Quick Roundup 296

Wednesday, January 30, 2008


I didn't read the whole thing, but the following description of Hillary Clinton from an endorsement by a faction of the Kennedy Clan made me laugh:

The loftiest poetry will not solve these issues. We need a president willing to engage in a fistfight to safeguard and restore our national virtues. [bold added]
While I disagree that wholesale government violations of individual rights will solve all our problems, I do appreciate the forthright analogy. It so perfectly fits both the methods and personality of Mrs. Clinton that one wonders for a moment whether the endorsement is real!

One Neck, One Yoke

Just as I was beginning to see the possible merits of supporting Rudy Giuliani, his foolhardy gamble of sitting out the primaries until Florida did him in and left us with the John McCain -- perhaps the most dangerous politician in America -- as the Republican front-runner.

On the bright side, this seems to simplify the voting strategy for this November: Take a deep breath, hold your nose, and vote for the Democrat for President and the Republicans for Congress. (But see Myrhaf's Take below.) McCain is so dangerous because he is regarded favorably by the worst elements from each party as well as by so many from the somnolent "middle" that he will sit there and work with impunity to destroy America in plain sight of everyone. As I noted some time ago when it seemed that McCain might head up a "Unity '08" ticket:
How would the election of this co-sponsor of McCain-Feingold (i.e., censorship disguised as political "reform"), follower of the Church of Global Warming, and fan of National Service (to name just a few concrete vices) be anything but a disaster, no matter which ticket he headed up?
Now, ironically, we have to hope that Mike Bloomberg joins the fray and damages the Republicans more than the Democrats or, preferably, that Obama wins the Democratic nomination and charms the nation long enough to win office. Somehow, though, I suspect that McCain's win has also taken the wind out of the sails of Unity '08.

Myrhaf's Take

Myrhaf raises some other points about the McCain victory that are worth considering and which call my initial strategic assessment into question. He sees McCain as trouncing the Democrats ("Imagine Perot's 19% added to whatever Bush got in '92.") as well as the following possible silver lining:
A McCain nomination might be good for America for two reasons. First, people will better see that the Republican Party is a party of big government and welfare state. Classical liberals and other supporters of free markets and individual liberty will better see that neither party is for them. Second, if an economic crisis hits the next president, be he Democrat or Republican, it will be a little harder to blame it on capitalism.
Hmmm. Perhaps the best course is to concede the presidency to McCain and vote straight-ticket Democrat....

Books that Make You Drool

Coreyo points to an interesting use of Facebook data: Correlating a college's SAT scores with the books favored by its student body. With the usual disclaimer that correlation does not equal causation, it is interesting in a very smug way to me to note the relative positions of Atlas Shrugged and the Bible. (Click on image for larger size.)

Oddly enough, the (Holy) Bible pops up twice (at the upper left and upper center), with students listing it as "The Holy Bible" having a lower range of SAT scores.

-- CAV


Darren said...

I don't think I can bring myself to vote for either the Democrat or Republican. I voted for Bush the last time around, despite all of his problems, because I felt that the election was more about "fighting Islamic terrorism" versus "global consensus building" than about Bush versus Kerry. This election really does seem to be about Republicans versus Democrats, and I don't want any part of that.

(Though, depending on who the nominees are, I see the chance of socialized health care being a big enough issue to make me... ugh... vote Republican. I'm honestly scared about what's going to happen to my family if we switch a system like Canada.)

I see this election just like that "What is the answer to 2+2?" question in one of your previous posts. They're giving us a set of multiple choice answers that are all incorrect! I see one correct answer in this election, though: Other. My vote will get counted, and my vote will say "none of these guys." I have a lot of time to think about it, but if I had to vote today that's what I'd do.

Gus Van Horn said...

"I see this election just like that 'What is the answer to 2+2?' question in one of your previous posts."

This is definitely true of the individual candidates for President, with or without Bloomberg in the mix. It even threatens to be true with Congress as a whole with McCain as the Republican nominee. A Democratic Congress will, for example, initiate global warming legislation on its own -- which McCain will sign.

Conversely, McCain himself will propose such legislation -- which a Republican Congress would fail to oppose or even ratify outright.

He could beat either Democrat, and either Democrat could beat him, so voting for split government has just gotten a lot harder to do.

I sympathize and I am still trying to completely wrap my mind around what a McCain candidacy might mean.

Burgess Laughlin said...

As I see this situation, the first step is to define a method (decision tree, algorithm) for making a decision. Until there is a method available, all I can do is rely on my subconscious to do the calculations. I would much prefer knowing what factors and what processing is involved. I reject the idea of treating my subconscious as an oracle for a decision as important as this is.

