Here’s what I would like to happen in the Republican primaries, starting today.
The establishment repudiated and embarrassed so badly it creates a reform movement in the Republican party.
Someone nominated who can get elected.
Preferably a governor, or at least someone who has “made consequential decisions,” as Christie so aptly put it.
Someone nominated who is committed to rolling back federal power.
So … who is that?
1. Trump and Carson are the biggest pokes in the eye to the establishment, but they are my last choices among all the Republican candidates. Next in line as pokes in the establishment’s eye would be Cruz and Fiorina, I guess. I’m not excited about either of them.
2. The only truly unelectable candidate running is Carson, IMO, because he’s so clearly in over his head. I’m worried about Cruz’s electability because he’s such an odd fellow and rubs people the wrong way. Even me, and I mostly agree with him on policy issues. The rest of them have various pluses and minuses.
3. Bush, Kasich and Christie are the remaining governors in the race. I don’t want another Bush and I don’t like Kasich, so of the three I would lean towards Christie, but … I really don’t want him either. Fiorina has been responsible for big decisions, but I’m not sure that’s going to be a plus for her.
4. The only two candidates who seem truly committed to rolling back federal power are Cruz and Fiorina. The rest pay it lip service, but I don’t think it drives them.
I’m not sure where that leaves me. With Fiorina? She’s incredibly sharp and articulate, but for some reason I’m not thrilled with her candidacy.
How would you parse this?
Oh … and on the Democratic side I hope Clinton does better than expected. I want her inevitable fall to be an absolute catastrophe for the Democratic Party, so the better she does, the more consequential that will be.
Every once in a while I see some exhortation to rise above — to see that we’re all in this together, or we only have one planet, or we need to solve this for the children, or … whatever. The point is to make all our partisan bickering seem small and inconsequential.
Okay, that’s usually true, and that sort of attitude adjustment can help in some cases. It’s easy to descend into pettiness.
But once the attitude is adjusted, you still have to do something, and then you’re back in the weeds, and all the differences of opinion about how to do that thing come flooding back into the discussion.
I suspect that most people think it’s only the other guy who needs to get some perspective.
“He’s only being difficult because he’s not thinking of the children” (or whatever), and once he gets his head adjusted he’ll come over to my, sensible point of view.
I think I may be done with Rubio. His answer on drafting women was horrendous and it disturbed me.
I’m also pretty disgusted with Christie, for two reasons.
First, in previous debates he pretended that he was taking the high road and wouldn’t attack other Republicans, but tonight he showed that was just a tactical decision that he would abandon as necessary.
Second, his answer about abortion — that a mother is “defending herself” by having an abortion in a case of rape or incest — was ridiculous and awful.
So … who’s left? I’m not excited about anybody. I say this very reluctantly, but … Bush is looking better. I don’t want Bush, but … who?
Generally speaking, the people who call in to CSPAN radio are required to sniff glue for 12 years before they call, but from time to time you get some interesting calls, and it is an interesting peek into how people think.
I just heard a black woman say that she’s going to vote for Sanders, but if he doesn’t get the nomination then she’ll vote for Trump.
That sounds like a strange choice from the perspective of the liberal-conservative divide, but her main concern was about immigration and that the system is rigged.
The next caller claimed to be an Evangelical Christian who believes in small government, and she wants to vote for Hillary.
People are weird, and they’re motivated by strange things.
She thought she was the best candidate back in 2008. Then this freshman Senator comes out of nowhere and gets everybody excited about hope and change, and she — the inevitable one — the one who was going to make history — fades.
“It’s because he’s black,” she must have thought. “We’re tearing down the barriers and overcoming our prejudices, and maybe people were more comfortable crossing that one first. Okay, I can live with that (grrrrr). But my time will come.”
So here we are at her time, and she’s still struggling. She’s not getting the coronation she thought she was due. And it’s not like the guy who’s beating her represents some oppressed minority. He’s an old white guy.
Yesterday I mentioned how it seems that if you push something far enough, it gets so silly that it turns on itself. I read something along those lines today on this page.
