Rich Galen

On Wednesday I was invited by the former national political reporter for the Philadelphia Inquirer, Dick Polman, who is now the "Writer-in-Residence" at the University of Pennsylvania which is the best title in the history of titles.

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Now that I know that the title "Writer-in-Residence" actually exists in academe I am going to petition Marietta College Marietta, Ohio 45750 to appoint me "Writer-in-Residence" so long as the "Residence" in question is a bar I tend to frequent when I visit there, and not some stuffy classroom filled with teenagers who think modern music is … music.

As I was invited to speak on the campus of an Ivy League University (I have previously spoken at Harvard but neither Harvard nor I have made a big deal about it) I decided I should be smarter than I am normally which is not a particularly high bar to get over.

In one of the sessions, Polman read a quote by David Frum (whom I very much like and admire) saying that the GOP has made a huge, if not potentially fatal, error by embracing the 2013 budget as proposed by the chairman of the House Budget Committee, Paul Ryan.

I don't remember the exact quote, but Frum held that embracing tax cuts for the rich, cutting programs which affect the poor, and reducing Medicare benefits for everyone, might be good policy, but is bad politics.

Polman asked me if I agreed with Frum.

"No," I said (as nearly as I can remember, for I was trying to be smart).

Dick Polman literally flinched when I said that but, undaunted (and having learned I would be paid for this visit), I continued.

"David has bought into the Liberal method of scorekeeping," I said.

I said to the students in the room that the New York public school system is, by every measure, dreadful. If we doubled the amount of money we spent on the New York public schools, did anyone think it would be better? Or would it simply be a more expensive failure?

No one challenged me. And these are actual students who have actually been found worthy of attending the University of Pennsylvania, not just some schlug who drove up from Washington for the day.

I further said it seemed to me that if we could provide the same or better services at a lower cost that would be a good thing. I said that Medicare "as we know it" is unsustainable and someone better come up with a better system or not only with Medicare go broke but it will bring down the entire economy of the United States.

I might not have said that last part, but it is true, nonetheless.

Rich Galen

Rich Galen has been a press secretary to Dan Quayle and Newt Gingrich. Rich Galen currently works as a journalist and writes at