Uncle Sam

2012 Election Preview

April 28, 2011

Coping with catastrophe. Given that the USA will almost certainly face a humongous economic catastrophe in the next five years, who would best be able to cope with it?

I’m not sure this is an answerable question. Told in 1928 that there was an economic catastrophe on the horizon and then asked which public figure would best handle it, a high proportion of Americans pointed to the brilliant, industrious, experienced, omni-capable, and definitely very serious Herbert Hoover, the most respected man in public life at the time. (One of the few dissenters was the unfoxable Calvin Coolidge, who called Hoover “Wonder Boy.”)

But if Hoover was overwhelmed by the Great Depression, so was FDR, whose policies did very little to ameliorate it. Perhaps when disasters of this magnitude strike, there is nothing anyone can do but flail about ineffectually.

Mitt Romney. Dear old Mitt. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride.

Tim Pawlenty. The ex-Governor of Minnesota is an honest working-class lad who ran a good tight ship but is off-putting in a number of ways. There’s that “Tim” for starters. George Orwell, née Eric Blair, once said it took him thirty years to get over being named “Eric.” It might take me at least that long to get used to “President Tim.” There’s that Midwestern niceness, too. Midwesterners are so damn nice, it’s impossible to dislike them. I like them immensely—real Americans, the salt of the earth. But do I want my nation’s affairs in the hands of someone that nice? I’m not sure I do.

Then there’s the evangelical thing. Certainly a man’s entitled to his religion, and on social and fiscal matters the evangelical heart is in the right place. But the evangelical temperament seems inimical to sensible foreign policy. Michael Brendan Dougherty hints at this in the current (June 2011) issue of The American Conservative:

Asked about the multiplication of American obligations around the world, [Dr. Richard] Land [of the Southern Baptist Convention] quotes the Gospel coolly: “To whom much has been given, much shall be required.” America is a blessed nation and must be a blessing to others.

Uh-oh. Similarly for Huckabee, Palin, and Bachmann.

Pawlenty and Bachmann, however, are up at the top of the NumbersUSA rankings on immigration policy, so perhaps they recognize some limits to the sacrifices Americans should be forced to make on the heathen’s behalf.

Newt Gingrich. I find it really, really hard to imagine myself pulling the lever for Barack Obama, but…not impossible.

Ron Paul‘s in. Well, at least to the extent of having formed an “exploratory committee” this past Tuesday.

This is great news—a candidate worth voting for. Paul would eliminate some of the myriad federal agencies, perhaps even entire departments. He is the only candidate who has ever openly questioned why we keep 52,000 troops in Germany and 36,000 in Japan, or why our government has one agency (the Federal Reserve) empowered to buy bonds issued by another (the US Treasury), or why my income is any of the government’s business.

Paul is a libertarian and therefore suspect on the National Question. He seems more sensible than most of that ilk, though, at least to judge by the interview he gave to VDARE in the 2008 election. Sure, he’s old, but not as old as Konrad Adenauer.

Paul is my guy, though I should brace myself for the flood of angry stories about how his dentist’s cousin’s babysitter once sat on a park bench next to a member of the John Birch Society.

 

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