At the far right side is anarchy, which means there is no government at all, although the resulting chaos usually means that people have no control either. (Ironically, anarchy usually ends when a strong man takes over and creates a totalitarian regime.)
Feminism seems to be doing this now. It’s gone so far, and is so stupid, that its stupidity is becoming too obvious to ignore.
It follows from feminist reasoning. If we’re all equal, why shouldn’t women have to register?
But it may be the poison pill that turns the tide on feminism. It may be that this will be a step too far, and fathers will rise up against it. And then, maybe, people will have the sense to question the stupid ideas that got us to this point.
There’s a country music song that says too much of a good thing is a good thing. Is that true? I have my doubts, because some things are only good in the right measure.
It seems to me that too many rules leads to contempt of rules. Too many health guidelines leads to contempt of health guidelines. And too much “be nice” talk leads to a contempt of politeness.
What I’m thinking about right now is the tendency to push compassion a little too far, and a post I skimmed on another site made me think of it in the context of orcs.
In The Hobbit, goblins and orcs are mysterious, awful creatures that live underground and have absolutely no redeeming qualities. They’re the perfect foe. You can kill them without mercy because they don’t deserve any mercy. Killing a goblin is like killing a rattlesnake.
But in The Two Towers, we meet some of them when Merry and Pippin are captured, and we even get to peer inside their minds a little. Even while we’re disgusted at them, we realize they have their own culture. They have interests, ambitions and feelings that we can relate to. They’re still disgusting, but they’ve been humanized a little.
Is it still okay to kill them? Yes, but the morality of it has changed a little. There are small glimpses of compassion, even for the orcs. Faramir says that he wouldn’t deceive an orc with a lie, and Gandalf says that he pities Sauron’s slaves.
Then, of course, there’s Gollum — the ultimate example of the disgusting, irredeemable creature that we grow to pity.
We like to think of this as a moral advance. Learning to have pity and compassion on your enemies, even when they are wholly disgusting, seems like a good thing. And it is, generally speaking. But is it possible that even compassion is only good in the right measure?
I’m reminded of my reaction to stories that say “X is just as bad as smoking.” As there are more and more examples — sitting all day, eating hot dogs, tanning indoors, not getting enough sleep, etc. — I start to wonder if smoking is really all that bad. First they make us feel that smoking is the epitome of evil, then they start crowding the field with other stuff.
What they want is for everyone to be convinced that smoking is awful, and then expand the awfulness to include other things, so that people start looking on hot dogs with the same disgust they have towards cigarettes. But it might not have that effect. Warnings lose their impact after a while.
In the same way, excessive compassion might wear thin. It’s getting a little silly these days. Some people expect us to have compassion on chickens, for heaven’s sake — with posters of little girls petting them and so on.
We can’t be afraid of everything and we can’t have compassion on everything. It just doesn’t work.
The idea that we should sympathize with everybody’s feelings, respect everybody’s culture and so on may result in a nasty backlash. I think we’re seeing the beginnings of it in Europe with the reaction to the immigrants.
When immigrants act like Orcs, and the government puts up signs gently instructing them what not to say and where not to put their hands in the presence of bikini-clad women, you’re feeding a backlash. “Enough is enough!”
Obviously I’m not agreeing with people who imply that all immigrants are rapists, or anything silly like that. I’m saying that to a certain extent it’s predictable. An excess of a false kindness is causing, and will continue to cause, an ugly reaction.
The more the government tells us that Islam is a religion of peace, the more people will distrust the government. The more they tell us that immigrants from Muslim countries are lovely people who just want to escape war, the more we will distrust immigrants.
Too much “you can’t say that” leads to people saying that, and more. Excessive political correctness has given us Trump — a foul-mouthed guy who says some pretty outrageous things, to thunderous applause.
Compassion is good. Kindness is good. Looking at things from the other guy’s perspective is good. But when it becomes an idol, the universe pushes back.
It’s no surprise that Gentle Ben did better among women, but note that Trump did only 1% better among men than women. All this talk about how he’s a sexist and … whatever … didn’t seem to matter with the Iowa voters.