"It profits me but little that a vigilant authority always protects the tranquillity of my pleasures and constantly averts all dangers from my path, without my care or concern, if this same authority is the absolute master of my liberty and my life."

--Alexis de Tocqueville, Democracy in America

Monday, May 16, 2011

Republican Presidential Campaign - Notes Toward a Supreme Fiction

We keep hoping for a perfect candidate, the "Giant" who will rescue us from all evils and restore utopia.  Not going to happen.   So, some notes toward the "supreme fiction" of a GOP Presidential candidate who can defeat Obama and restore us, in a minor key, to some semblance of smaller government and living within our means as a society:

1.  Newt Gingrich implodes.    No one really thought Gingrich could win this thing.   Too much baggage.  But did he really have to come out over the weekend and call Paul Ryan a "radical" whose plans for Medicare in his budget are "right wing social engineering"?   Really?   I think most GOP primary voters think Ryan didn't go far enough.   Cross Newt off.  

2.  Romney gets some decent press.   From Hugh Hewitt, no less, who claims that his speech on Romneycare, in which he promised to repeal Obamacare by executive orders granting waivers to all 50 states on his first day in office, was secretly brilliant.   I don't know.   And I don't like, as a Constitutionalist, the notion that presidents can simply undo legislation they don't like by granting waivers.   And Hewitt has long carried water for Romney.   But it doesn't hurt him and maybe he can get to the point where Romneycare (the Massachusetts precursor to Obama's national health care reform) can be dismissed as "old news."  

3.  Trump and Huckabee demur.   Who's kidding whom?   Does anybody believe that Trump was going to run for President and give up Celebrity Apprentice?   Does anybody believe Huckabee was going to run for President and give up his FoxNews gig?   Too much money involved.   Now wait for the Sarah Palin shoe to drop, although maybe she could get some legs from being the one GOP candidate who didn't grab for the brass ring of television millions.   

4.  Paul Ryan speaks.   Ryan is speaking today at a high profile event, the Economic Club of Chicago.   Here's the text.   And here's a couple of key passages:

Those committed to the mindset of “shared scarcity” are telling future generations, sorry, you’re just going to have to make do with less. Your taxes will go up, because Washington can’t get government spending down.
They are telling future generations, you know, there’s just not much we can do about health care costs. Government spending on health care is going to keep going up and up and up… and when we can’t borrow or tax another dollar, we’ll have to give a board of unelected bureaucrats the power to tell you what kind of treatments you can and can’t receive.
If we succumb to this view that our problems are bigger than we are – if we surrender more control over our economy to the governing class – then we are choosing shared scarcity over renewed prosperity, and managed decline over economic growth.
That’s the real class warfare that threatens us – a class of governing elites picking winners and losers, and determining our destinies for us.
We face a choice between two futures. We can continue to go down the path toward shared scarcity, or we can choose the path of renewed prosperity.
The question before us is simple: Which path will our generation choose?
Sounds like a candidate.  Over the weekend, Ryan did not demur when asked about running for Herb Kohl's now open Senate seat in Wisconsin.   If he's willing to do that, is he willing to run for the big job?   Maybe, maybe not.  

In short, there are lots of balls still in the air. 

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