I try not to be too openly partisan on this website, but I worry a lot about the course of US conservatism, especially after 9/11 and because I am a registered Republican. And this was genuinely horrifying. Just watch. This is from the Republican primary debate on September 7 and should tell you why a vote for against the GOP is practically a moral requirement, at least until the Tea Party fury fades. Someone vote for Huntsman please…
The best piece I have seen on that debate is this. Also, from deep in the military-industrial complex comes this from a friend:
“After watching Wednesday’s GOP debate, I think Rick Perry will probably win the nomination. I think Mitt Romney is actually underrated as a general election candidate – he’s smart and he stays on message, he looks presidential, and I’m certain the Tea Party will give him wide latitude to moderate after the nomination if that’s what it takes to win the election. People say all the time that the Tea Party won’t support him – I disagree. They’re as hive-minded as the rest of the ‘conservative’ (i.e., radical reactionary) movement. They’ll line up behind any plausible candidate with an effective general election narrative regardless of past sins, if he or she demonstrates a present willingness to their bidding.
When it comes to the nomination, what Rick Perry says doesn’t matter as much as how he says it. I’ve never actually heard the guy talk before until the debate. I was expecting more rootin’, tootin’ Yosemite Sam unpredictability than Perry showed, and the left should be little nervous. The left’s ‘Bush-without-the-brains’ narrative for Perry isn’t going to hold. I think George Bush was slow and incurious and frequently kind of goofy, and he sounded like it when he talked. But the right loves decisive alpha males and Bush claimed to be one, even if as a manager he was weak, passive, and indecisive. But despite some stumbles (which will probably dissipate with experience) Perry doesn’t sound like a moron. I think he is a lot like Bush (I mean that in the worst possible way), but reading him from your gut, the guy projected decisive alpha-maleness without the moronic, verbal lost-in-the-woods dead ends and cliffhangers that afflicted Bush and made watching him speak such a nerve-wracking experience. (ed.: I love that last line.) And Rick Perry has none of Bush’s fundamental goofiness.
In the general election I think Perry’s attacks on Social Security as ponzi scheme will cost him but…maybe not. The line that those on or approaching SS have nothing to worry about may actually work. People our age really don’t believe SS will be there, and selfish, aging boomers will absolutely love the thought of pigging out on the remains of SS while it’s being eliminated for the rest of us. Tell the average narcissistic boomer that SS will be there for him, and screw the rest of us, and he’ll be perfectly satisfied with the arrangement. Younger voters probably won’t care or even bother to show up, and a lot of those who do see SS as a poor investment vehicle rather than as social insurance will welcome its “restructuring”. The proper Dem response should be, “Just wait – they’ll take it away from everybody the second they get the chance” and then let the GOP scramble to promise it won’t. But Dems are far too weak and inept to go on offense like that.
My prediction for the general: The analytical and fundamentally decent Obama is compelled to qualify and explain his thoughtfully crafted policy positions, vs. a Perry unrestrained by rational thought or character or policy ideas. In politics, any time you’re explaining anything you’ve already lost. Perry doesn’t explain himself, much like Bush, and both benefitted from this because it concealed the vacuity of their ideas.
Perry will lean forward, stay on offense, and lie without hesitation. Obama will stay on defense and complain about the lies and continue trying to prove how reasonable and decent he is, which swing voters don’t give two tosses about.
So I can see Perry pulling this off. Obama is superior and preferable in every way but the one that matters right now because of the nation’s current malaise – that gut feeling swing voters will have about who’s packing more testosterone. Dems never, ever learn that strut as important as policy to governing, and that policy has almost nothing to do with winning elections. There were hints in Obama’s jobs speech that he may shelve the tweedy jacket and start going on offense – which is great! – but that’s not naturally in his character.
With Perry, it is. There was a great shot of Perry grabbing Ron Paul by the arm and poking a finger in his face during one of the debate commercials. That’s the real Perry, and the GOP is in thrall to that kind of tough-guy strutting. Just look at the body language in those pictures! A lot of voters are going to love that.
BTW, I also thought the bloodlust on display with the applause over Perry’s 234 executions was repulsive and frightening, and his gosh-no response to the question about his discomfort over dishing out so much death (well deserved or not) could have been delivered just as easily by George Bush.”
For more GOP ‘cheering for death,’ came this from the second debate. What is with the bloolust?!
NB: On a different point, East Asianists should not miss this from the ‘rising China’ debate.