Political Season – 2012 Version

Curiously for a sometime political animal, I was not all that wrapped up in the Iowa caucus. There are several reasons for that; one of them being that I just think it is a waste of emotional energy picking a favorite too early, another being that in the words of old Bobby Bare song “No matter how good they look at first, There’s flaws in all of them. That’s why on a scale of ten to one, friend – There ain’t no ten!” They’re human, every one of them – and every damn one has flaws, which will be put under a magnifying glass. Those who have been under a magnifying glass will have the magnification dialed up by a magnitude of a hundred, though.

At this time, I suppose it’s fun for bloggers and commenters and other political animals; sitting around handicapping the current slate; discussing their various strengths and weak points, figuring out which one of them is strong enough to face the blowtorch that the final months of the campaign will be, negotiating the traps set for them by a mainstream news and media establishment so far in the pocket of the Democratic party machine that they might need spelunking gear to find their way out. It’s fun the way an online game is fun – an amusing way to pass the time, but for most of us who do this, does it make much difference in the long run?

For me, it’s way too early to get emotionally invested in one or the other. I’d have liked to see Herman Cain go up against Obama, just for the fun of watching the usual race card dealers knot themselves into pretzels – eh, well. To me, Mitt Romney is too much entangled with the establishment Republican Party, the go along to get along gang. As a Tea Party sympathizer I’d prefer a candidate who makes the current ruling elite of both parties shake in their boots and piss their Depends in terror. Ron Paul … good on domestic, hopeless with regard to international affairs, but the crayzee is strong in that one and the die-hard Ronulans are even worse.

And yes, I have dealt personally with just too many die-hard Ronulans. Santorum – also a little too establishment GOP, and the same quadrupled for Newt, who would certainly come out swinging, but oh, the baggage when it comes to the national scene. As much as any one of them, I’d like Rick Perry, and it’s not just because he’s been da Gov of Texas, fairly good at it, and I’ve actually met him personally. Everything about him has been gone over locally with a fine-toothed comb. The downside is that as a presidential candidate, there is a considerable danger of many of us going deaf – deaf listening to the usual national and international sources wailing about another Texas cowboy occupying the highest office in the land. Honestly – I’m not invested in any of them at this juncture: it’s all a moot point, unless one of them gets caught in bed with a dead woman or a live boy between now the GOP caucus.

The main reason is, of course – that at this point the odds are that any of them would work for me, in going against the current occupant of the White House. I mean it: any of them would be better than Obama. Romney with his baggage, Newt with his, Paul with the serious crayzee and Perry with his cowboy swagger and all the rest – whoever gets the nomination has my support, and I’ll do what I can. And even if that is not enough, and Obama has another four years run of golf and expensive vacations, there is one comforting consideration – that he will face an ever more hostile Congress, as more and more Tea Party sympathetic senators and representatives are elected. They might not call themselves Tea Partiers – but I’m betting that a lot of them will be strict constitutionalists and fiscally responsible, and that will matter at least as much as the resident of the White House.


17 thoughts on “Political Season – 2012 Version”

  1. Paul’s isolationism doesn’t bother me too much. I’m thinking that the isolationism that Roosevelt (more or less) struggled with saved quite a few U. S. lives and wildly boosted U. S. treasure by being a late entry in WWII. Paul doesn’t like to but he needs to get hypothetical WRT foreign policy. During a debate tell us under what circumstances he would take action….what provocation would require military action?

    I like Romney over the others. I wondered if Mormonism was a problem. I’m not an expert but what I’ve gathered over the years about it’s founder and it’s history it appears to be cult-like and one wonders how a thoughtful person can be associated with it’s beliefs. Conversely, the Mormons that have come to my attention, Mitt among them, appear to bright and fine people.

    One has to wonder if Cain has a screw loose to think that his private affairs would get a pass on a run to the white house.
    They all (save Paul) seem squishy to me but maybe that’s what it takes to get elected.

  2. Sgt – I can’t think of anything to disagree with you in that piece ;-)

    You are right about the Paulistas – I heard it described as more of a cult. And only half joking.

