Do the Republicans Deserve to Lose?

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Liberty readers presumably want to defeat President Obama and the Democrats. Apart from his beliefs, policies, and associates, Obama is a decent man. His challenger, to have a chance of winning, should be one also. Moreover, he should not have so much in his background requiring excuses and apologies — no matter how valid — as to preempt the voters’ limited attention from policy issues.

No one has a right to the nomination, or to complain about unfairness if he doesn’t get it. Electability is a reasonable requirement even for the most decent person.

Gingrich’s excuses and apologies are not even good ones, in my view, even though they may work in campaigning. His undistinguished record at West Georgia College, his questionable ethics and other reasons for being forced out of the speakership and even out of Congress, his half-truths, his “grandiosity” (so identified by Rick Santorum), and his marital infidelities all testify to his character. His claim to have changed his character and to have received or at least to have asked for God’s forgiveness strikes me as disgusting hypocrisy.

In a column in the Opelika-Auburn News of January 21, the paper’s publisher aptly calls Gingrich “an arrogant, hypocritical, corrupt blowhard” who “is disliked most fervently by those people who know him best. . . .” In my word, he is a slimy character.

Mitt Romney seems competent; and if he commits himself to so-called conservative policies, however belatedly, I suppose that he will faithfully pursue them. He could quite probably justify how he made his money and why he paid low taxes; but his doing so, however soundly, will leave a residue of doubt with many voters and will divert time and attention from real issues. He lacks charisma. Again, it is not unfair to expect electability of a candidate.

Rick Santorum appears to be a decent person, but he devotes too much attention to pushing socially conservative views rather than to real economic and fiscal problems. Ron Paul is sincere and passionate; but the voting public is not ready for consistent libertarianism, perhaps especially not on foreign policy. Gary Johnson would have been a more persuasive candidate inclined toward libertarianism. In comparison with the now remaining four aspirants, Jon Huntsman appealed to me.

It is hackneyed but relevant to recognize that the personal characteristics required of a successful campaigner are quite different from those of a high government official. What could be done? The Founding Fathers, well versed in history, had foresight. The Constitution, Article II, Section 1, says that each state shall appoint presidential electors “in such Manner as the Legislature thereof may direct. . . .” The legislatures might constitutionally specify the appointment of electors otherwise than by statewide direct popular vote, conceivably even by lot (although better ideas may turn up). And the electors from all the states might be encouraged to meet and discuss candidates before casting their votes. Of course, no such reform is in the cards.

As things now stand, I am afraid that Bret Stephens is right in his Wall Street Journal opinion piece of January 24: “The GOP Deserves to Lose.” I’d appreciate being shown why my pessimism is mistaken.




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Comments

HGH

I'm not particularly a fan of Cleveland. Actually, Grant, despite the corruption all around him, was not a bad president by any means. Sean Wilentz gave an interesting defense of Grant in the New York Times about a year ago. Still, it was a dismal period politically, with the "best Congress money can buy" and men of little vision in the White House. I say this in spite of the fact that President Benjamin Harrison is (or should I say was?) a cousin of mine.

Jon Harrison

I'm not particularly a fan of Cleveland. Actually, Grant, despite the corruption all around him, was not a bad president by any means. Sean Wilentz gave an interesting defense of Grant in the New York Times about a year ago. Still, it was a dismal period politically, with the "best Congress money can buy" and men of little vision in the White House. I say this in spite of the fact that President Benjamin Harrison is (or should I say was?) a cousin of mine.

The Crackshot Crackpot

Jacques Delacroix, a sometime contributor to this publication, has also lamented the current crop of Republicans in the field: The Last-Before-Last Republican Follies, especially in regards to international trade.

Would Obama be a better choice this year?

Herb Schaffler

I want to see Obama lose because I want to see Obamacare repealed, but the Republican candidates with the exception of Ron Paul are warmongers who will likely get us involved in a disastrous war with Iran, if it doesn't happen this year.

Fred Mangels

Looks like Obama is interested in attacking Iran, too. As far as Obamacare goes, I doubt any of the Republican front- runners are really interested in repealing Obamacare.

Jane S. Shaw

I don't know whether the Republicans deserve to win or not, but I am rearranging my thinking in light of the increasing probability that they won't.

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