I just got back from my neighborhood polling place, where I voted for Mitt Romney in the Michigan primary. Let me tell you why…
Mitt Romney is a terribly weak candidate. He comes off as a phony, primarily because he is a phony. The charge of being a “flip-flopper” has stuck to him (because it’s true) and Romney’s counter message — that he’s legitimately changed his mind and become a true believer in regressionism — has gone no where because it’s not genuine.
Ultimately, even if Romney eventually is the last man standing in the Republican primary season and becomes the nominee, he will not have the support of the core voters in the GOP coalition: fundamentalist Christianists. Christianists know “Mormonism is a cult” like they know that “the fossil record is explained by the Flood.” Although Romney would still be able to count on some in this group — hard-core racists if Obama is the Democratic nominee and hard-core Clinton-haters if Clinton is — a large proportion will stay home come November, rather than vote for a cultist. Meanwhile, Romney is so weak that if he loses Michigan, he’s probably washed out.
The current incarnation of the GOP is not a legitimate US party because its policies and positions are absolutely inimical to all of America’s national interests. As such, the GOP today is anti-America. It is essential for the Republican party to lose control of the presidency this year because it is critical for the US to turn around and head down a different path than the one we are now on. It’s likewise essential for the GOP to suffer a devastating loss this year so that the forces that currently control it are wiped out. If that happens, a new, legitimate, pro-American incarnation of the GOP can emerge again.
Mike Huckabee is the best candidate to ensure that essential, curative GOP loss come November, but Mitt Romney is a close second. (Huckabee seems unlikely to win Michigan today and, unlike Romney, he doesn’t need to win it to stay competitive.)
Meanwhile, having the battle for the GOP nomination continue beyond February 5 also should help the Republican party by further hurting its chances in the general election. It’s tough medicine, but it’s essential to cure what ails the party and the US.
And that’s why I cast my vote for Mitt. Go Mitt!
So if Mitt get the nomination, surely he’ll get the racist or the Clinton-hater vote, but what about the average uninformed American? For someone who doesn’t know/care about the issues, hasn’t watched any debates, and is disconnected from any platform rhetoric (this probably categorizes an unfortunately large block of the voting population) I think they might very well vote for Romney, because he’s handsome, and projects a presidential image, and has a convincing outer shell of being the man from the outside who comes in and fixes stuff. Isn’t it quite possible that the fair-weather voters who just vote for the sake of voting would go for him over Hillary or Obama (or both, if they end up on the same ticket) ?
As for the “new, legitimate, pro-American incarnation of the GOP,” is this code for Ron Paul? I hope so. 🙂
I see your point about disagreeing with the direction the Republican party has taken but hesitate to say that it is not a legitimate party. Totalitarian states are the ones who label certain political parties illegitimate. Even a party with which you disagree can still be a legitimate party in a democracy.
As to Michigan, I am persuaded by yours and others’ analysis that the hiccup with the Democratic Party’s primary will cause independents and many democrats to vote for McCain, so I think that this won’t be an issue.
I totally disagree with your assessment of Mitt Romney. I think that he is the strongest of all the current crop of presidential candidates. Mitt has a strong moral and ethical code which is missing in most of the others, he has a great track record of strong leadership and, in my opinion, he is the best person for the job. I love the fact that he is still with his first wife and he promotes family values constantly. I like his views on immigration and that he is sticking with them and not backing down. When he says that he changed his mind on certain issues I believe him. We are all growing and developing and our views can change. Why shouldn’t he be allowed to change his mind on certain issues. (I know that last part might be a little naive on my part but I think that people can honestly change.)
If the current GOP was wiped out I agree that it might be a good thing because we could get new people in there except for one point. While the GOP was recovering the Liberal Democrats would be running the country into the ground. When Bill Clinton was president our national sense of morality went way, way down. I have seen a big change with Bush in there especially since he talks about God all the time, but I truly think that if Hillary or Barack got in there we would start heading downhill again.
So thanks for voting for Mitt even if you did it for different reasons.
I thought you and Mike moved to Canada. Does Michigan let Canadians vote in the primary?
Frankly, we here in the US turn out the most mediocre presidential candidates possible. It has been that way since I earned the right to vote in 1972. It reached an apex 7 years ago with the election of the most mediocre president of all time.
What is amazing to me is that none of the current candidates seems like much of an improvement, though I suspect any one of them is. Politicans, as a rule, will do or say anything to get themselves elected. Just look at the way they all embraced the word “change” after Obama started using it, as they changed to try and out change each other. It is sheer lunacy.
I thought I would like Mitt Romney because, as a Mormon, I think I understand his underlying principles. I don’t have a real problem with his changing (oop, there’s that word) positions except that I am not at all thrilled with the postions he changed to. But anyone, including politicians that won’t admit that they changed positions on an issue is either a fool or a liar or both. We all do.
My problem with Mitt Romney is that he looks and acts like many Mormons look and act like. They long to be accepted by mainstream society and religions with their white shirts and ties, close haircuts, no facial hair, republican, capitalist, straight laced attitudes.
