Thursday, April 28, 2011

Early Take on the 2012 Election

News recently is full of Donald Trump, who is full of himself every time he opens his mouth. He kept harping on the long-form birth certificate "issue" for Obama, who released it yesterday. Trump of course claimed huge credit for getting him to "do what he should have done a long time ago". Now Trump is talking of bullying other countries of the world to get our way. Biggest examples he talks about are China and Libya (he says that if we go in, we should seize their oil for ourselves).

The question is how could a nut case like this be at the top of the polls for the Republican nomination? A column by Thomas Sewell provides the answer. Sewell says that "What Trump has that so many other Republicans are so painfully lacking is the ability and the willingness to articulate his positions clearly, forcefully and in plain English". It doesn't seem to matter that he is so often wrong, like last night being interviewed by CNN's John King, when Trump said a CNN poll had him in a dead-heat with Obama, and King countered that CNN had never done such a poll. Trump never got back to King on this, because CNN checked and confirmed that no such poll existed.

It seems people relate to someone, like Palin in the last election, who speaks clearly and unequivocally. People do not relate to someone who, like Breslin said of Dukakis in 1988, talks like a "busted computer". Romney is the Dukakis of 2011, talking in a carefully programmed, pre-packaged way that people have trouble relating to.

The Republican field contains many flawed candidates. I still say that someone like Tim Pawlenty will have to end up getting the nomination, as nobody else can overcome their negatives. Or Gary Johnson, a recent entry who is a strong libertarian. Ron Paul is also a strong candidate based on his clear and principled positions, but lacks a broad enough base. The libertarians really need to have their own party, as the Republican Party has gotten so far away from true conservative principles that a true conservative has no chance anymore. Paul talks more than anybody else in either party about getting away from this fixation on militarism, and bringing our troops home. He and Johnson are probably the only principled candidates in the race.

The same analysis can explain the troubles Obama has in connecting with voters. An insightful piece in the Christian Science Monitor of 1-24-12 explains this. The thesis for the piece is that "no matter how you feel about Obama, his lack of clear philosophical principles is not only a political problem for Democrats but a moral problem for America". His "principles" of change, bipartisanship, pragmatism, etc., are not really principles at all, as they are "so general that they provide little analytical or moral traction." Again, the author states that "there is no well of enduring principle upon which he seems to draw".

The conclusion is that "a nation built on common principle, not common blood, requires its leaders to have a coherent political theory". An article in The New Yorker of 3-15-10 similarly discusses Obama's failure to connect with the average voter, because nobody knows where he stands on anything of importance.

5/13/11 update.  Latest news is the entry of Newt Gingrich into the race. It is impossible to look at this guy without thinking, "slimeball". And when you find out about his background, this impression is only reinforced. He cheated on both of his first two wives, including pressuring his first wife to sign divorce papers while she was in the hospital with a serious illness. His lame explanation is that he was too involved with his country's problems, which in no way justifies his despicable personal behavior. It is reminiscent of Henry Hyde's lame explanation of "youthful indiscretions", to try to explain what he did in his '40's! Do these Republicans have no shame?

5/15/11 update.  Ron Paul is in, Huckabee is staying out. Paul is the most principled candidate by far, as he espouses true libertarian principles, and stresses staying out of foreign conflicts.

Huckabee has some attractive aspects to him, but has damaged himself with right-wing comments on his TV show. Otherwise, he would be an appealing candidate as he stresses Christian compassion, not just dictating to others how to live.

The candidate who will get the nomination has not surfaced yet, IMO. Ones prominent now all have too many negatives. Look for Mitch Daniels, Tim Pawlenty, or the guy from New Mexico to make progress.

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