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Samizdata quote of the day

But if Republicans want another Reagan, they should recognize that he didn’t come from nowhere, and work on their farm team.

Glenn Reynolds. I am not quite sure about the expression “farm team”, but I am assuming that is an Americanism. I agree with the general sentiment, for all of Reagan’s drawbacks. There is no one on the political right in the English-speaking world who comes close to the Gipper. That is a shame.

37 comments to Samizdata quote of the day

  • Brock

    In American baseball the Major League teams (like the Yankees and the Red Sox) sponsor and fund Minor League teams. Minor league baseball have been referred to as the “farm system,” “farm club,” or “farm team(s),” since the 1930s when St. Louis Cardinals general manager Branch Rickey said teams in small towns were “growing players down on the farm like corn.”

    In modern parlance, it means that any big league organization (whether Baseball, General Electric or the National Republican Party) should have “farm teams” of regional organizations where the next generation of producers can start small, make mistakes and grow into their roles.

  • Jerome Thomas

    “Farm Team” is an expression originating in baseball and refers to usually young players who have not yet cracked the ‘major leagues’ and play on minor league or developmental teams. These are owned by the big league teams and run in order to ‘grow’ their stars of the future

    In other words Glenn Reynolds is talking about the need to nurture political talent at the grassroots level

  • Texpatriate

    “Farm team” is a baseball term. Each major league team has affiliate teams in smaller markets where prospective players can gain experience. The New York Yankees, for example, have six teams in places like Scranton, Trenton, Charleston and Tampa.

    Other expressions from this system:

    “You’re in the big leagues now” (or “You’re in the bigs”) – You need to raise your own standards to match those of your peers.

    “Making the majors” – Being promoted to the major leagues; figuratively, rising to a higher circle of competence or rank.

  • andyinsdca

    The fundamental problem is that people who are smart enough to be solid Republicans (old school, like Ronnie and Barry) are smart enough to stay a million miles away from politics – they’re too busy making good money in the real world, doing productive work, instead of being under the microscope for every damn thing they do.

  • Kevin B

    At a guess, in this context Insty is referring to Repuplican state governors. Many conservatives believe that an apprentiship as a governor is better training for the White house than any number of terms in the Senate or House.

    Backing up my attempt at Instamind reading is this quote at the reported news that McCain has chosen Sarah Palin, (governor of Alaska), as his running mate:

    I’d like it if she had more executive experience, but to be fair, she’s got more than anyone else on either ticket.


  • Sunfish

    One term as mayor and half a term as governor puts her well ahead of anybody else in executive experience: if she’s sharing a ticket with a 70-something with a bad temper, there’s a non-zero probability of having a female President prior to 2012.

    I know very little about her politics: she hasn’t answered the vote-smart.org NPAT.

    If I had to guess, I’d offer for your consideration that Alaska is one of the only two states with better gun laws than my own, and I’m not positive but I think she may have signed part of that (the no-license-required concealed carry bill) into law. FWIW.

    I hate this. I’m now having to rethink my “I’ll vote for McCain roughly ten minutes after the world ends” position.

  • llamas

    It should be noted that Ronald Reagan came up to the majors from the most-unlikely farm-team of all – the Democratic Party. He served as president of the actors union SAG, spoke up against McCarthy and the witch-hunts of the early 1950s, and was a registered Democrat until 1962, when he famously observed that “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party – the party left me’.

    However, I doubt that the lockstep ideological uniformity of today’s Democratic party will produce us another Reagan.



  • Midwesterner

    To carry the farm team/baseball analogy a little farther, the state governors are the AAA league of presidential candidates; four of our last five presidents were governors first. Typically governors are a much better source of candidates than the US Congress. Moving from governor to president is same job/tougher league. Moving from the legislature to the White House is same league/tougher job. They have a steeper learner curve. As a governor, Palin has more executive experience than the other three (McCain, Obama and Biden) combined.

    And like Sunfish, I’m grinding my fist into my forehead and saying ‘don’t make this difficult’. A quick look at wikipedia has some interesting things like: “She hunts, eats moose hamburger, ice fishes, rides snowmobiles, and owns a float plane.[12][54] Palin holds a lifetime membership with the National Rifle Association. She admits that she used marijuana when it was legal in Alaska, but says that she did not like it.[9]” Well yeah, but at least she inhaled. 🙂 And she broke several fingers working on her husband’s commercial fishing boat. Sounds like my type. Are there any more where she came from?

  • Kevin B


    I reckon the main perceived advantage for governors is that they make decisions and are resposible for those decisions, whereas Senators make deals, (you vote for my pork and I’ll vote for yours), and, from the records of many of the multi-term Senators, are not even held accountable by their constituents.

  • llamas

    To build on Kevin B’s point – governors are executives, which si why they are often a good fit for the office to the Chief Executive.

    By contrast, neither McCain, Obama or Biden have any executive experience at all – as another has defined it, thir expertise in in telling other people what to do and not in figuring out how to get it done.

