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Shut'em up, ride 'em out

My essential daily newspaper, the Wall Street Journal, has long allocated precious weekly column-inches on the oped pages to a selected-for-the-task token L-presumably so non-L readers can gain enlightening insight into a different, for them-us-world-view.

There's never been a token-AA, that I can recall, nor a token-W, nor a token-HS, but the token-L slot has long been filled, until fairly recently, by one Albert Hunt.

Hunt's arguments were logical, well-phrased, usually based on proofs in the form of authority-quotes and/or statistical facts. But eventually Mr. Hunt's token-L slot became vacant. It was refilled by Thomas Frank, possibly most well-known for his 2004 "What's the Matter with Kansas?" book in which he argued that rational voters should choose the candidate who appeals most to their pocketbooks, not their governance ideals; Kansas voters hadn't been self-interestedly rational, therefore, in their recent conservative-politics shift. They could have pocketed more OPM (Other Peoples' Money) by voting liberal. Similarly, in an April 8 oped, Frank chose to apply his analytical techniques to the 2009 decision of South Carolina Gov. Mark Sanford to reject, for his state, some of the OPM "stimulus" money being offered to all states by Washington.

One component of the Frank stimulus-rejection econometric analysis dissects Sanford's use, while a congressman, of a futon for sleeping in his office. Another, more mathematical, dissects Sanford's use of the long-recognized 8 percent figure for long-term historical-average stock market return (as if it weren't so) against the recent two-year downturn; he wrote sarcastically, "that's why the Dow stands well above 20,000 today."

Gauge for yourself how much insight the reader gains, from such use of the oped-page column-inches, into the actual merits (or not) of Keynesian deficit-OPM spending economic stimulus strategy (which is never, in all 23 column-inches, ever addressed). Conversely, U.S. President William Henry Harrison's use of a non-existent log cabin as a presidential campaign device is.

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