Friday, November 27, 2009

Race For The Pure

A civics lesson from Matthew Yglesias:
I know some liberals who are excited about the prospect of a joke candidate like Sarah Palin or Dick Cheney getting the GOP nomination in 2012. Not me. The basic fact of the matter is that power tends to alternate between the two political parties. Ultimately, the nation’s interests require both parties to nominate the best people possible. So I hope the Republicans find someone who’s very smart and compelling and does an excellent job of identifying and explaining the flaws in Barack Obama’s approach.
That's not what actually happens. Whether the races are local or national, the best, and best-funded, candidates end up in campaigns where they have a good chance to win. Was Bob Dole really the best candidate to run against Bill Clinton in 1996 or Walter Mondale against Ronald Reagan in 1984? And as a matter of fact, it's not just Democrats who are rooting for a Palin candidacy in 2012. If Republicans nominate her or someone similar and lose as decisively to Barack Obama as I assume she would, Republicans will learn the kind of lessons about being an inclusive, winning party that only two consecutive losses can teach.


Anonymous said...

Just found your blog and lovin it. It is good to have a touch of your depth while we are away from So. Cal.
Cindy K.

Fr. John said...

Thanks, Cindy.

MK said...

I think you're right, the person who matches up best against an opponent doesn't always run, especially when a popular incumbent runs for a second term. In the past, the Republican party has been perceived as one where one waits for one's turn. RN benefited from that, his efforts in the mid-term elections in 1966 paid off dividends in 1968. That seems to be changing now, things are so volatile. What I wonder about populist anger is, are any of the candidates who are going to try to tap into it actually going to offer realistic solutions--workable within the existing framework? It's not as if anyone is going to be able to demolish DC and the way things get done. Or are we largely going to hear vague feel-good slogans about the people's native intelligence, angry rhetoric about throwing the "bums" out, praise for authenticity, and so forth. Campaigning as a reformer and an outsider is one thing, getting things done in Washington is something else, as more than one candidate has found after being elected.