    Based on about 15 minutes of research, unless Governor Palin is revealed to be a secret trap-shooter, or a Madonna fan – I have no problem whatever with her on the ticket, and indeed, her presence there actually gives me some enthusiasm for voting for it – VPOTUSes often become POTUSes. Like many others, I viewed the prosepct of voting for McCain with some ambivalence.



  • RAB

    Yep sounds like my kind of lady too.

    So the best scenario is

    a McCain victory
    shortly followed by a fatal heart attack.

    Which leaves us with President Palin

    Gets more Monty Python by the minute
    doesn’t it?

  • M

    So McCain has Palin as his VP candidate.

    Republican Party: We do identity politics too!

  • Robert Speirs

    I’m not sure one should say that McCain has no executive experience at all, when, if I remember correctly, he was the head of a squadron of jet fighter pilots on a carrier off Vietnam. That job may have involved making a few important decisions.

    And the Republicans could argue with some force that the place for the candidate with less national and international political experience is not at the top of the ticket.

  • So McCain has Palin as his VP candidate.

    Republican Party: We do identity politics too!

    What makes this “identity politics”? Is it just the fact that she’s a woman? Does that mean the GOP should avoid nominating anyone but middle-aged white men to avoid the identity politics game? (If there’s evidence that she was chosen primarily because she’s a woman, I’d cede the point but it seems way to early to be saying that.)

  • M

    What makes this “identity politics”? Is it just the fact that she’s a woman?

    So I guess the fact that there are all those disgruntled Hillary supporters who think Obama is a sexist just happens to be a coincidence. This women was almost a complete unknown on a national scale. There is no chance in hell McCain would have picked a male governor from Alaska, even if he had the same political record as Palin.

  • M

    If thios has anything to do with identity, it has to do with the identity of McCain worst enemy in the Senate. His fellow Republican Ted Stevens, the Pork King whose machine has been badly wounded, but not destroyed by Palin.

    If Palin had been a man and had the same record of fighting corruption and big government spending, he would have at least made the short list.

  • Kevin B

    There is no chance in hell McCain would have picked a male governor from Alaska, even if he had the same political record as Palin.

    Politician play politics in election shock!

    I suppose there is a remote possibility that Sarah Palin was chosen to be veep candidate because the poobahs at the McCain campaign decided that, for the good of America, she will make the best President when John retires.

    Well it’s certainly not for the three electoral votes she will bring with her.

    Of course it was political. The timing was political and the fact that she’s a woman was political, though I’m not sure the PUMAs are the main target in that calculation. When the kerfuffle dies down they are probably going to be quite a small constituency, though if some of them switch or stay home it’s going to help.

    Palin plays well as a frontier gal with real accomplishments achieved through her own efforts as well as being a hockey mom.

    McCain needs her to help deliver electoral college votes and so far, from my browsing round the blogs, she seems to be a hit with conservatives, libertarians and the middle.

    I get the impression that the GOP is going to be very positive about America in their convention.

    Obama’s speech last night was heavily laden with how bad things are in the US after the eight dreadful Bush years, and how Obama is going to make it all better with lots of government intervention.

    McCain could well go the opposite tack. Play up how well the economy is riding the oil-price shocks and the credit crunch and how his policies are going to help Americans make it even better.

    Palin can help deliver that message.

    Whether it works in November remains to be seen,

  • John Louis Swaine

    Palin is an inspired choice.

    I don’t think we’ll actually see a more libertarian name on a Republican ticket unless Ron Paul runs in 2012.

    Someone who actually walks the walk against big government, corruption and waste? Pinch me I must be dreaming.

    Yes, the Republican Farm Team is poor but it turns out it’s possible to skip a generation or two and find some genuine quality.

    Personally I could use a far more socially liberal candidate but at least she supports equal rights and benefits for Gay Couples – if not the word ‘marriage’.

    This is far more progress than I expected from the Republican party.

  • M

    Someone who actually walks the walk against big government, corruption and waste? Pinch me I must be dreaming.

    She actually supported a $1.5 billion tax hike on oil companies in Alaska, so don’t get your hopes up.

  • rebarbarian

    Does the Alaska oil tax hike help defeat the ” in the pockets of big oil ” crowd? Or just provide a little insulation?

  • Alasdair

    M – so you are admitting that it is identity politics that has Obama as the Deocratic Party candidate, eh ? Refreshingly candid of you !

  • Alasdair

    Hmmm … a remarkably Freudian comment …

    OBAMA as the head of the Deocratic Party …

    Actually, I *meant* to type “Democratic Party” … oh well … what is that ancient classical saying ?

    In typo, veritas !

  • M

    Don’t mistake me for an Obama supporter. It does seem that Obama would have just been passed over in favour of Hillary if he had been white. Similarly, had Palin been a man, McCain would have gone for someone else. Tiny population, far away from the real US, climate more in common with Siberia than most of America.

  • M


    Don’t mistake me for an Obama supporter. It does seem that Obama would have just been passed over in favour of Hillary if he had been white. Similarly, had Palin been a man, McCain would have gone for someone else. No way in hell a guy from Alaska would be a VP candidate. Tiny population, far away from the real US, climate more in common with Siberia than most of America.

