For the second consecutive cycle, one might argue that there hasn't been a single Republican presidential candidate with conventional credentials and a history of mainstream conservative positions on the public policy issues conservatives care most about (with Rick Perry, who has had other problems, as perhaps the biggest exception). Why do you think that's happened?
I'm a liberal, but I have an answer. The conservative movement has moved HARD right in the last few years. The individual mandate is a perfect example of this.ReplyDelete
Obama won without strong "conventional credentials." Having the best CV possible is not the most important thing.ReplyDelete
Romney is mainstream, although the current is shifting away from him. Huntsman and Johnson are mainstream, measured against the average Republican voter -- they're only "RINO's" by the standards of the Republican activists who we let run our nomination process.
I think Perry, Huntsman and Pawlenty fit the conventional standards. I think a lot of the base places more importance on having a combative style over governing experience.ReplyDelete
Why doesn't Gingrich count? He's a flake, in many ways, and an egomaniac, but he certainly hasn't made a career out of being a 'maverick'--he ascended the greasy pole to become Speaker of the House, third highest office in the land, was forced out but not based on policy heterodoxy (I would like to hear the argument that THAT was his problem). Gingrich takes a few odd positions, but back in his 'salad days', he was the conservative movement. I think that one of the stranger things going on this cycle is the revising of Newt as NOT a 'credentialed conservative'.ReplyDelete
Can I be the one to say Roemer?ReplyDelete
The only "public policy issues conservatives care most about" in practice, and not in theory, are the top marginal rate of income tax, death duties, and the tax treatment of investment income.ReplyDelete
And every single GOP primary candidate. in each cycle, has been completely orthodox on those issues.
Since we don't have Anonymous Prime to kick around anymore, I'll say, "you lefties just don't understand."ReplyDelete
And in this case he would have had a point. What animates conservatism today is not what's covered by the term "public policy issues." Liberals are interested in "public policy issues." Reactionaries are interested in destroying the enemy - even if they don't always have the words for it, or are forced to continue to talk about and act on it from within broadly defined "liberal democratic" institutions.
CK: "Anonymous Prime"...nice. Liked that one.ReplyDelete
Can't take credit for that one, Mr. Jarvis. It may even have been another anonymous who came up with it.ReplyDelete
I tend to agree with Davis X. Machina. The "public-policy issue" we care most about is government handling of the economy and protection of private property. Who is the candidate who doesn't favour shrinking the size and scope of government? Compared to that, immigration, global warming, etc are small beer.ReplyDelete
"Who is the candidate who doesn't favour shrinking the size and scope of government?"ReplyDelete
Is there anyone?
Medicare, Social Security, Military spending. There's government. Who wants to make large reductions in them? Step right up!
I agree with the overall tenor of the comments above. The reason there is no "mainstream" conservative in the race is because there's been a shift in what's considered "mainstream." In some ways, this may be because Obama and the Democrats, in a bid to be seen as conciliatory and "post-partisan" have occupied so much of the center (co-opting Republican initiatives and ideas) that the Republican Party, which had the electoral motive and procedural means to deny or obstruct the President's policy initiatives, could only do so under an ideological rationale that would move the party further right.ReplyDelete
That logic caused party actors to move further right, which encouraged the party faithful to move further right, at a time when such a message resonated with ppl upset about the bank bailouts and unsure about how to deal with changing demographics and a black president and a whole lot of other things.
It's curious to think about what would have happened if the President had adopted a policy agenda more along the lines of the left flank of the Democratic Party (and if the Democratic party had gone along with it). Maybe compromise bills looking like the ACA and Dodd-Frank would have been enough for the GOP to paint the President as politically ineffectual? Or maybe they would have obstructed anyway, since they had the means. I don't know how that would have turned out.
But now we have Republican Party with whose plausible presidential candidates made their names in a time before the party made such a decisive rightward shift.
The reason there is no "mainstream" conservative in the race is because there's been a shift in what's considered "mainstream." In some ways, this may be because Obama and the Democrats, in a bid to be seen as conciliatory and "post-partisan" have occupied so much of the center (co-opting Republican initiatives and ideas) ...>>
True except for one detail: Obama and the Democratic party have co-opted ideas from the right, *not* the centre.
Republican ideas are not the political centre. Protecting the privileges of the powerful is a right-wing idea.