Strengthening Constitutional Self-Government

No Left Turns

It’s the Temperament, Stupid

Forget "experience." George Will makes the case that McCain is temperamentally unsuited to the presidency. I really get the feeling that Will might be planning to cast his vote for Obama, come what may.

Meanwhile, over at The View, Former President Bubba predicts an Obama victory, but then goes on for nearly two minutes with fulsome praise for McCain, leaving more than a little doubt about whom he may vote for behind the curtain.

All of which presents a conundrum for fans of Saint Sarah. Does Palin really want to be John McCain’s Vice President? One sage friend put it to me this last week: "She’d have to be prepared to resign in protest of McCain’s derelictions." But that’s not really practical in the real world of party politics.


Discussions - 13 Comments

But sometimes McCain's blasts are rightly directed. He's as much unsuited for the presidency as George Will is temperamentally unsuited to be a newspaper columnist.

No, Will has a point. If it weren't for the alternative, what conservative would be happy about McCain? "Let's get Andrew Cuomo to fix this." Ye Gods! How is that a good idea?

I wonder how McCain relates to Sarah Palin. Is he condescending, patronizing, as might be suitable in a patron? Do you suppose he takes her seriously, so that if she says, "Why Andrew Cuomo, for heaven's sake?" he even hears the question. Her popularity in the party has to be awfully uncomfortable for him, although the pick is one for self-congratulation in so many ways.

Sorry, Ken, I think Will is right in this one. McCain's response to the current events in the economy makes me very uncomfortable.

Well, our Sarah certainlly isn't afraid to resign to make a point and even to further her ambition by deposing her patrons. These are fine Machiavellian qualities. I sort of agree with kate that Mac hasn't responded well to the economic mess, and his inability to take serious, sober, and somewhat populist stands on domestic issues is a shortcoming that may cost him the election. He not temperamentally disqualified from the presidency or anything like that, of course. But he has his strengths and weaknesses, as do we all.

The GOP needs to revise it's primary rules for 2011-12 to minimise the chance of future McCain style nominations.

By which I mean a candidate winning the nomination with a minority of the votes cast. And where that minority is drawn mostly from non-Republican voters.

sometimes McCain's blasts are rightly directed

I can think of no such instances.

You have to admit that McCain looked rather silly calling for the Cox dismissal as if that was the answer. I don't know if Cox deserves to be attacked but I do know that when one calls publicly for the firing of an official, he had better have a good reason and he'd better be prepared to defend it. Otherwise he looks foolish. McCain looked foolish when he said this. There's no getting around it. But Will forgets something rather important when he casts the choice in terms of the false dichotomy of the "Queen of Hearts" v. the "inexperience" of Obama. Obama is just as temperamentally unsuited to the presidency as McCain is. It's not just that he lacks experience. He also lacks wisdom and judgment and genuine sympathy with the people he means to govern. He's just as arrogant and self-assured as McCain is . . . but he's never, ever tempered by anything resembling true humility. He is the loud-mouthed college kid home from school and sitting at the Thanksgiving table, giving lectures about "life" to all of the adults there assembled. Would that he were only "inexperienced." This is why McCain's experience is relevant. The arrogance question may be a wash (though at least McCain does seem to have some genuine sympathy with regular Americans). But age--if not an electoral advantage--will be a governing advantage for McCain.

As for Sarah . . . back in the day (before the combined ticket) there was something of a tradition of Vice Presidents--while not doing much--not necessarily working in a way that was beholden to the guy in front of them. While I think we should stick with the combined ticket, maybe that other part of the older tradition should be revived if McCain-Palin win? Whether it should or should not be revived, I kinda think it will be.

Everyone seems to be assuming that Governor Palin will seek the Presidency on her own, sometime in the future, {4 years from now, or 8}.

But she may not. Did you see that interview with her husband, up there in Alaska. Does that guy look the kind of fella' who really looks forward to being in Washington for the next 8, 12 or 16 years? They might desire to return home, to Alaska.

