21 March 2012

The Incompetence of the Republicans

I am relieved to see that Rick Santorum lost by a wide margin in the Illinois Republican primaries.

I realize that some people might make the honest mistake of supporting Santorum over Mitt Romney because unlike Romney, Santorum seems to be at least distinguishable from Democrats. It is certainly true that Romney is a dreadful candidate; he is an unprincipled milquetoast, a disgusting compromiser, the creator of the Obamacare prototype. As a president, he might do a little less damage than Bush and Obama have done, but would do nothing to reverse our headlong plunge into the abyss.

Nevertheless, the support of Rick Santorum over Romney (or even Obama) cannot withstand a moment’s sober reflection. Think about what Santorum’s campaign actually means.

The United States is today buckling under an economic crisis caused by decades of devastating regulations, monetary manipulation, taxation, and government debt; we are consumed by an avalanche of government intrusion that is taking over (or has already taken over) every aspect of our lives: our health, our food, our cars, our energy, our education, our future. And, in the midst of this unprecedented abrogation of freedom—the wholesale trampling of individual rights and the dismantling of America before our very eyes—Mr. Santorum’s basic belief is . . . Americans are still too free.

Somewhere in the country, Mr. Santorum fears, a man and his wife are making love, not for the purpose of procreation, but for the very pleasure of it—and Santorum feels it would be the duty of his federal government to step in and “talk about” this fell “danger.”[1] Somewhere in America, to the horror of Rick Santorum, consenting adults are producing and consuming pornography in the privacy of their own homes—and it is these Americans that are the real menace to our country, and upon which Commander-in-Chief Santorum would declare war. 

And beware! Somewhere in the United States of America, Santorum observes in dismay, individuals are (gasp!) pursuing their own happiness, a prospect that is so counter to Mr. Santorum’s theocratic viewpoint that he cannot bring himself to believe the authors of the Declaration could have meant anything by this freedom to pursue happiness but the “freedom” to dutifully submit to God.[2]

This is pure evil—as anti-American and anti-life as it seems possible for a mainstream figure (i.e. one who is not a jihadist or serial killer) to be. I have difficulty comparing the extent of Santorum’s evil to that of Barack Obama—both are so monstrous, it is like trying to estimate the size of the Milky Way galaxy while being in it—but I think in the long run a Santorum presidency would be even more destructive than a second term of Barack Obama. And that is saying quite a lot.

I cannot help but marvel at the sheer incompetence of the Republicans to put forth even a mediocre candidate for the presidency. Obama’s first term has provided an unusual clarity to our situation—namely, that the battle of our times is between socialism and capitalism, government controls versus personal freedom, collectivism versus individualism, mindless self-sacrifice versus rational self-interest—and Obama is clearly, nakedly on the wrong side across the board. I would think that in selecting any American citizen at random one could come up with a candidate preferable to Obama—and yet the Republicans have given us Romney and Santorum. Disgusting.

1. “Santorum then promised that, as president, he’d decry contraception. ‘One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is, I think, the dangers of contraception in this country,’ he said. Noting that many Christians think contraception is okay, Santorum continued: ‘It’s not okay. It’s a license to do things in a sexual realm that is counter to . . . how things are supposed to be.’”[emphasis mine]
From a Boston Globe opinion piece, “Santorum’s contraception deception,” 21 Mar 2012, http://articles.boston.com/2012-03-21/opinion/31215572_1_contraception-republican-rick-santorum-religious-beliefs.


Anonymous said...

The reason that the Republican primary process has offered up the abysmal candidates still in the race is that, Tea Partiers aside, the Republican party is not averse to everything Obama has done, they merely want to be the ones exercising the power to be had in a larger, more encroaching government.

The debt ceiling fight with John Boehner "leading" the charge is an illustration of this. How many times did he go to the well before finally agreeing on an anemic reduction in debt that was even more bloodless than we thought at the time of passage?

The Tea Party has a few election cycles ahead of it before it can change the big government thrust of the current Republican party. They need to systematically "primary" people like Boehner and Hatch; and, once in the majority of the party, replace the establishment Republicans that offer up such a continuing travesty as a contrast to the disaster that is Obama.

c. andrew

Stephen Bourque said...

Good points, c. andrew.

In yesterday's WSJ, Dick Armey and Matt Kibbe wrote an opinion piece lamenting the "Beltway wisdom" of Republicans who believe it is a political liability to advance the idea of constitutionally limited government.

If politicians (who want nothing more than to stay in office) believe they will be punished by advocating a limited government, then we have little hope to change anything. Somehow, we have to make the Republicans think they will be punished if they don't roll back the big government they helped to create.

Anonymous said...

Santorum looks so anxious and fanatical about abortion, sex, and fighting off socialism, in the same way that Elizabeth Warren and Paul Krugman are so obsessed with fighting against capitalism, that I don't trust him to take foreign policy seriously and remain focused and calm under the huge pressure of being President. And leaning towards being a disinterested uninformed hawk is just as bad as leaning towards being a disinterested uninformed pacifist.

Nuclear weapons are serious business, war is serious business, and to treat it as an easy issue is more disastrous than anything else for a President. It's very easy for World War III and a nuclear war to start, much more difficult to keep temporary peace and advance ideas (the only way to get long term peace). Politics are not the place to fight for ideas. Politicians, especially when things are bad but really always, are supposed to keep things stable while the battle for ideas and culture goes on. In any culture, intellectuals and everyday working citizens are supposed to be where the biggest leaders reside, and politicians are supposed to be solid implementers, relatively safe choices. The most radical and impactful need to be doing more fundamental and more technical work; if they enter politics they will cause harm. Politics is no place for the fanatical, whether that be Santorum or Elizabeth Warren or Paul Krugman.

Politicians are like the factory workers of philosophy. You want someone reliable who thinks for himself but most importantly who follows good plans from superior thinkers and doers. Politics is a secondary branch of philosophy for a reason.

For all their faults, Obama and W. Bush have been much better suited to being President. In politics, stability, a moderate degree of intelligence and nationalism, and a patient, steady, broadly focused managerial mind is needed.