Saturday, February 09, 2008

Another Election, Another Catastrophe

The catastrophe of Super Tuesday. After all these years, the republicans are aiming to nominate another imperialist warmonger. On the single most important issue of the day, they are consciously opting for the least popular position. It is also the one on which they are most clearly in the wrong. ARE THESE PEOPLE TOTALLY INSANE???

Okay, sorry. I'm getting off on the wrong foot here. [Takes a deep breath.] Let me start over.

As you may already know, my views on concrete politics can be summarized like this, roughly in order of decreasing importance: Pro-peace (the only possible justification for the horrors of war is national self-defense against an imminent attack). Pro civil liberties, even if they cost something in terms of national security (that's right, freedom isn't free, dumbass!). Low taxes (if you earned it, its yours). Economic freedom (you can sell both pot and junk bonds). In sum, as far as feasible, I try to be pro-choice about everything. Not just killing fetuses. War, the ultimate act of coercion, is anti-choice. So is excessive economic regulation.

This seems like a perfectly coherent, consistent position to me. The strange thing for me is that, after the voters have spoken, there are no surviving candidates that come close to this combination of positions. Once again, I'll have nobody I can stand to vote for, unless I go for third party candidates.

I took a very interesting survey, the Select Smart Presidential Candidate Selector. You answer twenty five questions, giving your position on all the major issues of the day. You also get to specify how important each one is (good idea, guys!).

The results were a combination of yawns and shocks. The best candidate, after Theoretical Ideal Candidate, who agrees with me 100% is Ron Paul. Well, duh. I note with interest, though, that his my rate of agreement with him, the best real candidate, is only 75%. After that, going down the list, there are no Republicans at all, until we get to Mitt Romney, at 50%. Superior to Romney are Obama, Edwards, Kucinich, and Clinton. The worst candidate of all, at place #31, is Mike Huckabee.

Here is the complete computer-generated ranking:

1. Theoretical Ideal Candidate (100%)
2. Ron Paul (75%)
3. Kent McManigal (campaign suspended) (71%)*
4. Barack Obama (70%) Information link
5. Christopher Dodd (withdrawn) (67%)
6. Bill Richardson (withdrawn) (65%)
7. Dennis Kucinich (withdrawn) (65%)
8. Wayne Allyn Root (64%)
9. Al Gore (not announced) (61%)
10. Wesley Clark (not running, endorsed Clinton) (59%)
11. John Edwards (withdrawn) (57%)
12. Michael Bloomberg (says he will not run) (56%)
13. Hillary Clinton (51%)
14. Mike Gravel (50%)
15. Mitt Romney (withdrawn) (50%) k
16. Alan Keyes (50%)
17. Joseph Biden (withdrawn) (49%)
18. Tom Tancredo (withdrawn, endorsed Romney) (47%)
19. Alan Augustson (campaign suspended) (45%)
20. Chuck Hagel (not running) (45%)
21. Rudolph Giuliani (withdrawn, endorsed McCain) (43%)
22. Fred Thompson (withdrawn) (38%)
23. John McCain (37%) Information link
24. Tommy Thompson (withdrawn, endorsed Giuliani) (36%)
25. Newt Gingrich (says he will not run) (36%)
26. Duncan Hunter (withdrawn) (32%)
27. Sam Brownback (withdrawn, endorsed McCain) (32%)
28. Jim Gilmore (withdrawn) (31%)
29. Elaine Brown (30%)
30. Stephen Colbert (campaign halted) (30%)
31. Mike Huckabee (24%)

What gives? The best candidate from my point of view, is a Republican, and the worst one is also a Republican.

Well, part of it is that others don't slice and dice the issues the way I do. They combine different ones. There are people who are for freedom and low taxes but don't think war coerces people or raises taxes. There are people who are pro-choice, but don't think driving an SUV or deciding whether to pay for health insurance is a choice. They seem inconsistent to me. But of course I seem inconsistent to them -- I guess. But truth to tell, I'm really not sure what they are thinking any more.
* I hadn't heard of this one. You can find his blog here.


Anonymous said...

"E pur si muove!" ...which aptly applies not only to the "powers that be" of the medieval church but also this economic empire they've built; which is why Ron Paul advocates doom for our economic policies and defense spending.

Rebecca said...

Ron Paul is only barely a republican. He's run for president as libertarian but unlike the [L]ibertarian party, Paul has realized that you can't change things from the outside.

Your views are similar to mine, which are essentially [l]ibertarian. Small government, freedom to do whatever and pay the consequences yourself. Not the over the top ideologues that control the [L]ibertarian party (and are the reason I stopped dealing with them decades ago) but a more reasonable approach.

Unfortunately in US politics we are alone. Yet another election comes where I am forced to prioritize the issues I care about and choose the lesser evil. Since I value peace and freedom over small government (or rather I no longer am under the impression that a republican will give me smaller government) I'll be voting democrat. It hurts.

Lester Hunt said...

Rebecca, For people like us, all the live options hurt. I envy the people on The Daily Kos and Crooked Timber who look at Obama, Clinton, or Edwards and see three versions of almost-perfect, the only problem being that their positions may not be extreme enough. For me, that's not the problem at all. It's that each of the still-viable candidates is good on some issues and terrible on others. The very structure of the two-party system disenfranchises us, but not them.

unitybroth said...

With Romney leaving the race there is no experienced businessperson left seeking the presidency. In this time of economic/educational/environmental trouble, I damn sure think it would be beneficial to have a proven executive that has made intelligent business decisions throughout his life.

Help get Mike Bloomberg into the race at

Lester Hunt said...

I don't know much about Bloomberg, but he looks like another of those blankety-blank "moderates." See my next post, above.

Kent McManigal said...

Extremism in defense of liberty is no vice; moderation in opposition to tyranny is no virtue. Don't vote for evil. Give me a radical.

Lester Hunt said...

It's Kent! Himself! I like your blog, buddy!

Kent McManigal said...

Hey, thanks. I am taking a bit of a break from it, trying to wait til I can be a little more upbeat.

Kent McManigal said...

The lesser of 3 evils is still evil. Socialism is evil.

Lester Hunt said...

Ruchira, My qualm here stems from the fact that these questionnaires are about concrete issues and not matters of principle. On Iraq, Obama is indeed better (from my point of view) than the Republican candidates (except of course for Dr. No), but it does sound like there are other countries that he would be glad to invade in order spread democracy and justice at sword-point.