It’s what the Church has come to, but not where the Church has come from. It was pretty spelled out in Noah Feldman’s article.
I think a trip accross the plains would do us all some good. Sorry for the rant.
BTW, I agree with John H.
John, I agree with your assessment of Mitt, but I couldn’t stomach voting for him. The only Republican I like in the running now is McCain, and he’s dead wrong on our Iraq policy, so I won’t be voting for him in November.
I’m surprised you love the Republican Party enough as an institution to want to see it resurrected in any form. Didn’t it achieve it’s original platform goals in 1890, or 1904, when polygamy was eradicated for the most part in the U.S., having seen the other “relic of barbarism” off in 1865?
As someone who withdrew his registration from the Republican party in 2003, I agree wholeheartedly with your assessment that the GOP is defunct. However, to me the Democrat party is equally defunct. So I don’t see that substituting one defunct party for the other defunct party is of any real benefit. Nor do I think it will be “curative” for the Republicans, who already got trounced just a couple years back in the Congressional elections, with no real improvements since then. The Republicans demonstrated their collective ineptitude when they had the executive and legislative branches locked up and failed to do anything with it.
I think the best way for us to send the collective message that we don’t support the existing political parties is to withdraw our registrations from them and stop giving them money. Imagine if, across the board, each party’s registrations went from 33% of registered voters to single digits.
As a Canadian with as lifelong interest in American politics it was instructive to read your flurry of responses and evaluation of the candidates, particularly Romney.
In my view McCain will do well today and will continue to do so until the actual GOP and its conservative base have a say and the MSM turn on him as they surely will. He is the least conservative of the top tier candidates and would drag the party to defeat if nominated. As to Romney, he does come across as manufactured and far too slick and packaged. I would prefer him as President if only because you need comptence in Washington, and He is surely that.
Months ago, I truly believed Mitt had a shot at the GOP nomination. Those days are long gone and I am betting on a MI loss as well (but I don’t think he’ll finally bow out getting his proverbial lunch eaten on 2/5). I agree that, at the end of the day, people won’t vote for (i) as Mormon, and (ii) even worse, someone with paper-thin principles like Mitt. I’m a California Democrat and I don’t think any of the Republicans have a shot in heck of getting themselves elected. That said, I hope Huckabee takes the nomination, which will assure a Dem. victory in November.
KC: There are three types of average, uninformed Americans, broken into thirds. Democrats, Republicans and independents. My prediction is that this year uninformed Democrats will vote for the Democratic candidate regardless of whether Romney was so handsome that he was the second coming of the Osmonds’ teeth. Uninformed independents by and large are going to vote against the Republican nominee because Rove has ruined brand Republican and because Democrats and independents currently agree on each and every major issue facing the country. That just leaves the uninformed dead-enders in the Republican coalition itself, which will be split if Huckabee, Romney or Guiliani emerges as the GOP nominee.
John F.: Good point. By my hyperbolic rhetoric, I did not mean to imply that the country has already crossed into totalitarianism. America’s political prospects have actually looked fairly bright since the day after George W. Bush’s re-election win in 2004. In terms of Romney’s chances today, I sadly agree with you and with my original gut assessment. Romney’s main hope is that McCain only gets indepedents. But I can’t imagine there aren’t some Republicans who will vote for McCain too. Also Huckabee should at least split the Republican vote by carrying the vast non-Metro-Detroit areas of the state.
Zane: You’re welcome. By the way, no one has anything to fear from liberal Democrats other than balanced budgets. Democrats don’t do anything.
Equality: The answer is yes and yes. Canada and the US allow dual citizenship, so I will be able to vote in both countries. Go Canadian Liberal Party!
Jeff Spector: Can’t argue with you.
John Nilsson: I voted for McCain in the 2000 Michigan primary, also as a “mischief-maker” — i.e., not because I supported him in any way, but because I was totally opposed to George W. Bush. (My vote then had the desired effect and Bush’s in-state campaign chair attributed McCain’s 2000 primary win here to Democrats like me.) In terms of loving the GOP, the US has a 2-party system and so there needs to be a second party in addition to the Democrats — whether it’s called Federalists, Whigs, Republicans or whether folks think of a new brand.
Say what you will about the hard-right line that Romney has adopted in his effort to obtain the Republican nomination, he is far more talented than anyone else running. I think if he were to be elected he would be very competent on the job, and he would handle press conferences better than President Bush. I also think Romney would be somewhat fair-minded with liberal institutions. He might do some things to prevent gay marriage, but he wouldn’t do anything to deny gays other rights besides marriage.
john f.: FYI, but democratic states, like Germany in the last ten years, have banned political parties they deem contrary to the Constitution. It’s certainly possible for democracies to decide there is a limit to political maneuvering by certain groups. In the case of Germany, it was a far-right party looking uncomfortably close to another far-right party which took control in the 1930s. I agree it’s not typical, but it happens. If the KKK set up a political party, I’m sure most Americans, with the exception of the ACLU, would consider it illegitimate.
