No one seems to be really happy with this year’s field of Republican candidates for that party’s presidential nomination — except perhaps the Democrats.
The sudden rise, and equally sudden fall, of a succession of Republican front-runners is just one sign of the dissatisfaction of the Republican voters with this field of candidates.
In this, as in many other aspects of life, we can only make our choice among the options actually available. So Republican voters who want to be realistic need to understand that they are going to end up with qualms and nagging doubts about whomever they pick this time.
Not all voters want to be realistic, of course. Some voters, whether Democrats, Republicans or independents, treat elections as occasions to vent their emotions, rather than as a process to pick someone into whose hands to place the fate of the nation.
People who think this way tend to vote for someone they just happen to like, whether for personal or ideological reasons, and regardless of whether that candidate has any realistic chance of being elected.
The surprising support in the polls for Congressman Ron Paul seems to be of this sort. But does anyone seriously want to put the fate of this nation in the hands of a man who can casually brush aside the danger of nuclear weapons in the hands of Iran, the world’s leading sponsor of international terrorism?
Barring some astonishing surprise, the contest for the Republican nomination for president boils down to Mitt Romney versus Newt Gingrich. It is doubtful whether either of them is anyone’s idea of an ideal candidate or a model of consistency.
The fact that each of the short-lived front-runners in the Republican field gained that position by presenting themselves as staunch conservatives suggests that Republican voters may have been trying to avoid having to accept Mitt Romney, whose record as governor of Massachusetts produced nothing that would be regarded as a serious conservative achievement.
Romney’s own talking point that he has been a successful businessman is no reason to put him into a political office, however much it may be a reason for him to become a successful businessman again.
Perhaps the strongest reason for some voters to support Governor Romney is that the smart money says he is more “electable” than the other candidates in general and Newt Gingrich in particular.
But there was a time when even some conservative smart money types were saying that Ronald Reagan was too old to run for president, and that he should step aside for someone younger.
Washington Post editor Meg Greenfield said that the people in the Carter White House were “ecstatic” when the Republicans nominated Reagan, because they were convinced that they could clobber him.
Today, it is said that the Obama administration fears Romney, but would relish the opportunity to clobber Gingrich because of his “baggage.” CNN has already started digging into Gingrich’s most recent divorce.
Much depends on whether you think the voting public is going to be more interested in Newt Gingrich’s personal past than in the country’s future. Most of the things for which Gingrich has been criticized are things he did either in his personal life or when he was out of office. But, if we are serious, we are more concerned with his ability to perform when in office.
Even some of those who believe that Gingrich would devastate Obama in head-to-head debates on substantive issues nevertheless claim that all Obama has to do is come back with questions about Newt’s work for failed mortgage finance giant Freddie Mac.
But, even at the personal, point-scoring level, Barack Obama can open up a can of worms by going that route, since Freddie Mac at least never planted bombs in public places, like some of Obama’s political allies.
There are no guarantees, no matter whom the Republicans vote for in the primaries. Why not vote for the candidate who has shown the best track record of accomplishments, both in office and in the debates? That is Newt Gingrich. With all his shortcomings, his record shows that he knows how to get the job done in Washington.
Some Random Thoughts……..
Random thoughts on the passing scene:
Talk show host Dennis Miller said, “I don’t dig polo. It’s like miniature golf meets the Kentucky Derby.”
Nothing illustrates the superficiality of our times better than the enthusiasm for electric cars, because they are supposed to greatly reduce air pollution. But the electricity that ultimately powers these cars has to be generated somewhere — and nearly half the electricity generated in this country is generated by burning coal.
The 2012 Republican primaries may be a rerun of the 2008 primaries, where the various conservative candidates split the conservative vote so many ways that the candidate of the mushy middle got the nomination — and then lost the election.
Because morality does not always prevail, by any means, too many of the intelligentsia act as if it has no effect. But, even in Nazi Germany, thousands of Germans hid Jews during the war, at the risk of their own lives, because it was the right thing to do.
In recent times, Christmas has brought not only holiday cheer but also attacks on the very word “Christmas,” chasing it from the vocabulary of institutions and even from most “holiday cards.” Like many other social crusades, this one is based on a lie — namely that the Constitution puts a wall of separation between church and state. It also shows how easily intimidated we are by strident zealots.
If you don’t like growing older, don’t worry about it. You may not be growing older much longer.
What do you call it when someone steals someone else’s money secretly? Theft. What do you call it when someone takes someone else’s money openly by force? Robbery. What do you call it when a politician takes someone else’s money in taxes and gives it to someone who is more likely to vote for him? Social Justice.
When an organization has more of its decisions made by committees, that gives more influence to those who have more time available to attend committee meetings and to drag out each meeting longer. In other words, it reduces the influence of those who have work to do, and are doing it, while making those who are less productive more influential.
Anyone who studies the history of ideas should notice how much more often people on the political left, more so than others, denigrate and demonize those who disagree with them — instead of answering their arguments.
The wisest and most knowledgeable human being on the planet is utterly incompetent to make even 10 percent of the consequential decisions that have to be made in a modern nation.
Yet all sorts of people want to decide how much money other people can make or keep, and to micro-manage how other people live their lives.The real egalitarians are not the people who want to redistribute wealth to the poor, but those who want to extend to the poor the ability to create their own wealth, to lift themselves up, instead of trying to tear others down. Earning respect, including self-respect, is better than being a parasite.
Of all the arguments for giving amnesty to illegal immigrants, the most foolish is the argument that we can’t find and expel all of them. There is not a law on the books that someone has not violated, including laws against murder, and we certainly have not found and prosecuted all the violators — whether murderers or traffic law violators. But do we then legalize all the illegalities we haven’t been able to detect and prosecute?
In the 1920s, Congressman Thomas S. Adams referred to “the ease with which the income tax may be legally avoided” but also said some Congressmen “so fervently believe that the rich ought to pay 40 or 50 per cent of their incomes” in taxes that they would rather make this a law, even if the government would get more revenue from a lower tax rate that people actually pay. Some also prefer class warfare politics that brings in votes, if not revenue.
Can you imagine a man who had never run any kind of organization, large or small, taking it upon himself to fundamentally change all kinds of organizations in a huge and complex economy? Yet that is what Barack Obama did when he said, “We are going to change the United States of America!” This was not “The Audacity of Hope.” It was the audacity of hype.
Thomas Sowell is a senior fellow at the Hoover Institution, Stanford University, Stanford, CA 94305. His website is http://www.tsowell.com. To find out more about Thomas Sowell and read features by other Creators Syndicate columnists and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at http://www.creators.com.
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