    When he expressed outrage at killing thqat Yemini terrorist because he “happened” to be a US citizen (a real American, right?) – he left me shaking my head.

    You’re right about Herman Cain, too.

  3. Romney is better than John McCain was. But that’s not saying much. He is bright, but disgustingly wants to be president more than he wants to be ideologically coherent. He tried to be more Left than Kennedy in the 90s, trying to unseat the Mass. Senator, Edward. And now he’s dumped global warming – how convenient! But cannot recant ObamaCare’s Mass model!?!?

    As much as I like Paul (I’ve voted for him as an LP nominee), he’s not electable to most core Republicans – and therefore cannot pass the primary season tests.

    I hold out hope for Gov. Perry in SC – once Santorum’s anti-TP and fascist Big Government roots show to everybody sensible.

    If that can’t happen, were left with this years Bob Dole/McCain….bleh. Nothing to excite a patriotic lover of small government.

  4. Romney’s problem is that he’s another graduate of Harvard Business School who wants to be president so he can vindicate Daddy. We’ve seen that movie before. We don’t need a rerun.

    And I say this as a fellow Mormon who doesn’t understand how any thoughtful person can’t be associated with our beliefs.

  5. Santorum is a Reagan conservative. There’s not much difference between his record and what Reagan advocated when he was president and calling him a fascist like calling Reagan a fascist.

    That being said Santorum has close to 20 years of federal legislative experience and the American people seem to be adverse to legislators. If you look at our electoral history, the candidate with the least legislative experience usually wins. The elections of 1960 and 1964 being major exceptions.

  6. Mom wrote: “To me, Mitt Romney is too much entangled with the establishment Republican Party, the go along to get along gang. As a Tea Party sympathizer I’d prefer a candidate who makes the current ruling elite of both parties shake in their boots and piss their Depends in terror.”

    I liked Jonah Goldberg’s essay on this view:

    “Conservative establishment divided against itself: Those denouncing it don’t seem to realize they’re apart of it.” by Jonah Goldberg on December 27, 2011


    * * *

    For the last few years, the rank and file of the GOP and the conservative movement have become deeply disenchanted with what they see as the rubber-spined, foot-dragging quislings drinking from a trough of chablis at some Georgetown party. The term “RINO” (Republican In Name Only) has become an epithet of ideological enforcement, spit out in much the same way Mao cursed “running dog capitalists.”

    * * *

    Though he never intended any of this, Mitt Romney is largely to blame for the anti-establishment tumult. Somehow, he has managed to become the Arlen Specter of the 2012 field. (Specter is conservative-speak for “demon RINO from hell.” You’re supposed to spit on the ground after you say “Arlen Specter.” Ptooey.)

    In 2008, Romney was the conservative alternative to John McCain, earning endorsements not just from National Review magazine but from the titans of right-wing talk radio — Rush Limbaugh, Mark Levin, Sean Hannity and Laura Ingraham. Now Limbaugh insists that support for Romney proves that “the Republican establishment does not want a conservative getting the nomination.” Erick Erickson, a CNN contributor and editor of the conservative site Red State, says that if Romney is the nominee, “Conservatism dies and Barack Obama wins.”

    * * *

    Frankly, I can’t blame anyone for being underwhelmed by Romney, or begrudge anyone their frustration with the field. What’s harder to understand is how nobody has noticed that the conservative establishment, which includes many of my friends denouncing it, has become vastly more conservative over the last two decades. It’s more pro-life, more pro-2nd Amendment, more opposed to tax increases.

    The political corpses of RINOs litter the roadside of this great migration. Rockefeller Republicans went out with 8-track tapes, leisure suits and Kevin Phillips. And yet, people talk about the conservative establishment like David Gergen is calling the shots.

  7. “I’d prefer a candidate who makes the current ruling elite of both parties shake in their boots and piss their Depends in terror.”

    So would I, if I didn’t care who won the next election. But, anybody that strongly ideological is not going to win a Presidential election in 2012.

