Oregon Magazine
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A Public Comedy of Errors 

March 01, 02    Bill Lunch, OPB’s political scion, said on this evening’s episode of the locally-produced media sitcom, Seven Days, that the new Oregon power rules that went into effect today represent deregulation, which did not work in California.  The tiny problem with that statement is that California didn't try deregulation -- and the failure to do so is the precise reason it ended up in a power mess. 

Mr. Lunch, in logic’s crunch, just has to change his name.
Into his bench carve Mr. Mensch, his honest claim to fame.
For dilly here and dally there, he oft doth reason dread
And leave us all in puzzled thrall as sanity he shreds. 

Whoopie Goldberg once said that Pepe LePew was “what you want your agent to be.”  This is typical Whoopie, who like all flaming liberals has the intellectual depth of a parking lot puddle.  Pepe, of course, chases only that which runs away.  When success pursues him, he is the one who flees in the other direction.  Such an agent, Whoopie, would never land a single job for you. (Pepe is a hotlink to a site that sells cardboard skunks.)

He’s a perfect metaphor for some things, though.   In that magnificently animated sense, tonight’s Seven Days crew was, indeed, a passel of determinedly myopic liberal media skunks.  Beyond OSU Political Science professor Lunch one could see OPB's Colin Fogarty, his tented fingertips eloquently reminiscent of a 20’s drawing room British fop,  the Albany Democrat-Herald's Hasso Hering, his pate shining like the midday dome of the Saudi mosque at Al Geewhiz,  the Oregonian's David Sarasohn, who always reminds me of a sofa, and the inimitable poster squeeze of the Oregon public airways, Tara's Miss Stephanie “I knows how to birth a baby” Fowler.. 

Listening to them, it came to me that term limiting politicians is a mistake.   What we ought to do is term limit liberal TV media panelists.  And, since we’re talking about show biz here, their departure should be by way of a big, long-handled hook that slowly extends out across the set and then suddenly snatches them away.  In the words of LePew, Bon voyage le discomfiture du posterior l’electronique.

The financial energy disaster and subsequent brownouts in California, lads and lassies, were not a product of deregulation.  The spontaneous liberal, Governor Gray “Say, hey!” Davis hit a home run of economic ignorance over the power grid fence by deregulating the price suppliers could pay for electricity while regulating the price they could sell it for.  Add that to California's ridiculous plant siting regs and exploding population, and you have the makings for exactly what they got -- a growing demand for energy in a state that didn't add a watt to their power grid for decades. (Photo: Governor Gray Davis.)


Governor Gray Davis

                The Bureaucrat and the Merchants of Venice, CA

   “Dost thou knowest of this apparition, Gloucester?  This thing called supply and demand?”
   “No, sire, I do not.  Canst thou enlighten me, so to speak?”
   “Aye, Gloucester, I canst.  Lend me thine ear and I shall explain this contract..” 

(Stage direction – the king pours a dram of bile into a bowl of bitter herbs and hands it to Gloucester, who grimaces as he sips.)

   “Here is the truth of it, Gloucester.  If a man wanteth a fish, and cannot catch one of  his own, he must perforce seeketh out a fisherman.  Yet, verily, if this man liveth far from the sea, what shall he do?  He will go to the merchant and purchase the briny cadaver, will he not?”
   “Aye, lord.  That is what he will do.”

   “Then what if more men purchase than fish do swim to the nets this annum, Gloucester?”
   “The merchant will increase his profit, sire, for as iron is aplenty and gold most rare, it is the latter that has the greatest value to men.”
   “Truly, Gloucester.  And if this demand for fish takes hold across the realm, which of the merchants shall prosper most?”
   “Surely, he that hath early filled his warehouse with the greatest supply of fish, sire.  The merchant who buys too late purchaseth from fisherman who know the risen value of their catch.”
   “Verily, you speak truth, Gloucester, for this is the heart of it.  The merchant who can predict the future owneth the world. ”

   “I begin to see thy mind, sire.  But, I have a question.  What if the merchant pay dearly for the coming catch of many fishermen, and the popularity of fish at the table declineth thereafter?”
   “Exactly, Gloucester.  The price of fish will declineth as well, and those who bought the fish of the future when the price was high, must sell their fish in the present when the price is low.”
   “But to sell for a price less than your cost is madness, sire.  It is the death of the private merchant, because unlike the king, he may not tax the citizenry to cover the disparity of his purchase.”

    “Thus is it better to be king, Gloucester, than a king of merchants, for if the people do not like your price, the king can confiscate their property and send them to the dungeon.”
    “Indeed, it seemeth so, sire.  It is a good thing that you are not elected to your office. The people, seeing this incompetence would surely remove thee from thy throne.”
    “No, Gloucester.  The merchant’s demise is certain, for his electorate is dollars, which always vote true in the end.  But the king’s electorate is the public, which is instructed by the king’s tutors and informed by the king’s criers.  The king may send the blame to the merchants or to those nobles who oppose him, as is his pleasure.  Surely thou knowest that the king is never wrong.”

                          (Exit economic prosperity, stage left)

The parable above is, quite simply, how it is, folks.  Gray Davis did what bureaucrats do.  He bought high and sold low.  His fiscal irresponsibility put millions of his citizens literally in the dark in their own homes, shut down traffic lights which endangered the public in the streets and stopped production in the private sector, which cost people their jobs.  His stupid liberal misfeasance did more damage to more people than ten ENRONS. 

And, since Bill Lunch is a liberal, he blamed the problem on what is actually the solution.

Term limits for press liberals.  Until we get them, we will be forced to listen to crap like that.

(OMED: Many early pieces in Oregon Magazine were written in a version of Netscape Composer that in modern browsers produces black diamonds with reversed question marks inside them.  These are almost always quotation marks, apostrophes or dashes.  When you see text that contains those black diamonds, it means I haven't gotten around to repairing the problem, yet.)

Original text © 2002 Oregon Magazine