Andrew: Nope and nope. The Democratic party is not defunct. I’m glad you’re where you are at, but in my opinion, that’s what Republicans say to turn people off to the political process in general. Yes, the Democratic party was still filled with dinosaurs in 1993, but the party has had a major reset since its devastating 1994 losses. That’s what the Republicans still need. The 2006 elections were just a pothole for the Republican establishment; they did not cause a curative reset. You can tell that the establishment ignored the message because all the actual Republican candidates this year (i.e., not Ron Paul), haven’t run away from Bush’s failed policies. Like Romney, they are all promising to “double Gitmo.” A major 2008 defeat, however, will cause a reset.
Wade Nelson: What party do you support in Canada? I like how the Canadian system seems rigged to ensure competent center-left government. I.e., non-Quebec conservatives are hamstrung by the fact that they can’t ally with Quebecer conservatives, since the main thing that non-Quebec conservatives hate is Quebec (and vice versa). Meanwhile the far leftists are off in their own NDP party. The result, through most of history, is effective and efficient rule from the center-left Liberal Party. Great system. We would have that kind of good government in the US, if Lincoln had been smart and let the Confederacy go when we had the chance.
Some would say the KKK already has a party….
Shawn L: Don’t totally discount how weak all the other GOP candidates are. Mitt still has hope because his rivals all suck so bad. I agree with you, though — Huckabee is my first choice for November too.
CA Condor: The problem is that there needs to be a total house-cleaning. All Bush’s appointees are corrupted and must go. It doesn’t matter how competent Mitt may or may not be; the country needs to be cleaned like the Stygian stables and that cannot come from a Republican until the GOP reforms itself.
CC–A trained chimp would handle press conferences better than President Bush… 🙂 Sorry, couldn’t resist.
John–Apparently you’re not the only liberal Democrat who advocates crossing the aisle to vote for Romney in the Michigan primary. Check it out.
If there is an historical party name that could be resurrected in re-naming the Republican Party, I would cast my vote for the Know-Nothing Party. 🙂
I don’t think you should be so quick to judge what Mitt Romney, or any other candidate, is “really like” inside. All most of us see is the public persona. I admit that Mitt the candidate comes off as an insincere person with no core beliefs, but it is entirely possible that people who know him personally find him to be quite different. (This warning goes for all the candidates.)
I generally agree with your voting decision, though. If you’re a democrat, you should see that of the republicans, Mitt is probably the candidate most likely to be beaten in the general election, and also probably the least objectionable president if he did somehow get elected.
Square Peg: Hilarious video. 🙂 I was at a friend’s house watching the New Hampshire returns. As soon as McCain won I said, “that cinches it; I’m going to vote for Romney” in the MI primary.
Equality: What was Millard Fillmore thinking? According to his followers, “nothing”! Actually, though, I advocate the same tactic (if opposite policies) today whenever that issue comes up. You’re much better off saying “I know nothing” than advocating a policy, since all the potential policy ideas are either idiotic, politically suicidal or both.
Kodos: I wasn’t quick to judge Romney; I’ve been watching him for a year and my assessment of him changed fairly substantially over that time. (Initially I thought he would be a much stronger candidate than he has proved to be.) While I have ideas about what he’s “really like inside” (I think he’s primarily interested in being president because his father’s failure was an unhappy ending to an otherwise successful life, and I think that all values issues are of much less importance to Mitt than winning for his father,) this speculation of mine isn’t particularly relevent to my calculus as a voter. My most important judgments are about his public persona and his fitness as a candidate.
John H: I think you are right in looking at Mitt’s personal issues for running. We discount these reasons too often in politics. IMHO, Bush got us into Iraq to finish his daddy’s unfinished business and to wipe out a guy that tried to take out his dad…
At least if politicians belonged to the “Know Nothing Party, it would be a first step toward honesty!!!!!
I think Ron Paul is the candidate most likely to be beaten in a general election. He is the only one who has run in the general election before. He got, like, 1% of the vote, IIRC. But of the top tier candidates, I think Willard would far better than Huckleberry.
Equality: I don’t count Ron Paul as an actual Republican candidate. As KC mentioned, he is a sign of an emerging realignment within the Republican party — which is not to say he is what the party will look like when it emerges from the chrysalis. Meanwhile, I will whole-heartedly support a 3rd-Party Ron Paul candidacy this year, should he and his supporters decide to bolt the GOP coalition to help the curative process along.
Say what you will about the hard-right line that Romney has adopted in his effort to obtain the Republican nomination, he is far more talented than anyone else running.
Then again, most christians/LDS seem to think satan is very talented and competent, too. 😉
Mitt is probably the candidate most likely to be beaten in the general election, and also probably the least objectionable president if he did somehow get elected.
I’m afraid I can’t agree on either point. Many of us had confidence that the U.S. electorate would have learned from Bush’s first term not to elect him in 2004, but we were wrong, even with his horrible approval ratings. Of all the candidates, Romney is the most determined to cast himself in Bush’s image. As far as “least objectionable” among the republicans, I think Guliani fits that bill, since he is somewhat progressive. I’m really not sure who to dread the most, Romney or Huckabee.
