Sunday, February 3, 2008

A no holds barred post on the election

A post transferred from the blog Cahiers, etc...

The argument that an experienced candidate cannot be agent of change strikes me as a silly argument, even as an unrealistic argument. Over on Deep Furrows, Fred brings up a very good point, namely that if we elect another inexperienced president, like Bush, who in my opinion is mostly a disaster precisely because he was forced to rely on those around him, many of whom had agendas of their own (i.e., Cheney, Rumsfeld, and Wolfowitz), along with poor Alberto Gonzalez, a person who, like the president, was not well prepared for the Beltway milieu, we are in for another four years of a weakened executive who is forced to listen to people who will inevitably set the agenda for the administration and not necessarily pursue the president's priorities. In a time when foreign policy experience is needed more than at any time in the history of our republic, more hard, cold ideology, wild-eyed idealism, inexperience and näivete scare me. The candidates most susceptible to the kind of machinations that President Bush has, in my opinion, been the victim of, are Edwards, Huckabee, Obama, Romney, and Paul.

To make my case a bit more, if one attends to the areas that President Bush has been allowed to fall back on his experience as the governor of a large state, areas such as life issues, including abortion and euthanasia as well as fetal stem cell research, and the duty of the government to support and defend the institution of marriage and family, as well as immigration, his record is much better. In fact, on these issues his record is pretty good, not perfect, he apparently has no moral qualms about executing people and, judging from his gubernatorial record, quickly. I also think that the President believes in the supply-side, unfettered market brand of economics, with which I am in total and utter disagreement as I think it incompatible with Catholic social teaching.

Another argument I think tremendously weak is that because Mitt Romney was successful as a venture capitalist he will make a good president. Anybody who, like Romney, thinks the free market system can sort out health care and who looks to the rapacious private sector to govern the nation, is someone to be wary of. We do not need a C.E.O. president who seeks to wed the Cabinet room with the boardroom. Governing is different from corporate management.

In my opinion, the worst type of candidate is the Romney/Giuliani type who are either instinctive (Romney) or committed (Giuliani) social liberals and who are conservative economically. I believe this is the least Catholic kind of candidate. On the positive side of the equation, John McCain is quite solid and a true leader, as is Hilary Clinton, who is much more of a centrist than she gets credit for, but who is still very socially liberal, especially as regards marriage and family.

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