Presidential debates enmired in middle ground
Notes van Horn, Given Myrhaf's previous analysis of what makes Hillary Clinton a weak candidate, the idea of a "Huckabee vibe" -- or other similar superficialities that supposedly inspire voters -- is frightening.
The Republican Party is in trouble. The candidates are all mixed economy mediocrities, with the possible exception of Ron Paul, who is out in left field. None had specific, courageous answers about what Thompson called the "entitlement tsunami" headed our way. By all indications, the presidency of any Republican except Paul will be an extension of Bush's policies. [A Paul presidency would be both different and worse. --GvH] Some made general statements about cutting spending, but only Paul gave specifics. The rest are too terrified of offending the legions of Americans who now suck off the federal teat...The only two candidates who sounded like they had integrity were the libertarian antiwar candidate and the Christian big government candidate. The rest are the kind of middle-of-the-road hacks you would expect among Republican politicians. The candidates are in a welfare state bind: the only way to look principled is to risk angering some pressure groups full of voters; but being controversial is the quickest way to marginalization. It is impossible in today's America to be honest and principled about getting the government out of our lives and remain a serious candidate. I don't think I've ever been so depressed after a debate.
And a note to myself on that same depressing state: It is equally impossible in today's New Zealand to be honest and principled about getting the government out of our lives and remain a serious candidate. As the politically compromised Deborah Coddington observed recently, and just a trifle hyperbolically:
On one side, the state-worshipping collectivists, with thought processes which go something like: state-owned equals good - privately owned equals bad. They apply this same argument to education, health, security, transport, television, radio, and even water for heaven's sake.Just for the record it was a cupboard the size of a brewery in which the last conference was held. The point however remains depressingly the same: the middle-of-the-road hacks and the state-worshipping collectivists continue to flourish even as nanny's spending binge continues, her list of useless ministries, departments, agencies and quangoes and her bossiness both increase exponentially, and her infrastructure collapses around us.
On the other side, those vehemently opposed to anything run by the state except for the protection of life, liberty, property and the pursuit of happiness, call themselves the Libertarianz Party and look for cupboards in which to hold their annual conferences.
Yes, it is depressing sometimes.
UPDATE: The Independent explains the last-man-standing reason the folksy Huckabee even has a "vibe."
How did it come to this? Mainly because all his better-known rivals have defects. Mix Romney's money and managerial acumen, John McCain's honesty and military record, Fred Thompson's southern charm and Rudolph Giuliani's toughness – and you'd have an Identikit candidate to bowl over every Republican in the land. On the other hand, if you blend Romney's Mormonism, McCain's age and support of the Iraq war, Thompson's plodding indolence, and the liberal social views and messy private life of Giuliani, you'd come up with a candidate who might not win a single vote from Christian conservatives, so important a part of the Republican primary electorate.Galt help us.
Enter Minister Mike.