The Republicans have fielded pretty weak candidates as long as I can recall outside of Ronald Reagan. Actually to be honest George Bush I wasn’t that bad. He’d have won had it not been Perot and so burnt out after the Gulf War. Since then though most of the nominees sucked. Seriously, in 2000 we had a choice between McCain and Bush? Ugh.
This year we have, outside of Thompson, a field of moderates. I think had Romney run as himself he’d probably have won. But he’s just so opportunistic and everyone can tell. Thompson is underwhelming as a candidate since he just isn’t dynamic. (The one thing the Republican party needs most – especially after the great non-communicator of George Bush)
The Democratic side has arguably the most exciting candidate in decades: Obama. However I just am amazingly worried about him on policy. Even though I hate the Clintons it really seems to me to be the best bet. Maybe then the stupid Republican leadership will catch a clue and realize why no one trusts them anymore. (I’d have thought the last election would have done that but no luck)
Nick, 2004 saw the Deomocratic version of Romney: John Kerry. Democrats were able to pull defeat from the jaws of victory. There was no reason they should have lost that election except for the fact that they had an amazingly weak collection of folks running. (Much like Republicans this year)
EXIT POLLS SHOW: Romney 34, McCain 29, Huckabee 16… Developing…
I was coming back to check the comments and there are already some 5 or so extra stories. I can’t keep up!
Can’t you guys stick to one or two max per week?
FoxNews just called it for Romney.
Problem with Guliani characterized by Thomas Jefferson:
“Sometimes it is said that man cannot be trusted with the government of himself. Can he, then, be trusted with the government of others?” THOMAS JEFFERSON
Should be interesting how it finishes with the start.
You make a good point that the Republicans this year are like the Democrats the year Kerry got the nomination.
Zane C.: “When Bill Clinton was president our national sense of morality went way, way down. I have seen a big change with Bush in there especially since he talks about God all the time, but I truly think that if Hillary or Barack got in there we would start heading downhill again.”
I don’t understand this statement. How do you quantify “national sense of morality”? I know that there are lots of ways we can objectively demonstrate indicators that have worsened under Bush, including the strength of the US dollar, the size of the national debt, the attitudes of foreigners about the US, income inequality, and health insurance coverage rates, just to name a few.
But what statistics can indicate a decline in the national sense of morality? I seem to recall that many indicators of “morality” in the US improved greatly during the Clinton years, including crime rates (see http://www.disastercenter.com/crime/uscrime.htm), teen pregnancy rates, and abortion rates (see http://www.guttmacher.org/pubs/2006/09/12/USTPstats.pdf).
So how exactly do you measure this “national sense of morality” that you are citing?
mmmmmmWAHAHAHAHAHAH!!!! Very very smart there John. The next stop….TAKING OVER THE WORLD!! lol
Yes I completely agree with your decision…yet it is quite sad because it seems like a wasted vote. I hope I dont offend, and I probably will. But in my British (and irrelevant) opinion on the elections…any democratic candidate would be a relief for those not living in the US. However…those who I talk to here who are really watching the election carefully are very keen on Kucinich or Ron Paul.
They are the only 2 with a foreign policy that is not nuts. The democrats are less brazen and arrogant in their foreign policy, but they still spend trillions and still seek to subordinate other nations to the will of the American establishment….something the world is laregly resenting at the moment…on a very big scale.
I totally agree with Mike. I can’t think of any metric by which we weren’t vastly better off under Bill Clinton than under Bush. The Onion did an article about George W. Bush’s acceptance speech back before his first term in which he said, “our long national nightmare of peace and prosperity is finally over.” It was prophetic. =)
http://www.theonion.com/content/node/28784 Here’s the link.
Tatiana….is that a joke news site or is that what he really said?
If that is all for real……OH MY WORD!!
When you think no one can get any more malevolent and arrogant…
wait….I have been taken in….he never said that. 🙂
I have bookmarked it…that was funny.
And the thing is…I totally believed he would say stuff like that, after all he did say:
They[our enemies] never stop thinking of new ways to harm out country…and neither do we.”
Clark: Nobody entrenched in power cedes it and rethinks over one little spectacular mid-term election defeat (like the 2006 elections). However, if the Republicans suffer a spectacular defeat this year, it will cause them to seriously re-assess, and actually stand for something again. Right now the party stands for incompetence, croneyism, waste, massive deficits, big government imposition of so-called “values,” and finally opposition to science and reality. Oh, all that and: “Reagan, Reagan, Reagan, 9-11.”
Nick L. and Jeff Spector: Is Guiliani even in this race any more? He only got 2.7% of the votes in the Michigan Republican primary, a pathetic 6th place finish for Hizzoner. Obviously, I’d love to see a field-muddling comeback for him, but I say “good luck.”
My partner, Mike Karpowicz, and Tatiana are quite right: The Bush years have been a failure for America in every measurable way. The one silver lining is that Bush may destroy the Republican party as we have known it, inadvertently and ironically saving the country. I predicted in early 2004 that if Bush pulled off a re-election bid and somehow stayed in office for second term, he would destroy the Republican coalition. So far we are completely on track with that prophecy.
