Saturday, August 11, 2012

The Politics of Substance

     Although the plan of this project has always been to avoid overtly partisan positions, perhaps some observations on strategy will not be out of bounds. The choice by Mr. Romney of Congressman Paul Ryan as his vice-presidential running mate will prove vastly reassuring to fiscal conservatives. For those who see our basket of fiscal problems as the greatest present danger to the republic, Ryan is the cure. It is instructive that the Democrats are chuckling with glee over the choice. They seem genuinely unaware of our impending fiscal disaster (or is theirs the willful blindness of partisans?). Their excitement comes from an inability to see the need of the country as a whole; rather, they view all policy through the windowpane of political group expediency. Through that glass, the choice of Ryan looks inexpressibly stupid. He might bring a certain number of Catholic voters, but Catholics are often more loyal to party than to faith. He might bring Wisconsin, but Florida is far more important in the Electoral College calculus. Most of all, his budget plan is rich in disentitling specifics. It appears to curtail the benefits of almost every political group, every special interest, all of whom will join against their common opponent and vote for the Democrats. Or so predicts the Democrats’ political analysis.



     And their analysis may prove correct. If it does, then Mr. Romney’s choice will appear in hindsight naïve and pathetic. However, if the Democrats are right, if the electorate does fall for the interest-group incitements of the Left, then we are genuinely in peril. If we, Americans, who have enjoyed every fruit of the greatest prosperity, science, and power in history, cannot reject the morality of dependency and decadence, then no one can. Humanity may simply not be wired to survive the good times. The American historical ascent will stall, and we will begin the horrid free-fall that may have already begun in Europe. We will not even see the approaching ground until it is too late to pull up without voting our freedoms away to empower a political savior. And, whoever he is, once he will have saved us from economic disaster, he will hold all the levers of power. We may regain air speed, but we will no longer be free. It took only a couple of generations for the Romans to learn to prefer security under Augustus to the rough and tumble freedom under their republic. The transition in 1930s Germany was even faster. It won’t be long now before we see whether the Romney gamble on substance was wise. If so, then we will have one more chance to make ourselves worthy of liberty.

6 comments:

  1. Everyone seems to cast the pick of Ryan as risky, but I think it's a safe choice and, frankly, reassuring.

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    1. Heathen, you've clearly got your ear to the ground, so let me say I find your confidence reassuring.

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  2. If we've grown so soft and dependent that we accept no threat to our "entitlements," then we are incapable of curing the economic disease we've inflicted on ourselves. (In a word, that disease is socialism.)

    I hope the Republican campaign has the smarts to brand the current administration as socialist without making the alternative look like social darwinism. (Notice the Democrats are taking that tack already.)

    I would love to see that old "tax-and-spend liberal" brickbat brought out of retirement.

    I'm hopeful. I just wish there were more foreign policy chops aboard. Romney did look clumsy across the pond. I'm queasy about his abilities a chess game with Putin, for instance. There's a certain ugly elegance in Tehran's foreign policy which requires greater minds to fathom and counter. I dread the first "test the new President" foreign crisis. Nixon where art thou.

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    1. At least, with this team, there may be less bowing to kings.

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    2. True. I wasn't so troubled by that. I tend to be Machiavellian about that stuff. Flattery and admiration are different things. Strategically the Saudis are a bulwark right next to Iran and Syria. At the same time I'll be happy when we don't have to buy the King's oil. Until then, kissing rings is symbolic enough to spin any way the observer prefers. The Limbaugh spin holds the field but I'm a bit calmer than that.

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    3. Well, good point. Image isn't everything, despite what Andre Agassi used to say.

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