Sunday, December 11, 2011

A weak field, but so what?

There continues to be a great deal of discussion regarding the weakness of the Republican field for the Presidential nomination. And to an extent, such discussion--following from such criticism--is fair. After all, the field includes a Northeastern pseudo-conservative, a know-it-all flip-flopping K-street insider, and an apparent creationist, given to making insensitive remarks. And those are the supposed front-runners, the "serious" candidates.

But here's the thing: the Office of President is about leadership, it's about overriding--not specific--issues, and it's about having a path forward. As much as we would like to know with certainty where candidates are on these things, we often can't. Too many times we think we know, only to be proven wrong by the candidate in short order.

Witness the quite divergent Presidencies of Democrats Bill Clinton and Jimmy Carter. One oversaw an economic boom--something that was mostly a consequence of Clinton knowing to stay out of the way--while the other was there for a downward spiral that led to the coining on the term "stagflation." And make no mistake, Carter's policies were part of the problem. One managed to be the leader of the Free World, the other stumbled like a buffoon, in that regard. Yet, looking back at their candidacies, both were credited with having strong intellects, with possessing political acumen, and--by those on the left--with positions consistent with social justice, with a willingness to meaningfully address these core issues.

Bill Clinton served two terms and had it not been for his sex drive, would have left office with a record of successes rivaling any recent President. Carter was out after one and his bungling led to a new faction in the Democrat Party--Reagan Democrats--that easily carried Reagan into office with huge electoral numbers, rarely seen (the most electoral votes ever received by one candidate, in fact).

And let's remember that Reagan, himself, was seen as weak by many, as a bit of a joke candidate. No doubt--if he were running today--the Republican field would still be "weak" to most people. This is not to suggest that there's a Reagan lurking in the field. It's certainly possible (I'd humbly suggest that Bachmann is the most plausible in that regard), but not really the point. Which is that the weakness of the current President makes the issue irrelevant.

After all, just three days ago, the President said this:
I know the suggestion right now is, is that somehow, well, this Keystone issue will create jobs. That's being determined by the State Department right now, and there is a process. But here's what I know: However many jobs might be generated by a Keystone pipeline, they're going to be a lot fewer than the jobs that are created by extending the payroll tax cut and extending unemployment insurance.
Extending unemployment insurance creates jobs? That claim is so laughable, it's not even worth addressing. It's nonsensical blathering that indicates a complete lack of understanding, with regards to how the economy--or any economy--actually functions. Moreover, Obama presents his point as an either/or proposition, which  is equally laughable.

How strong does a Republican candidate really need to be, in order to be better than that?

Cheers, all.

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