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January 03, 2012

Fables: The Establishment Isn't Forcing Crap Candidates On Us; Crap Candidates and Crap Voter Decisions Are Forcing Crap Candidates On Us

A useful puncturing of a cherished myth.

McCain won in 2008 because voters disqualified most other candidates (or those candidates disqualified themselves) and because Huckabee wouldn't drop out, even after he was mathematically eliminated, and thus kept the anti-McCain vote split when only one man could mathematically stop him (Romney), which was his intention.

It's easier to just say "Teh Estabilshment." "Easier to say" rarely corresponds with "accurate to say," however.

The Republican Establishment, like the “international community,” is more of a figment than a reality. Whom did the so-called establishment support in 2008? Do conservative voters believe that Republican elites somehow engineered the selection of the least loyal and reliable Republican in the U.S. Senate? And how did that work exactly? John McCain was considered the frontrunner in early 2007. Yet by the summer he was languishing in the polls and so broke that he was forced to take out loans. Was it the establishment that earned McCain the nomination or was it the fact that Rudolph Giuliani ran a terrible campaign, Fred Thompson never got airborne, and Mike Huckabee undermined Mitt Romney’s Iowa sling-shot strategy?

What about 2000? Did the establishment pick George W. Bush? It might seem so, based on primogeniture. But the comfort with Bush came from the grassroots up, not from the top down. Bush himself acknowledged that he was enticed to run not by fat cats at a private club but by the polls. Yes, he was certainly aided in the money chase by his pedigree. But if money determined the outcome of primaries, we’d have been treated to the nomination of Phil Gramm in 1996.

People have this weird impulse to claim that the results of highly complex contests with hundreds of moving parts and unknown variables are, at least in politics, engineered by some controlling elite, deftly pulling this lever and pushing that button to shape the result per their wishes.

Does anyone extend this curious bit of religion to any other highly complex endeavor? When a football games results in a wild fourth-quarter dogpile with multiple lead-changes and a heroic last second 55 yard field goal (as with that Broncos win a month ago), did anyone claim that this outcome had been essentially "scripted" by the League looking to inject drama and narrative storylines into the season?

No. Or at least no one but confirmed lunatics claim this. We understand that even in a rather simple thing like a football game, there are all sorts of unexpected things that can and sometimes will happen, and this will produce unanticipated results.

But when it comes to politics, people suddenly start imagining Cigarette-Smoking Men controlling their very own votes.

I quote this next bit not to boost Romney, but to knock down Paul. While every other candidate is vowing some kind of painful but necessary reform to FDR's arguably-unconstitutional entitlement programs, you know the one guy who's vowing to keep them fully funded?

Paul's plan is to get the money for them from Foreign aid -- a pittance -- and by basically gutting defense. Which also isn't enough, but it's Doctor Ron Paul, so we don't sweat actual facts.

This year, most of the Republican field is strongly conservative. But some disgruntled conservatives are convincing themselves that Ron Paul is a more authentic conservative than Mitt Romney. Really? On the one question that ought to define a candidate’s seriousness — grappling with entitlements — Paul is trafficking in fairy tales while Romney has proposed far-reaching reforms.

So the strict constitutionalist Ron Paul wants to take all the money from a function that is listed as a federal governmental responsibility -- defense -- in order to pay for two programs which are not mentioned in the Constitution, and which, in fact, the Brave Speaker of Truth Paul claims are themselves unconstitutional.

And that, by the way, isn't enough money to keep them funded, but who cares, it's Ron Paul, doing what he does bests, offering fantasy solutions and chickening out from discussing the actual problems facing us, preferring to focus on paranoid bugaboos such as the TriLateral Commission.



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posted by Ace at 06:15 PM

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