Sunday, 18 December 2011

Parsing The GOP Candidates

Electoral politics is absurd. There is however no question that the current President of the United States is the worst in living memory. Andrew McCarthy inculpates the editors of National Review for journalistic flippancy in respect of their dismissal of Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry and Michelle Bachmann and their turn toward Jon Huntsman:
"I don’t want to cringe reading an editorial written by friends of mine any more than I want to wince hearing Newt talk about Bain Capital."
The temptation to laugh is sad. Of all the invited candidates, it is only Ron Paul who seems to be on nodding terms with the gravity of the Statist stupor the U.S. is in - but it is also only Ron Paul who seems to have nodded off on foreign affairs some time ago. Anyway, back to the circus. The highlight of McCarthy's piece was his snide remark on Jon Huntsman's under-reported comments on neo-Keynesian stimulus:
"In 2009, Huntsman opined that the problem with Obama’s failed Keynesian stimulus was that it wasn’t big enough — it should have been $1 trillion (gee, I wonder why President Obama figured he’d be a good fit)."
I seem to recall making this same point elsewhere some months ago. Then there is the small matter of Huntsman's somewhat less-than-fluent Mandarin: I can recall, after the story broke on Slate, Gingrich pointedly remarking on Huntsman's "fluent" Mandarin during the November 9th Michigan debate - at which point the cameras showed Huntsman looking obviously pained. That being said, McCarthy's defence of Gingrich will merely keep the juggling act going. Perry is even more inarticulate and gaffe-prone than Bush was and does not have clear limited-government qualifications. Bachmann does not really have a political record to measure her against. Gingrich would murder President Obama in a debate - of that there can be little doubt - but his record alone indicates he would be a terrible President and is no more trustworthy than Romney or Huntsman, as Avik Roy made abundantly clear.

Since Gary Johnson is being deliberately excluded, and Ron Paul is unlikely to win the nomination, I'm wondering whether Rick Santorum may yet get a mention as an alternative candidate to Romney...


  1. Top 5 reasons Obama is the worst president in living memory. Go.


  2. OK.

    I should preface this by a quick remark on what standard(s) I do not judge him by - those of the Left. I only have four things which I think are of genuinely historical proportion...

    1) He both ordered and sanctioned - respectively - aggressively expansionist fiscal and monetary policies at a time when precisely the opposite (fiscal and monetary restraint) was desperately required after the irresponsible profligacy of Bush. This is the source of many other failings.

    2) He failed to offer any meaningful support to the people of Tehran when they protested the rigged Iranian elections in 2009. That is his chief foreign policy failing (and it is of "historic" proportions), but there are many others; on foreign policy more generally, the Obama administration has often seemed disinterested and utterly apathetic and cynical.

    3) He signed into law the Senate's Patient Protection & Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") - this will be a manifold disaster, and again of historical proportions.

    4) He either sanctioned, or otherwise failed to prevent (or punish) the Justice Department for the "Fast & Furious" scandal. Another example of breathtaking cynicism.

    5) And this is something of a cop-out in that many other Presidents have been guilty of it - he has not worked to repeal the legislation and regulatory agencies which prevent energy companies from exploiting America's natural energy reserves. It is no exaggeration to say that energy is "vital" - it really is the difference between life and death.

  3. ...and it becomes completely irrelevant once he wins his second term....

  4. My prediction has been that Obama will lose the election, despite the weakness of the Republican candidates; borrowing the language of electoral pundits for the moment, I'd say Obama is weak to very weak on every major issue. The decisions of several top Senate and House Democrats to retire (the most salient of which is Barney Frank) only strengthen the conviction that Obama is going to lose.

    I see Tom Sowell has recently come out in favour of Gingrich; there's little doubt he'd murder Obama in debate, but I wonder whether Santorum might yet pip him and Romney to the post. As much as I dislike Ron Paul, the conjecture that his prescence in the race has helped to popularize libertarian ideas is interesting, if unproven.

    Here's where the conservatives will laugh at me: I think the only seriously "good" candidate, is the candidate they dismissed as an asterisk: Gary Johnson - a much sounder libertarian than Ron Paul.


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