Posted on | December 20, 2011 | 6 Comments
Mitt Romney has a blog post up that sounds real swell. I wouldn’t damn this notion with anything but faint praise:
The first step in returning to an Opportunity Society is scaling back our vast federal government. I will put every single government program to a simple test: Is this program so critical to our nation’s future that we should borrow money from China to pay for it?
Read Romney’s entire focus-group approved message.
Mitt sounds like he’s unwilling to admit that the Progressive penetration, however slight, has sodomized the Constitutional order. What is required is a straightforward Enumerated Powers check against the Federal government, and then a transition plan to unwind the substantial over-reach that has accumulated.
Governor Romeny, this ‘so critical’ test is piffle. Where DC has over-reached in the last century, the correct remedy would be to amend the Constitution to legitimize the over-reach. Am I making this up? Check out the million-plus hits on emergency extension of unemployment benefits. How many acute, critical extensions of unemployment benefits do we need before we have the integrity to admit that this is a chronic, status quo, business-as-usual situation?
May I double down, please? ‘So Critical’ is precisely the sort of code phrase that targets two audiences. It sounds reassuring to the proles, delivered in those practiced tones, and gives them something to vote for. It also re-assures that bureaucrats that, within those deep down devilish details, there Will Be No substantial reform. Business as flipping usual, boys. The subtext of the campaign is that if bureaucrats want to keep their gravy train going, they had better subvert the GOP primaries and make sure Mitt wins. Or Newt, who is also likely to be ‘reliable’, IYKWIMAITYD.
Is anybody curious why Ron Paul has such traction? Is it really a phalanx of over-caffeinated supporters running about? Or maybe, just maybe, does the notion of going after the Federal over-reach with hammer and tongs actually have some appeal?
Jonah Golberg wants to, but seems closer to Romney:
Paul routinely says that he’s the only candidate who promises real change. For instance, he proposes cutting $1 trillion from the budget in the first year of his presidency. Now, show of hands: Who thinks Ron Paul could get those kinds of cuts through Congress?
It’s like all of the debates and discussion are just “Whacky stuff candidates say to get elected.” I mean, we’re not here to reform anything; we’re here to talk about reform as though it was something we genuinely meant, right? I would argue that cutting $1 trillion would require three things:
- President Paul does not get ventilated for trying.
- President Paul goes all Thermopylae, fighting off the Bureaucratic Hordes of Xerxes with his +5 Vorpal Pen of Veto.
- Most importantly, the people would have to back him up. The transition would not be pleasant. Neither is getting sober. But we really can’t all be Vodka Pundit. Some of us have to work at it.
Thus, I’d contend that Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are the bookends of the GOP field. Notwithstanding the foreign policy, I think Ron Paul is spot on with the bulk of what he says. The unworkable foreign policy is almost a feature: it allows him to advocate domestic policy sense and drive the GOP in a necessary way, while ensuring that nobody with a realistic view of foreign policy is going to vote for him.
Finishing off with the faintest possible praise, Mitt’s ‘so critical’ test is slightly better than nothing. Which is about where I am on the United Nations, as well. See if you can borrow some sack, Mitt, and offer a substantial way forward, eh?
Of the rest of the field, Bachmann, Perry, and Santorum seem like the candidates who pick up the most of Paul’s sense, while keeping the foreign policy sensible.