Stephen Wellington: The world will get a Democrat and they’ll be happy about it, because as “nuts” as Democratic foreign policy will be, you now have had 8 years of experience which should illustrate to you how much worse it could be. Meanwhile, you should know that Kucinich and Ron Paul are not real candidates. Kucinich is allowed to participate in early Democratic events as a bone to the leftist wing of the Democratic party. The party doesn’t want to alienate that wing, so it lets him debate, even though his chance of being the nominee is zero. Then, when he fails to get a substantial number of votes, he’s told to go home. Ron Paul represents a totally disregarded and now vestigal wing of the Republican party: Libertarianism. His best role is as a 3rd party spoiler this year, which he could prove very effective at.
I agree with you that a Deomcrat will win and the world will be grateful to a degree. With my views on government…I personally wouldnt be happy until people have full sovereignty in the political and the economic industries…a rather idealistic dream but one which is, I feel, a view of things to come especially if war criminals occupy that sacrosanct office.
Paul & Kucinich are only 3rd tier candidates because we accept them as such by the news media. Lets not forget that Ron Paul has had the highest days donations of anyone so far and the highest level of donations in the GOP from current military troops.
I dont see how the world community, learning from the past 8 years, has much affect on the president of your choosing. By getting a Democrat does it mean that we will still get whipped into subordination…but just not as hard and conspicuously!?
Neoconservativism is scarily close to Marxism for me if you compare its fiscal and national policies with that of the 10 Planks of Marx. I think there is a following of intelligent young people for Ron Paul today, although he is seen as vestigial and disregarded by others, because they realize that their government has been hijacked by, under Roosevelts definition of corporations & states interlinked, soft fascists who no longer care for the people. At the end of the day, we all must realize that Pax Americana is going broke with Citigroup selling another $14 billion dolllars of the country to Chinese and Middle Eastern investors. Paul is ficscally sensible, patriotically sound, and a candidate that can keep the power of America with the American people. Although the economy was better under Clinton then Bush, and I prefer Clinton hands down, it is still on a pathway to ruin…which is not, deep down inside, what I want because I have an affection for the people of your country.
The political spectrum for which Democrats and Republicans, the non-“vistigial” Republicans that is, represent is very narrow and controlled…which is why there is such a groundswell of “people powered” support for Ron Paul, a candidate not bought by Wall Street but by the people. The fact that he doesnt have the funds to compete with these “1st tier” candidates says something about the current state of presidential funding in American politics, in my opinion.
Putting on my presumptuous hat: it appeared that America voted in 2004 out of a subtle hatred of gays and a fear of Muslims. So far in 2008, it appears that gays are flying under the radar a bit (we’ll see after the primaries) but the big issue is going to be Iraq. All the Republicans want to stay, and all the Democrats want out. For most Americans, we know very little about the intelligence and military reasons for being there. At this point it is still a fear of Muslims, based on the extremest of the fringes, and a healthy dose of propaganda.
Does America still fear Muslims so much that it will vote to continue this war that is costing us lives of good American people and billions of dollars a year?
MikeK — So wonderful to have you here!!!! (as with the rest of you)
Stephen Wellington: Kucinich is not a 3rd tier candidate because of the media. He’s an issues candidate like Pat Buchanan, Gary Bauer, Al Sharpton, etc. These nobodies do not run because there is any chance at all that they will be nominated. Rather, they run either to promote a particular issue within the party and/or to promote themselves. If Kucinich had any level of real support, he ought to have been able to get more than 3.66% of the Democratic primary vote in Michigan — given that Obama and Edwards were not even on the ballot. Rather than keeping the Kuciniches of the world down, the media (if anything) is to blame for pretending that they are actual candidates when they are not.
Ron Paul is a totally different animal from Kucinich. Ron Paul may be viciously hated by 90% of Republicans, but he does have the zealous support of the other 10%. Because he is totally anathema to a super-majority of Republicans, he never had any chance of winning their party nomination. However, the zealous nature of support he has garnered is emblematic of the fact that Republicans have lost their way and that the party is in need of serious reform. The fact remains, however, that the “groundswell” you identify is relatively meager nationally. Ron Paul got only 6.27% of the Republican primary vote in Michigan, despite the fact that he has all the money he might need to compete. Ron Paul’s support is primarily drawn from disaffected Republicans and independent libertarians. He has the capacity to mount a 3rd party bid this year, which will help realign the GOP by contributing to its loss. If Ron Paul does run on a 3rd party ticket, he may even win a few % of the US popular vote.
America Inc., is now bankrupt, as you point out, and the Neocons who broke the camel’s back amount to more than a single straw’s worth of the blame. However, the Democratic and Republican establishments are not close on a narrow spectrum — they are very far apart, despite the rhetoric. A Democrat in the White House and big Democratic congressional gains this year will bring about the largest degree of change that a declining empire filled with wealthy, entrenched interests can stomach.
John, you take quite an interest in the future of the Republican party considering you are a “strident Democrat.” I’m sure they appreciate your concern.
