Saturday, November 15, 2008

Politics 101

Recent polls and exit polls continue to show that a solid majority of Americans identify themselves with conservative values. A recent NBC poll indicated that more than 80% believe that God belongs in public life and discourse. Why, then, did the Democratic candidate, espousing radical views, such as support for infanticide and associations with hate-America types, win the election? Answer: 1. getting and keeping a good job is the most important single force in the lives of most people, if they do not feel threatened by external forces, and 2. strong conservatives did not accept John McCain as a conservative and stayed home.

McCain was actually slightly ahead in most polls until the state of the housing crisis and the credit and mortgage meltdown required urgent and unprecedented action, which left most people very concerned about their own future economic security. In the face of such concerns, whichever party is in power has no chance to win an election, no matter where the fault may lie.

In other words, values count, and will be a deciding force in an election only if the basics that concern Americans are thought to be under control. Ronald Reagan came into power due to the disastrous economy under Jimmy Carter, but Bush 41 came into power on the basis of values, because the economy seemed under control at the time of the 2000 election.

Most of us have accepted an active government role in the economy, but not everyone understands that free-market capitalism is the basis for the vast increases in standards of living that have occurred in developed countries over the last 100 years, even though capitalism occasionally goes through periods of excess and cleansing, known as the business cycle. It is the role of government to ease the pain of recession and to prompt growth through tax cuts and incentives, not to micromanage the economy. Liberal Democrats, in particular, do not seem to understand this point, and that is their main weakness.

If history is any guide, over the next four years we are going to see many failed policies put into effect. If this scenario plays out, and the economy remains in recession or worse, the chances of a Republican turnaround are quite good, irrespective of the strength of the candidate’s conservative values. If the economy improves significantly, the Republican candidate must represent strong traditional values and inspire the Republican base.

This analysis argues strongly for a Romney candidacy if the economy remains weak, and a Sarah Palin candidacy if the economy improves significantly.


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At 1:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Unbelievably silly and specious.

The inescapable conclusion is that "traditional conservative values" are a veneer or an affectation, lightly held, which voters abandon in the face of existential threats that we all know will not be ameliorated by fake gods, Horatio Alger fables or jingoistic appeals to national "exceptionalism."

In other words, Bibles and bunting are the first deadweight tossed from the lifeboat when real problems (that can only be resolved using pragmatic mechanisms and non-magical thinking) form up a squall line on the horizon.

Without, I'm sure, intending to, the author has made the perfect case that "traditional conservative values" -- like fabric choices or dishware patterns -- are frivolous luxuries that only factor into the voting calculus when the people are fat, happy and secure.

In other words, they are not "values" at all, but the sort of vapid, sentimental biases that -- in comfortable times -- inform the choice of color schemes for a sailboat, or the selection of dining room wallpaper.

In fact, in moments of prosperity, the passion with which some people argue for capitalism versus socialism, Republican versus Democrat or Romney versus Palin is indistinguishable in both intensity and illogic from a domestic dispute over whether to purchase an area rug or wall-to-wall carpet.

In contrasr, however, when the house is on fire, no one gives a rat's ass whether the hose is rubber or plastic.

So much for "values."

At 3:10 PM, Blogger RussWilcox said...

Anonomous, you should study Maslow. Perhaps, if you did, you would not be so judgmental.

At 5:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It appears that you have recieved some diatribe from a person that has evidently taken a large dose of a verbal enema that doesn't make much sense at all.

At 2:52 PM, Blogger road warrior said...

I agree that once the economy and the housing marker took a plunge with Bush in charge it sent everybody over the edge and it was next to impossible for a republican candidate to win the election. Especially after the liberal illuminati got through talking about him (McCain). But i think more will need to happen than you suggest for a republican to be president again, at least any time soon.


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