Saturday, February 07, 2015

The Primaries

I wrote the previous post on Rick Santorum because one of WaPo's "breaking news" emails covered the
Santorums' book Bella's Gift for some reason, and I found it an interesting and somewhat moving article. In the process of writing I went back and read a few of my posts written during the 2012 GOP primary campaigns.  Ugh.  I should not have done this, as my usual ebullience has suddenly abandoned me; I feel a bit down. I suspect we are about to see another fiasco.  If the Republicans (and Democrats this time) do not want a fiasco, here's what they must do.

1. No one should enter the race unless s/he first has a well defined, non-contradictory set of principles.

2. Every position, policy, and proposal must flow directly from those principles.

3. Every proposal, policy, and proposal must also be informed by carefully checked facts.

4. If a position, policy, or proposal seems to be unpopular, instead of waffling, flip-flopping, or prevaricating, the candidate must carefully, soberly, logically explain why voters should change their minds and see it his/her way.

The chances of this happening are zero, I know.  And even if it happened it would not guarantee good policies or candidates.  Some sets of principles are wrong and their policy consequences destructive.  But this would at least give us a coherent discussion.  And I have an ulterior motive here: I fear there will be no serious discussion of one of the greatest threats facing the United States: the exploding national debt.  Unlike almost any other threat I can imagine, this threat is not merely a possibility, but a certainty.  I expect no one will give it genuinely serious attention.  Oh, sure, someone will propose raising a tax here or cutting an expense there, some symbolic gesture that has no real effect.  But think of this as a bellwether.  American politics at the Federal level will remain utterly useless at best until it begins to grapple seriously with this dangerous and difficult issue.

Alas, if Hillary and Jeb and Chris Christie and Chief Elizabeth "you didn't build that" Warren are what we are going to get... alas.

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