Thursday, November 15, 2012

The State of the GOP Part II: 'Economic Conservatives' are the Problem

There is a trope in educated, white-collar circles that the trouble with the GOP is the fundies -- that the GOP is too tied to white evangelicals and conservative catholics, and that this is what makes the GOP so crazy.  We're going to hear more of this after the recent election, after Akin and Mourdock happened to frame pro-life orthodoxy in a truthful but unflattering way, and lost their senate races in the process.  After episodes like this, we are bound to hear that the GOP's problem is inflexible social conservatism and too much religion.  And those things are not good, probably not for the GOP and certainly not for our nation.  But this narrative of the perfidious fundy highjacking the high-minded conservative movement is untrue on a number of levels, starting with simple chronology.

Monday, November 12, 2012

The State of the GOP part I: We Already Know What a Hispanic - Friendly GOP Looks Like

After being trounced in the 2012 election*, the commentators and GOP politicians and operatives immediately began talking about how they can avoid a route like this in the future.  Their conversation has centered around winning back Hispanics, who decisively supported Obama over Romney, and have moved in a decisively more Democratic direction over the past two elections, while at the same time making up a bigger portion of the electorate, according to the Pew Hispanic center:

The most commonly cited issue is comprehensive immigration reform; Republicans of various stripes now seem to think that this is a very important issue, and their change in tone is understandable.  But the fact of the matter is that the Republican partiy already has a very good blueprint for appealing to Hispanics:  George W. Bush.  They are also unlkely to follow this blueprint.

Friday, November 2, 2012

A Presidential Endorsement of Little Consequence

The editors of this blog hereby endorse Barack H. Obama for reelection to the presidency.  We think he's played his hand very well after being given the worst deal since (at least) Jimmy Carter.  He has passed a landmark health care law, strengthened environmental regulation in some key regards (if not nearly enough) and has successfully extricated the US from Iraq.  Oh, and SEAL Team 6 killed Bin Laden on his orders.

Less substantially, we like the cut of his jib.  He seems to approach the world with a genuine curiosity, which is exactly what our nation needs after the epistemic closure of the Bush years.  Personally, I like having a guy in the Oval Office who wrote his college girlfriends embarrassingly pretensious analyses of TS Eliot (it's nice to know I wasn't the only one) -- it's the liberal art's majors equivalent of being a President you can have a beer with.

But stepping aside from the formalities that's not what most interests me.  The question is, when I live in a safe state for Obama, why vote for him and not a protest candidate, if only to apply pressure on the president on issues like the Environment, Civil Liberties and Drone Strikes?

The fact of the matter is that I disagree more with Gary Johnson and Jill Stein than with Obama.  Unlike Johnson, I don't think that we should eliminate a vast laundry list of cabinet departments and shrink the budget to pre-depression levels.   Unlike Johnson, I don't think that 2 or 3 percent inflation is to be feared, or that hyperinflation is just around the corner, so unlike Johnson, I don't favor a restrictive monetary policy that would risk deflation and strangle our country's fragile recovery.  Unlike Stein, I don't think that we should implement a command economy that would guarantee full employment, or government banks.  So it just doesn't make sense to me to vote for someone with home I have -less- common ground, who isn't even going to win anyway.

For me, and for someone of my beliefs (in short, a free market and government strong enough to offset or check its excesses) Obama is not the lesser evil.  He's pretty damn good.