Thursday, 15 September 2011

The U.S. Republican Candidates

A quick piece on my impressions so far of the Republican candidates. Generally speaking, I don't do electoral politics, but there can be no arguing with this: President Obama must be kicked out of office next year.

I realize some U.S. citizens take offence at "Euros" like me giving their two cents on U.S. politics, but I count myself as more of an American than most of them anyway, and besides, part of the reason I write some of these posts is for me to look back on in the future so that I don't have to rely on my memory of what I thought at the time.

Of all the Republican candidates, Ron Paul seems to have the best grasp of the monetary-fiscal crisis that the U.S. is in. Of course, he's the closest thing among the candidates to a libertarian, but there are serious flaws in the way he makes some of his points (e.g. he opposes the Federal government on principles of individual freedom, and yet drops those principles in reference to the States). On foreign policy, I think he is naive, although I agree that military spending should be cut somewhat.

I quite like Herman Cain on most issues - he's not a libertarian, but unlike Ron Paul he doesn't play to the Left's sentiments on foreign affairs. And unlike the others with their filler-laden mumblings, he is generally clear and articulate, he speaks with conviction and prior thought and he tends to be direct in his answers. His proposed flat-tax reform is at least equalitarian, and in that respect it is a direct, moral repudiation of progressive taxation and the contrived, anti-conceptual nonsense of "social justice" on which it rests.

Michelle Bachman did better in the September 12th debate, and she was quite effective in making Rick Perry and Mitt Romney look bad. I like the sense of palpable anger and hatred she gives off on Obamacare - that is entirely just and necessary. She is gaffe-prone though, and I'm not sure about her on monetary, fiscal and foreign policy.

Rick Santorum is a social conservative - he talks about freedom, but not enough and he then goes on to count the ways he wants the government to interfere with the market and people's personal lives. That makes him little more than a Democrat in different clothes to me.

New Gingrich is only there to thwart Jon Huntsman.

Rick Perry has fallen down even further in my estimation following the September 12th debate. He came across as slow, stupid, inarticulate, scared of Romney, and unable to think on the spot. I also think his instincts are to use government for social engineering purposes. He doesn't have the intellect to save him from being bullied (e.g. by Romney).

Mitt Romney is quite articulate and almost likeable, and his grasp of political economy is very clear, but that of a Pragmatist. That being the case, my impression is that his respect for individual freedom is limited only by pragmatic calculation rather than principled conviction. For that reason alone, I think he'd do little if any long-term good for U.S. political economy.

Jon Huntsman - this guy is working for the Left. He's the Quisling.

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