If McCain/Palin win, have you guys given a thought to the level of social snobbery the Palins will soon have to deal with. Washington won't prove very welcoming to the Palins, especially if Governor Palin tries to make good on her promises of reform and real change.

On George Will, it is important to remember that Will is much closer to Obama than to McCain when it comes to the Iraq War and on dealing with Iran (though Obama and Will probably arrive at their similar conclusions for different reasons). A Will vote for Obama is certainly not out of the question.

More interesting and disturbing is David Brooks' article in The New York Times announcing (and seemingly celebrating) the arrival of "progressive corporatism". According to Brooks, taxes will go up, but that the wise men of the government will get together with the wise men of finance to make sure that this money is channeled into intelligent directions (like green energy). For some reason, Brooks seems to think that this is a desirable rather than a sinister development. What makes Brooks think that these new Big Government/Big Business alliances will be any more rational or less corrupt and corrupting that Fanny or Freddy? To some extent, the current difficulties were made worse by the corporatism of Fannie and Freddie. I can see why liberals like corporatism - it extends the economic power of government. I can see why well connected businessmen like corporatism - it gives them access to taxpayer money and gives them a leg up on less well connected but more efficient rivals. But why would conservatives who value limited government, and efficient markets, and populists who distrust unaccountable elites, not do everything they can to resist such a development?

Pete, Brooks sounds like Herbert Hoover, at least from your description of the article. At this point, and with our government as it is, Hoover-style government/business connections SEEM like limited government. I keep reading, "This time, we just have to. It is really important and necessary, just this once." but Republicans seem to have "Just this once(d)" themselves into a party of big government. Apparently, we are stuck with it.

Julie and Dan's points about Sarah Palin are some of the things folks around here pray about. When people in my church ask God to protect Sarah Palin, they assume the nasty pressure of the press and things like Palin's disinvitation to the rally opposing Ahmadinejad. But they also assume the Washington regulars, even among Republicans, are not going to be as sweet and kindly as they might to be. They are presumed not to be quite "Christian", as my folk think of Christians. How much self-sacrifice for the good of the country can anyone take?

Well, given all of that stuff, the vice-presidential debates ought to be really interesting, although the post debate commentary will probably be written well ahead of the event.

Sen. McCain's signature cause has been campaign finance regulation, an issue with which Dr. Will has had a peculiar obsession in recent years. One might recall also that he has been vociferously contemptuous of all of the men who have held the Presidency since 1972, with the notable (and curious) exception of Ronald Reagan. IIRC, his disdain for candidates for that office has been nearly as comprehensive. The column is not, in that context, out of the ordinary.

But why would conservatives who value limited government, and efficient markets, and populists who distrust unaccountable elites, not do everything they can to resist such a development?

I keep reading, "This time, we just have to. It is really important and necessary, just this once." but Republicans seem to have "Just this once(d)" themselves into a party of big government. Apparently, we are stuck with it.

You folks seem surprised. Will THIS shatter your illusions that the GOP is the home of conservative aspirations?

Personally, I doubt it. More rationalizing around "what else do we have" and of course, "the judges, my god, the judges" (interestingly Will has no illusions about this) is surely to follow on this thread and many more like it.

I wonder if the coming complete (we are partial now) socialization of medicine will be the proverbial straw? Nah. How about when they decide to tax all those riches sitting in Roth IRA's out of "necessity". Nope. My guess it will be the socialization of fast food. Not until you are buying your Big Mac from the government will you "conservatives" realize that the GOP is not your friend after all...;)

If it really takes this sort of thing to "save" America then we are really in trouble. Where is the revenue going to come from now that banks have their liquidity. The tax payers shoulder the burdens of the failed bussiness? Why did we not subsidize the small stores who could not compete with Wal-mart. No matter how this is spun it runs counter to any sort of free markets theory and by supporting it I do not see how any conservative can claim to stand for they have told us they believed in for years. What is the new definition of conservatism? Anyone want to tackle that question?

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