Sunday, May 15, 2011
We Elect Politicians, Not Saints
By Alan Caruba
It’s always a good idea at the beginning of the long political marathon that leads to Election Day to remind ourselves that we are electing a politician, not a saint.
It’s also a good idea to keep firmly in mind that everyone we do elect is a human being with all the flaws and failures of judgment and behavior that comes with that dubious distinction.
When he was campaigning, Jimmy Carter made much of his being a born again Christian and having taught bible studies at his church. He turned out to be a dunce at just about everything else. That toothy grin of his was the predecessor of Barack Obama’s famed dazzling smile.
As various Republicans toss their hat in the ring, they will have been subjected to vigorous and sometimes vicious “opposition research” by Obama’s campaign team and, surprise, by those representing their opponents.
It is one of the great mysteries of our time is that none of them have discovered that Ron Paul, the Libertarian, is not in fact from some distant planet instead of Texas. Few candidates advocate nuttier ideas non-stop than Dr. Paul. If you want comic relief, keep an eye on him. On the subject of nutty ideas, Romneycare is one that candidate Mitt Romney keeps defending and will until he likely loses the nomination. Bad ideas are bad ideas not matter whose name is associated with them.
In her Saturday column for The Wall Street Journal, former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan reflected on the continuing popularity of New Jersey Governor Chris Christie who keeps being asked if he will run despite constant denials. She even speculated that there might be a draft Christie movement if the other candidates prove to be too boring or inept to defeat Obama.
That’s what makes politics so much fun. It also makes a run for the presidency an expensive effort and one that requires the stamina of an Olympic contestant. Noonan called Christie “normal”, adding that “A lot of people at this point in history think only the abnormal run for president.” And speaking of normal, Herman Cain fits that description and may begin to look very good to voters as time goes along.
Normal or abnormal, the power abrogated to the mainstream press remains intact as too many people rely on what is surely that most biased “reporting” to be found in a presumably free nation. In the tank for any Democrat, readers and viewers will have to look elsewhere for alternative sources of news about Republican candidates.
Having voted since the days of John F. Kennedy, I confess that since my parents were Democrats, I was a Democrat. I paid little attention to the merits of the Democrat candidate, nor any of his promises. I suspect a lot of people vote like that, but as Paul says in First Corinthians, “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things.”
I cast my first Republican vote for Ronald Reagan and have not taken any Democrat candidate seriously since. After Reagan I endured eight years of Bill Clinton including his impeachment for lewd behavior in the Oval Office.
Little did I or anyone else know what a complete looney Al Gore, his vice president was.
Al gave his wife, Tipper, a huge, lengthy kiss before accepting the nomination and I am pretty sure even a lot of Democrats were cringing. We dodged a big bullet when George W. Bush defeated him.
But! George W. helped run up the largest deficit in modern times while President and Obama multiplied it to the point of putting the nation in its worst financial crisis since the end of the Civil War.
This is why the economy is going to be the single, over-riding issue of the 2012 elections and why Barack Obama can spend a billion dollars to get reelected, but will be defeated.
Americans do not elect Presidents who preside over inflation, unemployment, housing foreclosures, Obamacare, open borders, and a lifestyle in office that rivals Arab sheiks.
We have to wait until the end of the month to learn if Indiana Governor Mitch Daniel will run. If he does, he will be the most fiscally conservative candidate and Republican primary voters will grow accustomed to his lack of charisma, his dry wit, his abundance of good sense, and record of good governance.
Add Rick Santorum and Tim Pawlenty to the field of those making a serious effort. Forget Sarah Palin who will not run and Donald Trump whose run will end the day “The Apprentice” finishes its present season.
That leaves Newt Gingrich and the aforementioned Ron Paul. They are the circus sideshow before you get to the big tent. I don’t even think Newt is running to be elected. I think he’s running to increase the sales of present and future books, dvds, cds and possibly t-shirts.
As for saints, they are very scarce among politicians. Anyone remember John Kerry’s running mate, John Edwards? Or former Senator John Ensign, Republican from Nevada? Or…or…or…all the rest that embarrassed themselves and everyone who voted for them?
The profession of politics calls for the moral flexibility of a contortionist. Former President Harry Truman said it best, "My choice early in life was either to be a piano player in a whorehouse or a politician. And to tell the truth, there's hardly any difference."
© Alan Caruba, 2011