I had a thought or two to toss into the void, and debated the medium with myself before settling on the Meow. I rarely write here anymore, mostly because I’m more interested in what other people have to say than I am in my own opinions (at least in writing!), but sometimes the blog just fits. What I’m thinking about is too political for Facebook—if I want to keep some of my friends, that is—and too long for Twitter. I can be concise if I work at it, but I’m not willing to work that hard this morning! So, the blog wins the debate on substance, rather like Newt Gingrich in a GOP showdown.
So, speaking of Newt in a GOP showdown, that leads to what I want to ponder today. What is with the roller coaster of this year’s Republican primary? Watching the rise and fall of each candidate in succession is like watching a very small crowd doing the wave. In a very small stadium. With lots and lots of cameras--every one of them using a telephoto lens, probing for mistakes. Each candidate has raised their arms in turn. “Look at me! Look at me! I’m the answer," only to fall back down as the next savior of the Republic thrusts upward for their momentary apex. Are primary races always like this and I just never noticed?
Each in turn has come under media scrutiny as they have surged, and each in turn has failed the perfection test. Go figure. Politicians aren’t perfect. What shocks me is that anybody can be so shocked that pols have feet of clay--offended even, albeit mostly artificially. Many conservative pundits seem to think that only their chosen guy has any hope of defeating the mighty incumbent. All the other candidates should be selling cat food, or eating cat food, or be ground up for cat food. The liberal pundits, of course, just want everyone so badly damaged that they are spared the painful chore of actually having to defend the current occupant of the White House. I can sympathize with that one. Who really wants to try to defend the last three years? With nine-plus percent unemployment, a staggering and ever-increasing national debt, non-stimulating crony-driven stimulus, Obamacare, Fast and Furious, Solyndra, and the long list goes on, it'll be a hard record to sell to anyone who's been paying attention.
What I'm wondering is whether average people, not the punditocracy, but the rest of us who are politically interested although not influential, are as caught up in all the criticism as the media wants? I want to see a new president in the White House. If push came to shove, I would probably vote for a three-legged blind yak over our current president. The yak would do less damage. I would prefer someone who shares all of my personal conservatarian views, but I would happily vote for any of the GOP hopefuls, even Jon Huntsman if I had to, to add my mite to the repository of Not-Obama votes that I hope are just waiting to be cast clear across the country. Is that self-delusion? Am I the only one who thinks that way? Am I the only one who thinks that any one of the candidates being put through the ringer right now is far preferable to the alternative?
I know there are skeletons in the closet that conservatives wish weren't there. (Newt's divorces, for example.) I also believe some of those skeletons have been planted there by the opposition. (I knew Herman Cain would be accused of sexual impropriety with white women before the charges ever started flying. Blond white women. Cain's perceived weakness on foreign policy is much more of an issue to the average conservative than whether black men like blonds, but Democrats believe Republicans are racist, so that is inevitably the button they would push.) There are also specific policy positions that make conservatarian skin crawl. (Mitt Romney on health care comes to mind.) Some of the candidates are terrible debaters, and that makes the general election a little scary. (Rick Perry, anyone?) Maybe that's what it all comes down to; all of the candidates have things which are a little scary, which make people fear they won't be able to win in the general, and winning in the general is very, very important. Still, wouldn't any of these people make a better president than the man we have "reigning" now? It's not a hard standard to beat, so I'm going out on a limb: Oh, you betcha!
Speaking of Sarah Palin (is it possible to say "you betcha" and not conjure the former governor of Alaska?), she wrote a fantastic piece for the Wall Street Journal that I was tempted to post to Facebook. My aversion to FB politics won out, because I do not relish inviting the scorn that would follow from those of my friends and family who only have to hear the name Sarah Palin to start frothing at the mouth, but I strongly considered it because I think this article is something with which both liberals and conservatives can agree--if they let themselves. The topic is crony capitalism. It's a step off this post's topic of presidential politics, but not a big one. Personal gain and politicians are the two halves of almost any real-life political whole. Call it human nature; all politics seems infested with the quest for personal gain--even for people who aren't seeking office. Wall Street Occupiers and Wall Street businessmen all think they have something personally to gain if the political winds blow their way. As I see it, gain for the country would be ousting the man now sitting in the Oval Office in the next election, and holding the current crop of politicians to account for their corruption, reining them in until the battle must be fought anew when the next crop gets corrupted by power in turn, and yes, to me too, it is personal. There's only one really bad outcome, and that's the status quo.