Wednesday, January 4, 2012

A Quick Musing On Why Being Displaced Sucks

I think I have a sense of empathy with Iowa Republican voters.
Before the Iowa Caucuses, David Brooks wrote,
The Republican Party is the party of the white working class. This group — whites with high school degrees and maybe some college — is still the largest block in the electorate. They overwhelmingly favor Republicans.

It’s a diverse group, obviously, but its members generally share certain beliefs and experiences. The economy has been moving away from them. The ethnic makeup of the country is shifting away from them. They sense that the nation has gone astray: marriage is in crisis; the work ethic is eroding; living standards are in danger; the elites have failed; the news media sends out messages that make it harder to raise decent kids. They face greater challenges, and they’re on their own.
The Republicans harvest their votes but have done a poor job responding to their needs. The leading lights of the party tend to be former College Republicans who have a more individualistic and even Randian worldview than most members of the working class. Most Republican presidential candidates, from George H.W. Bush to John McCain to Mitt Romney, emerge from an entirely different set of experiences.
Last evening according to this New York Times article
Republicans appeared sharply divided between those whose top priority is defeating President Obama and those seeking someone representing traditional conservative principles and religious values, according to a poll of voters entering the Iowa Republican caucuses on Tuesday. . . .

Self-identified Tea Party supporters made up almost two-thirds of caucus attendees. But they did not appear to favor any one candidate by a large margin. Rick Santorum, the former Pennsylvania senator, received about 30 percent of their support.
In short, 75% of the voters voted against winner, and 70% of those who would seemingly be natural Santorum voters turned against him.

This pattern Brooks predicts will lead the United States to vote in another "election that is Harvard Law versus Harvard Law."  I'm not opposed to the idea of intellectual folk being in charge.  Plato may have been on to something with his philospher kings

I can however emphathize with Republicans who have trouble finding a candidate that shares their values.  I'm not looking forward to choosing between Republicans who seem to gearing up for a
war with Iran and a Democrat who Conor Friedersdorf reports
imprudently empowered the executive branch: the fact that President Obama himself concedes as much. "I want to clarify that my Administration will not authorize the indefinite military detention without trial of American citizens," he said in a statement released when he signed the bill. "Indeed, I believe that doing so would break with our most important traditions and values as a Nation." Put another way, our shortsighted president, knowing his own intentions, has assured us that he won't exercise powers in the bill that he regards as un-American, but doesn't mention that the restraint he vows won't bind future presidents one bit.
When it comes to choosing between war mongering imperialists and civil liberty denying imperialists, the choice between Harvard Law and Harvard Law doesn't looks so bad until one notices that both Harvard Law guys are the imperialists.
You'd think a litmus test presidents would use when bills come across their desk would be, "Does this empower my successors to do anything that would break with America's most important traditions and values?" You'd think if the answer were yes, prudence would demand a veto. But Obama has signed a bill that fails that very litmus test. This reflects badly on his judgment.

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