Day’s Verse:
I’ve written to warn you about those who are trying to deceive you. But they’re no match for what is embedded deeply within you—Christ’s anointing, no less! You don’t need any of their so-called teaching. Christ’s anointing teaches you the truth on everything you need to know about yourself and him, uncontaminated by a single lie. Live deeply in what you were taught.
1 John 2:26-27

Not having too much to do, I’ve been able to follow the Republican primary circus pretty closely, and generally found it to be a fabulous show. I’m an interested spectator: I’m not Republican, but I’m also not a dyed-in-the-wool registered Democrat; although I usually lean liberal, I try to vote based on the candidate’s positions, not his party.

I can’t remember enjoying a primary election so much in the past. There have been so many bizarre twists and turns, with a cast of characters beyond a fiction writer’s wildest dreams:

  • Michele “My facts are accurate” Bachmann
  • Herman “I did NOT — OK, maybe I DID, a little bit, sleep with or sexually harass every woman I laid eyes on” Cain
  • Rick “Three things, what was that third thing?” Perry
  • Newt “Keep it civil, you lying, liberal, tree-hugging, Obamacare-supporting SOB” Gingrich
  • Ron “My foreign policies hark back to the Monroe Doctrine” Paul
  • Rick “Ban contraception, environmental policy, and logic” Santorum
  • And, of course, Mitt “The dog on the roof was a long time ago” Romney

Now the field is narrowing, and we’re down to a manageable number of lunatics who actually want to be President, running around slinging mud at each other as hard and fast as they can. It’s dizzying. For now, the accusation “You’re not conservative enough” is the filthiest accusation they can toss around. Each one is trying to outdo the others proving that he is the most conservative, and therefore most worthy of winning the candidacy.

I would humbly submit that these efforts by candidates to out-conservative each other may, perhaps, be a little shortsighted. After all, in the general election, are those on-the-fence undecided voters going to want somebody who’s just spent the last few months beating his chest and proving his uber-conservative credentials? Is somebody who’s gone to great lengths to disavow any relationship with level-headed environmental, energy, foreign, and domestic policy; who’s made darn sure that everybody knows HE won’t change his mind, regardless of the evidence; who’s guaranteed that HE won’t compromise, even to the very bitter end — is this guy going to appeal to people who are, by nature, compromisers?

When I vote, I look for somebody who’s going to examine the evidence on all sides of an issue, who will listen to the advice of advisers from a variety of viewpoints, who will make an informed decision based on the best information at hand.

I don’t want somebody who’s never going to compromise: Compromise is crucial to a working democracy. I take the accusation of a politician being a “flip-flopper” as a good thing, proof he’s willing to change his mind if the situation or evidence changes.

I don’t want somebody who stands alone, convinced that he and he alone knows the best way: No one man can know the best way to run this incredibly complicated country.

Most of all, I won’t want somebody who’s going to make stupid, un-keep-able promises just to appeal to a certain segment of voters (note: It’s true, all candidates do this. It’s depressing).

No individual, not even the President, can magically fix our economy and get unemployment back where it belongs, and certainly not solely with tax cuts for the rich and corporations.

No individual, not even the President, can guarantee energy independence, and certainly not by drilling more here in the US.

These issues require an entire government working together as a unit, not some heavy-handed proto-dictator passing down decrees from on high. Americans admire independence, pulling ourselves up by our own bootstraps, and firm, definitive, and unswerving confidence in leadership — all things that I would humbly suggest make terrible Presidents.

I hope that whoever ends up the Republican nominee turns out better than any of them look right now. In the meantime, I’m spectating avidly, always wondering: What can they come out with next?

One thought on “Political Showbiz

  1. I really enjoyed this post, thank you for sharing! I am also highly entertained by this primary season. Based on the news coming out of the nitty-gritty of the party business, it will only get more dramatic as time goes by. We all have our biases, but biases are not permanent. I know that my own have been radically transformed over time through incremental steps.

    I would like to offer some insight from a different perspective on a couple of topics you have brought up. I hope my perspective will be entertaining if not helpful.

    I am not really a Republican, certainly not by today’s definition. You could call me a Libertarian, which is a useless new word for Classical Liberal. (I won’t get into what my pure political philosophy is here) Yet, I was raised in the moral-majority Republican tradition. By the time I was able to vote, I was a dyed in the wool neo-conservative. That journey, in full, took about 11 years. This is the perspective and bias I bring to the conversation.

    Why all the talk about true and fake conservatives in the debates? There are a few factors that have lead to this cock fight. The superficial showbiz reason is that everyday Republicans know that Romney does not represent their interests any more than Obama does. In order to compete, Santorum and the Newt are posturing as “the conservative alternative” to Romney. What follows is pure comedy as Romney, Santorum, and Newt try to defend their conservatism based on this new imaginary definition of conservatism. Now, let’s explore the deeper reasons for this talk and my perspective on it.

    1.) Conservatism has been hi-jacked and seems to have been systematically erased from history within the mainstream media.

    I won’t bore you with a history of conservatism. Those of us who truly believe in the value of constitutionally limited government would like other people to know what conservatism really is, rather than allowing it to be defined by those who wish to control political dialogue. For example, it is not conservative to sign the Patriot Act, go to war without a declaration by Congress, make the world safe for democracy, fund or exercise any federal power not explicitly enumerated in the Constitution without first amending said Constitution.

    2.) Conservatives are sick and tired of being lied to by those they elect into office.

    Nixon said he would end the war, Reagan said government was the problem and then expanded federal power, King George II said we needed a humble foreign policy and not to be the policeman of the world and then spent Trillions nation building in the middle-east.

    Today, the differences between Republican and Democrat are nearly all stylistic. There is certainly no substantive differences in political philosophy. This is not a healthy situation for a republic.

    From my perspective, we have had fraudulent conservatives for several decades. More people are becoming aware of it, and want to elect leaders with integrity. Comparing a candidates record with their reported beliefs is a valid way to identify integrity.

    To your point, changing one’s mind is not a reason to throw them out. It depends on the reason. Santorum readily admits his positions have changed for political expedience. In other words, he changes his vote to stay in power. This is a bit different than Dr. Paul studying the effects of the death penalty several years and deciding to change his mind based on research. Then going back to his constituents and teaching them about his findings.

    I would really enjoy talking about Presidential power and how it is way out of control… I would also enjoy talking about economics and how science without a control is not science… but I am getting sleepy. For now, I just want to address the Monroe Doctrine association with Dr. Paul.

    Dr. Paul’s foreign policy is pretty much the opposite of the Monroe Doctrine. Here is a link to a pdf of Dr. Paul’s book on foreign policy: http://library.mises.org/books/Ron%20Paul/A%20Foreign%20Policy%20of%20Freedom.pdf It is a great book, because it is almost entirely speeches made from the floor of Congress. It is a very unique way of presenting one’s views… sadly.

    I would also like to give you a link to a pdf of the definitive Libertarian Manifesto: http://library.mises.org/books/Murray%20N%20Rothbard/For%20a%20New%20Liberty%20The%20Libertarian%20Manifesto.pdf

    If nothing else, reading Rothbard is great fun and you get to see what goes on inside the minds of men and women like me.

    -Aaron

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