    I believe that a solid majority of people in this country are conservative. The problem is that for most of them conservative means trying to keep things the way they are. It does not mean adhering to a political theory. Newt put it so well when he coined the phrase “right-wing social engineering”

    Many of Hussein’s voters in 2008, voted for him because they thought he was the calm voice of reason who was a centrist like Bill Clinton. They wanted a re-run of the late 90s, not the late 70s. They are ready to vote for the other party, but not if it is going to scare them to death.

    It seems that Hussein and da boiz from Chicago, want to run the 2012 election campaign as fire breathing populists who will not let this country be crucified on a cross of gold. If I am right about the temper of my fellow citizens, that would be an unforced error.

  8. My comments on the other GOP candidates:

    Huntsman: Romney lite. Would only have a chance if the real one blew up. It does not seem like he will do that.

    Perry: Looked great on paper. But, has not worn well up close. He is clearly hoping that SC will revive him a a regional candidate, but I don’t think it will.

    Newt: those who do not remember the past are doomed to relive it. Newt is not a consistent conservative, he is a consistent blowhard. Being on that couch with Nancy Pelosi may have been a mistake, but it was not an accident. He will have to split the stars and bars vote in SC with Perry.

    Santorum: Potentially, a disastrous candidate. If he ran, the MSM would make him and his views on abortion and gay marriage the center of the election. The center of the election should be Hussein’s disastrous mismanagement of the Federal Government. His views are less mainstream than many of us might think, although they seem to be perfectly in accord with Catholic doctrine.

    Just an example, In 2006, the South Dakota legislature enacted a far reaching anti-abortion law. The abortion proponents got it on the ballot that fall and it was repealed by a 55% majority vote in South Dakota, which should never be confused with New York. The lesson I took from that is that extreme positions on social issues are not popular. But, as I said above, they are conservative, but not ideological. Inflexibility is not a virtue much appreciated by the American public.

  9. Seems like Perry is next to be voted off the island. I think he takes too much credit for Texas, and what’s his message? That Obama is bad is not a reason to pick Perry in the primary. He’s a Washington outsider, but a party politics insider. They said Cain wasn’t interested in foreign policy. I think they meant to say that about Perry.

    Romney’s faith doesn’t bother me. That he’s a 1%er ruling-class finance guy bothers me a whole bunch. I’m not voting for Goldman Sachs. And when Big Media “discovers” Mormonism, it will matter. LDS’s institutional racism will be raised anytime Mitt makes a decent point. 59 pages on how to patch a sinking ship doesn’t inspire me.

    I would like to share a church with Santorum, but don’t want him forcing his onto everyone. I love his sincerity about the sanctity of life. Too bad he’s a tool of The Powers That Be, and worse that he doesn’t seem aware that he’s a tool. He promises spending cuts on a scale that would matter $5T over 5 years, but hasn’t shown us what gets cut.

    I’ve looked past the sound-bite claims of Paul’s allegedly crazy foreign policy. It no longer scares me. He seems to support a strong navy, but not decade-long experiments in nation building. What’s not love about sound money? What’s not to love about the FedGov getting $1T/year smaller? I think he’s the only one who has posted a sample budget.

    If you read the Oath they’re supposed to swear, only one shows a credible chance of adhering to it. I have to vote to uphold the Constitution.

    Ron Paul could be electable if people stopped worrying about electability and just voted their principles. Any of ’em can beat Obama. Cain would have beat him hardest by denying him the sanctuary of racism.

  10. Forgot about Newt. He would be *awesome* as a VP in the Cheney model. I doubt his ego would allow it. He scares me most in regard to civil liberties. If he is a conservative, then that word can mean almost anything. He has mastered the big-picture context, but I wonder if he can make a decision and stick to it. I don’t think his Lincoln-Douglas tactic of chasing Obama into a debate would work so well. It would make him appear small and desperate, an ankle-biter or a nag.

  11. “I’ve looked past the sound-bite claims of Paul’s allegedly crazy foreign policy.”

