Republican score card

I didn’t watch the debate last night between the Republican presidential candidates.  I hear they all ganged up on Herman Cain, who really has become the putative front runner as the alternative to Mitt Romney.  I heard that Michele Bachmann cast aspersions on Cain’s 9-9-9 tax reform plan by telling voters to turn the numbers upside down (6-6-6–get it?).  You know, that might be enough to sink Cain with many Christian voters.  Again, I didn’t watch it.  Maybe some of you can report how it went and what light it shone on the campaign, if any.

At any rate, here is where I think the candidates stand right now with the general public (not me, necessarily, the general public):

1.  Mitt Romney.  The Mormon who laid you off.

2.  Herman Cain.  Not even in the pizza industry is the top boss an entry level position.

3.  Rick Perry.  Too Texan.

4.  Ron Paul.  Too Libertarian.

5.  Newt Gingrich.  Too mean.

6.  Michele Bachmann.  Violated her confirmation vows in leaving Lutheranism over the antichrist flap.  No one can win without the hotly contested Lutheran vote.  (OK, that is more me than the general public.)

7.  Jon Huntsman.  We already have Mitt Romney.

8.  Paul Johnson.  We already have Ron Paul.

9.  Rick Santorum.  He’s smart.  He’s principled.  He hasn’t got a chance.

How would you characterize the candidates so far?



Individualism vs. collectivism

Here is how George Will answers Elizabeth Warren’s statement that we posted yesterday:

Such an agenda’s premise is that individualism is a chimera, that any individual’s achievements should be considered entirely derivative from society, so the achievements need not be treated as belonging to the individual. Society is entitled to socialize — i.e., conscript — whatever portion it considers its share. It may, as an optional act of political grace, allow the individual the remainder of what is misleadingly called the individual’s possession.

The collectivist agenda is antithetical to America’s premise, which is: Government — including such public goods as roads, schools and police — is instituted to facilitate individual striving, a.k.a. the pursuit of happiness. The fact that collective choices facilitate this striving does not compel the conclusion that the collectivity (Warren’s “the rest of us”) is entitled to take as much as it pleases of the results of the striving.

Warren’s statement is a footnote to modern liberalism’s more comprehensive disparagement of individualism and the reality of individual autonomy. A particular liberalism, partly incubated at Harvard, intimates the impossibility, for most people, of self-government — of the ability to govern one’s self. This liberalism postulates that, in the modern social context, only a special few people can literally make up their own minds. . . .

Many members of the liberal intelligentsia, that herd of independent minds, agree that other Americans comprise a malleable, hence vulnerable, herd whose “false consciousness” is imposed by corporate America. Therefore the herd needs kindly, paternal supervision by a cohort of protective herders. This means subordination of the bovine many to a regulatory government staffed by people drawn from the clever minority not manipulated into false consciousness.

Because such tutelary government must presume the public’s incompetence, it owes minimal deference to people’s preferences. These preferences are not really “theirs,” because the preferences derive from false, meaning imposed, consciousness. This convenient theory licenses the enlightened vanguard, the political class, to exercise maximum discretion in wielding the powers of the regulatory state.

Warren’s emphatic assertion of the unremarkable — that the individual depends on cooperative behaviors by others — misses this point: It is conservatism, not liberalism, that takes society seriously. Liberalism preaches confident social engineering by the regulatory state. Conservatism urges government humility in the face of society’s creative complexity.

Society — hundreds of millions of people making billions of decisions daily — is a marvel of spontaneous order among individuals in voluntary cooperation. Government facilitates this cooperation with roads, schools, police, etc. — and by getting out of its way. This is a sensible, dynamic, prosperous society’s “underlying social contract.”

via Elizabeth Warren and liberalism, twisting the ‘social contract’ – The Washington Post.

The choices are individualism or collectivism.  Or is there something in between?

The social contract

In addition to my other pessimistic predictions, I am thinking that liberal ideology will soon return to popularity.

Here is a forceful statement by the liberal law professor and Obama administration regulator Elizabeth Warren, now running for Scott Brown’s Senate seat in Massachusetts:

“There is nobody in this country who got rich on his own. Nobody. You built a factory out there — good for you. But I want to be clear. You moved your goods to market on the roads the rest of us paid for. You hired workers the rest of us paid to educate. You were safe in your factory because of police forces and fire forces that the rest of us paid for. . . . You built a factory and it turned into something terrific or a great idea — God bless, keep a big hunk of it. But part of the underlying social contract is you take a hunk of that and pay forward for the next kid who comes along.”

via Elizabeth Warren and liberalism, twisting the ‘social contract’ – The Washington Post.

So does she have a point?  How would you answer her?

(By the way, she’s from Oklahoma, and, as I recall, my brother Jimmy, sometimes commenter and contributor to this blog,  knows her!)

The Christian right’s candidate: Ron Paul?

The Values Voters Summit is a convention of Christian political activists that takes place in Washington, D. C., each year.  This weekend the various Republican presidential candidates came hat in hand.  After their presentations, a straw poll was conducted.  The winner with 37% of the vote?  Ron Paul.

Such a large percentage of Christian conservatives are favoring the libertarian who wants to legalize drugs and prostitution?  Some are saying the poll was skewed by Paul supporters who crashed the party.  And yet, I can see this.  I know quite a few Christian political activists and a lot of them, including some on this blog, favor Paul.

What I am seeing is that the Christian right, political ideology, and politics itself are all getting more complicated than they used to be.  And that’s a good thing.

Values Voter straw poll organizers suggest a fix in Ron Paul’s win – Political Hotsheet – CBS News.

Romney’s Mormonism – Washington Post

Sarah Palin won’t run either

Yet another potential Republican candidate that some people were hoping might enter the fray has said, “no.”  Sarah Palin has announced that she will not run.  On top of that, Florida governor Marco Rubio has he won’t even accept a nomination for Vice-President.

Over 300 million people in this country and the Republicans can’t find anyone they like to run against Obama?

Ed Driscoll » Palin’s Not Running. Update: Marco Rubio Out As Veep?.

Christie won’t run as lead reshuffles

Chris Christie announced that he will not run for president.  Meanwhile, Rick Perry is fading fast, and Herman Cain has caught up with him, moving into a tie for second place.  In first place by a lot:  Mitt Romney.

Here are  details from the latest polls:

Among announced candidates — without Christie or Palin in the race — Romney leads with 25 percent, which is identical to his support from a month ago. Perry and Cain are tied for second with 16 percent, numbers representing a 13-point drop for Perry and a 12-point rise for Cain since early September.

Rep. Ron Paul (Tex.) is the only other candidate in double figures, at 11 percent. Just behind him are former House speaker Newt Gingrich (Ga.) and Rep. Michele Bachmann (Minn.), both with 7 percent. Gingrich’s support has held steady through the late summer. Bachmann’s numbers fell sharply after Perry announced his candidacy.

Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) and former Utah governor Jon Huntsman Jr. bring up the rear, with Santorum at 2 percent and Huntsman at 1 percent.


Chris Christie not running for president in 2012 – The Washington Post.

Rick Perry slips, Herman Cain rises

UPDATE:  A CBS poll has Cain tied with Romney for the lead at 17%!