  • I think the fact that she is a woman adds an hilarious edge to the whole thing. . . it kills the argument that the deocratic party (I am going to start using that) is the only party of ‘inclusion’ (whatever that means). This is about the ONLY VP choice that was available to McCain that would have gotten my attention and the attention of the many people who did not want to vote for him in November. And as a previous member of Feminists for Life, I appreciate her having committed to membership in that organization.
    I fielded two calls today from people who think they might vote for him now.
    Only ignorant voters vote based on sex or race. Most of us vote on political alignment. Palin allows republicans the potential fiction that the party is getting the message that they are way too far left.

  • tranio

    As a Western Canadian, I like that Ms Palin has gutted big fish, enjoys camping and the outdoors, likes guns and knows how to shoot.
    She will really shake up Washington in 2009.

  • What I find fascinating and very promising for the US as a whole is that we are either ending up with the first black president or the first female vice-president.

    Ideally this would mean everyone would stop with the “they only got nominated because they are a black/woman/eskimo/NorwegianZoorastrian” garbage.

    Judging by the way the media has whipped the masses in to an identity politics frenzy, this is not going to happen for a while.

  • John Louis Swaine


    I’m all in favour of low corporate taxes, energy companies included, however the tax hike which Palin put in place was justifiable.

    The previous tax was if anything artificially low and had been set at that level the year before due to bribes paid to the former governor and his concerns by oil company executives (several have pleaded guilty to bribing state lawmakers already).

    What’s more that law was intended to protect the monopoly of the three big Oil co’s who made up the majority of production in Alaska. It offered ridiculous deductions that gave them an unfair advantage over any independent or newly established operations and amounted to state support of their monopolies.

    That’s massive corruption and I cannot fault Palin for tearing down a law which was born from graft and corruption and which actually stifled competition in her state.

    If the new law represented an unwieldy upswing in tax then we would not be seeing what we’re currently seeing – an increase investment by many independent energy companies in Alaska.

    It wasn’t a tax hike, it was a fix for corrupt and crooked, anti-competitive, monopoly-protecting legislation. I can’t fault her for that.

  • Sunfish

    I did a little more looking around:

    She and I are apparently on radically-different pages wrt abortion and gay marriage. However, as I’m straight and currently have no intention of either remarrying or reproducing, I don’t have much of a dog in that fight.

    She ALLEGEDLY got nasty with (and fired) the chief of AST over his failure to fire an ex in-law. Supposedly, that’s a scandal. However, the incident that (at least on the surface) led to the attempt to fire the trooper in question was, if true, proof that he’s an absolute shithead and should have been fired (or worse). Do impure motives on her part mean that a justified firing is no longer justified?

    She also allegedly fired the chief of police in Wasilla over said chief’s support of her opponent in the mayoral election. I’d like to know what form the ‘support’ had: if he was being overtly political then I don’t have a problem with dumping him. The time for cops to get into partisan politics is ten minutes after retirement. (which is why I don’t use my real name here either)

    I have to confess one thing: the first thing I thought when I saw the picture of her with the rifle was, “Does she have a sister?” It was the kind of instant crush I usually save for goofy lefty loon singer-songwriters.

  • RRS

    Having participated many years back in wresting away single party control in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and the creation of what became “Republican” dominance (that ultimately betrayed its origins), there is (with all due respect to Glenn Reynolds views) a bit of cynicism due the idea of “farm teams” for political improvements.

    The functions of parties in U S politics (and likely in the U K as well?) has been altered drastically, at a rate that has accelerated over the past several years.

    One has only to observe the changes in the functions of “conventions,” at practially all levels. The real factional forces are assembled by other means.

  • Google – Sarah Palin Facts

    My favorite “Global Warming dosn’t kill polar bears, Sarag Palin does, usually with her bare hands. ”

  • Roy Lofquist

    Dear Sirs,

    As to the impression that she is from far away and not well known:

    The quintessential American archetype is the cowboy. Foreigners use that as a pejorative. For Americans it is in our blood. You probably don’t hear country and western music very much. There are more country music radio stations in the US than any other kind.

    She is very quickly going to become America’s sweetheart. Her story is the kind that makes grown men cry and cheer.


  • Plamus

    A colleague of mine did find out that Palin is a lifelong NRA member – hardly surprising, yet good to know.

  • Taylor: thanks for the tip – it was hilarious! My favorite is: “Palin is Kaiser Soza”.

  • M

    John Louis Swaine

    What would say is an ‘artificially low tax’?

    According to this analysis of Obama’s and Palin’s energy policies, the Palin tax hike was used to dish out $1200 to every Alaskan. This smacks of redistributionism.

  • jones

    As I understand it the state of Alaska pays to its residents an annual amount derived from the oil revenues from oil taken from land owned by the state. That is some what different from taxing the profits of a company that generates oil on land that is owned by that company and reditributing it to others.