Remember James Watt?

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Posted by Ballpark Frank ( on 10:35:35 11/10/16

In Reply to: Latest rumor: Sarah Palin for Interior Secretary posted by Mac Nelson


James Watt was one of the most polarizing cabinet secretaries I have seen in my lifetime. In spite of some ridiculous positions on a variety of controversial subjects, the guy actually made sense on one topic, which was one that I have heard resurfacing again within the last couple days. I'm speaking of his belief that the federal government had no business creating additional national parks and monuments while it had an immense backlog of items of deferred maintenance scattered throughout the existing system. He actually got a ball rolling to some extent, but could only make minimal progress thanks to the prevailing climate of fiscal austerity. Who (that was an adult in that era) doesn't remember the runaway inflation of the late 1970s that forced the government to rein in spending? I recall receiving a 14% raise, and thinking "wow, this is amazing", until I discovered the cost of living had risen 16 or 17%.

Thankfully, Watt's tenure was short-lived, and he was replaced by a markedly better Secretary of the Interior, Don Hodel, who I had the privilege of meeting.

One of Watt's classic gaffes was his saying that if you wanted a look at the failure of socialism, don't look at Russia. Look at our Indian reservations. This was a classic conservative Wyoming opinion. One of his more comical mistakes was going after the Beach Boys, only to find out that George H.W. Bush considered the Beach Boys friends of his, and both Ronald and Nancy Reagan liked the Beach Boys.

Here's a few observations on comparing James Watt with Sarah Palin:
1.) Watt had a law degree, and actually had a modicum of intelligence. Sarah Palin does have an undergraduate college degree, but oh what a checkered history of achieving it.
2.) On the subject of controversial remarks, Sarah has the capability of replacing James Watt in our memory as someone with an incalculable capacity for making inane public statements.
3.) Sarah will be entertaining on a level that James Watt could never have aspired to. Any media people on her beat will never be bored.
4.) Most Alaskans would love to see Sarah in Washington, D.C., because they don't want her up here.

One last thought: When I think back to the drunken brawl Sarah and her family got into in Anchorage a few years ago, and how they all were asked by the host of the party they were attending to get in their limo and leave, I suspect the Trump organization would have short patience for the heat she would generate for them. Of course, Ronnie picked Watt, which was a glaring mistake, so Donnie could replicate the mistake. It is glaring testament to the low esteem the position is held in, compared to most other cabinet posts.


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