Your Lying Eyes

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08 January 2008

What Do We Want in a President?

Happy New Year. I recently joined an obscure Catholic sect which prohibits its adherents from even so much as thinking about wordly affairs from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception through the Feast of the Epiphany, with a one day buffer on each end. That requirement having been fulfilled to the letter, I may now resume blogging. I think I'm going to apply for an indult so I can keep blogging during the sacred Martin Luther King / President's Day interval.

Anyway I thought I'd start out slow, and reflect on what kind of president I would like to see elected. Simply put, my ideal president would be an unalloyed patriot - that is, one who is only interested in what's good for America. Of course people can honestly disagree on what's good for America, but I would be comfortable knowing that that was the president's only concern.

And I'm talking about America the country - not the idea of America, not what someone would like America to be, but the country we actually have. And I don't mean "American ideals" - yes, he should be dedicated to the Constitution, but not to any supposed lofty American idealism that transcends borders and all that crap. The Constitution has quite enough in it to keep any president occupied defending it - limited government, enumerated powers, individual rights, all that good stuff.

What sorts of priorities do presidents have besides the well-being of their country? Well let's look at Exhibit A, George W. Bush. It seems to me that what's best for America is a line of thinking that never even crosses the man's mind. His utmost concern is always his record of accomplishment.

The tax cuts he pushed through in his first year may or may not have been good for the country, but to W. it was a feather in his cap pure and simple. When Reagan pushed his own tax cut through his first year (with a hostile Congress), I have no doubt that he did so feeling it was necessary to awaken the country from its malaise. The tax code was then further re-jiggered at least two more times, with one major overhaul, with his blessing, to straighten out some problems in the previous rate changes. George Bush, on the other hand, simply will not entertain any change to His Tax Cut.

No Child Left Behind and the Iraq War are much more obvious examples of a president more concerned with burnishing his record than helping the nation. Indeed, Iraq was to be his crowning achievement (alas, it was not meant to be). As for Clinton, he seemed equally obsessed with his legacy. There is no line of thinking that could justify bombing Kosovo or invading Haiti as being good for America, though on the whole he took much less dramatic courses of action than Bush, and so his decisions were much less costly.

The current crop of candidates doesn't off much hope in this regard. Giuliani is mostly concerned with winning fights and not being shown up. That was an asset in NYC where the place is overrun with petty politicos minding their own turf, and he could tell them to f-off. Not likely to be a very helpful approach in Washington. Romney likes to take charge of things and run them - it's his obsession, and I fear he has a Bush-like need to have accomplishments to brag about, whatever they may be. With Huckabee, the calling of his evangelical faith will often intersect with America's interests, but when they don't I can bet which way he'll go. As for McCain, he's all about being the hero - saying No to soft money, staring down the yahoos (i.e., Americans) concerned about a non-stop Central-American invasion, standing up to the populists (i.e., Americans) aghast at the erosion of American industry under free-trade. But who knows, perhaps if McCain were to actually become president and finally saw what the mainstream press really thinks of him, he'd say screw 'em all and join us yahoos.

Hillary? Edwards? Please. Obama talks a good game, but he's really not. Don't you get the feeling when he speaks that America is a fill-in-the-blank country? He could be giving the same speech anywhere, running for president of any country - France, Indonesia, Kenya. Wanting to 'bring us together' - the 'audacity of hope' - we don't need to be brought together, and we don't need 'hope'. No, we just need a president who will stop doing stupid things, like sinking $200 billion a year into pointless wars, importing a permanent peasant underclass, off-shoring our industrial base, and turning our schools into eternally doomed social experiments. Sure, Obama will get us out of Iraq at some point, but are you sure he won't just send them on over to East Africa to stop the 'genocide'?

6 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

A fine summation of this year's race, Herr Site Moderator. But you neglected to factor in the wildcard in this election - Mike Bloomberg.

Even though he is an ass, he has the potential to tip this election to the Democratic nominee, whoever that turns out to be. He is already lining up significant support from moderate political forces, among both ex-democrats and ex-republicans. We could be about to witness a Perot '92 redux here. If there had been no Perot that year, Bush I would have been reelected.

For that reason, let us pray its not Hillary that gets the democratic nod.

P.S. Have you noticed how this race is already sounding a lot like the last one, famously called The Election About Nothing. Lots of meaningless platitudes and a determined avoidance of discussions about anything of substance?

January 09, 2008 6:47 PM  
Blogger ziel said...

Talking substance can only get you in trouble.

Bloomberg is obsessed with improving the quality of civic life, and so he wages a constant war against filth, disorder, fat, and disruption. As with Giuliani, this is an Ok approach for the Mayor of NYC. Hell, why should the greatest city on earth have to put up with graffiti, greasy spoon restaurants, trucks from Jersey and chain smokers. But "Nurse Mike" attitude does not translate to running a superpower.

January 09, 2008 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

People in the Midwest, Mountain West, and South dont even know who Mike Bloomberg is. Only in the New YAWK corridor is that guy "felt". He will not be a Ross Perot without tons of media help in my opinion.


McCain is the biggest dissapointment to me personally. I literally think he'd be about as bad as another Bush or even an Obama or Edwards. He has a "my way or the highwayness" about him. When he tells America to "stick it" on outsourcing, insourcing, and no-borders, he is saying "stick it" to overwhelming majorities of the populace. This is a representative democracy. Other than an issue or two involving leadership, the founders pretty much intended our leaders to do what the populace voted for.
Which is why it will be profoundly dissapointing if they vote for John McCain.

After South Carolina and perhaps one more primary, we can tell if Fred Thompson or Paul are dead in the water.


I really would like a third party choice if Guiliani or McCain are my options against a democrat. If there isn't one, I'll probably sit out my first ever election. I refuse to give an open-borders politician my vote.

January 09, 2008 10:31 PM  
Anonymous Dano said...

"A president who will stop doing stupid things"

It is a brilliant summation of what we need. Like "it's the economy stupid" we just need to have a candidate take up the cause.

Sadly all the republicans seem intent on doing stupid

January 12, 2008 10:01 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is Florence King still alive? We could draft her. She'd have the balls to whip Hillary. And, hell, if she is dead, we should still draft her.

king S.

January 13, 2008 1:55 AM  
Anonymous james Francis said...

Guiliani and Bloomberg are regional guys.
Give us a Pres candidate who is about what America.
And we surely don't need an activist turned politician whose religious background borders too close on wahhabism, although the connection between wahhabism and jihadi is hotly disputed.

January 19, 2008 10:09 PM  

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