If Ron Paul is the face of Libertarianism we’re all in trouble.
I actually think that the Republicans could use a heavier dose of Libertarianism and Federalism. While I find real Libertarianism pretty scary the fact Paul’s been getting 10% vote so often ought to be a wakeup call. But Paul isn’t exactly a roaring face for Libertarianism. Why is it that Libertarians seem always to put forth candidates who are so hard to take seriously?
Regarding George Bush, while I’m anything but a fan. (And a big part of me fears Obama will be George Bush styled incompetence version 2.0) However let’s be fair and look at what he faced. A huge recession due to the tech bubble. Then 9/11. Then the Iraq war (which was his fault IMO but something that affected the economy) During this period America actually did pretty well with low unemployment and high growth. Was it perfect? Of course not. But considering the stresses the country was under it was amazing we did as well the last 8 years as we did.
Now does that justify the huge incompetence of Bush? Of course not. Everyone knows Iraq was unnecessary. Katrina was horrible (although hardly only the Federal government’s fault – a large part of the blame rests with Louisiana) The almost criminal incompetence of the first two years of the Iraq war is inexcusable. The the political expediency, cronism, the inability to communicate to the public, the inexplicable choices like Miers nomination, the pork spending, the break down of the Republican congressional leadership, and so forth. Whew. Bush nearly has destroyed the Republican party and the weak field of candidates this year demonstrates it. (Who wants to win the nomination only to have nearly no hope of winning the election?)
I really, really hope the Republican congressional leadership learns their lesson. I doubt they will. We need an other Reagan to save us. And Romney, sadly, isn’t it.
From my perspective, as an anarchosyndicalist, they do cover a very narrow part of the political spectrum as the economic workings of a country are important to my ideology. Both are now fiscally liberal when in the past Republicans were the fiscally conservative ones…this has changed due to the Neocons and now I would define Democrats as such, even though I would be hard pressed to say they are conservative in their spending.
As a foreigner, the message of equality and liberty that Ron Paul brings to the table is astonishingly refreshing and blindly compelling. Yet, I do not think that his fiscal policy of a Gold Standard could work with Corporate America running the show…another Great Depression would ensue.
You are much more optimistic in your approach to the elections then I am, which could be viewed as quite sad on my part considering I am only 25. I, like Mike Gravel, hold no real hope as long as Corporate America is in charge. I dont really see this changing too much in the next election as Mike Gravel also admits.
I do hope you are right and that the wealthy few will realize their days of fascist fun are coming to an end. But with most of the leaving Republicans likely joining crony financial groups like Carlyle, I have little hope for true change.
Clark…I dont see having another Reagan as a solution, and with his scar of the “Iran-Contra Scandal” I dont see that as a promising future especially now. I must agree with John, and hope with John, that the Trotskyite principled Neocons have irreparably damaged the “Neo-Republican party”. But then again people were probably saying that about Nixon…and I wish that he had.
All a neoCon is is someone who thinks everyone ought have civil rights and representative government. There’s really not much to the movement than those aims and a rejection of self-centered “Real Politic.” (i.e. Kissinger styled reality that governed far too much of both Democratic and Republican views of foreign policy for decades) The problem wasn’t neoConservativism but incompetence by George Bush and company. Certainly many neoCons were overly optomistic about Iraqis (or anyone) stepping up to self-governance when given a chance. And that’s a pretty fair criticism. However the rest. . .what’s wrong with it?
John, reducing Reagan to “Iran-Contra” is hard to even respond to. Certainly that’s his biggest blemish (with arguably South Africa and AIDS as his other two) It was sad since it undermined his stated policies. However since I do think we ought be speaking with Iran, Cuba and other such nations – even if only behind closed doors and in secret – it’s hard for me to feel too sad.
Clark, I didn’t reduce Reagan to Iran-Contra. Stephen did.
My feeling is that Reagan was the wrong man at the right time. All of the future trend lines were apparent in the 1970s. US dependence on Middle Eastern oil. The inherent danger the US faced in propping up secular, authoritarian regimes in the Middle East in order secure oil imports and in order promote the short-term policy interests of Israel. The consequential rise in religious fundamentalism in the region and the danger posed by the radicalization of Islam (cf. the fall of the Shah and the founding of the Islamic Republic in Iran). And yet Reagan chose to ignore all of those trend lines and put policies in place to accelerate them so that he could fight the battles of his youth. Instead of looking to the future, he fought the enemy of the past: the paper tiger of Communism that would soon collapse entirely under its own weight, as the failure it was. On top of that, he abandoned fiscal responsibility to do it, and the Republican party has not returned to fiscal discipline since. Only the Democrats occasionally have shown interest in actually doing something about the budget. And so, yes, I think that the signs were clear in Reagan’s time and I think that he couldn’t see them and that he squandered many an opportunity for the country. But his failure to be visionary in no way started nor ended with Iran-Contra.
Meanwhile, I believe that the endless paeans to Reagan are another sign that Republicans today have no ideas left and don’t stand for anything. The only thing that the candidates can say is “Reagan, Reagan, Reagan, 9/11,” because there’s no real ideas.