    I haven’t. A man who says that Iran has a right to develop nuclear weapons is: 1) insane, and 2) unfit to be President of the United States of America.

  12. Robert, you skipped Romney. What is your take on him? (also, it would help if you somehow indicated where Goldberg’s quote ends and your opinion starts)

  13. Tatyana:

    “it would help if you somehow indicated where Goldberg’s quote ends and your opinion starts”

    Everything after the title down to the next post.

    “Romney. What is your take on him?”

    I think he is grown-up man and he will be as good a candidate as we could find at this time. My view is that the American people do not want to be scared to death, and they do not want to be lectured. From a media view point, Romney is pretty much from central casting, he can be on the stage next to Hussein and look and act more Presidential.

    Hussein wants to “fight for the Middle Class”, Romney wants to lead the American People. I think he has the better sell. I think that a divisive strategy is a bad fit for a sitting president, but hey, let them do it.

  14. Robert,
    you compared other candidates between themselves, but Romney – to Obama. That’s not fair – they all are better than Obama. I want to understand why you prefer him to all others (if you do, of course). Not because he’s more acceptable to media than others, sure?
    And why you said nothing of Johnson?
    Aside – I don’t understand why we are discussing only Republican candidates while nominally everyone here is a libertarian in his/her views. Especially since there is a lot of talk about necessity of “third party”. Paul is running under Rep ticket and I think it’s a good thing, because he gives a bad name to libertarianism. So why not pay attention to Johnson?

  15. Tatyana: Lots of questions. Here are some answers.

    “I want to understand why you prefer him to all others (if you do, of course). Not because he’s more acceptable to media than others, sure?”

    I prefer Romney to the others, because he is 1) the one most likely to win an election running against Hussein, and 2) his excellent credentials as an executive and problem solver that lead me to believe, he is the candidate most likely to be a successful President.

    My reference to media was not to the institutions that currently instantiate the so-called “Main Stream Media”. It was to the physical characteristics of the system that often work to deliver messages the institutional operators do not intend.

    The most famous example of what I am talking about is the 1960 Presidential election. The televised “debates” between the candidates were an innovation of that year, and did much to influence the result. The story is that the majority of voters who listened to the debates on radio thought Nixon had won, but the majority of voters who watched them on TV, gave the prize to Kennedy.

    To the television eye, Kennedy was tall, physically attractive, and cool, but Nixon was unattractive (remember the 5 O’clock shadow and the jaw line) and hot. Roll forward to 2008, and McCain was short, battered and diseased in appearance, and choleric, but Obama was tall, physically attractive (or at least not ugly), and cool.

    Romney can match up with Obama.

    ” … because Mitt Romney, at 6 ft., 2 in., is taller than President Barack Obama, who is 6 ft., 1 in., the former Massachusetts governor could win in 2012.”

    “Previous observations have shown that taller candidates have won 58 percent of U.S. presidential elections and the popular vote in 67 percent of the elections between 1789 and 2008 …”

    Quotes from “Caveman Politics: Americans Like Their Presidents Tall” By Susan Donaldson James Oct. 18, 2011.

    “And why you said nothing of Johnson?”

    I assume you mean Gary Johnson, former Governor New Mexico, who dropped out of the Republican race and wants to run on a Libertarian Party ticket.

    I am paying no attention to him because he has no chance of being elected, and little chance of attracting enough votes to impact the contest between R and D.

    There are many reasons, constitutional, legal, historic, and game theoretic, why the US has and has maintained a 2 party system. I think that the system has worked to contain and co-opt third parties, and will continue to do so. This will never make ideological purists happy, but so what.

    In this election the over-ridding challenge is getting Hussein and the insane clown posse out of the White House. I care about nothing else.


    “nominally everyone here is a libertarian in his/her views”

    I did not think that was a requirement to comment or post here, but I will let Jonathan, Shannon, and Lex comment on that.

    I should say that as a political theory, libertarianism, is a better and more humane theory than its competitors, but it also has some short comings and blind spots, that make it an uncertain guide to practical politics. E.g. what should be the Defense budget for the next ten years?

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