One thing that Bush and Reagan clearly have in common is that both have been sold short by the media and by intellectuals.
Reagan arrived in Washington eight years ago with the local sophisticates seeing him as a bumpkin out of the West who would be taught a lesson in politics by the pros in Congress and the bureaucracies. Yet the Reagan Revolution in tax policies, foreign policy, deregulation and military defense were all accomplished with only a slim Republican majority in the Senate and against overwhelming Democratic majorities in the House of Representatives. All the while, the deep thinkers kept sneering at the president’s intelligence as he repeatedly beat the old Washington hands at their own game and emerged from bitter controversies still popular with the American people.
Imagine what he could have done if he were smart!
-Thomas Sowell, Rocky Mountain News
DANISH DIVESTITURES 101
A returning Columbia student was asked about Hamlet. “What if you had come back to school to discover that your uncle killed your father and married your mother, and that shortly thereafter you accidentally had killed the father of your girlfriend Ophelia who drowned herself in despair; what would you do?” The student thought about this for a moment and said, “I guess I’d go on and get my MBA.” -Columbia University president Michael I. Sovern at the Columbia Business School’s annual dinner.
CHERNOBYL IN PERSPECTIVE
Indeed, in a technological catastrophe of singularly grand scale, the Chernobyl accident-the toll in human life and suffering -is barely visible against the canvas of natural hazards. An assessment published last December in Science said 237 people received massive doses of radiation from the explosion and fire at the Soviet nuclear reactor and 31 people died soon thereafter. Another 4,000 people, exposed to relatively high doses in an 18-mile radius of the plant, are about two-and-a-half times more likely to die from leukemia than is the general population, raising the ultimate toll by fewer than 20.
-New York Times
THE LARGER ISSUES
Never name drop at the dinner table. The only thing worse than a fly in one’s soup is a celebrity.
The only appropriate reply to the question “Can I be frank?” is “Yes, if I can be Barbara.”
Telling someone he looks healthy isn’t a compliment-it’s a second opinion.
-Fran Lebowitz, Social Studies
LBOs and UFOs
“The truth about Congress,” as Rep. Carroll Hubbard Jr. (D., Ky.) recently confessed, “is that most members don’t know the difference between an LBO and a UFO.” Ironically, though, the charge to stop paper shuffling and shell games has come from Washington and state capitals.
-Wall Street Journal
DOES SHE WEAR AN EYE PATCH?
David Ogilvy, the first British adman to conquer Madison Avenue (when the brothers Saatchi were still in short trousers), once dismissed the use of humour in advertising in a single contemptuous line: “People don’t buy from clowns.”
This was one of Ogilvy’s famous advertising commandments, laid down in his book, Confessions of an Advertising Man, alongside such observations as “The consumer is not a moron, she’s your wife” (a statement quickly translated by his followers as “The consumer is not a moron, she’s David Ogilvy’s wife”).
Professor Clack points out in the Kansas Intelligencer that between 1967 and 1988 the Scientific American carried 59 articles on national defense, almost all of which carried the message that it is useless for the U.S. to strive for a credible defense posture. The Scientific American is an excellent journal for anything truly scientific, but carefully check the articles on defense, environment and other politically flavored subjects.
-Access to Energy
Last month The Guardian published a long article on the startling increase in many top business people’s pay packets, which averaged almost 27 percent on last year’s. “Britain’s bosses are flouting government exhortations over the need for pay restraint-especially on their own salary packages,” it railed. It failed to mention the new salary of the The Guardian’s group chairman, Henry John Roche. It’s gone up from £86,611 to £114,371, a jump of 32.1 percent. (And that’s not a misprint.)
Someone with a nice appreciation of ideological contortions, and a quirky knowledge of the English language, must have invented the Russian acronym for the first Soviet enterprise to introduce worker’s shares. The offical title of the state-owned conveyor plant at Lvov, in the western Ukraine, is a Shareholding Socialist Enterprise, and the Russian acronym is GASP.
-Quentin Peel, Financial Times