Neconservative ideology is developed from Max Schactman a Trotskyist. It’s political ideologies are perfect for the Military Industrial complex that seeks expansionism and war-racketeering. But unforuntaley this is the type of ideology that will banckrupt America. It also advocates a strong centralized government, something I am strongly opposed to. “A Government is proportionatly violent to the degree of power it holds.” -Chomsky
Leo Strauss, a main mover in neoconservativism,devloped the idea of an ever present and ever pervasive enemy which is something I find repugnant and fills me with vituperation.
I disagree that Neocons were optimistic about the Iraq war.In the clip below, from 1993, Dick Cheney says that the reason they didnt go into Iraq was because it would obviously be a Quagmire and wasnt worth the American lives. Sometimes a pointless war is the perfect war, but there are plenty of perks to the Iraq war for the Military Industrial Complex and the DoD.
I was the one who reduced Reagan to “Iran Contra”. I completely and wholeheartedly agree with you that the way foward is to talk with Iran and Cuba, but I think openly. I also propose a removal of sanctions.I also think that America should concede to the desires of, literally, the rest of the world and give the land stolen by Israel back to the Palestinian refugees.
What disgusts me is labeling these states as terrorist entities whilst also selling them weapons….and in our present case…waging an illegal war according to Internaational law…but in Reagan’s administration it was to fuel…again another illegal war…but also involved the distribution of cocaine amongst American civilians by the Neoconservative administration. This sort of Machivellian duplicity sums up, for me, the Neoconservative governments we have seen.
And hence, I hope and agree with John, that they have done tremendous damage to their own cause and are done for if they do not significantly change.
John Hamer said:
“The answer is yes and yes. Canada and the US allow dual citizenship, so I will be able to vote in both countries. Go Canadian Liberal Party!”
As Canadian to future fellow Canadian, make sure you make an informed choice regarding your future political party affiliation. Although the Liberal Party may be a well-respected, mainstream party, please do not ignore other equally qualified parties such as the Rhinoceros Party, the Canadian Extreme Wrestling Party, and the Communist Party of Canada (the last should not be confused with the hacks in the Communist Party of Canada (Marxist-Leninist), however)
Calandria: The US Constitutional system gives everyone a stake in both parties. At some future date, it’s quite possible that a political realignment will see the Republican party (or its successor) promoting policies that I believe are in America’s best interests (instead of promoting policies that are inimical to them). If such a realignment occurs, I will no longer be a strident Democrat. Big shifts do happen over generations. It’s almost silly to call today’s GOP the “Party of Lincoln.” Today’s GOP is a Southern regional party, based primarily in the old Confederacy, supplemented by rural support in the Plains and West. A generation ago, the “solid South,” still had that name for solidly voting against the GOP.
Stephen: as an anarchosyndalist, your philosophy is diametrically opposed to mine. I am a pragmatic realist. I believe strongly in effective change that can actually happen and will bring into effect particular, doable goals. Looking across history, sweeping, radical changes have rarely been stable, effective changes. More often than not, radical changes lead only to more radical changes. Thus, instead of putting in place some new, more philosophically pure and just system, you generally have merely exchanged stability for radicalism in general. Also, human societies rely on a complex web of historical and traditional practices and institutions that have been tested for their effectiveness. There are too many variables in play for perfect, theoretical, esoteric systems to account for. I personally refuse to be a slave to tradition for tradition’s sake, but before I throw everything overboard, I want to make sure what the parts actually do.
Because of my philosophy, I’m optimistic that a change of administrations in the US will result in what I see as a big change. The current government has contempt for the rule of law (incl. the US Constitution and int’l treaties), and a new government will respect the rule of law. For me, that’s a big deal. However, it is not the same as saying that corporations will be wiped out or capitalism will be replaced with something radical and new. If you are hungry for that kind of change, you need to wait for a collapse of the global economy.
I walked into my voting precinct yesterday morning still undecided – between Mitt Romney and Fred Thompson. I prefer Fred’s consistency, but he chose not to campaign here. McCain is a war hero and an admirable human being, but if he’s a conservative I’m a penguin! A vote for Thompson in yesterday’s primary would have effectively been a vote for McCain. So, I voted for Romney. Here’s hoping for a Thompson/Romney ticket in November!
I completely agree with you that incremental, and most important, positive changes are the most stable. The changes must be positive for lasting change to occur! People need to feel that they are being heard and represented. For those living in South Africa during the 1970s, the vision of what South Africa is today is radically different and better for the majority. My grandparents really struggle with the idea of civil unions for same sex couples but in just two generations, in Europe that is, the human rights that they deserved have finally been given to them. And in the United States, in one generation an almighty positive and people centered government was established compared to others in its time. I think the most important changes need to be positive but gradualism is also important.
Anarchosyndicalism is not, in my mind, unrealistic, although it is based on higher principles then capitalism. But Capitalism cannot carry on in its current form…a system based on greed defies the natural laws and eternal principles of nature. If we are to believe in a literal gathering of Saints to Zion, we will be living The United Order which will be something very similar to my views on Anarchism.
