Monday, November 7, 2011

The Third Party Jinx

By Alan Caruba

I regard the primary campaigns for a party’s nomination as a sign of the health of the two party system, but they can be brutal; unless, of course, you are a Democratic Party member being frog-marched toward Obama’s nomination.

The elections themselves always take a measure of the nation’s political health and sanity, but as we saw in 2008, a sufficient portion of the electorate lost their wits and voted for Barack Obama, a man with no obvious qualifications to be President and a past that was carefully hidden from serious examination.

I am reminded of the 1992 elections when then-President George H.W. Bush, possibly one of the most qualified men to hold the office; a man with a lifetime of service to the nation from World War II to holding many positions including ambassadorships, the director of the CIA, and of course, two terms as Ronald Reagan’s vice president, lost reelection.

Ross Perot
What cost him reelection was a third party candidate, Ross Perot, a Texas billionaire who turned out to have a decidedly nutty side to his personality. He drew off enough votes from Republican H.W. Bush to put William Blythe Clinton into office for two terms; one that included a sordid sexual relationship with a White House intern young enough to be his daughter.
Of the various people vying for the Republican nomination these days one is Libertarian Ron Paul, also from Texas, whose ideas are also often nutty. Some are good, but he is an isolationist in a world where terrorism knows no borders. There is word circulating around that he might form a third party and, if he does, we risk repeating 1992 except that President Obama will be the beneficiary, retaining office if enough disaffected Republicans and Libertarians cast valuable votes for Paul.

There is no need to review Obama’s record. He has proven himself to be the worst president since Jimmy Carter, outdistancing him in terms of sheer incompetence, but also displaying some personal characteristics that are downright scary.

In a recent Wall Street Journal column, Karl Rove, credited with being “the architect” of George W. Bush’s two election campaigns, explored “The President Who Hates to Govern”, noting Obama’s love of campaigning as opposed to his interest in actually governing. “President Obama has attended 60 campaign fund-raisers this year. That’s one every four days since he kicked off his re-election on April 4. By comparison at this point in 2003, President George W. Bush had appeared at only 28 fund-raisers.”

“Energetic at campaigning,” said Rove of Obama, “he’s lethargic at governing.

“Mr. Obama’s indifference to governing has led him to out-source the drafting of the key legislation. That happened with both the Stimulus I and Obamacare, resulting in ineffective, unpopular and unworkable laws.”

“Mr. Obama looks like a one-trick pony—a man who is good at giving campaign speeches, but very little else.”

At the risk of being a dime-store psychologist, a recent book devoted to mental disorders has a chapter on “narcissistic tendencies” and it is worth considering its description of behaviors that include arrogance, boundary violations, over-reaction to criticism, lack of empathy, entitlement, envy, exploitation, and magical thinking.

These add up to a borderline personality disorder and they fit Obama like one of his many tailored suits. In many ways they make him a good campaigner because, as we have seen, Obama will say anything, use any group including the Occupy Wall Street protesters, and exploit fears of economic collapse as he did in 2008 and does now, blaming President Bush and the Republican Party.

His kind of magical thinking led him to believe he could bring Islamists from the dark side into a world of reason. When reality set in, he got busy giving the orders to kill Osama bin Laden and a who’s who of Muslim bad guys.

Magical thinking is a good description of the failed Stimulus I and drives him to believe that a few more hundred billion will solve economic problems deeply rooted in too much government spending and borrowing. This explains the extraordinary joint session of Congress in which he repeated over and over again, “Pass this bill now.” Even his own Party rejected it.

In 1992 enough voters took a pass on George H.W. Bush to hand the election to Bill Clinton whose campaign mantra, ironically, was “It’s the economy, stupid.” The nation later came within a few votes of putting Al Gore, Clinton’s vice president, into the Oval Office. That election gave us George W. Bush whose place in history is still under review, but who, during his eight years, restored American’s confidence in our national security.

“It’s the economy, stupid” should be the mantra of whoever leads the Republican Party in 2012. Fanciful campaign plans to fix the economy are no substitute for political expertise, economic smarts, and a firm grasp of how dangerous the world is.

Least of all, we do not need a President who is a textbook definition of narcissism, who is disdainful of people “who cling to their guns and religion.”

Those two things brought America into existence and those two things are still its first line of defense.

© Alan Caruba, 2011


Ronbo said...

I think Ron Paul very likely will run as the Libertarian Party presidential candidate, but I don't see him drawing off more than 1% of the votes.

scott adie said...

Obama's narcissism borders on messianic obsession. In his trite mind, he can do no wrong and believes that all those who do not worship him as King are pitiful but he will save them anyway. Let us hope that Mr. Paul does not create a third party. That would definitely produce a schism in the Republican party as well as with many Independents.

Alan Caruba said...'re probably right on that call.

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...

How much worse off would we be under a Paul administration?

Alan Caruba said...

@Dave: Though I like some of his ideas for reducing the size of government, etc, I have strong doubts about his grasp on reality when it comes to other issues. I doubt, too, he will ever be President.

J Johnston said...

Ron Paul is going to cause a disaster. He must know his likely tactics will give the presidency to Obama in the next election! However, he does make some good points. If one of the viable Republican candidates acknowledged Ron Paul's good points and touted those additional issues it seems the Ron Paul quandary would go away. Politics...... what a mess!!!

Anonymous said...

I felt somewhat nauseous after reading your praise of GHW Bush. He is the most outspoken advocate of, in his words, "A New World Order" which is the 1 government Globalists takeover of the planet. To further quote GHWB, "we will succeed". This means handing American sovereignty over to 'them' along with all other nations. I witnessed these words as he spoke them many years ago.

On the bright side, I read, and enjoy your opinions daily,,,except the weekends of course.

Alan Caruba said...

@Dean. I have always wondered why Bush is tagged a one-worlder as I have not seen much evidence of it. I doubt Reagan would have chosen GHWB as his VP if that were the case and, after reading GWB's recent book, I still didn't see any advocacy. The phrase "new world order" has been around a long time and used in different ways by different people.

Anonymous said...

@Alan. I just searched 'a new world order speech GHW bush', and found the transcript of the speech he gave to a joint session of congress on Sept 11, 1990. Another website has it as 1991. There is a video available also. I remember it like it was yesterday, but didn't think much of it as I was busy in my business, and providing for my family. I know now that this is something we do not want. has the transcript. Check it out if you are curious, Dean.

Schism said...

G. W. Bush may have restored the nation's faith in our security, but it was done with smoke and mirrors. I've no doubt the man was sincere, but he gave us the Department of Homeland Security to duplicate critical functions of the DOD, the TSA to fool us into thinking something serious had been done about security in the air, and he demagogued us into a land war in Asia, something any competent general knows to avoid like the plague!

Honestly! Trying to impose "democracy" on Bedouin, Kurdish and Riff tribesman? On Muslim conservatives and fanatics? Forcing an individualistic philosophy on people whose loyalties are to family and tribe, and who still remember fighting Alexander the Great almost to a standstill like it happened last week? What kind of madness was that?

As well try to convert the Russians to drinking scotch and the Chinese to eating mashed potatoes.

Alan Caruba said...

@Schism: Commentaries by their very nature are short, so a writer had a choice of referencing either the best results or worst that a president achieves over four to eight years.

Dave's Daily Day Dream said...


How I wish we could do one more radio program together! Alas, my voice is gone.

Alan Caruba said...

@Dave: Your voice may be gone, but your brain is working just fine. I continue to do a fair amount of radio these days, but nothingto write home about.

Angus McThag said...

What I don't understand about Ron Paul is why he continues to get funding from the Republican party when he's so intently not part of their platform.