strip to think the society as a whole is at peace with Israel.

    3) I agree with Kurt Bills completely on the Federal Reserve. Unfortunately, the words “Fractional Reserve Banking” put too many people to sleep to have any meaningful discussion in an interview. Anyone who doesn’t know what fractional reserve banking is, or who doesn’t understand where money comes from should take time to educate themselves. Then ask yourself, should this really be legal?

    • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/30/2012 - 09:23 am.

      Reasonable = Evasive?

      Only if your vocabulary teacher had the same hallucinatory skills that Mr. Bills’s economics teachers had.

      1. If that’s what he meant, that’s what he should have said. Instead, Mr. Bills muttered standard platitutdes about a “strong military (who comes out in favor of a WEAK military?)” rather than say if and how he differed from Rep. Paul.

      2. The question was about aid to Israel, not aid to Egypt. We could, of course, follow up with the question of “How does a destabilized Egypt help Israel?”

      3. Rather than bore the voters he resorts to half-answers? Now, that builds confidence. On the other hand, a lot of voters would be keen to know why he thought having the state of Minnesota use gold and silver for legal tender was a good idea.

      • Submitted by John C. Rezmerski on 06/30/2012 - 07:35 am.

        Bills

        To me, it looks like the problem with Mr. Bills is not that he’s evasive or that he speaks in platitudes and cliches, so much as that he speaks (and evidently thinks) in complete gibberish. He’s a teacher? How can he follow a curriculum when most of the time he can’t follow a sentence through all the way from subject to predicate?

  16. Submitted by rolf westgard on 05/30/2012 - 05:16 am.

    Can you say

    Cannon Fodder.

  17. Submitted by Neal Rovick on 05/30/2012 - 07:47 am.

    Mr. Rico and Mr. Tester say they like what they hear. Well, is it a matter of hearing what they want to hear, or is it hearing a dog whistle, or is it an extraordinarily developed ability to pick out meaning from a word salad?

    If Mr. Bills wants to go to Washington DC, shouldn’t he have worked on articulating what he wants to accomplish and be able to state those goals succinctly in a few lines and then be prepared for a detailed follow-up question or two? Either he can’t or he won’t, neither of which are indicative of a person deserving your vote.

    • Submitted by Paul Brandon on 05/30/2012 - 09:36 am.

      Pavlovian

      Definitely a dog whistle; I can hear them panting.
      What I’d like to hear from Bills is a list of Klobuchar’s votes in the past year, how he’d vote differently, and a detailed explanation of why (but detailed explanations are not ‘Conservative’).

      • Submitted by RB Holbrook on 05/30/2012 - 12:32 pm.

        Detailed explanations of how he would have voted, and why, would bore the voters. Just throw them a few shopworn cliches and they’ll be fine.

  18. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/30/2012 - 09:22 am.

    Bad solutions for imaginary problems

    The last time I saw a Republican candidate offer a real solution to a real problem was when Nixon said we needed to get out of Vietnam, and then got out of Vietnam. Otherwise from communist fluoride conspiracies to Nicaraguan invasion forces it’s pretty much been a wash, except for this business of saying: “happy holiday” instead of ” Merry Christmas”, that’s a REAL issue that needs immediate attention.

    I don’t expect Bills to break the mold. He’ll appeal to Republicans precisely because he’s superficial and dogmatic.

  19. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 05/30/2012 - 01:31 pm.

    On the other hand…

    I get the feeling that some of these Libertarian candidates are playing for Republican votes by holding back on their real positions. Republican are sposed to be the business boys, but Libertarians not so much when it comes to government spending. The business boys will back (i.e. fund) the guys who deliver what they want and the Republicans have a problem because they’re incapable of delivering anything but stalemate. Now Libertarians are fine with stalemate, they see stalemate as a dam to government encroachment, and they don’t care about these social issues that have tied up everything else. I don’t think the business boys that belong to ALEC for instance want to see the Fed eliminated. So I can see why Bills is saying nothing and letting would be voters fill in the blanks, Republican voters have a history of doing that.

    If business doesn’t get what it wants from Republicans or Libertarians, it’ll turn to the Democrats. I don’t think the fact that the Democrats basically delivered the stadium despite being technically out of power has gone unnoticed by the chambers for instance. Meanwhile the Tea Party is shooting down “choo choos” all over the place. If Libertarian candidates aren’t careful, they’ll alienate enough voters to lose elections, they don’t have the numbers to win elections on their own.

  20. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 05/31/2012 - 11:42 pm.

    Sounds like every other candidate

    Candidates and office-holders don’t say anything concrete so that they don’t alienate anyone. When you take a stand, half of the people cross you off their list. Just look at Amy and Al on the upcoming medical device tax increase. They both supported and voted for it, but they oppose it, but won’t say if they will vote for it’s repeal. They would give the same say-nothing answers if they were questioned on Almanac. It’s called keeping your job.

  21. Submitted by william laney on 06/01/2012 - 09:24 am.

    the free market

    The invisible hand of the free market will take care of everything. Now, after the commy idea of collective bargaining is eliminated, the door will be open for American workers to accept pay and workplace conditions similar to that in Indonesia. And it will be up to these same workers to save enough of their income to invest in the market so that they can retire comfortably, living happily ever after. Amazing.

Leave a Reply