Further, if the individuals who debate or discuss their choices have different methods, or no consciously known method, disagreement even among reasonable people is inevitable.

Gus Van Horn said...

I don't think we will ever be able to come up with a way top boil elections down to a simple algorithm like you want. Consider just the first branch of such an algorithm:

"Do both candidates support individual rights equally? If yes, then choose the better-qualified candidate."

In the first case, how do we know whether someone is a consistent supporter of individual rights? By his stated beliefs, what is known of his character, and his track record (if any) as a public official.

In each case, you are having to judge someone, which is always a difficult process. You will have to do this twice. Then, assuming both equally support individual rights, the slightly less complicated question of who is more qualified comes up -- although even this isn't as cut and dried as comparing lists of accomplishments. Are we at war or not? One leader's personality may make him better-suited to lead in wartime than another with more time in office, for example.

Even in such an election, rational people could disagree because there is so much data to consider that at some point, one has to rely on one's subconscious or one would never get on to doing anything else. Obviously, you want to do that as little as possible, but I don't see how to avoid it.

As I have argued before, our current situation makes elections far more complicated by making us have to ferret out which candidate will do the least damage to individual rights -- a calculation fraught with guesswork and potential for error if ever there was one.

Chalk up another reason to work for social change....

Anonymous said...

With Mr. Giuliani's implosion, I won't be voting in this election, because my conscience will not allow it: none of the current candidates is worthy or suitable for the office of the Presidency and between the uber-statists, Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton, there is absolutely no fundamental difference to distinguish them -- the choice of one or the other is, in fact, NOT a choice at all.

Be that as it may, in a potential match-up between Clinton and McCain, I have no doubt at this point that Mr. McCain would trounce her -- the Rasmussen polls have been consistent over time with respect the respondent's "favorable" or "unfavorable" impressions and, unlike Messrs. McCain and Obama, Mrs. Clinton's "unfavorables" continue to exceed her "favorables".

But I anticipate that Mr. Obama will win the Democrat nomination -- after all, he is the thus-far "likeable" racial-identity-politics chicken come home to roost in the Democrat coop. Consequently, he's become the darling of the substantial "white-guilt" wing of the liberal establishment if not its hard-left core. If he's "snubbed" by the Party delegates, and Black voters (the life-line block of the Democrat Party without which it would have dissolved long ago) decide to stay home as a result, I don't believe a Democrat candidate can possibly prevail over Mr. McCain in the upcoming election regardless of who it happens to be. At the very least, it will be most amusing to see, over the coming months, the Clinton campaign in particular crushing eggshells underfoot with respect to Mr. Obama.

Gus Van Horn said...

"[B]etween the uber-statists, Mr. McCain and Mrs. Clinton, there is absolutely no fundamental difference to distinguish them...."

Come to think of it, you're right. Thanks for connecting those dots for me!

Dismuke said...

We ought to just get it over with quickly and hand the keys to our government over to Hugo Chavez and put him in charge. That's where Clinton/McCain wish to take us - just not as directly and honestly. At least with Chavez we will have a nice buffoon to laugh at on our way to the collective gulag. If we are going to die, might as well die laughing.

If McCain wins the nomination, the Republican Party will have committed suicide regardless of who wins in November. If Evita Clinton wins, then perhaps there may be some hope that something decent might arise from its ashes and fight back. If McCain wins - God help us.

If McCain gets the nomination, I swear that I am going to absolutely FREAK OUT the very instant I hear some mealy-mouthed Republican say that we ought to put our differences aside and vote for McCain "out of party loyalty." You just KNOW that argument is going to be put out there.

Well, assuming that one considers party loyalty above principle to be a virtue (which I do not), then by that very standard, McCain ought to NOT be supported as he has attempted to undermine his own party every chance he has had.

If one considers party loyalty to be a virtue, then John McCain is just as much of a traitor to the Republican Party as McCain's admitted good friend John Kerry (who served in Vietnam, by the way) is to the United States of America and its military. And yet this is the person that that same party might very well nominate as its leader and Presidential candidate and who, I assure you, we will be urged to support in the name of "party loyalty." If you want to know what utter moral and intellectual paralysis and bankruptcy looks like, then THAT is your concretization.

Gus Van Horn said...

What's so sick about this is that polls currently show McCain trouncing both Evita and Obama -- so we will be asked to support McCain simply on that basis, even though he will amount the same thing or worse once in power.

You're right. This IS a concretization of intellectual bankruptcy.