I see totalitarianism as diametrically opposite to anarchosyndicalism not democratic socialism mixed with soft forms of fascism.
Although I say they are narrow on the political spectrum, and they are too me, I again agree that these narrow differences can result in significant changes. And I am excited when Hillary comes to power because we will see the same emphasis on Human Rights as we have seen in Europe. Scotland Yard have started to investigate Tony Blair as a War Criminal as of yesterday…though nothing will come of this I am sure…I look forward to the day when Bush is also investigated for such. So yes I share the same vision with you on human rights but I dont see how the Democrats coming to power will help Chiniese laborers stop being given slave wages and poor working conditions for producing cheap barbie dolls and throw away trainers.
Lets not fool ourselves into thinking that social change, even radical social change is not possible with the result being stability and a positive move towards equality amongst men(Isaiah Berlin’s Positive and Negative Liberty is poignant here). The great men; Mandela, Gandhi, Washington, Cromwell, and to me Chavez all took part in fairly radical positive changes that gave power to the people.(Interestingly the Venezuelans, according to Guiness World Records, are now the happiest people in the world). And doing this over a period of 20 years or so is a fairly short period of time in comparison. And Anarchosyndicalism/Unionism has, in my reading, proved itself in history as a viable social set up though much would still need to be worked out and one should never think that Utopia has been reached. Although now Anarchosyndicalism may seem idealistic…in the future it will be viable…most probably when the oil runs out…if our dont die of global warming. 🙂
Sorry about the misattribution. BTW – I disagree about why Republicans look fondly to Reagan. The problem is that most of the Republican leadership (and candidates) have abandoned the conservative principles that were so successful. As for “new ideas” how about instead focusing on what works rather than what is novel. It’s about solving problems. Certainly new Republicans have different problems to solve than Reagan. But the basic principles of conservativism are correct and can’t just be abandoned for expediency. (Like Bush did)
Tigg, a Romney/Thompson ticket would be very intriguing. I still think he’d lose bad. But it would be interesting. At this stage I almost hope a more liberal Republican like McCain or Huckabee wins so that their loss will help reorganize the party.
BTW – almost everybody thinks they are a pragmatic realist. The problem is that what is pragmatic depends in large part on your theories about the world around you. The difference between a pragmatist and an idealist is that the idealist doesn’t care about solving problems – only about feeling good about standing up for “principles.”
lol…very good point there Clark. I think there is some truth to it but I would class it as how you have the pragmatic point…ambiguos semantics. It reminds me of a quote I cant remember the source, but it goes:
“We see things not as they are but as we are.” Some truth to it but also some falsity.
Perhaps it is the Mormon in me that is so set with “principles.” I have always been accused of being an idealist. My family always told me I was idealistic to try to get into medicine and now I am here. I have gone to Africa on many a charity mission hoping to “save the world.” I believe in the power of one…after all…the odds were stacked against Jesus.
I have thoroughly enjoyed our posts Clark and John. You guys are very intelligent and insightful. I wish I had asked more questions. I enjoy coming across smart people with different world views…it really is liberating and intellectually enjoyable. I would like to learn about your ideal government structure and world place.
I think you are giving Bill Clinton too much credit. His main accomplishment really seemed to be getting in so much trouble that he wasn’t able to meddle with the economy etc. In particular in his second term. Ironically that was pretty much exactly what the economy needed.
On the other side George Bush certainly has failed as a fiscal conservative. I’m definitely underwhelmed. Basically if GWB had done the same as Clinton we would be in much better shape.
Likewise, Stephen & Clark. 🙂
DPC: I’ll have to check out that Rhinoceros Party. 😛
The truth is, Romney is a good guy. But anyone can see through the facade, that he’s just another politician, and opportunist, and will say whatever he has to say to get elected. Maybe he’d be a good President, but he will say whatever he has to say. Anybody that is totally honest with themselves, who isn’t bamboozled by the cool Mormon guy syndrome, has to admit that. I’m leery of Romney because of his Blackwater/Establishment Republican connections. I’m leery of HuckleBigot because of his CFR connection.
Reading these comments has been an education. I have been very confused about what’s going on in the Republican party. I am intensely uncomfortable with the evangelical Christians’ power there. Do you think a realignment of power will get rid of them?
I was initially pleased to see Romney running because he seemed moderate. I have no problem with him changing views on social issues. I’ve done that too (though not in the same direction he did). It’s his timing that makes it suspect.
Calandria, the biggest problem with the Republican party is losing their conservative roots. All the pork bellied spending and corruption and pushing of big government and rejecting federalism. It’s turned off voters tremendously. The Republican party has deserved everything that has happened to them the past few years (and that will likely happen to them this fall)
I don’t really care for Evangelical activist segment of the party. The anti-science activities really turn me off. But that’s really not the biggest problem.
The best Republicans can say is that Democrats have been nearly as bad. (Despite the claims of stopping pork the Democratic congress is keeping it going and has K-street running just as effectively) If Obama wins one can hope he’d change this but I rather doubt it.