Friday, January 04, 2008

The presidency as product placement

What a campaign this is turning out to be. All the presidential candidates are unelectable.

Iowa's result promises nothing good. I'll admit to a touch of Schadenfreude at seeing Hillary eating Obama's dust, but Obama still seems to me essentially an "image" candidate. He will win or lose depending on how many people like or dislike him. My problem is that I can't find anything there that compels me to do either. He is the ultimate candidate as product — which, to one degree or other, describes almost the lot of them.

He's also a Democrat, which always raises suspicion.

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Meanwhile, the Republican mob is an equally sorry bunch. Particularly Parson Huckabee, whose position on the no. 1 issue, immigration, is standard liberal amnesty-by-another name:

If you can get an American Express card in two weeks, it shouldn't take seven years to get a work permit to come to this country in order to work on a farm. "So if our government is incapable of making that process in that length of time, then we should do it in a way to outsource it. And here's why: When people come to this country, they shouldn't fear. They shouldn't live in hiding. They ought to have their heads up, because the one thing about being an American is, we believe every person ought to have his or her head up and proud, and nobody should have to be in hiding because they're illegal when our government ought to make it so that people can reasonably come here in a legal fashion.

In other words, Parson Huckabee is happy to welcome all the border jumpers (not to mention the inordinate number of legal immigrants). And so they can hold their heads up and not slink around in the shadows while they congregate by the hundreds in the parking lots, they shouldn't be denied legal residency, as long as they go through a little bit of play acting. Let them spend a day in Juarez while an ultra-efficient government, or perhaps an outsourcing company, goes through the motions of checking to see if they're on the FBI's Ten Most Wanted List before issuing their Express American cards.

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Huckabee is particularly distasteful to me because he has the air of a religious crank, much in the George W. Bush mold, his every thought and feeling taken down in shorthand as he sits on God's knee and served up as sanctified politics.

No sale here for this product, either.

That leaves perhaps two candidates I could vote for without gagging: Romney and Paul. We shall see.


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4 comments:

-J said...

Hi Rick,

Agree with your post, except I'd gag voting for Romney. (I don't trust the 'fluidity' of his positions.)

But, totally off topic, I wanted to share a link with you, in the event you're not already acquainted with this site.

http://www.afterlife101.com/

It seems a good supplement to some of the things I found by following your 'Spiritual' link.

Thanks again and Happy New Year!

-J

Rick Darby said...

-J,

Thanks for sending the link to Afterlife 101. I'll look into it soon. I think it's important to have a good idea of what we might expect to experience when we pass over.

Michael Tams said...

Rick,

I share your opinions of both Romney and Paul. I had ruled Paul out as we differ on some pretty major issues. However, given the ability of any President to drive change, I'm beginning to reconsider Paul if Romney goes down in flames and Paul goes the third party route. I imagine a Paul presidency would be ineffective in driving change (see: Congress) but would consist of record breaking veto activity. Which, I suppose, would be an improvement, wouldn't it?

-MT

Rick Darby said...

Michael,

As you know, the president under our Constitution has — quite sensibly — no direct power over laws other than the veto. Sometimes that is important. But the real power of a president, if he chooses to exercise it, is to guide the public discussion into new channels. If the president makes a policy statement, the mainstream media can't ignore it they way they marginalize other politicians who don't toe the line.

At this point I'm not sure Ron Paul as a third party candidate would be bad. If he draws votes from a liberal Republican, that's no loss. Besides, I suspect he'd pick up some votes from hard-line anti-war Democrats. In any case, he'd have a seat at the table and the ability to get his ideas out. I'm not a hundred percent Paul follower any more than you are, but it would be excellent to have his voice in the mix to contrast with the largely meaningless rhetoric of the major party candidates.