Tuesday, March 06, 2012

The other Decision 2012

Today is Super Tuesday, including the primary here in Massachusetts. It is nice to be able to go back to 2008 and see what I wrote about that day...and to see how much more I wrote about Politics as a whole that year. Really, it is kind of interesting how much more discussion there seemed to be in 2008 across the whole of the blogosphere, which is probably due to a couple of obvious things (bloggers on average are pretty liberal, and therefore don't care about the Republican primaries as much; the 2008 Democratic fight was a pretty unusually big one, etc.)

But I did promise to tell you who I am going to vote for, and LaurWilk hit my rationale pretty soundly in her comment last week...I am gonna vote for Ron Paul (disclaimer: Romney will win the state by a mile, and whoever wins today will lose by a mile in November. Ergo, my vote is not really cast with the idea that it has some input into the outcome.

So let's start with Romney, who Republicans seem to very begrudgingly choosing as their nominee. He just seems like a guy who's whole is less than the sum of his parts. Because on the surface, the resume is all there: he is unquestionably smart and hardworking and successful at a bunch of things. His private sector background is outstanding (despite the nonsense that his opponents have tried to play in the last couple of months). His quasi-government role at the Olympics earned raves from everyone who was involved on any level, and his time as the Governor here was basically successful as well (the one BIG mark against him is that he really only did it for about three years...he didn't seek re-election and largely disengaged for at least the last year of his term).

Yet for some reason, he seems to constantly want to apologize for who he is, and he has a very long (and disconcerting) habit of saying what it seems like people want to hear. I almost feel like his campaign advisers told him early on that he needs to come across as likeable, and he has been vainly trying and looking incredibly phony in the process. You know what, Mitt? You are rich and smart and handsome and successful...just go ahead and be arrogant about it! Most of us will never be able to identify with someone like you, so stop apologizing for it and just embrace who you are. We don't want to hire you because you are just like us...we want to hire you because you are capable.

Then, of course, there is Rick Santorum...oy. It is one of the great marvels of my memory that he is considered a contender in this race. He comes from a key swing state where, six years ago, voters took the really unusual step of throwing him out as a very powerful incumbent, and doing it by SEVENTEEN PERCENTAGE POINTS!!! If that has ever happened before, I have never heard of it. And yet here, six years later, preaching the same message, the national party thinks he might be a good candidate for President? How on Earth did that happen? (Actually, that is an easy question to answer...have you seen his opponents?)

More specifically, my problem with Santorum is that he is the natural successor to George W. Bush. It was never McCain, and it won't be Romney, and it's not even Jeb Bush...but Santorum is the exact kind of "compassionate Conservative" that Bush was. Socially, he seems to be stuck somewhere between 1885 and 1902...forget about abortion, he wants to talk about contraception. Really? What fucking planet are we on? And he is from the very worst school of unsustainable spenders that Bush is from...huge tax cuts for everyone and huge benefits for everyone and let the children pay for it in 40 years when the bill comes due. We are all blessed that he is such a colossal idiot, because he is unquestionably the most dangerous person in this race.

Newt Gingrich is just too much of an asshole to be President, and while Romney takes the blame (because he runs most of the ads), Gingrich is really the one most responsible for the tone of this race. He is the one who started on the intellectually dishonest attack ads, and the rest simply reacted...or over-reacted if you think so. Newt's legislative record as Speaker of the House was actually not that bad...he and Bill Clinton ran a fiscally sound state (or, at least as sound as anyone else has...but for the love of God, can we learn what it means to actually balance a budget? Because they didn't do it, despite claiming it incessantly for 15 years), and they put together at least one signature achievement: welfare reform. But then he got off track on a blow job infused witch hunt and destroyed himself and a lot more else in the process.

Which brings us to Ron Paul, who for some reason never gets treated like a "real" candidate. Which makes no sense...he raises tons of money, has a huge organization and draws the biggest crowds. He is also the spiritual father of so many of the current deficit hawks... And unquestionably the most intellectually consistent and honest of the bunch.

I think he is off base with his insistence on the gold standard, which wouldn't really accomplish anything near the trouble it would cause, and he is probably overly isolationist. He also remains a pretty staunch social conservative (although I will give him this: I disagree with him, but he makes one of the most eloquent pro-Life arguments I have heard), and I think he underestimates the need to maintain an energy policy as a part of foreign policy.

But he is just so right about so much else...he is the only one of the bunch (including the President) who is even remotely serious about deficit reduction, let alone balancing the budget. He is the only one who talks sincerely about shrinking Government (the others say so, but don't actually propose to do it). And he is alone among Republicans...and, this week, Democrats, too...in acknowledging the lives, money and resources that we are wasting overseas.

So, I am going to vote for him and feel pretty good about it. I expect Romney to win the nomination, and unless something really dramatic changes, I will vote for Obama in November (and expect him to win handily). He may be a crappy President, but save for actually starting a war with Iran, it is hard to see what he could do to make me think one of the other guys would be better at it.


Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

I think you're right about why people are talking less about politics this year, but would also like to add that in 2008, primaries covered both parties, so twice as many people were interested in what was going on. Now, we already know the Democratic candidate, so it's only the Republicans who really care. I think Ron Paul is an interesting addition to the otherwise lousy pool of Republican candidates. He is incredibly smart and insightful and is willing to talk about issues the other candidates ignore for fear they are too controversial and will upset the base. However, after about 2 minutes, Ron Paul says sh*t that's so far out there that he completely undoes everything he said up until that point.

Accidentally Me said...

Good point about 2008...really I was only thinking of the Democratic primary as compared to this one, but you are right that everyone was involved.

It seems like none of them can go two minutes without saying something asinine. Santorum seems like he wants to outlaw condoms this week, Gingrich thinks he can make $2 gas, Romney measures a state by the height of its trees, and Obama wants to kill American citizens abroad and maybe invade Iran. Sanity left the building a long time ago!

Mrs. Adventure said...

I'm a Ron Paul girl myself... I'm not really republican but I have to say Romney is scary as hell. He already looks just like any bad guy in any hollywood movie combined with his 'slick' answers he gives me the hibbie jibbies.